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Copyright and Publication for Grantees Questions and Answers

Table of Contents



Public Access


Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

Are my application and grant confidential?

Most grant and contract materials are confidential, including progress reports, contract proposals, and proceedings of review meetings. Reviewers may not take materials from peer review or use them without attribution.

However, NIH makes public some information from funded applications for the following reasons:

For more information, go to these resources:

Should I include intellectual property in my application?

We recommend that you don't include any intellectual property that isn't protected by copyright or patent, or at least submitted for one. Read more in the Get Started Writing the Research Plan and Write the Research Strategy in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Be aware that if we fund your application, your abstract becomes a public document in NIH's RePORTER database. If you end up including confidential or proprietary information, don't put it in that section.

Can I copyright publications developed under a grant?

Unless your Notice of Award explicitly says otherwise, you don't need NIH approval to copyright publications developed under an NIH grant—including training and fellowship awards.

Copyright ownership is an arrangement between you and your institution. As the grantee, your institution may exercise its right of ownership over any work created during your official duties.

Do I need to register my copyright?

According to law, copyright is defined as soon as a work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, such as print. However, in the United States you must register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office before you can assert it in court.

Does NIH retain any rights to my work?

NIH may use your work only for the federal government's purposes. See the terms and conditions listed in your Notice of Award for more details on NIH's rights with regard to work resulting from your grant.

Are there any exceptions to grantee ownership of research results?

A cooperative agreement or an RFA may have special terms and conditions, but this isn't common.


Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

Can I publish work conducted under an NIH grant?

Yes. NIH encourages you to publish NIH-supported research in primary scientific journals.

When necessary, you should also use a copyright notation in articles to be published or included in proceedings of scientific conferences or other professional activities. You may need approval from your institution to publish.

Can I request money for publishing costs in my budget proposal?

Yes, if you're publishing research from your grant. You may include the cost of publishing as a direct cost but only for submissions to journals that publish both private and government-funded research.

Should I cite NIH when I publish?

Yes. You must acknowledge NIH in any publication of directly funded research. Include a disclaimer such as the following:

"This publication was made possible by Grant Number [insert six-digit grant number] from [insert funding source, e.g., NIAID]" or "The project described was supported by Grant Number [insert six-digit grant number] from [insert funding source, e.g., NIAID]" and "Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the [name of awarding office or NIH]."

For data queries, do not credit NIH with the support unless you include the grant number, which must include "AI" for NIAID.

Check the galleys to make sure the number is correct and complete. Accurate reporting is key to making a case to Congress that the money it gives us is well spent, which helps preserve the flow of funds to grantees.

If a journal objects to the disclaimer, contact your program officer for advice.

You should mention only the NIH grant or grants that directly support your published research—don't cite grants that pay for a different line of work, even if they pay part of your salary.

Remember to follow NIH's public access policy. For more on that, read the Public Access of Publications SOP.

Do I need to cite my NIH grant in review articles?

No, you don't need to cite your grant in review articles—just research articles.

Should I include publications in the Appendix of my grant application?

NIH has rules about including publications in an application's Appendix. For more information, read What to Add and Not to Add in an Appendix in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Can NIAID help me publicize my findings?

Yes. If you have a newsworthy discovery, notify our Office of Communications and Government Relations as soon as you know the article has been accepted for publication. NIAID can issue news releases and field questions from the media.

Get more information in the Requesting NIAID's Help on Publicizing Research Advances SOP.

Do NIAID staff have any restrictions on publishing papers with grantees?

Yes. Conflict of interest guidelines apply to employees who coauthor papers with NIAID-funded or intramural investigators.

What is the correct citation format for a new publication available online but not yet in print?

That depends on whether or not the publication is subject to NIH's Public Access Policy. So first you'll need to Determine Applicability.

If the paper falls under the public access policy and you authored or supported it, you will write either the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID), a valid NIH Manuscript Submission System reference number (NIHMSID), or "PMC Journal - In Process" at the end of the full citation. Follow the instructions in the How to Cite section of Include PMCID in Citations.

If the paper does not fall under the public access policy, write "Epub ahead of print" instead, followed by the corresponding URL or PubMed ID (PMID) if available.

Public Access

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

Does the public access policy affect my application and progress report?

Yes. In both documents, when you cite a paper that results from NIH funding, you have to use the PubMed Central (PMC) identification number, except papers written in non-Latin scripts (for example, Cyrillic or Japanese).

For your progress report, if you fail to cite a PMC ID, you will get an email from NIAID requiring you to prove compliance with the public access policy. For more information, go to Public Access of Publications SOP.

What types of publications must I submit to PubMed Central?

NIH's public PubMed Central database features final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication and describe research fully or partially funded by NIH. Do not submit contributed book chapters, editorials, reviews, or conference proceedings. See the Public Access of Publications SOP for more information.

How do I post my article on PubMed Central?

Submit manuscripts through the NIH Manuscript Submission System. You need an eRA Commons or NIH login to upload materials.

Can I choose when my manuscript will be released on PubMed Central?

Yes. You can choose when your manuscript will be released to the public—up to 12 months after publication.

Does complying with the public access policy fulfill my data sharing requirement?

No. The public access policy requires investigators to post their published manuscripts on NIH's public PubMed Central database, while the data sharing policy requires investigators to release their final data sets after removing identifiers.

For more information, see the Data Sharing for Grants: Final Research Data SOP and the Data Sharing for Grants: Genome-Wide Association Studies SOP.

Where should I include the PMC or NIH Manuscript Submission reference number in applications, proposals, and progress reports when citing articles from NIH-funded research?

List the PMC reference number (PMCID) at the end of the full journal citation. You won't need to update applications, proposals, or progress reports submitted before the public access policy went into effect on April 7, 2008.

You may want to see sample citations at Include PMCID in Citations on the NIH Public Access site.

Where can I go if I have more questions about public access?

Read the Public Access of Publications SOP and visit NIH's Public Access Frequently Asked Questions.

What if my question wasn't answered here, or I'd like to suggest a question?

Email with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. We answer questions by email and post them here. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.​

Last Updated June 24, 2014

Last Reviewed March 01, 2012