Compulsory copyleft

The Public Access Policy of the National Institutes of Health is set to become mandatory under US law following President Bush's approval on Dec 26th 2007. This change will mean that NIH-funded researchers will be obliged to submit an electronic version of any of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts to PubMed Central, as soon as the paper has been accepted for publication. Many researchers are pleased with the move but traditional publishing is concerned with the implications for its intellectual property rights. If NIH had adopted an open access mandate in 2004 when Congress originally asked it to do so, it would have been the first organization to do so, at this point it will be 21st in a growing list.