NIHMS Users: Do You Know How Often Your Paper is Being Accessed Via PMC? Here’s How to Find Out.

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that NIH and some other institutions have public access policies that require that peer-reviewed publications resulting from their funding be made available to the public. But did you know that if you complied with your funding agency’s public access policy by depositing your author manuscript in NIH’s PubMed Central (PMC) archive via the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system, you can easily obtain statistics on how frequently your paper is being accessed?

Once your paper is made publicly available in PMC, researchers, medical professionals, students and the general public can obtain the full text of that paper at any time. Through the NIHMS system, you can find data on the number of users accessing your paper each month; these data are available for any author manuscripts associated with your NIHMS account. (Note: These statistics are limited to PMC usage and do not include access from the publisher site or anywhere else the paper may have been posted.)

Obtaining PMC Access Statistics

To find the PMC access statistics for any paper with which you are associated in the NIHMS system, first sign in to your NIHMS account. Once signed in, you will be taken to your Manuscript List. (If there are any papers in your “Needs Your Attention” tab, you may want to address those before proceeding.)

The last tab on the Manuscript List table is labeled “Available in PMC.” The records in this tab are the subset of manuscripts in your list with available access data (i.e., those manuscripts already publicly available in PMC). If a paper is still in process in NIHMS or under embargo, PMC usage data is not yet available.

NIHMS manuscript list
FIgure 1. The NIHMS Manuscript List. Arrows point out the “Available in PMC” tab, which is the rightmost tab, and the PMC access statistics link in the Status column. (Click to open the photo in a new tab.)

In the “Status” column for each record is a link to the live record in PMC, followed by a link to “PMC access statistics”. The latter link opens a new browser window showing the most current statistics on the monthly number of users accessing the paper in PMC, as well as the format accessed.

Understanding PMC Access Statistics

The PMC access statistics are broken down by timeframe (Year, Month), number of users, and times accessed in a specific format (Full Text, PDF, All). “Full Text” includes both the classic PMC article view and the PubReader view. “PDF” refers to the number of times the PDF version of a paper is accessed. The Full Text and PDF views are totaled together in the “All” column.

nihms pmc statistics list view
Figure 2. PMC access statistics.

The default display is for the current calendar year. To view access statistics for other years (if applicable), click on the navigation link(s) below the statistics table.

The date the paper was made available in PMC is located below the title information. As previously noted, no statistics will be available before that date.

If you have any questions about records in your NIHMS Manuscript List, please contact the NIHMS Help Desk.

For questions about a funding agency’s or organization’s public access policy, see the NIHMS Funders page for contact information.

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