NIH Public Access Policy and You

NIH-funded researchers take note: the NIH Public Access Policy is mandatory as a Term and Condition of Award for all NIH grants and cooperative agreements active after October 1, 2007, and for all NIH contracts awarded after April 7, 2008.

For an overview of how to comply with the policy, see our Checklist in Three Parts.

Learn more in our 5-minute narrated slideshow, “The NIH Public Access Policy: Don’t Get Pinched!”

For NIH-Funded Researchers

UT Health Science Center librarians have compiled the information and links below to help you comply with the revised Public Access Policy. We are also available to present this information regarding the new policy to faculty or other interested groups.

Please contact the Briscoe Library Information Desk at (210) 567-2450 or, or Luke Rosenberger at (210) 567-2486 or, to request an appointment or ask questions about this policy.

What does this policy require of me?

Depending on the situation, the policy may require you to:

  1. Secure (or reserve) from the publishers the right to deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript of NIH-funded research articles into PubMed Central for public access.
  2. Deposit the article into PubMed Central using the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).
  3. Include the PubMed Central ID (PMCID) in citations for deposited articles, when referencing them in NIH applications, proposals and progress reports.

Am I subject to this policy’s requirements?

If your article results from research funded by an NIH grant or cooperative agreement for Fiscal Year 2008 or later, and the article is accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008, then you are most likely subject to requirements (1) and (2) above.

If you submit an NIH application, proposal or progress report due on or after May 25, 2008, you will be subject to requirement (3) above.

For details and exceptions, see this chart from the Bernard Becker Library at Washington University St Louis.

What must I do to comply?

Compliance with the policy involves tasks at three specific stages: before you publish, when your article is accepted for publication, and when you prepare NIH applications, proposals or progress reports. See our Checklist in Three Parts for tips on each step.

Glossary of Terms

author addendum:
A legal instrument used by authors to modify the terms of a publication or copyright transfer agreement, generally with the intent of retaining ownership of certain rights to the material for the author.
An award instrument establishing a binding legal procurement relationship between NIH and a recipient obligating the latter to furnish a product or service defined in detail by NIH and binding the Institute to pay for it.
cooperative agreement:
Any agreement between one or more NIH laboratories and one or more non-Federal parties under which the Public Health Service, through its laboratories, provides personnel, services, facilities, equipment, or other resources with or without reimbursement (but not funds to non-Federal parties) and the non-Federal parties provide funds, personnel, services, facilities, equipment, or other resources toward the conduct of specified research or development efforts which are consistent with the missions of the laboratory.
final peer-reviewed manuscript:
The Investigator’s final manuscript of a peer-reviewed article accepted for journal publication, including all modifications from the peer review process.
Financial assistance mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity. A grant is used whenever the NIH Institute or Center anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during performance of the financially assisted activities.
PubMed Central:
PubMed Central or PMC is an archive of full-text biomedical journal articles available online without a fee. Articles on PubMed Central contain links to other scientific databases such as GenBank and PubChem. Articles collected under the Public Access Policy are archived on PubMed Central.
PubMed Central ID (PMCID):
A unique reference number assigned to each article deposited in PubMed Central. This number is different from the PubMed ID (PMID). The PMCID must be included in citations of articles deposited under the Public Access Policy, in NIH applications, proposals and progress reports submitted for the May 25, 2008 deadline or thereafter.

Where can I find more help and information?

Here are some contacts that can help with compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy:

  • If you need help or answers regarding policy compliance, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs.
  • If you need help negotiating, securing or retaining the rights to deposit your material in PubMed Central from your publisher, please contact the Office of Legal Affairs.
  • If you need help with the material or links on this page, or locating further information about the Public Access Policy, contact the Briscoe Library Information Desk at (210) 567-2450 or, or Luke Rosenberger at (210) 567-2486 or

The following links may help you more fully understand the Public Access Policy:

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