For Publishers
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How to Join PMC

This page describes the process for adding a journal to PubMed Central (PMC) and explains what is required of participating journals. Interested publishers should also read the PubMed Central FAQs and the Deposit and Access Policies. Although PMC currently focuses on archiving English-language journals, NLM recognizes the need to include other languages in the archive and intends to do so gradually. For more information, see the FAQ on PMC support for languages other than English.

Participation in PMC is open to any life sciences journal that meets NLM's standards for the archive. A journal must qualify on two levels: the scientific quality of the publication and the technical quality of its digital files.

A journal meets PMC's scientific quality standard if it has been selected for the NLM collection by NLM’s Selection and Acquisitions section. See the NLM Technical Services Division fact sheet for more information about this NLM group and NLM's collection development policy.

The PMC Application Process

To begin the process, the journal publisher should send an email to indicating what it wishes to include in PMC. For each journal, provide at least:

  • The full name and ISSN of the journal.
  • A URL for the journal site, if the journal is online.

After a brief review, PMC will inform the publisher whether or not the journal meets PMC's scientific quality standard. For journals that meet this standard, the process will continue as follows:

  1. The publisher sends PMC a representative set of files for evaluation.
  2. PMC reviews the files and sends back a report specifying what needs to be corrected. The publisher corrects the problems and resubmits the sample for evaluation. Note: If, on the third submission, there are still problems, the journal's application will be rejected.
  3. If the sample set is satisfactory, PMC will ask the publisher to send in a complete set of files for all issues up to the present that are to be included in the archive. (If the journal is going to be providing files for a large number of back years, PMC may ask for them to be delivered in installments, usually a year at a time.) Prior to sending these files to PMC, the publisher must correct all data problems similar to those that were found in the sample set.
  4. If PMC finds significant data problems in the publisher's full set of files, the journal's application may be rejected.
  5. Assuming that the files provided by the publisher are problem-free, PMC sets up the journal on a preview site for the publisher to review. PMC corrects any problems on its end that may be found in this review.
  6. The publisher and NLM complete a formal PubMed Central Participation Agreement.
  7. The journal is released to the PMC public site.

Journal Setup Requirements

The PubMed Central online presentation style allows a journal to maintain a distinct identity, but it also provides consistency of appearance and functionality across all of PubMed Central, for the benefit of users.

The journal identity is set by the journal banner at the top of each page and a journal 'watermark' stripe running the length of each page. The journal banner is also used to provide a link (or links) back to the journal's own site. Within the general PMC template, a journal may choose from a number of styles for presenting elements such as references, section headings and certain parts of the article front matter.

See the PMC Journal Setup Requirements for details. Do NOT send in any setup information until PMC asks you to do so.

PMC Participation Agreements

Before a journal is released publicly in PMC, the publisher must complete a formal PubMed Central Participation Agreement with NLM. There are three types of agreements, which correspond to how much content a journal plans to deposit. Click on the links below to get a copy of the respective agreement in Microsoft Word format.

  • Full Participation: the journal commits to depositing the complete contents of each issue or volume, starting with a particular volume/issue or publication date.
  • NIH Portfolio: the journal commits to depositing all NIH-funded articles (as defined by the NIH Public Access Policy), starting with a particular volume/issue or publication date. The journal may choose to also deposit other, non-NIH-funded articles under this agreement.
  • Selective Deposit: generally used by publishers who offer a hybrid publishing model, i.e., a traditional subscription-based journal in which selected articles are published as "open access." Some of these journals deposit only the open access articles in PMC. This agreement also may be used for other sets of articles that are more limited than those covered by a full participation or NIH portfolio agreement.
  • Submitting Citations to PubMed and CrossRef

    If a publisher wishes, PMC will submit citations to PubMed and/or CrossRef on behalf of a journal. In either case, a citation will be sent automatically on the day that an article becomes available on the PMC public site. Citations usually appear in PubMed the day after they are submitted. PMC will use the publisher's account for CrossRef submissions, because PMC does not have its own CrossRef account.