It’s December so that must mean another update from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) on their guidelines for peer-reviewed medical publications. (The ICMJE guidelines are one of the go-to resources that should always be consulted when preparing a publication.)
What’s new this year?
- Journals are encouraged to de-emphasize the Impact Factor as a means of quantifying the journal’s quality. Instead, journals should “provide a range of …metrics relevant to their readers and authors.”
- “Purposeful failure to disclose conflicts of interest” is now listed as a type of scientific misconduct. Certainly makes sense in light of the recent news stories about some glaring omissions in disclosure of prominent researchers.
- Authors should use a preprint server that is clearly identified as one (not one posing as a peer-review system).
- The date of clinical trial registration is defined as “the date the registration materials were first submitted to a registry.”
- “Authors should use neutral, precise, and respectful language to describe study participants.” Related to one of my favorites ideas in medical writing – put the person first, not the disease.
The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recently updated their guidelines for publishing in the scientific literature. The ICMJE guidelines, or as they’re more formally known “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publishing of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals,” were updated to include new information related to reputable journals and data sharing, among others.
Continue reading Updated Publishing Guidelines – What’s New
Ah, times have changed. An article in JAMA Internal Medicine reveals the practices that led to the 1967 publication of a 2-part literature review on “Dietary Fats, Carbohydrates and Atherosclerotic Disease.”
In short, the review articles were written with heavy involvement from the Sugar Research Foundation, which has since become the Sugar Association with a mission to “promote the consumption of sugar through sound scientific principles while maintaining an understanding of the benefits that sugar contributes to the quality of wholesome foods and beverages.”
From a the perspective of a medical writer acquainted with publication guidelines, the current article lays out a troubling path to publication for the 2-part review. Continue reading Why publication guidelines were made
The most widely referenced and followed guideline for authorship of scientific publications is that issued by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). In it, the ICMJE recommends that authorship be determined by:
- Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
- Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
- Final approval of the version to be published; AND
- Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
The ICMJE states that
All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. Those who do not meet all four criteria should be acknowledged.
A recent study looked at challenging authorship scenarios and asked clinical investigators, medical journal editors, publication professionals, and medical writers to decide who should be granted authorship status in these situations and how confident they were in their decision.
Results of the survey study showed several cases where there were higher levels of disagreement between the groups surveyed than other cases. Continue reading Are ICMJE authorship guidelines leaving people out?