NSF Submission Essentials

Source:  NSF’s Public Access Plan: Today’s Data, Tomorrow’s Discoveries

Impacts:   Peer-reviewed publications derived from research directly supported by NSF grants resulting from proposals submitted or due on or after January 25, 2016.

Timeline: Papers submitted to the NSF repository by PI’s or co-PI’s at research.gov within 12 months of publication are considered compliant.

Who Submits:   PI’s or co-PI’s (only)

What to Submit:  Peer-reviewed journal manuscripts or juried conference papers accepted for publication. Versions of record may be submitted if author holds copyright (e.g., open access) or has permission.

Format:  PDF/A (see below)

Where to Submit:   research.gov

Repository:   NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR)


  • Works must be submitted to the NSF-PAR by the time a project report is submitted, or they cannot be included in the report.
  • Principal investigators can submit manuscripts to NSF-PAR while compiling reports. Note: the submission-validation process can take up to six hours.
  • Successfully submitted manuscripts automatically appear in project reports.

Saving or Converting to a PDF/A

PDF/A is a specialized format used for archiving and the long-term preservation of electronic documents.

  • Word documents may be converted to the PDF/A format through the Save As function.
  • PDF documents may be converted to the PDF/A format in Adobe products depending on the application and/or version.

For assistance with Adobe products, please contact the DoIT Helpdesk.

Public Access Service staff are happy to convert documents on request.