US act protects NIH access policy

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President Obama has signed into law an act that makes the National Institutes of Health (NIH) public access policy permanent. The NIH policy was previously implemented with a provision that was subject to annual renewal.

The NIH Revised Policy on Enhancing Public Access requires eligible NIH-funded researchers to deposit electronic copies of their peer-reviewed manuscripts into the National Library of Medicine’s online archive, PubMed Central (PMC). Full texts of the articles are made publicly available and searchable online in PMC no later than 12 months after publication in a journal.

'Public access to publicly funded research contributes directly to the mission of higher education,' said David Shulenburger, vice president for academic affairs at NASULGC (the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges).

Heather Joseph, spokesperson for the Alliance for Taxpayer Access noted, 'Thanks to the work of a wide coalition of patients, libraries, researchers, publishers, students, and taxpayers, the results of NIH-funded research can be accessed – and used  - in ways never before possible. The successful implementation of this policy will unlock the potential of this research to benefit the public as a whole.'