Getting lost in the acronyms? Need a quick definition? Search this glossary of common terms.


The embargo is the time period, in months, that the publisher retains exclusive rights to distribute the article. The full text of an article will not be made available in PMC, even if the PMC-ready documents have been approved by the Reviewer, until after the embargo has ended. Assignment of a PMCID is not dependent on the embargo.1

eRA Commons

The eRA Commons is an online interface where signing officials, principal investigators, trainees, and post-docs at institutions/organizations can access and share administrative information relating to NIH research grants. Extramural researchers who have eRA Commons accounts can use those credentials to access the NIHMS system as well.1

My Bibliography

My Bibliography is a reference tool that helps you save your 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. eRA commons users use My Bibliography to track compliance with the NIH public access policy and report papers to NIH.2


My NCBI is a tool that retains user information and database preferences to provide 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, select display formats, filtering options, and set up automatic searches that are sent by e-mail. It includes the bibliography management system My Bibliography.2

NIH Manuscript System (NIHMS)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system to facilitate the submission of peer-reviewed manuscripts for inclusion in PubMed Central (PMC) in support of the NIH Public Access Policy. Since its inception in 2005, NIHMS has expanded to support the public access policies of other organizations and government agencies.1

NIH Manuscript System Identifier (NIHMSID)

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.3

NIH Public Access Policy (NIHPAP)

The Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central. The Policy requires that these final peer-reviewed manuscripts be accessible to the public on PubMed Central to help advance science and improve human health.4

PMC-Participating Journal

A journal that has met PMC’s scientific and technical standards and for which the publisher has agreed to deposit final article XML directly in PMC at the time of publication without author involvement. This is referred to as Submission Method A. Content from PMC-participating journals is not processed by NIHMS.1


PubMed® comprises more than 30 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.5

PubMed Central (PMC)

PubMed Central® (PMC) is a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM).6

PubMed Central Identifier (PMCID)

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.3

PubMed Identifier (PMID)

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.3


The Reviewer on an NIHMS record is responsible for approving the initial deposit, signing off on the Submission Statement, and ensuring the PMC-ready documents are accurate and complete before approving them for release in PMC. The Reviewer is usually an author on the paper. If an author is not available to complete the approval steps, a PI can serve this role. Please note that although a Submitter can also serve as the Reviewer if he or she is an author or PI, a third party cannot approve an NIHMS manuscript for conversion or inclusion in PMC. An NIHMS record can have only one Reviewer. If the current Reviewer is unresponsive or cannot complete the required steps, another author or PI will need to be assigned to the role in order for the submission to progress.1

Submission Methods

There are four methods to ensure that an applicable paper is submitted to PubMed Central (PMC) in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy. Authors may use whichever method is most appropriate for them and consistent with their publishing agreement.

Method A: Some Journals automatically post NIH supported papers directly to PMC
Method B: Authors must make special arrangements for some journals and publishers to post the paper directly to PMC
Method C: Authors or their designee must submit manuscripts to the NIHMS
Method D: Some publishers will submit manuscripts to the NIHMS#