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NIH Public Access Policy   Tags: biosketch, my bibliography, my ncbi, ncbi, nih public access policy, sciencv  

Last Updated: May 16, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

NIH Public Access Policy Print Page

General Information

The NIH Public Access Policy requires all NIH funded researchers to submit or have submitted for them an electronic copy of their final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central. The manuscript must be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication. This policy applies to any peer-reviewed journal articles accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008, arising from any direct NIH funding.

The NIH has released comprehensive guidance on these new rules including answers to Frequently Asked Questions.


Manage Compliance with NCBI's My Bibliography

Looking for help with My NCBI, My Bibliography, and compliance issues related to the NIH Public Access Policy? NIH and the National Library of Medicine have developed numerous resources to point you in the right direction including the eBook, My NCBI Help, and a YouTube playlist of related videos. Check them out. The answers are there!

Need help fast? Contact us or request a training.  


Quick Reference

LSL Librarians have put together a one-page quick reference sheet with links to the policy, NIH procedures, and additional resource for compliance. 

Quick Reference online presentation


Get Download Stats!

Authors can now access download counts from PubMed Central. Statistics are available for any paper that an author is associated with in the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). It's as easy as 1, 2, 3. 

  1. Login to NIHMS
  2. Click to the "Available in PMC" tab
  3. In the status column, click "PMC Access Statistics"

These statistics reflect PMC usage only and do not include access counts from any other site. Read more about PMC statistics available in NIHMS



1. Manuscript is accepted for publication (yay!)

  • Confirm your journal's NIH compliance procedure.
  • Ensure that the conditions of the NIH policy can be met BEFORE signing a transfer of copyright agreement.

2. Manuscript is submitted to PubMed Central

  • Either by the publisher (Methods A, B, and D).
  • Or by the author (Methods C and D).

3. Authors track and manage their compliance using NCBI's My Bibliography. 

4. Authors cite PMCID in progress reports, applications, and proposals. 


PubMed and PubMed Central are Different!

PM and PMC

PubMed is a searchable literature database, indexing almost 6,000 biomecial and life science journals. It includes title, author, and abstract information for 25 million references and links to the article. Identifiers assigned by PubMed are PMIDs. PubMed does not include full text of articles. 

PubMed Central (PMC) is a digital repository of full text journal articles and the destination for all NIH-funded journal manuscripts. Identifiers assigned by PMC are PMCIDs; these are the ids that should be used in reporting and applications to demonstrate compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy. 

Four Paths to Compliance

There are four pathways, or methods, that a manuscript can take to get to PubMed Central.

Method A: Journal publishers will deposit the manuscript to PubMed Central on behalf of authors and the author has not action to take. To determine if your publisher is a Method A publisher, search this list of journals. 

Method B: Journal publishers will deposit author manuscripts to PubMed Central upon special arrangement with the submitting authors. "Special arrangement" usually means a substantial Open Access fee. Note that this is not the only way to submit a manuscript to PubMed Central, even if it is the only method offered by your publisher!

Method C: The author submits their manuscript directly to the NIH Manuscript Submission system and approves it for posting to PubMed Central.

Method D: Journal publishers will deposit the manuscript to the NIH Manuscript Submission system on behalf of authors and the author must then approve the version prepared for PubMed Central. 



    Since 2013, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been enforcing its policy requiring investigators deposit copies of their papers in a public archive. Funds will be withheld from researchers who do not comply with the Public Access Policy. 

    Read NIH formal policy announcement

    This mutli-part webinar from 2013 (total running time approx. 90 minutes) explains the enforcement component of the NIH Public Access Policy and shows how reserachers and universities can insure compliance with the law.

    Visit NIH's YouTube Channel to see all 7 chapters.


    Contact Us

    Librarians at the Lamar Soutter Library are available to help University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers by answering questions about the law, helping with copyright questions, troubleshooting compliance issues, and providing training or assisting with using the NIH online submission system.

    Rebecca Reznik-Zellen, MA, MLIS
    Head of Research and Scholarly Communication Services

    Lisa Palmer, MSLS, AHIP
    Institutional Repository Librarian

    We're here to help!

    Publisher Info

    These links take you to information on the major STEM publishers' websites regarding their policies on the NIH Public Access Mandate.

    • Elsevier
      Elsevier will initiate deposit to PMC on behalf of authors (Method D); read the complete policy.
    • Nature Publishing Group
      NPG's free manuscript deposition service helps authors fulfill funding agency requirements, as well as institutional mandates (Method D).
    • Springer
      Use this form to request that Springer deposit a manuscript to PubMed Central on your behalf (Method D).
    • Taylor & Francis
      Difficult to find T&F policy indicates that they will deposit to PMC (Method D).
    • Wiley
      This map give you an overview of the deposition process for Wiley publications; authors must make arrangements with the journal to initiate deposit (Method B).

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