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NIH Public Access Policy

Information and Resources on the NIH Public Access Policy

How to Demonstrate Compliance

It's important to understand that regardless of where a paper is published, the NIH Public Access Policy is applicable to all articles that are the result of NIH funding. The author must make sure the policy is followed, and the institutions must have the required policies in place to do the same. To prove adherence to the NIH Public Access Policy, use one of the following methods:

  • Your manuscript should include the PMCID (PubMed Central reference number): The NIH will provide your paper a PMCID, which is a special identifier for the manuscript on PubMed Central, when it is accepted for publication. Ensure that your manuscript and any associated publications contain the PMCID.
  • If the research has already been published, include the PMCID in your grant application when you submit a request for financing from the NIH.
  • Link to your manuscript on PubMed Central: Your grant application, personal website, or institution's website can all contain a link to your manuscript on PubMed Central.
  • Use of the NIH Public Access Policy compliance icon: To demonstrate that you are in compliance with the policy, use this icon on your website, in your publications, and on other materials.
  • Check your compliance status: On the NIH Public Access Compliance Monitoring System, you can look up the compliance standing of your articles.
  • Maintain records: In case of an audit, keep track of the funding source, the NIH grant number(s), and the PMCID.

Step 1: Prepare Manuscript & Establish Publisher Agreement

Before publication, you should read the NIH's full description of methods and responsibilities and plan time for the following tasks to guarantee continuous adherence to the NIH's public access policy:

  1. It's essential to keep in mind that some journals might have their own submission procedures. Find out as much as you can about the publisher you want to work with so that you can determine how much assistance they are prepared to provide with adhering to the NIH Public Access Policy.
  2. Next, inform the publisher of your requirement to abide by the NIH's public access policy.
  3. Make sure to create a My NCBI account (see below).
  4. Select a person (PI, author, or staff member) to be in charge of ensuring that the manuscript advances through the steps necessary to deposit it in PubMed Central. In the end, the PI is in charge.
  5. If you are writing a manuscript but are not the PI, let the PI know so they can make plans to track your progress.
  6. Recognize who is in charge of sending the paper through the NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS).

    • I.e., Methods A, B, and D (publisher submits manuscript). Method  C (author or designate submits).

Step 2: Manuscript Submission and Monitoring

After publication, it is important to do the following:

  1. Submit your manuscript to NIHMS.
  2. Regardless of the method chosen for submission, take the time to confirm that your submission actually went through.
  3. When asked, approve NIHMS submissions.
    • This includes approval of the initial submission as well as approval for publication in PubMed Central following formatting.
  4. To link publications to Awards and to keep track of compliance, use the NCBI tool, My Bibliography.

Step 3: Use PMCID Number

  1. When a PMCID number is available, use it. PMID and PMCID/NIHMSID numbers will both show up in My Bibliography. Additionally, you can use the PMCID Converter to obtain equivalent PMCID/NIHMSID based on the PMID.
  2. Make your manuscript accessible to the public: After receiving a PMCID, your manuscript will be made accessible to the public on PubMed Central.
  3. Cite your manuscript: Once your work has been made publicly accessible on PubMed Central, be sure to mention the PMCID in all manuscripts and publications that are related to it.
  4. If a paper has just been accepted but the PMCID number is not yet available, you can either use the NIHMSID number or the phrase "PMCID: PMC Journal - In Process" for up to three months following the publication of the paper.
  5. To maintain your compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy, use My NCBI/My Bibliography. To help manage the bibliography, you can give delegate access to your My Bibliography collection.
  6. To create a PDF of publications to submit with Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR), use My Bibliography.