This NIH policy requires PIs to submit all final, peer-reviewed journal manuscripts resulting from NIH-funded research to PubMed Central, the national digital archive, as soon as the manuscripts are accepted for publication. The policy also requires the final published version of these papers to be freely accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after the date of publication. This requirement applies to grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts.

To comply, PIs must ensure that:

  • publishing agreements do not block free public access on PubMed Central
  • an electronic version of the article is posted to PubMed Central upon acceptance
  • PubMed Central ID numbers (PMCIDs) are included in NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports when citing publications covered by this policy

Here is a summary of the policy in PDF form. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, which hosts PubMed Central, maintains an FAQ page to help PIs comply with this requirement; more information is available here. Failure to comply may result in sanctions, including special conditions on existing awards, closer monitoring, and potential loss of future HHS funding.