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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Guide to the NIH Public Access Mandate: Creating your MyNCBI Bibliography

Researchers funded by the NIH must, at the time they submit articles for publication, also submit the article to PubMed Central for public access. This Guide explains the steps for doing this.

How-to Guide

On June 10, 2010, the NIH issued a policy notice, "My NCBI Tool to Replace eRA Commons for Bibliography Management."

Essentially this policy change means researchers will no longer manually enter citations for their professional works in eRA Commons and will instead use PubMed's MyNCBI My Bibliography feature to pull PubMed and PubMed Central records into their MyNCBI Bibliography. Researchers can manually enter citation information into their My Bibliography account for citations that do not appear in PubMed such as books, conferences, etc. References saved in My Bibliography will automatically appear in the researchers’ eRA Commons accounts.

Required actions:

  1. If not already established, PD/PIs must establish a My NCBI account to gain access to My Bibliography.
  2. My NCBI accounts must be linked to eRA Commons accounts.
  3. As of July 23, 2010, Commons will no longer support manual entry of citations. PD/PIs will no longer be able to type or copy and paste citation data into Commons and must enter new citations into their My NCBI accounts.
  4. As of October 22, Commons will no longer display citations that a PI has manually entered into Commons. All citations previously entered manually into Commons will be removed from the Commons system. Therefore, these citations must be added to My Bibliography so that they will continue to appear in Commons and can be associated with future annual progress reports.

Step-by-Step Instructions
The eRAs' MyNCBI How-to-Steps guide detalils how to:

  • Create a My NCBI Account & Access the My Bibliography Feature
  • Sign in to My NCBI using your eRA Commons username and password and link the accounts (without a My NCBI account)
  • Sign in to My NCBI using your eRA Commons username and password and link the accounts (w/ existing account)
  • Check the Public Access compliance status of a paper in My Bibliography
  • Check the Public Access compliance status of a paper in Commons
  • Associate a paper with a grant award in My Bibliography
  • Associate a paper with a grant award in Commons
  • Add a citation to My Bibliography
  • Move citations from Commons to My Bibliography
  • Delegate the authority to maintain your My Bibliography content (for Program Directors/Principal Investigators)


In addition to improving the accuracy of the bibliographic information in eRA Commons, this new procedure will allow grantees to easily track compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy using a simple color-coded key in My Bibliography. Commons users can propose, confirm, or reject grant-paper associations; associate their My Bibliography citations with an eSNAP (electronic Streamlined Non-competing Award Process) progress report in Commons; and designate delegates to maintain their professional bibliographies in My Bibliography. 

Additional Resources:

Creating Your Bibliography  (4 min video produced by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) that shows clearly how to add citations to your MyNCBI My Bibliography)

Using My Bibliography to Manage Compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy