NIH Public Access Policy

NIH Public Access Policy

How the NIH Public Access Policy Affects UCSF Scientists

Scientists receiving grant money from the NIH must submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication.

To help advance science and improve human health, the NIH makes these papers freely available to the public in PubMed Central (PMC) no later than 12 months after publication. See full details.

As of July 1, 2013, the NIH will delay processing of non-competing continuation grant awards if applicable publications are not in compliance with the Policy.

How to Comply with the NIH's Deposit Requirements

1. Determine applicability

The policy applies to peer-reviewed journal publications. Books are not covered.

2. Notify the publisher

The publisher must be notified that your paper is NIH-funded, and all grant numbers related to the paper must be included with the publication.

If the publication/copyright transfer agreement does not specify or allow for PMC deposit:

  • Ask the publisher to add a clause in the copyright transfer agreement to retain the right to make the article available in PMC, using this suggested language.
  • If the publisher is unaware of the Policy, or resists modifying the publication agreement, provide this Letter to Publisher [pdf] about the Policy from the UC Office of Technology Transfer.

3. Submit accepted papers to PMC

Determine which method (A, B, C, or D) is used by the journal for depositing papers into the NIHMS (NIH Manuscript Submission System) or into PMC. NIHMS feeds into PMC after the author's final approval.

See the NIHMS User's Guide and Slide Shows for help using the system.

Methods A, B & D - Publisher deposit

  • Method A journals submit all of their articles directly to PMC, without author involvement. Authors must still provide associated award information and report these papers to NIH in My Bibliography in order to demonstrate compliance.
  • Method B articles are deposited by publisher into PMC upon author notification and usually through payment of an immediate open access (OA) publicaton charge (hybrid OA within subscription journals). Authors must still provide associated award information and report these papers to NIH in My Bibliography in order to demonstrate compliance.
  • Many publishers (method D) will deposit the final, peer-reviewed manuscript in the NIHMS on behalf of authors. The author must still provide the associated award information, and must review and approve the article (both the initial and final formatted) when notified through NIHMS.

Method C - Author deposit via NIHMS

  • Principal Investigator (PI), corresponding author, or PI's designate uploads a copy of the accepted, final, peer-reviewed manuscript and associated files (e.g., Word document & figures) in the NIHMS and identifies the NIH grant numbers associated with the manuscript.
  • For papers with multiple authors and/or applicable grants, the paper need only be submitted once.
  • PI's designate agrees to an Endorsement Statement. Remaining steps must be completed by PI/author.
  • PI/author sets the embargo period for public release in PMC and endorses the Submission Statement for the manuscript.
  • PI/author approves the final, PMC-formatted manuscipt when notified through NIHMS. Paper is released in PMC after embargo period.

4. Include PMCID in Citations

  • Anyone submitting an application, proposal or progress report to the NIH must include the PMC reference number (PMCID) when citing applicable papers that they author or that arise from their NIH-funded research.
  • Watch this brief video on how to find the PMCID in Pubmed.
  • Use My Bibliography (via MyNCBI login) to track your publications and to manage compliance with the policy.
  • NIH provides citation examples for applicable works.
  • Related handout: Using RefWorks to Capture the PMCID [pdf]

Important Dates

  • As of July 1, 2013, NIH will delay processing of non-competing continuation grant awards with a start date of July 1, 2013 or beyond, if publications arising from that award are not in compliance with the NIH public access policy. The award will not be processed until recipients have demonstrated compliance.
  • As of April 7, 2008, all articles arising from NIH funds must be submitted to PubMed Central (PMC) upon acceptance for publication.
  • Authors may submit final peer-reviewed manuscripts accepted before April 7, 2008 that arise from NIH funds, if they have appropriate copyright permission.

See all NIH notifications related to the policy.

Further Information and Help