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PLoS asks scientists to support NIH's Enhanced Public Access Policy
Submitted by J.W. Bizzaro; posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 (20 comments)
Submitter The following letter comes from Harold Varmus:


Dear Open Access Supporter,

On September 3, 2004 the NIH posted for comment an "Enhanced Public Access Policy." This policy would require the recipients of NIH research grants to provide to the National Library of Medicine a digital copy of the final accepted manuscript (or the published version itself) of every published report resulting from NIH-funded research, so that the research results can be made freely available to scientists and the public through PubMed Central within six months of publication.

We are writing now to urge you to submit a comment in support of this proposal right away. The deadline for comments is just a few days away - November 16th.

The text of the proposal is available at:

You can post comments here:

A powerful lobby of publishers and scientific societies is trying to block this plan. They claim that this is an unwarranted government intrusion on their business practices. In fact, the NIH policy has no authority over publishers - its rules apply only to the scientists who voluntarily accept grants from the NIH. The publishers remain free to operate their businesses as they always have and to compete in the free market to provide the best service and value to their authors and readers. But the publishers are wrong in arguing that they are entitled to monopoly control over access to the results of research that American taxpayers have paid for. On the contrary, the taxpayers who fund the research, and the scientists who carry it out, have every right to ask the grant recipients to provide open access to the published results. And they have every right to expect that the benefits of the research will be amplified by making it freely and widely available for others to use and to build on.

Let the NIH know that you support this policy proposal. Even better would be to tell the NIH that you would prefer an even stronger policy that requires full and immediate open access to all papers resulting from NIH-funded research. It is important that the NIH and other policymakers understand that this is not (as some publishers would have them believe) a radical proposal destined to destroy scientific publishing, but a thoughtful compromise that balances the desire for better access with the commercial interests of scientific publishers.

More information about the policy is available at

Notable statements of support for the plan include:
An open letter to the US Congress signed by 25 Nobel Laureates:

The Council of the National Academy of Sciences:

Harold Varmus
Patrick Brown
Michael Eisen

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