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NIH Public Access: What to Know

The NI
H Public Access Policy

The NIH Public Access Policy (Division F Section 217 of PL111-8, Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009) states that:

The Director of the National Institutes of Health ("NIH")shall require in the current fiscal year and thereafter that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, that the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

The NIH Public Access Policy is managed by the Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration (OPERA)

Helpful Links 

       Website icon               Icon link to Sponsored Programs               Icon link to Training & Communications               Icon linked to Public Access Wizard

Does the NIH Public Access Policy apply to my manuscript?

The Policy applies to any manuscript that:

    • Is peer-reviewed;
    • And, is accepted for publication in a journal on or after April 7, 2008;
    • And, arises from:
    • Any direct funding from an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 or beyond, or;
    • Any direct funding from an NIH contract signed on or after April 7, 2008, or;
    • Any direct funding from the NIH Intramural Program, or;
    • An NIH employee.

What are my options in making my manuscript compliant?

There are four methods for your manuscript to be submitted to PubMed Central (PMC) for NIH Public Access Policy compliance.  You may use the method which is most appropriate and consistent with your publishing agreement.

     Overview of Submissions

Which method should I use?

The NIH Public Access Wizard provides guided instructions.

Step 1: Navigate to the NIH Public Access Website ( )
Step 2: Click the “Show me specific instructions for my publication” link
Step 3: Review the publication criteria and select “Yes”, “No” or “Maybe”  
Step 4: Type in the journal's name
      4A: Does the journal appear in the list below AND accepted within the the start & end date?
             If YES, the publication is a Method A journal. Review best practices Stop sign
             If NO, continue to Step 5 Go sign
Step 5: Locate the blue box and click, "If your journal is not listed below please click here for next steps."
      5A: Did you make arrangements with the journal or publisher listed here?
             If YES, the publication is a Method B submission. Review best practices Stop sign
             If NO, continue to Step 6 Go sign
Step 6: Since Methods A or B do not apply, then use Method C (author submission) or Method D (publisher/journal submission) using NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS)
             You may wish to review NIHMS best practices and the next section before submitting your manuscript. 


Your Turn: Name that Submission Type

    • Navigate to NIH Public Access Policy
    • Click “Show me specific instructions for my publication.
    • Click “Yes. Show me how to make my paper compliant and report to NIH.”
    • Search for ACS Omega
    • The manuscript has been accepted on April 3, 2023

Which submission method does ACS Omega have?

Check your answer

Answer: Method A
Reason:  The journal appears in the table AND published within the the start & end date.  Since no end was specified, the date is considered current.

The NIH Public Access Service Desk

What they do:
    • Provide expert advice, guidance, and assistance on all NIH Public Access Policy issues or concerns
    • Assist Principal Investigators/recipients and staff members of their institutions - including delegates, librarians, authors, institutional officials, and anyone else who is connected to the award, institution, and/or manuscript
    • We help all others in the general public with understanding the policy - students, researchers, medical professionals, etc.

How do I contact the NIH Public Access Service Desk?

Email Service Desk icon

Last Reviewed: February 24, 2023