Submission Checklist for NIH-Funded Research Articles

This checklist is also available in PDF.

Compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy involves steps at three stages of the publication process:

Part 1: Before you publish

  • Determine if the journal deposits in PubMed Central automatically. Check this list of journals that participate in automatic submission of articles to PubMed Central in a way that is compliant with the NIH Public Access Policy. If you are publishing in a journal from that list, all you need to do is submit your article to the journal for publication; you need not do anything further to comply with the submission requirement, and you can skip ahead to the final task below.
    • If your journal is not in that list, continue with all tasks listed below.
  • Review journal’s Instructions to Authors.Before you submit the article for publication, review the journal’s Instructions to Authors for any specific information or instructions related to the NIH Public Access Policy.
    • To preview the Instructions to Authors for over 3500 journals, use this directory of Instructions to Authors in the Health Sciences
    • To learn more about publishers’ or journals’ standard policies regarding publication, consult the SHERPA RoMEO database; in particular, check the “Mandated OA” section of the publisher’s or journal’s record in that database to see its policy with regard to the NIH Public Access Policy
  • Submit for publication in the journal and in your submission, be sure to inform the journal that the article is subject to the NIH Public Access Policy.
  • Review your publisher’s copyright transfer or publication agreementto make sure it specifically allows the final peer-reviewed manuscript to be deposited in PubMed Central immediately upon acceptance for publication, and made available to the public in PubMed Central no later than 12 months after journal publication.
    • If the agreement does not clearly reserve or secure those rights, attach an Author Addendum using this NIH-recommended language before signing and returning the agreement. For a ready-to-print addendum using that language, download and print this document.*
    • If the publisher does not clearly agree to those terms, or if you have questions about how to retain or secure the necessary rights, contact the Office of Legal Affairs.

Part 2: When your article is accepted for publication

  • Check to see if the publisher requires you to add a statement to your manuscript. Some journals may require a statement to accompany the final peer-reviewed manuscript indicating that the manuscript is not the final published version of the article. If necessary, add the required statement to your manuscript before submitting to PubMed Central.
  • Submit to PubMed Central. Once the article is accepted for publication, submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central, using the NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS). NIH estimates that the NIHMS submission process should take between 3 and 10 minutes.

Part 3: When you prepare NIH applications, proposals and progress reports

  • Cite with PMCID. When citing articles in NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports after May 25, 2008, include the unique PubMed Central ID (PMCID) at the end of the citation, as follows:

    Embry A, Hinojosa E, Orihuela CJ. 2007. Regions of Diversity 8, 9 and 13 contribute to Streptococcus pneumoniae virulence. BMC Microbiology 7(80). PMCID: 2045101.

    • Note: the PMCID is not the same as the PubMed ID (PMID).
    • To find the PMCID for a given article, use PubMed Central Search. The PMCID for each article will be shown in the search results, as well as in the Abstract and Full Text pages for PMC articles.
    • Another way to find the PMCID is to look in the PubMed Central URL for the article; if you see artid= followed by a number, that number is the PMCID. (For example, the URL for the article cited above is
    • UT Health Science Center librarians can assist you with locating the PMCID for articles you need to cite.
    • If the PMCID has not yet been assigned to an article you need to reference, use the NIHMS ID — the reference number assigned when the article was submitted through the NIHMS (see above).

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