NIH Public Access Policy

Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2007 (H.R. 2764)

H.R. 2764 was signed on December 26, 2007 by the President.  A provision in this bill contains language mandating submitting all NIH-funded research results that are accepted for journal publication to PubMed Central:

SEC. 218. The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require 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.

See policy details from NIH.

See our FAQ below or download the PDF.

NIH Mandate FAQ

Click on a question to view the answer.

Who Must Comply?

The NIH Public Access Policy applies to all peer-reviewed articles that arise, in whole or in part, from direct costs funded by NIH, or from NIH staff, that are accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008.

  1. Directly funded by an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007- September 30, 2008) or beyond;

  2. Directly funded by a contract signed on or after April 7, 2008;

  3. Directly funded by the NIH Intramural Program.

  4. If NIH pays your salary.

The final, peer-reviewed manuscript includes all graphics and supplemental materials that are associated with the article. 

Additionally, beginning May 25, 2008, anyone submitting an application, proposal or progress report to the NIH must include the PMC or NIH Manuscript Submission reference number when citing applicable articles that arise from their NIH funded research. This policy includes applications submitted to the NIH for the May 25, 2008 due date and subsequent dates.

What Must I do to Comply with the NIH Mandate?

  1. Beginning April 7, 2008, upon acceptance of a manuscript by a publisher, attach either the NIH suggested copyright management language:

    "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 PubMed Central as soon as possible but no later than 12 months after publication by Journal."

    - OR - 

    Complete and print the Scholar's Copyright Addendum to ensure that the publisher complies with the NIH mandate stipulating that your manuscript must be submitted to PubMed Central at the time of article acceptance.

  2. Upon article acceptance of publication, submit the article manuscript to NIH. Instructions are at NIH How To Comply. Skip this step if you submit to a journal that submits to PubMed Central on your behalf. Go here to see a list of journals that will submit to PubMed Central for you.

  3. Beginning May 25, 2008, when citing an article in NIH applications, proposals or progress reports, you must include the PubMed Central reference number, PMCID. See this FAQ on how to cite articles.

What Resources Exist to Assist with NIH Public Access Policy Compliance?

Where can Authors Find Amendment Samples for use with Publisher Agreements?

When an author's work is accepted for publication, the author may be asked to sign a copyright transfer agreement form. To comply with the Public Access Policy, authors need to ensure that the agreement permits the submission of the research article into PubMed Central.

  • NIH has suggested the following language for insertion into publishing agreements to retain the limited rights necessary for PubMed Central deposit:

    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 PubMed Central as soon as possible but no later than 12 months after publication by Journal.

  • Another option which includes more author rights than the NIH suggested language is to use the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine.

For more information on your rights as an author, watch this short video on intellectual property and author rights:

Last modified: Jan 07, 2013
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