NIH Public Access Policy Overview

Learn about the NIH Public Access Policy and its applicability.

Public Access Policy Details

The NIH Public Access Policy implements Division F Section 217 of PL111-8 (Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009). The law states:


The Director of the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) shall require in the current fiscal year and thereafter 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.


The NIH public access policy applies to any manuscript1 that:

  • Is peer-reviewed, and;
  • Is accepted for publication in a journal2 on or after April 7, 20083, and;
  • Arises from:
    • Any direct funding4 from an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 or beyond, or;
    • Any direct funding from the NIH Intramural Program, or;
    • An NIH employee.

For Institutional Training, Career Development, and Related Awards (T15, T32/TL1, T34/TL4, T35, T90, R25/RL5, R90/RL9, K12/KM1/KL2, D43, D71, DP7, U2R, U45): Trainee, scholar, and participant publications fall under the public access policy if the publication resulted from work conducted while the individual was supported by the award (i.e., receiving a stipend or salary from the award). See NOT-OD-15-091 for more information.

For publications arising from shared resources, see NOT-OD-16-079.

Does your publication meet these criteria?

Yes. Visit Determine Submission Method to learn how to make such a paper compliant and report it to NIH.

No. My publication does not fall under the NIH Public Access Policy. Visit Reporting Publications to NIH that Do Not Fall Under the Public Access Policy to learn how to report such a publication to NIH.


1 Until further notice, manuscripts written in scripts other than Latin (e.g., Russian, Japanese) cannot be processed by the NIHMS. These manuscripts are not required to be posted on PubMed Central and do not require evidence of compliance on applications, proposals or reports. The NIHMS continues to process manuscripts written in Latin (Roman) script that contain characters and fonts used in standard mathematical notation.

2 See the FAQ for the full definition of a journal.

3 Authors may submit final peer-reviewed manuscripts accepted before April 7, 2008 that arise from NIH funds, if they have the right or permission to do so.

4 “Directly” funded means costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy. When awardees list a publication in the progress report publication list of an RPPR or a renewal application, they are claiming that the publication directly arises from that award and the awardee is responsible for the public access compliance of the listed publications.