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NIH Public Access Policy Third Party Submitter Checklist

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NIH Public Access Policy

Third Party Checklist


Third Party Submissions


The NIH Public Access Policy directs all NIH-funded investigators to submit (or have submitted for them) their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts to PubMed Central (PMC) upon acceptance for publication, and to be made publicly available within twelve months of publication. This policy applies to manuscripts accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008. As of July 1, 2013, the NIH will delay processing of an award if publications arising from it are not in compliance with the NIH public access policy. In addition, investigators must use My NCBI to enter publications into progress reports.


Many journal publishers submit manuscripts to PMC on behalf of authors. However, if a publisher does not offer submission services, the author or PI can designate a third party on their behalf to submit manuscripts to PMC.


Before submitting a manuscript to PMC,  third party submitters will need the following materials and information from the author:

  • PI name and email. If there are multiple PIs, one should be selected as the corresponding PI. It does not matter who is assigned as the corresponding PI, nor does it matter which NIH award the PI is affiliated with. If the PI is not an author to the work, an author should be assigned as the corresponding reviewer responsible for approving the submission.
  • Title of the journal
  • Title of the manuscript
  • Final peer-reviewed version of the manuscript (or final published version, if allowed by publisher--contact the library at publicaccesshelp@rice.edu if you need help determining manuscript version). The  peer-reviewed version includes all the changes made by the author as a result of peer review. Often, it's the word document that the author sends to the publisher in preparation for copy-editing and publication.
  • Supplemental materials or graphics associated with the manuscript. Supplemental data or images associated with the manuscript are considered to be part of the manuscript (per NIH policy).
  • Grant number(s) [full alpha-numeric number] and PI name(s). All NIH awards that supported the work must be noted. Multiple awards can be noted for a single manuscript. Use the NIH Grants Search Tool to confirm NIH award information.
  • Embargo period (12 months maximum). Some publishers request that the full text not be made available until twelve months after the official date of publication. Contact the library at publicaccesshelp@rice.edu if you need help determining the embargo period.
  • All additional information needed to fulfill publisher policies. Some publishers require that authors add specific text or other information to the manuscript before submitting it to PMC. Typically, these guidelines are noted on the publisher's website or in the copyright agreement form. Authors should follow all stipulations as requested by the publisher. Third party submitters should confirm that the author added the required information to the manuscript before starting the submission process. The library is happy to help determine publisher policies. Contact us at publicaccesshelp@rice.edu.



The Third Party Submittal Process

  1. Login to the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system.
  2. Select MyNCBI as the login route.
  3. Enter your MyNCBI username and password.
  4. Start the submission
    1. Select "Submit New Manuscript"
    2. Enter journal name
    3. Enter manuscript title
    4. Enter grant information
    5. Upload the files
    6. Review information for accuracy
    7. Assign a reviewer (PI or author)
    8. Check PDF and review the uploaded files
    9. Check the "Endorse" box for third party submitters
    10. Select "Done"
    11. Logout


A tutorial on the third party submission process is available here.


When the submission is complete, send the PI/author an email advising them that the manuscript was submitted and include the NIHMSID reference number. The NIHMSID can be used to demonstrate compliance until the PMCID is available. The next step for compliance is for the PI/author to approve the submission by responding to two emails from the NIHMS. The subject line of the email to the PI/author will include NIHMS and the NIHMS reference number of the manuscript.


  1. "Approve PDF Receipt"
    1. The PI/author will be prompted to review the PDF to verify that it is the correct manuscript, review the information for accuracy, and to assign the embargo period as stipulated by the publisher (maximum twelve months). Upon approval, NIHMS will convert the PDF to a version suitable for viewing online.
  2. "Approve Web Version"
    1. Approximately 14-21 days after the first email approval is completed by the PI/author, a second email from NIHMS will be sent.
    2. The PI/author will be prompted to do a final review of the web version before final posting to PMC.


After the PI/author approves the web version, the manuscript will be posted to PMC and a PMCID will be assigned.


NIHMS will send reminder emails to the PI/author if no action is taken. The PI/author must approve these submissions in order to ensure full compliance with the NIH Public Access Plan. Manuscripts will be removed from the NIHMS after three months of inaction; the manuscript will need to be resubmitted.





Fondren Library



Have questions? Need assistance? Contact the library at publicaccesshelp@rice.edu


This guide is adapted from the Bernard Becker Medical Library's (Washington University School of Medicine) NIH Public Access Policy Third Party Submitter Checklist.





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