US law provides free access to government funded research

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Under the provisions of the US’ Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, most NIH-funded researchers are required to offer their findings free to the public a year after they are published commercially.

With the new act, expected to be enforced within six months, government-funded health researchers must deposit electronic copies of eligible manuscripts into the National Library of Medicine’s online archive PubMed Central.

A majority of biomedical researchers publish their findings in technical journals that can cost subscribers $1,000 or more annually. Research librarians and universities pressed by tight budgets and high subscription fees won the new deal by convincing key lawmakers that knowledge gained from taxpayer-funded research should be made freely available.

Advocates of open access project that the new law will accelerate medical progress and improve biomedical education by sharing key results far more widely.