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Stony Brook University

NIH Public Access Policy: Databases, IDs & Tools

A Guide to the NIH Public Access Policy

Getting Help!

The Health Sciences Library offers free individual & group consultations on NIH Public Access Policy (NIHPAP) compliance.

Contact us to schedule an appointment:

  • telephone on campus 4-3099 | off campus (631) 444-3099
  • email
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The Databases

Distinguishing the Databases:

PubMed and PubMed Central are not the same database.

PubMed is a bibliographic database that indexes citations and abstracts of published articles but does not include full-text. Articles do not need to be NIH funded to be listed in PubMed.

PubMed Central is a full-text database that contains the complete text of NIH-funded, peer-reviewed manscripts.

An article can be in PubMed alone, PubMed Central alone, or in both.

NIHMS is a submission system for PubMed Central only.

The Identifiers

Distinguishing the Identifiers:

PMID = permanent PubMed citation/abstract identifier

PMCID = permanent PubMed Central full-text article identifier

NIHMSID = temporary manuscript submission identifier given to a manuscript processing through the NIHMS system to PubMed Central.

  • The PMCID is required for NIHPAP compliance. The PMID is not required.
  • The temporary NIHMSID will be replaced later by the permanent PMCID.
  • PMCIDs correspond to an article's full text in PubMed Central and PMIDs to an article's citation and/or abstract in PubMed.
  • Not all articles with PMCIDs will have PMIDs and vice versa.
  • PMIDs do not substitute for PMCIDs.
  • You can convert between these three numbers using this converter.

The Tools

The two primary tools that are used to collect, manage, and submit articles are:

MyBibliography within MyNCBI

  • My NCBI provides a free account with customized services for many databases operated by the National Library of Medicine's National Center for Biotechnology Information, including PubMed, PubMed Central and SciENcv. It allows you to save searches, collections of search results, create automated searches with e-mail alerts, create and manage NIH Biosketches, and most vital to the NIHPAP, manage your personal publications within My Bibliography.

  • My Bibliography is a bibliographic management tool that allows you to collect your citations (journal articles, books/chapters, patents, presentations and meetings) directly from PubMed or, if not found there, by manual completion of template forms. My Bibliography allows eRA commons users to track compliance with the NIH public access policy, link grant awards to citations, and create lists of publications for NIH Biosketches and eRA Commons Grant Applications and Progress Reports.

The NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS)

The NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS) is where authors and publishers submit electronic version of peer-reviewed final manuscripts for entrance into PubMed Central. Some publishers handle the entire submission process while others require differing levels of author involvement. Any author on a paper may take responsibility for completing the submission process.