NIH Public Access Policy: What It Means for Authors and for Universities




Furrh, Jamie L.

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Part of the 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed includes a provision requiring the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to make its voluntary Public Access Policy mandatory. This is a landmark achievement, as it is the first Open Access initiative to be mandated by U.S. government. As with anything that is implemented for the first time, there are some questions and concerns regarding how this new law will work, and the pieces that need to be in place for it to be successful.

This presentation will provide a description of what the current NIH Public Access Policy is(1); a brief history of the policy from 2004 to present day(2); discuss how the policy effects research authors and the institutions they work at; consider the six options on institutional compliance as presented by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, Science Commons, and Association of Research Libraries White Paper(3); examine actions taken by other Universities regarding Open Access; explain the work currently underway by the University of North Texas Health Science Center to ensure compliance; and discuss the future of scholarly communication(4) as it relates to the ultimate goal of UNTHSC regarding Open Access and compliance with NIH policy.

References: (1) Public Access Homepage,, Accessed 4/7/2008. (2) English, Ray and Joseph, Heather. The NIH mandate: An open access landmark; 69; Accessed 4/7/2008. (3) Carroll, M. W. Complying with the national institutes of health public access policy: Copyright considerations and options. SPARC, Science Commons, ARL; February 2008; Accessed 4/7/2008. (4) Hahn, K. L., Talk about talking about new models of scholarly communication. JEP, Winter, 2008; 11, pp. 1-14,


Presentation slides for the 2008 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries (TCDL).