Comments on the NIH policy

I knew that the NIH had solicited comments on its publication mandate policy and that I had plenty of time to think about it. Now it’s urgent. Here’s Peter Suber:

03:38 30/05/2008, Peter Suber,
Public comments on the OA mandate at the NIH are due by 5:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time), Saturday, May 31, 2008, less than two days from now.
Submit your comments through the NIH web form.  But before you do, see some of the comments already submitted.  The pro-OA comments will give you ideas, and the anti-OA comments will show you what objections to answer and what perspective might predominate if you don’t send in your own.
This time the NIH wants separate answers to four separate questions.  The web form has four separate spaces for them:

  1. Do you have recommendations for alternative implementation approaches to those already reflected in the NIH Public Access Policy?
  2. In light of the change in law that makes NIH’s public access policy mandatory, do you have recommendations for monitoring and ensuring compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy?
  3. In addition to the information already posted [here], what additional information, training or communications related to the NIH Public Access Policy would be helpful to you?
  4. Do you have other comments related to the NIH Public Access Policy?

If you’re thinking that the NIH just concluded a round of public comments for its March 20 meeting, you’re right.  See the comments generated by that round (and my blog post on them).  One persistent publisher objection is that the policy has not been sufficiently vetted and one purpose of the new round no doubt is to give the stakeholders one more chance to speak.  We must use it.  Publishers will.

Please submit a comment and spread the word. Even if you have no suggestions to improve the policy, it’s important to express your support.

PMR: I’d like to comment, but it’s not very clear whether it’s US-only.  I’m going to look through the current comments (which are all public) and see whether there’s anything non-US. Any help will be valuable.
Assuming I am eligible I’ll say something about the critical need to allow access to data. Firstly the NIH could state that data in the papers is factual and therefore not subject to copyright. A public satement of this would be very valuable. Secondly that it will not impose server-side limitations of robotic downloads. It’s the responsibility of the reader not to break copyright. Thirdly I will encourage the NIH to require the submission of data as well as free text.
So I’d welcome fedback and also urge anyone who is qualified to post. If that’s everyone, then everyone should post. From what I can see they could use a few more…

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