For questions and answers about the NIH Public Access Policy, please refer to the Public Access Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

Please refer to the General Interest FAQ for additional questions and answers regarding submissions to NIHMS that are not covered here.

How does the NIHMS work?

To facilitate the submission process, the NIH has developed the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS). NIHMS allows users to deposit and manage manuscripts. Manuscripts in a wide range of electronic word-processing formats can be submitted. Any additional files that contain figures, tables, or supplementary information should also be included with the manuscript. No further formatting of the manuscript is necessary beyond that required by the journal that has accepted the article.

Publishers may submit manuscripts to NIHMS on the author’s behalf with a My NCBI account, an NIHMS Publisher account, or via the NIHMS bulk submission pathway. For more information about each of these pathways, see below.

The elements of submitting a manuscript are as follows:

  1. Enter basic information about the manuscript and contact information
  2. Upload manuscript file(s)
  3. The system will generate a receipt of the uploaded files in PDF format
  4. Submitter confirms that the manuscript and any additional supporting documents have been successfully received by NIHMS
  5. An email will be sent to the Principal Investigator (PI) to approve the PDF and indicate NIH support for the manuscript.
  6. Submission is complete

Upon approval by the PI, the manuscript will be converted into XML - the standardized digital format used by PubMed Central. This process takes about 6-8 weeks depending on the manuscript. After the conversion process, a preview of the article as it will appear in PubMed Central will be made available, allowing the PI to correct any errors if necessary. After final approval, the article will be publicly accessible through PubMed Central after the time-delay specified by the PI.

Additional information regarding the NIH Public Access policy can be found at the NIH website, or contact PublicAccess@nih.gov.

How does a publisher submit manscripts on behalf of authors?

The NIHMS system accepts manuscripts submitted by publishers on behalf of authors. Publishers may submit manuscripts to NIHMS using any of the following three methods:

  1. Submission with a My NCBI account.
  2. Submission with an NIHMS Publisher account.
  3. Submission via the NIHMS Publisher bulk upload pathway.

Following submission by the publisher, the PI must (1) approve the submitted materials for processing, and (2) approve the web version of the manuscript.

Submission via a My NCBI account.

Publishers may submit to NIHMS on behalf of authors using a My NCBI account. My NCBI accounts may be obtained by clicking on the My NCBI header bar found at the top of any PubMed web page. Submitters using this route are required to enter NIH support information for each manuscript.

Submission via an NIHMS Publisher account.

NIHMS offers publisher login accounts for the web upload system which have several advantages: NIH support does not have to be designated for manuscripts submitted through this pathway, publishers may set the delay period for each manuscript in accordance with their agreement with the authors, and publishers may choose to have their own PDF offered for download from the PMC version of the manuscript in lieu of the generic, NIHMS-generated version that is normally provided.

Please contact the NIHMS Help Desk to establish a publisher login account.

Submission via the NIHMS publisher bulk upload pathway.

The NIHMS publisher bulk upload pathway was developed to offer publishers a way to use in-house automated processes to organize and transmit multiple manuscript submissions to NIHMS. Manuscripts are submitted to the NIHMS system via FTP. Arrangements must be made with NCBI regarding the location on the FTP server to send manuscript bundles. For publishers that already FTP files to PubMed Central, you will use the login credentials currently used for PubMed Central deposits. An XML metadata file is transmitted with each manuscript bundle.

For complete details regarding submissions via the bulk submission pathway, please refer to the documentation contained in the bulk upload information package. To make arrangements to utilize this pathway with the NIH, please contact the NIHMS Help Desk.

Will the manuscript/article be protected by copyright?

“A member of the public viewing or downloading a copyrighted document from PubMed Central (PMC) is subject to the same rights and restrictions as when copying an article from the library. For example, making a copy of an article for personal use is generally considered to be a "fair use" under copyright law. For uses that fall outside of the fair use principle, permission to reproduce copyrighted materials must be obtained directly from the copyright holders. PMC currently includes a copyright notice alerting the public to the rights of copyright holders and will continue to post this notice as it has done in the past.”

(excerpted from Public Access Frequently Asked Questions)

What if an author submits the same manuscript to NIHMS?

The NIHMS recognizes duplicate manuscripts and alerts NIHMS staff to the problem. The Publisher version will always be chosen over the author-submitted version, and the author-submitted version will be removed from the system.

How do we remove an article that appears in PMC in conflict with the author's transfer of copyright to the journal?

Please send a request to nihms-remove@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Provide the citation of the article to be removed, the PubMed ID of the article, and its URL in PMC. Also include relevant details of the author's copyright transfer agreement for the article.

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For further questions or comments regarding the NIHMS System, please contact the NIHMS Help Desk.