Frequently Asked Questions about the NIH Public Access Policy

Questions about Compliance?

 


Last Updated: July 1, 2013


I. General Information

  A. General Information

  1. What is the NIH Public Access Policy?
  2. What is PubMed Central?
  3. What are the benefits of posting peer-reviewed papers to PubMed Central?

II. For Investigators, Awardees, and NIH Staff

  A. Scope of the Policy

  1. To what types of papers does the NIH Public Access Policy apply?
  2. How does the NIH public access policy define a journal?
  3. Does the Public Access Policy apply to dissertations or book chapters?
  4. Does the public access policy apply to review articles?
  5. How does NIH determine the official date of publication?
  6. My paper is based on research only partially funded by NIH. Is the paper required to be submitted?
  7. My paper is based on research funded by NIH but does not fall under the Public Access policy timeframe (e.g., grant or cooperative agreement that expired before Fiscal Year 2008 or an NIH contract awarded before April 7, 2008). May I submit it?
  8. Am I responsible for papers that arise from my NIH-funded project for which I am not an author?
  9. Is the NIH Public Access Policy a condition of award?
  10. Will compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy affect the outcome of the application review?
  11. Do papers arising from research that makes use of NIH supported core labs or infrastructure also fall under the NIH Public Access Policy? For example, do any final peer-reviewed manuscripts based on research using services supported by Clinical and Translational Science Award, need to be submitted?
  12. The scope of the NIH Public Access Policy refers to awards that are 'directly funded' by NIH. Does this mean only those awards that an institution receives directly, or does it include sub-awards?
  13. What is a primary awardee's responsibility for sub-recipient compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy?
  14. Will NIH grant exceptions to the policy?

  B. How to Comply With the Policy

  1. What do I have to do to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy?
  2. Whose approval do I need to submit my final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central?
  3. Can NIH provide language that could be used in a copyright agreement between an author or institution and a publisher?
  4. A publisher says that an NIH-funded paper cannot be deposited under the NIH Public Access Policy. What should I do?
  5. What is the difference between a final peer-reviewed manuscript and final published article? Which version of my paper should I submit?
  6. How do I include the PubMed Central reference number in my citations?
  7. Where in the application am I required to list the PMCID?
  8. What do I do if the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) has not been assigned yet?
  9. How do I determine if my NIHMSID is still valid?
  10. Do I have to include a PMCID for every paper that I cite in an NIH application, proposal or progress report?
  11. How do I get the PMC reference number (PMCID) so I can cite it on my application, proposal or report?
  12. What are some of the actions NIH may take when investigators and institutions fail to take steps to ensure compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy?
  13. A Principal Investigator (PI) at our institution inadvertently signed an author agreement with a journal that does not permit submission to PubMed Central. What steps should the PI and the institution take?

  C. What Needs to Be Submitted

  1. The journal that published my work routinely deposits its papers in PubMed Central. Do I have to submit my paper myself?
  2. I plan to publish in an open access journal. Do I have to submit my final peer-reviewed manuscript?
  3. What is the difference between PubMed and PubMed Central? If my paper is already listed in PubMed, do I have to submit my final peer-reviewed manuscript?
  4. My paper is available on the publisher's web site. Do I have to submit my final peer-reviewed manuscript?
  5. Can I deposit papers not arising from NIH funds to PubMed Central?
  6. I want to submit my final published article to PubMed Central through the NIH Manuscript Submission System. Why does NIH require me to submit the final, peer-reviewed manuscript?

  D. How to Submit Papers to PubMed Central

  1. How do I submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to NIH/PubMed Central?
  2. What is the relationship between PubMed Central and the NIH Manuscript Submission system?
  3. Will NIH pay for publication costs?
  4. What if my grant does not have sufficient funds to cover publication costs, or the grant has expired?
  5. My paper has multiple authors and/or is funded from multiple NIH sources. Who should submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript?

III. Policy Background

  A. Policy Background

  1. Can authors and publishers continue to assert copyright in scientific publications resulting from NIH funding?
  2. What is the difference between the NIH Public Access Policy and Open Access?
  3. How does the NIH Public Access Policy differ from the 2003 NIH Data Sharing Policy?
  4. Does the publisher bear any responsibility for compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy?
  5. How does the Public Access Policy affect copyright holders?
  6. Why should there be a public resource of published peer-reviewed research findings of NIH-funded research?
  7. Rather than archive manuscripts in NIH's PubMed Central, why not provide links to other websites?
  8. Aren't scientific abstracts, which are currently freely available, sufficient? Why does the public need full text articles?
  9. Will NIH's Public Access Policy harm scientific publishing?
  10. Will the NIH Public Access Policy harm the quality of peer review?

Back to Top


I. General Information

  A. General Information

  1. What is the NIH Public Access Policy?

    The Policy implements Division G, Title II, Section 218 of PL 110-161 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008) which states:

    SEC. 218. The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.
    The Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/). The Policy requires that these final peer-reviewed manuscripts be accessible to the public on PubMed Central to help advance science and improve human health.

  2. What is PubMed Central?

    PubMed Central is an archive of full-text biomedical journal papers available online without a fee.  Papers on PubMed Central contain links to other scientific databases such as GenBank (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Genbank/) and PubChem (http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/).  Papers collected under the Public Access Policy are archived on PubMed Central.  More information about PubMed Central is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/about/faq.html.

  3. What are the benefits of posting peer-reviewed papers to PubMed Central?

    Once posted to PubMed Central, results of NIH-funded research become more prominent, integrated and accessible, making it easier for all scientists to pursue NIH's research priority areas competitively. PubMed Central materials are integrated with large NIH research data bases such as Genbank and PubChem, which helps accelerate scientific discovery. Clinicians, patients, educators, and students can better reap the benefits of papers arising from NIH funding by accessing them on PubMed Central at no charge. Finally, the Policy allows NIH to monitor, mine, and develop its portfolio of taxpayer funded research more effectively, and archive its results in perpetuity.


Back to Top


II. For Investigators, Awardees, and NIH Staff

  A. Scope of the Policy

  1. To what types of papers does the NIH Public Access Policy apply?

    See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/determine_applicability.htm

  2. How does the NIH public access policy define a journal?

    If a publication is in the journal section of the NLM catalog, NIH considers it to be a journal. Search the journal section of NLM Catalog (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog/journals) for the journal by title, title abbreviation, or ISSN. Automatic suggestions will display as you type.  If the publication is not on the list, NIH will consider it a journal for policy purposes if it meets all of the following criteria:

    • Publication must meet the requirements for ISSN assignment
    • Publication content is issued over time under a common title
    • Publication is a collection of articles by different authors
    • Publication is intended to be published indefinitely

    You may also submit the manuscript to NIHMS upon acceptance for publication for a determination.

  3. Does the Public Access Policy apply to dissertations or book chapters?

    No, the policy only applies to peer-reviewed journal manuscripts. See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/determine_applicability.htm for the full criteria. Please also be sure to confirm that the publication does not meet the public access definition for a journal.

  4. Does the public access policy apply to review articles?

    It does if the paper is peer-reviewed and meets the other criteria.  See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/determine_applicability.htm for a full list.

  5. How does NIH determine the official date of publication?

    NIH determines the official date of publication for the public access policy based on information received from the publisher and the National Library of Medicine (NLM).  The official date of publication can be found in the PubMed citation display for a paper immediately after the journal title abbreviation. 

    NIH uses the official date of publication for determining the public access compliance status of a paper and calculating when a paper should be made public on PubMed Central. Papers with an NIHMSID or published in PMC-participating journals (submission Methods A and B) will be listed as provisionally compliant in My Bibliography until a publication date is determined. An "epub ahead of print" date for a citation in PubMed is not considered the official date of publication, and these papers are still considered in press.  

    Note that when only partial publication dates are available (e.g. Month and Year, Season and Year), NLM calculates the date as the first date of that time period (e.g. March 2013=March 1, 2013). See http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/licensee/elements_article_source.html for additional information about NLM dates.

  6. My paper is based on research only partially funded by NIH. Is the paper required to be submitted?

    Yes, the Public Access Policy applies to any manuscript that arises from any amount of direct funding from the NIH. See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/determine_applicability.htm.

  7. My paper is based on research funded by NIH but does not fall under the Public Access policy timeframe (e.g., grant or cooperative agreement that expired before Fiscal Year 2008 or an NIH contract awarded before April 7, 2008). May I submit it?

    You are not required to submit it, but you may if you have appropriate copyright permission.  See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/determine_applicability.htm.

  8. Am I responsible for papers that arise from my NIH-funded project for which I am not an author?

    Principal Investigators and their Institutions are responsible for ensuring all terms and conditions of awards are met. This includes the submission of final peer-reviewed manuscripts that arise directly from their awards, even if they are not an author or co-author of the paper. Principal Investigators and their Institutions should ensure that authors are aware of and comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.

  9. Is the NIH Public Access Policy a condition of award?

    The NIH Public Access Policy is a Term and Condition of Award for all grants and cooperative agreements active in Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007- September 30, 2008) or subsequent fiscal years, and for all contracts awarded after April 7, 2008.

  10. Will compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy affect the outcome of the application review?

    Compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy is not a factor in the scientific and technical merit evaluation of grant applications. Non-compliance will be addressed administratively, and may delay or prevent awarding of funds.

  11. Do papers arising from research that makes use of NIH supported core labs or infrastructure also fall under the NIH Public Access Policy? For example, do any final peer-reviewed manuscripts based on research using services supported by Clinical and Translational Science Award, need to be submitted?

    If a manuscript arises from direct funds from a Clinical and Translational Science Award, or any other NIH funding, then it might fall under the Policy.  See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/determine_applicability.htm for all the inclusion criteria.  Your institution should be able to assist you in determining whether NIH direct funds were involved.

  12. The scope of the NIH Public Access Policy refers to awards that are 'directly funded' by NIH. Does this mean only those awards that an institution receives directly, or does it include sub-awards?

    Direct funding generally includes sub-awards because they are associated with a particular award.   See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/determine_applicability.htm for all the inclusion criteria.  Your institution should be able to assist you in determining whether NIH direct funds were involved.

  13. What is a primary awardee's responsibility for sub-recipient compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy?

    The primary awardee's obligation to ensure sub-recipient compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy is the same as the awardee's responsibility for other requirements when collaborating with other organizations in carrying out NIH-supported research. Accordingly, the NIH Public Access Policy requirement should be incorporated into sub-recipient agreements, and the primary awardee remains responsible for compliance.

  14. Will NIH grant exceptions to the policy?

    We will grant exceptions only under the most extreme circumstances, such as death of the sole author.  NIH will consider such exceptions on a case-by-case basis.


  B. How to Comply With the Policy

  1. What do I have to do to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy?

    See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/.

  2. Whose approval do I need to submit my final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central?

    Authors own the original copyrights to materials they write. Consistent with individual arrangements with authors' employing institutions, authors often transfer some or all of these rights to the publisher when the journal agrees to publish their paper. Some publishers may ask authors to transfer these rights when the paper is first submitted to the journal.

    Authors should work with the publisher before any rights are transferred to ensure that all conditions of the NIH Public Access Policy can be met. Authors should avoid signing any agreements with publishers that do not allow the author to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.

    Government works are not subject to copyright protection in the United States. NIH employees always must submit their final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central, even if all other authors of the article are not Federal employees.

  3. Can NIH provide language that could be used in a copyright agreement between an author or institution and a publisher?

    NIH can provide an example. Individual copyright arrangements can take many forms, and authors and their institutions should continue to manage such arrangements as they have in the past.

    Institutions and investigators may wish to develop particular copyright agreement terms in consultation with their own legal counsel or other applicable official at their institution, as appropriate. As an example, the kind of language that an author or institution might add to a copyright agreement includes the following:

    “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.”

    Your Institution or professional society may have developed specific model language for this purpose, as well.

  4. A publisher says that an NIH-funded paper cannot be deposited under the NIH Public Access Policy. What should I do?

    The awardee institution is responsible for meeting the terms and conditions of award, which includes ensuring any agreements with third parties, like a publisher, allow compliance with the NIH public access policy. When necessary, the awardee institution should work directly with the publisher to ensure the paper is posted to PubMed Central (PMC) in accordance with the Policy. To avoid miscommunication, awardees may wish to let publishers know a manuscript is subject to the policy before the publisher decides to review it.

  5. What is the difference between a final peer-reviewed manuscript and final published article? Which version of my paper should I submit?

    The NIH Public Access Policy is based on a law that requires investigators to submit "their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts" to PubMed Central. NIH will accept the final published article in lieu of the final peer-reviewed manuscript, provided that the author has the right to submit this version.

    Final peer-reviewed manuscript: The Investigator's final manuscript of a peer-reviewed paper accepted for journal publication, including all modifications from the peer review process.

    Final published article: The journal’s authoritative copy of the paper, including all modifications from the publishing peer review process, copyediting and stylistic edits, and formatting changes.

  6. How do I include the PubMed Central reference number in my citations?

    See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/citation_methods.htm.

  7. Where in the application am I required to list the PMCID?

    See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/citation_methods.htm.

  8. What do I do if the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) has not been assigned yet?

    A PMCID is usually not available until around the time of publication (see http://publicaccess.nih.gov/citation_methods.htm for more information).  If using submission Methods A or B, and it has been more than three months after the official date of publication, please contact the Public Access Help Desk.  If using submission Methods C or D, please start or complete the manuscript submission process at the NIHMS.  It usually takes about 6 weeks to generate a PMCID, from start to finish.

  9. How do I determine if my NIHMSID is still valid?

    See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/citation_methods.htm#NIHMSID.

  10. Do I have to include a PMCID for every paper that I cite in an NIH application, proposal or progress report?

    Yes, include the PMCID if the paper is:

  11. How do I get the PMC reference number (PMCID) so I can cite it on my application, proposal or report?

    See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/citation_methods.htm#locating

  12. What are some of the actions NIH may take when investigators and institutions fail to take steps to ensure compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy?

    A grantee’s failure to comply with the terms and conditions of award may cause NIH to take one or more enforcement actions, depending on the severity and duration of the non-compliance.  NIH will undertake any such action in accordance with applicable statutes, regulations, and policies.  NIH generally will afford the grantee an opportunity to correct the deficiencies before taking enforcement action unless public health or welfare concerns require immediate action.  However, even if a grantee is taking corrective action, NIH may take proactive action to protect the Federal government’s interests, including placing special conditions on awards or precluding the grantee from obtaining future awards for a specified period, or may take action designed to prevent future non-compliance, such as closer monitoring. See Enforcement Actions in the NIH Grants Policy Statement (10/12): http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2012/nihgps_ch8.htm#_Toc271264977

  13. A Principal Investigator (PI) at our institution inadvertently signed an author agreement with a journal that does not permit submission to PubMed Central. What steps should the PI and the institution take?

    The NIH Public Access Policy is a requirement. The PI should work with their institutional official to comply with the Policy.


  C. What Needs to Be Submitted

  1. The journal that published my work routinely deposits its papers in PubMed Central. Do I have to submit my paper myself?

    It depends on which version of the paper the journal is depositing – the final published article or the final peer-reviewed manuscript – and on the terms of any agreement that the journal may have with NIH.

    See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/submit_process.htm to determine what steps you need to take, if any, to submit your paper.

  2. I plan to publish in an open access journal. Do I have to submit my final peer-reviewed manuscript?

    Yes, unless the journal has an agreement to deposit its papers in PubMed Central.  Not all open-access journals have agreements with PubMed Central.  Check http://publicaccess.nih.gov/submit_process_journals.htm#journals  to see which journals do.

     

  3. What is the difference between PubMed and PubMed Central? If my paper is already listed in PubMed, do I have to submit my final peer-reviewed manuscript?

    Yes, you must submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central. PubMed and PubMed Central are not the same. PubMed includes only citations and abstracts of articles, while PubMed Central carries the full text of the paper.

  4. My paper is available on the publisher's web site. Do I have to submit my final peer-reviewed manuscript?

    Yes, you must submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central. Papers available through publishers’ web sites do not fulfill the authors’ obligations under the NIH Public Access Policy.

  5. Can I deposit papers not arising from NIH funds to PubMed Central?

    The NIH Public Access Policy applies only to papers arising from NIH funds. Outside of these arrangements, PubMed Central will deposit papers only from journals with which it has formal agreements.  See “How to Join PMC” for more information.

    Certain other funding agencies, such as the Wellcome Trust and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, have similar policies to the NIH Public Access Policy that also designate PubMed Central as the repository for their papers.  You should refer to the specific funder’s site for information on how to submit their eligible papers to PubMed Central.

  6. I want to submit my final published article to PubMed Central through the NIH Manuscript Submission System. Why does NIH require me to submit the final, peer-reviewed manuscript?

    The NIH Public Access Policy is based on a law that requires investigators to submit "their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts" to PubMed Central. NIH will accept the final published article in lieu of the final peer-reviewed manuscript, provided that the author has the right to submit this version. NIH's experience to date is that virtually all authors relinquish this right to a publisher when they sign a publication agreement with a journal.  Some Journals post final published articles directly to PubMed Central.  See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/submit_process_journals.htm for more information.


  D. How to Submit Papers to PubMed Central

  1. How do I submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to NIH/PubMed Central?

    You must use the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system when submitting the final peer-reviewed manuscript.

    • You deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript files (e.g., Microsoft Word document and figures) in the NIHMS.
    • You indicate the NIH award(s) to which the final peer-reviewed manuscript is related.
    • After the NIHMS converts your deposited files to a standard PubMed Central (PMC) format, NIHMS will email you to review the PMC-formatted final peer-reviewed manuscript to approve its release.

    Some journals will deposit the final, peer-reviewed manuscript files for you.  In that case, you still have to provide the associated award information, and review and approve the final peer-reviewed manuscript.  The NIHMS will notify you via email when these actions are needed and include a link to the NIHMS web site. 

    For more information about the NIHMS, go to http://www.nihms.nih.gov/. There is an online tutorial at http://www.nihms.nih.gov/web-help/index.shtml.

  2. What is the relationship between PubMed Central and the NIH Manuscript Submission system?

    PubMed Central (PMC) is NIH’s digital journal archive, which gives the public access to papers at no cost.

    The NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS) takes in final peer-reviewed manuscripts covered by the NIH Public Access Policy and formats them for inclusion in PMC. You deposit the files for a final peer-reviewed manuscript (e.g., Microsoft Word document and figures) into the NIHMS. The files are converted to a standard PMC format, and then reviewed by you to confirm that the converted final peer-reviewed manuscript is faithful to the original. The NIHMS transfers the final peer-reviewed manuscript to PMC when it is ready to be made available publicly.

  3. Will NIH pay for publication costs?

    Yes. Publication costs, including author fees, may be charged to  NIH grants and contracts on three conditions: (1) such costs incurred are  actual, allowable, and reasonable to advance the objectives of the award; (2)  costs are charged consistently regardless of the source of support; (3) all  other applicable rules on allowability of costs are met.

  4. What if my grant does not have sufficient funds to cover publication costs, or the grant has expired?

    Please consult with your institutional official for advice and options.

  5. My paper has multiple authors and/or is funded from multiple NIH sources. Who should submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript?

    Any author may submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript, but each Principal Investigator and Institution is responsible for ensuring that the terms and conditions of their award are met. A final peer-reviewed manuscript need only be submitted once to the NIH Manuscript Submission system. Authors will be notified during the submission process if they try to submit a manuscript that has already been submitted.

    Papers can be assigned multiple NIH award numbers during submission. They can also be linked to an award via the eRA Commons when completing an electronic Progress Report, or listed as arising from any NIH award in writing when submitting an application, proposal or progress report.


Back to Top


III. Policy Background

  A. Policy Background

  1. Can authors and publishers continue to assert copyright in scientific publications resulting from NIH funding?

    Yes. The NIH Public Access Policy does not affect the ability of the author, the author's institution, or the publisher to assert ownership in the work's copyright. Authors, consistent with their employment arrangements, may assign these rights to journals (as is the current practice), subject to the limited right that must be retained by the funding recipient to post the works in accordance with the Policy, or the provision that the journal submits the works in accordance with the Policy on the author's behalf.

  2. What is the difference between the NIH Public Access Policy and Open Access?

    The Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the peer-reviewed and published results of all NIH-funded research through PubMed Central (PMC).  United States and/or foreign copyright laws protect most of the papers in PMC; PMC provides access to them at no cost, much like a library does, under the principles of Fair Use.

    Generally, Open Access involves the use of a copyrighted document under a Creative Commons or similar license-type agreement that allows more liberal use (including redistribution) than the traditional principles of Fair Use.  Only a subset of the papers in PMC are available under such Open Access provisions.  See the PMC Copyright page, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/about/copyright.html, for more information.

  3. How does the NIH Public Access Policy differ from the 2003 NIH Data Sharing Policy?

    The NIH Public Access Policy covers only final peer-reviewed manuscripts arising from NIH funds.  The 2003 NIH policy on data sharing applies to certain NIH-funded research and is not focused on access to peer-reviewed papers.  The 2003 NIH policy on data sharing is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/.

  4. Does the publisher bear any responsibility for compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy?

    No, compliance is always the responsibility of the awardee. A journal that chooses to join PubMed Central will be bound by the terms of its PubMed Central participation agreement, but it is not responsible for compliance with the Policy.

  5. How does the Public Access Policy affect copyright holders?

    Rights to the final peer-reviewed manuscript arise in the author as the work is created. Non-authors, such as publishers, have obtained rights from the author in a negotiated agreement. Authors can meet their Public Access responsibilities if they retain a small strand of the worldwide rights; the right to allow display of their final peer-reviewed manuscripts on PubMed Central. Public Access does not require authors to retain any other rights to papers arising from NIH funds, such as depositing the final published article, reproducing papers, preparing derivative works, or distributing copies to the public by transfer or sale. Other arrangements may be possible as well -- investigators should work with their institutions to ensure agreements they sign are consistent with the NIH Public Access Policy.

  6. Why should there be a public resource of published peer-reviewed research findings of NIH-funded research?

    The NIH Public Access Policy ensures the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research to help advance science and human health. The Policy has three aims:

      • ARCHIVE. A central collection of NIH-funded research publications preserves vital published research findings for years to come.
      • ADVANCE. The archive is an information resource for scientists to research publications and for NIH to manage better its entire research investment.
      • ACCESS. The archive makes available to the public research publications resulting from NIH-funded research.

  7. Rather than archive manuscripts in NIH's PubMed Central, why not provide links to other websites?

    Copies of papers arising from NIH funds are available elsewhere on the Internet.  These fragmented approaches do not provide the same benefits of a comprehensive archive of NIH supported peer-reviewed papers on PubMed Central (PMC), and do not meet the statutory requirements of Division G, Title II, Section 218 of PL 110-161 (see http://publicaccess.nih.gov/policy.htm).  However, NIH does not require or expect that PMC be the exclusive repository for NIH-funded research publications. Other repositories are welcome, and PMC routinely links to content on publisher and other websites.

  8. Aren't scientific abstracts, which are currently freely available, sufficient? Why does the public need full text articles?

    The NIH Public Access Policy is a statutory requirement of Division G, Title II, Section 218 of PL 110-161 (see http://publicaccess.nih.gov/policy.htm).  It specifies that manuscripts are to be made publicly available on PubMed Central.

    The public encompasses a wide array of individuals, ranging from the lay public to educators to health care providers. Many of these individuals require more information than is provided in an article summary and must gain access to the complete article.

  9. Will NIH's Public Access Policy harm scientific publishing?

    NIH is not aware that there will be a substantial impact.  An increasing number of journals already provide access to the published article immediately or within one year of the publication. Most of the highly cited journals provide some form of public access within this timeframe.

    The NIH Public Access Policy does not affect authors' freedom to choose the vehicle or venue for publishing their results. NIH expects that its awardees will continue to publish the results of their research consistent with their professional autonomy and judgment, in order to advance science as efficiently and comprehensively as possible.

    NIH has successfully posted thousands of papers to PubMed Central under the NIH Public Access Policy without evidence of harm to scientific publishing or the publishing journal.  Only a portion of articles published in scientific journals result from research funded by the NIH. Of these articles, only the final-peer reviewed manuscript is required to be posted, and it need not be made publically available for up to 12 months post publication.  Further, NIH continues its practice of allowing publication costs, including author fees, to be reimbursed from NIH awards.

  10. Will the NIH Public Access Policy harm the quality of peer review?

    No. The Policy relies on the peer review system of journals; only peer-reviewed articles accepted for publication will be posted in PubMed Central. Peer review is a hallmark of quality for journals and is vital for validating the accuracy and interpretation of research results. NIH recognizes that publication in peer-reviewed journals is a major factor in determining the professional standing of scientists; institutions use publication in peer-reviewed journals in making hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions.


Last Updated: 
Tuesday, March 25, 2014