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NIH Public Access Policy

Federal law requires that the public have access to the published results of NIH-funded research in the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy implements this law, requiring any manuscript resulting from NIH-funded research to be deposited into the PubMed Central digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.

Although this policy has been in effect since 2008, NIH will be stepping up enforcement in spring 2013. With the roll-out of the new Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) (for SNAP and fellowship awards, with others to follow), compliance for all reports will be monitored electronically through My NCBI, a bibliography tool developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

  • Progress reports required to use the RPPR will list publications by pulling data from an eRA Commons-linked My NCBI account. Any non-compliant publications that are associated with the grant progress report will trigger an automatic email notifying the grantee of the problem.
  • Progress reports that are still utilizing the paper format must be accompanied by a My NCBI-generated PDF list of publications, which will facilitate detection of non-compliant publications. NIH staff will email the PI and business official when a problem is detected.

Based on the ability of My NCBI to manage publications and automatically detect non-compliance, NIH will no longer award non-competing continuation grant awards when a progress report is not in compliance with the Public Access Policy, regardless of progress report format.

PIs receiving emails notifying them that one or more publications associated with the award is not properly deposited in PubMed Central must reply with evidence of compliance (i.e. the appropriate PMCID or NIHMSID) or a satisfactory explanation. Note that NIH can allow exceptions only in extreme circumstances, such as the death of a sole author. Failure to secure permission from the publisher to deposit the publication in PubMed Central is not an allowable exception.

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