Home > Issues > NIH Public Access Policy

Please use this more up-to-date site: NIH Public Access Policy


Information below is no longer being updated:

NIH Public Access Policy

Key Points

  • NIH-funded investigators are required to submit (or have submitted for them) their final, peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central (PMC) upon acceptance of publication to be made publicly available within 12 months of publication. This policy applies to NIH-funded manuscripts accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008.
  • NIH applications, proposals and progress reports must include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) when citing an article that falls under the policy and is authored or co-authored by the investigator, or arose from the investigator’s NIH award. This policy includes applications, proposals and progress reports submitted to the NIH.
  • As of Spring 2013, NIH will delay processing of non-competing continuation grant awards if publications arising from that award are not in compliance with the NIH public access policy. The award will not be processed until recipients have demonstrated compliance. Submitting an RPPR with a non-compliant publication will generate an automated email notifying the grantee that the progress report includes citations that are out of compliance with the public access policy and requesting a response by a specified due date two weeks prior to the next budget start date. The non-competing continuation award will be delayed until a reply to the e-notification is received from the grantee with evidence of compliance or a satisfactory explanation.

 

BackBack

When is Compliance Required?

The NIH Policy applies to any manuscript that:

  • Is peer-reviewed
  • Is accepted for publication in a journal on or after April 7, 2008

And arises from:

  • Any direct funding from an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 or beyond, or;
  • Any direct funding from an NIH contract signed on or after April 7, 2008, or;
  • Any direct funding from the NIH Intramural Program, or;
  • An NIH employee.

“Directly funded” means costs that can be specifically identified with a particular project or activity. See NIH Grants Policy Statement, Rev. 12/2003.

(Source: http://publicaccess.nih.gov/FAQ.htm)

Questions about Compliance?

BackBack

Who is Responsible for Compliance?

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 NIH policy.

What is a Final, Peer-Reviewed Manuscript?

The final, peer-reviewed manuscript is defined by NIH as:

“The Investigator’s final manuscript of a peer-reviewed article accepted for journal publication, including all modifications from the peer review process.” It also includes all graphics and supplemental materials associated with the work.

It does not apply to non peer-reviewed materials such as correspondence, book chapters, and editorials.

What is PubMed Central?

PubMed Central (PMC) is the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.

BackBack

How to Comply

There are four options for compliance based on submission methods:

  1. Submission Method A:
    Author publishes in a journal that submits all NIH-funded final published articles to PubMed Central (PMC); no fee. See Journals That Submit All NIH-Funded Final Published Articles to PubMed Central.
  2. Submission Method B:
    Author pays a publisher a fee to submit an individual final published article to PMC. See Publishers that Will Deposit a Specific Final Published Article in PubMed Central on Request: Method B.
  3. Submission Method C:
    Author self-submits the final peer-reviewed manuscript to the NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS) in preparation for posting to PMC.
  4. Submission Method D:
    Publisher submits the final peer-reviewed manuscript to NIHMS on behalf of NIH-funded authors in preparation for posting to PMC; no fee. See Publishers That Will Deposit a Specific Paper in PubMed Central on Request: Method D.

BackBack

Submission Method A

Some publishers automatically submit all NIH-funded final published articles to PMC on behalf of NIH-funded authors, to be made publicly available within 12 months of publication. There is no fee for this service. If authors publish in one of these journals, no further action is required for compliance except to cite the PMCID reference number in future NIH applications, proposals and progress reports.

Further Resources:

BackBack

Submission Method B

Some publishers offer a fee-based option to submit individual final published articles to PMC on behalf of NIH-funded authors, to be made publicly available within 12 months of publication. Authors are responsible for making arrangements with the publisher for this service via publisher copyright agreement form. If authors exercise this option, no further action is required for compliance except to cite the PMCID reference number in future NIH applications, proposals and progress reports.

BackBack

Submission Method C

Submission Method C allows for two options for submission of the final peer-reviewed manuscript: author self-submits or the author assigns a third party such as a lab assistant or Becker Medical Library to submit.

Author Self-Submits

Some publishers allow authors to self-submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to NIHMS; NIHMS prepares the manuscript for posting to PMC. Authors who exercise this option must retain the right to do so. When reviewing the copyright agreement form authors should confirm that the publisher will:

  • Allow the author to self-submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript upon acceptance of publication.
  • Allow the final peer-reviewed manuscript to be publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.

If not, authors are advised seek clarification from the publisher or use a different journal in order to be in full compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Before self-submitting, authors will need to find out the stipulations that some journal publishers require authors to follow. Stipulations are usually listed in the publisher copyright agreement form.

Some stipulations include:

  • Embargo period (12 months maximum per NIH)
  • Version to post (peer-reviewed version or final published version)
  • Noting a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for the final published version
  • Statement as specified by the publisher
  • Link to the journal publisher
  • Link to the final published version on the journal web site
  • Noting the full citation of the work

Authors should self-submit via NIHMS using the eRA Commons account logon route. If there are multiple authors, one author should be designated as the reviewer responsible for approving the submission by responding to NIHMS for approval of the PMC web version – in this instance, the author who submits usually assumes this role. See Approve the Submission. Any supplemental data or images associated with the manuscript are considered part of the manuscript per NIH policy so these files will also need to be submitted. NIH estimates the self-submittal process should take between three to 10 minutes. The author will need the following materials:

  • Name and email of the author designated as the reviewer to complete NIHMS approval tasks
  • Title of the journal
  • Title of the manuscript
  • Final peer-reviewed version of the manuscript
  • Supplemental materials or graphics associated with the manuscript
  • Grant number/s and names of PIs (full alpha numeric number)*
  • All information as necessary for following the stipulations as set forth by some journal publishers including the embargo period

*Multiple grant numbers can be entered for a single publication

A NIHMS ID is assigned to the manuscript as soon as it is submitted by the author.

The designated author is required to complete one NIHMS task in order for a PMCID to be assigned to the manuscript. See the Approve the Submission section.

Third Party Submits

The author can also designate a third party (lab assistant, library, etc.) to handle submissions on their behalf under Submission Method C. Third party submissions should be submitted via NIHMS using the MyNCBI account logon route. The third party will need to create a MyNCBI Account (free), if necessary. Any supplemental data or images associated with the manuscript are considered part of the manuscript per NIH policy so these files will also need to be submitted. If there are multiple authors, one author should be designated as the reviewer responsible for approving the submission by responding to two emails from NIHMS to complete approval tasks. See Approve the Submission.

Third party submitters will need the following materials from the author:

  • Name and email of the author designated as the reviewer to complete NIHMS approval tasks
  • Title of the journal
  • Title of the manuscript
  • Final peer-reviewed version of the manuscript
  • Supplemental materials or graphics associated with the manuscript
  • Grant number/s and names of PIs (full alpha numeric number)*
  • All information as necessary for following the stipulations as set forth by some journal publishers

*multiple grant numbers can be entered for a single publication

A NIHMS ID is assigned to the manuscript as soon as it is submitted by the third party.

The designated author is required to complete two NIHMS tasks in order for a PMCID to be assigned to the manuscript. See the Approve the Submission section.

Becker Library as a Third Party Submitter

The author can also designate Becker Medical Library to handle submissions on their behalf under Submission Method C. Becker Medical Library provides third party submitter services for WU authors on the School of Medicine and Danforth campuses. Before Becker Medical Library can submit on behalf of authors, we require confirmation that the author retained the right to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy. If there are multiple authors, one author should be designated as the reviewer responsible for approving the submission by responding to two emails from NIHMS to complete approval tasks. Becker Medical Library will also follow-up with publishers to find out stipulations for posting.

Materials Needed:

  • Name and email of the author designated as the reviewer to complete NIHMS approval tasks
  • Title of the journal
  • Title of the manuscript
  • Grant number/s (full alpha numeric number)* and PI name/s
  • Manuscript files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, TIFF, JPEG, PDF, etc)
  • Supplemental data or images associated with the manuscript
  • Embargo period as specified by publisher and any other known publisher instructions

*Multiple grant awards can be entered for a single publication

Please use the NIH Grants Lookup Tool to confirm grant award information. Send all materials to Cathy Sarli.

Once a work is submitted, Becker Medical Library will send an email to the designated author informing them of the submission, the NIHMS ID, and the embargo period.

The designated author is required to complete two NIHMS tasks in order for a PMCID to be assigned to the manuscript. See the Approve the Submission section.

BackBack

Submission Method D

Some publishers submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to NIHMS on behalf of NIH-funded authors (no fee); NIHMS prepares the manuscript for posting to PMC.

Authors who exercise this option must retain the right to do so. When reviewing the copyright agreement form authors should confirm that the publisher will:

  • Submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript upon acceptance of publication.
  • Allow the final peer-reviewed manuscript to be publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.

If not, authors are advised seek clarification from the publisher or use a different journal in order to be in full compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Authors should review the publisher copyright form for sections that may need to be marked indicating the work as a NIH-funded publications so that the publisher is aware that the work needs to be submitted to NIHMS. Some copyright forms for Method D publishers also have a space to allow authors to add the name and email address of the designated author who will be responsible for approving the submission by responding to emails from NIHMS to complete approval tasks. If no space available, note this information on the copyright form.

A NIHMS ID is assigned to the manuscript as soon as it is submitted by the publisher.

The designated author is required to complete two NIHMS tasks in order for a PMCID to be assigned to the manuscript. See the Approve the Submission section.

BackBack

Approve the Submission

Approving the submission applies only to Method C and D forms of submission and is a crucial part of compliance with the NIH Policy. Approval involves several tasks that need to be completed by an author, usually the corresponding author, who has been designated as the reviewing author responsible for responding to emails from NIHMS to complete the tasks necessary to process the submission.

NIHMS obtains the email address for the designated author by the submitter of the manuscript files. Any author or a Principal Investigator associated with a manuscript may request a different author be assigned as the designated author by contacting the NIHMS Help Desk.

Note: The designated author will be prompted by NIHMS to create an eRA Commons account if necessary.

The following tasks are required for each submission method; authors are prompted to complete approval tasks upon email requests from NIHMS:

Submission Method A

No tasks required by author; publisher completes the review/approval process.

Submission Method B

No tasks required by author; publisher completes the review/approval process.

Method C (if author self-submits)

The designated author will receive one email from NIHMS:

  1. “Approve Web Version”
    Self-submission is the first task required. After NIHMS processes the submission, NIHMS will prepare a web-based version suitable for posting to PMC. When this version is ready, NIHMS will send the designated author an email informing them that the web-based version is awaiting review and approval, and the author should complete the task. Corrections to the manuscript, if necessary, may be requested at this time.

    After approval of the PMC web version, a PMCID will be assigned to the manuscript. See Approve the Submission.

Note: NIHMS will send multiple email reminders to the designated author if emails are unanswered. Timely completion of the approval process will help ensure that a PMCID is assigned to the applicable paper within three months post publication.

Method C (if third party submits)

The designated author will receive two emails from NIHMS:

  1. “Approve PDF Receipt”
    When a manuscript has been submitted on behalf of an author via Method C (third party) form of submission, the designated author will receive an email “Approve PDF Receipt” from NIHMS prompting them to review and approve the submission made by the third party.

    During this approval process, the designated author verifies that the correct manuscript has been submitted, confirms the grant award information as noted, and selects the number of months after publication when the manuscript may be made publicly available in PMC (the embargo period). The designated author then signs off on a statement that confirms that the deposit of the manuscript is consistent with any publication and copyright agreements, and that NIHMS may begin processing the manuscript for posting to PMC.
  2. “Approve Web Version”
    After approval of the initial submission, NIHMS will prepare a web-based version suitable for posting to PMC. When this version is ready, NIHMS will send the designated author an email informing them that the PMC web version is awaiting review and approval, and the author should complete the task. Corrections to the manuscript, if necessary, may be requested at this time.

    After approval of the PMC web version, a PMCID will be assigned to the manuscript. See Approve the Submission.

Note: NIHMS will send multiple email reminders to the designated author if emails are unanswered. Timely completion of the approval process will help ensure that a PMCID is assigned to the applicable paper within three months post publication.

Method D

The designated author will receive two emails from NIHMS:

  1. “Approve PDF Receipt”
    When a manuscript has been submitted on behalf of an author via Method D form of submission, the designated author will receive an email “Approve PDF Receipt” from NIHMS prompting them to review and approve the submission made by the publisher.

    During this approval process, the designated author verifies that the correct manuscript has been submitted and confirms the grant award information as noted. The designated author then signs off on a statement that confirms that the deposit of the manuscript is consistent with any publication and copyright agreements, and that NIHMS may begin processing the manuscript for posting to PMC.
  2. “Approve Web Version”
    After approval of the initial submission, NIHMS will prepare a web-based version suitable for posting to PMC. When this version is ready, NIHMS will send the designated author an email informing them that the PMC web version is awaiting review and approval, and the author should complete the task. Corrections to the manuscript, if necessary, may be requested at this time.

    After approval of the PMC web version, a PMCID will be assigned to the manuscript.

Note: NIHMS will send multiple email reminders to the designated author if emails are unanswered. Timely completion of the approval process will help ensure that a PMCID is assigned to the applicable paper within three months post publication.

Further Resources:

BackBack

Cite the PMCID

The final step for compliance is to cite the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID). NIH applications, proposals and progress reports must include the PMCID when citing an article that falls under the policy and is authored or co-authored by the investigator, or arose from the investigator’s NIH award. A PMCID is required for demonstration of compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy for papers three months post publication and beyond.

See Reminder Concerning Grantee Compliance with Public Access Policy and Related NIH Monitoring Activities (NOT-OD-08-119) on where to note the PMCID in applications, proposals and progress reports.

BackBack

How to Demonstrate Compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy

Documentation of compliance is demonstrated by:

  • PMCID (PubMed Central reference number)
    Method A, B, C, and D forms of submission

A PMCID is required for demonstration of compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy for papers three months post publication and beyond.

If the PMCID is not yet assigned for papers in press or published within three months of when an application, proposal or progress report is due, compliance can be demonstrated by:

  • “PMC Journal – In Process”
    Method A and B forms of submission

OR:

  • NIHMS ID (NIH Manuscript Submission system reference number)
    Method C and D forms of submission

NOTE: Using "PMC Journal - In Process"as interim documentation of compliance for works submitted via Method C or Method D forms of submission is contrary to the NIH Policy.

PMCID

The PMCID is assigned after the work (final published article or final peer-reviewed manuscript) is posted to PMC via Method A, B, C or D forms of submission.

The PMCID is noted in:

  • PubMed
    The PMCID is noted on the search results page (AbstractPlus display).
  • PubMed Central
    The PMCID is noted on the search results page.
  • PMID-PMCID Converter Tool
    The Converter tool allows for searching of a PMCID using a PMID.
  • My NCBI/My Bibliography in eRA Commons
    Citations in My Bibliography will automatically note the PMCID when available.
 
“PMC Journal – In Process”

“PMC Journal – In Process” is a term used for final published articles via Method A and Method B forms of submission that are in the process of being submitted to PMC.

"PMC Journal - In Process" is noted in:

  • My NCBI/My Bibliography in eRA Commons
    Citations in My Bibliography will automatically note the PMCID when available.
 
NIHMS ID

The NIHMS ID is assigned when a manuscript via Method C and Method D forms of submission is submitted to NIHMS in preparation for posting to PMC. The NIHMS ID is used as a temporary number until a PMCID reference number is assigned.

The NIHMS ID is noted in:

  • NIHMS system
    NIH-funded authors can check for manuscripts in NIHMS via eRA Commons logon route. The NIHMS ID is noted with the title of the manuscript.
  • PMID-PMCID Converter Tool
    The Converter tool allows for searching of a PMCID using a PMID.
  • My NCBI/My Bibliography in eRA Commons
    Citations in My Bibliography will automatically note the PMCID when available.
 

BackBack

How to Respond to NIH if Documentation of Compliance is Requested

NIH reviews citations noted in applications, proposals and progress reports and will request documentation of compliance for works that may have applied under the NIH Public Access Policy. Requests for documentation of compliance are sent by NIH Program Officers via email to the Principal Investigator/s. The WU Office of Sponsored Research Services is copied on this email.

The PI should review the list of citations as noted and determine whether they apply under the NIH Public Access Policy. The PI should provide documentation for each citation to support why compliance is not required (i.e., not peer-reviewed, accepted for publication before April 7, 2008, etc.) or if the citation applies under the NIH Public Access Policy (i.e., PMCID, NIHMS ID or “PMC Journal – In Process”).

When responding back to the NIH Program Officer with documentation of compliance or why a select citation does not apply under the NIH Public Access Policy for citations as noted in a NIH application, proposal or progress report, the appropriate WU Institutional Business Office must be copied on the response back to NIH. This is required by NIH per Reminder Concerning Grantee Compliance with Public Access Policy and Related NIH Monitoring Activities (NOT-OD-08-119).

Add the following statement in the response:

“The documentation provided is in response to your email dated (insert date here). Our Institutional Business Official (IBO) is being copied utilizing the office’s generic email, (i.e., msosrs@wustl.edu OR dcosrs@wustl.edu).”

BackBack

Becker Services for NIH-Funded Authors at WU

To help faculty and departments prepare for the implementation of the NIH Policy, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and the Becker Library are working together to provide resources and services to assist authors on both the Danforth and School of Medicine campuses with meeting the new requirements. Among the resources and services we offer are:

  • Third party submitter services
  • Guidance to authors on how to retain the right to comply
  • Assist with demonstrating documentation of compliance
  • Locate journal polices on behalf of NIH-funded authors

In addition, Becker Medical Library offers customized presentations on the NIH Policy to departments or groups. To schedule a presentation for your department, please contact Cathy Sarli, the Becker Library’s Scholarly Communications Specialist, or a Subject Librarian at the Washington University Libraries.

BackBack

FAQs

BackBack

Resources

NIH
NIHMS
Washington University
Becker Medical Library
Danforth Campus Libraries

BackBack

Last updated: March 20, 2013

Top of Page