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NIH Public Access Policy

Information and resources to help researchers comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.


The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research. Effective April 7, 2008, the NIH Public Access Policy requires that all peer-reviewed articles arising from NIH funds are submitted to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication.  

To help advance science and improve human and animal health, the Policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public in PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication.

NIH further requires investigators to include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) in all subsequent NIH grant applications, proposals, and progress reports as evidence of compliance.

A (not so) friendly reminder: NIH will delay processing of non-competing continuation grant awards if publications arising from that award are not in compliance with the Public Access mandate. NOT-OD-12-160 (Nov 2012)

How to Comply

  1. Determine Applicability [NIH]
    Does the NIH Public Access Policy apply to your manuscript?
  2. Address Copyright
    Make sure your publishing agreement allows your work to be posted to PubMed Central (PMC).
  3. Determine the "Journal Method"
    In Journal Methods A & B, the publisher submits the manuscript to PMC and approves the public release. In Journal Methods C & D, the manuscript goes through the NIH Manuscript Submission system, and you approve the public release.
  4. Cite PMCIDs in Reports and Applications
    Include the PMCID at the end of the full citation in your applications or reports. The PMCID is your evidence of compliance. Add your articles to your NCBI My Bibliography -- your RPPR will take the publication information from here.

Media Requirements

While not part of the Public Access Policy, note that NIH also requires grant acknowledement in the media (e.g., press releases, web stories, blog posts).

Grantees are required to include the following:

  • A reference to the National Institutes of Health
  • The name of the funding institute (e.g., National Cancer Institute)

Campus Resources

Questions about applicability to a grant-funded project? Contact your OSPA pre-award or post-award staff or call 882-7560.