Advice for NIH Grantees: How to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy

“The NIH public access policy requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to PubMed Central immediately upon acceptance for publication.” –

To comply with NIH Public Access Policy, here are the steps you should take:

Determine if the Public Access Policy applies to your publication

Generally, the NIH Public Access Policy applies to any peer-reviewed journal article that was accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008 and that arose from NIH funding in Fiscal Year 2008 or later.

Determine Applicability for Your Publication

What does the NIH consider to be a ‘journal’?

Review your publication agreement

Before you sign a publication agreement or similar copyright transfer agreement, first make sure that the agreement allows the paper to be posted to PubMed Central (PMC) in accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Deposit your article into PMC

There are four submission methods for depositing your paper into PMC. You can use the NIH publication submission method wizard to help you figure out which method to use; just start typing the journal name into the “Search for Journal” box and follow the instructions.

The NIH publication submission wizard.
The NIH publication submission wizard.

Once you know how your paper will be deposited into PMC, make sure you know who will do so and when they will do it. Final, peer-reviewed manuscripts must be submitted to the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS) upon acceptance for publication, and be made publicly available on PMC no later than 12 months after the official date of publication. Any author can deposit a paper in the NIHMS and manage the submission.

Remember, no matter which submission method you use, the NIH Awardee is responsible for making sure the deposit into PMC is completed.

Please see the Table of Submission Methods for more information.

Track your compliance status with My Bibliography

First, make sure your eRA Commons account is linked to your My NCBI account. You can find instructions on linking your accounts here.

Once your accounts have been linked, you can use My Bibliography to (1) track the compliance status of your citations by changing the Display Settings to Award view, (2) associate funding with a citation, and (3) create a PDF compliance report.

My Bibliography is also used to report publications to NIH. Your bibliography will be used to populate the products section of your Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) in your eRA Commons account. Please note that everyone supported by your grant should have an eRA Commons profile (including students, fellows and research scientists) that they can link to My Bibliography to track their publications.  When they link their papers to your award, it makes your reporting efforts easier. For more information on using My Bibliography to manage Public Access Compliance, please click here. The Other Citations collection in your eRA Commons-linked My NCBI account also has all of the same Public Access management tools as My Bibliography.

The role of the NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS)

The NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS) will take your final peer-reviewed manuscript and will convert it to a format that can be incorporated into PubMed Central (PMC). For compliance reporting purposes, an NIHMS ID for a citation will be acceptable from the time an article is accepted for publication until 3 months post-publication. If you are using NIHMS to submit your manuscript to PMC, be aware that you will need to approve the submission at the beginning and again at the end of the process.

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