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NIH Public Access Policy

Describes the NIH Public Access Policy and compliance, including the process for obtaining PMCIDs

NIH-Funded Papers are Required to Have PMCIDs

Full text (along with all figures, tables and supplemental material) of manuscripts funded by NIH grants awarded April 2008 or after must be available in PubMed Central (PMC), within 12 months of publication.

However, these papers must display a PubMed Central ID (PMCID) no later than 3 months after publication date.

Many journals will deposit manuscripts to PubMed Central automatically. Others will deposit articles for authors upon request. You may never have to worry about depositing a manuscript to PMC yourself through the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).

If your journal doesn't deposit for you, it is our recommendation that the submissions are made by authors who are responsible for the final revisions of the manuscript(s) and who have access to NIH grant numbers. It takes only about 10 minutes to submit a manuscript.

Look up PMCIDs before Depositing the Paper

Before you decide to deposit your paper via NIHMS, you might want to check to see if the paper has a PMCID already in process.

Use the PMID to PMCID Converter
The NIH maintains a converter tool that allows you to look up PMCIDs (or other identifiers). Simply input a single PMID or list of PMIDs to retrieve any PMCIDs, if they exist. If a PMCID does not exist for a paper, that is a good indication that you should begin depost to PubMed Central via the NIHMS system.

Which Journals will Submit Manuscripts to PMC for You--and When Must You Submit Yourself?

This method is the simplest for the author. Some journals automatically submit all of their content directly to PubMed Central. No action on the part of the author or PI is necessary.

Only specific journals are designated "PMC Journals". You can find a list of them at the NIH Public Access Policy website via the link below. Use the search box on the page to search for your journal's title. If your journal does not appear on this list, you can try one of the other methods of submission.

In Method B, the author or PI asks a publisher to deposit a manuscript directly to PubMed Central for them. This usually costs a fee. We don't recommend this method. Instead, we recommend that authors use Method C (and request assistance from the library) or Method D.

In Method C, the author (or an author-assigned designee) will submit accepted peer-reviewed manuscript (final author copy) to NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS).

This is the most common method after Method A. The library can help you prepare and deposit your manuscript to NIHMS. Contact the NIH Public Access Compliance Reporter (PACR), Pamela Shaw, for assistance.

Some 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 author (or designated "reviewer" in NIHMS) must complete all remaining steps in the NIHMS in order for the submission to be accepted.

Be sure to read your author agreements from publishers and clearly indicate that your are NIH funded in these agreements. Most publishers will assist you if you indicate you are NIH funded at the time of publication.

Publishers are not obligated to deposit to NIHMS for you, and they will not deposit to NIHMS if you have indicated your NIH funding in your Acknowledgements section of the paper. You must communicate this information with them via the author agreement or directly.

See the link below for a list of publishers that may deposit manuscripts to NIHMS.