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NIH Open-Access Policy Turns 1 Year Old ...

... submissions have risen, but impacts on research are unclear, says open-access guru Gavin Baker.

Today marks one year since the National Institutes of Health’s Public Access Policy went into effect. (I covered the issue here in January 2008.) The policy requires that researchers funded by NIH post a copy of their journal manuscripts resulting from NIH-funded work into the freely available PubMed Central database. This was the first such policy by a U.S. federal agency. A year later, what impact has the policy had on science, and how has the policy community reacted?

The rule is achieving its goal of making the results of taxpayer-funded research available to other scientists, medical practitioners, patients, students, and the public. Before the policy was signed into law in December 2007, PubMed submissions never topped 1500 per month, according to NIH statistics. Deposits have climbed since then. After implementation officially began in April 2008, monthly submissions have never dipped below 2500. In January 2009, the most recent month for which statistics are available, submissions soared above 4500.