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Frequently Asked Questions
Interim Research Product
Last Revised: March 24, 2017


  1. What are Interim Research Products, such as preprints and preregistration?

    Interim Research Products are complete, public research products that are not final. 

    A common form is the Preprint, which is a complete and public draft of a scientific document. Preprints are typically unreviewed versions of peer-reviewed journal articles. Scientists issue preprints to speed dissemination, establish priority, obtain feedback, and offset publication bias.  

    Another common type of interim product is a preregistered protocol, where a scientist publicly declares key elements of their research protocol in advance. Preregistration can help scientists enhance the rigor of their work. Note some NIH policies require registration of clinical trial protocols. Those policies supersede this guidance.

    To claim an interim product arising from your NIH award, the interim product and its citation should meet certain standards.  See FAQ ‘How do I cite interim research products for more details.
  2. How do I cite interim research products, such as preprints and preregistration, in my application or report?

    Interim research products can be cited anywhere other research products are cited.  These sections  include the following:

    To cite the product, include the Digital Object Identifier and the Object type (e.g. preprint, protocol) in the citation. Also list any information about the document version (e.g. most recent date modified), and if relevant, the date the product was cited.

    Example: Bar DZ, Atkatsh K, Tavarez U, Erdos MR, Gruenbaum Y, Collins FS. Biotinylation by antibody recognition- A novel method for proximity labeling. BioRxiv 069187 [Preprint]. August 11, 2016 [cited 2017 Jan 12].  Available from: https://doi.org/10.1101/069187.

    More citation examples are available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7264/.
  3. How do I claim interim research products, such as preprints and preregistration, as a product of my NIH award?

    To claim an interim research product as a product of an NIH award, the NIH expects that you will:

    • Make the product publicly available. To maximize the impact of an interim research product, the NIH strongly encourages you to select a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license or dedicate their work to the public domain.  
      • In the text of the document:
        • Acknowledge NIH funding in accordance with NIH Grants Policy Statement Chapter 8.2.1
        • Clearly state that the work is not peer-reviewed
        • Declare any competing interests, as an author would do for any journal article

    For applications submitted for the May 25, 2017 due date and thereafter, you can claim these products on their progress report publication list.  You can also report them on their RPPR as of May 25, 2017, and link them to your award in your My Bibliography account.

    Since preprints are not in peer-reviewed journals, they do not fall under the public access policy.
  4. What if my preprint or interim research product does not have a DOI?

    Some well-established repositories may have predated the development of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), and may not routinely issue DOIs yet.  For now, NIH will accept citations of interim products without DOIs from well-established repositories. Please remember to list the product type (e.g. Preprint) in the citation.

    NIH wants applicants and awardees to include DOIs in their citations to offer reviewers some assurance that the product is indexed responsibly.  NIH wants interim research product repositories to use DOIs to standardize indexing.

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