Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Kudos: Nature Self-Archiving on Behalf of Authors

July 10 update: these kudos to Nature are shadowed by recent publication of an anti-OA Letter to the Editor - and not publishing critical Letters to the Editor by renowned scholars in this area. For details, click here.

Kudos to Nature Publishing Group for yet another creative move in the direction of open access, offering to undertake a free service to self-archive on behalf of authors to help fulfill funder and institutional mandates. This move supplements other innovative practices, such as a standard author license to publish agreement that leaves copyright with the author, and actively encourages authors to self-archive in disciplinary and/or institutional repositories.

Text of the announcement:

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is pleased to announce the initiation of a free service, launching in 2008, to help authors fulfil funder and institutional mandates.

NPG has encouraged self-archiving, including in PubMed Central, since 2005. Later in 2008, NPG will begin depositing authors’ accepted manuscripts with PubMed Central (PMC) and UK PubMed Central (UKPMC), meeting the requirements for authors funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), The Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and a number of other major funders in the US, the UK and Canada who mandate deposition in either PMC or UKPMC. NPG hopes to extend the service to other archives and repositories in future.

"We are announcing our intention early in the process to solicit feedback from the community and to reassure authors that we will be providing this service," said Steven Inchcoombe, Managing Director of NPG. "We invite authors, funding bodies, institutions, archives and repositories to work with us as we move forward."

Initially, the service will be open to authors publishing original research articles in Nature, the Nature research titles and the clinical research section of Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine . NPG will then extend the service to society and academic journals in its portfolio that wish to participate.

For eligible authors who opt-in during the submission process, NPG will deposit the accepted version of the author’s manuscript on acceptance, setting a public release date of 6-months post-publication. There will be no charge to authors or funders for the service.

"NPG is committed to serving as a partner to the scientific and medical communities," continued Steven Inchcoombe. "We believe this is a valuable service to authors, reducing their workload and making it simple and free to comply with mandates from their institution or funder. We recognise that publishing in an NPG title can be a career high-point for researchers, and want to ensure that our authors enjoy the best possible service from their publisher of choice."

NPG has been an early mover amongst subscription publishers in encouraging self-archiving. In 2002, the publisher moved from requesting copyright transfer for original research articles to requesting an exclusive license to publish. In 2005, NPG announced a self-archiving policy that encourages authors of research articles to self-archive the accepted version of their manuscript to PubMed Central or other appropriate funding body's archive, their institution's repositories and, if they wish, on their personal websites. In all cases, the manuscript can be made publicly accessible six months after publication. NPG’s policies are explained in detail at this web page: www.nature.com/authors/editorial_policies/license.html

Thanks to Peter Suber on Open Access News, who points out that this is the first publisher to offer to deposit into institutional repositories on behalf of authors.

This post is part of the Transitioning to Open Access Series, and the Resources and Tips for Publishers Series.