NIH Public Access Policy

The NIH Public Access Policy has been in effect since April 7th, 2008.  It ensures that the general 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 (PMC) (

To ensure the manuscripts are archived in PMC, the process must start immediately upon acceptance for publication. This page provides resources and links to assist in complying with the Policy.  PIs are responsible for ensuring that all peer-reviewed papers resulting from their NIH funding are submitted to PMC, including those authored by collaborators, students, postdocs, and subrecipients.


For questions regarding the NIH Public Access Policy, you may contact Stephanie Scott in SPA at [email protected].  You may also reach out to the Health Sciences Library at [email protected] for assistance.

The One-Page Tips Sheet:

Tips on Complying with the NIH Public Access Policy

About NIHMS IDs:

At times, PI and/or authors will need to submit or approve papers in the NIH Manuscript System (NIHMS).  Upon submission, you will be given a NIHMS ID.  This ID should be used when referencing the paper.

The ID is only good to demonstrate compliance to the Policy for three months after the paper's publication date! After that date, you need a PubMed Central ID number (PMCID).  If you do not have a PMCID by the three month mark, NIH will consider the paper non-compliant.  That is why it is extremely important to start the process upon acceptance for publication.

NIHMS Resources:


PIs need to manage publications in My Bibliography of MyNCBI.

MyNCBI Tips:

  • Login to MyNCBI using your eRA Commons ID and password. Do not sign in directly to NCBI.
  • Make sure your MyNCBI account is linked to your eRA Commons account.  After logging in, edit your account setting by clicking on your email address in the top right corner, change "Linked Accounts" and select NIH eRA Login.  This will ensure the bibliography pre-populates in the Research Performance Progress Report.
  • The NCBI account settings page is also where you can assign delegates. Just have their email addresses handy and they will receive alerts to accept the delegation.
  • Papers written by you should be added to your MyBibliography.  Papers written by others resulting from your NIH funding should be copied to a separate collection while you manage your citations.

Important Links and Resources:


  • FAQs on Reporting Publications in RPPRs - Go to Section E of the FAQs.
  • Guide to Categorizing Products (Section C) in the RPPR
  • RPPR Instruction Guide - Go to Section C, Chapter 6, for specific RPPR instructions on publications
  • Related NIH Notices:
    • NOT-OD-17-050 - Reporting Preprints and Other Interim Research Products
    • NOT-OD-16-079 - This Notice clarifies public access reporting requirements for publications arising from shared resources.
    • NOT-OD-15-091 - This Notice clarifies which publications should be included in progress reports and renewal applications for institutional training, career development, and related awards.
    • NOT-OD-12-160 - Contains links to many Notices related to NIH delaying the processing of non-competing continuation grant awards if publications arising from that award are not in compliance with the NIH public access policy. This began in the Spring 2013.