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NIH Public Access Policy: FAQ

The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a collection of questions posed during the Hardin Library NIH Public Access Policy classes. Excerpts are taken from the NIH FAQ ( unless otherwise indicated.

Are contracts covered, or only grants?

The following sources of funding are subject to the policy:

  1. Directly funded by an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007- September 30, 2008) or beyond;
  2. Directly funded by a contract signed on or after April 7, 2008;
  3. Directly funded by the NIH Intramural Program.
  4. If NIH pays your salary.

If two Principal Investigators from two different grants collaborate, how is the submission process altered?

My article has multiple authors and/or is funded from multiple NIH sources. Who should submit the article?

Any author may submit the article, but each Principal Investigator and Institution is responsible for ensuring that the terms and conditions of their award are met. An article need only be submitted once to the NIH Manuscript Submission system. Authors will be notified during the submission process if they try to submit an article that has already been submitted.

Articles can be assigned multiple NIH award numbers during submission. They can also be linked to an award electronically via the Commons when completing an electronic Progress Report, or listed as arising from any NIH award in writing when submitting an application, proposal or progress report.

How do you submit the copyright addenda when the entire article submission process is electronic?

Those details will need to worked out with the individual publisher.

What are the consequences, if any, of post submission modifications of the abstract, title, body, etc. by the publisher?

Final peer-reviewed article: The Investigator's final manuscript of a peer-reviewed article accepted for journal publication, including all modifications from the peer review process.

Final published article: The journal's authoritative copy of the article, including all modifications from the publishing peer review process, copyediting and stylistic edits, and formatting changes.

The final editing changes made by the publisher will not be reflected in the PubMed Central version. The final peer-reviewed manuscript is what appears in PubMed Central. At the top of each author manuscript in PMC, it says something like:

Published in final edited form as:

Brain Res. 2008 February 15; 1194: 28–36.

How are grant numbers to be submitted and cited when each number refers to a different year or the same grant or an extension of a grant?

In this situation, you need only attach your manuscript to the most recent funding year.

Do articles submitted to PubMed Central appear in the PMC database in abbreviated form before the embargo period?

PubMed Central will not display an article until after the embargo period has finished. To cite articles still in process, use the NIHMS ID number, located within the submission system.

There is an award associated with a citation that it did not support. 

  1. First, check to see if there is a lock symbol next to the award. If there is no lock, click “Add or delete award” and unselect the award in question.
  2. If the award is locked by a gold lock, contact the NIHMS Help Desk through their web form accessible at to have the erroneous association removed. When you contact NIHMS, include the following details: the award number, the NIHMSID, the PMID (if available), and your eRA Commons username. Once the lock is removed, you can remove the award association by clicking “Add or delete award.”
  3. If the award is locked by a silver lock, you will have to electronically revise the progress report where the association is made. Email the Public Access Policy group at to have this officially reported erroneous association resolved. Include the award number, the citation information, including PMID, and your eRA Commons username. Once the lock is removed, you will be able to remove the grant association by clicking “Add or delete award.”
  4. If you did not author the publication, and none of your awards supported the research, only remove the locks from awards for which you are responsible. Once the locks have been removed, delete associations to your awards, and then you can delete the citation from your Bibliography.