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NIH Public Access Policy: Home


Welcome to the guide for the NIH Public Access Policy for publications.

Other funder public access policies for publications:                                                                    

If you need information for policies related to data, please see Data Management and Sharing.

The NIH Public Access Policy

The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central (PMC) upon acceptance of publication.  

To help advance science and improve human health, the Policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication.

Key Points

NIH-funded investigators are required to submit (or have submitted for them) their final, peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central (PMC) upon acceptance of publication to be made publicly available within 12 months of publication. This policy applies to NIH-funded manuscripts accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008.

NIH applications, proposals and progress reports must include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) when citing a work 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, proposals, biosketches and progress reports submitted to the NIH.

A PMCID is required within 90 days post-publication of the work.

Recommended Practices for NIH-funded Authors

1. Acknowledge NIH funding support in publications. Some specific grants may have a preferred method of acknowledging support. Check with the PI of the grant to confirm wording to use for the acknowledgement. See: Why Properly Acknowledging NIH Support in Your Paper is Important.

2. Confirm that the publisher allows for compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy before submitting a work for peer review. This can be done by reviewing the copyright transfer agreement form or by checking the publisher website. Per NIH: "Before you sign a publication agreement or similar copyright transfer agreement, make sure that the agreement allows the paper to be posted to PubMed Central (PMC) in accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy." See: Addressing Copyright.

3. Retain a copy of the copyright transfer agreement.

4. Retain a copy of the final, peer-reviewed manuscript version of the work that reflects all changes made as a result of the peer review process.


Are you preparing a manuscript from your NIH-funded research? If so, then you may be required to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Presentations are available upon request for an overview of the NIH Public Access Policy including the steps involved in complying with the policy and how to demonstrate compliance.

If you would like to schedule a presentation for your department, program or division, please contact Cathy Sarli or Amy Suiter.

Other presentations include:

  • NCBI My Bibliography
  • NCBI SciENcv
  • NCBI Tools: PubMed and My Bibliography
  • NIH Biosketch

Resources from NIH