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NIH Public Access Working Group of the NLM Board of Regents


On February 3, 2005, NIH announced a Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research to be effective May 2, 2005. The policy responds to strong Congressional interest in improving the public's access to the published results of NIH-funded research. Under the policy, NIH-supported investigators are encouraged to submit manuscripts electronically to the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) PubMed Central PMC). PMC is the NIH digital repository of full-text, peer-reviewed biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research journals. NLM's National Center for Biotechnology Information, in consultation with the NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER), developed an NIH manuscript submission system (// to implement the policy.

The NIH Policy is intended to: 1) create a stable archive of peer-reviewed research publications resulting from NIH-funded research to ensure the permanent preservation of these vital published research findings; 2) secure a searchable compendium of these peer-reviewed research publications that NIH and its awardees can use to manage more efficiently and to understand better their research portfolios, monitor scientific productivity, and ultimately, help set research priorities; and 3) make published results of NIH-funded research more readily accessible to the public, health care providers, educators, and scientists. The Policy included the establishment of a NIH Public Access Working Group, with representation from a broad range of interested stakeholders.

Establishment of the Working Group

In May 2005, the NLM Board of Regents established the NIH Public Access Working Group in consultation with the Director, NIH and the Director, NLM. Dr. Thomas Detre, University of Pittsburgh, will chair the Working Group on behalf of the NLM Board. Dr. Deanna Marcum, Library of Congress, will also represent the Board on the Working Group, which includes 17 members representing researchers, publishers, societies, libraries, and the public.

Working Group Charge

The NIH Public Access Working Group of the NLM Board of Regents will advise the NLM Board of Regents on implementation of the NIH Public Access Policy. To this end, the Working Group will:

  1. review statistical evidence on the impact of the policy, e.g., number of manuscripts submitted, summary data on embargo periods, connections to other NIH information resources, level of use, etc.;
  2. provide suggestions for improving the implementation of the manuscript submission system and procedures;
  3. assess the extent to which the policy is achieving its stated goals; and
  4. suggest any changes to the policy that might further these goals.

The Working Group will meet at least twice per year between May 2005 and May 2007 and prepare a report, with any recommendations, for presentation to the NLM Board of Regents after each meeting.

Duration of the Working Group

In 2007, the NLM Board of Regents, the Director, NLM, and the Director, NIH will review the status of the implementation of the NIH Policy and determine whether the Working Group should continue or be replaced by another mechanism for monitoring implementation of the Policy.


May 11, 2005