Open Access to Research

February 22, 2008

It is an exciting time for researchers who are rich with intellectual curiosity, but short on cash.

The FY2008 omnibus appropriations bill contained a provision to establish a new policy directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide the public with free online access to findings from its funded research. Beginning on April 7, 2008, every scientist who publishes the results of research funded by an NIH grant in a peer-reviewed journal is required to deposit a digital copy of the article in PubMed Central the online digital library maintained by the NIH. The public will be able to access these articles through PubMed Central for free! 

Open access to the law has also been in the spotlight recently.  Earlier this month, Creative Commons and Public.Resource.Org announced the first release of a case law available for download by developers. The release covers all U.S. Supreme Court decisions and all Court of Appeals decisions from 1950 forward. The case law was provided by Fastcase, Inc. which recently announced its new Public Library of Law.

In addition to this exciting news, PACER is now available at no-fee at sixteen libraries, thanks to a joint pilot project by the Government Printing Office and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

Finally, Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences recently approved a plan to give the University a worldwide license to make each faculty member's scholarly articles available in a free repository and to exercise the copyright in the articles, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit.

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