NIH Public Access Policy Mandate and Author Rights
- Overview and background
- Powerpoint from the library's NIH Mandate Brown Bag
- Does the NIH Public Access Policy apply to you?
- How to comply?
- eRA Commons must be linked to "My Bibliography" starting July 23, 2010
- Author rights - who owns the rights to your publications?
- The Law
- Where can I get help?
- What is the impact of this change?
On December 27, 2007, President Bush signed the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 into law. Section 218 makes the NIH Public Access Policy mandatory and compliance with the policy a statutory requirement. The Policy is one action related to the broader Open Access movement, a movement trying to make research information as accessible as possible.
In response, NIH released a revised Public Access Policy that requires investigators to deposit an electronic version of articles resulting from NIH funding to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication. PubMed Central is the NIH digital archive of full-text biomedical and life sciences journal articles that allows free and unrestricted access. Manuscripts will need to be made publicly available no later than twelve months after the date of publication.
Previously, submission of manuscripts resulting from NIH-funded research was voluntary. The new requirement went into effect on April 7, 2008.
For more background information, see
- Update on 2007 mandate from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access
- Update on 2007 mandate from Open Access News
NIH-supported investigators and their institutions are responsible for compliance with the new policy. The policy applies to you if your peer-reviewed article is based on work in one or more of the following categories:
- Directly funded by an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007- September 30, 2008) or beyond;
- Directly funded by a contract signed on or after April 7, 2008;
- Directly funded by the NIH Intramural Program.
- NIH pays your salary.
The policy does not apply to non-peer-reviewed materials such as correspondence, book chapters, and editorials.
Check out this chart prepared by the Bernard Becker Medical Library: The Revised NIH Public Access Policy Chart: When Do NIH-Funded Authors Need to Comply?"
If you plan to publish an article resulting from NIH-funded research in a peer-reviewed journal, you should be aware of the following requirements that each NIH-funded researcher must follow to comply with the policy.
- Address Copyright: You are responsible for addressing copyright. You should make sure that the journal's copyright transfer or other publication agreement allows your article to be submitted to NIH in accordance with the policy.
Many journals submit articles to PubMed Central on behalf of their authors. If you publish in one of these journals, no further action is needed to comply with the submission requirement. A complete list of these journals is available at the NIH Public Access web pages. A second group of publishers, participants in PubMed Central’s Open Access subset, will submit articles on your behalf upon payment of a fee. Publication in one of these journals using Blackwell Online Open, Elsevier Sponsored Documents, or Springer Open Choice, also eliminates the need to submit your article via the NIH Manuscript Submission System. See this table to learn what action you must take to comply with the policy.
If you do not publish in a journal that will submit your article for you, you must first ensure that the journal's copyright transfer agreement allows articles to be submitted to PubMed Central. You should:
- Inform the journal that your article is subject to the NIH Public Access Policy when you submit it for publication, and;
- Read your journal copyright transfer agreement carefully and make sure that it allows your manuscript to be deposited upon acceptance of publication and made available in PubMed Central no later than twelve months after article publication. The SHERPA/RoMEO website provides information on the policies of many journals regarding PubMed Central deposit. If an agreement does not allow deposit, NIH suggests the following language that you can use to amend the agreement before signing it:
“Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final peer-reviewed 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.”
Submit the Article:Peer-reviewed articles that arise from NIH-funded research and are accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008 must be deposited in PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication and within 3 months of publication. The author's version of the final peer-reviewed manuscript, including all graphics and supplemental materials, should be submitted. Submit your manuscript using the NIH Manuscript Submission System. For more information, see the Submission Proces and Submission Training/Communications pages at the NIH web site, as well as the NIH Manuscript Submission System user guide.
NIH recently announced that as of July 23, 2010, Program Directors (PD) and Principal Investigators (PI) will be unable to enter citations manually into eRA Commons. In its place PDs and PIs must utilize My NCBI's “My Bibliography” tool to manage their citations and the two accounts must be linked to one another [click Manage Your Professional Bibliography (My NCBI)]. As of October 22, 2010, previous citations that were manually entered into the eRA Commons system will no longer be displayed and will be removed [Updated June 10, 2010].
- Cite the NIHMSID or PMCID to Demonstrate Compliance with the Policy: When you submit your article, you will receive a NIH Manuscript Submission ID or NIHMSID, as a temporary identification number that indicates compliance with the policy. Once the manuscript is published a PubMed Central reference number, the PMCID, will be assigned. Authors are given 3 months post-publication to continue to use the NIHMSID. Beyond 3 months, the only way authors can prove compliance with the policy is to provide the PMCID of the cited article .
- How do I Find Out My PMCID? – NCBI has created a converter (see figure below) that will allow users to input PMIDs and get their associated PMCIDs. You can also enter PMCIDs and get their associated PMIDs. The converter allows users to enter one or more identifiers, allowing batch processing.
You own the rights to your own publications (with a few exceptions) unless you transfer them to someone else.
Most publisher agreements are standard forms that ask the author to transfer all rights in their work to the publisher. In the academic world, authors commonly sign copyright agreements, transferring their copyrights to publishers and often losing control over their intellectual property. You may have to ask permission to use your own publications, including the rights to:
- Post your work to your web site;
- Copy your work for distribution to your students;
- Use your work as the basis for future articles and other works;
- Give permission for your work to be used in a course at your institution;
- Grant permission to faculty and students at other universities to use your work for research and study.
Did you know that the terms of publisher copyright transfer agreements are negotiable? Thanks to the development of author addenda, it's relatively simple to modify copyright transfer agreements in order to retain some rights to your publications that signing a default contract would give to the publisher.
An author addendum is a standardized legal document that an author signs and attaches to a publisher's copyright transfer agreement. Several organizations have developed author addenda and universities across the country are endorsing them. Some universities are even creating their own addenda.
The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine is a freely available tool that simplifies the process of implementing an addendum to retain scholarly rights. Authors select one of four addenda, enter basic information (publisher name, the title of the work, etc.), then generate and print an amendment that can be attached to any publisher's copyright transfer agreement.
Each of the four addenda gives authors non-exclusive rights to create derivative works of their publications and to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, and publicly display their works in connection with teaching, conference presentations, lectures, other scholarly works, and professional activities. The addenda differ with respect to how soon the final published version of a work can be made available and whether others can be authorized to use the works.
What if the publisher rejects your author addendum? The SPARC web site offers the following suggestions:
- Explain to the publisher why it is important for you to retain rights to your own work.
- Ask the publisher to explain why the rights provided in the author addendum are insufficient to allow publication.
- Evaluate the adequacy of the publisher's response in light of the reasonable and growing need for authors to retain certain key rights to their works.
- Consider publishing with an organization that will facilitate the widest dissemination of their authors' works, to help them fulfill their personal and professional goals as scholars.
The Health Sciences Library encourages faculty to exercise their rights and retain control over their publications. If you have questions about author rights or other issues related to copyright, contact our Ask a Librarianservice.
Check out these websites for more information about Authors' Rights and Copyright Addenda:
- Author’s Rights (two minute video)
- Resources for Authors, SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)
- Retaining Rights, ARL (Association of Research Libraries)
- Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine, Science Commons - The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine allows you to generate a form that you can attach to a journal publisher's copyright agreement to ensure that you retain certain rights
The NIH Public Access Policy implements Division G, Title II, Section 218 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (PL 110-161) which states:
SEC. 218. The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.
2009 Update on the NIH Mandate. House Bill 801
The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, or H.R. 801, is a House of Representatives Bill that could overturn the NIH Public Acccess Policy Act. Sponsored by Representative John Conyers (Dem, MI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the bill prohibits all U.S. federal agencies from making it a condition of funding that a certain subclass of copyrighted works be made freely available. This subclass of works includes publications that resulted from federally funded research.
- Read the text of the bill.
- Learn about the potential effects of the bill on the NIH Policy specifically and on open access in general.
The Health Sciences Library is happy to assist UC AMC faculty with identifying PubMed Central reference numbers (PMCID), locating publisher contact information, and amending publisher copyright agreements to allow deposit in PubMed Central. For assistance, please contact our Ask a Librarian service.
The NIH maintains a Public Access website with detailed instructions. A user guide on how to submit a manuscript can be found here. This set of resources explains the details of the revised policy and the submission process:
- Complete NIH Public Access Policy
- How to comply with the Policy
- Submission process
- Slide shows/tutorials
- Frequently asked questions
- NIH Manuscript Submission System User Guide
The revised policy ensures the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research by requiring that articles be accessible to the public via PubMed Central to help advance science and improve human health. The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has called the new NIH policy "an important step forward for science, scientists, and the higher education community".
The success of the NIH policy has led to a bill that would affect other federal agencies specifically the Federal Research Public Access Act or FRPAA. With bipartisan support, this bill requires grant recipients from agencies with $100 milliion in extramural funding to deposit resulting works in publicly accessible repositories 6 months (as opposed to 12 for the NIH policy) after publication. Affected agencies include : the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Transportation, as well as the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Agency, and Environmental Protection Agency.
- PubMed Central deposit is a convenient substitute for submitting print copies of articles in fulfillment of grant reporting requirements.
- Access to thousands of articles resulting from NIH funding each year will be greatly expanded for use in research, teaching, and patient care.
- A consequence of making work more visible among scientists around the world is greater impact.
- This open environment will facilitate development of new kinds of computational research techniques. Journal articles in PubMed Central are already linked to other scientific databases such as GenBank, enabling researchers to observe and explore relationships that may not previously have been apparent.
- The National Library of Medicine will provide long-term digital archiving of articles in PubMed Central, ensuring tomorrow’s researchers can build on today’s findings.
- The NIH policy precedent can open the door for institutions to secure expanded rights to use research in teaching, learning, and research.
The NIH Public Access Policy is part of the larger Open Access movement. For more information on this, see the library's Open Access FAQs.
Please contact Lilian Hoffecker at 303-724-2124 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about this page.
[updated June 2012]