Open-access policy flourishes at NIH

By Kristopher A. Nelson in

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Open-access policy flourishes at NIH : Nature News:

One year on, advocates of free public access to scientific literature are calling a law that requires researchers at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to make their manuscripts publicly available at the PubMed Central repository a success. At the same time, the measure continues to be challenged by a senior congressman and some publishers.

I always like to keep tabs on the open-access publishing world. Predictably, some publishers are complaining that this model undermines their (quite lucrative, it seems from many analyses) profit model, but the downturn in the economy makes it difficult to attribute journal cancellations to the NIH open-access mandate. Nevertheless, it seems that subscriptions are down across all disciplines, not just medicine, supporting the idea that open access via the NIH is not causing additional problems for publishers.

But Martin Frank, executive director of the American Physiological Society in Bethesda, says that “in an environment where access is readily available whether after 12 months or 6 months or immediately, the subscription model starts wobbling”. Frank predicts that, as subscription revenues tank, publishers will be forced to levy stiff fees on authors for publishing.

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