Collections and Library Services

Scholarly Communications

NIH Public Access Policy

How to Comply with the Policy

Determine Applicability
Does the NIH Public Access Policy apply to your paper?

Address Copyright
Ensure your publishing agreement allows the paper to be posted to PubMed Central in accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Submit Paper
Submit papers to PubMed Central and approve public release.

Include PMCID in Citations
Include the PMCID at the end of the full citation in your application or report.

What's the difference between a PMID and a PMCID?


A PMID is the identifying number assigned to articles in PubMed, which is an index of abstracts. A PMCID is the identifying number assigned to articles in PubMedCentral, which is an index of full text articles. All peer-reviewed articles supported by NIH funding need to be available in PubMedCentral within 12 months of publication, per the Public Access Policy. Having a PMCID shows that your article is in compliance, and you may need it for grant reporting.

How to Get a PMCID

NIH requires that the peer-reviewed articles it funds be made publicly available on PubMed Central (PMC). The NIH Public Access Policy requires submission of the final peer-reviewed manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to PMC upon acceptance.

What do I need to do?

Many journals will submit to PMC for you ("Method A" journals). Check your acceptance letter or refer to this list from NIH to determine your journal's method.

My Journal/Publisher did not submit for me. Now what?

In addition to Method A, there are other workflows for submitting your paper to PMC:

  • Method B: Make arrangements to have a publisher deposit a specific final published article in PMC. List of Method B journals (note that deposit does not happen automatically for every NIH-funded paper: this option must be chosen by the author)
  • Method C: Deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC yourself via the NIHMS.
  • Method D: Complete the submission process for a final peer-reviewed manuscript that the publisher has deposited via the NIHMS.

Instructions for Method C and D Journals

These journals require steps on behalf of the author (Method C) or publisher (Method D) to deposit the manuscript into the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).

Gather the files you need, including the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) - you'll deposit this and not the publisher's PDF. Can't find your AAM? Refer to this guide for authors on how to obtain an Author Accepted Manuscript from a publisher's journal submission system, where the AAM is stored during the publishing process.

For Method C authors: follow the steps here.


If your article is non-compliant, i.e. does not have a PMCID, the authors or PI will need to address the compliance issue:

  • Determine the article’s submission status by checking the citation on the PI's NCBI My Bibliography to if it has been submitted to the NIHMS. Articles without an NIHMSID number in the Public Access Compliance field of the citation may not have been submitted. Check NIHMS to see if and where the paper is in the submission process
    • If an article has not been submitted, the PI may want to reach out to the publisher to submit on the author's behalf. If not, the PI or author must submit a copy of the accepted version of the paper along with all figures, tables, and supplementary information through the NIHMS.
  • To submit a manuscript to NIHMS, follow the steps here.

Ask Us

If you need assistance determining the Public Access compliance status for your articles or understanding the deposit method for your journal, please contact us

Skip to Main Content

Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
1350 Jefferson Park Avenue P.O. Box 800722
Charlottesville, VA 22908 (Directions)

facebook twitter instagram
© 2023 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia
Copyright & Privacy