An increasing number of journals now accept electronic submission of manuscripts, whether on disk, as an e-mail attachment, or by downloading directly onto the journal’s Web site. Electronic submission saves time and money and allows the manuscript to be handled in electronic form throughout the editorial process (for example, when it is sent out for review). For specific instructions on electronic submission, authors should consult the journal’s Instructions for Authors.
If a paper version of the manuscript is submitted, send the required number of copies of the manuscript and figures; they are all needed for peer review and editing, and the editorial office staff cannot be expected to make the required copies.
Manuscripts must be accompanied by a cover letter, which should include the following information.
- A full statement to the editor about all submissions and previous reports that might be regarded as redundant publication of the same or very similar work. Any such work should be referred to specifically and referenced in the new paper. Copies of such material should be included with the submitted paper to help the editor address the situation.
- A statement of financial or other relationships that might lead to a conflict of interest, if that information is not included in the manuscript itself or in an authors’ form.
- A statement that the manuscript has been read and approved by all the authors, that the requirements for authorship as stated earlier in this document have been met, and that each author believes that the manuscript represents honest work if that information is not provided in another form (see below).
- The name, address, and telephone number of the corresponding author, who is responsible for communicating with the other authors about revisions and final approval of the proofs, if that information is not included in the manuscript itself.
The letter should give any additional information that may be helpful to the editor, such as the type or format of article in the particular journal that the manuscript represents. If the manuscript has been submitted previously to another journal, it is helpful to include the previous editor’s and reviewers’ comments with the submitted manuscript, along with the authors’ responses to those comments. Editors encourage authors to submit these previous communications. Doing so may expedite the review process.
Many journals now provide a presubmission checklist to help the author ensure that all the components of the submission have been included. Some journals now also require that authors complete checklists for reports of certain study types (for example, the CONSORT checklist for reports of randomized, controlled trials). Authors should look to see if the journal uses such checklists, and send them with the manuscript if they are requested.
Letters of permission to reproduce previously published material, use previously published illustrations, report information about identifiable persons, or to acknowledge people for their contributions must accompany the manuscript.
- About the Recommendations
- Roles & Responsibilities
- Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors
- Author Responsibilities—Conflicts of Interest
- Responsibilities in the Submission and Peer-Review Process
- Journal Owners and Editorial Freedom
- Protection of Research Participants
- Publishing & Editorial Issues
- Corrections and Version Control
- Scientific Misconduct, Expressions of Concern, and Retraction
- Overlapping Publications
- Supplements, Theme Issues, and Special Series
- Electronic Publishing
- Journals and the Media
- Clinical Trial Registration
- Manuscript Preparation