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NIH Public Access Policy Compliance: FAQ

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Below is a list of questions that the Medical Library frequently receives regarding the NIH Public Access Policy. This is a great place to start if you encounter issues with the compliance of your article or it's appearance in your NCBI "My Bibliography."

The Medical Library tries to update this page regularly. If you have a question that you would like us to add, please let us know by in an email to .

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I just received an automated email from the Medical Library that says I have an article out of compliance. Why am I receiving this?

A. Beginning January, 2022, the Medical Library began an automated email service to notify Duke authors and PIs of non-compliant publications. If you receive and email, you are either an author of a publication that is out of compliance or a PI on a grant that has been cited on a non-compliant paper. You can check the status of a non-compliant paper by searching the NIHMS database by the article title or PMID. While the Medical Library can assist with troubleshooting, we cannot submit or approve the files for you. This must be done by an author or a PI.


Q. The journal I published in is listed as a Method D publisher, but it has been 3 months since it was accepted and My Bibliography is telling me it is not compliant (there is no NIHMS or PMC ID number).

A. No matter what method the journal is listed as, the author/PI is ultimately responsible to ensure the article is submitted to PMC.  If the journal/publisher has not submitted the article after 3 months following acceptance for publication, contact them and ask why they haven't.  In the meantime, go ahead and submit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to the NIHMS System (instructions).  If the publisher does so later, it will over-ride your submission, but this will ensure you are in compliance.


Q. I need to submit to the NIHMS system, but I can't find the final peer-reviewed manuscript?  Can't I just download the pdf copy from the journal's website and submit that?

A.  Unfortunately, that would be against copyright law.  If you are unable to find the final version of the manuscript (with peer-reviewed edits but not the final copy-editing formats), and none of your co-authors have a copy either, we recommend that you contact the publisher and explain your problem.  They may be able to supply a copy that you could use.  If this does not work, contact the Medical Center Library for assistance.


Q. I am the PI for a large teaching grant and am not an author on many of the publications that result from that funding.  Do I need to include all of those citations and ensure they are compliant?

A. Yes.  As the PI, you are responsible for ensuring all articles that are directly funded from that grant are compliant, whether or not you are an author. 


Q.  One of my articles has a NIHMS ID number but has never been added into PMC and is past the 3 month deadline for needing a PMCID number.  What is wrong and how can I fix it?

A. This is probably happening because whoever was entered into the NIHMS System as the reviewer has not responded to a request to review and approve the submission.  When publishers or delegates submit manuscripts to the NIHMS system, they will select an author or PI to receive emails asking for approval of what was submitted.  If that person does not receive the email and follow the steps to approve the submission, it will never make it into PMC.  Check with the PI or your co-authors to see if anyone received a message from NIHMS.  The Medical Center Library may also be able to let you know who originally submitted and who is responsible for approving the submission.  Finally, you can request that the responsibility be transferred to you by claiming the record.


Q. I have an article that was published in 2008 that is listed as being non-compliant.  Would it not fall under the Policy because it is from 2008?  Do I need to do anything?

A.  For any article published since 2008 that has been linked to NIH funding, you will need to take some action!  For articles published in 2008 it is possible that they were accepted for publication prior to the April 7th date and therefore do not fall under the policy.  However you need to check to confirm the acceptance date and if it does not fall under the policy you will need to use My Bibliography to edit the status of the citation to notify NIH of the reason why the article does not need to be compliant.  See these detailed instructions on how to find acceptance dates and to update the status of a citation.


Q. I have no idea what this publication is and it is not associated with my grant in any way. Why am I seeing this and what do I do about it?

A. The NIH's system for identifying compliance of articles is not perfect. Rarely, an article will be misidentified by the NIH's database, the Public Access Compliance Monitor (PACM), due to the mention of NIH funding somewhere in the document, for example, in the disclosures. If an article has been misidentified, the PI can remove the citation using the "Edit Status" button in their "My Bibliography."


Q. Where do I find information about Data Sharing and Public Access Policies?

A. Please consult our guide for Data Sharing and Public Access Policies.

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