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Not-for-profit publishers call NIH public access rule a missed opportunity

that would result from publishing two different versions of the same article--an unedited version on PubMed Central and the final version in the journal.

"The society publishers' proposal would avoid problems that are bound to occur if there are multiple versions of the same article," said Nobel Laureate David H. Hubel, Research Professor of Neurobiology at the Harvard Medical School. "This collaboration would offer the public access to the final, definitive publication including commentaries and corrections as contained within the official, permanent journal archive."

"A joint effort between the NIH and not-for-profit publishers would ensure the integrity of the scientific literature while at the same time reducing the size and therefore the cost to NIH of expanding PubMed Central," Hubel added.

"Linking to journal sites is seamless and virtually invisible to those who use NIH's MEDLINE website to search for health information," noted James M. George, MD, president of the American Society of Hematology.

"The 'Free Back Issues' program at Stanford's HighWire Press already gives the public free access to over 828,000 articles," according to Stanford University Librarian and HighWire Publisher Michael A. Keller. "HighWire also permits free links to over 389,000 other articles that are listed as references. Other not-for-profit publishers also offer free access."

"NIH's rule is limited relative to what these not-for-profit publishers are currently doing with Google and patient groups to provide the public with enhanced searchability and improved information access," according to John Sack, HighWire Press.

Not-for-profit publishers support increased public access to the literature; however, many of their concerns about the NIH proposal have not been addressed. These include:

# It will be costly and duplicative because NIH will create a new government program to supplant existing and highly successful private effor
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Source:American Physiological Society


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