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NIH Public Access Policy: Definitions

What does NIH mean by 'direct funding"?

"Directly" funded means costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.

How does the NIH Public Access Policy define a journal?

If a publication is in the journal section of the NLM catalog, NIH considers it to be a journal. Search the journal section of NLM Catalog ( for the journal by title, title abbreviation, or ISSN. Automatic suggestions will display as you type.  If the publication is not on the list, NIH will consider it a journal for policy purposes if it meets all of the following criteria:

  • Publication must meet the requirements for ISSN assignment
  • Publication content is issued over time under a common title
  • Publication is a collection of articles by different authors
  • Publication is intended to be published indefinitely

You may also submit the manuscript to NIHMS upon acceptance for publication for a determination. 

What is the "Final Peer-Reviewed Manuscript"

Final peer-reviewed manuscript: The Investigator's final manuscript of a peer-reviewed paper accepted for journal publication, including all modifications from the peer review process.

Final published article: The journal’s authoritative copy of the paper, including all modifications from the publishing peer review process, copyediting and stylistic edits, and formatting changes.

NIH Public Access Policy Details

The NIH Public Access Policy implements Division G, Title II,  Section 218 of PL 110-161 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008).  The law 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: ProvidedThat the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

What is the difference between a PMID and a PMCID?

PMID: Finds abstracts/citations in PubMed

  • Pubmed includes over 23 million citations and abstracts from the biomedical literature
  • Each is indexed with a PMIDreference number

PMCID: Finds papers PubMed Central (PMC) 

  • PMC is a digital archive of free, full-text, peer-reviewed papers
  • Each paper is indexed with a PMCID reference number

PMIDs have nothing to do with the NIH Public Access Policy

    What is a Valid NIHMSID?

    A NIH Manuscript Submission Reference Number (NIHMSID) is a temporary substitute for a PMCID when using either Submission Methods C or D to post your paper.  It is the # your manuscript receives when it is posted to the NIH.

    Papers marked “In process at NIHMS” are only provisionally compliant within 3 months of the official date of publication. My NCBI will change the status to ‘Complete’ when a PMCID is issued. If the paper does not have a PMCID after 3 months, My NCBI will change the paper’s status to ‘non-compliant’ until a PMCID is issued.

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