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The American Association of Immunologists

Public Access

New Law Enacted

    President Obama signs NIH Public Access Policy into law
    On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed the 2009 Consolidated Appropriations Bill into law, which includes a provision making the NIH Public Access Policy permanent. Previously, the NIH policy was subject to annual renewal.
    Congress Makes Mandatory the Revised NIH Public Access Policy (effective April 7, 2008)
    On December 26, 2007, the FY 2008 appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies became law.
    This new law requires the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to make mandatory its voluntary policy on "Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research" ("NIH Public Access Policy")
    The law states, in relevant part:
      • "The Director of the NIH shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the NLM's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, that the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law."
    NIH issued a Notice explaining the new mandatory policy on January 11, 2008. See NIH "Revised Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publication Resulting from NIH-Funded Research" (NOT-OD-08-033)
    What does the new law require?
    As of April 7, 2008, NIH will require submission into PubMed Central (PMC) of manuscripts, if accepted for publication, which report research that is funded in whole or in part by the NIH. Authors publishing in The Journal of Immunology (The JI) may find answers to their questions below. If you still have questions regarding publishing in The JI, please contact infoji@aai.org.

AAI Concerns/Position

    Does AAI have any concerns about the new law?
    AAI is concerned that the NIH Public Access Policy will cause confusion of the scientific record as multiple versions of articles are published (the manuscript by PubMed Central and the final edited article by the publishing journal).
    The Policy implements a costly new system which will divert funding from research.
    It will create an inferior archive (containing only NIH-funded research, rather than all published research) at the expense of NIH research dollars.
    The position of AAI:
    AAI remains committed to making content of The JI publicly available as soon as possible, and will continue to expand current services.
    AAI has developed policies to help authors publishing in The JI comply with the NIH Public Access Policy, and has provided Frequently Asked Questions to help affected authors comply.
    AAI greatly appreciates that Congress has required NIH to "implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law…." and hopes to be able to work with the NIH to ensure that the copyright rights of publishers are protected.
    Congress should require NIH to partner with not-for-profit scientific publishers to provide enhanced public access to NIH-funded research results and abandon this expensive effort to publish manuscripts itself (this NIH effort diverts funds from research and duplicates services already provided cost-effectively, quickly, and well by the private sector).
    On March 18, 2008, AAI sent letters to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) [Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Chairman David Obey (D-7th, WI) and Ranking Member Jim Walsh (R-25th, NY)] requesting they include language in the FY 2009 Labor-HHS appropriations bill regarding the cost of implementing the new mandatory NIH Public Access Policy
    Related Legislation
    On September 9, 2008, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-14th, MI), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation to help ensure that the federal government does not diminish copyright protections for peer reviewed articles and the publications in which they appear. The bill was reintroduced in the 111th Congress on February 3, 2009, as H.R. 801.
    On June 25, 2009, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) introduced S. 1373, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009. The following April, Congressman Michael Doyle (D-14th, PA) introduced a House companion bill, H.R. 5037. Both bills would require that final manuscripts of peer-reviewed, private-sector journal articles which report on federally-funded research be made freely available on government-run websites no later than six months after publication.

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