The NIH Public Access Policy requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to PubMed Central (PMC) upon acceptance for publication. A 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 arising from NIH funding accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008. The NIH has released comprehensive guidance on this policy including answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
1. Manuscript is accepted for publication (yay!)
2. Manuscript is submitted to PubMed Central
3. Authors track and manage their compliance using NCBI's My Bibliography.
4. Authors cite PMCID in progress reports, applications, and proposals.
The NIH is implementing important changes to eRA Commons and NCBI accounts in 2021. To increase account security, NIH is transitioning to 3rd-party account credentials such as Login.gov or university/institutional access. Your eRA Commons and NCBI usernames and passwords will be going away. This does NOT affect the data in My NCBI, My Bibliiography or SciENcv in your NCBI account or submission data in eRA Commons.
What do I need to do?
For researchers who submit grant applications, creating a Login.gov account and associating it with both eRA Commons and NCBI is probably the most straightforward option.
If your Login.gov account is linked with eRA Commons, it will show in NCBI as an eRA Commons account rather than a Login.gov account, even though you are logging in through Login.gov. eRA Commons-linked Login.gov accounts acts like eRA Commons accounts (i.e. they provide compliance status and grant information).
Researchers who do not submit grant applications can use InCommon UMMS institutional credentials to log in to NCBI by linking to the partner account for "University of Massachusetts Medical School." For those who currently use InCommon Federated account credentials to login to eRA Commons, please note that you may not be able to continue to use those account credentials after September 15, 2021 unless UMMS implements support for two-factor authentication. You are strongly advised to set up Login.gov credentials for eRA Commons. (read more about InCommon credentials)
The NIH has produced these helpful tools, tutorials, and FAQs.
There are four pathways, or methods, that a manuscript can take to get to PubMed Central.
Method A: Searchable list of journals from publishers who will deposit the manuscript to PubMed Central on behalf of authors; the author has no action to take.
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.
PubMed is a searchable literature database, indexing thousands of biomedical and life science journals. It includes title, author, and abstract information for millions of citations 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.
These links take you to information on the major scientific publishers' websites regarding their policies on the NIH Public Access Mandate.
Preprints are research manuscripts that have not been formally published or refined/critiqued through the peer review process and are often deposited in preprint servers:
During the pilot, NLM will make preprints resulting from research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) available via PubMed Central (PMC) and, by extension, PubMed. The pilot aims to explore approaches to increasing the discoverability of early NIH research results posted to eligible preprint servers. Pilot is running for a minimum of 12 months, starting June 2020.
Preprints can be submitted to the NIH as a product of award but do not fall under the NIH Public Access Policy since they are not peer-reviewed. If the manuscript is accepted for publication, the peer-reviewed manuscript will still need to be submitted through the NIH Manuscript System (NIHMS) by the publisher or author to receive a PubMed Central ID (PMCID).
NCBI Help Desk answers questions about My NCBI and My Bibliography. Be sure to include the full citation, eRA Commons user name, and NCBI user name if needed.
NIHMS Help Desk answers questions about manuscript submissions to the NIH Manuscript Submission System.
eRA Service Desk answers questions about eRA Commons and submitting progress reports (RPPRs). They can also be reached by phone Monday-Friday 7 am-8 pm Eastern at 1-866-504-9552 (toll free) or 301-402-7469. Press 1 for eRA Commons or ASSIST.