The New Easy? NCBI launches an updated NIHMS

The newly updated NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS) launched today at with little fanfare but a promise by the NCBI, the agency responsible for the tool, that its improvements would make the PubMed Central submission process easier.

Is this really the case? Proof of user-friendliness is often subjective. What we can say is that the new version, while not reinventing the submission process researchers have been using for the last 15 years, does seem to clear up the confusion inherent in some of the original tool’s processes.

Here’s what’s notable in the new NIHMS:

One login path

The new NIHMS attempts to streamline the login process for returning users by prompting them to login in through the same group (i.e., NIH, NCBI, eRA Commons) as their previous visit. First-time users will still be able to select their group login from a list.

My Manuscript

Similar to the previous version, users logging into their NIHMS accounts will be taken to a dashboard (now called “My Manuscript) of all papers associated with the user that require attention. The dashboard has an “Available to Claim” tab that lists papers associated with the user as author or investigator that the user can take reviewer responsibility for by clicking on an “Assign to Me” button.

Process Graphic

All paper summary pages in the new NIHMS now include a graphic illustrating where the paper is located in the submission process and the dates that any steps in the process were taken.

Submission Process

Users will be able to start the submission process from their My Manuscript pages. The new submission process brings each of the previous version’s submission steps, such as paper/image uploading and funding attribution, to a single page.


The designated reviewer of a submission has the ability to select a listed reason for rejecting the paper, as well as add clarifying notes to NIHMS staff regarding the submission. Users going through the final approval stage will be able to see the reformatted document in an HTML or PDF style. A panel next to either reformatted document will allow users to easily identify and correct errors in the text or images.


The new NIHMS will automatically provide on-screen walkthroughs to first-time users as they move through the tool. Subsequent use allows users to disable this feature.

Still have questions about the new NIHMS? Get an answer by contacting one of our public access specialists at or 263-0919.