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NIH Public Access and PMC

What is the connection between PMC and the NIH Public Access Policy?

Since its creation in 2000, PMC has served as a free digital archive of full-text biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Beginning in 2005, PMC has also been the designated repository for papers submitted in accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy and for those that fall under similar policies from other funding agencies.

How are NIH-funded articles submitted to PMC?

The final, published versions of NIH-funded articles are supplied to PMC only through publishers who have formal PMC participation agreements. NIH-funded author manuscripts must be submitted through the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system. The submission process may be initiated by either an author or a publisher, but must be completed by the author. For an overview of different submission methods, see For Authors.

What is the relationship among the following article reference numbers: PMCID, NIHMSID, and PMID?

The PMCID is a unique reference number or identifier that is assigned to every article that is accepted into PMC. The PMCID is also used by recipients of NIH funding to demonstrate compliance with the NIH Public Access policy. The PMCID can be found in both PMC and PubMed.

The NIHMSID is a preliminary article identifier that applies only to manuscripts deposited through the NIHMS system. The NIHMSID is only valid for compliance reporting for 90 days after the publication date of an article. Once the Web version of the NIHMS submission is approved for inclusion in PMC and the corresponding citation is in PubMed, the article will also be assigned a PMCID.

The PMID is a unique reference number for PubMed citations. The PMID is a distinctly different number from the PMCID and is used only for PubMed records.

How can I find a PMCID, NIHMSID, and PMID?

A PMID can be used to find the corresponding PMCID or NIHMSID for a citation if these reference identifiers have already been created. You can do this type of search with the PMC ID Converter. The converter will return results only for articles that have been assigned a PMCID.


The PMC ID Converter is not intended for use as a compliance monitoring tool. For information on monitoring the compliance status of an article, see “How can I monitor the compliance status of an article?” below.

The PMCID is also posted in PubMed once an article has been successfully processed by PMC. PMCIDs are listed next to the PMID above the abstract.

Another way to find and track PMCIDs is to add the paper to My NCBI (See My NCBI and My Bibliography Training Materials for instructions). My NCBI will automatically add the PMCID to a citation once it is available. Please allow 2-3 days for the PMCID to display in My NCBI.

Additionally, if you have a PMID and are looking for a corresponding NIHMSID you can log into NIHMS and use the search box in the upper right hand corner, insert the PMID, and search. If a manuscript is in the system that has been associated with that PMID, your search will return the corresponding NIHMSID.

Information on NIHMSIDs that correspond to PMIDs is also available in the Public Access Compliance Monitor (PACM) for users with a PACR account.

How can I monitor the compliance status of an article?

For institutions: The Public Access Compliance Monitor (PACM) provides an institution with the current compliance status of all journal articles that are associated with the institution and fall under the NIH Public Access Policy. This database is provided as a service to NIH-funding awardees to help them track compliance, should they wish to use it. It is not a formal reporting or monitoring tool for NIH. For more information see the PACM User Guide (PDF).

For individuals: My Bibliography is a reference tool that helps individuals save citations (journal articles, books/chapters, patents, presentations and meetings) directly from PubMed or, if not found there, to manually enter citations using My Bibliography templates. For eRA Commons users, the Award view allows a user to see whether his or her publications comply with the NIH Public Access Policy, to start the compliance process for journal articles, and to associate their publications to awards. For additional information please see My Bibliography.

Is there a way to add funding information to a manuscript or final, published article?

You can use the My Bibliography feature of My NCBI to associate grant information with an article that is already in PubMed, but has not included the particular NIH funding information in its acknowledgements. However, please note that adding grant information to a PubMed abstract does not automatically ensure that the article is in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy. You will still have to ensure that the article is submitted to PMC.

What is the difference between the PMC Journal list and the NIH Public Access Policy Journal list?

The PMC Journal List offers a view of all the journal titles that have deposited or are currently depositing final, published articles into the PMC archive. A journal title will appear on the PMC journal list only when the journal's articles are publicly available in PMC.

The NIH Public Access Policy Journal List comprises those journal titles that deposit the final, published versions of all NIH-funded articles in accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy. In contrast with the PMC journal list, the NIH PA list may include journals whose articles are not yet viewable in PMC because of publisher embargos.

Last modified: Tue Jan. 30 2024