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Stony Brook University

NIH Public Access Policy

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.

Accessing My NCBI

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is the database management and bioinformatics arm of the National Library of Medicine, which, in turn, is part of the National Institutes of Health. As well as providing an extensive array of databases, information resources, and software tools, it also provides a free account (My NCBI) which allows users to customize their use of the NCBI resources, save searches and collections of results, set up automated email alerts, maintain NIH Biosketches, and manage your personal citations and their compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy. This last is done using a tool within My NCBI called My Bibliography.

In order to use My NCBI (and My Bibliography within it), you must register for an account. Multiple login options are provided, but for seamless integration with eRA Commons, the NIHMS, and other NIH grant resources, it is strongly recommended that you use only one username and password: your eRA Commons/NIH login. If you use that for all the NIH resources, everything should link easily.

If you already have separate My NCBI and eRA Commons accounts, you can link them from within My NCBI. This is necessary in order to view Compliance status and Grant Linkages to articles in My Bibliography.

Also note that you can link other accounts to your My NCBI account including institutional logins, ORCID, and Google accounts. A general guide to MyNCBI's use for PubMed is available on this Libguide.

However, it is the link to your eRA Commons account that is vital for Public Access Policy compliance.

To register, sign-in, and use My NCBI, use the "Sign in to NCBI" link in the top right corner of any NCBI webpage (including PubMed).

For problems with My NCBI accounts and linking to eRA Commons accounts, contact

For detailed instructions on registering for My NCBI, go to the "What is My NCBI?" Manual.

My Bibliography

My Bibliography is the second box in the lefthand column in My NCBI. At the bottom of the box is a link to "Manage My Bibliography." Click on that link.

Adding Articles to My Bibliography

To add a citation to MyBibliography:

  • For citations in PubMed:  Search PubMed directly.
    • If you have several to add, search PubMed by author. For example, to find articles by John D. Smith, search with Smith JD[au]. You may need to weed through the results and try with and without the middle initial, depending on how common the name is and whether articles have been published under different name versions.
    • Once you've selected your articles in PubMed, click on "send to" and select "MyBibliography."
    • You will need to be logged in to MyNCBI before you do this.
  • For citations NOT in PubMed:  Go to "MyNCBI," locate the "MyBibliography" section, and click on "Manage MyBibliography."
    • Click on "Add Citation"
    • Choose the type of citation to create from the dropdown menu.
    • Follow directions
    • Note that one option will take you to PubMed so that you can search for articles in PubMed as described above.

Video Animation: Adding Citations to MyBibliography

Also, if someone else has linked a citation in their MyBibliography to one of your grant awards in eRA Commons, you will see a notification message that the citation has been added to your MyBibliography. The addition of citations linked to your funding is done automatically by the system. You can review the new citations and keep or delete them as you wish. The notification message can be removed by clicking on the small "x" on its right side.

Compliance View in My Bibliography

To view and manage the compliance status of your citations in MyBibliography:

  • From MyNCBI, locate "MyBibliography" and click on the "Manage My Bibliography" link
  • Click on "Display Settings"
  • Select View: "Award" and Sort By: "Public Access Compliance" then click "Apply"

Note that this will only work if your My NCBI Account is linked to your eRA Commons Account. If the accounts are properly linked, you will see a small icon on the top of the page.

Once the Display Settings are set to see compliance and grant (award) linkages, there will be a blue area underneath each citation with the appropriate information.

The compliance status for each citation is indicated by a colored dot/symbol as well as text.

  • = The article is NOT in compliance.
  • = The article is fully in compliance with the Public Access Policy; article is in PubMedCentral and has a PMCID
  •  = In process for compliance: has a NIHMS ID or is published in a journal that will submit it directly.
  •  = Compliance status unknown; author needs to specify
  •  = Compliance is not applicable (it meets exclusion criteria for compliance; usually this means either that the article was accepted for publication prior to April 8, 2008 or it doesn't have any NIH funding)

Status for all citations can be changed either by clicking on the symbol or on the "edit status" link.


  • Answer Yes or No for whether the citation is associated with an NIH-funded project. Note that If a grant is already linked to the paper, the "edit status" box will not offer that option.
  • If the answer is Yes, then select among the options to begin NIH Manuscript Submission, indicate in process by providing a NIHMSID or selecting that it is from a Method B Publisher, or choose one of the exemptions for "N/A" status
  • While selecting "Begin submission in the NIHMS" will take you immediately to that system, you can also go to the NIHMS separately and then return to enter the NIHMS ID number here later.

Read the NIH's "Managing Compliance to the NIH Public Access Policy" Help for more information.

Linking Grant Awards to Citations in My Bibliography

To associate NIH funding Awards with your citations in MyBibliography:

  • If no awards have been associated with the citation, it will state "NIH Funding: No funding has been associated with this citation."
  • If an award has already been associated the citation, it will be displayed
  • To add an award, click on "Add Award"
    • To delete an award, click on "Add or Delete Award"
  • To add awards to multiple citations simultaneously, click the check boxes by each of the citations and then click on "Assign Awards to Citations" at the top of the list
  • On the "Assign Awards" Pop-up Box, clicking on "Awards" will show a list of the awards associated with your eRA Commons profile under "My Awards." There is also a list of other awards that you can select from; this displays those awards that are not associated with your eRA Commons profile, but have been linked to citations in your My Bibliography collection. You can select from these as well.
  • Select the appropriate award(s) to add to the citation and then click "Save."

  • If you need to find another award, use the "Search/Add other Awards" Tab to locate other awards. You can search for awards using a grant number, award title or grantee name. 

  • Note that Awards may be added to a single citation by multiple authors/PIs. All will appear in the blue box below the citation.

Delegating My Bibliography

The ability to manage My Bibliography can be delegated to another person, such as an administrative assistant, program manager, student, or other. The delegate must have their own My NCBI Account linked to an eRA Commons account.

To delegate:

Click on your email/username on the top right of the screen to see your NCBI Account Settings.

Click on "Add a Delegate":

Once done, the delegate will be able to view, manage and edit your My Bibliography.