Skip to main content

NIH Public Access Policy

Journals and the NIH Public Access Policy

Does the journal you're publishing in submit for you, or do you have to do it yourself?  When do you have to pay open access fees?  What are embargo periods?  Here are the quick answers:

  • Method A Journals automatically submit for you and no action is required on your part.
  • Method B publishers will deposit the final article to PMC for you upon request, but typically charge a fee.
  • Method D publishers will deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript to PMC for you upon request and usually do not charge a fee, but you will be required to log in to NIHMS to complete additional steps in the submission process.

If your journal/publisher is not on any of these lists, you must notify the publisher that you are required to submit to PMC under the Public Access Policy.  Depending on the publisher, you may be required to specify an embargo period when you submit the peer-reviewed manuscript to PMC.  You must still deposit the manuscript in the NIHMS immediately, but in the submission process, you can specify an embargo of up to 12 months.

Method A Journals

The easiest way to contribute articles to PMC is to publish in a journal that automatically transfers copies of published arricles to the repository for you (Method A). No other action is required on your part.

For a list of journals that automatically submit all NIH-funded final published articles to PubMed Central see the NIH's List of Method A Journals. If the journal you publish in is not on this list, submission to PMC is not automatic and you must take further action either by notifying Method B or D publishers (see the box below) or submitting to PMC yourself.

Method B and D Publishers

Some publishers will submit to PMC if you request they do so.  If the journal is not on the Method A list, do not assume that submission will happen automatically.  Check with your publisher to find out if they will upload for you.  For a list of publishers that will deposit articles upon request, see the Method B and D publisher lists.

What's the difference between Methods B and D?

  • Method B publishers deposit the final article as it appears in the journal.  Typically they will charge an open access fee to do so.  Sometimes these publishers will have a name with "Open" or "Choice" in the title (such as NPG Open Access or ACS Author Choice).
  • Method D publishers deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript.  Usually there is no associated fee, but you are required to complete some additional steps in the NIHMS.  You will be receive emails notifying you when action is required.  Make sure you look for these emails and complete the required steps.  If you fail to complete these steps, your submission will not be complete, and you will not be in compliance.