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How to Include a Journal in PMC

This page describes the process for including a journal in PubMed Central (PMC) as well as the pre-application requirements. Any journal that submits an application that meets all the pre-application requirements undergoes an evaluation process. As part of the evaluation process, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) considers a journal's scope as well as the scientific and editorial quality of the publication. Journals selected for inclusion in PMC are also evaluated on technical quality. Publishers are encouraged to read through all steps and review PMC's policies before submitting an application.

Pre-Application Requirements

For Journals

  1. The journal must have a properly registered ISSN (i.e., a confirmed record for the journal in the official Register of the ISSN International Centre).
  2. The journal must be able to provide NLM with immediate access to the content at a publisher or third-party site, as required by NLM's Electronic Resources policy.
  3. A minimum of 25 peer reviewed articles (e.g., original research or review articles, clinical case reports) must be published in final form.
  4. The journal must meet PMC's language guidelines.

For Publishers

NLM expects publishers to have at least a two-year history of quality scholarly publishing in the life sciences. NLM may consider an application from a publisher that has been publishing scholarly content for less than two years if there is evidence that the management and individuals responsible for editorial quality and operations have adequate experience in comparable positions at other organizations. Such applicants must still meet all the journal requirements outlined in this section.

NLM publisher guidelines

Evaluation and Setup Process

1 Submit Application

Information you'll need to submit when applying

  • Journal title and ISSN
  • Date of first publication and publication frequency
  • Journal website URL
  • Links to the editorial board; editorial policies; peer review process; and policies on Conflict of Interest, Human and Animal Rights, and Informed Consent
  • Publisher name and information about its management, qualifications, and publishing policies

Start your application at

Questions about the application?

2 Initial Application Screening

Once received, NLM will check that the application is complete and meets the pre-application requirements. NLM will communicate any inconsistencies about the application back to the applicant. If the application is complete, NLM will determine if the journal meets the journal and scope requirements for the NLM Collection, as well as the scope requirements for PMC. Journals that do not pass the initial application screening are eligible to reapply in 24 months.

Factors that determine if a journal is in scope for PMC

  • Peer-reviewed with a clearly stated peer-review policy
  • Publish generally within the biomedical and life sciences
  • The affiliations of the editors and authors should reflect the journal's scope and demonstrate editorial independence and diversity

Scope Details

  • Journals should primarily consist of the following article types:

icon Original research & review articles

icon Clinical case reports

icon Data descriptor articles that point to a dataset

icon Descriptions of clinical or surgical procedures

3 Scientific Quality Review

After a thorough review of the journal information, policies, and content, PMC will inform the publisher whether or not the journal meets PMC's scientific quality standard.

Journals that do not meet this standard are eligible to reapply in 24 months.

Journal Selection for PMC

4 Technical Evaluation

First, PMC asks the publisher to fill out a Technical Evaluation Checklist, which must be returned prior to PMC starting any work on the evaluation.

Next, the publisher submits a set of sample files, comprised of approximately 25 articles, that is representative of the journal's article types and styles. The set of sample files must include all of the files listed under "Files to be deposited for each article" in the Technical Quality section of the PMC Policies page:

XML, PDF, hi-res images, supplementary data make the sample package set

What does PMC evaluate?

PMC evaluates the journal's sample files to ensure that:

The publisher must correct reported errors and submit a revised sample package for a subsequent round of evaluation. If after three rounds of evaluation the publisher fails to address all reported errors, then the journal's application will be rejected.

If a deposit fails to meet PMC's minimum data criteria at any stage of the application process, the journal's application may be rejected.

Minimum Data Criteria

5 Pre-Production

In the pre-production phase, the journal is set up in PMC's systems. Generally, at this time, PMC will request the following from the publisher:

What happens next?

PMC will then:

  • Review the terms outlined in the Participation Agreement to ensure that they align with the eligibility requirements for the selected participation option and with the supplied content

  • Process the complete set of files and perform quality assurance checks on the content

  • Provide a preview site for the publisher to review the journal's PMC presentation

During the pre-production phase, PMC will send a correction report if any data errors are found in the complete set of files. PMC will proceed once a complete set of error-free files is supplied.

If PMC finds serious or repeated data errors during the Pre-Production phase, the journal's application may be rejected.

6 Live Release

NLM countersigns the publisher's PMC Participation Agreement and releases the journal to the PMC public site with the publisher's approval.

Ongoing participation in PMC requires a journal and the journal publisher to continue to meet NLM's quality standards for PMC and the NLM collection. The process for reevaluating accepted journals is described in the re-evaluation section of the PMC Policies page.

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Last modified: Tue July 9 2019