News of the Day ... in Perspective9/8/2004
NIH rules to require free public access to research results
The National Institutes of Health has proposed a major policy change that would require all scientists who receive funding from the agency to make their research results available to the public for free.
Currently, journals that publish the information maintain control over it. Nonsubscribers who want a particular article must pay an average of $30 for it.
Patient advocacy groups have lobbied for the change. Scientific publishers say the move could drive some journals out of business and bankrupt some scientific societies.
Change is inevitable, both sides say. NIH officials note the tremendous public interest in health information. Health questions constitute 40% of internet queries (see Washington Post 9/9/04).
A 60-day public comment period is now open.
AAPS official journal, the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, has policy of open access. See www.jpands.org.
Shelby amendment provides for public access to data, AAPS News, May 1999
Federal grantees fight data access, AAPS News, June 1999
AAPS supports Shelby amendment, www.aapsonline.org/medicare/shelby2.htm