Public Access to NIH-Funded Publications


Policy Summary

The purpose of this policy is to provide researchers with guidance for following the NIH Public Access Policy publication and citation requirements. All peer-reviewed articles arising from research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) must be submitted to NIH’s PubMed Central to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the date of publication.  Researchers citing articles they authored or co-authored, or that otherwise arose from their NIH-funded award, must include the PubMed Central reference number in the citation. 

Related Regulations

Title II, Section 218 of Public Law 110-161, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 

Who is Governed by this Policy

  • Staff
  • Faculty


Scope and Applicability 

This policy applies to all manuscripts: 

  1. Generated by an NIH Fiscal Year 2008 grant or cooperative agreement, or by a continuing NIH grant or cooperative agreement that was active in Fiscal Year 2008, or for research funded by the NIH intramural program, or by an NIH contract awarded after April 7, 2008; and  
  2. If the manuscript is accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008. 

PubMed Central Manuscript Submission Requirement 

The NIH Public Access Policy requires that all peer-reviewed articles arising from NIH-funded research be submitted to PubMed Central to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the date of publication.  Principal Investigators are responsible for following this requirement even if they are not an author or co-author of the publication. 

Some journal publishers make every final, published NIH-funded article publicly available in PubMed Central within 12 months of publication.  A list of these journals is available at: Journals That Submit All NIH-Funded Final Published Articles to PubMed Central. For these journals nothing further is needed to fulfill the NIH Public Access Policy submission requirement.  Other journals will deposit peer-reviewed manuscript files on behalf of their authors through the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). When this happens, authors still have to provide the associated award information, and must review and approve the article. The NIHMS will contact the authors by email to do so.   

Some journal publishers do not submit NIH-funded manuscripts to PubMed Central on behalf of the author or deposit peer-reviewed manuscript files through NIHMS, and leave everything to the author.  In such instances the author must review the policies of the publisher to determine if those policies follow the NIH Public Access Policy requirements, and must negotiate copyright with the publisher to allow submission to PubMed Central through the NIHMS.  Authors must contact the publisher directly if the policy on compliance with the NIH policy is ambiguous or unavailable.  If there is no clause that allows for authors to submit their NIH-funded work to PubMed Central, that right must be secured by the authors.   

Citation Requirement 

When a researcher proposes to cite in an NIH proposal or progress report a publication he or she has authored or co-authored that is subject to the NIH Public Access Policy, the researcher must include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) in the citation.  Obtain the PMCID by searching for the publication in NIH PubMed Central. If the PMCID is not yet available, or the article is not yet in PubMed Central, use the NIHMS reference number (NIHMS ID) instead.   


PubMed Central: The free NIH digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. PubMed Central is available at the following link.  


Journals That Submit All NIH-Funded Final Published Articles to PubMed Central   

National Library of Medicine:  Getting Started with PubMed 

NIH Manuscript Submission System Tutorial 

Sherpa-Romeo Directory of Publishers 

NIH PubMed Central 

Related Information

Copyright Policy 

NIH Public Access Policy 


Contact Phone Number Email Address
Office of Sponsored Projects 202-994-0728  [email protected]


Responsible University Official: Vice Provost for Research
Responsible Office: Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Last Reviewed: July 7, 2021


Non-compliance with this policy can be reported through this website.