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NIH Public Access Compliance: Applicability & Copyright

Role of author

Every author should answer these questions to determine if their journal articles are subject to the NIH Mandate, and if so, submit them to PubMed Central in a timely way.

  1. Does it arise from any direct funding from an NIH grant or cooperative agreement? or Are you an NIH employee?
  2. Was it peer-reviewed?
  3. Was it accepted for publication on or after April7, 2008?

If you answered YES to ALL 3 questions, you are required to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy and ensure that your article is deposited in PubMed Central and made publicly accessible within 12 months of publication.

NIH ultimately holds the Principal Investigator/NIH Awardee responsible for compliance, even when they are not the author or co-author.

PIs may assign a delegate to submit manuscripts to PMC and manage other aspects of compliance.

Role of Author Part 2

Start thinking about how you will comply with NIH's Public Access Policy. 

1.      When selecting a journal to submit your article to, find out what the publisher's policies are with regard to the NIH Public Access Policy. Here are some ways to do that:

2.    If you are an author but not the PI, notify the PI that you are working on a manuscript so it can be reported

3.    Register for a My NCBI account and link it to your eRA Commons account.  

Work with the publisher

Unless it is clear in the publisher's stated guidelines, authors must retain sufficient copyright to ensure that all conditions of the NIH Public Access Policy can be met.

  • Send a letter along with your manuscript submission. Notify the editor and publisher that your research was supported by the NIH, and thus subject to its requirements.
    • When you submit your article, inform the publisher that it is subject to the NIH mandate and must be submitted to PubMed Central.
  • Prior to signing the author or publication agreement make sure you and the publisher, have agreed on the following:
    • Method of submission
    • Which version will be submitted?
    • Who will submit & approve the submission?
    • When will the paper be made public on PMC?

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