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NIH Public Access Policy: How to Submit

Instructions for faculty and graduate students awarded NIH grants to comply with public access policy, using the NIHMS system.


Ways to Submit Manuscript to PubMed Central

There are four methods to ensure that a manuscript is submitted to PubMed Central in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy. These methods vary based on the version of the paper submitted, and the actions undertaken by the author and publisher.  

*Method A: Publish in a journal that deposits all NIH-funded final published articles in PubMed Central (PMC) without author involvement.

*Method B: Make arrangements to have a publisher deposit a specific final published article in PubMed Central.

*Method C: Deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC yourself via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). (See steps below)

*Method D: Complete the submission process for a final peer-reviewed manuscript that the publisher has deposited in the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).


Steps for Completing the Online Submission Process (Method C)

Step 1: Log in

Users can log in to NIHMS using their eRA Commons login (for extramural scientists) or their NIH login (for NIH intramural scientists). Third party submissions may be made by My NCBI account holders. Publisher login accounts are available for publishers interested in submitting manuscripts on behalf of authors to NIHMS. Additional publisher options are discussed in the Publisher FAQ.

Step 2: Upload manuscript

After providing basic information about the manuscript and contact information, users can upload their manuscript file(s). The system will generate a receipt of the uploaded files in PDF format. The PDF Receipt summarizes the information entered into the system, and merges the manuscript's files into one viewable document. Submitters confirm that the manuscript and any additional supporting documents have been successfully received by NIHMS.

Step 3: PDF Receipt approval and processing

If the submitter is not the Principal Investigator (PI), an email will be sent to the PI to approve the PDF and indicate the release date when the manuscript will be made publicly available on PMC. Upon approval by the submitter and the PI, the manuscript will be converted into XML - the standardized digital format used by PubMed Central.

Step 4: Approval of the converted manuscript (Web version)

After the conversion process, a preview of the article as it will appear in PubMed Central will be made available, allowing the PI to correct any errors if necessary. After final approval, the article will be publicly accessible through PubMed Central after the time-delay specified by the PI.


For further details, look at the NIHMS submisison tutorial.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

Content modified with permission of creator, ale Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library.

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Michael Boock
Contact me for help with questions pertaining to copyright, the OSU Faculty Open Access policy, open access publishing, digital collections of scholarship. I am the library liaison for the College of Forestry and the Honors College.