The US’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a Public Access Policy that is set to become mandatory following President Bush’s approval on Dec 26th 2007. This change will mean that NIH-funded researchers will be obliged to submit an electronic version of any of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts to PubMed Central, as soon as the paper has been accepted for publication in a journal.
Many researchers are pleased with the move and Peter Suber outlines the implications in detail in the January issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter. Citing the cons are several of the non-OA publishers who claim that NIH has no rights over the intellectual property of the science it funds and that research papers should remain the copyright of the publishers. They argue that the value added by the publication process will effectively be handed over to PubMed Central by the submission process without compensation. Others argue that the publishers have had it too good for many years.
There remain several outstanding issues which will no doubt be argued over in the months to come.