New public access mandate for science in USA

Sarah: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA has announced that all publicly-funded, peer reviewed scientific research papers will be freely available online from April 2008. Authors who chose not to make their research available for such publication could risk losing NIH funding. The announcement has attracted some controversy, with claims that making publications freely available could jeopardise funding of scientific societies and their associated journals, and that the new law undermines publishers copyright. The change in policy resulted from a new NIH spending law which passed through US congress in December 2007. The free publications will be available through PubMed Central; I for one will certainly be happy to have more free literature (assuming no access barriers across international borders). It will be interesting to watch for similar moves in the UK and Australia.

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