On January 11, 2008, Congress enacted legislation mandating the deposit of an electronic copy of final, peer-reviewed manuscripts that arise in whole or in part from NIH funded research, in the National Library of Medicine’s digital archive of biomedical journal articles, PubMed Central, upon acceptance of such manuscripts for publication.¹ The manuscripts must be made publicly available in PubMed Central no later than 12 months after the official date of publication. While NIH previously adopted a voluntary Public Access Policy in 2005, the new legislation makes the requirements mandatory.
According to NIH, compliance with the Public Access Policy is not a factor in the evaluation of grant applications. However, non-compliance will be addressed administratively, and may delay or prevent awarding of funds.
This statutory requirement applies to peer-review articles, including research reports and reviews, accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008, that are based, in whole or in part, on NIH funded research that falls under one or more of the following criteria:
– Directly funded by an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007 - September 30, 2008) or beyond.
– Directly funded by a contract signed on or after April 7, 2008.
– Directly funded by the NIH Intramural Program.
– If NIH pays your salary.
2. Institutions receiving NIH awards and Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring that all articles arising from NIH awards are deposited in PubMed Central in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy, even if the principal investigator is not an author of the study.
3. Any publishing or copyright agreements concerning peer-reviewed manuscripts accepted for publication must fully comply with this Policy. This means that the agreements must either obligate the journal to submit the manuscript to PubMed Central [note that the journals may charge for this service] or give the author(s) the right to submit the manuscript to PubMed Central. Sample language securing this right for authors is included in the attachment.
4. PubMed Central (PMC) is the NIH digital archive of full-text, peer-reviewed journal articles. It is available here.
5. The final, peer-reviewed manuscript that must be deposited in PubMed Central includes all graphics and supplemental materials that are associated with the article. The final peer-reviewed manuscript is the version submitted by the author to the publisher after making changes as a result of the peer-reviewed process. However, according to NIH, the publisher may submit the final published version to fulfill the requirements of the Policy.
6. Beginning May 25, 2008, anyone submitting an application, proposal or progress report to the NIH must include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) when citing articles that were authored or co-authored by that individual or that arose from his/her NIH funded research. This policy includes applications submitted to the NIH for the May 25, 2008 due date and subsequent due dates.
FAQs Regarding the NIH Public Access Policy
(1) Do I need to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy?
You are required to comply when your…
• Peer-reviewed manuscript arises from research directly funded, in whole or in part, by a NIH grant or cooperative agreements that are active in FY 2008 (October 1, 2007 – September 31, 2008) (whether new awards or continuing awards) and is accepted for publication on or AFTER 07 April 2008.
• Peer-reviewed manuscript arises from research directly funded, in whole or in part, by a NIH contract signed on or AFTER 07 April 2008 and is accepted for publication on or AFTER 07 April 2008.
• Peer-reviewed manuscript arises from research directly funded by the NIH intramural program and is accepted for publication on or AFTER 07 April 2008.
You are not required to comply when your…
• Material is not peer-reviewed (such as correspondence, book chapters, and editorials).
• Peer-reviewed manuscript arises from NIH-funded research and was accepted for publication BEFORE 07 April 2008, regardless of term or award date of NIH award.
• Peer-reviewed manuscript arises from research directly funded by NIH FY 2007 (October 1, 2006 – September 31, 2007) or earlier grant or cooperative agreement that was not active in FY 2008 or anytime thereafter, regardless of when manuscript is accepted for publication.
• Peer-reviewed manuscript is generated by a NIH contract signed BEFORE 07 April 2008, regardless of when manuscript is accepted for publication.
(2) How do I address copyright issues to ensure compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy?
Many publication agreements require authors to transfer part or all of the copyright in an article to the journal publisher. Before you sign a publication agreement or a copyright transfer agreement for a manuscript subject to the NIH Public Access Policy, make sure that the agreement allows for the manuscript to be submitted to NIH and PubMed. You can do this by reviewing the publisher’s publication or copyright agreement. Additionally, some publishers have information under “Instructions for Authors” or “NIH Public Access Policy Information” on the journal homepage. See an example here. In addition, SHERPA RoMEO provides a searchable database of publisher copyright and self-archiving policies. Some journals directly submit to PubMed Central on behalf of their authors. Please see a list of these titles here. For these journals, the publication agreement should address this issue, by making it clear that the journal will submit the article to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication and will authorize NIH to make such copy of the manuscript available in digital form for public access in PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication. These journals may charge a fee for submitting the article to PubMed Central.
If the journal does not submit articles directly to PubMed, the publication agreement will need to include language giving authors the right to deposit their articles with NIH for posting on PubMed Central. Sample language securing this right for authors is below:
In order to ensure compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy, Journal acknowledges that, notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, the author(s) retain the right to:
–Provide a copy of the final manuscript, including all modifications from the publishing and peer review process, to the PubMed Central database at the time the manuscript is accepted for publication; and
–To authorize NIH to make such copy of the manuscript available in digital form for public access in the PMC no later than __ months (indicate 0 to 12 months) after publication².
While this is the minimum language needed to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy, authors are always free to retain other rights to their articles, such as the rights to use the manuscript for non-commercial purposes and the right to prepare derivative works from the manuscripts. There are a number of online resources, such as Science Commons’ Scholars Copyright Addendum Engine, that assist authors in drafting language for publication agreements that secures additional rights. See http://scholars.sciencecommons.org/.
²Language adopted from Complying with the NIH Public Access Policy - Copyright Considerations and Options, a SPARC/Science Commons/ARL joint white paper, by Michael W. Carroll, February 2008.
(3) How do I submit to PubMed Central?
Even in the case of direct submission to PubMed Central by publishers, there are some important details to be aware of such as what version of the article is submitted by the journal publisher on your behalf and when it is made available for publication.
• If the journal publisher submits the final published version and allows NIH to make it publicly available within 12 months of publication, no further action on your part is required.
• If the journal publisher submits the final peer-reviewed version to PubMed Central, you will have to sign on to the NIH Manuscript Submission System to review and approve the release of the article to PubMed Central.
• If the journal publisher submits the article to PubMed Central but does not make it available within 12 months of publication, you will need to deposit a copy of the article yourself or use a third party submitter service.
• Although any author may submit an article to PubMed Central, the responsibility for submission lies with each Principal Investigator and the institution that receives the NIH funding.
• Before authors embark on the self submit process they need to understand any specific requirements noted by publishers in the publication agreements. Some specific requirements may include: withholding the publication from being made publicly available for the embargo period (which may not exceed 12 months as mandated by NIH); making sure to submit the appropriate version; noting a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) when applicable for the final version; including any statement mandated by the publisher, or including a link to the final published version on the journal website.
• You should self- submit using the NIH Manuscript Submission Service (NIHMS). In the majority of cases, you will submit your post print version and not the final published version. According to NIH, you must submit the final peer reviewed version, so you want the post print version that reflects all the changes made as a result of the peer review process.
• When submitting, authors need the following:
–Title of the Journal
–Title of the manuscript
–Manuscript files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, TIFF, JPEG, PDF, etc.)
–Supplemental data or images
• When submission is complete, make note of the NIHMS reference number.
• Verify the submission.
• Make sure to follow up on PubMed Central in 12 months (or the embargo period you specified in the Author Addendum, if less than 12 months) to locate the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID). PMCIDs are located on the PubMed abstract near the PMID number.
(3) What are the requirements for citing articles subject to the NIH Public Access Policy in subsequent NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports?
As of May 25, 2008, when citing an article in NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports that is subject to the Public Access Policy, and was authored or co-authored by you or arose from your NIH award, you must include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID). If a PubMed Central reference number is not yet available, include the NIH Manuscript Submission system reference number (NIHMS ID) instead. This policy includes applications submitted to the NIH for the May 25, 2008 due date and subsequent due dates.
(4) What resources are available if I have additional questions?
If you need addition information or assistance, please contact DML Reference at Dahlgren Memorial Library.
NIH Public Access Policy page and NIH Public Access Policy FAQs
NIH Manuscript Submission System and online instructions
PubMed Central list of journals that directly submit on the author's behalf
SHERPA RoMEO's list of publisher copyright self-archiving policies
SPARC/Science Commons/ARL joint white paper Complying with the NIH Public Access Policy - Copyright Considerations and Options
Alliance for TaxPayer Access
PLoS, Public Library of Science
University of Rochester Health Sciences Guide to Publishers' Policies on Submission of Manuscripts to PubMed Central
Georgetown University's copyright information page