"I agree with public access, but it doesn't have to be immediate," he adds. "If it's immediate, it has to be paid for."
For example, the NIH could pay for publication as the Wellcome Trust does. At $3,000 per article that translates to roughly $200 million a year. "That's not a lot of money compared to $28 billion," the NIH budget in fiscal year 2006, Frank notes, "but that represents 100 research grants." Dezenhall expressed a similar sentiment in his memo to publishers: "In theory, this may provide free taxpayer access to research that they fund, but they will pay eventually with substandard articles and their money being used to develop and maintain an electronic article depot rather than to fund new research."
Regardless of the "attack dogs" hired by traditional publishers to craft their message, public access advocates remain undeterred. "We've got the technology to make this happen with the Internet. The only thing that's holding it back is this adherence to an old business model, which made sense in the world of print, but no longer makes sense," PLoS's Patterson says. "It's great for authors: anyone with an interest in their work can access it."
"There are some folks who feel very threatened by PubMed Central," the NIH's Ruiz Bravo adds. "We really are committed to having an archive. We will do everything we can to make this a successful endeavor."
"Change is in the wind, and change is hard," she continues. "I think this is inevitable."