The National Institutes 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. Because this research is funded by federal money, the government decided taxpayers have 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) the government passed a law requiring the researchers to post their articles in a free online digital library called PubMed Central. The "NIH Public Access Policy" ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research.
Researchers who receive funding from the National Institutes of Health must submit the final, peer-reviewed manuscripts of their journal articles to PubMed Central. Manuscripts must be submitted immediately 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:
Any direct funding from an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 or beyond
Any direct funding from an NIH contract signed on or after April 7, 2008
Any direct funding from the NIH Intramural Program
The policy does not apply to non-peer-reviewed materials such as book chapters and editorials.
Publishers often take all your copyrights when you agree to publish in their journal. 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.)
Here are some examples of the contract language some other institutions have used:
There are four submission methods. Method A and B involve the final article as it appears in the journal (with the journal's fonts, pagination, etc.). Method C and D involve the final peer-reviewed manuscript (without the journal's fonts, 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.
Some journals automatically deposit all NIH-funded final published articles into PMC without author involvement. Usually you will need to pay a fee to the journal for this service. A list of these journals is available at http://publicaccess.nih.gov/submit_process_journals.htm You will need to reply to emails from the NIH to verify accuracy of the submitted manuscript, illustrations, etc.
Most journals do NOT automatically submit your article to PMC for you. Some will do so on request for a fee. You can see the publishers who do this at: http://publicaccess.nih.gov/select_deposit_publishers.htm (Look at the column under "Method B.") You will need to reply to emails from the NIH to verify accuracy of the submitted manuscript, illustrations, etc.
You deposit your final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC yourself via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). NIHMS has different ways to upload depending on who you are. Choose "My NCBI" unless you work for the NIH or you were funded by the HHMI. You will need the grant number(s), grantee, author names, 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 the 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. You will need to reply to emails from the NIH to verify accuracy of the submitted manuscript, illustrations, etc.
When you submit your article, it will be assigned a temporary NIHMS number. When your article is published you will get a PMCID number (PubMed Central ID number). Only use the NIHMS number until the PMCID is available. After that the NIHMS number is invalid.
Be sure to make note of these numbers. You will need to include the relevant one in your grant's progress reports, final reports, and future NIH applications, and proposals. For detailed information, see http://publicaccess.nih.gov/citation_methods.htm
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. They are two different databases with unfortunately similar names. If you only have the PMID, you can find out the PMCID using the PMCID Converter.
Article with a PMCID number:
Doe, John, Smith, Mary. Common Misuse of Insulin-Pumps. Journal of Juvenile Diabetes Studies. 2009 January 31; 145(7): 578-599. PMCID: PMC4842371
Articles that don't have PMCID numbers yet:
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.galter.northwestern.edu/images/cms/Modifying%20EndNote.pdf
Use My NCBI's "My Bibliography" tool to manage your compliance. Use the "Award" display to see whether your publications are compliant.
The TMC Library can help members of the TMC community. Call us for:
Contact Kate Krause at 713.799.7126 or