The National Institute of Health is the largest funder of medical research in the world and funds hundreds of research projects every year. The researchers who do these projects often publish their results in subscription-based academic journals. Approximately 80,000 articles per year arise from NIH funds. Because this research is funded by federal government money, the government decided taxpayers had a right to see the results of the research being done (aka: the journal articles). Since most people and many libraries can't afford to subscribe to expensive medical journals (some of which cost over $20,000 a year) they passed a law requiring the researchers to post their articles in a free online digital library called PubMedCentral. PMC is the NIH's free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature and it's run by the NIH's NCBI (National Center for Biotech Info). The "NIH Public Access Policy" ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research.
The NIH Public Access Policy requires researchers who receive funding from the National Institutes of Health to submit the final, peer-reviewed manuscripts of their journal articles to PubMed Central, . Manuscripts must be submitted upon acceptance for publication and must be accessible to the public no later than 12 months after the article is published in a journal.
The policy applies to all peer-reviewed journal articles that are accepted for publication in a journal on or after April 7, 2008 and that arise from any of the following:
The policy does not apply to non-peer-reviewed materials such as correspondence, book chapters, and editorials.
Authors often transfer their entire copyright to the publisher when a journal accepts their article. You need to work with your publisher before you sign any publication contract to ensure the publishing contract allows you to deposit your article in PMC. Your agreement with a publisher should stipulate:
Individual copyright agreements can take many forms. You should consult your institution's legal counsel to see if it has any specific policies or contract addendums. TMC researchers can contact:
If your institution does not offer specific legal language to attach to your contract, you will need to at least include something similar to NIH's suggested addendum:
"Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final peer-reviewed 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."
Many universities recommend using the SPARC Author Addendum generator to create a print addendum to your publishing agreement that will enable you to comply with the NIH requirement. It can also create language to secure additional copyrights as well (such as distributing copies in classes, posting on a personal and/or institutional website, etc.)
Some institutions have made their contract language and cover letters public:
There are four submission methods. The first two involve the final article as it appears in the journal (with the journal's fonts, pagination, etc.). The last two involve the final peer-reviewed manuscript(without the journal's fonts, etc.)
Publish in a journal that automatically deposits all NIH-funded final published articles into PMC without author involvement. A list of these journals is available at http://publicaccess.nih.gov/submit_process_journals.htm Authors who publish in one of these journals are considered to have fully complied with the policy. Most journals, however, do not submit for you and a few have extra requirements. Here is a partial list of them.
If your journal publisher is not on the list above, contact them to see if you can make an arrangement with them to have them deposit your final published article to PMC.
Deposit your final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC yourself via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). You will need the grant number(s), grantee, author names, either a published version of the article or a copy of the final peer-reviewed manuscript, and any supporting figures, tables, charts, graphics, and supplementary data that were submitted to the publisher. NIH will convert the files into standard PubMed format. You will need to reply to emails from NIH to verify accuracy of the submitted manuscript, illustrations, etc.
Some publishers start the submission process for you but you must complete it. They deposit your final peer-reviewed manuscript for you and determine the number of months after publication when the article may be made publicly available in PMC. You are required to finish the submission process in NIHMS. In this case authors will be notified by the publisher to log into the NIHMS to review and release copies of their work before the deposit is considered complete. This method usually involves a specified time delay before the manuscript is allowed to be made public in PMC. You will need to reply to emails from NIH to verify accuracy of the submitted manuscript, illustrations, etc.
There's an excellent flow-chart of the various methods at: http://becker.wustl.edu/pdf/NIHComplianceFlowchart.pdf You can also see the NIH Guide to Submission Methods.
When you submit your article, it will be assigned a PMCID (PubMed Central ID number) and an NIHMS number. Be sure to make note of these numbers. You need to include the PMCID number for your article in progress reports and future NIH applications and proposals. For detailed information on where exactly you need to include the PMCID in your documents, see the "Reminder Concerning Grantee Compliance with Public Access Policy and Related NIH Monitoring Activities."
Please note: The PMCID is not the same thing as the PMID number (PubMed ID number). The PMCID number appears on the article in both PubMed and PubMed Central. If you only have the PMID, you can find out the PMCID using the PMCID Converter.
Doe, John, Smith, Mary. Common Misuse of Insulin-Pumps. Journal of Juvenile Diabetes Studies. 2009 January 31; 145(7): 578-599. PMCID: PMC4842371
Articles don't get a PMCID number right away. Until they do, use the following citation formats:
For Submission Methods A and B, use "PMC Journal - In Process"
Doe, John, Smith, Mary. Common Misuse of Insulin-Pumps. Journal of Juvenile Diabetes Studies. 2009 January 31; 145(7): 578-599. PMCID: PMC Journal - In Process
For Submission Methods C and D, use the NIHMS ID number:
Doe, John, Smith, Mary. Common Misuse of Insulin-Pumps. Journal of Juvenile Diabetes Studies. 2009 January 31; 145(7): 578-599. NIHMSID: NIHMS12345
For more information on how to find PMCID numbers, go to: NLM Technical Bulletin
For information on using PMCIDs in EndNote go to: http://www.endnote.com/support/faqs/import/faq15.asp
The HAM-TMC Library can help members of the TMC community. Call us for:
Contact Kate Krause at 713.799.7126 or email.