The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting today that
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the nation's largest private supporter of biomedical research, announced on Thursday that it would pay the publishing giant Elsevier to open up access to papers that scientists affiliated with the institute have published in any of the 2,000 journals in the Elsevier family, including the prestigious Cell Press line of journals.
According to the agreement, Elsevier would deposit the articles in PubMed Central, an online archive maintained by the National Institutes of Health, six months after they were published. The publisher would deposit versions of the manuscripts that had gone through peer review but had not yet undergone editing and formatting.
The agreement would satisfy the conditions of the Hughes institute's proposed policy on public access, which the institute is considering but has not yet adopted. "Our scientists would be free to publish in these journals, which they would not have been otherwise," says Avice A. Meehan, the vice president for communications at Hughes.
"It's a win-win situation," said Emilie Marcus, executive editor of Cell Press.
Thomas R. Cech, the president of Hughes and a Nobel-prize winning professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said that during discussions of the Hughes institute's proposed policy, investigators were particularly concerned that they would be unable to publish articles in Cell Press journals. The new agreement would pay Elsevier $1,000 for each article published in a Cell Press journal and $1,500 for each article in other Elsevier journals.
Even without this deal, Elsevier (but not Cell Press) allows authors to immediately post the final draft (post-peer review) of their papers on personal or institutional servers. So it seems that Hughes is ensuring compliance with it's proposed mandate that funded research be available within 6 months of publication. It seems that 6 months is becoming the acceptable lag period for many such mandates.
It's unfortunate that Elsevier will only be posting the final draft versions ("post print") of the articles -- not the publisher's PDF version. Post prints are considered by many less than optimal versions of articles since they may not be the version of record. For example, sometimes articles get "corrected" in the proof stage, and these corrections likely won't be in the post script version.
Posted by Katie Newman at March 9, 2007 5:58 PM