Anyone submitting an application, proposal or report to the NIH must include the PMC reference number (PMCID) when citing applicable papers that they author or that arise from their NIH-funded research.

How to Cite

1. Include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) at the end of citations.

  • For papers published more than 3 months before an application, proposal and report is submitted: List the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) at the end of the full journal citation for the paper in NIH applications, proposals and reports. A PMCID is the only way to demonstrate compliance for these papers.
    • Example:
      • Varmus H, KlausnerR, ZerhouniE, AcharyaT, DaarA, Singer P. 2003. PUBLIC HEALTH: Grand Challenges in Global Health. Science 302(5644): 398–399. PMCID: PMC243493
  • For papers in press, or published within 3 months of when an application, proposal or report is submitted:.
    • For Method A and B Journals, use  “PMC Journal - In Process” or the PMCID at the end of the full citation.
      • Example: Sala-TorraO, GundackerHM, StirewaltDL, LadnePA, Pogosova-AgadjanyanEL, Slovak ML, WillmanCL, HeimfeldS, BoldtDH, RadichJP. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) expression and outcome in adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Blood.[a publication date within 3 months of when the application, proposal or report was submitted to NIH].                  PMCID: PMC Journal - In Process
    • When using Submission Method C or D, provide a valid NIH Manuscript Submission System reference number (NIHMSID) or PMCID at the end of the full citation. Note, NIH awardees are responsible for ensuring that all steps of the NIHMS submission process are complete within three months of publication
      • Example:  CerratoA, ParisiM, Santa Anna S, MissirlisF, Guru S, AgarwalS, SturgillD, Talbot T, Spiegel A, Collins F, ChandrasekharappaS, Marx S, Oliver B. Genetic interactions between Drosophila melanogastermeninand Jun/Fos. DevBiol. In press. NIHMSID: NIHMS44135

2. Place the Literature Citations in the appropriate location. The appropriate locations for literature citations vary depending on the application type. See the Guide Notice NOT-OD-08-119 for details.

Definitions & Clarifications

  • PMID
    • Not required in any NIH document, irrelevant to NIH Public Access Policy
    • Can include, but an article with only a PMID is NOT compliant with the NIH Public Access Policy
  • PMCID
    • Assigned after manuscript has made it through the NIHMS system (submission Methods C or D) OR assigned after submission of a publication directly to PMC by contracted journal/publisher (submission Methods A or B)
  • NIHMSID
    • Temporary ID.  Valid for only three months past the date of actual publication.
    • Assigned by NIHMS to manuscript submission using Methods C or D

Locating the PMCID

The PMCID is posted in PubMed as soon as an article has been successfully processed by PMC. The easiest way to find and track PMCIDs is to add the paper to My NCBI/MyBibliography. My NCBI will automatically add the PMCID to a citation as soon as it is available.

PMCIDs are listed in the lower right corner of the Abstract Plus view of PubMed. If the paper is successfully processed but not yet publicly available on PMC, PubMed will also list the date the paper will become available. NIH provides other methods of obtaining PMCIDs (see PMID/PMCID converter), as do several bibliographical management tools.

PMID : PMCID Converter

If an article is in PubMed and in PMC, it will have both a PubMed ID (PMID) and a PMC ID. Use this converter to translate one type of ID to the other.

PubMed Central ID