NIH Public Access Policy: FAQ

Information and Resources on the NIH Public Access Policy

Can I use a PMID number to demonstrate compliance?

No, the PMID cannot be used to demonstrate compliance.

  • For papers published more than 3 months before an application or report is submitted:

List the PMCID at the end of the full citation for the paper.  A PMCID is the only way to demonstrate compliance.

  • For papers in press, or published within 3 months of when an application or report is submitted: 

For submission methods A or B, indicate "PMC Journal - In Process" or the PMCID at the end of the full citation.

For submission Methods C or D, provide a valid NIH Manuscript Submission System reference number (NIHMSID) or PMCID at the end of the full citation.

How are papers submitted to PubMed Central?

There are four submission methods.  Most OHSU authored papers fall under Method D.


Method A Includes journals that complete the the entire submission process to PMC.  The author takes no action, but must follow the journal's instructions for requesting the service.  A list of Method A publishers can be found here


Method B:  Includes publishers that will complete the entire submission process to PMC for a fee.  Beyond requesting the service and paying the fee, the author takes no action.  A list of Method B publishers can be found here


Method C:  An author or delegate completes the entire submission process to PMC via the NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS).  Go here for a step-by-step guide to Method C


Method D:  The publisher submits the final peer-reviewed manuscript to the NIHMS, but the corresponding author must approve the submission.  A list of Method D publishers can be found here


Can a staff member submit a paper to PMC on my behalf?

Yes, a staff member with access to the final peer reviewed manuscript can begin the submission process in the NIHMS system.  However, an author must approve the submission to complete the process and generate a PMCID. 

Can a staff member manage my NCBI Bibliography?

Yes, you can delegate access to your bibliography to staff members.  Delegates can add and remove citations, and check whether a manuscript is complaint with the NIH Public Access policy.  Follow these instructions for establishing delegates.

How do I fix previously published non-compliant papers?

There isn't a single workflow for addressing previously published papers.  To determine how to obtain a PMCID for your paper, work through the questions and steps below.

1.  Confirm that the paper falls under the Public Access Policy. 

2.  If yes, how is it non-compliant?

Use the NIH PMID Converter to check if there is a NIHMS number for the paper. 

    • If the paper has an NIHMS number, an author needs to approve the submission.  In most cases this task falls to the corresponding author.  This tutorial details the approval process.
    • If the paper does not have a PMCID or NIHMS number, the submission process was not started.  Use this guide to identify what submission method to initiate. 

3.  Contact the publisher or corresponding author, depending on nature of the non-compliance. 

4.  Complete or request needed actions.

5.  Verify that the PMCID is generated. 

Can I submit the publisher's PDF of my manuscript to PMC?

No, to do so would violate most publisher agreements.  You must use the final peer-reviewed manuscript (before publisher's formatting) and follow the publisher's submission requirements.  These requirements are usually detailed in your copyright agreement. 

How does My NCBI work with eSNAP?

In eRA Commons PIs can associate citations saved in My Bibliography to an eSNAP report.  For detailed instructions see section 4.4.1 of the eRA Commons eSNAP User Guide. 

I cannot reach the coresponding author of my non-compliant paper. What should I do?

Contact the NIH Public Access Policy Help Desk.  In many cases, the Help Desk can change the corresponding author information. 

How do I associate an award with a previously published paper?

eRA Commons users can add awards to papers in their My NCBI Bibliography.  When using the awards display, an "add or delete award" option will appear under each citation.  This technical bulletin offers detailed instructions. 

If an awardee was not an author on a paper associated with her grant, will the paper appear in her My NCBI Bibliography?

Yes.  If the awardee's grant was cited, the paper should appear in her My NCBI Bibliography.

Where and how does an awardee indicate that a paper does not fall under the NIH Public Access Policy?

An awardee's My NCBI Bibliography allows him to mark a paper as not falling under the NIH Public Access Policy.  Using the Awards display, an "edit status" link will appear for each citation.  The awardee or his delegate can use this link to indicate why the paper is not subject to the policy.  This guide offers additional instructions.  

Can any author submit a paper to PubMed Central, or must it be the corresponding author?

Any author with access to the final peer reviewed manuscript can submit the paper to PubMed Central.  It is important that the journal's submission requirements are carefully followed.  The requirements are usually included in the publication agreement signed by the corresponding author.  

Need Assistance?

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