Update on publisher policies on NIH-funded authors
SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #87
July 2, 2005
by Peter Suber
In the June issue, I laid out the policies of 14 publishers on what their NIH-funded authors may and may not do to comply with the NIH public-access policy.

Here I want to update one policy, clarify another, and add two new ones.

* Last month I said that the four journals of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) required a six-month embargo on public access for any of their articles deposited in PubMed Central as part of the NIH public-access policy. I was right at the time I did my research but wrong at the time I mailed the issue. A week before I went to press, the ADA changed its policy in order to permit its NIH-funded authors to choose immediate public access. Thanks to ADA Publisher Peter Banks for the correction. I congratulated the ADA on two mailing lists and in my blog for its change of policy and I'm glad to repeat my congratulations here. The ADA is now the only publisher of non-OA journals that has announced a policy allowing its NIH-funded authors to request immediate public access through PMC. I hope other publishers will follow its lead.

American Diabetes Association (ADA)

ADA policy

ADA correction of my account of its policy

* Last month I said that the three journals of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) require a 12 month embargo on public access through PMC.  ASPET journals have a background policy of putting all their contents free online after 12 months.

This was true as far as it went but it omitted a relevant part of the policy.  When an ASPET journal accepts a paper, it provides free online access to the version approved by peer review (but not yet copy edited).  It does so immediately upon acceptance and leaves that version free online even after the copy-edited version is published.  The copy-edited version is made free online 12 months after publication.  This policy applies to all ASPET authors, not just those with NIH funding.  I thank Richard Dodenhoff, ASPET Journals Director, for the correction.

But, you might ask (as I did), why does ASPET impose a 12 month embargo on the copies deposited in PMC when ASPET provides free online access to the same versions at its own web site immediately upon acceptance?

Richard had two answers to this question.  First, the PMC embargo will steer traffic for at least 12 months to the ASPET web site, which will help ASPET attract online advertising.  Second, ASPET believes that citations to the PMC copies of its articles will not count toward the impact factors of ASPET journals. 

I talked to officials at PubMed Central about both ASPET concerns.  (1) On traffic:  PMC shares its usage data with journals that maintain full runs in PMC, just as Highwire Press does for example.  It does not yet share usage data with journals that have only miscellaneous articles in PMC as a result of the NIH public-access policy, but it will consider doing so.  (2) On citations:  Every article deposited in PMC as part of the public-access policy will prominently display a full citation that includes the name of the publishing journal.  Authors who cite the article in standard ways should therefore build the journal's impact factor.

Then I talked to Marie McVeigh at Thomson Scientific about the citation concern.  She was clear that if PMC displays a correct and complete citation to the published version in a conspicuous place on each copy that it hosts, then it's doing all that it can do to encourage proper citation.  Moreover, proper citations, even if they use the PMC URL, will help build the journal's impact factor.  In fact, if someone cites a paper in PMC as "Smith's peer-reviewed manuscript eventually published as ... [full citation]", then it would still count toward the journal's impact factor.

American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)

The access policy for the three ASPET journals

* The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) puts a 12 month embargo on public access through PMC and does not allow authors to deposit the copy-edited version of the article.  Moreover, authors must append a disclaimer explaining that the text has not been copy-edited and may "differ in important ways" from the published version.  When the ASPB announced its NIH policy, it also announced an upcoming fee-based author-choice OA experiment at its journals.  Once the OA experiment is under way, authors who pay the processing fee for OA may authorize immediate public access through PMC.

* The Journal of Neuroscience, published by the Society for Neuroscience, puts a 12 month embargo on public access through PMC and does not allow authors to deposit the copy-edited version of the article.  Moreover, the PMC copy must link to the published version and include the following disclaimer:  "This article is an un-copyedited author manuscript that has been accepted for publication in The Journal of Neuroscience, copyright 200_ Society for Neuroscience. The Society for Neuroscience disclaims any responsibility or liability for errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it by NIH or other parties." 

For my comments on how publisher embargoes prove that the NIH policy is not meeting its goals, and how embargoes will fuel efforts in Congress and the NIH to strengthen the policy, see my article from last month.


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