Not-for-Profit Publishers Call New NIH Rule a Missed Opportunity

“The final National Institutes of Health (NIH) rule on Enhanced Public Access to NIH Research Information is wasteful of federal research dollars and a missed opportunity to take advantage of available technology and existing efforts, according to a group of the nation’s leading not-for-profit medical and scientific publishers. The final rule ignores significant free access policies already existing in the not-for-profit publishing community that offer more cost-effective public access to the science in their journals.


NIH’s new rule requests but does not require authors to deposit into PubMedCentral (PMC) manuscripts of articles reporting NIH-funded research that have been peer reviewed and accepted by journals for publication.  NIH would release these manuscripts to the public within 12 months or less after publication in the journal.  The timing of the release would be determined by the authors, who “should ensure that their PMC submissions are consistent with any other agreements, including copyright assignments,” according to the NIH statement.


These publishers believe that NIH should take advantage of the fact that most not-for-profit publishers currently make all their content—not just NIH supported articles—available for free to the public within 12 months.  Not-for-profit publishers believe that the public would be better served if NIH created an enhanced search engine that works like Google to crawl the journals’ full text articles and link to the final published articles residing on the journal websites. This would offer significantly more assistance to those seeking medical research results than a database of NIH-funded manuscripts can provide. This public-private partnership would be much less costly to NIH and would avoid the confusion that would result from publishing two different versions of the same article—an unedited version on PubMed Central and the final version in the journal….”

The first report of charging to re-use open access content

“The earliest report to our knowledge of publishers charging to re-use open access content, was by palaeontologist and renowned advocate for open access Mike Taylor who observed in 2012 that Elsevier were charging for non-commercial, educational re-use of Creative Commons Attribution licensed ‘open access’ articles.

The journal involved was Neuron.


You can read the full text of Mike’s report here:

If you know of any earlier reports please do let us know. This is important history to document. We would like this website to be the ultimate one-stop-shop evidence dossier for the continuously-repeated failings of academic publishers.”

Paywall Watch

“Soon after Peter Murray-Rust had noted that Elsevier and RightsLink were selling permissions to re-use ‘open access’ content, he blogged about Springer and RightsLink doing the same thing too.

In August 2013, Peter wrote a blog post entitled Springer charge academics for using CC-NC ‘Open Access’ in lectures.

The price set by Springer and RightsLink to re-use 2 figures from a single ‘open access’ paper in classroom materials was an eye-watering $151.80.

The journal involved was Drugs in R&D. “

Managing the Transitional Impact of Open Access Journals

Abstract:  The explosion of open access (OA) journals in recent years has not only impacted on how libraries manage contents and budgets, but also the choice of journals for academic researcher submission of their article for publication. A study conducted at the University of Hong Kong indicated that academic researchers have a gradual tendency in shifting some of their publications toward OA journals, and interestingly the shifts are discipline specific. While OA does offer an alternative to the unsustainable pricing of serials and supports a core value of ensuring openness to knowledge, the perceived value toward the impact of OA journals are still lacking consensus among stakeholders. 


 The aims of this study are to better understand from the perspective of academic researchers in 4 broad disciplines—Health Science, Life Science, Physical Science and Social Science, their preferences in paper submission. Data on actual article submission trends at HKU will be analyzed together with qualitative feedback from researchers to examine the trend and incentive in shifting toward OA publishing in different disciplines. Researcher’s attitude will be understood within the context of the university’s open policy and research assessment, as well as the current OA landscape to inform the scholarly communication trend going forward.

Data Policies | Scientific Data

“Data Descriptors, Scientific Data‘s primary article type, describe scientifically valuable datasets. These datasets must be made available to editors and referees at the time of submission, and must be shared with the scientific community as a condition of publication. Here, we provide information on the types of data that should be archived, guidance for authors on selecting a suitable repository for their data, and how to archive sensitive data.

Scientific Data’s data policies are compatible with the standardised research data policies set out by Springer Nature.

Please read on for our data deposition policies, and please contact us if you would like additional advice on how best to meet these requirements for your own data….”

PLOS ONE: accelerating the publication of peer-reviewed science

“PLOS journals require authors to make all data underlying the findings described in their manuscript fully available without restriction, with rare exception.

When submitting a manuscript online, authors must provide a Data Availability Statement describing compliance with PLOS’s policy. If the article is accepted for publication, the data availability statement will be published as part of the final article.

Refusal to share data and related metadata and methods in accordance with this policy will be grounds for rejection. PLOS journal editors encourage researchers to contact them if they encounter difficulties in obtaining data from articles published in PLOS journals. If restrictions on access to data come to light after publication, we reserve the right to post a correction, to contact the authors’ institutions and funders, or in extreme cases to retract the publication.

Methods acceptable to PLOS journals with respect to data sharing are listed below, accompanied by guidance for authors as to what must be indicated in their data availability statement and how to follow best practices in reporting. If authors did not collect data themselves but used another source, this source must be credited as appropriate. Authors who have questions or difficulties with the policy, or readers who have difficulty accessing data, are encouraged to contact the relevant journal office or

The data policy was implemented on March 3, 2014….”

Reproducible and reusable research: Are journal data sharing policies meeting the mark? [PeerJ Preprints]

Abstract:  Background. There is wide agreement in the biomedical research community that research data sharing is a primary ingredient for ensuring that science is more transparent and reproducible. Publishers could play an important role in facilitating and enforcing data sharing; however, many journals have not yet implemented data sharing policies and the requirements vary widely across journals. This study set out to analyze the pervasiveness and quality of data sharing policies in the biomedical literature. Methods. The online author’s instructions and editorial policies for 318 biomedical journals were manually reviewed to analyze the journal’s data sharing requirements and characteristics. The data sharing policies were ranked using a rubric to determine if data sharing was required, recommended, required only for omics data, or not addressed at all. The data sharing method and licensing recommendations were examined, as well any mention of reproducibility or similar concepts. The data was analyzed for patterns relating to publishing volume, Journal Impact Factor, and the publishing model (open access or subscription) of each journal. Results. 11.9% of journals analyzed explicitly stated that data sharing was required as a condition of publication. 9.1% of journals required data sharing, but did not state that it would affect publication decisions. 23.3% of journals had a statement encouraging authors to share their data but did not require it. There was no mention of data sharing in 31.8% of journals. Impact factors were significantly higher for journals with the strongest data sharing policies compared to all other data sharing mark categories. Open access journals were not more likely to require data sharing than subscription journals. Discussion. Our study confirmed earlier investigations which observed that only a minority of biomedical journals require data sharing, and a significant association between higher Impact Factors and journals with a data sharing requirement. Moreover, while 65.7% of the journals in our study that required data sharing addressed the concept of reproducibility, as with earlier investigations, we found that most data sharing policies did not provide specific guidance on the practices that ensure data is maximally available and reusable.

PLOS’ New Data Policy: Public Access to Data | EveryONE

“A flurry of interest has arisen around the revised PLOS data policy that we announced in December and which will come into effect for research papers submitted next month. We are gratified to see a huge swell of support for the ideas behind the policy, but we note some concerns about how it will be implemented and how it will affect those preparing articles for publication in PLOS journals. We’d therefore like to clarify a few points that have arisen and once again encourage those with concerns to check the details of the policy or our FAQs, and to contact us with concerns if we have not covered them….”

Data sharing policy

“At JBE we believe that original and novel research is vitally important, so too are the studies that follow to confirm or repudiate their findings.

We also believe in the creative re-use of data. Allowing other researchers access to the data that you have collected considerably extends its value. Creative re-use offers the opportunity to validate your findings as well as exploring new ways of using it. It also means that funding bodies and patients involved in the research see their initial investment grow.

Like other journals starting to build upon the value of data sharing and publishing (see PLoS Medicine & Annals of Internal Medicine ), we would like to you to indicate your willingness to share your protocol, dataset and the statistical code used for your analysis with other authors. We encourage authors who publish secondary analysis to use the same Creative Commons licence that we use; encouraging ongoing open access to your data and the knowledge derived from it.

We strongly encourage you to discuss sharing your data on the JBE website with our Editorial team ( after we have accepted your paper. We look forward to working together on this exciting open initiative….”