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NIH public access policy: Details for MIT authors

In 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) adopted a revised and mandatory public access policy that requires all NIH-funded investigators to submit their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts to the NIH’s PubMed Central (PMC) database (the digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature) upon acceptance for journal publication. Compliance with the policy is a term and condition of all grants awarded after April 7, 2008.

Need help complying with the NIH Public Access Policy? Ask Scholarly Communications.

Overview for members of the MIT community who receive funds from NIH

There are three actions an NIH funded author needs to take when publishing an article:

  1. Sign and attach the MIT amendment to the publisher copyright agreement.
  2. Ensure that your final, peer-reviewed manuscript is submitted to PubMed Central (PMC) and that you have the PMC reference number for the article.
  3. Retain copies of all amended copyright transfer agreements and all final peer-reviewed manuscripts.

When an article is accepted for publication, use the NIH Public Access Policy submission web guide to determine which submission method to PubMed Central (PMC) is needed for compliance. There are four methods to ensure that an applicable paperis submitted to PMC in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

PubMed Central and NIH Manuscript Submission System reference numbers

  • Authors and PIs should collect PubMed Central reference numbers (PMCIDs) for their articles. If they deposit an article to PMC themselves, they should also collect NIH Manuscript Submission System reference numbers (NIHMSIDs) as proof of deposit.
  • These numbers will be required in all progress reports, proposals, and grant applications when citing papers that arose from your NIH award.
  • NIHMSIDs will be supplied to authors via email from the NIHMS system, when they are asked to approve the submission and release of the manuscript. These will be important to use as references prior to the point that the article appears publicly in PMC.
  • If the publisher partners with PMC, no NIHMS ID will be created. Authors should instead reference the PMCID, but this will be available only if the article is publicly visible in PMC. For articles published by partner publishers which are not yet publicly visible in PMC, authors should indicate “PMC Journal – In Process.”
  • Read more about the difference between PMCIDs and PMIDs, citing PMCIDs, and how to locate PMCIDs.

Publisher agreements and copyright

  • It is essential for authors to ensure that any publication agreement they sign allows the final, peer-reviewed manuscript to be submitted to PubMed Central within 12 months of publication, in accordance with the policy.
  • From the NIH FAQ: “Authors should avoid signing any agreements with publishers that do not allow the author to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.”
  • Authors should attach an amendment to the publisher’s transfer agreement that will allow them to comply with NIH requirements.
  • Download a grid summarizing key publishers’ practices in relation to the NIH policy.

Publication costs

NIH will allow PIs to pay open access publication costs from grant funds, though NIH is not budgeting additional funds for this purpose.

Compliance flowchart

Washington University in St. Louis Medical Library has prepared a flowchart: Complying with the revised NIH Public Access Policy.