NIH Public Access Policy

Training Type: Self-Directed
Training Format: How-to

Details on the Two NIH Policies

Two policies - the NIH Public Access Policy and the NIH/AHRQ/NIOSH grant application rules - may apply when preparing your grant applications.

1. The NIH Public Access Policy

As of May 25, 2008, when citing an article in NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports that falls under the Policy, and was authored or co-authored by you or arose from your NIH award, you must include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID). This policy includes applications submitted to the NIH for the May 25, 2008 due date and subsequent due dates.

How do I include the PubMed Central reference number in my citations?

List the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) at the end of the already-required full journal citation for the article. If a PubMed Central reference number is not yet available, include the NIH Manuscript Submission system reference number (NIHMS ID) instead. (from

2. The NIH/AHRQ/NIOSH grant application rules state:

Information that May Be Included in the Application

Published manuscripts and/or abstracts that are publicly available in a free, online format may be referenced in the application. These publications may not be included in the appendix. URLs or NIH PubMed Central (PMC) submission identification numbers may be included along with the full reference in the Bibliography and References Cited section (SF 424RR)/Literature Cited (PHS 398) section, the Progress Report Publication List section and/or the Biographical Sketch section. While there is no limit to the number of URLs or PMC submission identification numbers that can be cited, applicants should be both judicious and concise (in NOT-OD-07-018).

Please note, many of the full-text journal articles that Fred Hutch researchers access online use URLs that are tied to the Arnold Library's subscriptions. These URLs will NOT work for anyone off campus.

If you provide the library staff with a citation, we will help you identify the correct, open access copy of the article, if it exists. If an open access copy is not available, please ask us to determine if your paper is eligible for deposit in our open access institutional repository (IR). If your publisher allows IR deposit, then we can make the paper accessible to reviewers for you. As a final option, we can obtain a PDF of the hardcopy article for you via email at or by using our Document Delivery Form.

Materials Allowed in the Appendix Publications

Applicants may submit up to 3 of the following types of publications. Any exceptions will be noted in specific FOAs.

  • Manuscripts and/or abstracts accepted for publication but not yet published.
  • Published manuscripts and/or abstracts only when a free, online, publicly available journal link is not available.
  • Patents materials directly relevant to the project.

Format of Appendix Materials

  • For electronic submission using the SF 424 (R&R) forms and, Appendix materials must be submitted in PDF format.
  • For paper submission using the PHS 398, Appendix materials may be submitted in paper format; five collated sets are needed.
  • Applicants are encouraged to send Appendix materials submitted with paper PHS 398 applications on a CD in PDF format in lieu of the five collated sets. See application instructions for details on preparing CDs. Only a single CD need be sent.
  • For materials that cannot be submitted electronically or materials that cannot be converted to PDF format; (e.g., medical devices, prototypes, DVDs, CDs), applicants should contact the Scientific Review Administrator for instructions following notification of assignment of the application to a study section. If the SRA is listed in the FOA, they should be contacted in advance to address acceptability of materials.

You can use Use ILLiad, the Arnold Library's Interlibrary Loan Service, to obtain PDF or hardcopies of published journal articles.