April 8, 2009
To the University Research Community:
I write today to inform you about a change in federal law applicable to all researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health ("NIH"). Please read the the following documents. the documents can be accessed by clicking the links in the text.
(1) a Brief Summary of the Revised NIH Public Access Policy; and
(2) a Suggested Cover Letter for a Corresponding Author to use with Journal Submissions.
As explained in more detail in the Brief Summary of the Revised NIH Public Access Policy, effective April 7, 2008, all investigators whose article arises from NIH-funded research must submit (or arrange to have submitted for them, such as by the publisher or one of Penn's libraries), to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of the final, peer reviewed manuscript upon acceptance for publication. NIH will make that final manuscript available in PubMed Central no later than 12 months after the official publication date of the manuscript.
Under this change in federal law, you, as the investigator, are responsible for ensuring that any publishing agreement concerning articles arising from NIH-funded research complies with the Revised NIH Public Access Policy. To help you achieve this, as a courtesy to the research community, Penn has prepared the attached "Suggested Cover Letter for a Corresponding Author to Use with Journal Submissions." This letter reserves solely those minimum copyright rights now required to enable you to comply with the Revised NIH Public Access Policy.
Of course, you may continue to negotiate for additional reserved copyright rights when discussing any proposed publishing agreement with a journal publisher, just as you had the right to do before this change in the law. For example, although the revised NIH Public Access Policy does not obligate you to retain the following rights under the copyright for the article, you may decide to ask a journal publisher for one or more of the following retained rights:
- a right to prepare derivative works from the manuscript;
- a right to authorize others to make any use of the manuscript, provided that the manuscript is not sold for a profit and the author receives credit as author, and the journal in which the manuscript has been published is cited as the source of first publication;
- a right to distribute copies of the manuscript in connection with teaching and research by the author and the author's employer; and/or
- a right to allow PubMed Central to make access to the manuscript available to the public earlier than 12 months after the first publication in the journal.
If you have questions about the revised NIH Public Access Policy, please review the websites listed at the end of the attached memo. If you have questions about the suggested cover letter or need assistance making a submission to PubMed Central, please contact your representative in the Pre-Award group within the University's Office of Research Services or Anne Seymour at the Biomedical Library (215-898-4115 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Steven J. Fluharty
Vice Provost for Research
University of Pennsylvania