Request for Information: NIH Public Access Policy

Notice Number: NOT-OD-08-060

Key Dates
Release Date: March 28, 2008
Effective Date: March 31, 2008

RFI ACTIVE DATES: This RFI will be active from March 31, 2008 to May 31, 2008 on

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)


Notice; Request for Information.


With this notice, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requests input from the community regarding the NIH Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting From NIH-Funded Research (NIH Public Access Policy). An identical notice is being issued via the Federal Register on March 31, 2008 at Complete and detailed information about the law at Division G, Title II, Section 218 of PL 110-161 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008), the NIH Public Access Policy, and implementation procedures issued to date are available at

This request for information (RFI) seeks input on the Public Access Policy as described on the above website. This RFI will be active from March 31, 2008 to May 31, 2008 on The NIH will post analysis and results from this RFI for public view onto by September 30, 2008.

Background: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- The Nation's Medical Research Agency -- is comprised of 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

PubMed Central is an archive of full-text biomedical journal articles available online without a fee. Articles on PubMed Central contain links to other scientific databases such as GenBank ( and PubChem ( Articles collected under the Public Access Policy are archived on PubMed Central. More information about PubMed Central is available at

Prior to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, NIH’s voluntary Public Access Policy (NOT-OD-05-022 available at encouraged but did not require those receiving NIH funding to deposit their peer reviewed manuscripts into PubMed Central.

Division G, Title II, Section 218 of PL 110-161 (Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008) states:

SEC. 218. The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

On January 11, 2008, NIH issued a revised policy implementing this law. As described in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts (NOT-OD-08-033 available at, as of April 7, 2008, applicable manuscripts arising from NIH funds must be submitted to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication. As of May 25, 2008, NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports must include the PMC reference number when citing a manuscript that falls under the policy. This policy includes applications submitted to the NIH for the May 25, 2008 due date and subsequent due dates.

NIH has posted responses to frequently asked questions that provide authors, their institutions, and their publishers with preliminary guidance on the implementation of this policy, including guidance on the transfer of copyright. This document can be viewed at:

The NIH Public Access Policy is a point of interest and discussion between NIH and many members of the public, including grantees (institutions and their authors), publishers, libraries, medical practitioners, patients and others with health concerns. For example, some of these stakeholders have expressed concern about copyright issues, and others about the length of time before manuscripts are made publicly available. Still others have offered suggestions on NIH’s Public Access training materials, and have developed compliance strategies that may benefit others.

The NIH is seeking to engage formally with the broader community on the Public Access Policy in a transparent and participatory manner. The first step of this process was an open meeting, conducted March 20, 2008 (announced in the March 10, 2008 Federal Register notice 73 FR 12745). Comments collected to date, can be found at The NIH intends to make comments publicly available as they are collected; and, to facilitate independent analysis, the NIH will make comments available for download in bulk at the end of the comment period.

Request for Information:

Via this RFI, NIH is seeking information from the public, including all stakeholders, about the NIH Public Access Policy (NOT-OD-05-022 available at, as revised by the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts (NOT-OD-08-033 available at to incorporate requirements in PL 110-161, and the responses to frequently asked questions available at: NIH will consider all comments and suggestions regarding the Public Access Policy. Among other issues, the NIH is particularly interested in information about the following:

  • Do you have recommendations for alternative implementation approaches to those already reflected in the NIH Public Access Policy?
  • In light of the change in law that makes NIH’s public access policy mandatory, do you have recommendations for monitoring and ensuring compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy?
  • In addition to the information already posted at, what additional information, training or communications related to the NIH Public Access Policy would be helpful to you?

As suggested above, previous comments have focused on such issues as copyright, the length of time before articles are made publicly available, and on NIH’s training materials, and we anticipate that comments would continue to address these issues.

Individuals, groups, and organizations interested in responding may do so in their discretion at the following NIH Web site: In voluntarily providing information, respondents are consenting to its use and consideration by the NIH. The following identifying information will be made publicly available on the internet along with the information submitted by that commenter: Name (first and last), Degree (if provided), Affiliation, City, State, Country and Role. Roles are defined as: NIH-funded Investigator; Representative of University and Other NIH Awardee Organizations; Publisher (including Commercial Organizations, Professional Societies and Journal Editors); Patient or Representative of a Public Health Advocacy Organization; Other Member of the Public; Other (not listed above). If respondents provide information through alternative means, the entire submission will be made public. NIH will not post responses that are not related to the Public Access Policy or are otherwise inappropriate or offensive.

Report and Response: The NIH will analyze all submissions collected through this RFI, along with comments collected before and during the March 20th meeting. The NIH will report its analysis by September 30, 2008. This report will be made available at


Contact Person for Information: Questions concerning this RFI may be addressed to: Neil M. Thakur, Ph.D., Special Assistant to the NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, Building 1, Room 134, Bethesda, MD 20892, Telephone 301-496-1096, Fax 301-402-3469, Note that this facility is not intended to collect RFI responses. Please submit RFI responses via