Vol 35 | No 2 | Spring 17
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NIH Public Access Policy: Compliance is Essential

To advance science and improve human health, National Institutes of Health makes the peer-reviewed articles it funds publicly available on PubMed Central, NIH's digital journal archive available to all citizens and to all researchers at no cost. The NIH public access policy requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to PubMed Central immediately upon acceptance for publication. The Policy applies to any peer-reviewed manuscript that is accepted for publication in a journal on or after April 7, 2008, that received direct funding from an NIH grant, cooperative agreement, NIH contract or NIH Intramural Program, or was submitted by an NIH employee. The NIH Public Access Policy does not affect authors' freedom to choose the vehicle or venue for publishing their results, in order to advance science as efficiently and comprehensively as possible. Principle Investigators are responsible for making sure that all papers that are based on research from their NIH grants (whether they are an author of the paper, or not) are made available through PubMed Central. Another person other than the PI can make the deposit, such as a lab assistant, a secretary, or other designated person. The UCI Libraries are able to assist as well.


UCI Libraries help faculty and research staff comply with the NIH Public Access Policy with a website and an email helpline for NIH Public Access Policy questions. NIH Public Access Policy requires that published journal articles resulting from NIH‐funded research be made available to the public, no later than 12 months after the date of publication. Staff at Grunigen Medical Library, as well as Health Science Librarians Linda Murphy and Hector Perez, are available to help faculty with questions about which version of their articles should be submitted to PubMed Central. They also can help with questions on how to navigate the NIHMS websites in order to link the research articles to grants associated with the work. Kim Fraser (Electronic Research Administration) and Hanna Kim (Beckman Laser institute) have produced a video that demonstrates the process for submitting articles to PubMed Central and completing grant acknowledgement in the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system.

If one or more NIH grants are acknowledged in a manuscript, any Principal Investigator on the grant, as well as the author or authors, are responsible for compliance. The process for compliance should actually begin as soon as your article has been accepted for publication in a peer‐reviewed journal. Some publisher's copyright policies on public access allow for the final published PDF version to be deposited in PubMed Central, but the author should check for archive policy terms at SHERPA/ROMeO and submit the manuscript in NIHMS.gov. Further, the author should follow‐up on approval of initial manuscript submission and final PMC‐ready documents, check PubMed@UCI for the PMCID number, and add the PMCID number to the NIH biosketch. However, ultimate responsibility rests with the PI, who will receive an email from the NIH Manuscript Submission System after the article has been processed.

Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the NIH funding award may cause NIH to take one or more enforcement actions, depending on the severity and duration of the non-compliance.   NIH generally will afford the grantee an opportunity to correct the deficiencies before taking enforcement action unless public health or welfare concerns require immediate action.  However, even if a grantee is taking corrective action, NIH may take proactive action placing special conditions on awards or precluding the grantee from obtaining future awards for a specified period, or may take action designed to prevent future non-compliance, such as closer monitoring.

When submitting an application, proposal or report to the NIH, the grant submitter must include the PMC reference number (PMCID) when citing applicable papers that they author or that arise from their NIH-funded research. This should still be the process even if the paper was not authored by the grant submitter, but rather arose from the awarded NIH funds. Remember, the NIH public access policy is a federal mandate, and compliance is essential.

For more information please contact Mitchell Brown, Scholarly Communications Coordinator at mcbrown@uci.edu or x49732.