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Public Access Policy

Several research funding agencies require or request authors to submit the post-acceptance manuscript (the article after peer review and acceptance but not the final published article) to a repository that is accessible online by all without charge. Within medical research, 5 funding agencies in particular have announced such policies. The below list is not exhaustive; AHA encourages authors to refer to their funder’s policies to ensure they are complying with the most recent guidelines:

  1. The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) requires authors submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central ( , to be made publicly available within the 12 months after publication of the final article in the journal.
  2. The American Heart Association (AHA) requires that all journal articles resulting from AHA funding be made freely available in PubMed Central (PMC) and linked to an AHA award within 12 months of publication.
  3. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) requires, as a condition of research grants, deposit in PMC, but within 6 months after publication of the final article.
  4. The Wellcome Trust requires, as a condition of research grants, deposit in PMC/Europe PMC. All original. peer-reviewed research articles supported by Wellcome Trust, and submitted after January 1, 2021, must be made freely available through PMC and Europe PMC by the final publication date.
  5. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation requires that accepted articles be deposited immediately upon publication in PMC, or in another openly accessible repository. For accepted articles published in journals not listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the grantee is required to deposit the accepted manuscript in PMC to be made freely available by the final publication date.

As a service to authors, the Publisher (Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins) of the 11 AHA hybrid journals will identify to PMC/Europe PMC articles that require depositing. Authors may initiate the deposit if they prefer, but the Publisher will review the Copyright Transfer Agreement/License to Publish Agreement and initiate the appropriate deposit based on the information provided. On NIH request, it remains the legal responsibility of the author(s) to confirm with the NIH the provenance of their manuscript for purposes of deposit.

  1. Author(s) will not alter the manuscript already transmitted to NIH.
  2. Author(s) will not authorize the display of the accepted manuscript prior to the embargo set by the appropriate funding agency.

For more information on PMC, please visit

In addition, all original research articles are freely available from the journal sites within 6 months of final publication; all other articles are freely available with 12 months of final publication.

A Permissions and Rights Question and Answer is also available; please visit the Permissions and Rights Question and Answer page.

For information on the public access policies of the AHA’s 2 fully open access journals, visit their Indexing page.