There are four methods for getting articles into PubMed Central (PMC), depending on the journal the article is published in and what method the publisher has chosen. Knowing which method the particular journal or publisher follows will dictate what steps you need to take to make sure your article complies with NIH's Public Access Policy.
NIH provides a Wizard to help you determine the Method, starting with Method A and working up to Method D.
Under both Methods A and B, the publisher provides the final published version of the article to PMC, no later than 12 months after publication.
Method A is journal-based. Participating journals post all peer-reviewed, NIH-funded articles in PMC. Authors do not have to interface with the manuscript, however the steps below must still be followed to ensure compliance. Approximately 2,400 journals are in this category, which is a small subset of all journals that are published.
Method B is for paid open access articles published with selected publishers. These publishers have an agreement with NIH to deposit the final article in PMC when notified by the author that an article falls under the policy.
Steps to compliance:
The vast majority of articles fall under Methods C & D, simply because Method D publishers control the majority of the market. The steps are almost identical under C & D, except for who deposits the manuscript under step 1 below.