As of April 7, 2008, anyone who publishes an article based upon research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is required to submit an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central. This groundbreaking policy gives the public full access to taxpayer-funded research within 12 months of its publication.
For more information and instructions on how to comply, read more:
Information for UC Authors
“The public access policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research to help advance science and improve human health.” — National Institutes of Health Public Access
On January 11, 2008, in response to an act of Congress, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a revision of its Public Access Policy. As of April 7, 2008, the agency requires investigators to deposit all articles stemming from NIH funding in the NIH online archive, PubMed Central.
About the New Policy
To expand use of publicly funded research findings, the NIH now requires its investigators to deposit (or have deposited for them) in the PubMed Central online archive an electronic version of their journal articles stemming from NIH-funded research. The articles will be made publicly available in PubMed Central within 12 months after journal publication.
For more on the policy:
- Policy Overview from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
- National Institutes of Health Public Access
What Does It Mean for UC and our Researchers?
Benefits: The impact on UC researchers will be significant. The University of California received over $1.5 billion in NIH funds in 2007 for 3,900 awards. The NIH Public Access Policy brings with it obligations as well as benefits for UC and our researchers. Provost Hume summarizes the benefits in his September 2007 Hletter to Senator Feinstin in support of the NIH Public Access Policy (PDF). Some benefits include:
- Research in PubMed Central is available to virtually all Internet users, regardless of whether their library subscribes to the journal in which the research is published. This will greatly expand access to the estimated 80,000 articles that result each year from NIH funding for use in research, teaching, and patient care. We estimate that UC articles comprise 8% of that 80,000 or over 6,000 articles per year.
- The open environment provided by NIH will facilitate development of new kinds of computational research techniques. Already the full-texts of journal articles in PubMed Central are linked to other scientific databases such as GenBank enabling researchers to observe and explore relationships that may not previously have been apparent.
- More on the Benefits of the NIH Public Access Policy is available at the bottom of this page.
Compliance: The principal investigators and their institutions (as grantees) are responsible for ensuring the submission of articles stemming from their awards. Campus offices of Contracts and Grants, libraries, and legal departments all have a role in providing information and assistance to support compliance with the policy.
- Operating Guidance Memo on NIH Policy (PDF) from the University of California, Research Administration Office (Operating Guidance Memo No. 08-05, Subject: NIH Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research (PubMed)), March 6, 2008
- Letter to Publishers (PDF) from the Executive Director, Research Administration and Technology Transfer, March 6, 2008 (referenced in Memo 08-05). UC investigators can submit this letter to publishers to give notice that an article will be required by law to be posted on PubMed Central.
More information from the campuses
Libraries on campuses with significant NIH funding have created websites to direct researchers to relevant information and assistance. If your campus is not represented here, visit another campus site. The information applies to all UC researchers.
- UC Berkeley Library: Hot Topics: NIH Mandate
- UC Davis Health Sciences Libraries: NIH Public Access Policy
- UC Irvine Libraries: NIH Guide
- UC Los Angeles Library: NIH Public Access Policy: How it Affects UCLA Researchers and How to Comply
- UC Riverside Libraries: NIH Public Access Policy: Compliance Toolkit
- UC San Diego Biomedical and Medical Center Libraries: NIH Public Access Policy: Tips from BML
- UC San Francisco Library: Public Access to NIH Funded Research
Benefits of the NIH Public Access Policy
The new NIH policy is an important step forward for science, scientists, and the higher education community. A wide range of academic and public stakeholders have vigorously supported adoption of such a measure. Here are some of the benefits:
- PubMed Central deposit is a convenient substitute for the submission of print copies of articles in fulfillment of grants reporting requirements.
- Research in PubMed Central is available to virtually all Internet users, regardless of whether their library subscribes to the journal in which the research is published. This will greatly expand access to the estimated 80,000 articles that result each year from NIH funding for use in research, teaching, and patient care. We estimate that UC articles make up 8% of that 80,000 or 6000 articles per year.
- A consequence of making work more visible among scientists around the world is greater impact. A number of studies on the citation advantage of open access have shown that open access articles are, on the whole, more highly cited.
- The open environment provided by NIH will facilitate development of new kinds of computational research techniques. Already the full-texts of journal articles in PubMed Central are linked to other scientific databases such as GenBank, enabling researchers to observe and explore relationships that may not previously have been apparent.
- The National Library of Medicine will provide long-term digital archiving of articles in PubMed Central, ensuring tomorrow’s researchers can build on today’s findings.
- The NIH policy precedent can open the door for institutions to secure expanded rights to use research in teaching, learning, and research.
Adapted from NIH Public Access Policy: Guide for Research Universities by the Association of Research Libraries.