The University of Iowa

NIH Public Access Policy

...ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research....

UI NIH Researchers: Sign In to NCBI to access My NCBI & My Bibliography (MyBib).  If you do not have an NCBI account please see Setting up an NCBI account.  Always use your NIH/eRA log in.  See Using NCBI & My Bibliography and assigning delegates.

Publication Requirements for NIH-Funded Investigators

In April 2008 the National Institutes of Health instituted a revised Public Access Policy to ensure compliance with Public Law 110-161, mandating that any published results of NIH-funded research be made available to the public. Specifically, the revised Policy requires investigators reporting on NIH-funded research to submit an electronic copy of their published articles to NIH PubMed Central, a digital archive offering free and unrestricted access to biomedical and life sciences literature. The Policy applies to all peer-reviewed journal articles, including research reports and reviews, reporting on research funded in whole or in part by the NIH. The Policy does not apply to non-peer-reviewed materials such as correspondence, book chapters, and editorials.

Note that compliance with this policy is a statutory requirement and a condition of grant awards, cooperative agreements, and R&D contract solicitations and awards. Failure to comply could result in serious penalties, including the loss of NIH funding and eligibility for future funding.

Key Details

All articles arising from NIH funds must be submitted to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication. 

  • The Principal Investigator will be responsible for meeting this requirement.
  • The PI remains free to publish to the journal of his/her choosing.
  • Some journals submit articles automatically to PubMed Central on the author's behalf, so that no further action would be required on the PI’s part in order to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy. See the listing of such journals here.
  • When publishing to a journal not on the list, the PI must (1) inform the journal that the article is subject to the Public Access Policy requirements when submitting the manuscript for publication; and (2) ensure any copyright transfer or other publication agreement allows the article to be submitted to PubMed Central; and (3) Submit the article to NIH, upon acceptance for publication.
  • To facilitate the publication process and ensure any publication agreement or copyright arrangement allows the PubMed Central contribution, please see information about copyright agreements on the Hardin Library webpage.
  • For additional information, please refer to the instructions and answers section in Whose approval do I need to submit my article to PubMed Central? and see the NIH Submission Methods Website.
  • Investigators must include the PubMed Central reference Number when citing their NIH-funded articles in NIH applications, proposals, or progress reports. Please note: the PubMed Central id PMCID is not the same as the PubMed PMID.
  • This requirement applies when citing an article that falls under the policy, authored or co-authored by the investigator or arising from the investigator’s NIH award.   

Does the NIH Public Access Policy Apply to You?

The Policy applies to you if your peer-reviewed article is based on a project that is/was:

  • Directly funded by an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 or beyond;
  • Directly funded by an NIH-funded contract signed on or after April 7, 2008;
  • Directly funded by the NIH Intramural Program; and/or
  • Providing NIH funds for your salary. 

Are You Responsible for Articles that Arise from your NIH-Funded Project, but for which You Are **not** an Author?

YES: Principal Investigators and their institutions are responsible for ensuring all terms and conditions of awards are met. This includes the submission of articles that arise directly from their awards, even if they are not an author or co-author of the publication. Principal Investigators and their Institutions should ensure that the authors are aware of and comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.  

Information and Guidance

More information and additional guidelines are available through the following websites: 


  • The UI's Hardin Library staff provides compliance guidelines and resources; training for departments and labs; and a manuscript submission service for completing the PubMed Central submission. For more information, visit the Hardin Library’s NIH Public Access Policy website or e-mail a Hardin Librarian
  • For assistance with copyright issues, please contact UI Deputy General Counsel Ian Arp – e-mail or phone 319-335-2742.