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Publishing, Scholarly Communication, and Open Access: Open Access Legislation

NIH Public Access Policy

 The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research. Researchers are required to submit journal articles that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central. The policy requires that these articles be publicly accessible in order to advance science and improve human health.

The Law
The NIH Public Access Policy implements Division G, Title II, Section 218 of PL 110-161 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008) which states: 
SEC. 218. The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.

Learn more about the NIH Public Access Policy.

Benefits of NIH PAP

A new video  with Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH, shows him interviewing Jack Andraka, the 16-year-old inventor of a breakthrough pancreatic cancer diagnostic that is 26,667 times cheaper, 168 times faster, and 400 times more sensitive than the current test.  Open Access played a central role in enabling Jack's discovery, and his story is a perfect example of what's possible in a world of Open Access.

Federal Legislation & Directives

OSTP and White House Directive

In August 2022, the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum on Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research calling on federal agencies to make “articles resulting from all U.S. federally funded research freely available and publicly accessible by default in agency-designated repositories without any embargo or delay after publication.” See more on these directives and learn more on Public Access Mandates for Federally Funded Research.    (The August 2022 directive builds upon the February, 2013, the OSTP and the White House directive requiring federally funded agencies receiving more than $100M in R&D to develop public access policies for peer-reviewed articles resulting from federal funding.)  


In February, 2013, the bipartisan FASTR (Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act) bill was introduced into both the House and the Senate .   Information on this can also be found on the SPARC website:

2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act

In January 2014, Congress passed the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act.  The bill requires federal agencies under the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education portion of the Omnibus bill with research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to articles reporting on federally funded research no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

NIH Public Access Policy

In effect since 2008, the NIH Public Access Policy requires all peer reviewed journal publications funded in part or in whole by the NIH be publicly accessible in PubMedCentral within 12 months of publication.

Data Management Planning

Several Federal Agencies now require data management plans as part of the grant application.

SB1900 - Open Access to Research Articles Act

SB1900 introduces the Open Access to Research Articles Act in Illinois.   This act requires the University of Illinois form an Open Access to Research Taskforce in order to develop its own open access to research articles policy, to be in place by January 2015.  (Illinois Public Act 098-0295)

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign has developed an FAQ on the Act.    As the policy is to be shaped by the University, specifics details on what are policy will suggest are not available at this time.