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Scholarly Publishing and Communication


Who has to comply?

The NIH Public Access Policy requires authors who receive NIH funding to make their peer-reviewed manuscripts freely available in PubMed Central (PMC) within a year of publication. 

The policy applies to any manuscript that: 

  • Is peer-reviewed; 
  • And, is accepted for publication in a journal on or after April 7, 2008; 
  • And, arises from: 
    • Any direct funding from an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 or beyond, or; 
    • Any direct funding from an NIH contract signed on or after April 7, 2008, or; 
    • Any direct funding from the NIH Intramural Program, or; 
    • An NIH employee. 

If your manuscript meets this criteria, you must deposit the postprint into PubMed Central (PMC) to make it freely available within 12 months of publication. 

NOTE: The U.S. White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a memo in August 2022 that recommends that all federal agencies update their public access policies by December 31, 2025. The new OSTP guidance would remove the current 12-month embargo period to make all federally funded publications and related data immediately available. In the meantime, continue to comply with the current NIH public access policy as usual. 

How to Comply

Read your publishing agreement carefully 

Before signing any of your author rights away to the publisher, make sure that your publishing agreement states that you can make your postprint freely available in PMC within 12 months after publication. To do this, either:

  • Tell your publisher that you have to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.
  • Select a journal that has these copyright policies already in place.
  • Modify your publishing agreement with an author addendum.

Ensure that your manuscript is deposited into PMC 

There are four different methods for depositing your manuscript into PMC. The method you follow depends on your journal or publisher. If you’re not sure which method applies to you, refer to the NIH's page Determine Submission Method.

Reporting to NIH 

My Bibliography is a tool available in My NCBI that allows you to add citations and link awards to those citations. Once you link your eRA Commons account to My NCBI, you’ll also be able to track the compliance status of your citations in My Bibliography. 

  1. Login or create a My NCBI account. 
    1. Use your eRA Commons account to login. 
    2. If you don’t have an eRA Commons account, use a different third-party login option, such as ORCID. Or click More sign up options and select University of Pittsburgh to login with your Pitt username and password. 
  2. If you have an existing My NCBI account, link your eRA commons account so that award information will appear in My Bibliography. 
  3. Add citations to My Bibliography. 
  4. Add awards to those citations and start/update compliance if necessary.

With citations and awards added to My Bibliography, you'll be able to create a Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) that shows compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Other Public Access Policies

For information on other public access policies: