PubMed is a database of citations and abstracts for more than 26 million articles. PMC is an electronic archive of full-text journal articles, offering free access to its contents. PMC contains more than 3 million articles, most of which have a corresponding entry in PubMed.



In fact, the journal Nature reports that authors’ failure to understand the difference between PubMed and PubMed Central is the most frequently offered reason for their noncompliant articles.


The NIH Public Access Policy is based on a law that requires investigators to submit "their final, peer-reviewed" manuscripts to PubMed Central.

Final peer-reviewed manuscript: The Investigator's final manuscript of a peer-reviewed paper accepted for journal publication, including all modifications from the peer review process. 

Final published article: The journal’s authoritative copy of the paper, including all modifications from the publishing peer review process, copyediting and stylistic edits, and formatting changes.



Note: Galley proofs and other intermediate versions of the article created after acceptance by the publisher are not substitutes for the final peer reviewed manuscript.


Always retain a copy of the final peer-reviewed manuscript as you may need it to comply with public or open access policies.

The easiest way for CTSC researchers and scholars to get help is to contact the CTSC Program Development Officer. We will:

  • answer your questions,
  • determine the method your journal uses to help you comply with NIH Public Access Policy,
  • contact publishers on your behalf,
  • upload your final, peer reviewed manuscript to the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system upon your request, and
  • provide one-on-one or group assistance for any steps in the compliance process.


Investigators who have not used CTSC resources (for the research reported in their manuscripts) may use the NIH Public Access Policy support service provided by the Blaisdell Medical Library.  Contact librarian Amy Studer at .