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Last spring, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new mandatory Public Access Policy (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-08-033.html) that applies to final peer-reviewed manuscripts accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008 (NIH). A similar policy had been announced earlier by the UK funding agency, the Wellcome Trust, applying to all research papers from October 1, 2006. These policies are designed to make published research that is funded by NIH and the Wellcome Trust accessible to everyone.

The NIH policy states that: The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.

The Wellcome Trust policy states that: the Wellcome Trust: requires electronic copies of any research papers that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and are supported in whole or in part by Wellcome Trust funding, to be made available through PubMed Central (PMC) and UK PubMed Central (UK PMC) as soon as possible and in any event within 6 months of the journal publisher's official date of final publication; will provide grantholders with additional funding, through their institutions, to cover open access charges, where appropriate, in order to meet the Trust's requirements; and encourages—and where it pays an open access fee, requires—authors and publishers to license research papers such that they may be freely copied and reused (for example for text and data-mining purposes), provided that such uses are fully attributed.

While the NIH directive applies specifically to individual authors/investigators, Epilepsia and Wiley-Blackwell will provide support for our authors by posting the accepted version of articles by NIH grant-holders to PubMed Central upon acceptance by the Journal. The “accepted version” to be posted is the version that incorporates all amendments made during peer review, but prior to the publisher's copyediting and typesetting. This accepted version will be made publicly available 12 months after publication. Please note that the version of the article posted on PubMed Central may not be identical to the final published version (because of any changes made during copyediting and typesetting). The latter version is available, free, on the Epilepsia web site (http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/epi) to all Epilepsia subscribers; it is freely accessible to all readers 12 months after publication.

The Wellcome Trust requires that, for research supported in whole or in part by Wellcome Trust funding, authors make their publications freely available online within 6 months of publication (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/About-us/Policy/Policy-and-position-statements/WTD002766.htm). To accommodate this requirement, Wiley-Blackwell offers to all authors its OnlineOpen service (http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/static/onlineopen.asp). Upon payment of the OnlineOpen fee (U.S. $3,000), Wiley-Blackwell will deposit the published version of the article into PubMed Central, with public availability in PubMed Central and also on the Journal's web site in its OnlineOpen section immediately upon publication. Papers published in the OnlineOpen section are licensed by the publisher to be freely copied and reused, provided that such uses are fully attributed. The Wellcome Trust will provide grantholders with additional funding, through their institutions, to cover open access charges, where appropriate, in order to meet the Trust's requirements.

We recognize that these new mandates are potentially confusing. Our goal is to make the public access process as simple as possible for our authors, while meeting the mandates of these major granting agencies. We realize that we are responding primarily to the new requirements of NIH and Wellcome Trust and that granting agencies in other countries may have different requirements. Please let us know if the above policy does not meet your needs. All authors willing to pay the OnlineOpen fee may take advantage of the rapid public access that OnlineOpen affords their articles. Authors wishing to use the OnlineOpen option must complete an “Exclusive License Form for Authors” (available at http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/pdf/EPI2008OAELF.pdf).