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Stony Brook University

NIH Public Access Policy: How to Comply

A Guide to the NIH Public Access Policy

Getting Help!

The Health Sciences Library offers free individual & group consultations on NIH Public Access Policy (NIHPAP) compliance.

Contact us to schedule an appointment:

  • telephone on campus 4-3099 | off campus (631) 444-3099
  • email
  • Chat click the 'Chat is Online' button on the top right of all Library pages.
  • SBU Answers the University Libraries knowledgebase; Ask a question, get an answer, or search our FAQ.

What to Do

To comply with the NIH Public Access Policy:

  1. Determine if the NIHPAP applies to your manuscript.
  2. Check the journal publisher's policy for compliance with the NIHPAP.
    • Make certain you meet copyright requirements. Note that there are multiple methods of submission to PubMed Central, depending on your choice of journal.
  3. Submit your final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS) - either author or journal may submit.
  4. Monitor compliance in My Bibliography (via My NCBI). 
    • Create a My NCBI Account, utilizing your eRA Commons login.
      • If you already have a My NCBI Account, you must link it to your eRA Commons Account.
    • Enter citations into My Bibliography within My NCBI.
      • While it is easier to import from PubMed, articles not indexed in PubMed can be manually entered.
    • Link Awards (NIH funding/grants) to Citations in My Bibliography
    • Use My Bibliography's filter, display, print and pdf form options to create the reportable list of publications for each grant.
  5. Report the PMCID for all citations in NIH Grant Paperwork

Reporting Compliance

PMCIDs must be included when citing papers in NIH applications, proposals, and reports.  

  • If the paper was published more than 3 months before an application, proposal, or report is submitted, the PMCID must be used.
  •  If the paper is in press or published within 3 months of the application, proposal, or report submission, PMCID may be used.  Alternate acceptable documentation:
    •  "PMC Journal – In Process" – for final published articles being submitted by the journal or publisher
    • NIH Manuscript Submission System reference number (NIHMSID) – for final peer-reviewed manuscripts submitted by the author

Note that:

  • When the article is submitted by the journal publisher, it will not receive a NIHMSID, but will first have the "PMC Journal - In Process" status and then a permanent PMCID.
  • When the article is submitted by the author, it will receive a temporary NIHMSID that will later be replaced by a permanent PMCID.

Either the NIHMSID or the PMCID are acceptable for proof of policy compliance within the first 3 months after publication. After that, the PMCID must be used. The PMCID always supersedes the NIHMSID.