US NIH to enforce open access to clincal trial results

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a public-access policy for research that it funds.

This requires investigators to submit papers arising from NIH-funded research to the PubMed Central repository as soon as they are accepted for publication. [1]

The papers must then be freely accessible to the public within 12months of publication. However, this currently only has a compliance rate of 75%.

On 16November 2012, the NIH announced next year (beginning as soon as spring 2013), it would withhold the future grant instalments from recipients who have not complied. [2]


Ensuring that publically funded research is freely accessible is a major step towards the democratisation of medical literature. This should parrallel the broader involvement of patients at all stages of their care.

The UK Research Council has a similar policy – sometimes requiring open access within six months – but it is unclear how well this is currently implemented. [3]


  1. US NIH. Upcoming Changes to Public Access Policy Reporting Requirements and Related NIH Efforts to Enhance Compliance. (16 Novemebr 2012).
  2. NIH Open Access Policy
  3. UK Research Policy on Open Access

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