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NIH Policy Enhancing Public Access to Publications

Investigators preparing manuscripts for publications supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or applications to the National Institutes of Health—where previously funded NIH research is cited—must comply with two new requirements.

Requirement to Post Publications to PubMed Central

For all NIH-funded research, investigators are required to submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts within 12 months of publication, along with all graphics and supplemental materials that are associated with the article.

  • Only publications arising, in whole or in part, from funds provided by NIH and that are accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008, require posting. This requirement applies to NIH grants and cooperative agreements active in Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007- September 30, 2008) or beyond, and to all NIH contracts awarded after April 7, 2008. Thus, a manuscript partially supported by an NIH grant that ended December 31, 2007, must be posted to PubMed Central if accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008. You may submit articles that precede the implementation period if you so desire and have appropriate copyright permission.
  • Publications already registered with PubMed, still require the principal investigator to submit the manuscript to PubMed Central.
  • Investigators are responsible for ensuring that any publishing or copyright agreements concerning submitted articles fully comply with this policy. In order to provide advance notice to publishers regarding the NIH obligation, investigator/authors should submit a copy of the letter dated March 6, 2008, from UC Executive Director William T. Tucker at the time manuscripts are submitted to the publisher for consideration, or with any publication agreement signed by a UC investigator.
  • Many publishers have agreed to automatically submit articles to PubMed Central on behalf of the authors; however, investigators should verify that their published article is submitted to PubMed Central to comply with this law. A list of cooperating publishers can be found at http://publicaccess.nih.gov/submit_process_journals.htm.
    • For journals that deposit manuscript files, an author still must provide the associated award information, and review and approve the article in the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system. NIHMS will notify the author via email when these actions are needed.
  • If a publisher is not on the above list of cooperating organizations:
    • Check the journal website. Some journals, such as Cell and Neuron, have information related to their compliance with the NIH requirement on their websites. Others may require a request from the author to post to PubMed Central.
    • Contact the UCI Libraries NIH Group (nihgroup@uci.edu) for assistance. The Libraries have assigned staff to answer general questions about this new policy and help with copyright and publishing agreements.
    • Submit the article to PubMed Central. You must use the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system to submit an article.
      • Deposit the manuscript files (e.g., Microsoft Word document and figures) into the NIHMS.
      • Indicate the NIH award(s) to which the article is related.
      • After the NIHMS converts the deposited files to a standard PubMed Central format, NIHMS will email the author to review the PMC formatted article and approve its release.
      • For more information, visit the NIHMS website.
      • Visit the Online NIHMS tutorial.
  • Remember, NIH will reimburse publication costs, including author fees, for 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; and (3) all other applicable rules on allowability of costs are met. Other FAQs are available at http://publicaccess.nih.gov/FAQ.htm.

Requirement to Add Reference Numbers to Citations in NIH Proposals

Beginning May 25, 2008, investigators submitting an NIH application, proposal or progress report must include the PubMed Central or NIH Manuscript Submission reference number when citing articles that have arisen from their previous NIH funded research. This includes applications submitted to the NIH for the May 25, 2008 due date and beyond. PubMed Central references are added to the end of the standard citation in this format: “PMCID: 243493.”

Who to Contact

Direct questions to the UCI Libraries NIH group (nihgroup@uci.edu) or to your Contracts and Grants officers. The UCI Libraries website has more information on how to upload documents and work with your publishers to include appropriate copyright language in your agreement.

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