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NIH Public Access Policy: FAQs

What is the difference between a PMID and a PMCID?

The PMID is the unique identification number that PubMed assigns for each publication that is entered into this database of abstracts.

The PMID has nothing to do with the NIH Public Access Policy.

The PMCID, on the other hand, is part of the policy. PubMed Central (PMC)

  • is an index containing
  • full text publications

Each full text publication is:

  • assigned a unique number known as the PMCID.
  • inclusion of a publication in PubMed Central means that the authors have followed the policy’s guidelines to make their publication freely available no later than 12 months after publication.

For further information about the actual policy see NIH Public Access Policy details.

What does an embargo period mean?

An embargo period means there is a delay of up to 12 months following the publication of an article before the full text is made available in PubMed Central. This period is set by the publisher of the journal and is included in the copyright transfer agreement or an addendum. If you add the publication with an embargo into The NIH Manuscript Submission System, the publication will be tracked and then moved to PubMed Central at the appropriate time.

When submitting a grant do I have to look for PMCIDs for all articles cited or just mine?

The requirement is that you only need to find and apply PMCIDs for those articles that fall under the guidelines of the NIH Policy.

Is there one site to search for Author Instructions to see if the journal will submit to PMC?