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). In keeping with NLM's legislative mandate to collect and preserve the biomedical literature, PMC is part of the NLM collection, which also includes NLM's extensive print and licensed electronic journal holdings and supports contemporary biomedical and health care research and practice as well as future scholarship.
Available to the public online since 2000, PMC was developed and is maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at NLM.
About the Content
Since its inception in 2000, PMC has grown from comprising only two journals, PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Molecular Biology of the Cell, to an archive of articles from thousands of journals.
Today, PMC contains more than 7 million full-text records, spanning several centuries of biomedical and life science research (late 1700s to present). Content is added to the archive through
Journal and Publisher Program Deposit
NLM has agreements with publishers, scholarly societies, and other content owners to deposit journal articles directly to PMC.
Author Manuscript Deposit
NLM partners with a number of scientific research funders to accept the deposit of author manuscripts in compliance with funder policies.
NLM collaborates with publishers and other organizations to preserve the historical literature through scanning of journal content.
The resulting collaborations with publishers, societies, research funders, and international organizations form the foundation of PMC. PMC is not a publisher and does not publish journal articles itself.
As of June 2020, PMC also includes preprints that report NIH-funded research results. To learn more, see NIH Preprint Pilot.
About the Archive
NLM’s fundamental responsibility is to permanently preserve periodicals, among other materials, pertinent to medicine. (See the NLM Preservation Policy for more information.) As such, PMC is designed to provide permanent access to all of its content, even as technology evolves.
PMC makes all content free to read (in some cases, following an embargo period), as NLM believes that the best way to ensure the accessibility and viability of digital material over time is through consistent and active use of the archive. However, free access does not mean that there is no copyright protection (see the PMC Copyright Notice).
PMC stores content in eXtensible Markup Language (XML), which represents the structure and meaning of a document in a relatively simple and human-readable form. All PMC content is converted to and stored in the NISO Z39.96-2015 JATS XML format. This standard format is the most effective and widely used archival format for journal articles.
NLM operates the PMC International network, which provides a framework to maintain copies of the PMC corpus in other reliable international archives that share the goals of PMC and operate on the same principles.
Because PMC has the capacity to store and cross reference data from diverse sources in a common format within a central repository, a PMC user can quickly search the entire collection of full-text articles and locate all relevant material. The structure of the PMC archive also supports the integration of the literature with other resources.
Bulk retrieval of files for text mining and other purposes is permitted within certain collections or subsets of the PMC archive. An overview of these subsets of the archive is available at PMC Article Datasets.
About PMC Archive Use
In addition to ensuring the long-term preservation of the scientific literature, PMC provides access to the archive in human- and machine-readable formats. Use of PMC has increased as the archive has grown. Numbers reported below reflect access to the PMC website in the last month of each fiscal year (i.e., September).
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