Submission guidelines

The Indian Journal of Medical Ethics aims to encourage discussion on healthcare ethics from the perspective of the developing world. The journal’s guidelines for authors are based on the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (www.icmje.org). ICMJE has recently added a fourth criterion for authorship, namely: “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”. Authors are advised to consult the guideline, available from: http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/

General principles

We welcome original submissions that examine issues of health care ethics in India and other developing countries. We are interested in articles based on substantial work that contribute new data and insights to existing discussions; as well as those that identify new areas for work.

Reviewers of submissions to IJME are asked to consider questions such as: Does the article address issues relevant to bioethics in developing countries? Is the information topical? Is it new? What type of influence would it have? Is the interpretation warranted? Does it make loose generalisations? Are there any major omissions?

Contributors are expected to understand the principles of publication ethics and abstain from redundant, duplicate or “salami” publication, gift authorship and other unethical practices. We will not tolerate plagiarism and will take action on any evidence of plagiarism in a submission.

Articles reporting on research should include information on ethics review: the organisation that reviewed the research, and its suggestions or instructions to the researchers. Discussions on sensitive medical or social issues should not contain any information that might identify the individuals or groups involved.

IJME will publish anonymous submissions under very specific circumstances: the article must make an important point about a problem in health care, it must not identify any particular person, and the person making the anonymous submission must reveal his/her identity to the editor.

Submission categories

Submissions are welcome on ethical aspects of clinical practice, research and health policy that are relevant to developing countries. We are particularly interested in articles that use concepts in bioethics to analyse these issues.

Articles on ethics review and on the link between law and ethics will be considered for the “ethics of ethics committees” and “ethics and the law” sections respectively.

Commentaries on articles related to healthcare ethics will be considered for the “selected summary” section.

Personal accounts in research, clinical practice and public health are invited for submission as case studies that may be carried with a commentary.

Students may contribute interesting experiences and reflections to the section “medical students speak”.

IJME will consider reviews of books, films and other media that have appeared within the preceding calendar year.

Well-written and thoughtful personal anecdotes that have a bearing on healthcare ethics may be considered for publication as comments. Summaries from the press and from journals are also welcome.

Responses to published articles can help promote further debate on the issues discussed in the journal. Substantial responses will be considered for publication as comments. Shorter letters will be considered for the correspondence section.

Editorials are written by members of the editorial board or commissioned, as are case study responses.

Word count

IJME does not have word count restrictions for submissions, with the caveat that the journal considers clarity in writing to be vital. However, submissions to the reviews section and correspondence are generally limited to 850 words.

Style

IJME’s readership includes people from different academic and work backgrounds. Please write in a clear and direct style. Write in the active voice, avoid long sentences, make minimum use of abbreviations, and spell out acronyms the first time they are used. Please keep the title short, simple and relevant and use subheads to break up the text in long articles. Please follow our guidelines for references.

Please seek the assistance of a writer if necessary, giving appropriate acknowledgment to the writer in the article.

References

Please limit the references to those essential to justify the point being made, and to authoritative sources. References should be complete, with details of the author/s, title, publication title, publishers, place and date of publication. An additional Internet link to the publication being cited is also welcome.

Please get permission from the source to cite personal communications, and include them in brackets in the text, with details of the date if possible.

References must be verified against the original documents before submitting the article. The author is responsible for the accuracy of the references. Please recheck Internet-based references when finalising the submission; if the link is no longer functional, please search for an equivalent reference rather than cite an inactive reference.

References should be numbered consecutively in the order in which they appear in the text. They should appear within parentheses in the text, and not in superscript, with the full list of references listed at the end of the article. The journal follows the ICMJE’s Uniform Requirements for references. General rules for this may be found at www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/uniform_requirements.html with details in the book Citing Medicine available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7256/

Papers with incomplete references are likely to be returned to the authors for correction before being sent for review. Authors of accepted manuscripts will be expected to format references in the IJME format.

Tables and figures which enhance understanding of a paper are welcome.

Review process

Articles are reviewed initially by one of the editors and may also be sent out to external reviewers in an “unblinded” fashion, i.e. with the author’s name and other details included. Reviewers remain anonymous to the author(s).

We aim to provide a decision within a month of submission.

Commissioned articles are also subject to review. All final decisions on publication are made by the editor.

Reviewers are expected to respect the confidentiality of submissions, and not to use their privileged, pre-publication knowledge of the submission for personal gain. They are asked to state any competing interests that might influence their comments.

Revised submissions may be sent back to reviewers of the same manuscript. Reviewers may be informed of the editor’s decision.

Articles accepted for publication may be edited for language, clarity and length. Authors will be sent their edited manuscript, by email, for pre-publication approval. At that time, they may also be asked to clarify certain points raised by the copyeditor. Authors are requested to aid the demands of production and will be expected to respond with the corrected manuscript within five days. Authors must restrict changes to corrections and not make additions or stylistic changes and mark all corrections in track change mode in the text of the returned file.

We make every effort to publish accepted articles as soon as possible, but we cannot specify exactly when this will be.

Authors will receive a contributor’s copy of the issue in which their article is published. PDF files of all articles will also be available on the website as soon as the issue is uploaded.

All articles published in IJME are available on its website free of charge. The copyright for published material belongs to IJME/FMES. IJME freely permits the reprint (or reproduction on a website) of articles from the journal, as long as this is for non-commercial use and appropriate credit is given to the author and the journal and publication details are mentioned. The commercial use of our content can be made only after obtaining permission from and on payment to IJME. This is intended to support production of the journal.

Submission components

Submissions should be sent in two files: covering letter and main article.

The covering letter must include the following information:

  • Title of the article; names, affiliations, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and signatures of all authors; the name of the designated corresponding author and a statement of authorship (Click here to download the format). This signed letter should be in jpg or PDF format.

The main submission should contain the following:

  • Title and authors with names, affiliations, mailing addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.
  • A statement of competing interests and funding support.
  • A statement of any submissions of very similar work, with references to the previous submission if applicable.
  • Main article with references.
  • Non-structured abstracts of 100-150 words are required for all articles and comments.
  • References to patient information should not contain any identifying information.

Submissions should be sent in rich text format, Times New Roman, 12 point, left aligned, single spaced, double spaced between paragraphs.

To help track correspondence, we request that the author choose a name consisting of the first author’s name and the short title of the article. This should be used for the main submission and covering letter (with the addition ‘cover letter’) and also as the subject line of the mail itself. The same naming system should be used for any additional files such as tables.

Please send submissions to: ijme.editorial@gmail.com. Submissions will be acknowledged by email, usually within 48 hours of receipt.