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Creating NIH Biosketches with SciENcv and My Bibliography


What is the NIH Biosketch?

The NIH announced on December 5, 2014 that it will require a new format for the NIH biosketch for all NIH and AHRQ grants submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2015

Why the change?

The NIH believes the new format will

  • allow researchers to highlight their accomplishments better by including more objects of scholarly productivity than just journal-published manuscripts, such as audio and visual material, databases, curricular material and more (see "What are Contributions to Science?" section below)
  • give researchers involved in team science an opportunity to describe their roles in collaborative projects

Key differences between the old and the new biosketch format:

  • The length of the new biosketch has increased from 4 to 5 pages
  • The new format allows researchers to describe up to 5 "contributions to science" and the historical background of these contributions in the new Section C
    • Contributions will no longer be limited to "selected publications"
  • The new format gives researchers the opportunity to provide a link to their full body of work in their MyNCBI My Bibliography. This is encouraged by the NIH though it is not required (NIH biosketch FAQs).

In October of 2015, the NIH released "clarifications" to the NIH biosketch format, effective May 25, 2016.

  • You may NOT include figures or tables in your Contributions to Science
  • The publicly-accessible link to your full list of publications is still optional, but you may only use a link with a .gov suffix (such as your My Bibliography at My NCBI)
  • You can include non-peer reviewed scholarly output in your Personal Statement, in addition to your Contributions to Science. See the sections describing such output below.
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What are "Contributions to Science"?

In Section C of the new biosketch format, researchers are allowed to describe up to five "Contributions to Science". This section is designed to allow for greater flexibility and focus on accomplishments, not just published manuscripts, and to give researchers an opportunity to frame their careers in a historical narrative.

  • Each contribution to science may include up to 4 peer-reviewed publications or non-publication objects, such as:
    • audio or video products
    • patents
    • data and research materials
    • databases
    • educational aids or curricula
    • instruments or equipment
    • models
    • protocols
    • software or netware
    • conference presentations
  • Each contribution to science may not be longer than one half page (including citations)
  • Investigators do not need to be authors of publications included in contributions to science (NIH biosketch FAQs).
    • Example: inclusion of a high impact publication by a trainee from a PI's lab or research group that was influenced by the PI
    • Example: include publications on which you are not an author, but contributed technical or analytical expertise
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Options for Creating a New NIH Biosketch

Investigators have two options for creating a biosketch using the new format:

  1. Using Word templates and instructions from the NIH's biosketch page
    • NIH FAQ page on using the templates for the new biosketch format
  2. Using the SciENcv tool in MyNCBI
    • See the next sections for step-by-step instructions with screen shots for using SciENcv
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The SciENcv Tool in MyNCBI

The NIH has a tool for automatic generation of NIH or NSF formatted biosketches available in My NCBI called SciENcv

To access SciENcv:

  1. Login to your My NCBI account
    • If you already have NIH grants and you have an NIH eRA Commons username and password, to fully access all your NIH grants to populate your SciENcv, and to allow proper grant-to-publication linking in your MyNCBI My Bibliography, make sure you have linked your MyNCBI profile to your eRA Commons (NIH) account and credentials. See the section on linking your eRA Commons account to My NCBI in the Galter Library NIH Public Access Guide. 
      • If you have never had an NIH grant and don't have an eRA Commons username and password, don't worry--you do NOT need an eRA Commons account to create a My NCBI account.
    • You can also link your ORCID account to your My NCBI profile, if you have created an ORCID profile. Just follow the same instructions from the link above, but search or browse for ORCID in the Partner Institutions search panel.
  2. Go to the SciENcv section of your My NCBI account. Here you can create a new biosketch or profile. You will also see any SciENcv profiles for which you are a Delegate.
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Creating a new SciENcv Biosketch

In the SciENcv section:

  • Click on the link Manage SciENcv
  • Under SciENcv Profiles, click the link Create New Profile
  • Name the profile (you can name it anything you like)
  • Format: you have NIH (including fellowship) or NSF options
  • Choose data source:
    • Start with a blank document
    • Existing biosketch (from the SciENcv system)
    • External source
      • eRA Commons
      • ORCiD
      • NSF
  • You can choose to make it Public or Private. This designation can be changed at any time.
  • Click Create
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Populating Fields in a New Biosketch

You will now see the fields for the new NIH biosketch format. You can edit all fields for the biosketch.

This guide concentrates on populating publications for the Personal Statement and Contributions to Science sections. For full instructions, including creating profiles from existing or external sources and screen shots, see the NIH Technical Bulletin My NCBI - New Biographical Sketch Available in SciENcv.

To edit your Personal Statement

(Notes: It is not required to add publications to the Personal Statement. You can add any type of scholarly output, the same as the list allowed for Contributions to Science.)

  • Click on the [Edit statement] link
  • Write the text for your Personal Statement in the pop-up window and click the green check button when finished
  • Click on the [Select citations] link
  • A new window will open that allows you to select from publications in your My Bibliography, your ORCID profile (if you have linked it), to Add Citations from PubMed, or Go to My Bibliography, so you can add citations manually such as book chapters, etc.



  • Click checkboxes next to citations you wish to add to your personal statement and click the Save citations link at the top of the window.
  • You can change these publications at any time by clicking on the [Select citations] link, unchecking boxes and checking new ones.

To add Contributions to Science

  • In the Contribution to Science section (Section C), click on the [ edit section ] link
  • The section will expand and allow you to edit the Description for the contribution
  • Add citations from your My Bibliography, ORCID profile or Add Citations from PubMed or other sources (like you did in the Personal Statement) by clicking the [Select citations] link
  • If you wish to add citations that are not journal manuscripts, or journal manuscripts that can't be found in PubMed, choose the Go to My Bibliography link. Once you are in My Bibliography, click the Add Manually button on the right to open a pop-up window. Choose from the dropdown list of citation types. Select the type of citation you wish to add.
    • Fill in the fields provided in the form, and click the Add Citation button at the bottom of the form.
    • The citation will be added to your My Bibliography. Click the Go to SciENcv link at the top of the My Bibliography page, then go back into your biosketch to add the new citation from your My Bibliography.
    • Alternately, you can add other non-manuscript objects after you have saved the biosketch by choosing to export the file as a Word document and adding them manually. See the section below on saving and editing a biosketch in Word.



  • You can add more contributions to science by clicking the Add another contribution link at the top of the section. 
  • You can also delete contributions using the provided link(s).
  • You can create up to five contributions to science to your biosketch.
  • You can change the order of your contributions by dragging the numbered tabs at the top of the contributions section
  • Click the checkbox to create a public link to your fill list of citations in My Bibliography. Again, this is not required, but strongly recommended by the NIH.
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Saving a Biosketch to Word for Editing

You can Download and save a biosketch as XML, PDF or Word format. Download a profile to Word if you need to make changes to the format or add any non-manuscript contributions to science manually.

  • After you have added all information to the sections of the biosketch, go to the top of the page, to the blue box and select the Word format from the Download options.
  • This will download and save a Word version of your biosketch for editing.


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Notes on SciENcv and the New NIH Biosketch Format

  • Use of SciENcv is not required by the NIH. You can use the Word templates to create a biosketch.
  • You do not need to create a new SciENcv biosketch for each grant or project, unless you choose to do so.
    • The SciENcv tool is dynamic, so you can create a single biosketch and change it as needed for each new proposal.
    • There is no right or wrong way to manage SciENcv biosketches. You can create as many or as few as you like.
  • You can re-use manuscripts or products in more than one contribution to science.
  • You can include manuscripts that you have not authored in contributions to science.

These notes were taken from correspondence with the NIH by Cathy Sarli and Amy Suitor from Becker Library at Washington University in St. Louis, who have kindly shared them.  

SciENcv is still fairly new and undergoing continuous development, but it is not perfect.

We recommend that you use SciENcv to populate your publications and other areas that are easy to harvest from NCBI and other online sources, then save the profile as a Word document for addition or editing of other fields.

Known issues:

  • Grant numbers may be listed as multiple separate listings, by each year of the grant, making it hard to add a single entry for that grant
    • Recommendation: if possible, select a single grant year entry, then save the document and edit the grant number to remove the individual year designation
  • Formatting for Education/Training is not perfect
    • Recommendation: save the profile to Word and edit the formatting to your preferences
  • SciENcv inserts hyperlinks into all PMIDs and PMCIDs in your reference lists. You should remove these live links after you download the file to Word.
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Want to Track your Impact and Publications?

The NIH recommeds that you include statements of the impact of your work on the advancement of biomedical science, technology or clinical practice.

Impact and Evaluation Librarian Karen Gutzman has prepared a guide called Writing about your Impact in the New NIH Biosketch. She provides lots of useful tips for finding citation and social media metrics, along with quotes about impact from actual NIH biosektches.

Watch our short video on Locating or Updating Your Citation Information In Scopus.

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Need some assistance?

Request a class or training for your department or schedule a one-on-one consultation for yourself. The Galter Library has two classes:

  1. How to Prepare an NIH Biosketch
  2. NIH Public Access Policy and Publication Management with MyNCBI

Use the links above to request an individual or group consultation, at the library or in your own department.

Library staff are available to answer questions:

  • Pamela Shaw
    Biosciences & Bioinformatics Librarian
    NIH Public Access Compliance Monitor Role (PACR)
    Email Pamela
  • Karen Gutzman
    Impact and Evaluation Librarian
    Email Karen
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Updated: June 5th, 2018 11:08