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New tool helps research publications stay NIH-compliant

Jul. 11, 2013, 9:09 AM

The National Institutes of Health requires scientists to provide public access to any peer-reviewed publications resulting from NIH-supported research through PubMed, the National Library of Medicine’s premier search system.

As of July 1, scientists whose publications are not “compliant,” that is, do not have a searchable PubMed Central Identifier (PMCID) number, risk having their research awards delayed and federal funding held up.

The Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR) has developed a new software tool, available through the StarBRITE online research portal, to help Vanderbilt researchers ensure that their publications are compliant.

The “My NIH Public Access Compliance” dashboard is available to all Vanderbilt faculty and staff and requires a Vanderbilt log-in (VU net ID and password). The dashboard can be accessed by clicking on

“VICTR remains committed to keeping grants administration issues for investigators as painless as possible, yet still keep faculty and Vanderbilt in full compliance with federal regulations,” said VICTR director Gordon Bernard, M.D., associate vice chancellor for Research and Melinda Owen Bass Professor of Medicine.

The compliance dashboard was developed by Minhua “Jim” Zhang, VICTR’s lead analyst programmer for StarBRITE, with the help of Paul Harris, Ph.D., director of the Office of Research Informatics, Tara Helmer and colleagues in Research Support Services, and the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Since the tool went “live” on June 7, “we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about this,” Helmer said.

“We have been doing this ‘by hand’ for years and it’s unbelievably time consuming,” wrote Bethanie Rammer, program manager in the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center. “To have something that gives us everything we need within a couple keystrokes is nothing short of amazing.”

For more information about the compliance dashboard, publication policies and other assistance, go to and click on “Tools for Manuscript Writing,” or call the Research Support Services hotline at 322-7343.

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