Public Access Compliance: What does it mean?

Are your publications out of compliance? Not sure what the NIHMS system means to you? We're here to help.  

The NIH Public Access Policy requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed manuscripts that result from NIH funds to PubMed Central immediately upon acceptance for publication. The NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) System was developed in 2005 to facilitate the submission of these peer-reviewed manuscripts for inclusion in PubMed Central (PMC) in support of the NIH Public Access Policy. Although some journals and publishers will submit manuscripts on your behalf to the NIHMS system, it is the responsibility of the author and the grant holder (please note these may be different individuals) to ensure that the deposit is made in a timely manner. Our office provides assistance in depositing final manuscripts into the NIHMS system for Method C submitters, as well as assistance in contacting Publishers should there be errors or delays in the deposit process.

The UA Health Sciences Library has a helpful link pertaining to this system and provides detailed instructions, tutorials, and a video for submission. 

Often we see confusion about PubMed as compared to PubMed Central. Despite their extremely similar names, they are different systems. PubMed is an index of the biomedical literature, consisting of abtracts. A PMID, also known as the PubMed reference number, is a number assigned by the NIH National Library of Medicine to papers indexed in PubMed. PubMed Central is an archive of full-text journal articles. The National Library of Medicine assigns a PMCID, also known as a PMC Identifier, to each full-text paper in PubMed Central.

To comply with the public access policy, anyone submitting an application, proposal or report to the NIH must include a PMCID when citing applicable papers that they author or that arise from their NIH-funded research. If it helps to remember, think of the C in PMCID to indicate compliance with the public access policy. While all abstracts appearing in PubMed are assigned a PMID automatically, NIH awardees may need to take action to obtain a PMCID. Please remember you need to ensure papers are compliant with the public access policy as soon as the paper is accepted for publication. Again, our office can help with determining applicability and submission. 

In addition, the costs of publications can be budgeted and planned for in your future proposals. Publication costs, including author fees, may be charged to  NIH grants and contracts on three conditions: (1) such costs incurred are  actual, allowable, and reasonable to advance the objectives of the award; (2)  costs are charged consistently regardless of the source of support; (3) all  other applicable rules on allowability of costs are met.

Please contact our Post-Award Research Administrator, Danielle Gartner, at or (520) 626-4180 with any questions. We also work closely with Ahlam Saleh in the University of Arizona Health Sciences Library, who can be reached at (520) 626-5450. 

Originally Posted: 
Monday, May 30, 2016 - 8:45pm