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NIH Public Access Compliance: Definitions


The NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system allows you to submit an electronic version of your peer-reviewed final manuscript for inclusion in PubMed Central.

Once submitted, your article will receive an NIHMSID # for tracking purposes.

Important Numbers

PMID - This is the reference number assigned to all citations in PubMed. The PMID is a unique identifies assigned to ALL citations in PubMed and is not associated with the NIH Public Access Policy.

NIHMSID - After submitting a manuscript through the NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS) through methods C or D, your manuscript will be assigned a NIHMSID. The NIHMSID can be used to signify compliance less than three months after publication for papers that have not yet been assigned a PMCID.

PMCID - This is the reference number assigned to articles available in PubMed Central. A PMCID is linked to a full-text article available in PMC. It is the ID you want to use when citing papers in NIH documents.

PubMed vs PubMed Central

PubMed provides free access to MEDLINE®, the NLM® database of indexed citations and abstracts to medical, nursing, dental, veterinary, health care, and preclinical sciences journal articles. Includes additional selected life sciences journals not in MEDLINE.a database of citations and abstracts for more than 25 million articles in biomedical literature.  Provides Advanced search, Clinical Queries search filters, and Special Queries pages. PubMed links to the full text articles in PubMed Central.

PubMed Central (PMC) is a free digital repository created in 2000 that archives publicly accessible full-text scholarly articles that have been published within the biomedical and life sciences journal literature.That means its goal is to collect and preserve the full text of life sciences literature, not just references to it.  PMC hosts full text and makes it freely accessible. PMC is also where NIH Public Access Policy requires peer-reviewed manuscripts from NIH-funded research to be submitted. 

Public Access Compliance Monitor

web-based tool that institutions can use to track compliance of publications that fall under the NIH Public Access Policy.

More information here under Track Compliance.

Final Published Version vs. Final Peer-Reviewed Manuscript

Final Peer-Reviewed Manuscript
Author’s final manuscript accepted for journal publication after peer-review:

  • Includes all modifications from the peer review process
  • Electronic files of text, figures, tables, etc.
  • May be submitted by Authors & Publishers

Final Published Article
Journal’s formatted, authoritative copy of the paper as published:

  • Includes all modifications from peer review and the publishing process: copyediting, stylistic edits, and formatting changes
  • May be submitted by Publishers/Journals only


NCBI -The National Center for Biotechnology Information is part of the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), a branch of the National Institutes of Health. 

My NCBI is a tool that retains user information and database preferences to provide customized services for many NCBI databases. It allows you to save searches, select display formats, filtering options, and set up automatic searches that are sent by e-mail. My NCBI includes other features that help you save your citations and manage peer reviewed article compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy (My Bibliography), create an online professional profile (SciENcv, also known as BioSketch), highlight search terms, and set up preferences.

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