National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy
The NIH recently announced its new Public Access Policy regarding
peer-reviewed publications. The new NIH Public Access Policy will ensure
published NIH-funded research is accessible to the public, health care
providers, educators and scientists and will help advance science and
improve human health.
In accordance with federal law, the NIH now requires the submission
published articles resulting from NIH-funded research to PubMed Central.
These articles will be made publicly available on PubMed Central within
months of the publication date. The length of this delay period is
determined by the copyright holder, which may be the author, their
institution or their publisher. NIH will continue to work with all three
groups to make this new policy a success.
There are three actions grantees must take to comply with the policy:
1. Address copyright: Beginning April 7, 2008, authors of articles
arising from NIH funds are responsible for ensuring that publishing
agreements allow for full compliance with the policy.
2. Submit the article to NIH. Beginning April 7, 2008, authors must
submit to PubMed Central an electronic version of every peer-reviewed
article arising from NIH research funds, once an article is accepted
for publication. NIH has worked with publishers to develop several
ways to submit articles:
The author or someone in their organization may deposit a copy
of the peer-reviewed manuscript in the NIH Manuscript
Submission (NIHMS) system (http://www.nihms.nih.gov/). Author
The journal may offer to send the peer-reviewed manuscript
files to the NIHMS. Author verifies content.
Publish in a PubMed Central Journal. No additional effort
required from the author. See
http://publicaccess.nih.gov/submit_process_journals.htm for a
list of these journals.
3. Cite. Beginning April 7, 2008, authors must include PubMed Central
numbers in NIH applications and reports when citing their articles
covered by the policy.
Information for the public
Policy Guide Notice:
Public Access Policy Web site:
We will keep you posted on the availability of training materials on
policy change and the submission process. In the meantime, there is
submission tutorial at http://www.nihms.nih.gov/web-help/index.html.
What the New Public Access Requirement Means to the NIH-Supported
The new Public Access requirement is an important opportunity to make
published research funded by NIH and written by you and your colleagues
accessible to all - the public, health care providers, educators and
scientists, among others. This improved access will help advance science
and, ultimately, improve human health.
The Public Access policy becomes a term and condition of award on April
(see the related article in our "Top Stories" section). As
you take steps
to comply with this requirement, consider a few key issues. Please refer
the Guide Notice for the policy requirements.
Have you identified the key players at your institution who can help
successfully implement the policy?
Librarians, faculty and offices of sponsored research, the general counsel
and technology transfer could all play important roles in implementing
Does your institution wish to develop or amend a standard copyright
transfer agreement for all institutional authors?
A standard copyright transfer agreement may make it easier for faculty,
students and employees to comply with the policy, and decrease questions
and confusion. Refer to the NIH's FAQs for more information on this
What institutional policies and guidance may need to be modified to
implement the Public Access Policy?
Institutions may wish to consider modifying formal guidance for
peer-reviewed publications arising from NIH funds. This guidance may
include faculty and student handbooks.
Institutions may also wish to consider internal procedures and quality
assurance checks for submitting funding-related submissions to NIH (e.g.
PHS forms 398, 424, 2590, etc.) in light of changes to the Public Access
Does your institution wish to develop a plan to inform potential authors
about the policy change, its implications and how they can comply?
Institutions may want to announce the policy change internally and
incorporate discussions of Public Access into training for institutional
staff, faculty and students. NIH has an FAQ on policy and online training
on how to submit articles that institutions may want to modify or
Do staff who may receive questions from your authors know where to go
NIH has a Web site on the policy. Institutions may also wish to designate
internal leads who can answer questions on the policy.
Does your institution wish to designate an individual or department
investigators submit their own manuscripts?
Many university libraries support the Public Access policy by offering
training on the policy and submission, and answering questions about
policy, copyright and the submission process. Other institutional
officials, such as grants and contract staff and legal counsel, may
questions about the policy from faculty. It may be helpful to identify
staff likely to receive these questions in advance, and ensure that
have the ability to answer these questions directly or refer authors
Does your institution wish to participate in any public resources on
The research, publishing and medical library communities have developed
number of internet resources to support and understand Public Access.
We welcome your questions and suggestions for information or materials
will help you comply with the policy. Email us at PublicAccess@mail.nih.gov
. We will keep you updated on both the Nexus and the Public Access Web
of additional resources as they become available.