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Open access to publicly funded journal articles & research data: Overview of the NIH Public Access Policy

Scroll down the page to view a summary of Department/Agency open access plans

About the NIH Public Access Policy

If you have questions about the NIH public access policy itself, authors and Principal Investigators can contact the NIH Public Access helpdesk by email to If you have questions about your responsibilities as a GW faculty author or Principal Investigator Himmelfarb Library staff can be contacted by email to

Under the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy peer-reviewed journal articles arising from NIH-funded research are required to be deposited in PubMed Central, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the date of publication.

About this Guide

This Guide provides instructions on various steps you must take to ensure your compliance with the policy. In this guide you will find:

Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library acknowledges the original creator of most of this guide Emily Mazure at Duke University Medical Library for giving permission to reproduce content from her NIH Public Access Policy Compliance guide.

Compliance Process Diagram

View this chart from the Becker Medical Library on how your NIH accounts are linked together.

The diagram below depicts the overall process involved in the NIH Public Access Policy.  It illustrates what systems are involved and the interactions between those systems.  The steps a PI/author needs to take are illustrated, with those that are typically problematic highlighted in red.

NIH PAP Overview Diagram

View this short video from New York University Medical Library on managing your compliance with the policy.  If you have questions please email

UCLA Biomedical Library ran a workshop in September 2013 on how to use these systems to deposit your papers into PubMed Central, the 45 minute recording is available online at this UCLA workshop recording link.

UAB Lister Hill Library ran a workshop in June 2013 that focused more on the practicalities of how to generate a publications list from your eRA-linked My NCBI account, which you can then use on the RPPR or Form 2590. The hour long recording is available online at this UAB recording link and you may wish to skip to the 30 minute mark from which the instructions are presented.

NIH Notices

Notice Number: NOT-OD-13-042   For non-competing continuation grant awards with a start date of July 1, 2013 or beyond:

1) NIH will delay processing of an award if publications arising from it are not in compliance with the NIH public access policy.

2) Investigators will need to use My NCBI to enter papers onto progress reports.  Papers can be associated electronically using the RPPR, or included in the PHS 2590 using the My NCBI generated PDF report. Please see NOT-OD-12-160 for more details.

For all publications arising from an NIH award, and reported to the NIH in an award RPPR or renewal application, the Principal Investigator is responsible for the paper's compliance with the NIH public access policy.  If a Principal Investigator is not an author or co-author and their only contribution to a publication was to provide access to resources shared from their NIH award, they are not obliged to report the publication in section C.1 of an RPPR or progress report publication list of a Renewal application but can instead opt to list those papers in section B.2 (achievements) of an RPPR or in the appropriate sharing plan of a grant Renewal Application to highlight how shared resources lead to noteworthy impact(s) (see clarification in Notice Number NOT-OD-16-079).