Updated Guidelines From ICMJE for Medical Publications

A scanning electron microscope picture of a nerve ending.

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.