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NIH Public Access Policy and Procedures


On April 7, 2008, the NIH will require researchers to deposit copies of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts into PubMed Central, a freely accessible electronic database, for release no later than 12 months after publication. Further, all grant proposals, progress reports, or renewals submitted to the NIH after May 25, 2008 must include the reference numbers from PubMed Central for all of their publications that fall under this new policy.

The policy states:

"The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law."


  1. The NIH Public Access Policy applies to all peer-reviewed articles that arise, in whole or in part, from direct costs funded by NIH, or from NIH staff, that are accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008.
  2. Institutions and investigators are responsible for ensuring that any publishing or copyright agreements concerning submitted articles fully comply with this Policy.
  3. PubMed Central (PMC) is the NIH digital archive of full-text, peer-reviewed journal articles. Its content is publicly accessible and integrated with other databases (see: PubMed Central (PMC), the NIH free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.).
  4. The final, peer-reviewed manuscript includes all graphics and supplemental materials that are associated with the article.
  5. Beginning May 25, 2008, anyone submitting an application, proposal or progress report to the NIH must include the PMC or NIH Manuscript Submission reference number when citing applicable articles that arise from their NIH funded research. This policy includes applications submitted to the NIH for the May 25, 2008 due date and subsequent due dates.

What this means for faculty

You have 4 obligations to meet this new requirement:

  1. Protect your copyright to allow submission of a copy of the final, peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central. (see below)
  2. Submit your final, peer-reviewed manuscript, or have it submitted for you by the publisher or by the university, to PubMed Central.
  3. Verify that the copy sent to PubMed Central is correct. (You will be sent an email as part of the submission process requesting you to verify your paper.)
  4. Include the PubMed Central Reference Number for your papers when you submit a new application, proposal or progress report to NIH.

When you submit a manuscript for publication for work that has received support from the NIH, you have 3 options:

  1. Publish in journals that have agreed to submit the final version of your manuscript directly to PubMed Central.
    View a list of publishers.
  2. Ask the publisher to submit the final version of your manuscript to PubMed Central on your behalf.
  3. Submit a final version of your manuscript yourself (or with help of the university) directly to PubMed Central.

You should protect your copyright to allow submission of a copy to PubMed Central in two ways:

  1. Include with your manuscript submission a letter from the Office of Academic Research that states the NIH requirement and gives the publisher the 3 options listed above for compliance with the regulation. The letter for CSUSB is available at:

    CSUSB Letter to Editors (PDF)

  2. When you receive the publisher’s Copyright Transfer form after acceptance of your paper, if there is no explicit language allowing a copy of your paper to be submitted to PubMed Central, you should do the following: above your signature type in “subject to attached amendment”. The amendment should be on a separate page and signed by you. The amendment is:

    “Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final 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."

What happens if you do not comply with this policy?

Although NIH has not published any explicit penalty for non-compliance, there is the implied threat that either your new grant will not be funded until you do comply (that is, supply the PubMed Central reference number), or no grants to the entire institution will be funded until compliance is met.

If you have any questions at any stage of this process, contact the Office of Academic Research for assistance (909-537-7588).

Guidance from NIH