The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to published results of NIH funded research. One requirement of the policy is that institutions submitting an application, proposal or progress report to the NIH must include the PubMed Central (PMC) reference number (PMCID) when citing applicable papers that are authored by the Principal Investigator (PI) or that arise from the PI's NIH-funded research.
An awardee may demonstrate compliance with the Public Access Policy by including an NIH Manuscript Submission Reference Number (NIHMSID) in lieu of a PMCID at the end of a full citation. The NIHMSID is a temporary substitute for a PMCID when using either Submission Methods C or D under the NIH Public Access Policy. It is intended to be used only in cases where an awardee needs to cite a paper soon after its acceptance by a journal, when there is not enough time to complete every step of the NIH manuscript submission process.
However, NIH has observed that the NIHMSID is being used incorrectly to indicate compliance many months after the publication of a paper, by which time the awardee has had adequate time to complete the submission process and obtain the final PMCID. Because the Policy requires submission at the time of acceptance and the NIH manuscript submission process can generally be completed within a few weeks, this is an unacceptable use of the NIHMSID.
NIH is clarifying the temporary nature of NIHMSIDs by defining the specific period during which an NIHMSID may be used to indicate compliance. This Notice also reminds awardee institutions of the actions they can take to ensure compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.
Encouraging timely submission of papers to the NIHMS and the completion of the submission process
Effective August 21, 2009, an NIHMSID may be used to indicate compliance with the Public Access Policy for up to three months after a paper is published. After that period, a PMCID must be provided in order to indicate compliance. Specifically:
- If an applicable paper is in press, or was published less than three months before the submission of an application, proposal or report, the awardee must include either a PMCID or an NIHMSID at the end of the full citation.
- If an applicable paper was published three or more months before an NIH application, proposal or report is submitted, the awardee must include a PubMed Central Reference number (PMCID) at the end of the full citation for the paper. An NIHMSID is not acceptable in this case.
If an article has an ePub date that is later than the default date listed in the table above, NIH will use the ePub date as the publication date for our calculations.
- The NIHMS will indicate when an NIHMSID is invalid and no longer acceptable evidence of compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy. This information will also be available in a Principal Investigator's (PI) eRA Commons Profile, provided that the manuscript was linked with the PI's award in the NIHMS.
- NIH calculates delay periods and compliance deadlines related to the Public Access Policy based on the uses the Publication Date [DP] field in PubMed. NIH uses the following default publication dates when the publication date in the article's citation is not in the month-day-year format: