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NIH Public Access Policy


NIH Public Access Policy – PubMed Central (PMC)


What is it?

  • A federal U.S. law which ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research like CHS. See: U. S. Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 (H.R. 2764).
  • Requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to PubMed Central (PMC) - a digital archive of full-text biomedical journal papers available online without a fee.
  • Requires that such papers are publicly available no later than 12 months after publication.


Who is responsible?

  • Corresponding authors of peer-reviewed manuscripts that use data from directly-funded NIH studies like CHS and that were accepted after April 7, 2008. 
  • CHS grantee/contractors:  Papers submitted to PMC will be assigned a PMCID that must be cited by the CHS grantee/contractors in all future NIH applications, proposals or progress reports submitted to NIH. If a CHS grantee has failed to materially comply with the terms and conditions of award, NIH may suspend the grant, pending corrective action, or may terminate the grant for cause. In 2013, NIH implemented New Enhanced Compliance measures allowing the Institute to delay processing of non-competing continuation grant awards if publications arising from that award are not in compliance with the NIH public access policy.
  • CHS: Our compliance with the NIH PMC Public Access Policy is a legal requirement and a term and condition of our CHS funding awards.  

How do I comply?

  1. Confirm that the journal’s copyright policy will permit PMC submission.  (Before you sign a publication agreement or similar copyright transfer agreement, make sure that the agreement allows your CHS paper to be submitted to NIH in accordance with this NIH Public Access Policy).
  2. Determine the appropriate submission method for the journal using the online NIH tool  (see Submission Method table below):
  • Method A (PMC Journal): Journal submits final published article within 12 months of publication – no further author action required.
  • Method B (author pays journal or publisher to submit):  Journal or publisher submits final published article within 12 months of publication – no further author action required.
  • Method C (neither Journal nor Publisher participate):  Author must manually submit final accepted version of manuscript upon acceptance and link all relevant grant and contracts to the manuscript. Additional designated coauthor must log in and approve manuscript submission.
  • Method D (PMC Publisher): Publisher initiates submission of final accepted manuscript; author must log in to NCBI to approve this submission.
  1. (Method C only): If you are the corresponding author, create or login to an account at and upload the manuscript upon acceptance to PMC, referencing all required and relevant CHS grants and contracts.
  1. (Methods C & D only): Ensure that communications from NIHMS requiring your attention or that of additional coauthors you designate are promptly attended to so as not to delay processing your PMC submission.

PMC Submission Methods:

Version of Paper Submitted Final Published Article Final Peer-Reviewed Manuscript
Submission Process Publisher posts the paper directly to PMC Papers are required to be submitted via the NIHMS upon acceptance for publication. The NIHMS converts them to the PMC native format.
Deposit Files
  • Method A Journals post NIH supported papers automatically within 12 months of publication date (no additional steps required by authors)
  • Authors must make special arrangements for Method B journals and publishers to post the paper  
  • Manuscripts must be submitted to the NIHMS upon acceptance for publication
  • Authors or their designee must submit Method C papers to the NIHMS
  • Method D publishers will submit papers to the NIHMS (additional steps below required by authors)
Approve Submission Publisher Author, via NIHMS
Approve PMC web version Publisher Author, via NIHMS
Responsible Party NIH awardee NIH awardee
To cite papers, from acceptance for publication to 3 months post publication PMCID or “PMC Journal- In Process” PMCID or NIHMSID
To cite papers, 3 months post publication and beyond PMCID PMCID


For more details:


Related Links

Publications Protocol