December 1, 2015

NLM Updates MEDLINE Indexing Requirements for Electronic Journals, Changes Made to Preservation Section of Policy

From the National Library of Medicine Technical Bulletin:

The NLM MEDLINE Policy on Indexing Electronic Journals has been revised as of July 21, 2014. This policy concerns electronic journals that are indexed in the MEDLINE/PubMed database.

There are three required conditions that electronic-only journals must meet in order for the journal to be indexed in MEDLINE:

  • Provide NLM with XML-tagged data of its bibliographic citations.
  • Provide robust current access to all its content under a license allowing efficient support of NLM operations, onsite services, and interlibrary loan.
  • Have an acceptable arrangement for permanent preservation of, and access to, the published content.

[Our emphasis] The revised policy modifies the third condition concerning preservation. Electronic-only journals depositing into a certified archive site no longer need to send a PDF/A version of the journal’s articles to NLM. MEDLINE journals that have currently been providing PDF/A files are no longer required to do so.

The updated preservation compliance condition now requires an electronic-only journal to promptly deposit tagged, full-text content into PubMed Central or into a certified third-party repository able to provide robust access to NLM and NIH if there is a trigger event (e.g., publisher ceases operations and title is not available from another source, catastrophic failure of publisher’s delivery system). A certified repository is one that has been designated as such according to the Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification Checklist (TRAC) and other metrics developed by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). See the CRL Certification and Assessment of Digital Repositories page for the current list of certified repositories.

See Also: Direct to Indexing Policy FAQ

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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