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NIH Public Access Compliance   Tags: nih, publishing, research, scholarly communication  

This guide will help you navigate the process of submitting a manuscript to PubMed Central in order to comply with the NIH Public Access mandate.
Last Updated: Oct 29, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is the NIH Public Access Policy

The NIH Public Access Policy implements Division F Section 217 of PL 111-8 (Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009).

The law states: The Director of the National Institutes of Health ("NIH") shall require in the current fiscal year and thereafter that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, that the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

In other words, the Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central ( The Policy requires that these final peer-reviewed manuscripts be accessible to the public on PubMed Central.


Tutorials and More Information

The NIH Public Access Policy mandate ensures that NIH-funded research is available to the public in PubMed Central.

All investigators who receive NIH funding must submit, upon acceptance for publication, a Word Document version of their final peer-reviewed manuscript, including graphs and supplemental materials.


NIH Guidelines for Manuscript Submission

If you have any questions at all as to whether you need to submit your manuscript, here are the NIH's guidelines.

The Policy applies to any manuscript that:

  1. Is peer-reviewed, and
  2. Is accepted for publication in a journal starting April 7, 2008, and
  3. Arises from any of the following:
    1. Any direct funding from an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 or beyond, or
    2. Any direct funding from an NIH contract signed on or after April 7, 2008, or
    3. An NIH employee.

Two items of note. First, The NIH considers a publication to be a journal if , "a publication is in the journal section of the NLM catalog." For more information about the NIH's criteria for a journal see their Frequently Asked Questions page. Finally, directly funded means costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.

The Policy does not apply to dissertations, book chapters, conference proceedings, or letters to the editor.

if your manuscript includes research supported by any of the following CCSG Supported Research Facilities, you must submit to the NIH and acknowledge the Core Grant and the facility.

Biological Imaging Facility Highthroughput Screening Facility
Biostatistics & Informatics Facility Histopathology Facility
Biosample Repository Facility Laboratory Animal Facility
Cell Culture Facility Molecular Modeling Facility
Cell Sorting Facility Organic Synthesis Facility
DNA Sequencing Facility Population Studies Facility
Genomics Facility Transgenic Mouse Facility
Glasswashing Facility  

For more information about the NIH Public Access policy and how it applies to your research, see the NIH Public Access website.


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