NIH eRA Items of Interest - November 2015

Nom-nom-nom On Compliance Reports with PACR

So I am dating myself again, but does anyone else remember Pac-Man? With the catching, brain rotting music; action that was totally addicting, completely engaging, and absolutely frustrating (for me – I have the reactions of a sloth)?

While totally unrelated to the video game, other than the similar sounding acronym and the use of the Pac-Man font above, this is a way to introduce the topic of PACR.  eRA Commons has PACR.  PACR stands for Public Access Compliance Report and it is a user role within eRA Commons. Did you know this?

The PACR role has no privileges other than access to the Public Access Compliance Monitor. Like other Commons roles, Signing Officials (SOs), Account Administrators (AAs), and Administrative Officials (AOs) can assign this role to anyone with a Commons account, and the role may exist on its own or in combination with any other roles. 

The compliance monitor is a service for institutions to monitor public access compliance. It provides an institution with the current compliance status of all journal articles that are associated with awards made to the institution and that fall under the NIH Public Access Policy (see     Users with an eRA Commons PACR role have the ability to access the compliance reports for their institution through the Public Access Compliance Monitor. The reports are organized by IPF (Institutional Profile File) number, the unique ID assigned to a grantee organization in the eRA system.

With compliance of your publications becoming increasingly more critical to the funding process, the PACR role is kind of like a power pellet in the video game.  It gives you the power to chase back those pesky ghosts (non-compliant publications) that threaten to devour your funding.   

You can find more information about public access for sponsored programs at

An IPF number search can be done at

NIH Public Access Compliance Monitor User Guide can be found at

NLM Technical Bulletin with additional information about the compliance monitor is available at

And what about those ghosts: Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and…. Clyde?  Really, Clyde? SMH.

eRA Commons Explores Mobility

Last week my oldest daughter turned 21. I can't believe it! So it got me to thinking about my childhood versus hers. She will never know the joy of leaving the house unlocked, just knowing it will be ok; phones that were actually attached to walls; cameras that took pictures, and just pictures; paper maps, and the challenge of refolding them; TVs without remotes; and the idea of a self-driving car being pure science fiction.  Technology: it is a wondrous thing!

And eRA Commons is also embracing new technology by making eRA Commons mobile friendly. While still in development, we are exploring the best way to provide you with easy access to critical grant information from any smart phone or tablet.

There are two approaches to provide this functionality to you:

  1. Develop dedicated applications (apps) designed to work with eRA Commons
  2. A flexible web-based tool

And like all things, each approach has its pros and cons. Based on the analysis by the development group and management, the team has chosen to use the flexible web based tools approach. The advantages to this approach are numerous, but here are two of the key ones:

  1. The developers create one application for web browsers vs. a minimum of 2 separate apps for specific operating systems (Apple and Android).
  2. No need to worry about licensing and other distribution issues of having to go through 3rd party application "stores."

The current mobile prototype interface provides Principal Investigators with the ability to track an application submission. They can view the status of the application, score and percentile information, Scientific Review Group (SRG) data.  Additionally they can review the grant image and view their summary statements. There are already discussions and plans for expanding the mobility functionality to Signing Officials to access reports, manage accounts, etc. Pretty exciting stuff! 

If you are a Principal Investigator and would like to help us fine tune the features, I invite you to contact Scarlett Gibb, Customer Relationship Manager for eRA Commons.  She will provide you with the necessary information to help test and provide feedback on this new interface.

And as I think of my daughter and my childhood, I realize my Dad never had a TV without a remote control. I was the remote control… "Joe, put on Bowling for Dollars!" "Joe, change the channel to Walter Cronkite." "Joe, turn the volume up."

So You Took a Train, or a Plane, or a Winnebago…and Now We Thank You!

I was once told that all good things end with a sunset. So here is a sunset from the 2015 NIH Regional Seminar in San Diego. Honestly, I took this picture from outside the hotel on Thursday night!

So, in review, how did we do?

  • Wow! We had 850 of you…of which, 147 were Early Stage Investigators or New.
  • Forty topics by 50 NIH/HHS staff were presented…filling many of the rooms we rented.
  • One full day of 4 optional workshops…going from workshop to workshop, some of you hopped.
  • Forty volunteers from 3 local universities*…worked hard each day, as if each one was Hercules!
  • Traveling from all over makes quite a story…17 countries, 48 states, and 1 U.S. territory!
  • One-on-One with the experts you got to meet…based on the numbers, you found that pretty neat.
  • Thanks to our attendees including investigators…post-docs, administrators, and a bunch of "others"!

We appreciate everyone joining us by the bay and helping to make the 2015 NIH Regional Seminar in San Diego such a great success.  Discussions were had, questions were answered, and viable suggestions were made.

We're working hard on the details for the 2016 NIH Regional Seminar(s), so keep an eye out for an announcement in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts as well as on the NIH Regional Seminar home page in the coming months.

*We deeply appreciate the time effort put forth by the volunteers from:

  • San Diego State University
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of San Diego