There are four methods to ensure that an applicable paper is submitted to PubMed Central (PMC) in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy. Authors may use whichever method is most appropriate for them and consistent with their publishing agreement.
Method A: Publish in a journal that deposits all final published articles in PubMed Central (PMC) without author involvement.
Some journals automatically deposit all NIH-funded final published articles in PubMed Central, to be made publicly available within 12 months of publication, without author involvement. See the list of these journals at http://publicaccess.nih.gov/submit_process_journals.htm.
Method B: Make arrangements to have the publisher deposit a specific final published article in PubMed Central.
Some publishers will deposit an individual final published article in PubMed Central upon author request, and generally for a fee. See the list of publishers at http://publicaccess.nih.gov/select_deposit_publishers.htm.
Method C: Deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript in PubMed Central yourself via the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).
Submitting a final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central (PMC) via the NIHMS involves three tasks, as explained below. Task 1 may be done by an author or by someone in the author’s organization (e.g., an assistant or a librarian). Tasks 2 and 3 must by done by the author.
For a video of this process, see Submitting an Article to PubMed Central (WMV Video - 12:01) (Help Viewing Captions).
Task 1: Deposit Manuscript Files and Link to NIH Funding
Upload a copy of the accepted final peer-reviewed manuscript and associated files (e.g., Microsoft Word document and figures) via the NIHMS. At the same time, identify the NIH funding associated with the manuscript. It usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete this task.
Task 2: Authorize NIH to Process the Manuscript
The author designates the number of months after publication when the manuscript may be made publicly available in PMC. The author then signs off, via the NIHMS, on a statement that confirms that the deposit of the manuscript is consistent with any publication and copyright agreements, and that NIH may begin processing the manuscript for use in PMC.
Task 3: Approve the PMC-formatted Manuscript for Public Display
The NIHMS will convert the deposited files into a standard PMC format, and email the author to approve the PMC-formatted manuscript for public display. The author reviews and approves the PMC-formatted manuscript via the NIHMS. Corrections to the manuscript, if necessary, may be requested at this time.
Following completion of task 3, PMC will automatically make the paper publicly available after the designated delay period has expired.
- Tasks 1 and 2 can be done at the same time, if the person performing them is an author of the manuscript.
- Tasks 2 and 3 may be done only by an author who logs into the NIHMS with an eRA Commons or NIH employee account.
- In many cases, the author who completes tasks 2 and 3 will be the Principal Investigator (PI) on the associated NIH award. When the author is not the PI, the NIHMS will notify the PI that a manuscript has been linked to the NIH award, upon completion of Task 2.
- The NIHMS offers extensive online instructions.
Method D: Complete the submission process for a final peer-reviewed manuscript that the publisher has deposited in the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).
In a variation of Method C, some publishers deposit the manuscript files in the NIHMS for an author and designate the number of months after publication when the paper may be made publicly available in PMC.
Though a publisher may make the initial deposit of files for an author in this case, institutions and investigators still are responsible for the timing of the deposit (i.e., upon acceptance for publication) and for completing the submission process after the publisher deposits the files.
The NIHMS will notify the author when the manuscript files are received from the publisher. At that point, the author must complete all of the tasks outlined for Method C, except for the file deposit part of Task 1 above.
For a video demonstrating author tasks on the NIHMS for Method D, see Approving Submission of an Article to PubMed Central (WMV Video - 6:26).
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