Most biomedical journals are now published in electronic as well as print versions, and some are published only in electronic form. Because electronic publishing (which includes the Internet) is the same as publishing in print, in the interests of clarity and consistency the recommendations of this document should be applied to electronically published medical and health information.
The nature of electronic publication requires some special considerations, both within and beyond this document. At a minimum, Web sites should indicate the following: names, appropriate credentials, affiliations, and relevant conflicts of interest of editors, authors, and contributors; documentation and attribution of references and sources for all content; information about copyright; disclosure of site ownership; and disclosure of sponsorship, advertising, and commercial funding.
Linking from one health or medical Internet site to another may be perceived as an implicit recommendation of the quality of the second site. Journals thus should exercise caution in linking to other sites; when users are linking to another site, it may be helpful to provide an explicit statement that they are leaving the journalís site. Links to other sites posted as a result of financial considerations should be clearly indicated as such. All dates of content posting and updating should be indicated. In electronic layout as in print, advertising and promotional messages should not be juxtaposed with editorial content, and commercial content should be clearly identified as such.
Electronic publication is in flux. Editors should develop, make available to authors, and implement policies on issues unique to electronic publishing. These issues include archiving, error correction, version control, choice of the electronic or print version of the journal as the journal of record, and publication of ancillary material.
Under no circumstances should a journal remove an article from its Web site or archive. If a correction or retraction becomes necessary, the explanation must be labeled appropriately and communicated as soon as possible on a citable page in a subsequent issue of the journal.
Preservation of electronic articles in a permanent archive is essential for the historical record. Access to the archive should be immediate and controlled by a third party, such as a library, instead of the publisher. Deposition in multiple archives is encouraged.
Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts (URM)
- Statement of Purpose
- Ethical Considerations
- Authorship and Contributorship
- Peer Review
- Conflicts of Interest
- Privacy and Confidentiality
- Protection of Human Subjects and Animals in Research
- Publishing and Editorial Issues
- Obligation to Publish Negative Studies
- Corrections, Retractions, and "Expressions of Concern"
- Overlapping Publications
- Supplements, Theme Issues, and Special Series
- Electronic Publishing
- Medical Journals and the General Media
- Obligation to Register Clinical Trials
- Manuscript Preparation