SUBMISSION GUIDELINES


(Last updated February 08, 2022; Minor changes made on May 15, 2024)

ABOUT

The Indian Journal of Medical Ethics (IJME) is a multi-disciplinary journal of bioethics, healthcare ethics and humanities.

Before you submit your manuscript, please check whether its subject matter falls within the scope of the IJME. (For more information, please see “About IJME”)

The IJME is open access online, and the payment of article processing charge (APC) or publication fee by authors is voluntary (PWYW – Pay What You Want, including no payment). If your work or institution have financial support, we encourage you to make some payment to help make the journal sustainable. We also encourage readers accessing the full text or the pdf of a published article to pay whatever fee they can afford (PWYW, including no payment). However, access to the full-issue pdf and print issue is only on payment of subscription.

ETHICS OF PUBLICATION

Authors are expected to understand and comply with the principles of publication ethics. The IJME guidance for authors is based on the guidelines relating to ethics in publication developed by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). The COPE and ICMJE guidelines are followed on points not covered in the IJME guidelines for authors, and they are usually relied upon for resolution of any doubt or dispute.

ARTICLE TYPES AND SECTIONS OF THE JOURNAL

The IJME offers authors an opportunity to make submissions in a range of article types. Each article type has specific requirements (see table below). While preparing and submitting manuscripts, the author(s) may specify the article type. The final decision on categorising the article type of the manuscript rests with the editor. Each article published in the IJME will be identified by its type. In the issue of the journal, each article will be published in a section corresponding to the article type or in the sections based on a topic or theme (e.g. Covid-19, Law, or a specific theme in a theme issue, etc.).


Article Type

Description

Maximum Words (All Inclusive*)

Maximum Number

   

Text

Abstract

Tables/ Charts/ Graphs**

 

Editorials

 IJME does not allow direct submission for editorials, which are always  commissioned. They represent views of author(s) and not necessarily of the  editors and the publisher.

3200

Research Articles

 Papers based on original systematic research using theoretical / philosophical  and/or empirical scientific methodology in any discipline on the issues or  subject matter within the scope of the IJME. They include systematic reviews.  Research articles must clearly explain the methodology used, including details  of observance of ethics. If your research involved human subject participation  or personal identifiable data, provide information on ethics review and enclose  a copy of ethics approval by the Research Ethics Committee (REC). If the REC  waived review and/or any ethics standard or approved verbal consent, please  ensure that they are stated in the approval letter of the REC. We recommend the  use of equator network guidelines for the reporting of research findings.

7000

300

4

Commentaries

 Analytical and narrative commentaries on important themes, published work,  controversies, legislation, regulations, court judgments, policies, programmes,  local/global bioethics norms/principles, etc.

4000

150

2

Discussions

 Discussions are substantial responses to papers published in the IJME.

2400

100

Reports

 Comprise reports of conferences/workshops/seminars, events, fact-finding /  investigations etc.

2400

100

1

Students’ corner

 Commentaries, discussions, and reflections on topics within the scope of the  IJME by students of any discipline. All authors of such submission must be  students at the time of submission. Submissions reporting original research,  even when authored only by student(s), will be categorised as Research  Articles.

2400

100

1

Case studies

 Cases with an ethics dimension in research, training, teaching and practice of  various healthcare and allied professions. The case studies may be carried with  commentaries or round table discussion. (Original research papers using case  study methodology may be submitted as “Research Articles”)

2400

100 (optional)

1

Reflections

 Personal narratives or experiences linked to the journal’s core areas of interest

2400

100 (optional)

Media Reviews

 Reviews of books, films and other media within the scope of the subject matter  of the journal. Usually, reviews are commissioned by the journal but if you  intend to write a review, please inquire first with the editor, in case such a review  has already been commissioned/published. References to be avoided if possible or kept to minimum wherever required.

1600

Letters

 Brief communications, expressing opinions on the journal’s areas of interest  and responses to articles published in the journal

800

Creative space

 Short stories and poems based on themes linked with the journal’s core areas  of interest.

2400

NOTES: *All Inclusive: Permissible maximum number of words include words in abstract, tables/charts/graphs, end-notes and references.
**Tables/Charts/Graphs: (i) Additional tables/charts/graphs and other material/data will be made available only on the website. (ii) Presentation of data must be in percentages as well as frequencies. (iii) We do not use colours in charts/graphs, but if needed, we allow colours only in the online version.

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION ON SUBMISSION
1. Statement(s) about the submission:

    (a) Originality: The submission is an original writing of author(s) and has not been published in, or submitted to other journal(s) for consideration.

    (b) Pre-print Publication: Pre-print published manuscripts are eligible for submission to IJME. If your submission was published as pre-print, please provide a link to it and if it was revised before submission, provide information on the revision.

    (c) Other similar publication(s): If your submission is based on findings of an empirical research and a part of findings were reported in other paper(s) already published, or awaiting publication, provide (i) copy of such publication(s) for scrutiny, and (ii) explanation that the findings used in the submission for the IJME have not been used in them. Please note that submissions reusing already reported findings make it redundant or salami, and may be declined – see ICMJE.

    (d) Data sharing: If the submission is based on findings of a primary empirical research conducted by author(s), please state whether and how the anonymised raw data will be shared with anybody interested in them.

2. Authorship and Author(s) information: The following information must be provided

    (a) Eligibility for authorship: Only those who conform to the criteria for authorship as per Section IIA of the January 2024 ICMJE recommendations (http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/) may be listed as authors. Listing an ineligible person as author, denial of authorship to an eligible person and use of ghost-authors amount to misconduct that could result in rejection of a submission, or in retraction if already published.

    (b) Contribution of each author: Please describe the specific contribution made by each author to the research and preparation of the submission.

    (c) Signed undertaking by author(s): Each author must sign a statement in the cover letter that he/she/they have contributed as per the ICMJE requirements; read, approved and are responsible for the full content of the manuscript.

    (d) Author(s) Details: For each author, the following information is essential

      Name(s): Full name of each author and sequence of names (if multiple authors) as they should appear in the publication. The first name must be of the first author.

      Corresponding author: In multi-authored submissions, please specify the author who will act as corresponding author. Also provide mailing address of corresponding author.

      Affiliation of author(s): If an author is affiliated to an institution, mention not more than two affiliations for each author. Provide full name, address, and website of each institution to which affiliated. Authors need to ensure that they mention the institute where the study was conducted along with their current affiliation.

      Email ID of author(s): If affiliated to institution, please provide both institutional and personal IDs of each author.

      Author(s)’ ORCID iD: We encourage authors to have ORCID registration and provide their ORCID iD.

    (e) Disclosure of Conflict of Interest (CoI): Each author must disclose financial and other secondary interests having potential of conflict with the primary interest, i.e., the submission and its content. Please go through the details on the CoI here: ICMJE

    Please note that the disclosure of CoI is mandatory. Each author must make an individual disclosure. Wilful non-disclosure of CoI is a misconduct and could result in retraction of a published article. We encourage authors to use the ICMJE disclosure form.

    (f) Acknowledgment (of Non-Author contributors): Individuals who have contributed to the submission but are not eligible to be authors may be acknowledged by name (or in group) and for a specific contribution, after obtaining express permission(s). Non-author contributors do not endorse nor are responsible for the content of the submission.

3. Anonymous submission: As a rule, author(s) must identify themselves to the journal and readers. However, under some exceptional circumstances, IJME may permit author(s) to remain anonymous to readers. Such authors must identify themselves, in confidence, to the Editor, explain the need for anonymity and provide a copy of the submission for which anonymity is required. The decision on anonymity will be made on the basis of the author’s circumstances, the subject matter and points being made in the submission, and any other relevant material/issues.

4. Funding Support: Disclosure of funding support received for the research and/or preparation of the manuscript for submission is essential.

5. Research ethics and ethics approval: If the submission is based on information/data collected from human participants and/or animals, the methodology section must describe the ethics standards and principles observed in practice. Such submission must be accompanied by a copy of the ethics approval provided by a relevant Research Ethics Committee (REC). If the REC waived review and/or any ethics standard or approved verbal consent, please ensure that they are stated in the approval letter of the EC. Please note that in India the law mandates a prior approval of all health research by an REC. For more information, please see Section 4 of the ICMR Guidelines.

6. Cover-letter: Please use the cover-letter format as given on the website here. The cover-letter must contain all information relevant to your submission, and should be signed by all authors.

TEXT OF SUBMISSION
1. Manuscript of the submission should contain the following:

    Title of the submission

    Author(s) information with their affiliations (in the sequence they should appear in the article)

    An abstract (as per requirement mentioned in the Section for which the submission is made)

    Main Text of article: Please see word limits and other requirements as per the section for which it is submitted

    End-Notes and References: Please note (a) foot-notes are not allowed, (b) references should be in the style used by the IJME

    Tables/diagrams/charts/graphs: We do not publish any of them in colour, except in the online versions. Please submit them separately as rtf/doc files, and images as jpg files.

2. Use of inclusive language: Authors must try to use gender-neutral terminology whenever addressing general issues (regardless of a specific sex/gender). For example: use plural nouns like physicians/patients/reviewers instead of he/she. Exceptions: Articles/studies involving specific study populations, such as pregnant women should be described as such.

Avoid using stigmatising language/words related to mental health and disabilities. For example, use ‘died by suicide’ instead of ‘committed suicide’, ‘person with a disability’ instead of ‘disabled person’, or ‘person with brain injury’ instead of ‘brain damaged’.

Helpful resources:

United Nations’ Guidelines for gender-inclusive language in English: https://www.un.org/en/gender-inclusive-language/guidelines.shtml Words Matter: Guidelines for using inclusive language in the workplace (British Columbia Public Service): https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/careers/all-employees/working-with-others/words-matter.pdf

3. Text with diacritical marks: Since IJME is also read by general readers, please avoid using text with diacritical marks except if used infrequently or if used in names.

FORMATTING OF THE MANUSCRIPT

1. Please format manuscripts as rtf/doc/docx in Times New Roman, 12 points. Submissions in PDF format are not acceptable.

2. Grammar:

    o Use UK English.

    o Avoid using ampersand and capitals within the sentences.

    o Terminology needs to be consistent throughout the manuscript.

    o The title and all headings should be in sentence case.

3. Alignment and spacing: The text should be left aligned with single-line spacing and double spacing between paragraphs.

4. Subheads: Do not number subheads or put them in capital letters. Please follow a single format. Multiple subheads should be differentiated as follows:

    o Article heading: bold regular;
    o Subheading: bold regular; and
    o Sub-section under subheading: Bold italic.

5. Endnotes: We don’t encourage footnotes and endnotes. Endnotes may be used only where absolutely necessary.

6. Tables/figures/charts/diagrams: All in total should not exceed the number specified for the section for which the submission is made. If more of them are needed, they will be made available only on the website with links in the submission at the relevant places. In the tables, please provide percentages as well as frequencies. Please note that the words used in them are counted as of the submission and so make tables simple and as small as possible with only required text. Tables should only in exceptional cases exceed one page in size, and must be formatted for submission. All acronyms/abbreviations in the tables/figures must be expanded in full in the notes on the table. Tables and Figures must be numbered 1, 2, 3… (Table 1, 2, 3, …; Figure 1, 2, 3, ….) with self-explanatory titles, and referenced in the text. If tables and figures are obtained or reproduced from third party sources, the authors must ensure that, if required, proper permissions have been taken, and all sources are accurately cited.

For submission reporting findings of an empirical study, the editor/reviewer may request more tables or anonymised raw data or codes used for analysis for further scrutiny.

7. Style: The IJME’s readership includes people from different academic and work backgrounds such as medicine, public health, research, health activism, law, philosophy, history and so on. Please write in a clear and direct style. Use the active voice, avoid long sentences, make the 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. If necessary, seek the assistance of a writer, giving them appropriate credit in the acknowledgements section of the article. Since IJME is also read by general readers, please avoid using text with diacritical marks except if used frequently or if used in names.

8. Referencing: 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 from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7256/. References may be formatted in the IJME style once the article is accepted.

References should be complete, with details of the author/s, title, publication title, publishers, and place and date of publication. For Internet references, a link to the cited work is necessary, with the citation date. A typical format for references is:

    Gopichandran V. Trust in healthcare: an evolving concept. Indian J Med Ethics. 2013 Apr–Jun [cited 2017 May 3];10(2):79–82. Available from: https://doi.org/10.20529/IJME.2013.027

References should be numbered consecutively in the order in which they appear in the text, with the same number recurring for repeated citations. These numbers should appear within square brackets in the text, and not in superscript, with the full list of references provided at the end of the article.

During final revision of the submission, authors need to ensure that all endnotes and references are formatted as per the Journal style. Authors need to also ensure that the references and endnotes must be listed at the end of the manuscript, and not below each page in the word document.

Please limit the references to those essential to justify the point being made.

Personal communications as references are discouraged. If the communication is essential to the submission, the author must obtain emailed consent from the person being quoted. This consent should be sent directly to the journal and carry the person’s address, affiliation and telephone details. Such communications should be cited in parentheses in the text, with the name, subject and date of the communication. For unpublished scientific articles, please obtain written permission and confirmation of accuracy from the source.

References must be verified against the original documents before the article is submitted. The author is responsible for the accuracy of the references and for the links being functional.

Papers with incomplete references will be returned to the authors for correction before being sent for review. Authors of accepted manuscripts will be required to rework the references to comply with the IJME format before the manuscripts are processed for publication

9. Line numbering: Add line numbers continuously to the entire document before submitting the manuscript. Steps to add line numbers are:

    a) On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Line Numbers

    b) Select the option Continuous.

    c) You will notice that on the left side of the page, the line numbers have been added.

ONLINE SUBMISSION USING OJS (OPEN JOURNAL SYSTEMS)

Submissions to IJME will now be through online editorial management system called OJS (Open Journal Systems). Authors are requested to read guidelines on “How to make online submission and track it” and submit their manuscript on the OJS.

REVIEW PROCESS

Submissions are reviewed initially by one of the editors and declined if their focus is not relevant to the journal or is not of interest to the journal. All submissions which fall within the purview of the journal are peer reviewed. Submissions are peer reviewed irrespective of whether they were submitted directly by the authors or commissioned by the journal. Submissions for the different sections of the journal are peer reviewed as per the following:

 Submissions reviewed by external experts

 Research articles, Case Studies

 Submissions reviewed by external experts, while  some may be reviewed internally

 Commentaries

 Submissions reviewed internally (but may also be  reviewed externally when needed)

 Editorials, Book and Film Reviews, Creative Writing, Reports,  Letters, Reflections, Students’ Corner


As a policy, IJME supports an unblinded peer review system where the names and details of the authors, reviewers and review reports are disclosed in the public domain. However, currently it is using the “single blinded” review system under which the names and other details of authors are disclosed to reviewers, but the names and other details of reviewers are not disclosed to authors. In order to make the transition to an unblinded “review disclosure” system, IJME encourages and provides reviewers the option to allow IJME to disclose their names and other details alongside the publication of the manuscripts reviewed by them.

ANTI-PLAGIARISM POLICY

Plagiarism is the use of others’ published (print or electronic) and unpublished ideas or words (or other intellectual property), in whole or in part, without proper attribution or permission, and presenting them as new and original work of one’s own rather than derived from an existing source. The act of referencing a passage verbatim from previously published material is also considered as plagiarism. Please rephrase or summarise any statement taken from another source along with citing the appropriate reference. The journal will investigate if plagiarism is detected and will retract a plagiarised article along with other necessary steps including informing the head of institution the author is associated to. For more information about plagiarism, please visit the link https://wame.org/recommendations-on-publication-ethics-policies-for-medical-journals#Plagiarism

POLICY ON THE USE OF THE ARTICIFICAL INTELLIGENCE

Please make complete and honest disclosure of the aid taken of any Artificial Intelligence in the preparation of manuscript. The disclosure must be in full detail and strictly as per the recommendations of the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME): https://wame.org/page3.php?id=106

EDITORIAL DECISION, ARTICLE PROCESSING CHARGE (APC), COPYEDITING, COPYRIGHTS

1. Processing a submission: A submission goes through the following steps of processing

    1. Acknowledgement of receipt of the submission with a cover letter providing the requisite information.

    2. A preliminary assessment of the submission by the editorial office and a Working Editor (WE).

    3. If the initial assessment is positive, the manuscript is run through a plagiarism checker. If a submission is found to be free of plagiarism, the submission is assigned reviewer(s).

    4. Receipt of peer review reports/comments, evaluation by the WE and communication of the decision to the author(s). The Editor may reject the submission at this stage, or ask for revisions

    5. Revision of the submission by authors, based on the reviewers’ comments. Authors are expected to respond to each of the comments either by making the required changes or by explaining their decision not to make the change. The author must resubmit revised manuscript within four weeks of receipt of peer review comments. Thereafter, unless requested by the author otherwise, the submission will be marked as “withdrawn” and archived.

    6. Assessment of the revised manuscript by the WE and recommendation to the Editor. (In case of major changes in the text, revised manuscript is checked again for plagiarism.)

    7. Assessment of all documents and the final manuscript by the Editor to arrive at a final decision

    8. Communication of the decision to the author(s)

    9. If the article is accepted, the author is expected to reply accepting the terms of publication

    10. Copyediting; the article will be sent for publication only after the author approves of the copyedited manuscript

    11. Publication

2. Editorial decision: Revised submissions may be sent back to the original reviewers for their opinion before the final editorial decision is taken. The IJME editors are responsible for monitoring and ensuring the fairness, comprehensiveness, timeliness and civility of the peer-review process. All final decisions on submissions are made by the Editor. The Forum for Medical Ethics Society, the publisher and owner of the journal, has no role in editorial decision-making.

3. Article Processing Charge (APC): The payment of the APC is not mandatory, nor a specific fee is stipulated. If you, your project or institution has funds for publication, we request you to voluntarily make payment of an amount of APC that you can afford — it is called PayWhatYouWant (PWYW). Such voluntary payment of APC will help in sustaining the journal.

4. Copyediting: Articles accepted for publication may be edited for language, clarity and length. The author(s) will be sent the copyedited 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 respond to the corrected manuscript within five days. Changes to the copyedited manuscript must be restricted to responding to queries and correcting errors. All changes should be in track change mode in the text of the returned file with a new filename.

5. Publication and author’s access: We try to publish accepted articles ahead of print in the ‘Online First’ section to reduce delays. Authors in India will receive a complimentary copy of the issue in which their article is published. Authors outside India will receive a PDF copy of the issue. PDF files of all articles will also be available on the website as soon as the article is uploaded, either as Online First or as part of the quarterly issue. All articles published in the IJME are available open access on its website with a request to PayWhatYouWant.

6. Journal’s copyright and Authors’ rights: The authors are required to provide copyright for the published manuscript to the IJME. The published material is open access online, and the print material is accessible to subscribers. The authors, on the other hand, are at liberty to deposit all versions (submitted, revised, published) of their manuscripts in their institutional and other repositories.

7. Creative Commons License: The reproduction of material published by IJME is covered by a Creative Commons license – Attribution, Non-Commercial, Non-Derivatives, 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Accordingly, we provide permission for the reproduction of the IJME material without modification for non-commercial purposes, but the IJME allows modifications and commercial use of the material only on payment. For more information, please contact [email protected].

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