Skip to Main Content

NIH Public Access Policy: Cite PMCIDs

The information in this guide will help with several of the compliance issues that University of Pennsylvania authors will need to address and is organized around three steps to compliance: addressing copyright, submitting to PMC and citing PMCIDs in NIH

PMCIDs (& sometimes NIHMSIDs) Signify Compliance

To demonstrate compliance, all papers that fall under the NIH Public Access Policy must be cited using the PMCID or NIHMSID in all applications, proposals and reports submitted to the NIH.

  • If the article was published more than three months ago, you must cite the PMCID.
  • If the article was published less than three months ago and hasn't been assigned a PMCID yet, you must cite the NIHMSID (if using submission Methods C or D) or indicate "PMC Journal - In Process" (for Methods A or B).

More detail about the different ID types and when to use them is included below. Click here for information on locating a PMCID.

PMIDs and PMCIDs are not the same:

  • PubMed ID (PMID) | This is the reference number assigned to all articles in PubMed. The PMID is linked with a paper's abstract in PubMed and is not associated with the NIH Public Access Policy
  • PubMed Central ID (PMCID) | This is the reference number assigned to articles available in PubMed Central. A PMCID is linked to a full-text article availalbe in PMC. It is the ID you want to use when citing papers in NIH documents.
  • NIH Manuscript Submission ID (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.

Note: For a given PMID (or list of them), you can use the PMCID/PMID/NIHMSID Converter to obtain the PMCID or NIHMSID if they exist.

Overview of Accepted IDs in Citations

Method A
Journal deposits final published articles in PubMed Central without author involvement
Method B
Author asks publisher to deposit specific final published article in PMC
Method C
Author deposits final peer-reviewed manuscript in PMC via the NIHMS
Method D
Author completes submission of final peer-reviewed manuscript deposited by publisher in the NIHMS
To cite papers, from acceptance for publication to 3 months post publication PMCID or “PMC Journal- In Process” PMCID or “PMC Journal- In Process” PMCID or NIHMSID PMCID or NIHMSID
To cite papers, 3 months post publication and beyond PMCID PMCID PMCID PMCID

Adapted from NIH Public Access Policy site

My NCBI & My Bibliography

Principal investigators with eRA Commons accounts will use the My NCBI My Bibliography tool to manage and populate their professional bibliographies. PIs must have a My NCBI account in order to access My Bibliography and the account must be linked with an eRA Commons account. PIs may designate a delegate to maintain My Bibliography content on their behalf.

PMCIDs in Citation Managers

References pulled from PubMed using RefWorks will automatically contain PMCID's if they exist in the PubMed record.  Choose the "NIH - National Institutes of Health" output style when creating a grant-related Word document.

EndNote X3 and more recent versions store PMCIDs in the Custom 2 field and NIHMSIDs in the Custom 6 field.  To add these IDs to existing EndNote citations, highlight incomplete citations and rightclick to select Find Reference Updates, then Update Empty Fields. The NIH output style includes these fields.

For those using EndNote (X2 or earlier), instructions are available on the EndNote website