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NIH Public Access Policy

A guide to assist faculty and research administrators with the policy details and resources available for complying with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Address your copyright

Things you want to keep in mind before signing off on your copyright agreement:

1.  Authors must verify that the agreement allows the approved peer reviewed manuscript to be posted to PubMed Central (PMC).  If the journal does not include language addressing submission to PMC, here is sample language from NIH to add to the copyright agreement:

“Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final peer-reviewed manuscript to the NIH upon acceptance for Journal publication, for public archiving in PubMed Central as soon as possible but no later than 12 months after publication by Journal.” 

2. Final, peer-reviewed manuscripts must be posted to the NIHManuscript submission system (NIHMS) upon acceptance for publication. The full text does not have to be available for up to twelve months but the manuscipt submission must be done as soon as the article is accepted. This ensures the manuscript is entered into the submission system and assigned a PubMed Central ID.

3.  Understanding which manuscript version will appear in PubMed Central

  • NIH-funded research resulting in an article must be submitted to PMC in at least the manuscript format after peer review.
  • Understand what manuscript version the publisher will deposit before signing a copyright transfer agreement.
  • Know that it is optional for journal publishers to deposit the final, peer-reviewed article after the final editing and formatting has been completed.   Be aware you may have to submit the paper to NIHMS yourself if this is the case (or some publishers will ask for a fee to do it for you).
  • If you do it yourself, follow these steps.
  • Complete guide to copyright compliance for the NIH mandate

Final note:   Please do not sign an agreement until you understand and agree to the terms!