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Public Access Policy Toolkit

For those seeking or receiving grant funds from agencies or funders with public access policies.

Submitting Articles for Publication

In order to share publications, funders may expect:

  • deposit of publications to an open access repository,
  • the addition of a Creative Commons license to your work,
  • or the use of other methods to make your publications available to the public.

Before you submit an article to a journal for review, check your funders' expectations for public access. Upon submission of your work to a journal, notify the editor and/or publisher that your work falls under a funder's public access policy.

N.B. Most funders require deposit of a publication upon acceptance, not upon publication. Embargoes (delayed access) can be supported in most repositories if expected by your publisher. Also note which version of the article your funder requires you to deposit. A post-print is the same as the final manuscript. It is the final version of your article after peer-review but before the publisher has formatted it with page numbers, watermarks, and the like. The publisher's formatted version is known as the publisher's version.

It is the author's responsibility to ensure compliance with public access policies. Negotiate your publication agreement as needed.

NIH Public Access Policy

Below is information on the NIH Public Access Policy for publication sharing. It is the longest-standing federal public access policy. Many other funders are modeling their policies on the NIH policy and/or making use of the NIH publications repository, PubMed Central.


What are the general things to know about the NIH public access policy?

Final, peer-reviewed manuscripts must be submitted to the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS) upon acceptance for publication, and be made publicly available on PubMed Central (PMC) no later than 12 months after the official date of publication. Any author can deposit a paper in the NIHMS and manage the submission.

Note that PubMed Central is NOT the same as PubMed.  All publications in PMC are freely accessible by the public, while PubMed includes many citations for publications, but not necessarily the publications themselves.

Remember, no matter which submission method you use, the NIH Awardee is responsible for making sure the deposit into PMC is completed. (From "Advice for NIH Grantees: How to Comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.")

What are the submission methods for compliance with the NIH policy?

  • Submission Method A: Author publishes in a journal that submits all NIH-funded final published articles to PubMed Central (PMC); no fee. See Method A Journal list.
  • Submission Method C: Author self-submits the final peer-reviewed manuscript to the NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS) in preparation for posting to PMC. See Methods C and D Best Practices.
  • Submission Method D: Publisher submits the final peer-reviewed manuscript to NIHMS on behalf of NIH-funded authors in preparation for posting to PMC; no fee. See Method D Publishers list.

What are the differences between submission methods?

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