COPR recommendation for PLoS support

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Fri Jan 2 12:18:17 EST 2004


Dear Dr. Zerhouni,

The COPR recommendation that NIH should follow up on your predecessor,
Harold Varmus's efforts on behalf of open access to biomedical journal
articles through PubMedCentral by supporting publication costs in PLoS
journals is extremely welcome and helpful:

    http://copr.nih.gov/public_library_science.shtm

But may I make a suggestion that will substantially increase its
helpfulness as well as the amount of open access to biomedical journal
articles that it generates -- at no additional cost to NIH?

Publishing in open-access journals such as the PLoS journal -- also known
as the Budapest Open Access Initiative's open-access provision strategy
2  (BOAI-2) -- is only one of the two ways to provide open access to
biomedical journal articles. And because there are still very few such
open-access journals, it is not the fastest or fullest way to do so.

The other open-access provision strategy, BOAI-1, is self-archiving
copies of articles published in toll-access journals in the author's
institution's own open-access archive.

Because open-access journals like PLoS exist today for only about 5%
of the annual number of journal articles published (there are 24,000
peer-reviewed journals in all, across all disciplines, and only 5% of
them, about 1000, are open-access journals like PLoS) the solution for
the remaining 95% is for their authors to self-archive them in their
institutional open-access archives.
http://www.doaj.org/

Fifty-five percent of journals already formally endorse
author/institutional self-archiving, and many of the remaining 45%
will agree if asked.
http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/ls/disresearch/romeo/Romeo%20Publisher%20Policies.htm

So the power and scope of the COPR recommendation for NIH to support open
access can be immediately enhanced from its present one (probably better
than 5% in the biomedical sciences, which includes the biggest
open-access publisher, BioMedCentral [BMC], hence probably closer to
10-15% today) to at least 55% and potentially 100% by simply enhancing the
recommendation (with no further cost implications) from the present one:

    1. The NIH should offer support for PLoS by explicitly stating that
    NIH grant recipients may legitimately apply funds from their
    projects toward the modest publication fees envisioned for PLoS.

    2.  Consideration should be given to awarding administrative
    supplements to relevant NIH-funded research, if only for a limited
    "introductory" time period, as further means of expressing both real
    and symbolic support for this program.

to the following enhanced one:

    1. The NIH should offer support for open-access to biomedical
    journal articles by explicitly stating that NIH grant recipients
    may legitimately apply funds from their projects toward the modest
    publication fees envisioned by open-access journals such as PLoS
    or BMC if a suitable one exists for their article. Otherwise they
    should publish it in a suitable toll-access journal and provide
    open access to it by self-archiving it in their institutional
    open-access archives.

    2.  Consideration should be given to awarding administrative
    supplements to relevant NIH-funded research, if only for a limited
    "introductory" time period, as further means of expressing both real
    and symbolic support for this program. The administrative
    supplements for covering open-access journal-publication costs
    should be available to researchers and institutions that are also
    implementing open-access provision by self-archiving for those
    articles for which a suitable open-access journal does not yet exist.

I hope this small amendment to the COPR recommendation can be considered,
as its adoption would greatly enhance the intended effect.

Sincerely,

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online is available at
the American Scientist Open Access Forum (1998-2004):
        To join the Forum: 
    http://amsci-forum.amsci.org/archives/American-Scientist-Open-Access-Forum.html
        Post discussion to: 
    american-scientist-open-access-forum at amsci.org
        Archive: 
    http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/index.html

Unified Dual Open-Access-Provision Policy:
    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a suitable open-access
            journal whenever one exists.
            http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/boaifaq.htm#journals
    BOAI-1 ("green"): Otherwise, publish your article in a suitable
            toll-access journal and also self-archive it.
            http://www.eprints.org/self-faq/
    http://www.soros.org/openaccess/read.shtml
    http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/berlin.htm




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