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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 197-198

MEDLINE, pubmed, and pubmed central ®: Analogous or dissimilar

School of Dental Sciences, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences Deemed University, Karad, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication25-Jul-2016

Correspondence Address:
N D Shashikiran
School of Dental Sciences, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences Deemed University, Karad, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-4388.186748

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How to cite this article:
Shashikiran N D. MEDLINE, pubmed, and pubmed central ®: Analogous or dissimilar. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2016;34:197-8

How to cite this URL:
Shashikiran N D. MEDLINE, pubmed, and pubmed central ®: Analogous or dissimilar. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 Feb 4];34:197-8. Available from: http://www.jisppd.com/text.asp?2016/34/3/197/186748

MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online or MEDLARS Online) is a bibliographic database of life sciences and biomedical information. It includes bibliographic information for articles from academic journals covering medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and health care.

PubMed is a service of the US National Library of Medicine ® that provides free access to MEDLINE ®, the National Library of Medicine (NLM)® database of indexed citations and abstracts to medical, nursing, dental, veterinary, health care, and preclinical sciences journal articles. In addition, it includes selected life sciences journals that are not in MEDLINE.

MEDLINE is the NLM journal citation database. Started in the 1960s, it now provides more than 22 million references to biomedical and life sciences journal articles back to 1946. MEDLINE includes citations from more than 5600 scholarly journals published around the world. Publishers submit journals to an NIH-chartered advisory committee, the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC), which reviews and recommends journals for MEDLINE. The LSTRC considers the quality of the scientific content of a journal, including originality and the importance of the content for the MEDLINE global audience, using the guidelines found on the NLM Fact Sheet MEDLINE Journal Selection. The MEDLINE database is directly searchable from NLM as a subset of the PubMed database as well as through other numerous search services that license the data. In addition to the comprehensive journal selection process, what sets MEDLINE apart from the rest of PubMed is the added value of using the NLM-controlled vocabulary, Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), to index citations.

PubMed has been available since 1996. It has more than 25 million references including the MEDLINE database plus the following types of citations:

  • In-process citations, which provide records for articles before those records go through quality control and are indexed with MeSH or converted to out-of-scope status
  • Citations to articles that are out-of-scope (e.g., covering plate tectonics or astrophysics) from certain MEDLINE journals, primarily general science and general chemistry journals, for which only the life sciences articles are indexed with MeSH
  • “Ahead of Print” citations that precede the article's final publication in a MEDLINE-indexed journal
  • Citations that precede the date that a journal was selected for MEDLINE indexing (when supplied electronically by the publisher)
  • Pre-1966 citations that have not yet been updated with the current MeSH and converted to MEDLINE status
  • Citations to some additional life sciences journals that submit full text to PMC ® (PubMed Central ®) and receive a qualitative review by NLM
  • Citations to author manuscripts of articles published by NIH-funded researchers
  • Citations for the majority of books available on the NCBI Bookshelf (a citation for the book, and in some cases, each chapter of the book).

PubMed citations often include links to the full-text article on the publishers' websites and/or in PMC and the Bookshelf. MEDLINE is the largest subset of PubMed. You may limit your PubMed search retrieval to MEDLINE citations by restricting your search to the MeSH-controlled vocabulary or by using the journal categories filter called MEDLINE.

PMC (PubMed Central ®) was launched in 2000 as a free archive for full-text biomedical and life sciences journal articles. PMC serves as a digital counterpart to the NLM's extensive print journal collection; it is a repository for journal literature deposited by participating publishers, as well as for author manuscripts that have been submitted in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy and similar policies of other research-funding agencies. Some PMC journals are also MEDLINE journals. For publishers, there are a number of ways to participate and deposit their content in this archive, which is explained on the NLM Web pages Add a Journal to PMC and PMC Policies. Journals must be in scope according to the NLM Collection Development Manual. Although free access is a requirement for PMC deposit, publishers and individual authors may continue to hold copyright on the material in PMC, and publishers can delay the release of their material in PMC for a short period after publication. There are reciprocal links between the full text in PMC and the corresponding citations in PubMed. PubMed citations are created for content that are not already available in the MEDLINE database. Some PMC content, such as book reviews, is not cited in PubMed.

In conclusion, PubMed citations come from the following:

  1. MEDLINE-indexed journals
  2. Journals/manuscripts deposited in PMC
  3. NCBI Bookshelf.

Both MEDLINE and other PubMed citations may have links to full-text articles or manuscripts in PMC, NCBI Bookshelf, and publishers' websites. If you limit your PubMed search to MeSH-controlled vocabulary or the MEDLINE subset, you will see only MEDLINE citations in your results.

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