NIH Public Access Policy

NIH Public Access Policy

The NIH Public Access Policy

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. Review articles qualify if they were peer-reviewed. Books are not covered but a book chapter is if it was published in a series indexed in PubMed.

2. Notify the publisher and check your copyright agreement

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 Policy is not mentioned in the publisher's copyright agreement, use this suggested language. Or provide this Letter to Publisher [pdf] from the UC Office of Technology Transfer.

3. Submit accepted papers to PubMed Central (PMC)

Determine which method (A, B, C, or D) is used by the journal for depositing papers into PMC.
Many publishers allow only the final peer-reviewed manuscript to be used. In this case, the manuscripts first get processed in the NIH Manuscript Submission System before PMC. NIHMS feeds into PMC after the author completes all the steps.

Methods A & B - direct deposit into PMC

  • Method A journals submit all of their articles directly to PMC. Authors should inform publisher that the NIH Policy applies to their article and provide associated award information with these papers 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. Authors must still provide associated award information and report these papers to NIH in My Bibliography in order to demonstrate compliance.

Methods C &D - deposit via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS)

See the NIHMS User Guide, FAQ, and Slide Shows for help using the system. NIHMS Help Desk

  • Most publishers (method D) will deposit the final, peer-reviewed manuscript in the NIHMS on behalf of authors. The author must still provide all associated award information, and must review and approve the article (both the initial and final formatted) when notified through NIHMS. The steps are outlined below.
  • Method C is for any journal or publisher that doesn't fall under the other methods. 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.
  • Reviewing author sets the embargo period for public release in PMC, endorses the Submission Statement for the manuscript, and approves the PDF receipt for the upload.
  • NIH reformats the document for PMC. This process takes up to 4-6 weeks.
  • Reviewing author approves the final, PMC-formatted manuscipt when notified through NIHMS.
  • PMCID is assigned within 48 hours and the paper is compliant. Paper is released in PMC after embargo period.

Pay attention to all emails from NIHMS! They alert you to an action that needs to be taken.

See this page for steps to resolve compliance post-publication.

4. Include PMCID in Citations

Further Information and Help

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.