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NIH Public Access Policy: Steps to Compliance : NIH Submission

Policy on enhancing public access to publications resulting from NIH funded research.

Step 1: Does it apply to me?

The NIH Policy applies to you if:

  • The manuscript is peer-reviewed 
  • And is accepted for publication in a journal on or after April 7, 2008
  • And if any one of the following is true:
    • it arises from research directly funded by NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 or beyond;
    • it arises from research directly funded by a NIH contract signed on or after April 7, 2008;
    • it arises from research directly funded by the NIH Intramural Program;
    • if NIH pays your salary.

Step 2: Publishing & Submitting Manuscripts

Copyright is your responsibility.  

Authors own the original copyrights to materials they write, but often transfer some or all of these rights to the publisher when the journal agrees to publish their paper. Make sure the journal in which you publish is aware your article is subject to the NIH Public Access Policy before any rights are transferred. Avoid signing any agreements with publishers that do not allow you to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Deposit your paper.

There are four Submission Methods for ensuring your paper is submitted to PubMed Central (PMC).

  • Method A: Some journals post the final published paper to PMC automatically upon its publication.  If your article will be published in one of these journals, your paper will be published to PMC without any action on your part.
  • Method B: Some journals or publishers will post your final paper to PMC upon its publication if they are specifically instructed to do so.  If your article will be published in one of these journals, you will need to arrange for your paper to be posted to PMC upon its publication.
  • Method C: If your paper will be published in a journal not listed in Submission Methods A, B, or D, you will need to post the final peer-reviewed manuscript upon its acceptance for publication to the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system.
  • Method D: Some journals and publishers will submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to NIHMS when they determine the paper falls within the NIH Public Access Policy. If your article will be published in one of these journals, you will need to ensure the publisher submits the final peer-reviewed manuscript to NIHMS upon its acceptance for publication and compete the rest of the submission process.

Use the NIH's Identification Wizard to find out which method you will need to use.

Cite article.

Include the PMC number (PMCID) for applicable papers in applications, proposals and progress reports at the end of the full citation. This requirement only applies to papers that fall under the Policy and are authored or co-authored by you or arose from your NIH award.