Research Management Group (RMG)

NIH Public Access Policy and Compliance

This webpage provides an overview to the NIH Public Access Policy and links to existing resources.

If your research project qualifies, make sure you take the necessary steps to comply with this policy and give yourself plenty of lead time as publications take weeks or even months to be accepted into the system.

Last year the NIH announced that it would “delay processing of an award if publications arising from it are not in compliance with the NIH public access policy” (NIH Notice >>). Stanford has already seen examples of grants that have been delayed or awarded with restriction due to non-compliance with this policy. 

The NIH is strongly enforcing the Public Access Policy.

The Policy

The Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts to PubMed Central (, a digital archive of full-text biomedical journals, within 12 months of publication.


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.

Compliant and Non-compliant articles

Compliant articles:

  • Have a PMCID (PubMed Central ID) (PMC webpage >>)
    When this number has been provided, that publication is in compliance. The PubMed Central number begins with PMCID (that is how you'll know it's the correct number).

  • or Were published in a Method A journal
    (list of Method A journals >>)

Non-compliant articles
An article is considered Non-Compliant when:

NIH considers an article In Process
when it is less than three months past its final publication date and is somewhere in the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS) processing cycle
(NIHMS FAQ webpage >>)


How do I make my article compliant?
  • For help making articles compliant with the Policy, see the NIH Public Access Policy "When and How to Comply webpage >> for getting papers into PubMed Central (PMC).
  • PMC deposit steps depend on which method the publication uses (A, B, C, or D) (see this NIH Submission Method overview webpage >>) Submission method is largely determined by which journal is publishing your manuscript, but also depends on your individual publication agreement. Generally, in Method A and Method B the publisher posts your manuscript directly to PubMed Central, and in Methods C and D manuscripts are submitted to NIHMS by the author, designee, or publisher depending on the situation.
  • It's recommend that you link your My NCBI and eRA Commons accounts (NIH webpage >>) to manage your NIH publications.
  • For articles already in the NIHMS cycle, see Managing Compliance in the My Bibliography Guide (NIH webpage >>).
  • For articles where publisher deposits into PMC or the NIHMS directly, notify the publisher to start the process.


My NCBI tips

Use My NCBI to manage compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy as well as the concurrent changes to the new Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) which will now create an automatically generated email alerting the grantee if the report includes non-compliant citations.

Use a My NCBI account to:

. Link your My NCBI account to your eRA Commons ID & password
. Build a bibliography of grant related publications
. Link publications to grants
. Identify what is and is not in compliance
. Notify NIH when an article is not covered by the policy
. Submit your bibliography for your RPPR
. Share your publications with the PI & fellow researchers
. Appoint a designate to help with citations & compliance

Step 1: Go to
My NCBI log in page

Step 2: Log in using your NIH Commons user name and password

If you don't remember that user name and password go to the NIH Commons website >>* and click "forgot password"

Step 3: Once logged into my NCBI

Check the status of your publications to see if you are in compliance.
How to check the status- link on my NCBI help webpage >>

How do I notify the NIH that I now have a PMCID # for my article(s) so they can release the hold on my award or life a restriction?
  • Provide to the NIH grants specialist (you can find the name and email address of the NIH grants specialist for your award- in your list of awards in NIH commons [LINK] or on the notice of award.
  • Prepare email to your grants management specialist to provide them with the missing PMCID # (and cc your RPM with the PMCID #) using this wording:

      Dear Mr./Ms. Grants Management Specialist,

      The notice of award for [provide NIH grant NUMBER #from your notice of award] includes a restriction indicating that [X number of] publications are not in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy. Please note that the PMCID numbers for this/these publications are now available.

      [Provide the full citation with the PMCXXXXXXX at the end of each citation (Authors, title, journal, date, pages, PubMed Central PMCID: PMC #)]

      Is this sufficient for you to issue a revised award lifting the restriction?


NIH Public Access-NIH Video Training Tools on YouTube

NIH has published the following training videos to You Tube to address training needs of faculty and administrative staff with respect to the Public Access Policy.  

A table of contents with links to the following seven videos can be found on this YouTube webpage >>

    • 01. The Basics (8.06 minutes) The law that drives the public access policy.
      · PubMed and PubMed Central are two distinct databases. The full article must be available in PubMed Central. Minimum requirements.
    • 02. Awardee Task (10.52 minutes) worth viewing. What the policy applies to. How to comply. Who submits the paper. Paper submission methods. How to cite papers that are in press.
    • 03. Awardee Task and Example (9.15 minutes) worth viewing for Faculty Who does what? Who addresses copyright? Who deposits the paper into PubMed Central? Who reports the paper in the progress report and/or biosketch? Who does this policy apply to? (What does it mean by direct funding?)
    • 04. My NCBI a Primer (21.06 minutes) worth viewing for admin and faculty: How to use NCBI. How to log in. How to add a paper. What the various color statuses mean with respect to papers that are in compliance, in process, and out of compliance.
    • 05. Change Happens (20.34 minutes)
    • 06. An Introduction to the Public Access Compliance Monitor (13.41 minutes)
    • 07. How can institutions ensure compliance (5.45 minutes)



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