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Copyright: Open or Public Access

This guide is for Mayo Clinic staff and students who are seeking information on Copyright and Fair Use. The guide contains links to Mayo and web resources.

Public Access Journal Articles


What does "Public Access" mean?
The NIH requires all NIH funded research be provided to the public for free (via PubMed Central database) in the form of manuscripts (after peer-review and upon acceptance for publication) no later than 12 months after its publication. 
Public Access applies only to articles based on NIH funded research. (It does not apply to books, book chapters or dissertations using NIH funded research.) 
Public Access contrasts with Open Access in that Open Access is chosen by the author, whereas Public Access is a NIH mandate for NIH funded research publications.

Open Access Journals

Unlike traditional publishing, Open Access journals are supported by copyright holders who freely and generously allow wide distribution to all users.  Reproduction in any medium is allowed and encouraged provided the original author and source are credited.   Thousands of Open Access journals are available full text in


PubMedCentral, and



Open Access is usually something the author decides to grant upon publication, whereas Public Access is a mandate about NIH funded research articles. 

Beware of predatory Open Access journals; for more information visit: