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Instructions for Authors |

Instructions for Authors FREE

Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(1):. doi:.
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Published online


These instructions apply to all categories of manuscripts, including letters to the editor. Manuscripts must be submitted electronically. Please note that the required author responsibility form must still be submitted by mail or fax. Manuscripts submitted by regular mail after February 1, 2004, will NOT be reviewed and will not be returned. Authors will be notified by e-mail or fax to resubmit via e-mail.

The journal's mailing address is Archives of Internal Medicine, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, c/o Philip Greenland, MD, Editor, 680 N Lake Shore Dr, Suite 1102, Chicago, IL 60611 USA; phone: (312) 503-5387; fax (312) 503-5388; e-mail: archinternmed@jama-archives.org.

To ensure that the electronic submission is usable, please adhere to the following guidelines when submitting your manuscript electronically.

  • In the subject line of the e-mail, type "Manuscript submission." Include your mailing address, e-mail address, and telephone and fax numbers on the title page.

  • Text: Save the text in Microsoft Word.

  • Tables: Save any tables in the same file, embedded in the manuscript. Make certain that each item in the table is in its own table cell. Do not use paragraph returns (to start new rows) or tabs (to start new columns) to format the table.

  • Figures: Save any figures in the same file, embedded in the manuscript. Please refer to the instructions in "Digital Art Submissions" for proper formatting and resolution requirements.

  • Manuscripts should not also be submitted by regular mail or fax. However, if the manuscript is accepted for publication, we will need 3 hard copies of the manuscript and glossies of the figures, as well as 2 sets of slides for each color illustration. We will also need the text, tables, and figures to be on a diskette or CD at this stage.

  • Manuscripts received are not to be under simultaneous consideration by another publication.

  • Accepted manuscripts become the permanent property of the Archives and may not be published elsewhere without permission from both the author(s) and the publisher (American Medical Association [AMA]).

  • Any materials submitted to the Archives will NOT BE RETURNED.

  • Copyright Form and Patient Consent. Upon submission, the corresponding author should fax the completed author responsibility forms for all authors to the editorial office: (312) 503-5388. On the fax cover page, please indicate the date that the manuscript was submitted electronically. At the same time, please send a signed statement of informed consent to publish (in print and online) patient photographs and pedigrees from all persons who can be identified in such photographs and pedigrees.


publishes Original Investigations, Reviews, Clinical Observations, Controversies, Editorials, and many other categories of articles. Topics of interest include all subjects that relate to the science and practice of internal medicine. The most frequently published types of articles are described below.

Original Investigations. Randomized trials, intervention studies, studies of screening and diagnostic tests, cohort studies, cost-effectiveness analyses, case-control studies, and surveys with high response rates. Registered trials should include the registry and registration number. Each manuscript should clearly state an objective or hypothesis; the design and methods (including the study setting and dates, patients or participants with inclusion and exclusion criteria, or data sources and how these were selected for the study); the essential features of any interventions; the main outcome measures; the main results of the study; a comment section placing the results in context with the published literature; and the conclusions. Typical length: 2000 to 3000 words (not including tables, figures, and references).

Reviews. Systematic, critical assessments of literature and data sources pertaining to clinical topics, emphasizing factors such as cause, diagnosis, prognosis, therapy, or prevention. All articles or data sources should be selected systematically for inclusion and be critically evaluated, and the selection process should be described in the manuscript. The specific type of study or analysis, population, intervention, exposure, and tests or outcomes should be described for each article or data source. Meta-analyses also will be considered as reviews.1(pp528-529) Typical length: 2000 to 3000 words (not including tables, figures, and references).

Clinical Observations. Short reports of original studies or evaluations or unique, first-time reports of clinical case series. Typical length: 750 to1200 words (not including tables, figures, and references). Case reports must be of special interest to be considered.

Controversies in Internal Medicine. Readers are invited to submit their ideas about a controversial area in internal medicine. The submission should consist of a 250-word abstract clearly outlining the position you take on the controversial issue (either "pro" or "con") and the reasons for your position. The abstracts will be peer reviewed. If the abstract is selected, you will be invited to write a feature article that expands on your arguments. Abstracts (no longer than 250 words) and inquiries may be directed to archinternmed@jama-archives.org.

Letters to the Editor. Letters discussing a recent Archives of Internal Medicine article should be received within 4 weeks of the article's publication and should not exceed 400 words of text and 5 references. Research letters reporting original research, including case series or case reports, also are welcome and should not exceed 600 words of text and 6 references, and may include a table or figure. Letters should be double-spaced and a word count should be provided with each letter.

Criteria for Manuscripts. Manuscripts should meet the following general criteria: material is original; writing is clear; study methods are appropriate; the data are valid; conclusions are reasonable and supported by the data; information is important; and topic has internal medicine interest. From these basic criteria, we assess a manuscript's eligibility for publication.

Authorship Requirements, Financial Disclosure, Assignment of Copyright, and Acknowledgment Forms. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content. One or more authors should take responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole, from inception to published article. Authorship credit should be based only on (1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; and (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and (3) final approval of the version to be published. Conditions 1, 2, and 3 must all be met.2 Authors are required to identify their contributions to the work described in the manuscript. With the cover letter include the authorship form with statements on (1) authorship responsibility, criteria, and contributions, (2) financial disclosure, and (3) either copyright transfer or federal employment. Each of these 3 statements must be read and signed by all authors.1(pp89-93) (4) The corresponding author must sign the Acknowledgment statement. Authors should obtain written permission from all individuals named in an Acknowledgment, since readers may infer their endorsement of data and conclusions.1(pp96-97) See Authorship Criteria and Responsibility Form.

Group Authorship. If authorship is attributed to a group (either solely or in addition to 1 or more individual authors), all members of the group must meet the full criteria and requirements for authorship described in the form at the end of these Instructions. A group must designate at least 1 or more individuals as authors or members of a writing group who meet full authorship criteria and requirements and who will take responsibility for the group, in which case the other group members are not authors, but may be listed in an acknowledgment.2,3

Copyediting and Authorship Responsibility. All accepted manuscripts are copy edited and an edited typescript is sent for the author's approval. The author is responsible for all statements in the work, including the copy editor's changes.

Data Access and Responsibility. For reports containing original data, at least 1 author (eg, the principal investigator) should indicate that he or she "had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis").4

Reference to Patients. Refer to patients by number (or, in anecdotal reports, by fictitious given names). Do not use real names or initials in the text, tables, or illustrations.

Ethical Requirements. For human or animal experimental investigations, appropriate institutional review board approval is required and should be so stated.1(p140) For those investigators who do not have formal ethics review committees, the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki should be followed.5 For investigations of human subjects, state in the "Methods" section the manner in which informed consent was obtained from the study participants.

Style of Writing. The style of writing should conform to acceptable English usage and syntax. Slang, medical jargon, obscure abbreviations, and abbreviated phrasing are to be avoided.

Units of Measure. Conventional units of measure are preferred, with Système International (SI) units expressed secondarily (in parentheses). In tables and figures, a conversion factor to SI may be presented in the footnote or legend to economize space. Exceptions to this policy include calories, hematocrit, glycosylated hemoglobin, blood cell counts, and ejection fraction, for which conventional units alone should be expressed. The metric system is preferred for length, area, mass, and volume. (See Système International Conversion Table.)

Manuscript Preparation. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the American Medical Association Manual of Style1 and/or the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.2 All copy must be typed double-spaced with 1-inch margins, numbered consecutively, beginning with the title page. Do not justify lines. Double-space throughout, including title page, abstract, text, acknowledgments, references, legends, and tables.

Length of Manuscript. As a rule of thumb, 3 typed double-spaced pages translate into 1 typeset page when manuscripts are prepared in 12-point font with standard 1-inch (2.5-cm) margins. The right margin should be unjustified (ragged). Authors should make allowance for tables and illustrations; use a rough estimate of one-quarter page for each table and each figure.

While the editors occasionally approve nonconforming manuscripts, they do so only when they are considered to possess exceptional merit. Submissions that do not conform to recommended space limitations are subjected to a particularly rigorous editorial review and are thus less likely to be accepted than those that fall within recommended guidelines.

Original Investigations are generally limited to 12 double-spaced text pages (about 3000 words), 25 references, and no more than 6 to 8 tables and figures.

These guidelines assume that a table or figure is about one-quarter page in the journal.

Title Page (page 1 of manuscript). Titles should not exceed 75 characters, including punctuation and spacing. Avoid abbreviations in the title, abstract, and text. Give full names, highest academic degrees, and institutional affiliations of all authors. (If an author's affiliation has changed since the work was done, list the new affiliation as well.) Designate a corresponding author and include a complete mailing address, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address. Specify the address to which requests for reprints should be sent. If the manuscript was presented at a meeting, please specify the name of the meeting, the city where it was held, and the exact date on which the paper was read or the poster was presented. Also include on the title page a word count for the text only, exclusive of the title, abstract, references, tables, and figure legends.

Financial disclosure information should be included as a footnote on this page.

Abstract (page 2 of manuscript). Include a structured abstract of no more than 250 words for reports of original data from clinical or basic science investigations and reviews (including meta-analyses). Abstracts consist of 4 paragraphs labeled Background, Methods, Results, Conclusions. Editorials, Commentaries, and Comments, Opinions, and Brief Case Reports, and letters to the editor do not require an abstract.

Informed Consent. For experimental investigations of human subjects, state in the "Methods" section of the manuscript that the appropriate institutional review board approved the project. For those investigators who do not have formal ethics review committees (institutional or regional), the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki should be followed.5 Specify in the "Methods" section the manner in which consent was obtained from all human subjects.

Acknowledgment Section. List all persons who have made substantial contributions to the work reported in the manuscript (including writing and editing assistance), but who are not authors; any financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript; any research or project support/funding; grant support. Manuscripts with statistical evaluations should include the name and affiliation of statistical reviewer(s).

References. List references in consecutive numerical order (not alphabetically). All subsequent reference citations should be to the original number. Cite all references in the text or tables. Unpublished data and personal communications should not be listed as references. References to journal articles should include (1) author(s) (list all authors and/or editors up to 6; if more than 6, list first 3 and "et al"), (2) title, (3) journal name (as abbreviated in Index Medicus), (4) year, (5) volume number, and (6) inclusive page numbers, in that order. References to books should include (1) author(s) (list all authors and/or editors up to 6; if more than 6, list first 3 and "et al"), (2) chapter title (if any), (3) editor (if any), (4) title of book, (5) city of publication, (6) publisher, and (7) year. Volume and edition numbers, specific pages, and name of translator should be included when appropriate. The reference numbers in the reference list (if any) should be keystroked. Do not let the word-processing program generate the reference numbers, using such features as automatic footnotes or endnotes. The author is responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the references and for their correct text citation. Do not include "personal communications" in the list of references. Authors who name an individual as a source for information in a personal communication, be it through conversation, a letter, e-mail message, or telephone call, should obtain written permission from the named individual.

Web References. Please keep a print copy of any reference to Web-only information. If the URL changes or disappears, interested readers may contact the corresponding author for a copy of the information.

Tables, Illustrations, Legends. Number all tables and illustrations in the order of their citation in the text. Include a title for each table and figure—a brief, succinct phrase, preferably no longer than 10 to 15 words.

Tables. Title all tables and number them in order of their citation in the text. Double-space each table on separate sheets of standard-sized white paper. If a table must be continued, repeat the title on a second sheet, followed by "cont."

Illustrations. RGB color submissions are preferred. Calibrated color proofs should be submitted with color digital files, if possible. The canvas size of continuous-tone images should be at least 5 inches wide (depth not important) with an image resolution of at least 350 ppi. Line art images should have a minimum resolution of 1270 ppi. Formats accepted are EPS, TIFF, and JPG. (See guidelines for submitting digital figures.)

Legends. Include double-spaced legends (maximum length, 40 words) on separate pages. Indicate magnification and stain used for photomicrographs and method of enhancement for digitally enhanced images.

Photographic Consent. A letter of consent must accompany all photographs of patients in which a possibility of identification exists. It is not sufficient to cover the eyes to mask identity. (See patient consent form.)

Acknowledgments. Acknowledge illustrations from other publications and, when applicable, include author(s), title of article, title of journal or book, volume number, page(s), month, and year. The publisher's permission to reproduce in print and online and in Archives licensed versions should be submitted to the Archives when the manuscript is submitted. (See permission form.)


Manuscripts are received with the understanding that they have not been published previously in print or electronic format and are not under consideration by another publication or electronic medium. A complete manuscript submitted following oral presentation that results in the publication of substantive information elsewhere, including magazines, or "tabloids," may be deemed ineligible for publication in the Archives. The Archives is willing to receive and evaluate manuscripts submitted following presentation or publication of preliminary findings (eg, in an abstract) at a major meeting, but only if publication in other print media is not under consideration. Press reports of the meeting should not be amplified by additional data or copies of tables and illustrations.

When submitting a manuscript, authors should include copies of possibly duplicative material that has been previously published or is currently being considered elsewhere. If after submission but before publication of a manuscript, publication of the findings occurs in press reports, interviews, or other formats, the Editors must be notified.

Authors submitting manuscripts or letters to the editor regarding adverse drug or medical device reactions, reportable diseases, and the like should also report such to the relevant government agency.


Peer Review. Manuscripts are commonly (but not invariably) sent to expert consultants for peer review. Peer reviewer identities are kept confidential. Authors, by special request, may keep their identities confidential but must submit both an original and a second electronic copy of the manuscript with all identifying information edited out.

Editing. Accepted manuscripts are edited according to AMA style and returned to the author for approval. Authors are responsible for all statements made in their work, including changes made by the copy editor and authorized by the corresponding author. If you wish to receive page proofs for approval, contact the copy editor assigned to your paper within 2 days of receiving the typescript.

Reprints. Reprint order forms are included with the edited typescript sent for approval to authors. Reprints are shipped 3 weeks after publication. AMA does not charge a permission fee to authors who wish to use their articles or parts thereof in other books or journals. However, an author must obtain permission from AMA, as the copyright holder, for such use. To do so, send written request to Rhonda Bailey, Department of Licensing and Permissions, AMA, 515 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610; fax: (312) 464-5835; e-mail: rhonda_bailey@ama-assn.org. In the permission you receive, the proper credit line will be indicated.

Return of Submitted Materials. Rejected and revised materials will not be returned to authors. To ensure confidentiality, the manuscript and all copies will be destroyed.

Statistical Consultation. We recommend that statistical consultation be obtained as early as possible for studies with statistical content. The name and affiliation of the statistical consultant (if different from the author) should be included.

Animal Experimentation. In the case of animal experimentation, please indicate in the "Methods" section what animal-handling protocols were followed, eg, "Institutional guidelines regarding animal experimentation were followed."

Drug Names. The generic (nonproprietary) name of a drug is preferred in almost all instances. If it is necessary to include the brand (proprietary or trade) name for reproduction or interpretation of the study, the brand name should be given parenthetically, following the generic name, at first mention in the abstract, text, and each figure or table in which it appears. In addition, the brand name and supplier's name and location should be given in the "Methods" section. In the case in which a manuscript is comparing various brands of a single product, or in which an adverse event is described that might be unique to a single brand of product, both the brand name and generic name should appear at first mention and the brand name(s) should be used thereafter.

Embargo Policy. Information regarding the content and publication date of accepted manuscripts is confidential. Information contained in or about accepted articles cannot appear in print, radio, television, or in electronic form or be released to the media until 3 PM CST on the second and fourth Mondays of the month. (NOTE: For August and December, which each have only 1 issue, the embargo lifts on the second Monday of the month.)


  • Electronic submission only.

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

  • Include statements signed by each author on (1) authorship criteria and responsibility, (2) financial disclosure, and (3) copyright transfer or federal employment.

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

  • Include research or project support/funding in an acknowledgment.

  • Double-space manuscript (text and references) and leave right margins unjustified (ragged).

  • 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.

  • Include a title for each table and figure—a brief, succinct phrase, preferably no longer than 10 to 15 words.

  • All illustrations must be submitted in high-quality digital format embedded in the document.

  • For digitally enhanced images, indicate method of enhancement in legend.

  • Provide an abstract that conforms with the required abstract format.

  • Include written permission from each individual identified as a source for personal communication.

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

  • Include written permission from publishers (or other copyright owner) to reproduce or adapt previously published illustrations and tables in the Archives (in print, online, and in Archives licensed versions).

  • On the title page, designate a corresponding author and provide a complete address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address.


Iverson  CFlanagin  AFontanarosa  PB  et al.  American Medical Association Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors9th ed. Baltimore, Md: Williams & Wilkins; 1998.
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. Available at: http://www.icmje.org. Accessed November 17, 2003.
Flanagin  AFontanarosa  PBDeAngelis  CD Authorship for research groups. JAMA. 2002;288:3166-3168.
DeAngelis  CDFontanarosa  PBFlanagin  A Reporting financial conflicts of interest and relationships between investigators and research sponsors. JAMA. 2001;286:89-91.
World Medical Association, Declaration of Helsinki: Ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. Available at: http://www.wma.net/e/policy/pdf/17c.pdf. Accessed November 17, 2003.




Iverson  CFlanagin  AFontanarosa  PB  et al.  American Medical Association Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors9th ed. Baltimore, Md: Williams & Wilkins; 1998.
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. Available at: http://www.icmje.org. Accessed November 17, 2003.
Flanagin  AFontanarosa  PBDeAngelis  CD Authorship for research groups. JAMA. 2002;288:3166-3168.
DeAngelis  CDFontanarosa  PBFlanagin  A Reporting financial conflicts of interest and relationships between investigators and research sponsors. JAMA. 2001;286:89-91.
World Medical Association, Declaration of Helsinki: Ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. Available at: http://www.wma.net/e/policy/pdf/17c.pdf. Accessed November 17, 2003.


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