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Scholarly Communication: NIH Policy

What is scholarly communication? This guide serves as an introduction to open access publishing as well as a guide to facilitate scholarly communication and collaboration.

Manuscript Submission

The NIH Public Access Policy (which went into effect in the spring of 2008) is designed to ensure that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research. Articles that arise from NIH-funded grants must be submitted to PMC (formerly PubMed Central) within 12 months of publication in a journal. This page provides a brief overview of the policy, what it entails, what the University Libraries can do to assist you in this process, and where you can go to find additional information. Much of this information comes from NIH Public Access Policy website, which contains more detailed information. It is very important that you read all information on the NIH Public Access Policy website.

Does this policy apply to you?

The policy applies to you if your peer-reviewed article (research reports and reviews) is based on work in one or more of these categories:

  1. Directly funded by an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007- September 30, 2008) or beyond
  2. Directly funded by a contract signed on or after April 7, 2008
  3. Directly funded by the NIH Intramural Program
  4. If NIH pays your salary

This policy does not cover editorials, correspondence, or book chapters. Please note, that if you are the PI for the funded project, you are responsible for making sure that all articles coming out of the project are submitted, even if you are not an author. The University is also responsible for making sure this happens. For more information, see the NIH Public Access web site.

How to comply with the policy:

This is a three-step process:

First, you will need to make sure that the publication agreement (or any other copyright-transfer document) that you sign with a journal publisher allows submission to PMC. Consult the NIH web site for additional information about how to do this, including sample language and what to do if a journal publisher refuses to allow submission to PMC.

Second, submit your manuscript (the final, peer-reviewed version)  to the NIH. This can be done by using the NIH manuscript submission (NIHMS) system (by you, your support staff, or by the University Libraries staff).  Some publishers may submit it for you. (With these first two options, you will still need to go into NIHMS to verify and personally approve the manuscript.)  Other journals automatically submit all articles to PMC within 12 months of publications; if you publish in one of these journals, you do not have to do anything extra.

Third, when citing an article in NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports that falls under the policy AND was authored or co-authored by you or arose from your NIH award, you have to include the PMC reference number (PMCID) or the NIHMS ID number, if a PMCID has not been assigned yet. Usually the number can be found in PubMed, and more information is available on the how to include this number in your citation page. If you need help finding this number, contact the Mulford Health Science Library for assistance.

To see the current compliance status of journal articles at UToledo which fall under the NIH Public Access Policy,  use the NIH compliance monitor: [Note: This will require establishing an account in MyNCBI in PubMed. For more information, see the NIH Public Access Compliance Monitor User Guide]

What can the University Libraries do for you?

Submission. The University Libraries can submit manuscripts for you. For each manuscript, complete this form (to save to your computer, right-click on the link and select Save target as...) and email it, along with all files that go with the manuscript (manuscript text, tables, figures, supplemental data) to on the Health Science Campus or on the Main Campus (use only one). Once the manuscript has been submitted and processed, the PI will receive an email, indicating that the manuscript is ready for his or her approval. The requirements of this policy are NOT fulfilled until the PI has approved the manuscript in the NIHMS system. [By having the University Libraries submit a manuscript to NIH, you agree that you have proper copyright permissions from the copyright holder, which is usually the journal publisher.]

Training. If you or one of your staff members need training on submitting manuscripts to the NIHMS system, on the Health Science Campus contact Mulford Reference Assistance at 419.383.4218 or to arrange an appointment.  On the Main Campus, you may contact Wade Lee-Smith at 419.530.4490 or

Confirming that a journal submits articles to PMC within 12 months of publication. Check the Public Access page or contact the journal.

Finding grant numbers. To find NIH grant numbers, check MySponsoredPrograms ( and the RePORT Expenditures and Results (RePORTER) query tool. For more help, contact Mulford Reference Assistance.

Identifying PMCID or NIHMS ID numbers for NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports. See the how to include this number in your citation page: If you need additional assistance, contact Mulford Reference Assistance.

Other Resources

NIH submission information

More information about the policy & other helpful links