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NIH Public Access Policy: Citing publications and preprints

NIH-funded manuscripts

Anyone submitting an application, proposal or report to the NIH must include the PMC reference number (PMCID) when citing applicable papers that they author or that arise from their NIH-funded research.

Applicable papers

The NIH public access policy applies to any manuscript that is:

  • peer-reviewed AND
  • 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.

See the FAQ for the full definition of a journal.

**"Directly" funded means costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.

Related Guides

Example citation before the PMCID is available

For submission Methods A and B use PMC-In Process in place of the PMCID because you will not have an NIHMSID to enter.

  • Sala-Torra O, Gundacker HM, Stirewalt DL, Ladne PA, Pogosova-Agadjanyan EL, Slovak ML, Willman CL, Heimfeld S, Boldt DH, Radich JP. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) expression and outcome in adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Blood. 2007;109(7):3080-3. PMCID: PMC Journal - In Process

For submission Methods C and D use the NIHMSID until the PMCID is available. The NIHMSID is assigned during the submission process.

  • Geiger H, Zheng Y. Cdc42 and aging of hematopoietic stem cells. Curr Opin Hematol. 2013;20(4):295-300. NIMHMSID: 586366

Once you are assigned the PMCID number refer to the above box to add the PMCID.

Example citation with the PMCID

  • Donovan EF, Sparling K, Lake MR, Narendran V, Schibler K, Haberman B, Rose B, Meinzen-Derr J, Ohio Perinatal Quality C. The investment case for preventing NICU-associated infections. American journal of perinatology. 2013;30(3):179-84. PMCID: PMC3789586

  • Shah TA, Meinzen-Derr J, Gratton T, Steichen J, Donovan EF, Yolton K, Alexander B, Narendran V, Schibler KR. Hospital and neurodevelopmental outcomes of extremely low-birth-weight infants with necrotizing enterocolitis and spontaneous intestinal perforation. Journal of perinatology : official journal of the California Perinatal Association. 2012;32(7):552-8. PMCID: PMC3496418.


How to cite Preprints

To cite the product, applicants and awardees must include the Digital Object Identifier and the Object type (e.g. preprint, protocol) in the citation. Also list any information about the document version (e.g. most recent date modified), and if relevant, the date the product was cited.

Example: Bar DZ, Atkatsh K, Tavarez U, Erdos MR, Gruenbaum Y, Collins FS. Biotinylation by antibody recognition- A novel method for proximity labeling. BioRxiv 069187 [Preprint]. August 11, 2016 [cited 2017 Jan 12].  Available from:

Author(s)-Last name Initial(s), Last name initial(s). Title. Database number [Preprint]. Month day, year [cited year MO DY]. Available from:

Taken from