Washington Update

FASEB Submits Comments on NIH Public Access Plan

By: Yvette Seger
Thursday, April 13, 2023
On April 6, FASEB submitted comments to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in response to a Request for Information (RFI) seeking stakeholder input on the agency’s plan to enhance public access to the research resulting from NIH grants. Issued in February, the RFI represented the first step in a multi-year initiative resulting from an August 2022 memorandum issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to ensure free, immediate, and equitable access to federally funded research.

Resulting from extensive engagement across its 26 member societies and beyond, FASEB’s comments encouraged NIH to allow flexibility for institutions to support a variety of publishing models via indirect costs and other revenue streams (e.g., federal and state library funds, direct fundraising by librarians, and endowments) to minimize the impact of publishing costs on the direct portion of grants, easing the transition to the new policy while upholding the standard of high quality, peer reviewed publications. To this end, FASEB recommended that NIH not monitor publication fees out of concern that this metric could inadvertently lead to a system that favors quantity over quality.

FASEB highlighted the important role scientific societies can play in fulfilling the longer term goal of equitable access to publications while also noting such activities would require additional financial support. Comments also expressed strong support for the adoption of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for existing grants to facilitate better connectivity between federal grant awards and resulting data and publications.