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NIH Public Access Policy Compliance


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have instituted a new NIH Public Access Policy affecting the accessibility of NIH funded research publications. This policy will make tax-funded NIH research available freely to researchers and the public within 12 months of publication. Peer-reviewed articles resulting from NIH-funded research will be made publicly accessible in full-text from the PubMed Central database.
Further information.

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.

(Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-161, §2, 121 Stat. 345 (2008). Page 345.
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After April 7, 2008, upon acceptance for publication by a peer-reviewed publication, authors and/or principal investigators (PIs) are responsible for submitting an electronic version of their final manuscripts to PubMed Central (PMC). Authors have 12 months to comply. If PIs do not submit their NIH funded research manuscripts according to the guidelines, PIs will not be in compliance with their grant. Submit a manuscript.

To submit, authors will need the

  • NIH funding source(s) (NIH, Wellcome Trust, or Howard Hughes Medical Institute)
  • title of the journal
  • title of the manuscript
  • grant number(s)
  • electronic file(s) of the manuscript

The author can change or add information, if necessary.

After submission, PubMed Central staff will prepare the manuscript by translating it into a format appropriate for PubMed Central. Then they will contact the author to review and approve the resulting version. Upon receiving approval from the author, the PMC version will be submitted to PubMed Central. The manuscript will be made publicly accessible in full-text no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.

Some journals will submit manuscripts for free or as a fee service.
Journals That Submit Final Published Articles to PubMed Central


Availability in PubMed Central does not change or affect the copyright of the manuscript. Authors own copyright of their works upon creation and will retain copyright unless they choose to sign it over to someone else. Fair use and other copyright rights and restrictions still apply.

However, authors are responsible for ensuring that any publisher contractual agreements are in compliance and agreement with this policy and do not prohibit accessibility in PubMed Central. Suggested wording follows.

Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final manuscript to NIH upon acceptance for Journal publication or thereafter, for public archiving in PubMed Central as soon as possible after publication by Journal.

For ISU faculty with coauthors employed by NIH, be aware that NIH put out a policy for intramural researchers that restricts them from transferring copyright to publishers above and beyond the one-year embargo. Intramural researchers are involved in research conducted by, or in support of, employees of the NIH. In lieu of the usual copyright transfer agreement with the one year provision, no NIH employee is allowed to transfer copyright.

SPARC Author Addendum suggests wording for authors to retain their copyright permissions.

Citing NIH funded publications explains how NIH submissions should be cited.


For information about the policy, see the National Institutes of Health Public Access

To submit your manuscript, use the NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS). Select eRA Commons.

NIHMS System User’s Guide to Submitting a Manuscript

Journals That Submit Final Published Articles to PubMed Central

Citing NIH funded publications

Further information can be found at the following Web sites.

ARL Guide to NIH Policy which links under “resources” to many university NIH websites.

SPARC/Science Commons/ARL joint white paper "Complying with the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy: Copyright Considerations and Options"

Duke University NIH Policy

Washington University in St. Louis NIH Policy

University of North Carolina NIH Policy

University of Minnesota NIH Policy

Questions may be directed to the Office of Sponsored Programs or to the Cunningham Memorial Library.

Office of Sponsored Programs
Erickson Hall, Room 511
Phone: 812/237-3088

Shelley Arvin
Cunningham Memorial Library
Phone: 812/237-2605
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  Updated July 8th, 2008     Maintained by: Reference/Instruction Department
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