Some funding bodies and research institutions mandate deposition of scholarly articles in open-access repositories. Four speakers examined the rationale behind and the practical side of these mandates.
Neil M Thakur, of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spoke from a funder’s perspective and introduced the NIH openaccess policy. NIH requires that “all investigators funded by the NIH 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”. Making published research funded by NIH easily accessible is meant to improve human health. Four methods are available to deposit articles. In two of them, the journal deposits the published article, and an agreement between NIH and the journal is required; in the other two, either the journal or the author starts the process of depositing the final peerreviewed manuscript, and no agreement between NIH and the journal is required. Procedures for submitting articles and NIH open-access policies can be found at publicaccess.nih.gov.
Amy Brand introduced Harvard University’s open-access initiatives. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Law School, and the John F Kennedy School of Government have adopted the openaccess policy, and several other faculties are vigorously working on it. At Harvard, open access is not a mandate but a “collective faculty resolution”. Rights sharing and self-archiving are being made the default, but people can opt out. Each faculty member submits an electronic copy of the final version of an article to the university no later than its publication date. The policy covers only scholarly journal articles, not articles for popular audiences. Harvard encourages authors to use an addendum to modify publication agreements so that authors will not grant exclusive rights to the publisher. Brand said, “if you [as an editor] receive an article from a Harvard author who works at one of the schools with an open-access policy, please ask for this addendum or a waiver.”
Dominic Mitchell introduced HighWire, which is part of Stanford University Libraries. HighWire hosts more than 1260 online journals, has more than 1.9 million free articles online, and represents more than 140 scholarly publishers. Different publishers have different policies, and about half of HighWire publishers deposit content in PubMed Central on behalf of their authors. HighWire does not mandate article deposition but facilitates the process. Funding agencies often require that articles state funding sources. The funding information can be displayed in print according to funders’ preferences as long as the display is consistent, but HighWire prefers a separate funding section. In a survey of HighWire’s publishers, most respondents said that they already deposit for authors to control which version is deposited or that they wish to do so; more than two-thirds said they thought that authors do not understand relevant policies and rely on journals for guidance.
Ross MacIntyre, of Mimas, the UK National Data Centre at the University of Manchester, discussed how to measure the use of repositories. Points made by MacIntyre, a member of the main committee of the UK Serials Group, included the following. Authors and funding agencies are increasingly interested in the use of individual articles, which is a potential indicator of article value. Articles may be available from various sources, including journals’ Web sites, institutional repositories, and subject repositories, so accurate measurement of use difficult. The Publisher and Institutional Repository Usage Statistics (PIRUS) project has tried to develop a global standard to make such measurement possible. The project has produced a prototype of an articleuse report; tracking code for ePrints and DSpace (software packages for the building and management of repositories); scenarios for the creation, recording, and consolidation of article-use statistics; and criteria for a central facility in charge of such statistics.