NIH Public Access Policy FAQ


The NIH Public Access Policy (http://publicaccess.nih.gov/) requires that any investigator who receives a NIH research grant and publishes the results of the research in a scientific journal must deposit an electronic copy of the final peer-reviewed manuscript to the digital archive, PubMed Central. For any questions not answered on this page or for additional support please email the library at PublicAccessHelp@med.nyu.edu.

What is the NIH Public Access Policy?

Effective April 7, 2008, the National Institutes of Health’s Revised Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research placed the following reporting requirements on NIH-funded research:

  • All peer-reviewed articles, accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008, that arise, in whole or in part, from NIH funding (i.e. grants) or from NIH staff must be deposited into PubMed Central (PMC) – the NIH digital repository of all full-text peer reviewed journal articles.
  • PMC will then make these papers freely available to the public no later than 12 months after publication.
  • Institutions and investigators are responsible for ensuring that any publishing or copyright agreements concerning submitted articles fully comply with the Policy.
  • Submissions of the final, peer-reviewed manuscript must include all graphics and supplemental materials associated with the published article.
  • Effective May 25, 2008, anyone submitting an application, proposal or progress report to NIH must include the PMC or NIH Manuscript Submission reference number when citing applicable articles that arise from their NIH funded research.
  • All active recurring and any new awards with anticipated start dates on or after July 1, 2013 will require compliance with this Policy. Non-compliance of this Policy will delay processing of non-competing continuation grant awards. The award will not be processed until recipients have demonstrated compliance.  

Is PubMed Central the same as PubMed?

No. PubMed Central (PMC) is an archive of full-text biomedical journal papers available online without a fee. PubMed is a free database containing references and abstracts accessing on life sciences and biomedical topics. If an article is indexed in PubMed, this does not indicate that it is currently in, or will necessarily be in, PubMed Central. 

Who is responsible for complying with the Policy?

Institutions and Principal Investigators (PI) are responsible for compliance. The PI of the grant is also responsible even if they are not an author or co-author of a publication that falls under the revised NIH policy.

What types of awards fall under the Policy?

Any NIH funding awarded after April 7, 2008 – including continuing grants or cooperative agreements – fall under the terms of this Policy.

What types of articles fall under the Policy?

All peer-reviewed articles, accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008, that arise, in whole or in part, from NIH funding (i.e. grants) or from NIH staff fall under the Policy.

What is the penalty for not complying with the Policy?

Non-compliance of this Policy will delay processing of non-competing continuation grant awards for all grants with start dates or renewal dates on or after July 1, 2013. The award will not be processed until recipients have demonstrated compliance.

What version of the manuscript should be submitted to PubMed Central?

Investigators must submit the final, peer-reviewed manuscripts to PubMed Central, unless they have specific permission from the publisher to submit the published version of the article. The final, peer-reviewed manuscript is the version including all modifications from the peer review process, but before the journal has done their final editing and formatting.

How do you comply with the Policy?

All peer-reviewed articles, accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008, that arise, in whole or in part, from NIH funding or from NIH staff must be deposited into PubMed Central – the NIH digital repository of all full-text peer reviewed journal articles.

There are four methods in which an article can be deposited into PMC (see chart below). 

  • Method A: The journal deposits the final published articles in PMC without author involvement (see list of Method A journals).
  • Method B: The author asks the journal publisher to deposit specific final published article in PMC, usually for a fee (see list of Method B publishers).
  • Method C: The author deposits the final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). For a video of the process, see submitting an article to PMC (WMV file, approx. 7 min).
  • Method D: The author completes the submission of the final peer-reviewed manuscript deposited by publisher in the NIHMS. This is a list of Method D publishers, but the awardee should check their author agreements to confirm that a publisher on this list will submit, and be aware that they are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the manuscript is submitted.
PubMed Central Deposit Methods

Method A Method B Method C Method D
Version of Paper Submitted Final Published Article Final Published Article Final Peer-Reviewed Manuscript Final Peer-Reviewed Manuscript
Task 1: Who starts the deposit process? Publisher Publisher Author or designee, via NIHMS Publisher
Task 2: Who approves paper for processing? Publisher Publisher Author, via NIHMS Author, via NIHMS
Task 3: Who approves paper for Pub Med Central display? Publisher Publisher Author, via NIHMS Author, via NIHMS
Participating journal/publisher Method A Journals Make arrangements with these publishers Check publishing agreement Make arrangements with these publishers
Who is Responsible? NIH Awardee NIH Awardee NIH Awardee NIH Awardee
To cite papers, from acceptance for publication to 3 months post publication PMCID or “PMC Journal- In Process” PMCID or “PMC Journal- In Process” PMCID or NIHMSID PMCID or NIHMSID
To cite papers, 3 months post publication and beyond PMCID PMCID PMCID PMCID

 

For Method C journals, who can submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central?

Anyone may submit the manuscript on behalf of the authors (e.g. administrative personnel, graduate students, etc.). Approval of the PDF Receipt and web version of the manuscript can be done by any of a paper's authors. If the initial author contacted for approval fails to take action, a request can be sent to NIH to re-assign the approval to another author.

Can PIs apply publication costs into their NIH grant?

 

Yes. The NIH will reimburse publication costs, including author fees, for grants and contracts provided:

  1. Such costs incurred are actual, allowable, and reasonable to advance the objectives of the award.
  2. The costs are charged consistently regardless of the source of support.
  3. All other applicable rules on allowability of costs are met.
    (http://publicaccess.nih.gov/FAQ.htm#810

Allotment for publication costs go in Section F (Detailed Budget, Other Direct Costs) of the research grant application. If this is a new application, the PI may want to delay publication costs until the later budget periods, once they have obtained data to share.(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/developing_budget.htm)

Can PIs delegate their compliance responsibilities to someone else?

 

Yes. PIs may assign a delegate from their My NCBI accounts to manage the compliance of publications. The Awards View feature within the My Bibliography section of a PI’s My NCBI account allows eRA Commons users to:

To assign a delegate PIs must sign into their My NCBI account, go to their My Bibliography section and click the “settings” link. Under the Bibliography Sharing section, Click the “Add a Delegate” link, enter the delegate’s e-mail address, and click the “Add a Delegate” button. The delegate will receive an email which they must then confirm by clicking on a link in the email. Please note that the option to “Add a Delegate” only appears when a Bibliography has been created in My NCBI.