Research guidelines updated by NHMRC to make science open access

Open Access Australia has welcomed the policy update from the NHMRC which has fallen into line with Europe and America and announced a new policy on distribution of research.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) says it’s the first Australian funding agency to introduce the requirement that scholarly publications arising from the research it funds be made freely available and accessible.

The NHMRC CEO, Professor Anne Kelson, says the move “would ensure publicly funded research supported rapid innovation.”

“Open access helps ensure the highest impact of research we fund,” Kelso says.

The policy position requires that all peer-reviewed publications that are supported in whole or in part by NHMRC must be made immediately open access: that is, without any embargo period at the time of first online publication, regardless of whether that publication is an advanced or early online publication or the Version of Record.

It must be published with a Creative Commons Attribution ‘CC BY’ licence.

Metadata for publications that are supported in whole, or in part, by NHMRC, must be made open access in an institutional repository as soon as possible, but no later than three months after publication.

Read more: Australian government again urged to review open access science policy

The NHMRC is the main statutory authority of the Australian Government responsible for medical research and is among the largest research funding bodies in the world.

NHMRC put its policy update online earlier this month: “Our Open Access Policy is underpinned by the principle that publicly-funded research should be shared openly and at the earliest possible opportunity.

“Open access is about making research outputs freely available to use and share, which is distinct from simply ‘free to read’.”

All recipients of NHMRC grants must comply with all elements of this Policy.

Dr Ginny Barbour, Director of Open Access Australia says: “This is a very important policy update from the NHMRC.”

”By requiring immediate free access under an open licence, that ensures the work is fully open, it will ensure maximum use and reuse of health research.

“It aligns the NHMRC with the most advanced open access policies globally.

“Importantly, it also provides additional guidance for research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.”

NHMRC says the policy is consistent with the Australian Government’s commitment to open access, open data and Intellectual Property (IP) management.

In its policy guidelines it says: “This Policy is also aligned with the global open access movement where funding bodies, international organisations, governments and institutions have implemented open access policies or guidelines. “

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