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Authors

Preparing and Submitting

Scope

MedEdPORTAL invites educators across the health professions to submit generalizable educational materials that have been designed for and implemented with medical or dental trainees or practitioners (e.g., professional school, residency, faculty development, continuing professional development) with the aim of helping to improve patient care.

Article Types

Original Publication

An Original Publication is a stand-alone educational activity that includes all the necessary instructions and materials for implementation. The module described must be generalizable to other institutions both in content (i.e., not regionally specific) and in size (i.e., not full curricula). Each submission is composed of an Educational Summary Report (ESR; an article with standard structured headings of Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion describing the activity) plus one or more appendices (all the materials needed for implementation of the activity).

Letter to the Editor

Authors may submit a Letter to the Editor in response to a MedEdPORTAL publication as a form of postpublication review. Letters may take any of the following forms: (1) a reasoned critique of the publication, (2) a commentary in favor of the publication, or (3) a clarification of a publication by the same authors. Letters should not include unpublished data and are not considered peer reviewed but will undergo editorial review for appropriateness. The length should not exceed 500 words. Authors interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor should contact mededportal@aamc.org.

Submission Standards

All submissions must follow the MedEdPORTAL Submission Standards. Potential authors should carefully review this checklist before they initiate the submission process.

To be eligible for peer review, all submissions must:

  1. Have been implemented and evaluated (e.g., met learning objectives, increased knowledge or skills) with target learners that include those in the medical and/or dental profession,
  2. Contain a complete and properly formatted Educational Summary Report based on the appropriate template,
  3. Contain all key appendices (i.e., resources and materials) required for implementation by others as a standalone educational activity, and
  4. Include appropriate citations, attribution, and/or permissions for all third-party content (See Original Content).

Submissions that fail to meet the above criteria may be rejected prior to peer review.

Educational Summary Report

The Educational Summary Report (ESR) is a required component of all original publication submissions. The ESR provides a summary of the entire submission and is founded on the standard structured manuscript headings of Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. The ESR serves as a guide for understanding the purpose and implementation of the educational activity.

A standard ESR template should be used to help authors prepare a complete ESR. The standard ESR template applies to most submissions, but some submission types have additional or unique requirements based on their pedagogical focus. Special-format ESR templates must be used for submissions describing the following types of activities: 

Assessment

Simulation

Standardized Patients

Team-Based Learning

For guidelines on formatting ESR headings, review the ESR Style Guide . Authors who do not adequately address each section and comply with style and format requirements in the ESR template risk rejection prior to peer review.

ESR Figures & Tables

MedEdPORTAL allows authors to include up to a maximum of 4 figures and/or tables within the ESR provided they are formatted according to the guidelines, based on AMA style, outlined in the ESR Style Guide . ll figures and tables must be submitted as separate files, but in production they will be placed as close to the ESR in-text reference as possible. The ESR must have an in-text reference to each figure or table in chronological order.

It is the author’s responsibility to (1) provide high-quality figures and tables that are ready to be published online and (2) make revisions as requested by editors during the review and editing processes.

ESR Figures

All ESR figures should be:

  • Submitted as TIFF, EPS, or Microsoft Office (DOC, PPT, XLS) files. High-resolution PDF files are also acceptable. TIFF file format is preferred. Figures should not be cut and pasted into Word, and only provided as DOC files if they were originally created in Word. 
  • Designated as ESR Figure files within the Editorial Manager submission form. The suggested file name is ESR Figure 1.tif.
  • Clear, legible, and ready to publish. Full-color figures must be equally understandable if viewed or printed out in grayscale. Figures should not include borders, outlines, or boxes around figures. Any white or black space surrounding the image should be cropped out. The font should be no smaller than 9 points.
  • Understandable apart from the ESR text. For example, figures that contain graphs should have their axes labeled. Symbols, patterns, colors, shading, and abbreviations should be explained in either the figure caption or a legend inset in the illustration area.

Diagrams, graphs, and other line art must be provided as live files that can be edited. If that is not possible, they must be saved at a resolution of at least 1200 dpi. If created in a Microsoft Office program, submit the native (DOC, PPT, XLS) file

Photographs, radiographs, and other halftone images must be saved at a resolution of at least 300 dpi. If they include text, they must be saved at a resolution of at least 600 dpi.

ESR Tables

ESR tables must be created in Word using the table function. Tables created in Excel or informally created in Word with tabbing or spacing will not be accepted. Tables should be designated as ESR Table files within the Editorial Manager submission form. The suggested file name is ESR Table 1.doc.

Appendices

Along with the ESR, authors must submit all materials needed for implementation of the educational activity. Once published, all peer-reviewed appendices will be linked to the ESR.

Technical Requirements

Files must be in accessible, commonly used formats (e.g., .doc, .ppt, .pdf, .mp4, .zip, .html, .xls, etc.) and should not require the download and/or installation of other programs. To facilitate the future use of a publication, the appendices should be reasonable in number, and should not exceed a combined file size of 500 MB.

Original Content

All content found in a MedEdPORTAL submission must be original work by one of the authors or properly attributed to the non-author (third-party) source. Staff editors review all content (e.g., photos, images, charts, graphs, cartoons, sound files, etc.) within the appendices to determine if appropriate citations, attribution, and/or permissions are included. All content, regardless of origin or ownership, must be properly cited and meet the Informed Consent policy.

Citation, Attribution, and Permission

The following table outlines how to properly cite embedded content (e.g., images, charts, figures) included in appendices:

Web-based Ownership/Protection Type Citation Example
No Author “Author owned.”
Non-Author “Image by [OWNER], used with permission.”
Yes Copyrighteda “Image retrieved from: [URL] on [DATE]. Permission received from [OWNER].”
Creative Commons (CC)b “Image by [OWNER], retrieved from: [URL] on [DATE]. Creative Commons License associated: [CC URL].”
Public Domain or Federal Government Sitec “Image by [OWNER], retrieved from: [URL] on [DATE]. Image is in the public domain.”

aPlease use the MedEdPORTAL Third-Party Content Permission Form to gain permission and upload with the submission.
bMust match Creative Commons license selected for the submission.
cFederal government site content is generally in the public domain. State government site content varies. 

Supporting and External Material

Referencing supporting or external resources as a necessary part of a submission (e.g., required prereading) is permitted for enduring materials that are generally accessible to readers and are limited in size compared to the actual educational activity. Examples include journal articles, brief book excerpts, or other printed content. Such materials should be sparingly used because they limit the generalizability of the submission. In general, websites are not considered to be enduring.

A submission that includes such “off-submission” files must: (1) provide a reference for the external material using a standard AMA citation within the submission files, (2) list the citation within the submission form, Question #3, and (3) include a copy of the external material, designated as “Not for Publication,” as part of the uploaded submission files. This inclusion of the material expedites peer review, but the file(s) will not be included as part of the final publication.  

Web-based Submissions

In order to ensure that all content published by MedEdPORTAL is accessible and unaltered in perpetuity, any submissions created or hosted on a web-based platform must be packaged as an offline file and uploaded at submission for eventual distribution via the MedEdPORTAL site. MedEdPORTAL will not accept links to required content.

Submission Process

Submitting

All submitting authors must complete the MedEdPORTAL submission form hosted at Editorial Manager. There are no fees associated with submission, processing and/or publishing. As part of this process, authors must read and acknowledge the MedEdPORTAL Submission Agreement.

Screening

All submissions are screened by MedEdPORTAL staff to ensure they meet minimal scholarship requirements outlined in the Submission Standards, Scholarly Criteria, Educational Summary Report, and Appendices sections above. If a submission does not meet these requirements and standards, staff may return it to the authors for revision. Authors are encouraged to rectify all screening concerns as soon as possible to avoid delays in processing.

Peer Review

All submissions that successfully clear the screening process next enter the MedEdPORTAL peer review process. The submission is assigned to an associate editor, who invites at least two expert reviewers to consider the submission. The reviewers may recommend one of the following publication decisions: Accept, Revisions Required, or Reject.

Informed by the reviewers’ comments and suggestions, the associate editor writes his/her own editorial recommendation and submits it, along with the peer reviewers’ statements, to the editor-in-chief.

The editor-in-chief evaluates the submitted reviews and makes the final publication decision. A formal decision email that includes comments and recommendations from the reviewers is sent to the primary author regarding the publication decision.

Publishing

If the submission is accepted for publication, MedEdPORTAL staff prepare the resource for final publication. This process involves copyediting and formatting the ESR, and providing a proof for the authors to review. Once approved, the accepted work is published on the MedEdPORTAL site.

As an online journal, MedEdPORTAL publishes on a continuous basis. Authors receive a notification when their publication goes live on the MedEdPORTAL website, where it will be searchable and downloadable. All publications are also archived in PubMedCentral and searchable within the MEDLINE and PubMed databases.

Open Access and Creative Commons Licensing

All MedEdPORTAL publications are available to download without cost or requiring login, and authors retain ownership and copyright of their materials. Each publication is associated with an author-chosen Creative Commons license, which is a legal agreement that governs how the materials in the publication can be used and redistributed by others.

Publication Ethics

Authorship

Authorship is based on the following criteria, quoted from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Web site:

  • 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.

Contributors who do not meet all four of the above criteria must not be listed as authors, but their contributions can be recognized in an acknowledgment within the ESR.

The submitting author must report any funding/support or conflict of interest for all authors within the submission form.

It is important that the corresponding author complete the submission form in Editorial Manager. Accepted publications will include the email address of the corresponding author.

Conflict of Interest

Authorial

Authors are required to declare in the MedEdPORTAL submission form all potential conflicts of interest—financial, personal, or other—that may affect the information, materials, data collection, or interpretation presented in the submission (i.e., the Educational Summary Report, ESR, and/or the appendices). A conflict of interest exists when professional judgment concerning a primary interest may be influenced by secondary interests. Conflicts of interest at the time of submission will be disclosed to peer reviewers and associate editors and adjudicated by the editor-in-chief, and if the submission is accepted, will be publicly disclosed in the ESR.

Editorial

Reviewers and editors are required to declare any and all potential conflicts of interest. If an author of a manuscript under consideration has a potential conflict of interest with the editor-in-chief, decisions regarding that manuscript will be made by the senior deputy editor or an associate editor.

Editorial Board

An editorial board is appointed by the editor-in-chief to provide guidance and advice to the editor-in-chief regarding journal content and editorial focus. Each member of the MedEdPORTAL Editorial Board is expected to (1) present unbiased, independent, and professional advice to the editor-in-chief, (2) maintain confidentiality about editorial board activities and discussion, and (3) sign a disclosure form to affirm that he or she has read, understands, and agrees to abide by the conflict of interest policy and to disclose any known conflicts or to state that no conflicts exist at the time. Conflicts of interest must be disclosed to the editor-in-chief who will determine how to manage, reduce, or eliminate the conflict.

Ethical Approval

It is the author's responsibility to provide evidence of ethical approval for research activities involving human subjects. Details about the approving committee (e.g., institutional review board) and responsible institution should be included in the submission form and in the Methods section of the Educational Summary Report (ESR). Please note that at many U.S. institutions, a decision of “exempt” must be made by an institutional review board or a designated independent reviewer, but may not be made by the investigator. Author agrees to make all such formal documentation available upon request. Authors who do not have access to a formal ethical approval process have the responsibility to ensure that studies have been conducted in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki (https://www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-declaration-of-helsinki-ethical-principles-for-medical-research-involving-human-subjects/) and must provide information in the ESR to this effect. Similarly, authors should follow institutional and federal guidelines, including those set forth by the American Veterinary Medical Association, to ensure the appropriate care and use of laboratory animals.

Informed Consent

MedEdPORTAL respects patient privacy and discourages the use of any identifying information in the submission unless scientifically necessary. If the submission contains any personal identifiers or patient health information, including images, signed informed consent must be documented, obtained, and retained consistent with the laws of where the identifiable information was collected. Please note, the submission, if accepted, will be permanently archived with a third party. The author must produce the signed informed consent upon reasonable request.

Funding/Support

Authors must disclose any support that aided the development and promotion of materials submitted to MedEdPORTAL. This includes both commercial and noncommercial support.

Plagiarism and Misconduct

Plagiarism occurs when authors use words, concepts, images, or other intellectual property not belonging to them and without attribution or permission, and/or reuse significant portions of their own previously published work (i.e., self-plagiarism).

The AAMC will address all instances of misconduct on a case-by-case basis and take appropriate remedial action.

Similarity Check

MedEdPORTAL is part of Similarity Check, a multipublisher mechanism to screen published and submitted content for originality. This initiative provides the necessary tools to ensure that potential misconduct is identified at an early stage in the process—ideally, before publication. The iThenticate system made available to Similarity Check members has been designed specifically to identify the two main categories of misconduct: plagiarism and redundant or duplicate publication. Before a MedEdPORTAL submission is considered for editorial review, the submission’s ESR is scanned by iThenticate and compared with other articles in the Similarity Check database.

Duplicate Publication

Prior Dissemination

MedEdPORTAL will only consider original work that has not been previously published. At submission, authors must disclose any prior dissemination of the content in print or electronic format.

The following forms of posting are not deemed by MedEdPORTAL to constitute prior publication and will not necessarily disqualify a submission.

  • Thesis
  • Presentation at a conference
  • Preprint server

Resources posted on institutional intranets and personal blogs, depending on their degree of dissemination, may also constitute prior publication. During the time that a submission is undergoing MedEdPORTAL peer review, it must not be submitted for publication at another peer-reviewed venue.

Submissions Related to Prior Publications

While MedEdPORTAL will not consider previously published works, there are some instances where curricular materials related to prior publications (e.g., videos, workshop materials, assessment tools) may be submitted as stand-alone resources, as long as all of the following conditions are met:

  • The resources submitted to MedEdPORTAL must be original and must not have been included in the prior publication (e.g., as an appendix or a supplemental file).
  • The ESR must differ from the prior publication in wording and essence. The ESR must reference the prior publication but be free of plagiarism (including self-plagiarism). If previously published evaluation data are referenced, the synthesis of the evaluation results must be distinguishable from that in the prior publication.
  • The MedEdPORTAL submission must represent a meaningful and additive contribution beyond that of the prior publication.

The editor-in-chief will make the final determination whether or not a submission related to a prior publication merits consideration as a separate scholarly work.

Multimodule Submissions

Authors intending to submit multiple related educational activities (“modules”) as separate submissions in a series, or modules that together compose a larger curriculum, should take caution in their submission preparation. Authors may prepare multiple submissions as a series only if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The module functions completely independent of the larger curriculum or series of modules,
  • The module has been individually evaluated, and
  • The ESR for the module contains original content primarily describing the included activity, with only secondary mention of the larger curriculum.

Recognizing that the ESR’s Methods section may contain a subset of instructions common to other modules in the series, all other sections in the ESR should have original content specific to the module; simple paraphrasing is insufficient to distinguish the ESR of one module from another. If the Abstract, Educational Objectives, Introduction, Results, and Discussion could apply equally to another module, then all modules in the curriculum should be combined as a single submission. Acceptance of one module does not affect the likelihood that a subsequent module will be accepted.

Peer Review Principles

Confidentiality

Reviewers are asked to keep the following information confidential while a submission is under review:

  • The name of the author(s) and affiliated institution(s).
  • The title and specific nature of the material.

Reviewers must not use knowledge of the work, before its publication, to further their own interests.

Blinding

MedEdPORTAL employs a single-blind review process. While the identity of the author is available to the reviewers, the identities of the reviewers are not available to the author.

Conflict of Interest

Reviewers must disclose to the editor-in-chief whether any conflicts of interest exist that could bias their opinion. Simply knowing one of the authors or having casual knowledge of the submission does not necessarily mean a conflict of interest exists.

Examples of where a conflict of interest does exist include:

  • Any situation where the reviewer could gain personally or financially as a result of reviewing the submission.
  • A close collaboration or competition with one of the authors.
  • Review of the submission would benefit a particular product, program, or resource related to the reviewer.
  • Any situation that could limit an objective review of any submission.

Scholarly Criteria

Reviewers and editors will judge all submissions in light of the six criteria for scholarship as adapted from those described in Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate (Glassick, Huber, and Maeroff, 1997). Authors are encouraged to assess their own work using this table. Information based on these criteria must pervade the submission.

Criterion

Description

Clear goals

The author clearly states the educational objectives of the work.

Adequate preparation

The author uses prior work (e.g., existing scholarship and personal experience) to inform and develop the work.

Appropriate methods

The author uses a suitable approach to meet the stated objectives of the work.

Significant results

The author achieves the goals and contributes to the field in a manner that invites others to use the work.

Effective presentation

The author effectively organizes and presents the content of the work.

Reflective critique

The author thoughtfully assesses the submission to refine, enhance, or expand the original concept.

Adapted from Glassick, Huber, and Maeroff, Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 1997).

Appealing a Publication Decision

Only editorial decisions of rejection may be appealed. The primary author may appeal a rejection decision for the following reasons:

  • Compelling evidence of bias.
  • Compelling evidence of a conflict of interest.
  • Significant factual error(s) or administrative process error(s) made by one or more of the reviewers or editors that had a substantial negative impact on the outcome of the review. Appeals solely on the basis of differences of opinion are not likely to be granted.

The primary author must notify the MedEdPORTAL editor-in-chief at mededportal@aamc.org within 10 calendar days from the date of the rejection decision. The appeal must provide evidence to support the author’s argument that the rejection decision was primarily and directly the result of one or more of the above reasons.

Correcting a Publication Error

Rarely, an error may be discovered postproduction that impacts the nature of the publication or interpretation of its results. In such an instance, the error will be corrected via an erratum that references the original publication.

Advertising

Advertising is not accepted for MedEdPORTAL, but is available in Academic Medicine, the other journal sponsored by the AAMC. See the Wolters Kluwer Advertising Center for more information on advertising in Academic Medicine.

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