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NIH Public Access Policy


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released its new Public Access Policy which became effective April 7, 2008. Under a new federal law, NIH is now requiring that the author's final version of any peer-reviewed journal article resulting from NIH-funded activities must be submitted to PubMed Central (PMC), NIH's digital repository, where it will be made available to the public within 12 months after the journal article is published. The information listed below will help with several of the compliance issues that University of Pennsylvania authors will need to address. If you have questions about the new policy and how it affects you as an NIH researcher, email the Biomedical Library or call 215-898-5818.

How to Comply


Authors need to ensure that any copyright agreement between themselves and their publisher permits the submission of the author's manuscript to PubMed Central. Suggested wording from NIH to be added to the publisher's agreement can be found here.

Manuscript Submission

Authors may submit an article to the journal of their choice for publication. There are four methods to ensure that a manuscript is submitted to PubMed Central in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

  • Publish your article in a journal that automatically submits to PubMedCentral. If you choose this method you do not need to further comply with the new policy. For a listing of these journals click here.
  • Make arrangements to have a publisher deposit a specific final published article in PubMed Central. Submission is free, but some publishers will charge a fee to do this for you. Paying the publisher is NOT necessary if you or a third party submit the manuscript yourself.
  • Deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC yourself via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). This system is easy to use and submission can be done by the author or a third party in your lab or department.
  • Complete the submission process for a final peer-reviewed manuscript that the publisher has deposited in the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).
    Note: For a list of publishers and their policies on submission of final peer-reviewed manuscripts click here.

Citing PubMed Central (PMC) ID Numbers

When you submit a manuscript to NIH you will receive a NIHMS ID number. Once it appears in PubMed Central, it will be assigned a PMC ID number.

  • Beginning May 25, 2008, you will need to cite the PMC ID or NIHMS ID number for any articles you cite in your progress report, new applications or renewals. This is only needed for articles accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008.

Using RefWorks or Endnote with PubMed Central (PMC) ID Numbers

Some changes must be made to your RefWorks or Endnote account to import records with PMC ID numbers and use a citation output style that includes the PMC ID. For directions to implement these changes, see the following pages: