The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research. It requires scientists to 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 Policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication.
How to Comply
Before you sign a publication agreement or similar copyright transfer agreement, make sure that the agreement allows the paper to be submitted to NIH in accordance with the Public Access Policy. See “Whose approval do I need to submit my final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central” for more information.
Authors may submit a paper to the journal of their choice for publication. There are four methods to ensure that a manuscript is submitted to PubMed Central in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.
Method A: Publish in a journal that deposits all NIH-funded final published articles in PubMed Central (PMC) without author involvement.
Method B: Make arrangements to have a publisher deposit a specific final published article in PubMed Central.
Method C: Deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC yourself via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).
Method D: Complete the submission process for a final peer-reviewed manuscript that the publisher has deposited in the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).
These methods vary in the version of the paper submitted, and the actions undertaken by the author and publisher. Please see Submission Methods for more information,
or training videos on Method C (WMV Video - 12:01) (Help Viewing Captions), and the NIHMS author tasks for Method D (WMV Video - 6:26) (Help Viewing Captions).
When citing their NIH-funded papers in NIH applications, proposals or progress reports, authors must include the PubMed Central reference number for each paper. For more information see the Frequently Asked Questions, especially:
C6. How do I include the PubMed Central reference number in my citations?
C7. What do I do if the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) has not been assigned yet?
C8. Do I have to include a PMCID for every paper that I cite in an NIH application, proposal or progress report?
- April 7, 2008
As of April 7, 2008, final peer-reviewed manuscripts arising from NIH funds must be submitted to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication.
- May 25, 2008
As of May 25, 2008, NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports must include the PubMed Central reference number when citing a paper that falls under the policy and is authored or co-authored by the investigator, or arose from the investigator’s NIH award. This policy includes applications submitted to the NIH for the May 25, 2008 due date and subsequent due dates.
The NIH Public Access Policy implements Division G, Title II, Section 218 of PL 110-161 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008) which states:
SEC. 218. 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: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.