For the first time the U.S. government has mandated public access to research funded by a major agency. This week President Bush signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2007 (H.R. 2764) which includes a provision directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide the public with open online access to findings from its funded research.
Researchers will now be required to deposit electronic copies of their peer-reviewed articles into the National Library of Medicine’s online archive, PubMed Central. Full text articles will be publicly available and searchable in PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication in a journal.
It is hoped that open access will make scientific results more readily available and ultimately facilitate the advancement of scientific knowledge. "This policy will directly improve the sharing of scientific findings, the pace of medical advances, and the rate of return on benefits to the taxpayer,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).
More information can be found at http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/