Summary of Instructions for Authors : Academic Medicine

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Summary of Instructions for Authors

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Academic Medicine 82(1):p 113, January 2007.
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To be considered for publication in Academic Medicine, submissions to the journal (including Research Reports) must address one or more of the key aspects of a major challenge facing academic medicine today. Submissions may describe a practical approach to dealing with the issue addressed, add to readers’ understanding of that issue, or both.

Academic Medicine publishes two major types of papers: Articles and Research Reports, plus items in other categories (see “Types of Published Pieces” below). Manuscripts are considered with the understanding that they are not under consideration elsewhere and have not been previously published, except as abstracts. If a paper reports a study using human subjects, authors must state in the paper whether they received IRB approval, and if not, why not. If outside funding supported the research or any other aspect of a paper, authors must state the funding sources in the paper’s acknowledgments. All authors of accepted papers must assign copyright of the paper to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

How to Submit Manuscripts

Manuscripts must be submitted electronically via Academic Medicine online at ( The “Submit a Manuscript” button on the homepage will connect you to our online manuscript tracking and reviewing system, Rapid Review. After creating an author’s account, you will be led step by step through the manuscript submission process. Before uploading your manuscript during this process, be sure that the text has been double-spaced and that figures created in Excel are pasted into a Word document. (Repeat authors need not create a new account when submitting a new manuscript.) The online system will prompt you for a cover letter. Enter a letter that includes (1) the title of the paper, (2) a statement that it has not been published and is not under consideration in the same or substantially similar form in any other journal, and (3) a statement that there is no conflict of interest involved.

The online system will prompt you for a cover letter. Requirements for the content of that letter are listed in section V of the “Complete Instructions for Authors,” found at ( Manuscripts will not be considered unless they are accompanied by a complete cover letter.

Authors are strongly urged to consult the “Complete Instructions for Authors” for information on submitting figures, on preparing references, and for more information on all topics discussed on this page. Authors also should contact the editorial office with any questions, by phone (202–828-0590) or by e-mail ([email protected]).

Types of Published Pieces


Articles deal with issues of broad concern to the entire academic medicine community or are descriptive pieces on topics directly and practically relevant to medical education. “Viewpoint” Articles are occasional, usually scholarly, opinion pieces about issues in academic medicine. “Commentaries” are invited by the editor and appear in the same issue as the paper(s) they address. For all types of Articles, the author and editor work together to determine the final length and format and the number of tables and figures. In general, an Article should be from 500 to 4,000 words long (but longer Articles are acceptable if the length is warranted), with an unstructured abstract of no more than 250 words (25 words for very short Articles). (Viewpoint Articles generally are no longer than 2,000 words and usually have no tables or figures.) The number of references should be appropriate to the piece and should be representative, not exhaustive; authors should try to have no more than 20 references (no more than three for very short Articles); literature reviews often have more than 20.

Research Reports

Research Reports are usually reports of primary research in medical education. They range from very short pieces of 500 words to long pieces of 4,000 words, occasionally more. Depending on length, Research Reports can have up to five tables or figures (no more than one for very short reports). Research Reports should have structured abstracts of no more than 250 words (25 words for very short reports). The number of references should be appropriate to the piece and should be representative, not exhaustive; authors should try to have no more than 20 references (no more than three for very short reports); literature reviews often have more than 20. Research Reports should no longer be submitted in masked form.

Other Categories

“Medicine and the Arts” (MATA). This monthly column combines a work of art (an excerpt from literature, a poem, a photograph, etc.) with a commentary on the relevance of the work to medicine and medical education. Literature excerpts generally run no more than 700 words and commentaries are limited to about 850 words. Unsolicited submissions are welcome and any additional inquiries can be directed to MATA’s Editor, Anne Farmakidis.

“Teaching and Learning Moments.” This feature is published on a regular basis and varies in style and subject. Most pieces are first-person, informal narratives in which the author relates an experience or idea that gives a lesson applicable to medical education. Pieces range from 300–500 words and must fit one journal page; unsolicited manuscripts are welcomed.

Letters to the Editor. If you are interested in commenting on an article, we welcome you to use our “Write to AM” feature at Academic Medicine Online. For more information you can go to (

The Review and Publication Processes

Rapid Review generates an automatic e-mail acknowledgment of your submission, and you will be able to track the decision process online. All manuscripts are reviewed in depth by the editor, other internal advisers as appropriate, and in many cases by outside reviewers. In some cases, before a decision is made, the author is allowed to revise a manuscript according to guidelines from the reviewers or the editors. Authors and coauthors of accepted manuscripts are asked to assign copyright to the AAMC.

Accepted manuscripts are edited in depth. The edited manuscript and the editor’s comments or questions are then sent to the corresponding author, who responds in writing to the editor’s changes and questions, makes any changes needed, and sends the original edited copy along with the changes and the signed forms back to the editor. The editor prepares the manuscript for the publisher, who e-mails the author a PDF proof of the article to check for gross errors. The author is responsible for full and thorough proofreading of this proof.

The publisher also coordinates publication of the online version of the journal, which is produced by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

© 2007 Association of American Medical Colleges