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Important Facts about the PMCID Numbers

Why is the PMCID (PubMed Central reference number) important?

If you are writing an NIH application, proposal, or progress report...
...and you cite an article that:

  • authored or co-authored by you, or, arose from your NIH award, AND
  • is covered by the NIH Public Access Policy...

... you must include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID) on those articles (NIH Statement on how to Determine Applicability).

How to locate the PMCID

All articles falling under the new policy that are cited in NIH applications, proposals, and progress reports that were authored or co-authored by you or arose from your NIH award, must include the PubMed Central reference number (PMCID).

You can locate PMCID's in PubMed Central, in PubMed, or through the PubMed ID number.

  1. PubMed Central (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov)

    For PubMed Central, enter the information you have such as the author's name, topic, and/or journal title in the search box.

  2. PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?otool=uvirlib)

    For PubMed, use the Citation Matcher or enter citation information. Display the reference in "Abstract" format to locate the PMCID if available.

  3. PMID/PMCID Converter http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/pmctopmid

    Use the converter found on the lower right of the PMC home page to obtain the corresponding PMCIDs and/or NIHMS IDs if they exist.

How to cite the PMCID

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

Example: Vonica A, Gumbiner BM. The Xenopus Nieuwkoop center and Spemann-Mangold organizer share molecular components and a requirement for maternal Wnt activity. Dev Biol. 2007 Dec 1;312(1):90-102. PMCID: PMC2170525

If the PMCID is not available

  1. If the PMCID is not available because the paper has not been published yet, authors should use the NIH Manuscript Submission reference number (e.g., NIHMS97531).
  2. If the PMCID is not available because the Journal submits articles directly to PMC on behalf of their authors, applicants should indicate "PMC Journal - In Process."

The NIH Manuscript Submission reference number or "PMC Journal - In Process" should not be used once the PMCID is available. The NIHMS number can only be used to show compliance for up to 3 months after a paper is published. However, previously submitted applications, proposals and reports need not be updated when the PMCID becomes available.

More on the NIH Public Access Policy

For additional help on the NIH Public Access Policy, see the Health Sciences Library's help page. This includes information on the new compliance rules for 2013.

PMID vs. PMCID

PMID: PubMed ID: All PubMed records are assigned this unique number when they are added to PubMed. Not all PubMed records have the PMCID attached to the record.
PMCID: PubMed Central ID: Not same as the PMID. All references in PubMed Central have the PMCID.