NIH Public Access Policy

Introduction

The NIH Public Access Policy is a statutory requirement term and a condition of all grant awards and cooperative agreements. The policy ensures that published results of NIH-funded research are made available to the public.

Scientists are required to submit a copy of their manuscript upon acceptance to the NIH Manuscript Submission system. They must upload the final peer-reviewed manuscript  to PMC  (PubMed Central) within three months of publication. The full text of the article may be held up (embargoed) in PMC for up to twelve months after publication before it is made available to the public.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

The NIH will delay funding or renewal non-competing continuation awards with a start date of July 1, 2013, if the applicants’ publications arising from grant awards are not in compliance with the Public Access Policy. Read about the upcoming policy changes or view the archived webinar, “Changes to the NIH Public Access Policy and the Implications.”

Steps to Compliance

  1. Applicability: Has the manuscript has been accepted in a peer-reviewed journal? Does the manuscript arise from research funded directly by a grant, contract or program of the NIH? Articles are exempt if they were accepted for publication before April 7, 2008, research is not funded by a government agency, or the work is not a peer-reviewed research article (for example, a literature review, letter, editorial, book chapter or conference proceedings).
  2. Copyright Considerations: Before signing a publication agreement or copyright transfer agreement from the publisher, authors should make sure the agreement allows the paper to be posted to PMC in accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy. If the publisher’s policies on NIH submission are unclear, unknown or non-compliant, consider including a comment, in the publication agreement, that the manuscript “is subject to the NIH PMC submittal requirements.”
  3. Manuscript submission to PMC: Who will submit the publication, author or publisher? Check the author agreement or the journal’s website. Some journals automatically submit the manuscript; some may charge a fee for submission. The ultimate responsibility for ensuring submission lies with the Principle Investigator.
  4. Inclusion of PMCIDs in NIH proposals and reports: Principle Investigators submitting an application, proposal or progress report to the NIH must include the PMCID when citing applicable papers they have authored if those papers arise from their NIH-funded research.

Submission Process:

  1. Log in to the NIH Manuscript Submission System. You can also log in through your eRA Commons or My NCBI account. Remember to use the same login for subsequent visits.
  2. Upload the accepted manuscript, or the final peer reviewed manuscript. Always save a separate copy of the final peer-reviewed manuscript in case the submission system experiences a problem.
  3. Look for emails from NIH requesting or confirming approvals. You will be asked for approval when a manuscript is deposited for you by a colleague or a publisher, and when a web version of the manuscript is ready for final approval.
  4. Log into the NIH Manuscript Submission system often to check for items awaiting your approval.

Monitoring Compliance

The NIH holds the PI of the award responsible for all compliance, even if the PI is not an author of a peer-reviewed article resulting from the funded research.

  1. Use the My Bibliography feature in My NCBI to be sure all applicable papers that you have authored are compliant–look for the green icon.
  2. When planning a paper, make sure co-authors are aware of the compliance process. Be sure all applicable articles, by any of the co-authors, that are cited in the bibliography are also in PubMed Central.
  3. Do not ignore emails from the NIH as they may contain information about your manuscript submissions.

UT Health Science Center Resources

  • For answers regarding policy compliance, please contact the UTHSC Office of Sponsored Programs.
  • For help negotiating, securing or retaining the rights to deposit your material in PubMed Central from your publisher, please contact the UTHSC Office of Legal Affairs.
  • For help with the material or links on this page, or locating further information about the NIH Public Access Policy, contact the Briscoe Library at (210) 567-2450 or AskALibrarian@uthscsa.edu.

NIH Quick Links

NIH Public Access Policy website

NIH Public Access Policy FAQs

NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS)

Overview of Submission Methods

How to Save to My Bibliography (My NCBI) 

PMID/PMCID converter

NIH Public Access Compliance Monitor (video)

 Additional Resources

Publisher copyright policies and self-archiving

Publishers allowing use of their PDFs in institutional repositories

UTHSC Office of Sponsored Programs

UTHSC Office of Legal Affairs