National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy: Manuscript Submission

The NIH Public Access Policy is designed to ensure that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. Articles that arise from NIH-funded grants must be submitted to PubMed Central within 12 months of publication in a journal. This page provides a brief overview of the policy, what it entails, and where you can go to find additional information. Much of this information comes from NIH Public Access Policy website, which contains more detailed information. It is very important that you read all information on the NIH Public Access Policy website.

Does this new policy apply to you?

The policy applies to you if your peer-reviewed article (research reports and reviews) is based on work in one or more of these categories:

  1. Directly funded by an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007- September 30, 2008) or beyond;
  2. Directly funded by a contract signed on or after April 7, 2008;
  3. Directly funded by the NIH Intramural Program.
  4. If NIH pays your salary.

This policy does not cover editorials, correspondence, or book chapters. Please note, that if you are the Principal Investigator (PI) for the funded project, you are responsible for making sure that all articles coming out of the project are submitted, even if you are not an author. The University of Oregon (UO) is also responsible for making sure this happens.

When does this policy take effect?

While this has been voluntary for some time, mandatory submission of manuscripts took effect Monday, April 7, 2008.  Starting on this date, all articles arising from NIH funds must be submitted to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication.

How to comply with the policy

This is a three-step process. 

First, you will need to make sure that the publication agreement (or any other copyright-transfer document) that you sign with a journal publisher allows submission to PubMed Central. Consult the NIH web site for additional information about how to do this, including sample language and what to do if a journal publisher refuses to allow submission to PubMed Central.

Second, submit your manuscript (the final, peer-reviewed version) to the NIH. This can be done by using the NIH manuscript submission (NIHMS) system (by you or your support staff).  Some publishers may submit it for you. (With these first two options, you will still need to go into NIHMS to verify and personally approve the manuscript.)  Other NIH-approved journals automatically submit all articles to PubMed Central within 12 months of publications; if you publish in one of these journals, you do not have to do anything extra.

Third, effective May 25, 2008, when citing an article in NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports that falls under the policy AND was authored or co-authored by you or arose from your NIH award, you have to include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) or the NIHMS ID number, if a PMCID has not been assigned yet. If you need help finding this number, contact the UO Libraries for assistance. More information on how to include this number in your citation is available at the NIH Public Access website.

Other Resources

NIH submission information

More information about the policy

University of Oregon resources