MLA Scholarly Communications Issues
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy
Public Access is one of several phrases used to describe access to scholarly communication. In the health sciences arena, the NIH Public Access Policy is a key directive that uses this terminology.
The NIH describes the difference between the NIH Public Access Policy and Open Access in the following way:
"The Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the peer-reviewed and published results of all NIH-funded research through PubMed Central (PMC). US and/or foreign copyright laws protect most of the papers in PMC; PMC provides access to them at no cost, much like a library does, under the principles of Fair Use. Generally, Open Access involves the use of a copyrighted document under a Creative Commons or similar license-type agreement that allows more liberal use (including redistribution) than the traditional principles of Fair Use. Only a subset of the papers in PMC are available under such Open Access provisions."
Public Access is not a technical term with a precise definition; it is defined in different ways by funding agencies or institutions. Also see MLA's open access web pages.
Resources to Guide Libraries Through the Implementation Process
National Institutes of Health
Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries
Association of Research Libraries
Medical Library Association
- NIH Public Access Policy: Overview for Librarians (PowerPoint, 3.8 MB); also available as a PDF
(1.8 MB); Updated August 2010; Developed September 2009
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)
Library Implementation Models
- Arnold Library, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
- Bernard Becker Medical Library, School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
- Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY
- Duke University Medical Center Library, Durham, NC
- Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City
- Health Sciences Library and Biocommunications Center, University of Tennessee-Memphis
- Health Sciences Library System, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
- Talbot Research Library, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA
- Lane Library, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA
- Library, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
- Edward G. Miner Library, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY
- University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Philadelphia
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Library
Legislation and Advocacy: MLA Statements in Support of the Policy
MLA Position Statements
- Joint MLA/AAHSL Statement: Public Access to Health Information: Finding the Balance
This 2004 web document addresses the importance of access to health care information to advance science and promote healthy people and the need to balance the rights of ownership with the need for access.
- MLA Statement: Access to Government Information
This 1994 web document emphasizes MLA’s position that government-generated information is a public good and a vital national resource, and that all available government information should and must be equally accessible to all Americans.
MLA Articles and Publications
- MLA News article: NIH Public Access Policy: Still in the Quiet Period, by Barbara Epstein (February 2009)
- MLA News article: Why Should You Care About the NIH Public Access Policy, by Michelle Brewer (January 2009)
- JMLA article: Open Access: Implications for Scholarly Publishing and Medical libraries, by Karen Albert ( July 2006)
- JMLA editorial, "Whose Business is It?", by T. Scott Plutchak (July 2003)
For further information, contact Mary
Langman, 312.419.9094 x27, firstname.lastname@example.org.