"Life After NIH"
harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Fri Apr 15 17:35:01 EST 2005
Andrew R. Albanese "Life After NIH" (Library Journal, April 15 2005)
In this article today about the NIH 6-12-month Back Access "Request"
Policy, Albanese asks "After a flawed policy, what's next for librarians
and open access?"
"SPARC executive director Rick Johnson, one of the NIH proposal's most
ardent supporters says... 'I see open access as a means to introduce
market forces into a system that largely is devoid of them. Our task
is to break this monopoly and at the same time enable a competitive,
dynamic market for services that add value to research.'"
I instead see open access as open access. I see our immediate task
as reaching 100% open access, already well within reach, as soon as
possible. I think we are already quite late.
"Johnson says it is a mistake to take the current NIH policy at
face value and that the public discussion SPARC has helped fuel will
crystallize into success for open access. 'Without such a clear symbol
of why we need open access, change on a broad scale would occur at
a slower pace,' he says. 'I am convinced that Congress will not be
satisfied with a de facto 12-month embargo, and I can't imagine the
NIH will be either... The current [NIH] policy is not the end of
the discussion... We'll soon know what percentages of eligible
papers make their way into PubMed Central and the average delay in
public availability. If the result does not respond to the wishes
of Congress, then I expect NIH will make adjustments.'"
I think our pace could not possibly be slower and that waiting several
more years to weigh the "percentage of papers" and the "average delay"
of NIH Back Access and then "make adjustments" is an extremely bad idea.
There is an immediate alternative, which is to adopt and promote the more
recent and optimal Berlin-3 Policy recommendation (formulated this month
at an international meeting in Southampton UK) instead of the flawed
The two policies differ in 4 critical respects:
NIH: self-archive up to 6-12 months after publication
B-3: self-archive immediately upon publication
NIH: self-archive only NIH-funded research
B-3: self-archive all institutional research output
NIH: self-archive in PubMed Central
B-3: self-archive in researcher's own institutional archive
NIH: request self-archiving
B-3: require self-archiving
There are already several hundred institutional archives worldwide, but
most are near-empty, because most have not yet adopted a self-archiving
About a dozen of these institutions, however, *have* adopted a
self-archiving policy, and some of the biggest of these (CNRS, INRIA,
CERN) -- approaching a bigger total research output than NIH, and
across all disciplines (not just biomedicine) -- adopted their policy
this month, as a direct result of the Berlin-3 policy recommendation:
The world now has a clear choice: To wait and see the outcome of the
NIH policy, and then perhaps "make adjustments," or to get it right the
first time, by adopting Berlin-3 and providing Open Access now.
Institutions adopting a self-archiving policy are invited to register
and describe it, so as to encourage emulation by others, at:
AMERICAN SCIENTIST OPEN ACCESS FORUM:
A complete Hypermail archive of the ongoing discussion of providing
open access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2005)
is available at:
To join or leave the Forum or change your subscription address:
Post discussion to:
american-scientist-open-access-forum at amsci.org
UNIVERSITIES: If you have adopted or plan to adopt an institutional
policy of providing Open Access to your own research article output,
please describe your policy at:
UNIFIED DUAL OPEN-ACCESS-PROVISION POLICY:
BOAI-1 ("green"): Publish your article in a suitable toll-access journal
BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a open-access journal if/when
a suitable one exists.
in BOTH cases self-archive a supplementary version of your article
in your institutional repository.
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