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NIH Public Access Policy  

Information and guidance for complying with the NIH Public Access Policy.
Last Updated: Feb 20, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Policy Overview

The NIH Public Access Policy implements Division G, Title II, Section 218 of PL 110-161 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008) which states:

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.

In order to advance science and improve human health, the NIH is committed to providing free online access to full-text, peer-reviewed journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) requires every scientist who receives an NIH research grant and publishes the results in a peer-reviewed journal to deposit a digital copy of the article in its digital archive, PMC (formerly PubMed Central). In turn, the NIH will make these articles freely available within one year of publication. 

To learn more about the NIH Public Access Policy, feel free to contact Donna Gibson, Director of Library Services or Debra Schaller-Demers, Director, Research Outreach and Compliance.


  • As of April 7, 2008, all articles arising from NIH funds must be submitted to PMC upon acceptance for publication.
  • As of May 25, 2008, all NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports must include the PMC reference number (PMCID) when citing an article that falls under the policy and is authored or co-authored by the investigator, or arose from the investigator's NIH award. This policy includes applications submitted to the NIH for May 25, 2008 due date and subsequent due dates.
  • As of August 21, 2009, the NIHMSID may be used to demonstrate compliance on NIH applications, proposals or reports, for up to three months after a paper is published.  Three or more months after publication, a PMC reference number (PMCID) must be provided.  Only the PMCID signifies that all steps of the NIH Public Access submission process are complete and that the paper is ready for posting at PMC.
  • As of August 1, 2010, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will require the use of the My NCBI Tool for Bibliography Management in eRA Commons.
  • As of July 18, 2011, now when you go to log into MyNCBI, you will use the NIH Login option and your eRA Commons credentials.
  • As of April 15, 2013, AAHSL in collaboration with MLA developed and distributed a joint statement regarding the NIH Public Access Policy to their members.  It urges publishers to actively assist authors in addressing past non-compliance and to consider entering into an NIH Portfolio agreement to deposit all future NIH-funded articles into PMC.
  • As of July 1, 2013, NIH will begin to hold processing of non-competing continuation awards if publications arising from grant awards are not in compliance with the public access policy. Once publications are in compliance, awards will go forward.  Additional information, view post by the NIH's Deputy Director for Extramural Research.
  • Changes to Public Access Policy Compliance Efforts Apply to All Awards with Anticipated Start Dates on or after July 1, 2013.
  • On January 28, 2015, the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS) launched its new look and layout. In addition to a new interface design, the update streamlines the login and manuscript submission processes.  Relevant help information has been incorporated directly on each screen. 


Content for this LibGuide was adapted from NIH Public Access Overview.

For Help, Contact:

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Donna Gibson - Director of Library Services
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Reference: 212-639-7439
Donna: 212-639-2109
Donna (Blackberry): 646-229-7383
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