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Open access to publicly funded journal articles & research data: NIH FAQ & Help

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Himmelfarb Librarians can help you determine if the publisher will submit the manuscript for you, or help you submit the manuscript through the NIHMS, please email

Answers to Common Questions

Q. I have received an email asking me to fill out a Progress Report Additional Materials (PRAM) in eRA Commons. What should I do?

A. The PRAM is an automated response in the RPPR system to any noncompliant papers associated with the grant number in the NIH Compliance Monitor. You should ensure your My NCBI bibliography and eRA Commons accounts are linked, then log into your My NCBI bibliography and check there are listed all papers associated with the award number.  If there are any missing papers search PubMed and add the missing records to your bibliography, then Display the Awards view in your My NCBI bibliography and check for any noncompliant papers (red dot) - those are the papers you likely need to get into PMC. 

Q. The journal I published in is listed as a Method D publisher, but it has been 3 months since it was accepted and My Bibliography is telling me it is not compliant (there is no NIHMS or PMC ID number).

A. No matter what method the journal is listed as it is ultimately the PI's responsibility to ensure the article is deposited to PMC.  If a Method D journal/publisher has not submitted the article after 3 months following acceptance for publication, contact them and ask why they haven't.  In the meantime, go ahead and submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to the NIHMS System (instructions).  If the publisher does so later, it will over-ride your submission, but this will ensure you are in compliance. Read your Transfer of Copyright agreement with the publisher and determine the delay period (embargo), if any, that applies to the published article. The delay period is determined and registered in the NIHMS system by the manuscript's Principal Investigator or author, or by the publisher for manuscripts submitted via publisher accounts.

Q. I need to submit to the NIHMS system, but I can't find the final peer-reviewed manuscript?  Can't I just download the pdf copy from the journals website and submit that?

A.  Unfortunately, that would be against copyright law.  If you are unable to find the final version of the manuscript (with peer-reviewed edits but not the final copy-editing formats), and none of your co-authors have a copy either, we recommend that you contact the publisher and explain your problem.  They may be able to supply a copy that you could use.  If this does not work, contact Himmelfarb Library for assistance at

Q. I am the PI for a large teaching grant and am not an author on many of the publications that result from that funding.  Do I need to include all of those citations and ensure they are compliant?

A. Yes.  As the PI you are responsible for ensuring all articles that are directly funded from that grant are compliant, whether or not you are an author. If you choose not to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy this will affect your ability to receive NIH continuation grants or apply for future NIH funding moving forward.

Q.  One of my articles has a NIHMS ID number but has never been added into PMC and is past the 3 month deadline for needing a PMCID number.  What is wrong and how can I fix it?

A. This is probably happening because whoever was entered into the NIHMS System as the reviewer has not responded to a request to review and approve the submission.  When publishers or delegates submit manuscripts to the NIHMS system they will select an author of PI to receive emails asking for approval of what was submitted.  If that person does not receive the email and follow the steps to approve the submission it will never make it into PMC.  Check with the PI or your co-authors to see if anyone received any message from NIHMS.  Himmelfarb Library may also be able to help you discover who originally submitted and who is responsible for approving the submission, send an email to  Finally, you can request that the responsibility be transferred to you.

Q. I need to get a PMCID# immediately but my publication agreement says the full text must be embargo'd for 12 months. How do I get the PMCID# if the full text will not be deposited into PubMed Central for another year?

A. When the reviewing author has approved the submission, this will generate a PMCID# regardless of the length of the embargo period. You may cite the NIHMSID# on your RPPR for only up to 3 months after the date of publication, so if you are a co-author you should take action by petitioning the NIHMS helpdesk to assign reviewing author status to yourself, and you can then log into the NIHMS and review and approve the submission to speed along the process.

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