PNAS policy on NIH-funded authors

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 6 Apr 2005 21:42:10 +0100

I believe that Peter Suber may have made an inadvertent but rather
fundamental misinterpretation below. He infers that PNAS does not allow
public self-archiving by the author until six months after publication
except if the author plays the publication fee, but this is incorrect:

PNAS is one of the 92% of journals that have given their authors the
green light for *immediate* self-archiving upon publication (i.e., making
*publicly accessible immediately*):
(80% of them full-green for the final refereed draft -- the postprint --
12% pale-green for the pre-acceptance preprint: PNAS is among the 80%
postprint full-green journals).

The misunderstanding is merely about *where* and *what* authors may
self-archive (and, if you wish, *who* does the self-archiving):

    WHAT? Refereed, accepted final draft or publisher's PDF (both are

    WHERE? In the author's own institutional archive or in a central,
    3rd-party archive like PubMed Central?

    WHO? Work is self-archived by the author or by PNAS?

WHAT: The PNAS author may self-archive the postprint (which means
make it publicly accessible, i.e., open access) immediately in his own
institutional archive. He may even self-archive the PDF, though it is
not clear (nor does it matter!) whether this may be the publisher's PDF
or the author's own PDF version. In either case, a link must point to
the official PNAS version, on PNAS's website.

WHERE: The PNAS author may immediately "put" his postprint in a central
archive like PubMed Central, but may not make it publicly accessible
until 6 months after the publication date, unless the PNAS author fee
is paid. Without the fee, the PubMed Central version may not be the
publisher's PDF either.

WHO: It is the PNAS author who self-archives in all of the above cases, but if the
PNAS author fee is paid, PNAS itself will immediately make its own official version
of the article publicly accessible (OA).

I think this is the most benign and reasonable policy a responsible publisher
can adopt -- and not one bit less than what is needed for 100% OA.

But of course the ones who are holding us back from 100% OA are *definitely*
not the publishers! It is the *authors*, only 10-20% of whom self-archive to
date. And the authors have now made it clear in Alma Swan's international
surveys that they will *not* self-archive (regardless of whether or not
their journals are "green") until and unless their institutions and/or
their funders *require* them to self-archive -- but in that case 79%
they *will* self-archive and self-archive *willingly*!

In Open Access News, Peter Suber wrote:

    Nicholas Cozzarelli, Making research accessible: National
    Institutes of Health (NIH) public access and PNAS open access
    policies, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 4,
    Excerpt: 'PNAS complies with the NIH public access policy,
    and our journal policies extend public access even further. The
    NAS copyright policy gives authors permission to deposit their
    manuscripts in PMC upon acceptance. Authors can request public access
    to their manuscripts either 6 months after print publication or
    immediately upon publication if they have paid PNAS the open access
    fee. However, under the existing partnership between PNAS and PMC,
    authors can rely on PNAS to provide PMC with the official publisher
    version of their papers. The publisher version will, according to
    the new NIH policy, supersede any unformatted version deposited by
    the authors. PNAS automatically deposits the final, copy-edited
    and formatted version of all its content, regardless of funding,
    in PMC and makes it free at both PMC and PNAS just 6 months after
    publication....Although the NIH policy has been significantly scaled
    back from the one initially proposed in late 2004, I commend NIH
    Director Elias Zerhouni for taking an initial step toward a more
    accessible scientific literature, and I encourage him to do even
    more. The 2004 draft NIH policy indicated that NIH-funded authors
    would be required to provide a final version of their paper within 6
    months of publication. The Council of the National Academy of Sciences
    unanimously endorsed this more comprehensive public access plan.'

    ([Peter Suber]: The PNAS is more progressive than other journals that have
    so far announced policies on NIH-funded authors. PNAS is to be
    congratulated for agreeing to deposit its own published version
    of the files in PMC, to do so without regard to NIH funding, and
    to call on NIH to restore the earlier and stronger version of the
    public-access policy. But PNAS is still insisting that NIH-funded
    authors not authorize public access immediately after publication
    unless they pay the PNAS processing fee. This contradicts the NIH
    request that grantees authorize public access as soon as possible
    after publication. It also creates the dilemma, as feared, in which
    authors must choose between their funder and their publisher.)

Below is the evidence that this is a misunderstanding:

    "b. The author(s) reserves the right after publication of the WORK
    by PNAS... to post the WORK (in PDF) on the author's web page
    provided that a link to the article in PNAS Online is included

     "c. The author(s) reserves the right to post and update the WORK on
     e-print servers provided that PNAS-formatted files (HTML and PDF)
     are not used and that a link to the WORK in PNAS Online is included."

Stevan Harnad

A complete Hypermail archive of the ongoing discussion of providing
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UNIVERSITIES: If you have adopted or plan to adopt an institutional
policy of providing Open Access to your own research article output,
please describe your policy at:

    BOAI-1 ("green"): Publish your article in a suitable toll-access journal
    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a open-access journal if/when
            a suitable one exists.
    in BOTH cases self-archive a supplementary version of your article
            in your institutional repository.
Received on Wed Apr 06 2005 - 21:42:10 BST

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