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Manuscript Preparation 

Manuscript Preparation

Chapter:
Manuscript Preparation
Author(s):

Cheryl Iverson

DOI:
10.1093/jama/9780195176339.003.0002
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Preparation of a scholarly manuscript requires thoughtful consideration of the topic and anticipation of the reader’s needs and questions. Certain elements either are standard parts of all manuscripts or are used so often as to merit special instruction. These elements are discussed in this section in the order in which they appear in the manuscript. References are discussed separately in chapter 3 and tables and figures in chapter 4.

The preparation of any manuscript for publication should take the requirements of the intended journal into account; this may enhance the chances of acceptance and expedite publication. For the author, manuscript preparation requires familiarity with the journal to which the article is submitted. Most journals publish instructions for authors, which serve as useful guides; some journals' instructions for authors contain a manuscript checklist (see that from JAMA1 [reproduced in this chapter as the Table] as an example). Some publishers also publish style manuals, which provide in-depth instruction (see 25.0, Resources). For journals that subscribe to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals,2 as JAMA and the Archives Journals do, adherence to these guidelines will be acceptable, although the individual journal may require more than the Uniform Requirements or make changes to suit its house style.

Many journals request submission of material through a Web-based manuscript submission and peer review system; many journals require such submission. Others may request materials on disk or as email attachments; some may still accept printed paper copies (“hard copy”) (see 6.2, Editorial Assessment and Processing, Editorial Processing).

Table. Manuscript Checklist Adapted From JAMA’s Instructions for Authors

1. Review manuscript submission instructions on our Web-based submission and review system (http://manuscripts.jama.com).

2. Include a cover letter as an attachment.

3. Designate a corresponding author and provide a complete postal/mail address, telephone and fax numbers, and email address.

4. Provide first and last names, degrees, email addresses, and institutional affiliations for any coauthors.

5. On the title page, include a word count for text only, exclusive of title, abstract, references, tables, and figure legends.

6. Provide an abstract that conforms to the required abstract format.

7. Double-space manuscript and leave right margins unjustified (ragged).

8. Check all references for accuracy and completeness. Put references in proper format in numerical order, making sure each is cited in sequence in the text.

9. Include a title for each table and figure (a brief, succinct phrase, preferably no longer than 10–15 words) and explanatory legend as needed.

10. Have each author read, complete, and sign the Authorship Form with statements of authorship responsibility, criteria, and contributions; financial disclosure; and copyright transfer. After submission, add the manuscript number to the top of each author form and send in the author forms by mail or fax to the editorial office.

11. Indicate specific contributions from each author (see authorship checklist on Authorship Form).

12. Include statement signed by corresponding author that written permission has been obtained from all persons named in the Acknowledgment.

13. For reports of original data, include statement from at least 1 author that she or he “had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.”

14. Include research or project support/funding in the Acknowledgment.

15. Also in the Acknowledgment, specify the role of the funder(s) or sponsor(s) in each of the following: design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

16. Include written permission from each individual identified as a source for personal communication or unpublished data.

17. If appropriate, include information on institutional review board/ethics committee approval or waiver and informed consent.

18. Reprinted tables and figures are discouraged. Original material should be provided, except under extraordinary circumstances.

19. Include informed consent forms for identifiable patient descriptions, photographs, videos, and pedigrees.

20. For clinical trials, add the clinical trial identification number and the URL of the registration site.

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