Letter to authors and readers regarding the new NIH policy on public access.


On February 3, 2005, the National Institutes of Health issued a policy that affects all NIH grantees and the journals in which they publish. The policy requests that authors with NIH funding deposit the full text of their research report, as soon as it is accepted for publication by a peer-reviewed journal, in the US government’s PubMed Central (PMC) database. These (noncopyedited and non-formatted) manuscripts will then be made available for public access no later than 1 year after their publication in the journal. The full text of the NIH policy can be found online.1 After the policy was announced, NIH Director Dr Elias Zerhouni sent a letter to grantees urging them to comply with the policy and to negotiate the shortest possible release date with the journal, preferably shorter than 1 year. The policy statement and the subsequent letter have led to considerable confusion among scientists. To alleviate the confusion, we have summarized the key points of the NIH policy and described our response. 1. The NIH policy is a request, not a requirement. It is a policy, not a rule, and because NIH does not own the intellectual property of its grantees, it cannot enforce compliance. Further, NIH has clearly stated that it will honor the copyright agreements authors enter into with publishers and will not monitor whether grantees have deposited their manuscripts with PMC. 2. The policy takes effect May 2, 2005; it does not apply to articles accepted before that date. 3. Authors are requested to deposit the peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted author version of the manuscript, not the paper that has been copyedited, proofread, and formatted for the journal. (Also see item 7 below.) 4. Because changes often occur during the journal’s editing processes, there will be 2 versions of your paper available online: the final article version on the journal’s website (the official published version) and the manuscript version on PMC. 5. PMC requires that you meet their technical requirements when you deposit any of your manuscripts on their site. Their requirements are different from those for Blood. Please be aware that ASH and Blood will not play any role in depositing manuscripts on the PMC site. 6. The ASH copyright transfer agreement will be modified to allow authors to deposit their accepted manuscripts in the PMC database if they choose to do so. 7. Authors submitting their accepted manuscript to PMC must specify that the manuscript can be made public no sooner than 1 year after final publication in Blood. 8. ASH will require that authors submit to PMC the best available accepted version, which is the version submitted for online prepublication as a First Edition Paper. 9. ASH will further require that authors add the following disclaimer to the manuscript before sending it to PMC:

Cite this paper

@article{George2005LetterTA, title={Letter to authors and readers regarding the new NIH policy on public access.}, author={James N George and Sanford J Shattil}, journal={Blood}, year={2005}, volume={105 10}, pages={3767} }