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New NIH Funding Guidelines Require Open Access, Restrict Unauthorized Alien Workers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health late last week issued new mandates for researchers it will fund in 2008. The new guidelines include a previously disclosed rule requiring scientists to make their research results publicly available, as well as a new policy intended to limit the spread of false scientific information and a restriction against employing unauthorized foreign workers.
 
In a notice outlining the 2008 funding mandates, the NIH said that it had also carried over several funding rules from fiscal 2007, including salary caps and a ban on funding embryonic stem cell research.
 
The first of the new rulings, the Public Access Requirement, states that NIH investigators must “submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.”
 
Another mandate states that no funds will be used to “disseminate scientific information that is deliberately false or misleading.” NIH noted that while this mandate was not included in previous appropriations acts, “it is similar to existing requirements concerning research integrity, fraud and false claims” and is not expected to “significantly impact the business practices at most institutions.”
 
The third new guideline, which prohibits employing unauthorized alien workers as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, is likewise expected to have no significant impact at most institutions, NIH said, although it does encourage grantees “to review their current hiring and employment practices.”
 
Under the budget rules carried over from 2007, salaries for NIH-funded investigators may not go above Executive Level 1 on the federal pay scale, which is set to max out this year at $191,300, up from $186,600 last year.
 
The 2008 appropriations also continue the ban on funding involving the creation of human embryos for research purposes and research in which embryos are destroyed, discarded, or subjected to risks greater than those allowed for fetuses.
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