The NIH Public Access Requirement

Since April 2008, the National Institutes of Health requires that all investigators funded by NIH submit the final, peer-reviewed manuscript of any article accepted for publication to the National Library of Medicine’s full-text archive, PubMed Central, so that it is made freely and publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.

Copyright issues can complicate the submission process. It is important for NIH investigators to take copyright into consideration early in the path to getting an article published.

  • Publishers generally require that the author sign publication agreements that assign, or give away, the copyright to the publisher.
  • Make sure that any agreement you sign clearly allows the paper to be submitted to NIH and PubMed Central. To ensure this:
  • Click here for a webstreamed presentation on this topic given by Elizabeth Kirk, Dartmouth College Library Associate Librarian for Information Resources, on March 13, 2009.

Authors may also want to consider using a more expansive publication agreement amendment also created by the Dartmouth College Library, http://www.dartmouth.edu/~osp/docs/AccessPolicy-InclusiveAmend.pdf. It modifies the standard publisher’s agreement to retain the author’s rights to not only meet the archiving requirements of NIH and other funders, but also to make and distribute copies in the course of teaching and research, and to post the article on personal and institutional web sites and in other open-access web sites.

  • For additional information about author rights and other scholarly publishing issues, see /~library/schcomm/