Supporters of open access to scientific research are pressuring the federal government to make open access mandatory, now that data suggest that the National Institutes of Health’s policy merely requesting open access to research it has financed within a year of publication is a failure.
The criticism is not new (The Chronicle, February 4, 2005), but now data seem to back it up. Last month, the NIH reported that just 3.8 percent of the articles published since the policy took effect last May had been provided free on the Web. Now the institutes’ own Library of Medicine has recommended that the NIH require free posting on the Web for any institutes-financed research.
A U.S. senator may go even further: The Washington Post reported today that Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, may propose legislation that would require free access to research financed by other federal agencies as well, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.