National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy (2/4/2008)

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 of published articles resulting from NIH-funded research to PubMed Central. These articles will be made publicly available on PubMed Central within 12 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 ( Author verifies content.

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. SeeĀ  ttp:// for a list of these journals.

3. Cite. Beginning April 7, 2008, authors must include PubMed Central ID 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 the policy change and the submission process. In the meantime, there is a submission tutorial at

What the New Public Access Requirement Means to the NIH-Supported Investigator

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 7 (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 to
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 the policy.

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 topic.

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 Policy.

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 disseminate.

Do staff who may receive questions from your authors know where to go for help?
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 to help 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 the policy, copyright and the submission process. Other institutional
officials, such as grants and contract staff and legal counsel, may receive questions about the policy from faculty. It may be helpful to identify staff likely to receive these questions in advance, and ensure that they
have the ability to answer these questions directly or refer authors to the right place.

Does your institution wish to participate in any public resources on compliance?
The research, publishing and medical library communities have developed a number of internet resources to support and understand Public Access. We welcome your questions and suggestions for information or materials that will help you comply with the policy. Email us at We will keep you updated on both the Nexus and the Public Access Web page of additional resources as they become available.

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