Open Access: Get the Story Right

Dear Nature News,

Get your facts straight. The new National Institutes of Health policy currently up for a vote on Capitol Hill will not require researchers “to publish only in journals that make their research papers freely available within one year of publication.” This is false. Such a requirement is nowhere present in S.1710 or H.R.3043. The new policy will require research funded by the NIH to be placed in an open-access repository within 12 months of publication. Really:

The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

Notice how there’s no Index of Prohibited Journals? In the industry jargon, the NIH policy will mandate “green OA,” not “gold OA.” This mistake is old enough and tiresome enough that we have a name for it: Journal-Archive Mixup, or JAM.

I’m cynical enough to expect the Washington Post to get this wrong, but Nature News should do better. The truly unfortunate part is that Slashdot picked up the error, so now a legion of science geeks will be completely misinformed.

Eric “Dr. Evil” Dezenhall must be pleased: his strategy for misinforming the public works so much better when all the reportage is sloppy anyway.

(Tip o’ the fedora to Peter Suber.)

One thought on “Open Access: Get the Story Right”

Comments are closed.