HHMI, one of the largest research philanthropists, will require immediate open access to papers in science


An open-access requirement pressures elite, subscription-only journals to create free articles to read on publication.

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By Jeffrey Brainard

One of the largest research philanthropies, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), said that today its scientists would need to create research papers, in which they quickly took the lead in reading. HHMI now requires open access within 12 months of publication.

After the policy went into effect in January 2022, the move could prevent institute scientists, including some of the biggest names in biomedical research, from being published in top-tier, subscription-only journals Cell, Nature, And Science. HHMI states that the work of more than 4700 employees, including 256 investigators and about 1700 postdoctoral researchers in laboratories across the United States, may be affected. But if elite journals continue to join the movement toward open-access publishing, HHMI authors may seek new options for compliance.

HHMI spent “a huge amount of money supporting biomedical research” – $ 763 million in 2019 – “and we feel strongly that it is important that this information is disseminated rapidly so that it can be re-created and built , “Says biochemist Erin, president of the institute O’Shea. Like HHMI, US federal science agencies require that they be given free funding for research, but only after 12 months. “Delay … is a problem for science,” O’Shea says. “It’s not helping to speed up the search process.”

The institute’s policy and strategy is similar to Alliance S, a group consisting mostly of funds in Europe that launched a campaign in 2018 to flip subscription-based journals for immediate open access. HHMI is joining the coalition as of today, joining two other wealthy philanthropists who are already there, the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The policy applies to papers on which an HHMI scientist is the first, last or related author, and it allows for multiple options for compliance. Authors can submit an almost final, peer-reviewed version to a free public archive to be nominated by HHMI, such as PubMed Central or others. Or they can publish in a hybrid journal, which allows authors to pay for immediate open-access publication, but also charge a subscription – but only if the magazine transitions to instant open access for all content Has been (For magazines of nonprofit publishers, this provision is delayed until January 2023.)

The policy would put pressure on some top-tier subscription magazines, O’Shay admitted. In 2019, it will be applicable in 13% of all papers CellHas 5% NatureAnd in 7% ScienceThe institute says. But this week, Springer Nature reiterated that it plans to create its own magazines — including Nature And in others Nature The family of journals, dubbed Plan S, conformed to the requirements of Alliance S when those requirements were implemented in January 2021.

AAAS, which publishes Science Family of magazines with open-access Science advance, Is also considering a change. AAAS currently allows authors to post near-final versions of accepted articles on their personal or institutional websites, but authors wait 6 months after the final version is published before submitting the final-final version to PubMed Central Have to do.

HHMI stated that it would not accept that compliance; Open-access advocates have stated that it can be difficult to find university websites through papers and online searches on authors’ websites. HHMI and Plan S also require that the papers be published under a public copyright license called CC-BY, which allows people to credit articles, reuse, and write data for free. (Several open-access articles, including Science advance, Get a license like this.)

AAAS is exploring whether authors should be allowed to post near-final editions of articles in a collection with a CC-BY license as soon as the final version is published, said Bill Moran, publisher of the publication Science Family of magazines in a statement. “We continue to work to support authors whose research credits affect fund rulers, while maintaining our commitment to high-quality publications and writer’s independence,” he said. AAAS and other publishers of selective journals have reviewed the high costs of many submissions saying that they challenge authors to offer authors an affordable fee to publish open access immediately.

Although HHMI has supported a series of open-access measures since 2007, its decision to adopt the new policy has drawn opposition in the house. A survey indicated that despite a 4-year plan and internal discussion, about 50% of its investigators did not support it.

Neuroscientist Erich Jarvis, investigator for HHMI at Rockefeller University, says the policy states that there may be pain in the short term but long-term benefits. Reviewers are expected to see publications in top-tier journals for grants and professional advancement, so if some go off-limits, “that puts us between a rock and a hard place,” he says. But he asserts the intent of the policy, saying he prefers to publish articles for open access because they attract more citations than those behind the journal pavilions.

O’Shea says he hopes investigators’ support will increase after Plan S goes into effect in January 2021 and expands open-access options to more journals. “I am confident … that options will be available.”

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