The Howard Hughes Medical Institute today announced that it will require its scientists to publish their original research articles in scientific journals that allow the articles and supplementary materials to be made freely accessible in a public repository within six months of publication.
“We have sought to balance the goal of public access with the important principle of scholarly freedom in the formulation of this policy and believe that it represents a positive step for us and for the broader scientific community,” said Thomas R. Cech, HHMI’s president.
Announcement of the policy follows extensive consultation within the community of HHMI scientists, including Hughes investigators and researchers at the newly opened Janelia Farm Research Campus. It represents an extension of existing policies that already require HHMI scientists to share published research materials, databases, and software in a timely and useful fashion.
The policy applies to all manuscripts submitted on or after January 1, 2008, for which an HHMI scientist is a major author. Collaborative research articles on which an HHMI scientist is not a major author are not subject to the policy, but HHMI strongly encourages its scientists and collaborators to meet its public access standards. For purposes of the policy, HHMI defines a major author as those listed first or last on a paper; however, if a middle author is designated as the corresponding author, then that individual would be considered the major author.
HHMI has designated PubMed Central (PMC), the free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences literature maintained by the National Institutes of Health, as the repository for journals in the biological sciences. Articles published in journals that are outside the biological sciences are expected to be deposited in comparable repositories and made publicly available within six months.
Cech noted that many journals in which HHMI scientists publish original research articles already meet the policy requirements. Several months ago, HHMI reached an agreement with Elsevier that brings Cell Press and Elsevier journals into compliance with the new policy. The agreement with Elsevier goes into effect on September 1 for all manuscripts submitted after that date.
HHMI also announced today that it has signed an agreement with John Wiley & Sons. Beginning with manuscripts submitted October 1, Wiley will arrange for the upload of author manuscripts of original research articles, along with supplemental data, on which any HHMI scientist is an author to PMC. The author manuscript has been through the peer review process and accepted for publication, but has not undergone editing and formatting. HHMI will pay Wiley a fee for each uploaded article.
In addition, the American Society of Hematology, which publishes the journal Blood, has extended its open access option to HHMI authors effective October 1. Cech said that discussions with other publishers are ongoing.
The policy and supporting resources have been posted on the Institute web site.