National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy Resources

In December 2007, President Bush signed legislation directing the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to mandate that all peer-reviewed published journal literature resulting from research funded in whole or in part by the NIH must be archived in PubMed Central to be made publicly available within 12 months of publication. PubMed Central is the free full-text digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature for the NIH. The NIH Public Access Policy goes into effect April 7, 2008.

Policy Highlights

  • April 7, 2008 - From this date forward, all peer-reviewed articles resulting from NIH-funded research must be submitted to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication.
  • May 25, 2008 - Publications cited in proposals, applications and progress reports must include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) for articles that fall under the Policy and are authored or co-authored by the investigator, or arose from the investigator's award. This includes applications submitted for the May 25, 2008, due date and subsequent due dates. If the PMCID is not yet available, the NIH Manuscript Submission system reference number (NIHMS ID) should be submitted.

Dual Notification Strategy

In order to reserve the rights needed to comply with the Policy and ensure that publishers are fully aware that articles submitted for review fall under the Policy, it is recommended that authors use a dual notification approach of a cover letter and an addendum. The first step is to attach a cover letter alerting publishers that the article being submitted arose from research funded by the NIH, and therefore rights will need to be granted by the publisher to the author allowing the author to submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central. Use of this cover letter is recommended for all NIH-funded articles, regardless of publishers' stated policies on allowing compliance.

If the publisher does not explicitly grant authors the rights needed to comply with the policy, either through publication agreements or policy statements, authors will need to attach an addendum to the publication or copyright transfer agreement. When attaching an addendum, write the phrase "subject to attached addendum" beneath the author's signature on the publisher's contract, and staple the addendum to the contract. Further instructions, and additional addenda, can be found below under the "Copyright Management" section.

Detailed Information

NIH Public Access Policy

Copyright Management

Carpenter Library recommends that in addition to using addenda with copyright agreements, authors also notify editors via a cover letter that the article submitted for review falls under the Policy.

  • Instructions for Using Addenda (PDF)
  • Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine
  • SPARC Author Addendum
  • Sample language from the NIH an author or institution might add to copyright agreements to ensure the right to archive publications:
            "Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final manuscript to the NIH upon
            acceptance for Journal publication, for public archiving in PubMed Central as soon as possible but no later
            than 12 months after publication by Journal."
    (Print version)

Journal and Publisher Information


Guidelines, Tools & Services

Services available from Carpenter Library

  • Advice on how to comply
  • Presentations to individuals or groups
  • Scheduled classes
  • Research publisher policies
  • Locate publisher contact information
  • Assist with first-time submission
  • Locate PMCID reference numbers



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