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Institute for Innovative Education

NIH Public Access Policy


The NIH Public Access policy mandates public access to the results of NIH funded research in order to advance science and improve human health. The policy applies to all peer-reviewed papers based on research funded by NIH that are accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008. Authors are required to submit, or have submitted for them, an electronic copy of their final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central (PMC) upon acceptance for publication, where it will be made available to the public no later than 12 months after publication. PMC is a digital repository maintained by the National Library of Medicine.

As a recipient of NIH funds, the University of Rochester (UR) must comply with this policy. Principal investigators are responsible for ensuring that papers arising directly from their NIH awards are submitted to PMC and must indicate compliance with this policy on the Office of Research and Project Administration's (ORPA) internal sign-off form.

Important Dates for UR Researchers

  • April 7, 2008: Peer-reviewed manuscripts based on NIH funded research accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008 must be submitted to PMC upon acceptance for publication. Manuscripts are submitted to PMC via the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system.
  • May 25, 2008: Effective May 25, 2008 investigators need to include the PMC ID number or NIHMS ID number for articles that fall under the policy and arose from the investigator's NIH award when citing the article in NIH progress reports, new applications and renewals. This policy includes applications submitted to NIH for the May 25, 2008 due date and subsequent due dates. NIHMS ID numbers are assigned when the manuscript is submitted. PMC ID numbers can be found in the PubMed database. Miner Library staff can help locate PMC ID numbers. Contact a Reference Librarian at 275-2487 or

Submitting Papers to PubMed Central (PMC)

There are four ways to ensure that a paper is submitted to PMC in compliance with the NIH Public Access policy.

• Method A: Publish in a journal that deposits all NIH-funded final published articles in PMC without author involvement. A complete list of these journals is available at PMC.

• Method B: Make arrangements to have a publisher deposit a specific final published article in PMC. This method usually involves choosing the journal’s fee-based open access option for publishing that article. NIH provides a list of publishers that deposit specific final published articles in PMC.

• Method C: Deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC yourself via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). Choosing a publisher's fee-based service (Method B) is NOT necessary. UR authors can submit manuscripts to PMC themselves or designate a third party such as an administrator or librarian to do the submission. The NIMHS system is simple and easy to use. NIH provides tutorials on using the NIMHS system. Staff from Miner Library can assist in submitting manuscripts and/or provide training. Contact Linda Hasman (, 275-3399) for more information.

• Method D: Complete the submission process for a final peer-reviewed manuscript that the publisher has deposited in the NIHMS system. Many publishers will submit the author's final manuscript if requested, however the author must give final approval to the submitted files. Additional information about individual publishers' policies is available as part of this web site.


When the publisher does not submit the papers to PMC, UR authors must reserve this right in order to comply with the NIH Public Access policy. Before signing a publication or copyright transfer agreement, UR authors should ensure that the agreement allows them to submit their final peer-reviewed manuscript to PMC.

  • UR authors can notify publishers that their article is based on research funded by NIH and is subject to the NIH Public Access policy by using the standard cover letter approved by the UR Office of Counsel for this purpose.
  • If the publisher’s publication or copyright transfer agreement does not contain language allowing the author to submit a copy of the final manuscript to PMC to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after publication, an addendum approved by the UR Office of Counsel reserving this right must be added to the publication or copyright transfer agreement.


Compliance with the NIH Public Access policy is required, and will be considered a term and condition of grant awards or cooperative agreements, in accordance with the NIH Grants Policy Statement. For contracts, NIH includes this requirement in all R& D solicitations and awards under Section H, Special Contract Requirements, in accordance with the Uniform Contract Format.

Program directors and principal investigators are required to demonstrate compliance when submitting an application, proposal, or progress report to NIH. Compliance is demonstrated by:

• Including the PubMed Central identification number (PMCID) for each paper cited that was authored or co-authored by the applicant or arose from their NIH award, and falls under the policy. PMCID numbers can be downloaded from the PubMed database using EndNote, RefWorks or Reference Manager. The Downloading PMCID Numbers handout provides detailed instructions.

• Including the NIH Manuscript Submission identification number (NIHMS ID) for applicable cited papers if the PMCID is not available yet. The NIHMS ID is assigned during the PMC submission process.

• Using the "PMC Journal - In Process" designation for applicable cited papers if the PMCID is not available yet and the paper was published in a journal that submits final published articles directly to PMC on behalf of their authors. Applicants can only use the "PMC Journal - In Process" designation if the journal is included on the Journals That Submit All NIH-Funded Final Published Articles to PMC list, or if the applicant has made arrangements, usually for a fee, with a publisher to have a specific final published article submitted to PMC. These publishers are can be found on the list of Publishers That Will Deposit a Specific Final Published Article in PMC on Request.

Program directors and principal investigators will be notified via e-mail by NIH Program Officials if papers cited in applications, proposals or progress reports appear to fall under the policy but lack PMCIDs or NIHMS IDs. Investigators will be asked to respond and provide the appropriate PMCID or NIHMS ID numbers for the papers listed.

Benefits of Policy

Potential benefits of the Public Access policy for NIH grantees include:

• Grant progress reporting requirements will be fulfilled by substituting manuscript deposit for the submission of print copies of articles.

• Articles will be preserved and archived by the National Library of Medicine.

• Articles deposited to PMC will be cross-indexed with other NCBI databases such as PubMed and GenBank.

• Visibility (and possibly, citation) of the research will be enhanced by public access.

Publishers' Policies on the NIH Public Access Policy

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