NCBI Account Login Changes FAQs

This page addresses frequently asked question about the change to NCBI account logins described in our recent post.  Check back here often as we will provide updates as more questions come in and as we make progress on the transition.

Q: Are NCBI (My NCBI) accounts going away?
A:  No,  NCBI accounts are not going away. It is just the way you can log into your account that is changing. Instead of using NCBI credentials (username, password), you will need to log in through a 3rd party login. Your account will remain the same with the same content.

Q: What are 3rd party logins or federated credentials?
A: Third party logins or federated credentials are credentials (username, password) you use on other sites such as Google, NIH, eRA Commons, ORCID, Login.gov, or your institution if it participates in InCommon.  You can use these to log into your NCBI account. Other options that will be added include  Microsoft and FaceBook.   All available 3rd party logins that you can use with your NCBI account are listed on the account page. You can search for ones that you may have already by typing the name in the filter box.

Q: Why are NCBI accounts (My NCBI) transitioning to only 3rd parties for usernames and passwords?
A: NIH, NLM, and NCBI take your privacy and security very seriously. Transitioning to 3rd parties who have modern and industry-standard security practices ensures that you have the highest level of security and enables us to focus our resources on improving your experience once you log in.

Q: What is the current timeline for transitioning accounts to 3rd-party only logins?
A: Here are the milestones for the transition:

  • June 22, 2021: Ability to create native accounts disabled.
  • July 6, 2021: Password retirement wizard available as opt-In.
  • Late Summer 2021: Wizard becomes opt-out and will pop up a message for accounts with active NCBI passwords that gives the option to redirect to the wizard.
  • Late Fall 2021: Wizard becomes mandatory.  You will not be able to access your account until you retire your password
  • June 2022: All remaining active passwords retired and  access to any My NCBI accounts without a linked 3rd-party login will require going through an access recovery process.

Q: How do I link 3rd party logins to my NCBI account?
A: Use the steps below to link 3rd party logins  to your account.

    1. Sign in directly to NCBI with your username and password.
    2. Click your username, which is located on the top right of the browser page.
    3. Click “Change” in the “Linked Account” portlet.
    4. Locate the 3rd party account of your choice using the search bar.
    5. You will be transferred to the 3rd party’s sign in page. Enter your credentials there for the 3rd party account.

Q: Can I use my Microsoft Active Directory Account to log into NCBI?
A:  You can use your personal Microsoft Outlook or Hotmail account to log into NCBI. To see if you can sign in using your organization account credentials:

  1. Go to an NCBI login page and select “other login options” and/or “more login options.”
  2. Search for your organization. If your organization is not in the list, you will need to use an account from a 3rd-party like Google, Login.gov, ORCiD, or Microsoft’s outlook.com or hotmail.com. If you are unsure which 3rd-party to choose, you can read more here.

Q:  I logged in with 3rd party credentials and now the information in my account is missing, what should I do?
A:  You may have created a new account instead of linking your 3rd party credentials to your existing account. You can contact the Help Desk for assistance in making sure all of your information is available.

Q: How can I get help linking or merging my NCBI accounts?
A: If you encounter any issues linking 3rd party credentials to your My NCBI account or merging accounts, please contact the Help Desk.

Q: Is there any provision for libraries/institutions who do not have a federated authentication option but are unable to use Google?
A: There are 3rd party sign-in options aside from Google including:

  • Login.gov
  • ORCID
  • Microsoft
  • Facebook

Q: What if we don’t want our account tied to an institution because we may graduate or change jobs?
A: You can use any of the available 3rd party login options. ORCID  is a good option researchers and other academics.  Also, if you anticipate losing access to a 3rd party login option, you can link your account to a different 3rd party option at any time to have more than one way to access your NCBI account.

Q: We currently use a shared My NCBI 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 My NCBI goes away?
A: You can share a 3rd party account such as Google or Microsoft in the same way that you shared NCBI credentials.

Q: I don’t know if my organization is a member of the federated services you support for logging into NCBI. What should I do?
A: Apart from social login options such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, and the login.gov service offered by the US Government, NCBI supports more than four thousand login options using the accounts you may already have from your educational or research institutions. We also support logging in using a smart card (a.k.a. PIV) issued by any US Federal agency or department.

Here’s how to find out if a research or educational account you already have can be used at NCBI:

  1. Try searching our 3rd-party list directly by going to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/account/ and selecting “See more 3rd party sign in options”.
  2. For U.S.-based institutions, you can check the InCommon entity list.
  3. For Non-U.S.-based institutions, you can check the EduGain entity list.

Q: When I tried to link my 3rd-party login using the password retirement wizard, it gave me an error. What should I do?
A: Go to your account settings page in the same browser that you used to start the wizard and link the 3rd-party login there. Then restart the wizard by going to the wizard URL. If you aren’t sure how to link your 3rd-party login through the account settings page, you can find instructions on our Login Transition Tips page .

Q: I’m having problems logging into my My NCBI account that is linked to my eRA account. What should I do?
Q: We recommend using the same credentials to log into both your eRA account at era.nih.gov and to the MyNCBI account that is linked to that eRA account. For example, if you login at era.nih.gov using your Login.gov credentials, you should select the Login.gov button to log into your MyNCBI account.

If you login on the eRA website using your Login.gov credentials and then use the eRA Commons button when you try logging in at NCBI, you will see an error.

Note that you do not have to link your Login.gov credentials to your MyNCBI account if you linked them to your eRA account on the eRA website.