Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Journal Policies

The guidelines for the policies, management, and publication of The AAO Journal (AAOJ) are core practices of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the recommendations for the conduct, reporting, editing, and publication of scholarly work in medical journals of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), and the recommendations on publication ethics policies for medical journals of the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME).


The AAOJ adheres to the guidelines on authorship established by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) statement on Authorship and Contribution . According to these guidelines, the criteria established for authorship are intended to present an honest account of what took place. Those with substantial intellectual contributions or who have written the manuscript should be included as an author.

Entering patients for study or providing funding or administrative oversight are not sufficient for authorship; instead these contributions should appear in the Acknowledgment section.

If someone other than the authors, such as a science writer or corporate employee, has participated in writing the paper, this participation must be disclosed. If a multicenter group conducted the research, the group should identify a writing committee that accepts direct responsibility for the manuscript.

It is the sole responsibility of the authors, institutions, or third parties to settle any disputes about authorship, intellectual ownership, acknowledgments, or institutional affiliations. Likewise, the authors themselves are responsible for ensuring proper attribution of institutions and agencies where the research was conducted or funded. The AAOJ is not in a position to arbitrate such disputes.

All authors must contribute to manuscript writing and final manuscript approval. Additionally, each author must also contribute to at least one of the following three categories:

  • Concept and design
  • Collection and assembly of data
  • Data analysis and interpretation

Creating the author list:

  • List the author who contributed the most first, typically a principal investigator if the research came from a clinical trial.
  • A senior author, such as a department chairperson, often appears last in the list.
  • List other authors in order from greatest to least contribution.

Selecting the corresponding author:

  • The corresponding author is the primary contact with the journal.
  • Any author can be the corresponding author.
  • Only one author can be the corresponding author.

Role of the corresponding author:

  • Meets submission requirements and submits the manuscript to the journal
  • Ensures completion of authorship forms—this includes conflicts of interest forms for all authors
  • Distributes decision letters, reviewer comments, and other messages from the journal, and distributes proofs among coauthors for review
  • Returns corrections and ensures that all authors approve each version of the article

Confidentiality and Embargo Policy

Submitted manuscripts are considered both CONFIDENTIAL and EMBARGOED from the time of submission. In compliance with the embargo policy, only information contained in the Abstract can be made public before the manuscript has been published. Manuscripts and Abstracts that have been published elsewhere are ineligible for publication in the AAOJ. For more information on AAOJ's originality requirements and what constitutes prior publication, see the Originality Policy.

The Confidentiality and Embargo Policy requires that, prior to the embargo being lifted, the first author and coauthors of the research will not:

  • publish the information or provide it to others who may publish it,
  • release the findings to news media, or
  • use the information for trading in the securities of any issuer or provide it to others who may use it for securities trading purposes.

The corresponding author is responsible for conveying this information to all parties.

Conflicts of Interest


All contributors to journal articles are required to submit conflict of interest disclosures. In the event that authors do not have any potential conflicts to disclose, a statement to that effect must be made on the title page. Potential conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Leadership position in a group directly or indirectly related to the current study.
  • Any non-financial affiliation (e.g., board member or adviser) with an institution or other entity that may benefit from the opinions or data in the current study.
  • Service on a formulary committee that determines whether to select the product in a study or similar products.

Editors and Reviewers

Editors and reviewers are required to disclose financial interests or relationships and are asked to answer the same questions as authors.

If there is doubt about reporting any potential conflict of interest, it is better to declare a conflict than not.

Recusal Guidelines for Editors and Reviewers

AAOJ Editors (including the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor, and Science Editor) and Reviewers, including Editorial Board members, are required to recuse themselves when the following circumstances arise:

  • The Editor or Reviewer is an author on the manuscript or is the spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, or child of an author on the manuscript.
  • The Editor or Reviewer is currently employed by, or has his or her principal practice or research site at, the same institution or organization as an author on the manuscript.
  • The Editor or Reviewer is involved in ongoing, direct research collaboration with the author, including as a co-investigator or co-author on a different manuscript.
  • The Editor or Reviewer has a relationship with a commercial interest that is relevant to the subject matter of the manuscript.
  • The Editor or Reviewer has a relationship, not listed above, that would impact his or her ability to provide a fair and objective review.
  • Membership in the same cooperative group as an author is not grounds for recusal. However, participation as an investigator on the same cooperative group study as an author is grounds for recusal.

Recusal is also required upon request by the AAOJ Editor-in-Chief. If an editor has any relationship with the authors of a manuscript or a firm associated with a manuscript, the editor is recused from any decision related to the manuscript.

Papers authored by Editors and Editorial Board members: AAOJ Editors (including the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor, and Science Editor) and Reviewers, including Editorial Board members, are required to recuse themselves from participating in the review process of any manuscript in which there is a potential or actual competing interest.

Questions about the recusal process should be directed to Academy staff, who will provide advice in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief, as appropriate.


Authors submit manuscripts with the understanding that, if accepted, the copyright of the article, including the right to reproduce the article in all forms and media, shall be assigned exclusively to the American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO) as publisher of The AAO Journal.

Human and Animal Rights

AAOJ reviews reports on human experimentation in accordance with the precepts of the Helsinki Declaration.

All reports must include:

  • A statement that the investigators performed the human investigations after approval by a local Human Investigations Committee and in accord with an assurance filed with and approved by the Department of Health and Human Services, where appropriate. In addition, such data must be anonymized so as to protect the identities of subjects involved in the research.
  • A statement that the investigators obtained informed consent from each participant or each participant's guardian.
  • Patient images and patient-related materials that might reveal a patient’s identity must be accompanied by written consent from the patient or, when applicable, the patient’s legal guardian, allowing the journal to publish the image or material. A release form should be obtained for any manuscript containing photographs. Authors are encouraged to use the AAOJ’s Patient-Model Release Form for this purpose.
  • For manuscripts on phase-three clinical trials, the trials must have been registered with at least one public registry before subject enrollment in the study. Other trials involving human subjects, including pilot studies, must meet this requirement if they have at least one prospectively assigned concurrent control or comparison group.
  • Authors may register their studies with any trials registry that is electronically searchable and accessible to the public for free. In addition, the registry must be nonprofit, open to all registrants, and have a mechanism to ensure the validity of the registration data.
  • Authors must provide the AAOJ with the name of the public registry used. The registry listings for research submitted to the AAOJ must include information on the 20 items the World Health Organization identified as the minimum registration data set.
  • Animal experiments must be in full compliance with local, national, ethical, and regulatory principles, and local licensing arrangements.

Identifiable Patients

Authors must obtain written permission from patients to use their photographic images if those patients are identifiable in the images. If a patient is younger than 18 years, authors must obtain permission from one of the patient’s parents or guardians. Authors are encouraged to use the AAOJ’s Patient-Model Release Form for this purpose.


The AAOJ follows the recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) on misconduct.

The most common misconduct concerns are addressed in detail below:

  1. Falsification of data: Willful fabrication, omission, or selective reporting of data. Reviewers are asked to contact the editor if they have a suspicion of this type of occurrence.
  2. Authorship: All authors should be acknowledged and authors who did not contribute should not be listed.
  3. Piracy and Plagiarism: Unauthorized material submitted without adequate permission or acknowledgment. Plagiarism generally involves the use of materials from others but can apply to researchers' duplication of their own previously published reports without acknowledgment (self-plagiarism or duplicate publication). Reviewers will discuss this with the editors who will make a plan that may include confrontation of the authors with these concerns and possible rejection of the article may be a result. The intent is difficult to assign.
  4. Inappropriate or fraudulent digital image manipulation: Fraudulent manipulation does not include clarification of image data that affects the interpretation of the data. Other adjustments of digital images may be considered misconduct.
  5. Violation of generally accepted research practices: Examples include: Failure to use accepted practices in proposing or carrying out research or scholarly writing, improper manipulation or presentation of experiments or literature to obtain biased results, deceptive statistical or analysis, and improper reporting of results.
  6. Failure to comply with legislative and regulatory requirements affecting research: This may include violations of applicable local regulations or investigational review and law involving the use of funds, care of animals, human subjects, investigational drugs, recombinant products, new devices or radioactive, biological, or chemical materials.
  7. Inappropriate behavior in relation to misconduct: Alleging misconduct which is not valid is misconduct if the allegation is blatantly false. Withholding or destruction of information relevant to a claim of misconduct and retaliation against persons involved in the allegation or investigation would also represent misconduct.

Response to allegations of possible misconduct

Any allegations of misconduct should be brought to the attention of the AAOJ editors via [email protected]. The AAOJ Editors will review the allegations and determine the appropriate response that may include one or more of the following options:

  1. Send a letter of explanation to the individual(s) against whom there is a complaint.
  2. Send a letter of reprimand to the individual(s) against whom there is a complaint.
  3. Send a letter of reprimand to all co-authors against whom there is a complaint.
  4. Send a letter outlining the findings to the supervising institution and, if appropriate, the funding body.
  5. The investigation will be completed even if the authors withdraw the submission.
  6. Reviewers and editors may be accused of misconduct; in this event, they will be replaced while the allegation is reviewed and may be removed from further association with the journal.

Methods of referral
All allegations of referral should go to the managing editor that will refer the issue to the editor-in-chief. If the editor-in-chief is the accused, then the managing editor shall refer the matter to the chair of the Publications Committee for investigation.


The AAOJ follows the guidelines from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) section on Overlapping Publications.

Manuscripts must contain original material that is not readily available elsewhere.

The title page and cover letter should include a statement verifying the originality of the work, and disclose any previous abstracts, presentations, reports, or publications that contain material that might be perceived to overlap with the current submission. If a similar publication exists, the authors should include a copy in the Cover Letter file as part of the submission process and justify why their submission is considered non-overlapping and novel. If applicable, authors should cite any previously published or closely related work within the text.

The AAOJ will not accept any manuscript that is currently under review at another journal.

Authors can post their results in clinical trial registries or submit them to government regulatory agencies (e.g., FDA or EMA) without the manuscript being considered previously published or an overlapping publication.

Preprint Policy

The AAOJ will consider publication of manuscripts that contain information previously posted on preprint servers. Authors cannot submit their paper to a preprint server after it has been submitted to the AAOJ. However, authors should be advised that the degree to which the submitted manuscript overlaps with what is already posted on the preprint server may affect the novelty of the findings for the AAOJ readership, and this will be considered in the evaluation of the manuscript. If a report has been published on a preprint server prior to manuscript submission, this must be acknowledged during the submission and resubmission processes. In addition, a link to that document must be provided so that reviewers and editors can evaluate the preprinted information and compare it with the submitted manuscript.

If your manuscript is accepted, the AAOJ will include this link with your published manuscript. Failure to acknowledge prior dissemination of research posted on preprint servers or similar databases will jeopardize the status of the submission. When such a manuscript has been submitted to the AAOJ, no revisions should be posted to the preprint server during the manuscript's peer review process. If the manuscript is eventually accepted for publication, no revisions should be posted on the preprint server until the final manuscript is published online by the AAO, and any such revisions must not deviate from the final version of the manuscript published by the AAO.

Finally, once the manuscript has been published in the AAOJ, any future changes to the manuscript such as errata, discovered by the authors after journal publication for instance, must be first submitted, approved, and published by the AAO, prior to making any changes to the preprint document. Violation of this preprint policy will be considered grounds for article retraction.

Previous Publication and Simultaneous Submission

The AAOJ accepts manuscripts for consideration with the understanding they have not been published elsewhere in print or online and are not simultaneously under consideration by any other print or electronic publication.

Any duplicative materials (e.g., an abstract, material published using the same or similar data, graphic elements) should be described in the cover letter and identified as such in the submitted materials.

Because the AAOJ’s peer reviewers invest a considerable amount of time in the peer review process, manuscripts must be withdrawn from consideration in the AAOJ if they have already been published in any print or online medium or if they are currently under review by another biomedical journal.

Failure to disclose previous publication may result in authors being barred from submission to the AAOJ.


Authors submit manuscripts with the understanding that, if accepted, the copyright of the article, including the right to reproduce the article in all forms and media, shall be assigned exclusively to the American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO) as publisher of The AAO Journal.

Authors are responsible for obtaining written permission from publishers and authors to adapt or reprint previously published tables, illustrations, and other graphic elements. Authors must specifically obtain permission to reprint or adapt graphic elements.

Authors also must obtain written permission from patients to use their photographic images if those patients are identifiable in the images. If a patient is younger than 18 years, authors must obtain permission from one of the patient’s parents or guardians. Authors are encouraged to use the AAOJ’s Patient-Model Release Form for this purpose.

Authors must submit signed permissions from publishers, authors, and patients once their manuscripts are accepted for publication in the AAOJ. Likewise, authors must submit signed permissions from anyone explicitly named in their studies, including named sources for unpublished data and individuals listed in the acknowledgments.

Authors serving in the U.S. military must obtain the armed forces’ approval of the publications of their manuscripts and provide military or institutional disclaimers when submitting manuscripts.

Failure to submit appropriate permission forms may delay publication.

If any portion (e.g., a figure or table) of a manuscript submitted for consideration has been published previously, authors must acknowledge the original source, and submit written permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the material. Permission is required regardless of authorship or publisher, except for documents in the public domain.

AAO will not refuse any reasonable request for permission to reproduce any material published in the AAOJ. Authors should e-mail requests to [email protected].

Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal