President Obama signed the 2009 Consolidated Appropriations Act into law on March 11, 2009, which includes a provision making the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy permanent. The provision, titled “The NIH Revised Policy on Enhancing Public Access”, requires eligible NIH-funded researchers to deposit electronic copies of their peer-reviewed manuscripts into PubMed Central (PMC), the National Library of Medicine’s online archive. Full texts of the articles are to be made publicly-available and searchable online in PMC no later than 12 months after publication in a journal. The previous NIH Public Access Policy was implemented with a provision that was subject to annual renewal. Genetic Alliance applauds Congress for its tireless support of the policy and its recognition of the power of technology and innovation in enabling new solutions for the proactive management of health, consumer-driven healthcare, and novel partnerships and collaborations in research.
What is the NIH Public Access Policy?
In 2005, the NIH announced a policy designed to provide consumers with “open access” to published articles resulting from NIH-funded research, meaning American taxpayers would have free access to peer-reviewed results of research funded by the NIH. The policy called on scientists to release the public manuscripts from research supported by NIH as soon as possible and within 12 months of final publication. In the following two years, only 5% of researchers followed the voluntary policy. In 2007, efforts to make open access policy mandatory yielded success. All relevant documents were made available through PubMed Central (PMC), a searchable, electronic archive of NIH publications.