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

Please refer to the Publisher FAQ for additional questions and answers regarding submissions to NIHMS that specifically address publisher concerns.

What is the NIHMS?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS) to facilitate the submission process of final, peer-reviewed manuscripts. 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.

How do I submit manuscripts via NIHMS?

Step 1: Log in

Users can log in to NIHMS using their eRA Commons login (for extramural scientists) or their NIH login (for NIH intramural scientists). Third party submissions may be made by My NCBI account holders. Publisher login accounts are available for publishers interested in submitting manuscripts on behalf of authors to NIHMS. Additional publisher options are discussed in the Publisher FAQ.

Step 2: Designate support

Submitters select the journal name, enter the manuscript title, and select all appropriate (NIH and/or HHMI) funding mechanisms that supported the manuscript.

Step 3: Upload manuscript

After providing basic information about the manuscript and contact information, users can upload their manuscript file(s). The system will generate a receipt of the uploaded files in PDF format. The PDF Receipt summarizes the information entered into the system, and merges the manuscript's files into one viewable document. Submitters confirm that the manuscript and any additional supporting documents have been successfully received by NIHMS. The NIHMSID is assigned at this time.

Step 4: Submission agreement and processing

An email will be sent to the Principal Investigator (PI) or corresponding author to approve the PDF and indicate the release date when the manuscript will be made publicly available on PMC. Upon approval by the submitter and the PI/author, the manuscript will be converted into XML - the standardized digital format used by PubMed Central.

Step 5: Approval of the converted manuscript (web version)

After the conversion process, the PI/author will review a version of the manuscript as it will appear in PubMed Central. At this time corrections may be requested, if necessary. After final approval, the article will be publicly accessible through PubMed Central after the time-delay specified by the PI/author.

A detailed walk-through of the submission process can be found on the NIHMS web site. For further questions or comments regarding the NIHMS System, please contact the NIHMS Help Desk.

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

What kinds of papers/publications do I submit? What version do I submit?

Detailed information regarding the types of manuscripts covered by the NIH Public Access policy may be found in the NIH Public Access FAQ.

In what format must I submit my manuscript?

Users should submit the complete text of their manuscript(s) along with any corresponding image files, table files, and/or supplementary materials that were submitted to the accepting journal. NIHMS supports a wide variety of file types (MS Word, Word Perfect, PDF, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.). Just as required by journals, high-resolution images should be submitted to ensure the best reproduction quality in PubMed Central. With the exception of supplementary materials, PubMed Central will convert the submitted images into standard file types.

Do I have to submit supplemental material?

Supplemental material that has been submitted to the accepting journal in support of the manuscript must be submitted. The NIHMS system has been developed to allow users to indicate supplemental files and upload them in conjunction with other manuscript files.

What is the delay period?

The delay period is the interval between a manuscript's final publication date and when the author-supplied version will appear publicly in PubMed Central. The delay period is determined and registered in the NIHMS system by the manuscript's Principal Investigator or author.

What is the language of the NIHMS submission statement that I must agree to?

Following is the Submission Statement for NIHMS which must be approved by the Principal Investigator after a manuscript has been submitted:

I am an author of this manuscript, and I am providing it to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to make publicly available in PubMed Central [Embargo Length] after its official date of publication in the journal.

I confirm that:

Publication and Copyright Agreements — In any agreements that I have made with the journal, I have retained the right to deposit this version of the manuscript with PMC, so that it may be appropriately tagged and made available to the public on the PMC web site; or, I otherwise am legally authorized to deposit this manuscript for the purposes described.

Confidentiality — The manuscript may contain confidential information that must not be publicly disclosed prior to publication of the paper in the named journal.

Peer Review — The version I am depositing has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication and includes all modifications resulting from the peer review process.

Funding — The manuscript is the result of research supported, in whole or in part, by direct costs funded by NIH.

How do I track the status of submitted manuscripts?

During the submission process, a PDF Receipt be generated that retains and consolidates all of your manuscript's files for review. The NIHMS system allows users to track the status and progress of manuscripts.

After the submission process is complete, manuscripts will ultimately appear in PubMed Central. PubMed Central will archive and display the manuscripts in three forms: Abstract, online full-text, and PDF.

Who can submit manuscripts to NIHMS?

Manuscript files may be submitted to NIHMS by the author, the publisher, or anyone given access to the author's files (administrative personnel, graduate students, librarians, etc.). Approval of the PDF Receipt and web version of the manuscript requires PI or author review and authorization.

NIHMS accounts will be kept separate between login routes. For this reason, submitters must continue to use the same login method for subsequent visits to NIHMS. For example, manuscripts that are submitted via your NIH login will not be viewable if you were to subsequently log in to NIHMS through an eRA Commons account.

How can I monitor a submission not associated with my account in NIHMS?

To monitor the progress of an NIHMS record, your account needs to be associated with a record. You can associate your account with an NIHMS record by placing a Watch request:

  1. Login to NIHMS.
  2. Use the search box on the My Manuscripts page to locate the record you would like to monitor. You will need the corresponding PubMed ID (PMID) or NIHMSID to search NIHMS.
  3. If there is a record that corresponds to the ID you entered, you will be taken to the Manuscript Summary page, where you can view the current status of the record. Note: If the paper has not yet been matched to a PMID, the Title and Journal will be hidden to protect confidentiality.
  4. To associate your account with the record, select the 'Watch Manuscript' button in the lower right-hand corner of the Manuscript Summary page.
  5. On the next page, select 'Agree' to confirm that you would like to follow the progress of the record in the NIHMS system. Note: If the NIHMS record has not been matched to a PMID, you will be asked to provide manuscript and journal title information to verify your association with the paper.
Once you have confirmed that you would like to watch a record, a notification of your request will be sent to the current authorized reviewing author assigned to the NIHMS record. If the he/she does not object, you will be granted access in one week's time, at which point the record will appear in your Manuscript List.

How can I take over reviewing author responsibilities for a submission in NIHMS?

If a submission has become stalled in the NIHMS process due to inaction by the assigned Authorized Reviewer, another author or PI associated with the NIHMS record can request to take over the reviewing responsibilities:

  1. Log in to NIHMS.
  2. On the My Manuscripts page, click the Stalled tab to view the stalled records currently associated with your account.
  3. If the record is in a state that requires reviewer action, a 'Claim Manuscript' button will appear in the lower right-hand corner of the Manuscript Summary page. Click the button to initiate your request.
  4. On the next page, select 'Agree' to confirm that you are an author (or PI) on the manuscript and would like to take over reviewing responsibilities.
If the currently assigned Authorized Reviewer does not act on the submission within one week of your request, the manuscript will be moved to your Attention tab to allow you to take action on the record.

If you would like to take over the reviewing author responsibilities for a record that is not stalled in the NIHMS process, please contact the Help Desk with your request.

How can I take over reviewing author responsibilities if I am not associated with a record in NIHMS?

Submit a request to Watch the NIHMS submission. Should your Watch request be approved and the NIHMS submission is stalled, you will then have the opportunity to submit a Claim request. Note: If you would like to take over reviewing responsibilities for a record that is not stalled in the NIHMS process, please contact the Help Desk with your request.

How do I get a Commons ID?

To obtain an eRA Commons account, or for assistance with an account you may have, please contact the eRA Commons Help Desk at http://ithelpdesk.nih.gov/eRA/.

Can publishers submit my paper to PubMed Central for me?

Publishers may submit manuscripts to NIHMS on behalf of authors. Check with your publisher to determine if they submit to NIHMS as a service to authors.

Manuscripts submitted to NIHMS by publishers require two approvals by the PI or author:

  1. approval of the submitted materials (see step 4 in previous answer), and
  2. approval of the final PubMed Central web version of the manuscript.

Submissions and approvals in NIHMS are not required for articles published in PubMed Central participating journals.

I am a publisher. How do I submit manuscripts on behalf of authors?

The NIHMS supports three types of publisher submissions: via My NCBI accounts, via Publisher login accounts, and via the NIHMS bulk upload pathway. Additional information on how publishers may submit to NIHMS on behalf of their authors can be found in the Publisher FAQ.

How do intramural NIH staff designate funding for a manuscript?

Intramural NIH staff will be given the option to log in to the system via their NIH account. Once logged in, NIH staff will be able to select the NIH intramural project that supported the manuscript (just as extramural grantees will be able to select supporting grant numbers for manuscripts). Please contact the NIHMS Help Desk if your publication was the result of your official NIH duties and is not associated with an NIH Intramural project number.

How long does it take for the PMCID to be assigned once I submit my manuscript?

The submission process is currently estimated at 6-8 weeks once the submission is approved for processing. You can track the status of your submissions at any time on your manuscript list under the "status" column.

How can I get help with the system?

Questions, problems or comments with regard to NIHMS can be directed to the Help Desk.