Purpose of the Policy
The House Appropriations Committee issued a report in July 2004 expressing concerns that insufficient public access exists to the reports and data resulting from NIH-funded research and that the public should have open access to information that has been derived from tax dollars.
In response to the July report, the NIH published an announcement in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on September 3, 2004 (Notice: NOT-OD-04-064), and in the Federal Register on September 17, 2004 (Vol 69(180), page 56074), proposing changes to their procedures to grant public access to health-related research information upon publication of any research sponsored in whole or in part by the NIH.
According to the NIH, the purpose of the public access policy is to share the results of government-funded research in order to promote dissemination of new scientific information to other scientists, healthcare providers, students, teachers, and other Americans seeking credible medical information.
The NIH also indicated that the old system failed to provide a comprehensive archive of NIH-sponsored research publications needed to efficiently manage the NIH research portfolio, permanently preserve these published findings, and establish productivity of the agency to Congress.
The original text of the policy required researchers funded by the NIH to submit copies of all final-version manuscripts of documents relating to NIH-research, including research grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, as well as National Research Service Award fellowships, and contained provisions granting immediate access on PubMed Central for documents where the publication costs are paid for wholly or in part by the NIH.