Tips for NIH Public Access Compliance: All about Method A journals

Papers that need to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy take one of four paths or methods to get into PubMed Central. The journal determines the submission method and the methods are labeled A-D.  

What is a Method A journal?  

Method A journals have signed agreements with PubMed Central. The journal agrees to electronically send the final published article, along with any images, figures, supplementary files, etc., directly to PubMed Central. 

Do authors need to take any extra compliance steps with Method A journals?  

No, authors do not have to complete any additional steps to get their papers into PubMed Central.  

Authors should still remember to: 

  • Acknowledge their funding sources in the text of their manuscript. 
  • Review their publisher agreement carefully, making sure to check any NIH funding disclosure boxes. 
  • Add the citation to their My Bibliography collection.  

How does a paper in a Method A journal appear in My Bibliography before it gets to PubMed Central?  

A paper in a Method A journal displays in My Bibliography with “PMC Journal – In Process” until it is deposited in PubMed Central and a PMCID is issued. The journal is responsible for delivering the paper directly to PubMed Central.  

For papers that were recently accepted and not yet available in PubMed, authors can manually enter the citation in My Bibliography. Select the journal title from the autosuggest box to make sure My Bibliography recognizes the journal as Method A.  

See the NIH’s Method A FAQ for more details and screenshots. 

How can authors find out if a journal uses submission Method A?  

Authors can check the NIH’s list of Method A journals, as well as the journal’s website or copyright agreement form.  

Do NIH-funded authors at Washington University often choose Method A journals? 

Yes. In 2021, 49% of the nearly 2,700 NIH-funded publications from Washington University in St. Louis were published in Method A journals1 

The most frequently selected Method A journals from 2021 were: Nature Communications, PNAS, eLife, Scientific Reports, Human Brain Mapping, PloS One, JCI Insight, Frontiers in Immunology, Science Advances and The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 

  • Estimates of NIH-funded publications and Method A journal usage are based on Public Access Compliance Monitor data as of 3/30/2022.   

More information is available in Becker Library’s NIH Public Access Policy Guide. 

Have a question about the NIH Public Access Policy? Please contact Cathy Sarli at or Amy Suiter at