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NIH Public Access Policy: Public Access Policy

Step by step instructions regarding the NIH policy for Einstein staff, faculty and researchers.


This guide contains the following sections:

Public Access Policy

Journals and NIH Policy

How to Submit

My Bibliography

PMCIDs in Bibliographies


This research guide is based on a guide by Denise Hersey at Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University.

Open Access Legislation

The Research Works Act (RWA), introduced in the House of Representatives in December 2011, seeks to repeal the NIH Open Access policy and block similar policies at other federal agencies. The RWA is backed by the Association of American Publishers (AAP); however, since the beginning of 2012, many publishers, including AAP members, have expressed opposition to the the bill. Numerous organizations, including libraries, universities, public health and others, have also expressed opposition.

On February 27, 2012, the sponsors of the bill announced that it was effectively dead.

Earlier in February, a competing bill, the Federal Research Public Access Act, was introduced in the House and Senate. This bill seeks to strengthen the NIH Open Access policy by reducing the maximum embargo period for journal articles from 12 months to six months. It also extends the policy to all the major agencies of the federal government.

It is not believed that this bill will move forward in the current legislative session.

NIH Public Access Policy and Your Grant

This presentation clarifies the NIH Public Access Policy, offering guidance on ensuring that your manuscripts are available to the public within the guidelines of the policy, and that your grant funding continues without interruption.



The NIH 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 that result from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication. To help advance science and improve human health, the policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication.

Starting on July 1, 2013, NIH will delay processing of non-competing continuation grant awards if publications arising from it are not in compliance with the policy.

How to Comply

All of your papers that fall under the NIH Public Access Policy, whether in press or in print, must include evidence of compliance in all of your NIH applications and reports.

  1. Determine Applicability
    Does the NIH Public Access Policy apply to your paper?

  2. Address Copyright
    Ensure that your publishing agreement allows the paper to be posted to PubMed Central in accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

  3. Submit Paper
    Submit papers to PubMed Central and approve public release.

  4. Include PMCID in Citations 
    Include the PMCID at the end of the full citation in your application or report. You do not need to find PMCIDs for all articles in an NIH grant application, proposal or progress report. You only need to include the PMCID when citing applicable papers that you author or that arise from your NIH-funded research.


Karen Sorensen's picture
Karen Sorensen
D. Samuel Gottesman Library
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
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Bronx, NY 10461-1924
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