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NIH Public Access Policy

Common Compliance Issues

The following are some common scenarios you might encounter and how to begin fixing them.  Please note, this is not an exhaustive list of possible issues.


Not Defined

If your paper is showing up as Not Defined in My Bibliography, click on "Edit Status" to give the system more information.

First, let the system know if this paper is associated with NIH Funding and link up the appropriate awards. 

If it is associated with an award, but does not yet have a PMCID, you will be asked to let the system know more about the compliance status.  For example:

  • You can begin the NIHMS submission process, or if it has already been submitted to NIHMS, you can add the NIHMSID. 
  • If you are publishing with a Method B journal, you can indicate you have made arrangements with the publisher. 
  • You can also let the system know that the item is not subject to the policy for whatever reason (e.g. not peer-reviewed, not published in a Latin script).

Non-Compliant (NIHMSID -- No PMCID)

If your paper has a NIHMSID, but not a PMCID, and it is more than 3 months after the publication date, it will show up as Non-Compliant. 

Since your paper has a NIHMSID, you are most likely following Submission Method C or D. 

Submission Method C: Under this method, you (or another author who has been designated as the NIHMS Reviewer for the paper) are responsible for all stages of the NIHMS process.

Submission Method D: Under this method, the publisher uploads the final peer-reviewed manuscript to the NIHMS system, but you (or another author who has been designated as the NIHMS Reviewer for the paper) is responsible for providing both the Initial and Final Approvals.

For either of these methods, you will want to check the status of the paper in NIHMS to see where it is in the process.


Non-Compliant (No NIHMSID -- No PMCID)

If your paper does not have either a PMCID or a NIHMSID, and it is more than 3 months after the publication date, then it will show up as Non-Compliant.

Since your paper is lacking both IDs, it is likely that the process was never initiated.  Depending on the Submission Method you are following, you will want to follow up with either the publisher, the NIHMS system, or your fellow co-authors.

Method A - Check in with the publisher to find out why it was not sent to PMC.

Method B - Check in with the publisher to find out why it was not sent to PMC.  For example, have you not made the needed arrangements or paid the fee?

Method C - You (and your co-authors) are responsble for all stages of submission.  Initiate the process in NIHMS.

Method D - Check in with the publisher if you suspect that the manuscript was never uploaded to NIHMS.  If you think that it was originally uploaded, but stalled out quickly, you may need to follow up with NIHMS to provide the Initial Approval.


Non-Compliant (PMC In-Process -- No PMCID)

If a paper has received an initial PMC In-Progress status, but does not finish the process and receive a PMCID by 3 months after the publication date, then it can fall back out of compliance.

Since your paper does not have a NIHMSID, you are likely following Submission Method A or B.  Follow up with the publisher to find out why it has not finished being added to PMC.