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NIH Public Access Policy


The NIH Public Access Policy ensures the public has access to published results of NIH-funded research. It requires researchers to submit all peer-reviewed journal articles that arise from NIH funds to PMC (formerly called PubMed Central) within twelve months of publication. PMC is a free online archive of full-text biomedical journal articles.

Two parts of compliance for NIH-funded authors

1. Submission of all NIH-funded, peer reviewed final published articles to PMC. There are four submission methods:

2. Inclusion of the PMC reference number (PMCID). All articles falling under the new policy that are cited in NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports that were authored or co-authored by you or arose from your NIH award, must include the PMC reference number (PMCID). Read more about PMCIDs, or view instructions on how to find PMCIDs for all your NIH-supported publications.

New for 2013

As of July 1, 2013, NIH will hold processing of non-competing continuation awards if publications arising from grant awards are not in compliance with the Public Access Policy. Read the policy here or view the following archived webinar "Changes to the NIH Public Access Policy and the Implications" (Jan 15, 2013).

Retaining Author's Rights

Before you sign a publication agreement or similar copyright transfer agreement, make sure that the agreement allows the paper to be posted to PMC in accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy. Final, peer-reviewed manuscripts must be posted to the NIHMS upon acceptance for publication, and be made publicly available on PMC no later than 12 months after the official date of publication (see NIH "Address Copyright" page for more information)

Science Commons: Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engin

  • Authors must address copyright before signing agreements with publishers. See FAQ C.3.
  • Some publisher agreements already provide for deposit in the PMC database; however, many current agreements do not. One useful resource allowing quick review of publisher policies is found at the Sherpa/Romeo website:
  • If you are submitting to a publisher whose policies on NIH submittal are unclear, unknown, or non-compliant, be sure to include the comment that the manuscript "is subject to the NIH PMC submittal requirements" in your correspondence with the journal editors.
  • Before signing an agreement to publish the manuscript, insert over your signature "Subject to the attached Addendum"
  • Print out, sign, and attach a document with the following information:​​

ADDENDUM : Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final manuscript to the NIH upon acceptance for Journal publication, for public archiving in PMC as soon as possible but no later than 12 months after publication by Journal.

General Information and Frequently Asked Questions from NIH

Manuscript Submission