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Managing NIH Public Access Compliance: Copyright

This guide explains the NIH Public Access Policy, the process for submitting peer-reviewed articles to PubMed Central and how to use NIH tools to manage and verify compliance.

Work with the publisher

Authors must retain sufficient copyright to ensure that all conditions of the NIH Public Access Policy can be met.

copyright symbol designed by David Wees

  • When you submit your article, inform the publisher that it is subject to the NIH mandate and must be submitted to PubMed Central.


  • Prior to signing the author or publication agreement make sure you and the publisher, have agreed on the following:
    • Method of submission
    • Which version will be submitted?
    • Who will submit & approve the submission?
    • When will the paper be made public on PMC?


  • If you have any doubt, insert the following text into the copyright tranfer document before signing:
    “Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final peer-reviewed manuscript to the NIH upon acceptance for Journal publication, for public archiving in PubMed Central as soon as possible but no later than 12 months after publication by Journal.” 
    Source: NIH Website:​

Copyright symbol designed by David Wees.