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NIH Public Access Policy

This guide provides an overview of the NIH Public Access Policy and how to ensure your research and publications are compliant with its requirements.

Overview

There are four methods to ensure that peer-reviewed publications arising from NIH-funded research are submitted to PubMed Central (PMC) in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy. 

Authors should use the method most appropriate for them that is consistent with their publishing agreement. More information about each of the four methods--A,B,C, and D--is included on this page.

NIH has created a tool to help authors determine the appropriate submission method for their manuscript: Determine Submission Method

Method A - Automatic

Submission Method A journals make the final published version of all NIH-funded articles available in PubMed Central (PMC) no later than 12 months after publication without author involvement. The start date shown for each journal is the earliest publication date that meets this requirement.

Though the publishers of journals that follow Method A will deposit the manuscript, the author will still need to monitor the process to make sure the article is added to My Bibliography and if necessary, NIH progress reports, renewal applications, and biosketches.

Instructions for ensuring compliance and reporting the paper to NIH: Method A Best Practices

More information about My Bibliography: My NCBI and My Bibliography

Method B - Author Contacts Journal Publisher

Publishers and journals that use Submission Method B do not automatically deposit every NIH-funded paper in PubMed Central (PMC). Some journals and publishers in this group coordinate with NIH to post individual final published articles in PMC on a case-by-case basis. The author can choose to arrange with the journal for the deposit of a specific article; this usually involves choosing the journal’s fee-based open access option for publishing that article. Please contact the respective journals directly for details on their programs.

The journals and publishers that have this arrangement with NIH are listed here: Select Deposit Publishers (Method B)

It is the author's decision whether to pay open access fees--something that can be budgeted into NIH grants--or to make other arrangements with the publisher. This should be clarified with the journal or publisher when the article is submitted for publication.

Instructions for other parts of the process, including ensuring compliance and entering article information in My Bibliography, are available from NIH: Method B Best Practices

More information about My Bibliography: My NCBI and My Bibliography

Method C - Author Deposits Manuscript

Under Method C, the author or a designee must deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript in PubMed Central via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). 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.

Instructions for submitting papers through the NIHMS, assuring compliance, and reporting the publication to NIH:
Submitting papers through the NIHMS: Methods C and D Best Practices

More information about the NIHMS: NIH Manuscript Submission System

Method D - Publisher Deposits and Author Approves

Method D publishers have volunteered to deposit a final peer-reviewed manuscript to the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS) when they determine that it falls under the NIH Public Access Policy. Authors and awardees are responsible for ensuring that the manuscript is deposited into the NIHMS upon acceptance for publication. 

The assigned author will receive an email notifying them when action is required in NIHMS. Any author, or even a Principal Investigator if they are in a position to verify the content, can serve as the assigned author. See this NIHMS FAQ to change the author assignment.

List of Method D Publishers

Instructions for submitting papers through the NIHMS, assuring compliance, and reporting the publication to NIH:
Submitting papers through the NIHMS: Methods C and D Best Practices

More information about the NIHMS: NIH Manuscript Submission System