Thursday, July 17, 2008

APA policy re NIH deposit

Two days ago the Chronicle of Higher Education ran an article stating that the APA had adopted a new policy with regard to its NIH funded authors, advising that they

"should NOT deposit” their own manuscripts, and instead should allow the group to do so. “The deposit fee of $2,500 per manuscript for 2008 will be billed to the author’s university,” the policy says. Because the NIH does not charge a fee, that money is apparently going to the psychological association.

Kevin Smith posted an interesting analysis of the policy on the blog Scholarly Communication @Duke He states:

Now comes the news that the APA is announcing that authors publishing articles in its journals that are based on NIH-funded research “should NOT” deposit their own works in PubMed Central as is now required by law. Rather, they will be required to pay APA $2500 so that the articles can be deposited by the publisher. Since there is virtually no cost associated with the mechanics of deposit itself, and the NIH policy allows an embargo on public availability of articles of up to one year in order to protect the traditional subscription market, it is hard to see what this policy is intended to accomplish other than to force an additional income stream out of the faculty authors who already provide the APA with free content. And there is heavy irony in the APA’s assertion that they can do this “as the copyright holder.”

APA is trying to put its own authors between the proverbial rock and a hard place, and it is behaving as if theirs is a non-competitive market. This is not, in fact, the case – only two of the top ten psychology journals in 2007, based on impact factor, were published by the APA, and one non-APA journal editor expressed pleased surprise at the new policy because it was sure to benefit those other journals. But for years our faculties have behaved as if they were, indeed, captive to specific journals. As scholarly societies are driven, apparently by fear and anger more than a realistic business strategy, to treat the authors on whom they depend with such contempt, one can only hope that this misperception will begin to change.

In the meantime, the APA has removed the policy from their website and the page now states:

A new document deposit policy of the American Psychological Association (APA) requiring a publication fee to deposit manuscripts in PubMed Central based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently being re-examined and will not be implemented at this time. This policy had recently been announced on APA’s Web site. APA will soon be releasing more detailed information about the complex issues involved in the implementation of the new NIH Public Access Policy.

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