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NIH Public Access Policy

Follow these steps:
  1. Overview
  2. Address Copyright
  3. Submit to PMIC
  4. Cite PMICs

Overview

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy became effective April 7, 2008. The NIH requires that the author's final version of any peer-reviewed journal article resulting from NIH-funded activities must be submitted to PubMed Central (PMC), NIH's digital repository, where it will be made available to the public within 12 months after the journal article is published.

NIH has recently indicated that it will begin enforcing the policy in the Spring of 2013. In particular, the NIH plans to begin holding processing on non-competing continuation awards if publications arising from their grants are not in compliance. For more information, see the official notice.

The information in this guide will help with several of the compliance issues that University of Pennsylvania authors will need to address and is organized around three steps to compliance:

The NIH Public Access Policy does NOT apply to the following:

  • Articles accepted for publication before April 7, 2008.
  • Articles which resulted from work that was funded by agencies other than NIH.
  • Books and book chapters.
  • Dissertations.
  • Any non peer-reviewed work, such as conference proceedings or editorials.

Quick Links

Address Copyright

Authors need to ensure that any copyright agreement between themselves and their publisher permits the submission of the author's manuscript to PubMed Central. At this time, most publishers acknowledge an author's right to submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to PMC in order to comply with the policy. Further, many publishers will submit the final published version to PMC automatically for you.

1. Check whether the journal you will publish in is on the list of journals that submits to PMC automatically on your behalf.
2. If the journal you will publish in is not found there, you can review the policies of publishers that do not submit final published articles to PMC for policy details regarding what you can submit and when the paper may be made public in PMC following publication. The SHERPA RoMEO database also collects publisher/journal copyright and self-archiving policies if further information is needed.

3. For publishers that do not explicitly allow deposit in PMC, the NIH provides the following example of language that could be added to a copyright agreement,

“Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final peer-reviewed 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.”

Suggested Cover Letter for a Corresponding Author to use with Journal Submissions
From Appendix A of the whitepaper “Complying with the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy: Copyright considerations and options” 2008, by Michael W. Carroll. Available for free download at http://www.arl.org/sparc.

Submit to PMIC

There Are Four Submission Methods

Method A
Publish your article in a journal that automatically submits to PMC. If you use this method, tasks related to the submission step of compliance will be completed for you by the publisher. You are, however, still responsible for locating the PMCID of the article once it has been assigned. For a listing of journals that submit for you, click here.

Method B
Make arrangements to have a publisher deposit a specific final published article in PMC. Submission to PMC is free, but some publishers will charge a fee to do this for you. Paying the publisher is not necessary if you or a third party submit the manuscript yourself (via Method C). For a listing of publishers that will support authors using method B, click here.

For Methods C & D
NIH Manuscript Submission System

Method C
Deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC yourself via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). This system is easy to use and submission can be done by the author or a third party in your lab or department.

Method D
This is a variation of method C. In this case, the publisher submits the manuscript to NIHMS along with your contact information. NIHMS will contact you when the submission has been received by them. You are responsible for all approval tasks related to NIHMS processing following the initial deposit by the publisher. Click here for a list of publishers that submit via this method.

For a list of publishers and their specific policies on submission of final peer-reviewed manuscripts (Methods B, C & D), click here.

Note: Regardless of the submission method used, you are still required to cite PMCIDs in NIH documents.


Overview of Submission Methods

Method A
Journal deposits final published articles in PubMed Central without author involvement
Method B
Author asks publisher to deposit specific final published article in PMC
Method C
Author deposits final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC via the NIHMS
Method D
Author completes submission of final peer-reviewed manuscript deposited by publisher in the NIHMS
Version of Paper Submitted Final Published Article Final Published Article Final Peer-reviewed Manuscript Final Peer-reviewed Manuscript
Task 1: Who starts the deposit process? Publisher Publisher Author or designee, via NIHMS Publisher

Task 2: Who approves paper for processing?
Publisher Publisher Author, via NIHMS Author, via NIHMS
Task 3: Who approves paper for Pub Med Central display? Publisher Publisher Author, via NIHMS Author, via NIHMS

Participating journal/publisher
Method A Journals Make arrangements with these publishers Check publishing agreement Make arrangements with these publishers

Who is Responsible?

NIH Awardee NIH Awardee NIH Awardee NIH Awardee

Adapted from NIH Public Access Policy site

What do I submit?

Why am I asked to deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript, rather than the final published article?

The NIH Public Access Policy requires that you deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript. However, the final published article is also accepted if you have the rights to submit it.

  • The final peer-reviewed manuscript is the final version of a paper that includes all changes resulting from the peer-review process and has been accepted for publication.
  • The final published article is the authoritative copy of the paper published in the journal, including copy and format modifications.

Who's responsible?

Ultimately, who is responsible for submission of articles to PMC?

As it can potentially delay or prevent funding of awards, non-compliance can impact institutions, principal investigators and other researchers whose work is funded by the award. It is however, the responsibility of the primary awardee for ensuring that the terms and conditions of an award are met.

This means that all peer-reviewed articles resulting from the grant should be deposited in PMC, including papers authored by sub-recipients. As PI, you may be responsible for ensuring that papers not authored by you, but resulting from your award, are deposited as well.

It is important to note that even if a third party - i.e. a publisher - has been tasked with submitting an article to PMC, they are not responsible for ensuring compliance with the policy and responsibility ultimately lies with the award recipients.

Cite PMCIDs

PMCIDs (& sometimes NIHMSIDs) Signify Compliance

To demonstrate compliance, all papers that fall under the NIH Public Access Policy must be cited using the PMCID or NIHMSID in all applications, proposals and reports submitted to the NIH.

  • If the article was published more than three months ago, you must cite the PMCID.
  • If the article was published less than three months ago and hasn't been assigned a PMCID yet, you must cite the NIHMSID (if using submission Methods C or D) or indicate "PMC Journal - In Process" (for Methods A or B).

More detail about the different ID types and when to use them is included below. Click here for information on locating a PMCID.

PMIDs and PMCIDs are not the same:

  • PubMed ID (PMID) | This is the reference number assigned to all articles in PubMed. The PMID is linked with a paper's abstract in PubMed and is not associated with the NIH Public Access Policy
  • PubMed Central ID (PMCID) | This is the reference number assigned to articles available in PubMed Central. A PMCID is linked to a full-text article availalbe in PMC. It is the ID you want to use when citing papers in NIH documents.
  • NIH Manuscript Submission ID (NIHMSID) | After submitting a manuscript through the NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS) through methods C or D, your manuscript will be assigned a NIHMSID. The NIHMSID can be used to signify compliance less than three months after publication for papers that have not yet been assigned a PMCID.

Note: For a given PMID (or list of them), you can use the PMCID/PMID/NIHMSID Converter to obtain the PMCID or NIHMSID if they exist.


Overview of Accepted IDs in Citations

Method A
Journal deposits final published articles in PubMed Central without author involvement
Method B
Author asks publisher to deposit specific final published article in PMC
Method C
Author deposits final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC via the NIHMS
Method D
Author completes submission of final peer-reviewed manuscript deposited by publisher in the NIHMS
To cite papers, from acceptance for publication to 3 months post publication PMCID or “PMC Journal- In Process” PMCID or “PMC Journal- In Process” PMCID or NIHMSID PMCID or NIHMSID
To cite papers, 3 months post publication and beyond PMCID PMCID PMCID PMCID

Adapted from NIH Public Access Policy site

My NCBI & My Bibliography

Principal investigators with eRA Commons accounts will use the My NCBI My Bibliography tool to manage and populate their professional bibliographies. PIs must have a My NCBI account in order to access My Bibliography and the account must be linked with an eRA Commons account. PIs may designate a delegate to maintain My Bibliography content on their behalf.

PMCIDs in Citation Managers

Endnote
No content files can update libraries that already exist in EndNote, so PMC numbers will only be added to new references automatically, if the references have PMC numbers on the PubMed site at the time of import.

EndNote X3 and later come with updated files that import the PMC number to the PMC field automatically.

For those using an earlier version of EndNote (X2 or earlier), instructions are available on the EndNote website.

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