PubMed Central

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PubMed Central® (PMC) is a free archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature maintained by the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM). According to a legislative mandate of NLM, biomedical literature has to be collected and preserved. Therefore, PMC acts as a digital counterpart to the print journal collection of NLM. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) of NLM developed PMC and also manages it.[1]

The Free Access Principle of PMC

Permanent access is available to all the content of PMC. Technology does change and there is a possibility of current digital literature getting outdated. According to NLM, constant use of the archive is the best way to ensure long term accessibility and viability of digital material. Therefore, PMC functions on the core principal of free access to all of its journal literature. While free access is provided, copyright protection is also maintained. Simply put, publishers and individual authors exercise copyright on the PMC content and users have to obey the by terms set by the copyright holder.[1]

How PMC gets Journal Articles

Journal literature is provided to PMC by participating publishers. Author manuscripts are submitted too, provided such manuscripts comply with the Public Access Policy laid down by NIH along with other such policies of other agencies involved in research funding. PMC does not publish journal articles on its own and is not a publisher.[1]

Integration of PMC with other Resources

Besides, being an archive, PMC stores and cross-references data from various sources. It uses a common format within a single repository for this purpose. PMC enables users to quickly find out what they want by letting them sift through all the full-text articles. PMC also offers the facility of integrating its literature with various other information resources.[1]

International Collaboration of PMC

NLM globally collaborates with agencies sharing the same goals as those of PMC. This way, the PMC literature will be maintained in other global archives too and hence further protect data. This will also have the effect of encouraging innovation due the diversity of geographic sites.[1]


To get started with PMC, one needs to click on User’s Guide option on the PMC homepage. Some of the options available to users are listed below.[2]

  • Users may browse title, volume, issue, and embargo information for the journals in PMC.
  • Users may search PMC.
  • Users may search by author in PMC.
  • Users may search by journal name in PMC.
  • Users may search for author manuscripts.
  • Users may find a specific article if they know the author name, journal name, and the year the article was published.
  • The search results are also depicted in a summary format for better understanding.
  • Users may view articles.
  • Users may save results.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "PubMed Central." NCBI Website, Accessed 27 October, 2014.
  2. "PMC Help." NCBI Website, Accessed 30 October, 2014.

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