The US Senate approved the FY2008 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill (S.1710), including a provision that directs the NIH to strengthen its Public Access Policy by requiring rather than requesting participation by researchers. The bill will now be reconciled with the House Appropriations Bill, which contains a similar provision.
The current voluntary NIH Public Access Policy, begun in 2005, has a low level of participation (deposit rate of less than 5% by individual investigators). Under a mandatory policy, NIH-funded researchers will be required to deposit copies of eligible manuscripts into NLM PubMed Central. Articles will be made publicly available no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal (NIH expects that only in limited cases will authors deem it necessary to select the longest delay period).