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NIH Public Access Policy Compliance

Have a question about the NIH Public Access Policy?

Below you can find tips and tutorials to help with common problems/issues that occur as authors work to comply with the NIH's Policy.

1) I did not write an article, though a grant that I am a PI on is associated with the article. Do I still have to worry about bringing the article into compliance?

Principal Investigators (PI's) and the institutions at which they work are ultimately responsible for making sure that all the articles their grants are associated with are compliant. It is recommended that authors and PI's have conversations early on in the grant development process to make sure that everyone knows who will do the work to make sure any articles written as a result of the grant are compliant with the public access policy.

2) I thought that the journal I published in would start the submission process for me, but my article is listed as not compliant. What should I do?

If it has been over three months since your article was accepted, and you do not see an NIHMS ID number for the article in your NCBI My Bibliography account, you may want to contact the journal to ask about the submission. However, since the authors/PI's are ultimately responsible to ensure that their articles are in compliance, you may wish to start the submission process yourself if the journal does not get back to you promptly.

3) One of my articles has a NIHMS ID number but has never been added into PMC. How do I fix this to make the article compliant?

If your article does have an NIHMS ID number, but has not been added to PubMed Central (PMC) and does not have a PMC ID number, this may be because the author responsible for reviewing and approving the submission has not completed the task. You can check with the other authors/PI’s associated with your article to see who was tasked as being responsible for approving submission of the article to the NIH. As an author/PI you can also choose to claim the record so that you can finalize the approval process. View the "how do I take over reviewer responsibilities" question on the NIHMS FAQ page for instructions about how to do this.

4) My grant has been incorrectly associated with an article that is listed as non-compliant. What can I do?

Mistakes can happen, and sometimes a grant becomes associated with an article that it did not support. Learn how to delete unwanted citations from your NCBI My Bibliography account if an article has been incorrectly associated with an award. Some edits you can make yourself. In other cases, you may have to contact grant and technical support departments at the NIH to fix the issue.

5) If my article was published before the implementation of the Public Access Policy, how do I ask for an exemption?

Articles accepted for publication before April 7, 2008 are exempt from the Public Access Policy. If one of these articles is currently listed as non-compliant in your NCBI My Bibliography, you can update its status to mark your article as exempt. Follow these instructions provided by the NIH to edit the status of a publication.

Note that articles may be marked exempt from the policy for other reasons, including if they were not peer-reviewed or if they were not funded by an NIH grant.

6) What if I can't find the post print version of my article to submit to the NIH? Can I use the published version?

Submitting the published copy of an article to the NIH may violate copyright law, depending on the agreement you signed with the publisher.  If you or your co-authors do not have a post-print copy of the article (which is the final peer-reviewed, but not copyedited, version of the manuscript) you can contact the publisher and explain your problem.  They may be able to supply a post-print copy that you could use. If the publisher can not do this, please contact the library, and we will offer assistance.

7) My article is already openly accessible. Do I still need to submit to the NIH?

Yes. Open Access articles and articles that are available full-text on the publisher's website, must both still have a full-text version submitted specifically to the PMC database to comply with the NIH public access policy.

8) How do I add a PMCID number to my citation styles in EndNote?

Anyone submitting an application, proposal or report to the NIH must include the PMC reference number (PMCID) when citing papers that arise from their NIH-funded research.

To modify EndNote to include the PMCID in its citations as you create bibliographies for your reports:

  • Open your EndNote Library.
  • Go to the top-level "Edit" menu.
  • Select "Output Styles" and then "Open Style Manager."
  • Select the style you wish to modify from the list in the pop-up box, then click "Edit."
  • On the left side menu, click "Templates" under Bibliography (see image).
  • Go to the "Journal Article Citation." Insert your cursor at the end of the citation. Add a space.
  • Click on "Insert Field" and add the PMCID Field.
  • Go to the top-level "File" menu, click "Save As," and give your modified style a new name.

9) How do I check to make sure all of my publications are compliant with the NIH Policy

If you are applying for a new grant, it is a good idea to double check your publications on your My NCBI My Bibliograph to make sure that you do not have any that are out of compliance, as that could slow down or impact the acceptance of your proposal. Follow these instructions from the NIH.