PubMed Central (PMC) was established in 2000 as the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) full-text repository of life sciences journal literature. Since 2005, PMC has been the designated repository for papers submitted in accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy. Today, PMC serves as the full-text repository for papers that fall under the public and open access policies of a number of research funding organizations that support biomedical and life science research. NLM has also partnered with U.S. Federal agencies that fund research in other scientific disciplines to provide a cost-effective government solution for their public access policies.

The NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system was developed for authors to deposit their peer-reviewed manuscripts for inclusion in PMC under a funding agency's public access policy, associate their funding with the paper, and set an embargo on public release (if applicable). Only manuscripts that are covered by the public access policies of participating funding agencies and organizations can be deposited in NIHMS.

NIHMS converts the deposited manuscript files into archival XML format. In this way, NIHMS makes papers publicly available in a format that ensures the permanent preservation of these research findings and makes the results of this research more readily accessible to the public, healthcare providers, educators, and the scientific community.

To learn more about the public access policies of agencies and organizations currently supported by NIHMS, please see the NIHMS Funders list as well as PMC and Research Funder Polices.