NIH Public Access Policy
Important information on your rights
NIH stresses that it is your responsibility, as the author, to ensure that you have the right to deposit your manuscript with PMC. Some publishers require that you transfer copyright prior to acceptance of publication; NIH warns that you should avoid such journals if their contract does not allow you to deposit articles in PubMed Central. Other publishers in their publication agreements ask you to warrant that there are no prior agreements concerning the publication and that the publisher will own all rights. If you submit a manuscript to PMC prior to signing such an agreement, you would be in breach of that agreement and also in violation of NIH policy. If your publisher does not participate in PMC, there are three approaches you can follow to be in compliance:
Read your publication agreement carefully. Make sure that you have the right to deposit your article with PMC. The SHERPA/RoMEO site has information on the policy of many journals regarding PMC deposit. The Open Access Directory has created a wiki to collect Publisher Policies Specifcally for NIH Funded Authors.
If, after reviewing your agreement and the SHERPA/RoMEO site, there is any question about your rights, add the following language to the publication agreement:
"Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final manuscript to the NIH upon acceptance for Journal publication, for public archiving in PubMed Central as soon as possible but no later than 12 months after publication by Journal."
Alternatively, for a broader approach that provides for NIH deposit and other "downstream" uses, attach the Scholar's Copyright Delayed Access Addendum to the publication contract. The Addendum is a legal instrument that acknowledges any prior grants (including those required by funding agencies). It also provides you with other important rights, including the right to use your article in your own teaching and research, the right to build on the article in future publications, and the right to deposit the PDF version from the publisher with PMC. An online engine that generates the Addendum is found at Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine . Note that the engine currently creates an agreement with a six month delay; this can be changed manually if the journal insists on PMC delaying access for the full twelve months.
For a list of summaries of publisher's default policies, see Publisher Copyright Policies & Self-archiving developed by SHERPA/RoMEO.
A sample letter you can edit and send along with your manuscript submission to notify the editor and publisher that your research was supproted by the NIH, and thus subject to the requirement, is available here .
Last modified: October 17, 2012