Participation Agreements and Options

As part of the Pre-Production phase of the Evaluation and Setup Process, the publisher must complete a formal PMC Participation Agreement with NLM. The three types of agreements described below correspond to the participation options available to journals and publishers. Please see the Agreement Types section on the PMC Policies page for the eligibility requirements for each participation option.

Interested publishers should also review the following pages:

Information for Publishers | PMC FAQs for Publishers | PMC Policies

Full Participation Option and Agreement

Under the Full Participation option and agreement the publisher commits to depositing the complete contents of each issue or volume, starting with a particular volume/issue or publication date.

Journals that participate under this option are noted as Full in the Participation Level column of the PMC Journals List.

Who Should Consider a Full Participation Agreement
  • Journals that would like to have a complete archive of their contents made available in PMC (may be an open access or subscription journal that has an embargo), subject to PMC's Back Content Policy.
  • Journals seeking to comply with the MEDLINE e-journal policy
Full Participation Agreement (38KB, MS Word)

NIH Portfolio Option and Agreement

Under the NIH Portfolio participation option and agreement the publisher commits to depositing all NIH-funded articles (as defined by the NIH Public Access Policy), starting with a particular volume/issue or publication date. The publisher may choose to also deposit additional, non-NIH-funded articles under this agreement.

Journals that participate under this option are noted as NIH Portfolio in the Participation Level column of the PMC Journals List.

Who Should Consider an NIH Portfolio Agreement
  • Subscription journals that publish a high volume of articles supported by NIH (or another PMC-participating funder) and wish to deposit the final published version in PMC on behalf of their authors

As of May 1, 2018 the eligibility requirements for participating under the NIH Portfolio option have been updated. Please visit the Agreement Types section on the PMC Policies page for details.

NIH Portfolio Agreement (40KB, MS Word)

Selective Deposit Option and Agreement

The Selective Deposit participation option and agreement is used by publishers who want to deposit a selected set of articles to PMC from a collection of journals. This is generally used by publishers who offer a hybrid publishing model, i.e., a traditional subscription-based journal in which selected articles are published as "open access." This agreement also may be used for other sets of articles that are more limited than those covered by a full participation or NIH portfolio agreement.

Collections of these selective deposit journals, often grouped by publisher, are referred to in PMC as Special Collections. A list of Special Collections and the journals in each collection can be found on the Journal list page under the Special Collections tab.

Who Should Consider a Selective Deposit Agreement
  • Publishers with hybrid journals that publish a significant amount of open access research in the biomedical and life sciences
  • Publishers who wish to support the policies of funding agencies (e.g., Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) that require articles to be made available immediately upon publication in PMC under specific license terms

As of May 1, 2018 the eligibility requirements for participating under the Selective Deposit option have been updated. Please visit the Agreement Types section on the PMC Policies page for details.

Selective Deposit Agreement (39KB, MS Word)

Additional Journal Amendment

A publisher should use an amendment, instead of completing a new agreement, if it already has a PMC Full Participation or NIH Portfolio agreement with NLM and wishes to include additional journals in PMC under similar terms.

Guide to using the PMC Agreements

The specific fields vary between the agreement types, but there are some common themes; see the generalized guide below.

  1. In the box on the Instructions page, enter the name, email and postal address of the person to whom NLM can return a copy of the agreement after it has been signed by NLM. Also indicate if the agreement should be returned by mail or by e-mail.
  2. In the first paragraph of the agreement, fill in the name of the organization that, as the copyright holder or copyright holder’s legal representative, is entering into this agreement with NLM.
  3. For each journal or collection you are initiating an agreement for, specify:
    • The earliest content that you will deposit in PMC.
    • Any delay (embargo) that you wish to impose after publication, before articles are made available to the public in PMC.
    • Whether the journal(s) or collection includes Open Access (OA) articles. Note: OA articles are not simply articles that are made freely available at the time of publication. They are articles with a Creative Commons or similar license, which generally allows more liberal redistribution and reuse than a traditional copyrighted work. They will be made available for automated downloading from the PMC Open Access subset.
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Last updated: Mon, 29 Oct 2018