Tuesday, July 10, 2007

HHMI becomes first major US funder to require open access
In a significant development for the open access movement, the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes (HHMI) this week became the first large research funder in the USA to require its investigators to make their published results openly accessible. The policy on Public Access to Publications, announced this week, requires HHMI Investigators to ensure that all biomedical articles on which they are a major author are made freely accessible within at most 6 months of publication, and are deposited in PubMed Central .
The policy also proposes a clear mechanism for enforcement, indicating that, in future, only articles published in compliance with the policy will be eligible for consideration when investigators' HHMI appointments are reviewed.
HHMI's President, Tom Cech, discussed the background to the Insitute's open access policy in the May issue of the HHMI Bulletin.
A notable aspect of HHMI's intitiative on open access is that the Insitute has agreed to pay some traditional publishers up to $1500 (on top of subscription revenue) in order to ensure that HHMI retains the right to post a copy of the author's manuscript version (not the final published version) on to PubMed Central after a 6 month embargo period. This emphasizes the importance attached to open access by HHMI, but also makes clear the value for money offered by BioMed Central's article processing charge (APC).
BioMed Central's typical APC, after institutional discount, is less than $1500 and this cost is instead of subscription revenue, not in addition to it. In return for this payment, BioMed Central makes the official final version of published articles freely available on PubMed Central immediately on publication, and also makes the articles freely available for reuse and redistribution.
Many HHMI Investigators have already published in BioMed Central's open access journals. We hope that the Institute's new policy on open access will encourage further HHMI researchers to give our journals a try.
For details of other funders policies on open access, see BioMed Central's funder policy page.

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