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NIH Public Access Policy Made Permanent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The public access policy that the National Institutes of Health adopted last year, which requires that all NIH-funded investigators make their findings public within one year after they publish them in a journal, has now been made permanent.

The policy, which initially passed last year and was set to be renewed annually, was made permanent in the recent Fiscal 2009 Federal budget bill, which passed Congress and was signed by President Obama last week.

The rule states that researchers who have used NIH funds 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," so that they may be released to the public within one year's time.

The rule also includes the provision that the NIH "shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law."

That provision covers a contentious area, because a proposed law recently reintroduced into the current Congress claims that the rule is not consistent with copyright law.

Since the policy was implemented, the percentage of manuscripts deposited into the PMC has "increased significantly, with over 3,000 new manuscripts being deposited each month," according to the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a group that supports the law.

"Congress recognizes the incredible power of technology and innovation in enabling new solutions for the proactive management of health, consumer-driven healthcare, and novel partnerships and collaborations in research," Sharon Terry, who is president and CEO of Genetic Alliance, said in a statement.

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