ACS open access agreement


24 September 2008

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is expected shortly to finalise an agreement under which, for a fee, it will deposit published articles into open access repositories, such as PubMed Central, and allow their content to be text-mined, hyperlinked, copied and redistributed, for non-commercial research and education purposes.

The altered model would have direct consequences for researchers funded by the UK funding bodies, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Wellcome Trust, who require that all manuscripts be deposited into open access repositories but are currently advising authors to avoid publishing with the ACS.

ACS already offers an option known as 'AuthorChoice' where authors - on paying a fee of up to $3000 (1675) - can post copies of their manuscript in institutional repositories. But this option requires authors, not the ACS, to undertake the deposition to PubMed Central. Researchers funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) were recently granted a policy change, whereby the ACS would deposit the article on the author's behalf under the AuthorChoice system; this will now be extended to non-NIH authors.

Also in the current system, the licence that accompanies the articles restricts any further hyperlinking or text-mining of the deposited manuscript; the new licence will lift those limitations. An improved agreement would likely end the UK funding bodies' recommended boycott.

Fred Campbell

 

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