NIH Policy FAQ
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NIH Public Access Policy

Latest News: Beginning July 23, 2010 My NCBI tool replaces eRA Commons for Bibliography Management

  • Required actions:
  • If not already established, PD/PIs must establish a My NCBI account to gain access to My Bibliography.
  • My NCBI accounts must be linked to eRA Commons accounts.
  • As of July 23, 2010, Commons will no longer support manual entry of citations. PD/PIs will no longer be able to type or copy and paste citation data into Commons and must enter new citations into their My NCBI accounts.
  • As of October 22, 2010, Commons will no longer display citations that a PI has manually entered into Commons. All citations previously entered manually into Commons will be removed from the Commons system. Therefore, these citations must be added to My Bibliography so that they will continue to appear in Commons and can be associated with future annual progress reports.

Recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) should be aware that a new reporting requirement goes into effect on April 7, 2008. Principal investigators must ensure that electronic versions of any peer-reviewed manuscripts arising from NIH funding and accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008 are deposited in PubMed Central (PMC), NIH’s digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. Full-text of the articles will be made freely available no later than 12 months after publication. 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.

Who is affected by the new reporting requirement?  (Chart)
The policy applies to you if your peer-reviewed article meets the following criteria:

  • Directly funded by an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in FY2008 (October 1, 2007-September 30, 2008)
  • Directly funded by a contract signed on or after April 7, 2008
  • Directly funded by the NIH Intramural Program
  • If NIH pays your salary
  • If your article is a peer-reviewed journal article, including research reports and reviews


Important information on your rights

If there is a question about your rights, add an addendum prepared by the JHU Office of the General Counsel to the publication agreement. The addendum includes language suggested by NIH (addendum). The JHU Office of the Genreal Counsel has also prepared a notification letter for JHU authors' use: Letter

Alternatively, you are strongly encouraged to consider adding an addendum drafted by the Johns Hopkins Scholarly Communications Group, an addendum also approved by the JHU Office of the General Counsel and based on the Creative Commons model. This addendum specifically provides you with rights
  • to post your work on personal or institutional websites or repositories such as PubMed Central;
  • to reproduce, to distribute, to publicly perform, and to publicly display your work in any medium for non-commercial purposes;
  • the right to prepare derivative materials from the work; and
  • the right to authorize others to make any non-commercial use of the work so long as author receives credit as author and the format in which the work is published is cited as the source of first publication of the work;
  • the right to make and distribute copies in the course of teaching and research.


Copyright documents for JHU authors


Complying with the new requirement   (Flow Diagram)

  • Address copyright (see above)
  • What to submit: You (or someone in your organization) must deposit a copy of your final peer-reviewed manuscript, the article accepted for journal publication including all modifications from the peer review process
  • When to submit: Upon acceptance for publication
  • How to submit: Go to the NIH Manuscript Submission system; label the manuscript with the correct author names, grant number, etc. and then submit.


         Some publishers have agreed to make the final published article of every NIH-
         funded article publicly available in PubMed Central within 12 months of
         publication. For these journals, you do not need to do anything to fulfill the
         submission requirement of the NIH Public Access Policy. You may still have to
         sign on to the NIH Manuscript Submission system (          to review and approve release of the article to PubMed Central. For a list of
         journals who will deposit your work, see Journals That Submit Articles To
         PubMed Central.

As of May, 25, 2008, when citing an article in NIH applications, proposals and progress reports that falls under the Policy, you must include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID).


How the new reporting requirement will help you
The new NIH reporting requirement will benefit Hopkins authors. The requirement provides an important opportunity to make published research funded by NIH and written by you and your colleagues accessible to all - the public, health care providers, educators and scientists, among others. This improved access will help advance science and, ultimately, improve human health.

Deposit in PubMed Central ensures that research results will be preserved in a state-of- the-art digital repository. Free access within a 12 month period will maximize the visibility of your research and ensure that researchers and students around the world will be able to read and build on your work, regardless of their ability to subscribe to the journal in which the research is published. Preliminary research suggests that articles freely available are cited more often and have a greater impact than articles locked away behind subscription walls.

NIH public access will foster development of new research tools, open doors to new research avenues, and advance scientific discovery. Quoting David Shulenburger, Vice- President for Academic Affairs at the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), "…public access to publicly funded research contributes directly to the mission of higher education. Improved access will enable universities to maximize their own investment in research and widen the potential for discovery as the results are more readily available for others to build upon."


More Information

Acknowledgement: The organization and content of this FAQ was modeled on one provided by Cornell University Library.