Skip to Main Content
UMass Chan Medical School, Lamar Soutter Library. Education. Research. Health Care. Empowering the future. Preserving the past.
UMass Chan Medical School Homepage Lamar Soutter Library Homepage

NIH Public Access Policy

Resources and guidance on the NIH Public Access Policy, biosketches, and the SciENcv biosketch tool

NIH Public Access Policy - basic steps and recommended practices

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, thus ensuring that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. A manuscript must be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication. This policy applies to 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 and Learning Resources.

Basic steps

  1. Manuscript is accepted for publication (yay!)
  • Determine your journal's submission method for NIH-funded articles
  • You do NOT have to pay an open access fee to comply with the policy
  1. Final peer-reviewed manuscript is submitted to PubMed Central and issued a PMCID after final approval
  1. Authors track and manage their compliance using NCBI's My Bibliography 
  1. Authors report publications to NIH by including PMCIDs in citations in progress reports, applications, and proposals

Recommended practices for researchers

  1. Acknowledge NIH funding support in publications.
  2. Check the publisher's website and/or confirm that the publisher's agreement allows the paper to be posted in PubMed Central (PMC) in accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy. 
  3. Be sure to explicitly let the publisher know during submission or after acceptance that a paper is NIH-funded.  There is often a checkbox on the copyright transfer agreement form.  Ask your editorial contact to confirm that the publisher will deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript or final published article into NIHMS.
  4. Retain a copy of the copyright transfer agreement.
  5. Retain a copy of the final, peer-reviewed manuscript version of the work that reflects all changes made as a result of the peer review process.  (If you have this, then you can deposit it into NIHMS if necessary.)
  6. Update your My Bibliography periodically using the “Add citations” button and associate the papers with related awards.
  7. Investigate non-compliant papers.

Presentation: NIH Public Access Compliance Instructions

NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS) submission process

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system to facilitate the submission of peer-reviewed manuscripts for inclusion in PubMed Central (PMC) in support of the NIH Public Access Policy. An overview and step-by-step tutorials are available.Manuscript deposit via NIHMS is a multi-step process that currently takes approximately 2 to 3 weeks following initial approval of a complete submission. Processing times may vary depending on Reviewer responsiveness and the volume of submissions during a given period. Steps in the NIHMS Process: Deposit Files, Initial Approval, NIHMS Conversion, Final Approval, PMCID Assigned, Available in PMC.



Need support?

Contact one of the librarians listed on this page

NCBI Help Desk answers questions about My NCBI and My Bibliography. Provide your NCBI user name, eRA Commons user name, the email address(es) associated with the accounts, and the full citation for papers.

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.

Public Access Mailbox provides help complying with the NIH Public Access Policy.