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NIH Public Access Policy

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

Methods for Submitting Manuscript to PMC

There are four methods to ensure that a manuscript is submitted to PubMed Central in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy. These methods vary based on the version of the paper submitted and the actions undertaken by the author and publisher. 

  • Method A: Publish in a journal that deposits all NIH-funded articles in PubMed Central (PMC) without author involvement. Be sure to follow Method A Best Practices.
  • Method B: Make arrangements to have a publisher deposit a specific final published article in PubMed Central.
  • Method C: Deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC yourself via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). (See steps below)
  • Method D: Complete the submission process for a final peer-reviewed manuscript that the publisher has deposited in the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS)

NIHMS: NIH Manuscript Submission System

Method A

The easiest way to contribute articles to PMC is to publish in a journal that automatically transfers copies of your published articles (PDF) to the repository. Nothing else is required of you.

Method B

Some journals do not automatically deposit every NIH-funded paper in PMC. Author can choose to arrange with the journal for the deposit of a specific article; this usually involves choosing the journal’s fee-based open access option for publishing that article. This is sometimes referred to a Gold Open Access. Contact your journal directly for details on the options they offer.

Method C: Steps

NIH Manuscript Submission System

Users can log in to NIHMS using their eRA Commons login (for extramural scientists) or their NIH login (for NIH intramural scientists). Third-party submissions may be made by My NCBI account holders. Accounts are also available for publishers interested in submitting manuscripts to NIHMS on behalf of authors. Additional publisher options are discussed in the NIHMS FAQ.

After providing basic information about the manuscript and contact information, users can upload their manuscript file(s). The system will generate a receipt of the uploaded files in PDF format. The PDF receipt summarizes the information entered into the system and merges the manuscript files into one viewable document. Submitters confirm that the manuscript and any additional supporting documents have been successfully received by NIHMS.

At this stage, if the person submitting the manuscript at this time is not the Reviewing Author but instead a Submitter (or Author Proxy), the Submitter (or Author Proxy) will be able to assign the author as the reviewer of the manuscript. That person will be informed, using the email address you provide, that they have been designated as the reviewer of this manuscript and will need to log into NIHMS to complete this submission. If you are an author on the paper and wish to review it, you will designate yourself as the reviewer. Only the Reviewing Author can approve the submitted manuscript and complete the submission. The Reviewing Author also sets the release delay of the manuscript to PMC (up to 12 months). If you are not sure about your publisher’s policy about release (embargo) dates, contact the publisher before setting this delay.

After the submitted manuscript has been processed and prepared for PubMed Central (PMC), an email will be sent to the Reviewing Author. The email will include a link that will take the author directly into the NIHMS System so that he or she can view and approve the Web version (both HTML and PDF) of the manuscript.

The PMCID is assgined after you make the final approval.

Method D

Some publishers will submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to NIHMS (Method D).

After the manuscript has been deposited, an author must log into NIHMS to

  • approve the submission
  • approve the PMC web version of the article before a PMCID is assigned.

It is essential for authors to respond to any emails from NIH as quickly as possible.

Please note that publisher policies can change from time to time, and that some journals might have their own unique policy. It is always a good idea to double check with your journal..


Short List of Publisher Policies

Additional resources are available for finding publisher information.