NIH to make research publicly accessible

NIH to make research publicly accessible

The National Institutes of Health is asking scientists to voluntarily make their biomedical research results available through the agency's searchable database within 12 months of their publication.

NIH wants to accelerate the public's access to published articles resulting from its funded research.

NIH, an agency of the Health and Human Services Department, originally proposed that scientists who receive NIH funding provide it with electronic copies of all final research manuscripts upon acceptance for publication. The agency would then make the research publicly accessible in six months. During the comment period, some journal publishers were among those critical of the quick turnaround.

The National Library of Medicine will manage the Web archive at PubMed Central, its digital repository of peer-reviewed biomedical, behavioral and clinical research journals. PubMed is a publicly accessible and searchable electronic archive.

'While this new policy is voluntary, we are strongly encouraging all NIH-supported researchers to release their published manuscripts as soon as possible for the benefit of the public,' said NIH director Elias Zerhouni yesterday in announcing the final policy. NIH tried to balance the importance of public access with the needs of scientific authors and their publishers, he said.

Beginning May 2, the policy
requests that NIH-funded scientists submit an electronic version of the author's final manuscript, upon acceptance for publication, resulting from research supported in whole or in part by NIH. The author's final manuscript is defined as the final version accepted for journal publication, and includes all modifications from the peer review process.

Scientists applying for new and competing renewal support from NIH will be able to provide links in their applications to their PubMed archived information, which will help streamline the application and review process.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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