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Federal Agencies Public Access Policies

This guide is intended for use by the researchers at Rutgers University. It covers an overview and requirements of the policy, addressing copyright issues, submission methods, citing PMCID, and how to manage compliance.

What is NIH Public Access Policy?

NIH Public Access Policy ( The U.S. Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2008, PL-110-161. In Division G, Title II, Section 218 of the law it states: "The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided that the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law."

NIH Public Access Policy is a law. It's mandatory. It is a Term and Condition of Award for all grants and cooperative agreements active in Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007- September 30, 2008) or subsequent fiscal years, and for all contracts awarded after April 7, 2008. It ensures the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research.

NIH Public Access Policy FAQ (

What is the policy applicable to?

  • Peer-reviewed paper
  • Paper resulting from NIH funded research
  • Paper accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008

Final Peer-Reviewed Manuscript

  • Author’s final manuscript of a peer-reviewed paper accepted for journal publication
  • Includes all modifications from the peer review process
  • Submitted by Authors/designee or  Publishers/Journals to PMC

Final Published Article

  • Journal’s authoritative copy of the paper
  • Includes all modifications from peer review and the publishing process: copyediting, stylistic edits, and formatting changes
  • Submitted by Publishers/Journals to PMC

PubMed Central vs PubMed

PubMed Central ( A digital repository created by the National Library of Medicine(NLM) for providing access to full text journal articles and authors' final version of peer-reviewed manuscripts resulting from NIH funded research. It is also a repository for journals and publishers which signed an agreement with the National Library of Medicine to place their content in the repository.

PubMed ( PubMed provides free access to MEDLINE of 23 million references to articles published in about 5,600 biomedical journals, selected life sciences journals and online books. 


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