National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy

Policy Overview

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)  released its Public Access policy, effective April 7, 2008. Principal investigators must ensure that electronic versions of any peer-reviewed manuscripts arising from NIH funding and accepted for publication after that date are deposited in PubMed Central (PMC), NIH’s digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. Full text of the articles will then be made freely available to the public no later than 12 months after publication. The requirement applies to any NIH direct funding, including grants, contracts, training grants, subcontracts, etc. In addition, beginning May 25, 2008, anyone submitting an application, proposal or progress report to NIH must include the PMC or NIH Manuscript Submission Reference Number when citing applicable articles that arise from their NIH-funded research. Compliance involves three main areas:

  1. copyright
  2. manuscript submission to PubMed Central
  3. citing PMC ID numbers in subsequent grant reports and proposals


UConn authors / investigators must ensure that agreements with publishers permit submission of the author’s manuscript to PubMed Central (PMC) after April 7, 2008.

  • Submit this standard letter with your manuscript, alerting the publisher to the fact that the manuscript is subject to the NIH policy and that you intend to comply with this policy.
  • Standard language is provided by NIH that should be inserted into a publisher’s copyright agreement at the time your article is accepted for publication, ensuring your right to deposit your article and supporting data into PMC. (Some agreements may already contain this language, but we recommend adding it as a safeguard.)

Manuscript Submission

University of Connecticut principal investigators must ensure that final peer reviewed manuscripts and accompanying data required by the publisher resulting from NIH funded research are deposited into PMC upon acceptance for publication on or after April 7, 2008 using the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).

  • You can submit your manuscript yourself or have your designee submit it for you. The NIH site provides tutorials that explain each step of the process.
  • Some journals will deposit manuscripts on behalf of authors. The NIH maintains a  list of these journals.
  • Some publishers may charge a fee for this service, but you can avoid that fee by submitting your manuscript yourself. You are not required to pay the publisher to do this for you.
  • You, as the author of an article submitted to PMC, always have the final sign-off before it is added, so you can be sure that it is complete and accurate. During the submission process you also have the right to set an embargo period for your article of up to twelve months before it becomes publicly available, if you so choose.

Citing PubMed Central ID Numbers

Effective May 25, 2008, you will need to include the PMC ID or NIHMS ID numbers for any articles you cite in your progress reports, new applications, or renewals. These are only needed for articles accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008, but you may include PMC ID numbers for articles already in PubMed Central as well.