Clarification on the Use of an NIHMSID to Indicate Compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy

Notice Number: NOT-OD-09-136

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Key Dates
Release Date: August 12, 2009

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (

Other Relevant Notices  


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:

Additional Information

Publication Date

Default Publication Date Used by NIH

Year Only

Jan 1


Jan 1


April 1


July 1


Oct 1


The first of the month

Month Range

The first of the first month
(i.e. Jan/Feb – Jan 1; April-June – April 1)

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. 

 Reminders for Awardee Institutions

Awardees are reminded that compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy is an institutional responsibility.  Failure to provide evidence of compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy in an application, proposal or report is a violation of the terms and conditions of the NIH award.  NIH may suspend awards found to be out of compliance, pending corrective action, or may terminate the award for cause (per 45 CFR 74.61, 74.62, and 92.43).  

NIH provides materials that institutions may use to support their authors and investigators in meeting Public Access requirements.


Send questions concerning this Notice or other aspects of the NIH Public Access Policy to:

Office of Extramural Research
National Institutes of Health
1 Center Drive, Room 144
Bethesda, MD  20892-0152

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
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