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NIH Public Access Policy Update

Posted Date: 5/2/2014 2:57 PM

Content Categories: Policies-Guidelines-Procedures\NIH

Subject: NIH Public Access Policy Update


NIH Public Access Policy Overview

The NIH Public Access Policy (http://publicaccess.nih.gov/index.htm) ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. It requires scientists to submit the final version peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication, and that these papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication.

Washington University, as a recipient of NIH funds, is required to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.  Since 2008, principal investigators (PI) receiving NIH funds have been responsible for ensuring that applicable journal articles resulting from those funds are compliant with the policy.  NIH is now delaying processing of continuation grant awards when publications linked to those awards are not in compliance.  (NOT-OD-13-042).

Implications for NIH Funded Center Grants, Training Grants, and Core Facilities

Publications that benefited from any NIH support including center grants, training grants, or a core facility, fall under the NIH Public Access policy. Please note that in addition to direct project funds, NIH support includes salary support and use or service from a NIH-funded core facility. For example, if a NIH training grant student authors a publication, the publication must cite the training grant and must comply with the policy, even if there was no other source of NIH support.  Publications citing training grants, center grants, and core facility grants which fail to comply with the policy may cause delays in funding upon competitive renewal of those grants.

It is imperative that authors and PIs be pro-active and ensure that publications associated with NIH grants are in compliance by obtaining a PMCID for a publication within 90 days of the official publication date.  It takes about eight to 12 weeks to bring non-compliant publications into compliance if retroactive action is needed.

Resources Available

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, together with the Becker Medical Library and Olin Library offer many useful resources and guidance as outlined below:
New Public Access Policies Coming

On February 22, 2013, the White House issued an executive order directing all federal agencies with over $100 million in annual R&D expenditures to develop similar public access policies.  Agencies are currently drafting their implementation plans which are expected to be released soon.  The official memorandum from the Executive Office of the President/Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) can be found here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/ostp_public_access_memo_2013.pdf​

We will keep you informed as further information regarding these potential requirements for federal research sponsors other than NIH becomes available. 


This information was authored by Laura Langton  

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