NIH Public Access Policy

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently enacted a new Public Access Policy that ensures public access to published results of NIH funded research. The policy will be implemented in two phases:

  1. Effective April 7, 2008, the revised policy requires that all peer-reviewed manuscripts generated from NIH funding must be submitted to PubMed Central, the NIH digital archive of journal literature, at the time of acceptance of the article for publication.
  2. Effective May 25, 2008, the revised policy requires that NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports must include the PubMed Central reference number 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.

The policy applies to publications generated in one of the following categories:

  • Directly funded by an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active during FY2008.
  • Directly funded by a contract signed on or after April 7, 2008.
  • Directly funded by the NIH Intramural Program.

This new requirement only applies to publications generated from NIH funded research. Additional details and background information about the policy may be found here.

Copyright Transfer Agreements

It is important for authors to inform the journal that the article is subject to the public access policy when submitting for publication. Authors must also ensure that publication agreements/copyright transfer agreements allow the article to be submitted to PubMed Central (PMC) in accordance with NIH public access policy. ORC will provide assistance with reviewing these agreements and developing agreement language that allows publication freedom while complying with the new requirements. Please contact Tanta Myles at 348-8461 or cmyles@research.ua.edu for assistance.

Submission of Articles to PubMed Central

In order to minimize the burden of this new requirement on researchers and their staff, the Office for Research through the Office for Research Compliance will provide assistance with submissions, citation requirements and address issues associated with the new policy.

It is important to note that PubMed Central is not the same as PubMed and submissions to PubMed do not meet the new requirement

Some publishers currently provide the final published articles of NIH-supported research to PubMed Central within 12 months of publication. If the investigators are publishing in these journals, then no additional action is required because these journals submit articles to PubMed Central (PMC) on behalf of their authors. Authors must provide the associated award information. Click here for a list of participating journals.

If the work is being published in an outlet that doesn’t submit to PubMed Central, there are two options available for submitting an article:

  1. You can deposit a copy of the manuscript in the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system.
  2. The Office for Research Compliance can deposit a copy of the peer reviewed manuscript in PubMed Central on your behalf.

If you choose to submit the accepted manuscript yourself, you can find details on the process here.

If you wish ORC to submit the article, please forward the following information to rscompliance@fa.ua.edu:

  • Journal Name
  • Manuscript Title
  • Name of Grantee
  • Grant Number(s)
  • Manuscript Text File
  • Figure File(s)
  • Supplementary Data File

Regardless of who submits the article, proofs, distinct from those provided by the journal, will be returned by PubMed Central to the author. The proof with corrections must be returned to PubMed Central before the manuscript is officially entered into the database and gets a PubMed Central ID (PMCID) number. This number is critical for the submission of progress and final reports and future grant applications.

It is important to remember that authors are required to verify and approve (personally) via the Manuscript Submission System regardless who submits to the manuscript.

Citing Articles Using the PMCID Number

Beginning May 25, 2008, NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports must include the PubMed Central ID when citing an article that falls under the policy. Authors are required to list the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) at the end of the already-required full journal citation for the article. If a PubMed Central reference number is not yet available, include the NIH Manuscript Submission system reference number (NIHMS ID) instead. In NIH applications and progress reports, be sure to add the PMCID to articles on your biosketch (and those of your collaborators) that fall under the policy.

If you have questions about the applicability of NIH Public Access Policy to a particular situation, or about any of the information presented on this page, please contact:

Carpantato (Tanta) Myles
Director of Research Compliance & Research Compliance Officer
205-348-8461
cmyles@research.ua.edu

NIH Public Access Policy Related Links:

When and How to Comply
Analysis and RFI Feedback
Submission Methods