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Friday FAQs on O&G
Answers to frequently asked questions provided by the Obstetrics & Gynecology editorial staff.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Denise Shields, Manuscript Editor
Denise Shields, Manuscript Editor
Authors are now required to include 2–3 “teaching points” with case reports.  These are lessons in clinical management that are derived from the manuscript.  They will appear as a numbered list in a shaded box on the first page of the article. We hope that readers will find the addition of teaching points useful. Look for them starting with case reports published in our January 2015 issue!
You can find information on how the journal formats case reports by viewing the Instructions for Authors.

Friday, October 10, 2014
Randi Y. Zung
Randi Y. Zung, Editorial Assistant
In her July 2014 editorial, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Nancy C. Chescheir clarified the journal’s existing policy regarding trial registration and outlined updates for the coming year.1
As stated in the “Instructions for Authors”: “Obstetrics & Gynecology complies with the ICMJE [International Committee on Medical Journal Editors] requirement that clinical trials be registered in a public trials registry at or before the time of first patient enrollment in order to be considered for publication.”
This means that most retroactively registered trials are not eligible for publication in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Currently, an exception for retroactively registered trials will only be considered for trials that are about behavioral interventions. This grace period will extend through December 31, 2015. Starting on January 1, 2016, all randomized controlled trials of behavioral interventions are required to be prospectively registered. After that date, all randomized controlled trials that are not registered will be rejected without review.
If you would like clarification regarding this policy, please contact the editor directly via e-mail before submitting your manuscript (
1. Chescheir NC. Information for readers and authors. Obstet Gynecol 2014;124:5-7.

Friday, October 03, 2014
Denise Shields, Manuscript Editor
Denise Shields, Manuscript Editor
The role of authorship in Obstetrics & Gynecology is reserved for those individuals who meet the criteria recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE;  These include:
  • 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. 
  • Each individual who wants to be considered for byline authorship must indicate his or her involvement in the manuscript by completing, signing, and submitting the journal’s author agreement form.
All persons who contributed to the work reported in the manuscript, but not sufficiently to be authors, must be acknowledged in a separate paragraph on the title page of the manuscript.
For more information, see the ICMJE web site.

Friday, September 26, 2014
Elizabeth Hickey
Elizabeth Hickey, Editorial Assistant
Often, when we receive new submissions that are not ready to be assigned to one of our Editors, we return them to the authors for revision. Usually, these submissions do not follow the guidelines found in our "Instructions for Authors." Some of the most common reasons for sending submissions back to the corresponding author are as follows:
Cover Letter:
Your submission should include a cover letter to the editors. The cover letter should include:
  • The authors’ intent to submit solely to Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Verification that the manuscript is not under consideration elsewhere
  • Indication from the authors that it will not be submitted elsewhere until a final decision is made by the editors of Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • The declaration of transparency from the lead author
  • Clinical trial registration number and indication of institutional review board approval or exemption, if applicable, for original research submissions
  • Confirmation that written consent for publication from the patients discussed in your manuscript has been obtained, for case reports

Title Page:
The institutional affiliations for each author on the paper should be specified on the title page. This should be the university, hospital, or organization where the author currently works. Please also disclose any funding received for your study or report.

Abstract & Headings:
Many submissions do not include the correct headings in their abstracts. Our guidelines for abstract headings can be found in our Instructions for Authors and below:
  • For original research articles, the abstract should contain an Objective, Methods, Results, and Conclusion. If applicable, your clinical trial registration information, including, registry name, URL, and registration number, should be included at the end of the abstract.
  • Case reports should have a structured abstract, using the headings, Background, Case(s), and Conclusion.
  • Systematic review articles should have a structured abstract using the following headings: Objective; Data Sources; Methods of Study Selection; Tabulation, Integration, and Results; and Conclusion.
  • Procedures and Instruments articles should contain an abstract with the following headings: Background; Instrument, Method or Technique (choose one); Experience, and Conclusion.
  • Current Commentary articles should contain an abstract that is simply a single paragraph that states what was done, what was found, and what the findings mean. Headings are not necessary. 
  • Personal Perspectives articles do not need to contain an abstract.

Similarly, submissions are also sent back when they do not have the correct headings in the body of the paper. Please check the Instructions for Authors for the correct headings for your submission.

If your References are missing from your submission, it will be sent back to you. References are an integral part of the Editorial Office’s evaluation of your paper. 


  • If you are reporting a meta-analysis or a systematic review of randomized control trials, please include a PRISMA checklist.
  • If you are reporting a meta-analysis or a systematic review of observational studies, please describe in your cover letter how you followed the MOOSE guidelines.
  • If you are reporting a randomized controlled trial, please include the CONSORT checklist and indicate the page number where the required information is provided.
There are also formatting rules to keep in mind when submitting a manuscript to Obstetrics & Gynecology, including the following:
  • It is very important to send your manuscript as a Word document (.doc or .docx) rather than a PDF document. In order to edit the manuscript, we must have a Word file.
  • Remember to include continuous line numbers beginning on the title page of your manuscript.
  • Remember to double-space the text of your manuscript.

After your manuscript has been returned to you, you will have 14 days to resubmit it with the appropriate changes. The sooner the article is returned to us, the sooner the Editors will be able to make a decision regarding its potential publication.

Friday, September 19, 2014
Rebecca S. Benner
Rebecca S. Benner, Senior Director and Managing Editor
Starting 10 years ago, in 2004, Obstetrics & Gynecology staff and editors began an effort to track and improve the time between manuscript submission and publication. The stated goal was to publish 80% of manuscripts within 6 months or less.
During that first year, 2004, an average of 42% of unsolicited, peer-reviewed manuscripts (excluding case reports) were published within 6 months. Year-to-date in 2014, that percentage has risen to 96% (the average time from submission to publication being 130 days)! The advent of publish ahead-of-print in March 2013 certainly helped those statistics recently. However, the hard work of editors and staff and the assistance of our reviewers and authors played the largest role in our improvement over the years (Figure 1).
Timing Data Graph
Figure 1. Manuscripts published in Obstetrics & Gynecology within 6 months or less, from 2004 to 2014 (year-to-date). Actual data are compared with the goal (80% from 2004 through 2012, and 90% from 2013 through 2014).
Not all manuscripts are accepted for publication, however, so our authors are often interested to know how soon they’ll receive notice of a first decision—be it reject or revise. Based on data from September 1, 2013 through September 1, 2014, the average time between submission and first decision is 21 days. (Note that these data are for all unsolicited, peer-reviewed manuscripts, including case reports.) When you break that down by decision type, those manuscripts that receive a decision of “editorial reject” (ie, rejection without review) will find out that decision in an average of 3 days. Those manuscripts receiving a decision of “reject” (ie, rejection after review) will be notified in an average of 23 days. And finally, those manuscripts receiving a decision of “revise” (ie, the author is given an opportunity to address reviewers’ comments) will be notified in an average of 26 days.
Here at Obstetrics & Gynecology, we are proud to run an efficient peer review system for our authors, reviewers, and editors. If you have research that you are considering publishing, we hope you will think of Obstetrics & Gynecology!
About the Author

Obstetrics & Gynecology Editorial Staff
The Obstetrics & Gynecology Editorial Staff is responsible for facilitating the peer-review process, supporting the editors, and responding to queries from authors, reviewers, and readers. The current staff comprises Rebecca S. Benner (director and managing editor), Denise Shields (manuscript editor), Stephanie Casway (production editor), Randi Y. Zung (editorial assistant), and Elizabeth Hickey(editorial assistant). To contact the editorial office, call 202-314-2317 or e-mail

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