Peak medical research funder bold open access on hold

The National Health and Medical Research Council was considering an open access policy for research and supporting data it funds as of January – was

The NHMRC proposed the change in April (CMM April 16) but now advises that, “while NHMRC remains committed to this path, we will not be making revisions to our policy for implementation from 1 January 2022 as originally planned.”

So, what happened to timing intended “to bring the policy into alignment with the growing international shift towards open access publishing”?

The NHMRC is not telling, although it does report stakeholder responses to its prop, which include concerns about what publisher will do and calls for the council to pay “article processing charges,” (aka gold open access). (The council diplomatically points out that, “some, but not all, submissions recognised that open access publication costs are an allowable expense under NHMRC grants.”)

The council also reports a majority of responding universities, MRIs, OA advocacy groups and OA publishers suggested a 12-month transition to immediate open access while most publishers, “small society journals” and professional associations wanted the new policy to apply to new, not existing grants.

Publishers also, “commented that they supported immediate open access, but only through gold open access.” This replaces pay to read with pay to publish.

NHMRC states that while immediate OA on publication will not happen in January, it “will continue communicating with key stakeholders in the sector as this process continues.”