On April 7, 2008, the NIH Public Access Policy was implemented. The policy covers access to research information funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and requires investigators to submit an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed, accepted manuscripts to the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) PubMed Central. The manuscripts are to be submitted upon acceptance and be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the date of publication of the final article. This timeline corresponds well with JNPT’s 12-month embargo. The editors of JNPT decided that the members of the society should benefit from first-hand access to the published articles. We have however made any supplemental material, podcasts, and videos open access on our jnptextra.org website.
The decision to balance member benefits with open access is a difficult one. Rationale for changing the current society and publisher-based system is well described by Glover and colleagues.1 Essentially it is argued that access to information, which can now be easily disseminated through the internet, should be free and publicly available for work that is funded by the government. The NIH created the open access policy but originally did not mandate it. The Wellcome Trust in the United Kingdom has adopted a similar policy with a shorter (6 month) embargo period. Therefore, although JNPT’s embargo period is 12 months, we will honor the requirements of any funding agency that has shorter embargo periods.
Responsibility for submitting manuscripts arising from NIH-funded research to the NLM for posting lies solely with the author. However, in a letter to all of its journal editors, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) announced that they created a process to assist authors of NIH-funded research in their compliance with the NIH mandate. LWW will submit the final peer-reviewed, accepted manuscript to NLM, relieving authors of that burden and responsibility. LWW will ensure that posting is handled efficiently and in compliance with the NIH requirements.
As a result of these new requirements the JNPT instructions for authors have been modified. Authors will need to indicate on the Copyright Transfer form support from NIH or any other funding body that requires open access (such as the Wellcome Trust) and, in turn, LWW will ensure that their accepted manuscript is sent to the NLM. LWW will be forwarding accepted manuscripts after peer review in a batch process to PubMed.
I believe that like the authors who submit to the British Medical Journal (BMJ)2, JNPT authors value free access. Certainly it is consistent with our mission to be an international and accessible journal (which is why we have reduced fees for international online subscribers). For that reason, it is important that our authors and readers alike be aware of our policies relative to open access. JNPT will continue to balance the needs of the society with right to information.
1.Glover SW, Webb A, Gleghorn C. Open access publishing in the biomedical sciences: could funding agencies accelerate the inevitable changes? Health Information & Libraries Journal.
2.Schroter S. Importance of free access to research articles on decision to submit to the BMJ: survey of authors. BMJ.