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Publishing Research Consortium Release

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Media Contacts:
James Pringle (AAP/PSP Executive Board)
(215) 823 5685

Robert Campbell (PRC steering group and PA Council)
+44 1865 476117

Author Survey Points to Need for Increased Understanding of Current NIH

New York, March 2, 2006 - Scientific, technical and medical publishers called today for an increase in communications to science and medical authors in light of a new survey that finds low understanding of the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Public Access Policy for posting peer-reviewed articles to PubMed Central (PMC), NIH's online database.

The online survey, conducted in January of this year by the Publishing Research Consortium (PRC), shows that although most authors are aware of the NIH policy, many authors do not post on PMC because they do not understand the process, nor do they identify clear benefits for posting their work. Of the NIH-funded authors who responded to the survey, 15% have never heard of the policy and a further 23% have heard of the policy, but know nothing about it. The survey found awareness of NIH-funded authors is only marginally higher than of all life sciences and medicine authors.

"As publishers, we are committed to working with the NIH in improving dissemination of and enhancing access to scientific and medical research," Robert Campbell, Chairman of the PRC. "Publishers remain willing and prepared to work with the National Library of Medicine to advance the goals of the NIH's Public Access Policy as currently construed, and to aid the NIH in facilitating voluntary compliance by NIH-funded authors."

The PRC survey also revealed authors have limited understanding of the benefits of the NIH policy for the scientific research community, the public or existing journals. However, approximately 42% of survey respondents reported that they intend to post in the future and just 3% responded that they are not planning to post.

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About the Study

This survey is based on 1,128 completions of a structured online questionnaire between January 19-30, 2006, and 20 follow-up teledepth interviews by independent researchers, Kindle Research and GfK NOP. A sample of 16,000 recent corresponding U.S. authors in life sciences and medicine journals, drawn from ISI (Thomson Scientific) databases, were e-mailed and invited to complete a short questionnaire.

About the Publishing Research Consortium (PRC)

The PRC is a group representing publishers and societies supporting global research into scholarly communication with the aim to provide un-biased data and objective analysis. For further information about the PRC, please visit the following website: http://www.publishingresearch.org.uk/ The founding partners of PRC are The Publishers Association (PA) of the UK, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), and the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM). Corresponding partners include The Association of American University Presses and the Professional/ Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers.