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NSF Public Access Policy

A guide to the Public Access Policy of the National Science Foundation. Provides an overview of the policy, along with steps for depositing a manuscript.

Getting Started with Deposit

Deposit to NSF-PAR is done through the site. Only PIs and co-PIs on a grant are able to deposit materials to NSF-PAR.

In order to complete deposit, you will need:

  • Your login for
  • A DOI for the article or proceeding (or full citation information, if you can not locate the DOI)
  • A copy of the manuscript in PDF/A format
  • Grant number (or numbers) of the award(s) the work was funded by

Once you've logged in, the "My Desktop" page will give you the option to deposit a manuscript directly or to begin to fill out a report (where you can deposit materials as you go).

Screencapture of homepage (after login) with two options for getting started with deposit highlighted. "Deposit Publication" link to directly deposit articles. Or links to work on existing reports.

Depositing Directly to NSF-PAR

Entering a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Providing a DOI at this stage simplifies and speeds up the process immensely. You can find out where to locate DOIs here.

  • If you have a DOI, you will be asked to enter it and then review the citation information to make sure it is correct. 
  • If you don't have a DOI, you will be asked to enter information about the publication (including title, authors, journal, etc.) manually.

Note: Although most articles (and many proceedings) published these days will have a DOI, not all do. So, don't be alarmed if you can't find one.

Deposit Final Accepted Version

Version. Publishers generally require that you submit the final, accepted version of the manuscript. This is the version that has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication, but not the published version that appears on the publishers site (which may have small changes related to copyediting). If you can not locate this version, you can ask the publisher if they will allow you to upload the final, published version instead. 

Format. You must upload the manuscript in the PDF/A format. If you try to upload a regular PDF, you will get an error message. More information about PDF/A and how to create one can be found here.

Select the Award and Acknowledge

You can select the award associated with the article from the list provided. The list includes only your own awards. It is possible from this page to link the deposit with multiple awards (that are your own).

After the deposit has been finalized and validated, it will appear in your project report(s) for the grants you select here (this could take up to six hours).


You will be given the opportunity to review all the information before finalizing the deposit. From the "My Desktop" page, there is a link to "Manage Deposited Publications" so that you can monitor progress or make changes, if necessary.

Depositing from within a Project Report

Manuscripts may also be deposited to NSF-PAR while you are filling out the Products portion of a project report. 

When you add a product, you are asked to select a product type from a dropdown that includes options like, book, license, invention, etc. Most of these product types do not fall under the NSF policy and will not be affected. However, when you select "Journal or Juried Conference Paper" and indicate that its status is "Published", you will be directed to submit the manuscript to NSF-PAR following the steps outlined above.

Screecapture from of "Submit ew Journal or Juried Conference Paper" page. Product status is set to "Published" and a link to deposit to NSF-PAR is provided.