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NIH Public Access Policy

Instructions and resources to help the UCI research community comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.

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Linda Murphy

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Linda Murphy
Linda Suk-Ling Murphy, MLIS
Health Sciences Librarian
University of California, Irvine
The UCI Libraries
P.O. Box 19557
Irvine, CA 92623-9557
(949) 824-6419
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NIH Public Access Policy Overview

The policy applies to any journal article that:

  1. Is peer-reviewed;
  2. And is accepted for publication in a journal on or after April 7, 2008;
  3. And, arise from:
    • Any direct funding from NIH grant or cooperative agreement
    • Any direct funding from an NIH contract signed on or after April 7, 2008, or
    • Any direct funding from the NIH Intramural Program or; 
    • An NIH employee.

The accepted manuscript must appear on PMC no later than 12 months after final publication. NIH will withhold grant money to enforce the public-access policy. See additional applicability guidelines and Policy details.The Policy was passed into law by the U.S. Congress in 2009.

Exempt publications include:

  • Review articles, unless the article underwent peer-review.
  • Books; however a book chapter published in a series indexed in PubMed does fall under the Policy if it was peer-reviewed.
  • Manuscripts in non-Latin scripts (e.g. Russian, Japanese), since they cannot be processed by the NIH

Exempt publications may still be reported in NIH progress reports via My NCBI, but listed at not applicable (N/A).

To advance science and improve human health, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) passed its Public Access Policy on April 7, 2008. The Policy states that all peer-reviewed published research articles funded by NIH must be made publicly available on PubMed Central.

This LibGuide provides direct links to the compliance resources and necessary steps to comply with NIH funded publications. The Guide includes step-by-step instructions on 
When & How to Comply

PMID vs. PMCID: What are the difference?

NIH-funded research papers must be made publicly available in PubMed Central (PMC)




  • PMC (PubMed Central) is a free, full text repository of journal articles, and is different from PubMed, which contains references and abstracts only.  
  • A PMCID is a unique number assigned to each article submitted to PMC. This number verifies that the article has been submitted to PMC in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy mandate. See below for an example of a PubMed citation with a PMID and PMCID.
    • Cole HM, Fiore MC. The war against tobacco: 50 years and counting. JAMA. 2014 Jan 8;311(2):131-2. doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.280767. PubMed PMID: 24399546; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4465196.

PubMed (PMID)

  • PubMed is an index of the biomedical literature containing citations and abstracts only.
  • PMID is a unique number assigned to each article indexed in PubMed. See below for an example of a PubMed citation with a PMID.  
    • Matthews S. NIH will withhold grant money to enforce public-access policy. Nat Med. 2013 Jan;19(1):3. doi: 10.1038/nm0113-3. Erratum in: Nat Med. 2013 Feb;19(2):123. PubMed PMID: 23295990