Important Changes to NCBI Accounts Coming in 2021

Update: Please see our FAQ page for more information and updates.

Do you login to NCBI to use MyNCBI, SciENcv, or MyBibliography? Do you submit data to NCBI? If so, you’ll want to read further to get a first glimpse at some important changes to NCBI accounts that will be coming in 2021.

What’s happening?

In brief, NCBI will be transitioning to federated account credentials. NCBI-managed credentials are the username and password you set at NCBI — these will be going away. Federated account credentials are those set through eRA Commons, Google, or a university or institutional point of access.

Why is this happening?

NIH, NLM, and NCBI take your privacy and security very seriously. As part of our normal reviews we have determined that making this change will increase the security of your accounts to a level that we feel is necessary.

When is this happening?

After June 1, 2021, you will no longer be able to use NCBI-managed credentials to login to NCBI.

What do I need to do?

If you currently use a federated login to access your NCBI account, you don’t have to do anything! Just be aware that if you also access your account with an NCBI-managed username and password, that route will be going away.

If you only have NCBI-managed credentials and you’d like to get a head start on this transition, you can do the following now:

  1. Login to NCBI the way you usually do.
  2. Click on your username in the top bar to load your NCBI Account Settings page.
  3. If your Settings page looks like Figure 1, where you have a “Native NCBI Account” username and password and have no linked accounts, then you will need to add a linked account.
  4. To add a linked account, click the “Change” button under Linked Accounts.
  5. You may choose several options for a linked account including the following:
  • Google
  • University/institutional
  • login.gov
NCBI Accounts Settings page.
Figure 1. NCBI Accounts Settings page showing a “Native” NCBI account without any linked accounts.

What about my account data?

This change will not affect the actual data in your account, such as your MyBibliography, SciENcv, or submission data. The only thing that is changing are the credentials you use to access your account.

What if I have questions?

We’re here to help! You can always write to info@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov for more information, particularly if you would be interested in helping us with this transition by being willing to migrate your credentials early. Your willingness will help us make the transition easier for everyone!

80 thoughts on “Important Changes to NCBI Accounts Coming in 2021

    1. It CAN NOT! It can only make an account more vulnerable to being compromised! Caroline Forbes MD NMD

      1. How can we find the mean of privacy when we must live through linkage? They say that the cookies being entered bind one to every link that the cookies invited unto It’s library chain? Turning synchronise off – may option better over all management in your platform?

    2. It doesn’t. And Google yikes. I can’t count the times Google changes it’s platform or I accidentally change settings and it sends my info to Facebook or elsewhere.

    3. The post is kind of confusing. It isn’t that we need to link accounts as much as that NCBI accounts are going away entirely.

      NCBI-managed credentials are the username and password you set at NCBI — these will be going away. Federated account credentials are those set through eRA Commons, Google, or a university or institutional point of access.

      These “federated account credentials” are considered more secure for accessing NCBI content than accessing NCBI content with existing NCBI usernames and passwords, as we do now.

  1. Hello, thank you for this information!
    I have tried to link my account to my institution (which is mentioned in the list) as well as to my Google account, but I keep getting an error page indicating that NIH is not able to process my request.
    Is there anything I can do?
    Sincerely yours,
    Jolanda Elmers
    Lausanne University

    1. I am having the same issue as well. It says I am logged in, but I am unable to look at my favorites and saved articles under my account. I keep getting the same error message as well. Katie Jackson Oakland University

  2. We currently use a shared MyNCBI account for our library so our users have access to our outside tool, filters, and other settings. What are our options to replicate this when MyNCBI goes away? Are there options that don’t include us paying thousands of dollars?

    Side note: why does NLM make these changes without talking to librarians first?

      1. To share filters, a username, which is the “My NCBI account Sign in name” is needed for the URL: . If creating a new account using third party options like Google (not linked to an existing NCBI account), there isn’t a NCBI username to add to the myncbishare URL and a link with custom, public filters cannot be shared. For new accounts, how will users be able to use the myncbishare functionality, if they cannot get a NCBI username? Thank you.

  3. It would be nice to have some general metrics around how many MyNCBI accounts are already linked to eRA Commons and Google versus those accounts that will need to be transitioned, so that we have benchmarks for our specific institutions. Having some idea about the impact of this transition would be helpful.

  4. Well, I am an MD and do mostly volunteer work and live in third world countries. I prefer this life to the difficulties of practicing in the USA! I refuse to see 12 to 18 patients daily…..It is not GOOD MEDICAL PRACTICE! I am not able to link any accounts to NCBI and I live on a shoestring. So, I guess all of the info I have relied on over the past 30 years….will no longer be available to me. Know that this will make NOTHING secure. Google is easily hack-able. It is the least secure platform. Oh brother, I AM SO DISAPPOINTED IN MY BELOVED USA! Dr. Caroline Forbes

    1. Hi Dr. Forbes, thank you for all the work you do. I would suggest that you get a login.gov account. They use more secure login software than the NCBI software and it should be available everywhere, plus it is pretty easy to set-up.

      Also, Google actually make exceptionally secure login software, but unfortunately most people use the same very simple password for every account they have and don’t enable 2FA, which makes any security measures less useful as you only have to hack the last secure site a person uses and you have access to absolutely everything they do online. So you are definitely right, because of that reality, making Google an option reduces the security substantially and makes this entire move pretty questionable/suspect.

      My guess this is an uniformed move from on-high in response to the new administration’s efforts to tighten up US government IT security, but who knows. It is certainly going to be hugely disruptive to many scholars, libraries, and others.

      1. Thank you for the info…
        I understand it a bit more. I have had a cyberstalker and it was from exactly what you described. I am finally rid of him, but it was DIFFICULT! I sure learned a lot about security and my laptops…lol. I appreciate your supportive words.
        Sincerely, Dr. C

    2. Agreed! I hope they can find some way to assist you Dr. Forbes. This is quite disheartening to say the least.

  5. How many MyNCBI-accounts can be linked to one Google/institutional account? How will all saved searches/alerts/bibliographies from different accounts be merged in the linked account?
    People are used to using more than one MyNCBI-account (one for each project, shared accounts) and these changes can have a huge impact on their workflow.

  6. My institution is not on your list, nor would I ask to have it added, for security reasons. I am unhappy that my only choice will be Google. You really think Google is secure?

  7. I am not able to access again to my account to generate PDFs of my new Current and Pending and my Bio.
    I needed them for an important grant proposal.
    I dont know what happened ! I was working on my documents in the NCBI site and suddenly the system logged me out. I tried to re-connected through NSF, ORCID,.. all accounts worked up to the point when the system connects to NCBI site.
    I could not access again, this is terrible, it may jeopardize the submission of the grant proposal!
    I contacted info, and I am still waiting. Hope they will help.
    It is extremely urgent that I am helped here for producing the 2 PDF files timely.

    1. Thank you for the suggestion. We will look into whether we can offer OpenAthens as an option. For the time being you will need to choose one of our existing 3rd-party options.

  8. So the NCBI has decided to change the login process. Why are there only three options listed? Do only these three provide a secure login option?

    If the following conditions exist:
    I am not a u.s. citizen – no login possible with login.gov
    I am studying and/or changing institutions – no permanent login possible
    I do not have a google account – no login possible without google

    do you not trust apple (a real big company in the U.S.), etc.? Yahoo is not secure enough?

    Would be happy to get a proper answer from you regarding the issue instead of a link to your FAQ page….

  9. I do not have an institutional account at the moment and I refuse to have a google account for personal consciousness as well as consumer’s rights reasons. What can I do in this case?

  10. “Q: What are 3rd party logins or federated credentials?

    A: …Other options that will be added include Microsoft and FaceBook…”

    Specificity, please. Are you talking about Microsoft’s very popular Outlook.com, OR WHAT? IF it is Outlook.com, WHEN (approximately) will it be added?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  11. Julio Freijanes Parada. MD. Valdecilla Hospital of University of Cantabria. Santander, Cantabria,. 39008 Spain. says:

    How do I know whether my institution is logged for you?

  12. I have an ORCiD account, that I just used successfully to link to one of my TWO NCBI accounts. If I use the same ORCiD credentials to link my second NCBI account, will it work? If so, what will happen with the data from the two NCBI accounts? Will they be merged, or one dataset from one NCBI account will overwrite the dataset from the other NCBI account?

    1. I wish someone from NCBI could reply to my original post. If there is something unclear, please let me know, and I will do my best to clarify.

      1. Thanks for replying to my previous comment. To follow-up, would it be possible for you to merge Collections, Saved Searches, Search History, etc., from two separate NCBI accounts? In the end, that is what I would like to do with my two separate accounts. I think it would be possible to transfer data from one account to the other “manually”, but that would be cumbersome and time consuming. Would you be able to do it from your end?

  13. Up until now, I have used a “personal account”, where I have accumulated lots of stuff.
    Come June, that personal account will disappear, but all my saved will stay, if I understand this correctly.
    So now I logged in via Google and from there linked to (=logged into) my “personal account”.
    This worked , in the sense that I seemed to arrive at my personal account.

    But the next time I logged in via google, I to repeat the linking to (loggin in to) my “personal account”.
    Should not the “link” be remembered so that it is unnecessary to repeat it?
    In any case: What happens all my accumulated info after my “personal account” disappear?
    I sure there is something I do not see, but what?

    1. Your personal account and its contents will not go away. It’s only the way you can login to it that is changing. Once you link your account to a 3rd-party log in such as Google, you just continue to access your account through the 3rd-party (Google) account. You should not have to link more than once. If you are having trouble linking your account, please write to our help desk (info@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).

  14. So for state employees trying to contribute to GenomeTrakR or PulseNet sequences to NCBI, most won’t have professional access to many of the alternatives you list. Looks like Login.gov may be their only alternative.

  15. Hi,
    I received ‘my NIH is using login.gov to allow you to sign in to your account safely and securely’ and password but then received the interface including ‘Something went wrong. Please try again later.’
    Is login.gov a generally usable option or not?
    Any help would be appreciated
    Thanks
    A

  16. My institution is not on your list and will not
    I am not a US citizen
    And for security reasons I do not consider login with a commercial third party as google/facebook/microsoft…
    I really don’t understand your choice

  17. Is there an option to set up an enterprise login solution for an entire organization? We are looking to use Active Directory Federated Services or similar solution for all users at our institution, but I am unable to locate any documentation. We have submitted tickets and gotten no reply. Can we get documentation for this process and/or the contact information for someone who can assist?

  18. I am looking for documentation or a point of contact to assist with setting up Active Directory Federated Services or similar solution for our entire institution. We have submitted support tickets, but have yet to receive any responses. Can someone please provide information about setting up an authentication method for our organization?

  19. How can it be safer if I now link my scientific searches with my facebook or google account? i am highly concerned that new ideas that are created at research institutions can now be deduced from our searches and used by third parties. Very disconcerting!

  20. How can it be safer if I now link my scientific searches with my facebook or google account? i am highly concerned that new ideas that are created at research institutions can now be deduced from our searches and used by third parties. Very disconcerting!

  21. I am simply trying to read an Abstract. Can I just sign up or is this website Fort Knox?

  22. I cannot login through google for 3 days. Is the server or something crushed? Or it’s just my computer? Can someone teach me how to fix this? I’ve tried to clean the cookies or use another browser and IP, but it doesn’t work.

  23. What is the best way to access SciENcv to upload a biosketch and Current and Pending document into a proposal, as described in the IES solicitation?

  24. hello, can you tell me how can i access to your NIH site> I am a doctor and i am intersted in Dermatology . Thank you .

  25. I have been signing in to NCBI/NLM/NIH since 2011 through my Google account. For the first time, today 13 September 2021, I cannot log in. I have many saved collections of references, notes, etc. accrued over the years. What should I do?! My Google account is from the United States (where I am) and of the form username AT gmail DOT com. Please help?

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