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How to Include a Journal in MEDLINE

This page describes the process for including a journal in MEDLINE, as well as the pre-application requirements. Any journal that submits an application and meets all of the pre-application requirements undergoes an evaluation process. As part of the evaluation process, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) considers a journal’s scope as well as the scientific and editorial quality of the publication. Journals selected for indexing in MEDLINE must also meet certain technical quality and indexing requirements. Publishers are encouraged to read through all steps and review MEDLINE's policies before submitting an application.

Pre-Application Requirements:

Journals must meet these basic requirements to be eligible to submit an application for MEDLINE:
  1. The journal must have a properly registered ISSN (i.e., a confirmed record for the journal in the official Register of the ISSN International Centre) for the publication format (e.g., print or electronic) that will be reviewed. If the journal has a valid electronic format, only the electronic version will be evaluated.
  2. The journal must have been published for at least 12 months in the format (print or electronic) that will be used for the review.
  3. The journal must have published a minimum of 40 peer-reviewed articles (e.g., original research or review articles, clinical case reports) in final form.
  4. The journal must publish abstracts for all peer-reviewed content. At a minimum, all peer-reviewed content published in the past 12 months must contain abstracts.
  5. The journal must meet MEDLINE’s language guidelines.

NLM also expects publishers to have at least a two-year history of quality scholarly publishing in the life sciences. NLM may consider an application from a publisher that has been publishing scholarly content for less than two years if there is evidence that the management and individuals responsible for editorial quality and operations have adequate experience in comparable positions at other organizations. Such applicants must still meet all the journal requirements outlined in this section.

Evaluation Process

This section provides a step-by-step breakdown of the MEDLINE application and review process.

Submit Application

For a journal to be considered for MEDLINE, a publisher or editor must first submit an application via the MEDLINE Publisher Portal. Information you will need to provide in the application includes:

  • Journal title and ISSN(s)
  • Date of first publication and publication frequency
  • Journal website URL
  • Links to detailed descriptions of the editorial board; editorial policies; peer review process; and policies on Conflict of Interest, Human and Animal Rights, and Informed Consent
  • Publisher name and information about its management, qualifications, and publishing policies

Questions about the application or evaluation process may be sent to

Initial Application Screening

Once received, NLM will check that the application is complete and meets the pre-application requirements. NLM will communicate any inconsistencies about the application back to the applicant and, if necessary, will request print copies or electronic access to the journal content. If the application is complete, NLM will determine if the journal meets the journal and scope requirements for the NLM Collection, as well as the scope requirements for MEDLINE. NLM will also take note of basic information available about the journal and article content (e.g., editorial board information, ethical policy descriptions and adherence in articles, stated aims and scope), which will be available to the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC) if the application moves forward to scientific quality review. Journals that do not pass the initial application screening are eligible to reapply in 24 months.

Scientific Quality Review

After a thorough review of the journal information, policies, and content (see Journal Selection for MEDLINE), NLM will inform the publisher whether the journal meets MEDLINE's scientific quality standard. A summary of review feedback will be provided. Journals that are not selected for MEDLINE are eligible to reapply according to the timelines described in the reapplications policy.

Technical and Indexing Requirements Check

NLM will ask the publisher to confirm the name of the journal’s XML provider at the time the journal is notified of its recommendation for MEDLINE. If the journal’s XML provider is new to PubMed, they must successfully complete the PubMed Technical Evaluation within six months of being notified of their recommendation for MEDLINE.

Next, NLM will check whether the journal meets the Access and Preservation Requirements and, if necessary, will work with the publisher to ensure full compliance with the requirements.

A journal’s acceptance to MEDLINE is considered conditional until the above conditions have been satisfied. If the journal does not meet these requirements by the given deadline, the journal’s application will be rejected.

Submit Citations

Once approved, the journal’s XML provider will be supplied with a private FTP account and may begin routine submissions of citation data to PubMed. The types of articles for which citations should be deposited are described on the XML Help for PubMed Data Providers page, as well as the types of articles PubMed does not accept. Ongoing participation in MEDLINE requires a journal and the journal publisher to continue to meet NLM's quality standards for MEDLINE and the NLM Collection. The process for reevaluating currently indexed journals is described in the reevaluation section of the MEDLINE Policies page.

Last Reviewed: January 19, 2024