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NIH Public Access Policy: Steps for Compliance

Does the NIH Public Acces Policy apply to you?


The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central immediately upon acceptance for publication.  To help advance science and improve human health, the policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication.

Preparation is Key to Avoiding Delays in Funding. Some suggestions:

  • Use My NCBI’s My Bibliography feature to monitor Public Access compliance for all the applicable papers that you author or arise from your NIH award.  Be sure to create an account using your eRA Commons ID, or link your current account with your eRA Commons account.
  • As you plan a paper or support one with your NIH award, discuss with the authors how the paper and the NIH awards that support it will comply with the Public Access Policy. 

How to Comply

All of your papers that fall under the NIH Public Access Policy, whether in press or in print, must include evidence of compliance in all of your NIH applications and reports.

  1. Determine Applicability
    Does the NIH Public Access Policy apply to your paper?
  2. Address Copyright
    Ensure your publishing agreement allows the paper to be posted to PubMed Central in accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy.
  3. Submit paper to PMC
    Submit papers to PubMed Central (PMC) and approve public release. Enter your journal name into the box on the right side of the screen to determine how you paper will be posted to PMC.
  4. Include PMCID in Citations 
    Include the PMCID at the end of the full citation in your application or report (e.g. RPPR).