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Journal of Graduate Medical Education
Instructions for Authors

(Updated June 2020)

Overview

Types of Manuscripts

Word, Box/Table/Figure Limits

Components of a Manuscript Submission

Manuscript Submission

Editorial and Peer Review Process

Resources for Authors

Before submitting your manuscript, please carefully read these instructions for authors, and also review the Manuscript Checklist. This will enable JGME staff to process your manuscript quickly.

1. Overview

The Journal of Graduate Medical Education (JGME) focuses on the education of allopathic and osteopathic residents and fellows, including transitions into and out of residency and fellowship, as well as graduate medical education (GME) research and innovation, such as faculty development, curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation. Manuscript submission categories include original research, educational innovations, reviews, brief reports, perspectives, personal essays about teaching and learning, and letters to the editor concerning previously published JGME articles.

Manuscripts should pertain to GME or related topics and be of potential interest to at least 2 medical specialties or subspecialties, as JGME is read by all specialties and subspecialties. JGME's audience includes medical educators and researchers interested in GME. JGME does not publish papers focused primarily on undergraduate medical education or the education of other health professionals.

Additional resources are provided at the end of this document.

2. TYPES OF MANUSCRIPTS

Please follow the general format indicated in the JGME templates for Quantitative and Qualitative research papers (eg, Original Research, Educational Innovation, Brief Report).

Original Research: Includes all content areas in GME. Research manuscripts will meet standard quality criteria for education scholarship, as reflected by choice of research design, sample size, and measurement instruments for quantitative research, standard rigorous methods for qualitative research, and accepted quality standards for quality improvement and implementation science. Original Research submissions must use the JGME structured format for the abstract and manuscript content.

Educational Innovation: A description of a new approach or strategy in medical education that has been implemented and assessed. Innovations that are novel, rather than identical approaches applied in a slightly different context, will be more successful submissions. Educational Innovation manuscripts should answer the question: Should this innovation be tried (or avoided) in other settings or disciplines? Manuscripts should include some information on feasibility (costs, time, materials, faculty training, technology) and acceptability (to participants). Educational Innovation submissions must use the JGME structured format for abstract and manuscript content.

Brief Report: A summary of a new curriculum, assessment, teaching method, or successful best practice that moves the field in a new direction or concerns a current “hot topic.” Brief Report submissions may have more limited outcomes: a single setting, a smaller number of trainees, a single discipline, or preliminary or self-reported outcome measures. Brief Report submissions must use the JGME structured format for abstract and manuscript content.

Reviews: Reviews may employ any framework (systematic, narrative or qualitative, scoping, realist, and others) on topics relevant to graduate medical educators. Reviews will be assessed based on the suitability of the methods chosen for the questions posed and overall quality.

  • All reviews should use the JGME structured format for abstract and manuscript content. Reviews must specify the type of review in the Methods section of the abstract and article, as well as why this type was chosen. Reviews will usually include a discussion of the quality of the existing evidence and provide recommendations drawn from the evidence.

Perspectives: Provide evidence and expert opinion on issues of broad interest to program directors, educators, researchers, and institutional GME leaders. Perspectives must be evidence-based but will also reflect the authors’ expert opinion. Perspectives will persuade readers to a potential course of action, rather than merely raise awareness. Any format may be used, and there is no abstract. The best Perspectives are clearly written and engage the reader.

On Teaching: Personal essays that reflect the experience of teaching or learning in GME and that may be of interest to multiple specialties. These essays should not be didactic (lecturing) in tone, but rather reveal the author’s thoughts and feelings through rich description, dialogue, and other techniques. Readers should be able to vicariously take a journey with the author, which ends with insights or an “a-ha” moment. Any format may be used and there is no abstract.

To the Editor: Provides comments on articles published in JGME, with a limit of 500 words and 5 or fewer references. Submissions may be shortened at the discretion of the editor.

New Ideas: Annually, JGME seeks brief articles on novel ideas in all GME content areas, such as curriculum, teaching, assessment, quality and safety, program evaluation, and faculty development. New Ideas submissions may not exceed 600 words. The submission deadline is in November of each year. Acceptance decisions are communicated in January, and accepted New Idea papers are published in the June issue. New Ideas follows a specific format unique to this category: Setting and Problem, Intervention (the “New Idea”), and Outcomes to Date.

3. WORD COUNT AND BOX/TABLE/FIGURE LIMITS

Category Manuscript, words Abstract, words Boxes/Tables/Figures, No.
Original Research
Quantitative
Qualitative
 
Generally less than 2,500
Generally less than 3,500
 
≤ 250
 
 
≤ 5
 
Educational Innovation Generally less than 2,000 ≤ 250 ≤ 5
Review Generally less than 3,000 ≤ 250 ≤ 5
Brief Report ≤ 1,200 ≤ 250 ≤ 2
Perspectives ≤ 1,200 No abstract Usually ≤ 2
On Teaching ≤ 1,200 No abstract N/A
Letters To the Editor ≤ 500 No abstract ≤ 2

Note: Manuscript word counts exclude the title page, headings, acknowledgements, figures, tables, boxes, abstract, references, and supplemental material. Abstract word counts do include the headings.

Note: All studies that use a non-published survey or questionnaire must include a copy of the survey or questionnaire as supplemental online material.

4. COMPONENTS OF A MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION

A. Cover letter

  • The cover letter should contain a very brief introduction to your manuscript.
  • If there are compelling reasons to exceed the word count limits in the manuscript, provide these reasons in the cover letter.
  • Manuscripts submitted may not have been previously published in print or electronic format, and cannot be under consideration by another publication or medium.

B. Title page

Please order the title page as follows:

  • Title of article
  • Author names and degrees, institutions/affiliations and roles (eg, PGY-2 Resident, Program Director, Associate Professor of Medicine, etc), and contributions
  • Prior or related publications, and prior abstract or poster presentation (if appropriate)
  • Acknowledgements (if appropriate)
  • Disclaimer (if appropriate)
  • Corresponding author professional contact information (business address, phone number, fax, and e-mail)
  • Word counts for the abstract and the manuscript text

Authorship: Only persons who have actively participated in the research, writing, and editing of the manuscript should be listed as authors.

  • Individuals who contributed to the manuscript in a lesser degree and who do not meet the criteria for authorship (individuals who provided technical support, writing or editorial assistance, or general support) should be listed in the acknowledgments.
  • Anyone who contributes to the writing must be either listed as an author or acknowledged in the acknowledgements; ghost authors are not permitted. Note that this does not apply to individuals who edit a manuscript for style, grammar, or clarity.
  • If an author who contributed cannot be contacted, that author must be included on the author roster, and the lack of sign-off must be noted in the cover letter.
  • Authors with questions about authorship should consult the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidance on what constitutes authorship.

C. Abstract

  • A structured abstract is required for research articles (Original Research, Educational Innovation, Review, Brief Report) and should follow the Background, Objective, Methods, Results, and Conclusions (BOMRC) format.
  • The abstract must include the year the study was conducted, in the Methods section of the abstract (as well as the main text).
  • The abstract must include the total number of eligible participants, and the actual number of participants (quantitative papers, surveys). The percentage must be calculated and included in the Results section of the abstract (as well as the main text). Qualitative research should include the number of participants and how they were recruited.
  • Research Submissions on Quality Improvement or Patient Safety (applies to all categories)
    • Background: Description of the quality problem(s), and relevance and importance to GME; existing gap to achieve desired quality outcome(s)
    • Objective: The aim(s) of the quality improvement project
    • Methods: Key context of the quality intervention (institution, participants), number of iterative steps, evaluation process
    • Results: Key findings; outcomes both intended and unintended (balancing measures); and fidelity to the intervention
    • Conclusions: Summary of key findings, with focus on potential for spread to other settings and implications for GME
JGME Refined Categories for Author Reference
ABSTRACT
Original Research Educational Innovation Brief Report
Background: Relevance and importance to GME; prior knowledge and evidence gap Background: Relevance and importance to GME; prior knowledge (cost, burden, lack of effectiveness); and gap in existing practice Background: Relevance to GME; gap in current knowledge or practice
Objective: The study purpose or question(s) Objective: The goal(s) of the innovation Objective: The study purpose or question(s)
Methods: The research setting and participants, design, intervention(s), outcomes, and analysis (for quantitative); setting, participants, and qualitative methods (for qualitative) Methods: Description of innovation intervention and implementation (setting and participants, design, outcomes, and analysis) Methods: Very briefly, the setting and participants, design, intervention(s), outcomes, and analysis
Results: Specific main findings, both favorable (positive) and unfavorable (negative) Results: Outcomes measured; must include feasibility (costs, time, materials, or training needed) and acceptance by affected stakeholders Results: Specific findings, both favorable and unfavorable
Conclusions: Summary of key findings, with implications for GME practice, with focus on relevance, generalizability, or applicability to specific populations Conclusions: Summary of key findings, with implications for GME practice, to include what was most or least effective, with given resources Conclusions: A summary of the main findings that relate to GME, usually in 1 sentence

D. Manuscript Sections for Research Papers (Original Research, Educational Innovation, Review, Brief Report)

Introduction

  • Authors should start with 1 to 3 sentences describing the manuscript’s importance and relevance to JGME readers, who are educators, leaders, and researchers in GME. Limit this presentation of importance and relevance of the topic to 1 short paragraph.
  • The next 2 paragraphs should be a concise description of the existing literature highlighting the evidence gap(s) the study will attempt to answer. What is not known but should be known?
  • The final paragraph will be 1 to 2 sentences stating the objective or hypothesis of the study or review in the order they will be addressed in the Methods, Results, and Discussion sections.

Methods

  • Descriptions must be sufficiently detailed to allow others to replicate the approach, and must include feasibility information (time, costs/materials, and acceptability) as relevant.
  • Research papers should include the underlying theoretical construct used in the work.
  • Specific sections, in order (quantitative papers):
    • Setting and participants: brief, clear narratives on setting(s), subjects, and the year the study took place
    • Interventions: clearly and thoroughly described. Use supplemental material if needed to be clear and thorough.
    • Outcomes measured
    • Analysis of the outcomes
    • IRB statement
  • Qualitative papers will also include justification for chosen theoretical construct and methods, investigators stance toward topic and participants, and methods to ensure rigor and trustworthiness.
  • Sample size and statistical power: Quantitative studies must consider sample size, and use appropriate statistical tests, with attention to ß-error/power calculations and adjustments for multiple comparisons, if performed.
  • If survey or assessment instruments are used, include literature on prior validity evidence for survey and assessment instruments, or a description of the authors’ efforts to provide validity evidence for the instruments. If the instrument is homegrown with no collection of validity evidence, the authors should state this. Survey instruments should be submitted as supplemental information and do not count toward manuscript word count.
  • Review manuscripts will additionally include methods to assess the quality of evidence gathered.
  • IRB Statement: Presence of a statement about Institution Review Board (IRB) review, and appropriate informed consent for studies with human subjects. A statement about this must appear at the end of the Methods section of the manuscript, and must include the name of the body that gave approval or passed judgment for exemption. When relevant, informed consent should be documented. Manuscripts from nations where education research is not usually reviewed by an ethics committee should state how the project was reviewed, according to the standards of their nation.

Results

  • Outcomes should match the study question and be objective (ideally, outcomes should go beyond self-reported or self-assessed).
  • Results should be presented in the same order as they were addressed in the objectives and the methods.
  • General results, such as the number of participants and demographic information, and secondary results (eg, reliability of the instrument) should be presented first, followed by the primary results.
  • Interventions should describe feasibility and acceptability data, either measured explicitly or estimated (specify which).
  • Supply numerator and denominator as well as percentages for findings. All surveys must report response rates.
  • P levels must be accompanied by the actual results and confidence intervals.
  • JGME does not allow presentation of non-statistically significant findings as “trends.”
  • Present the most important findings—to include negative as well as positive—in the manuscript; present the rest of the findings in tables and figures.
  • Review papers will include an assessment of the quality of evidence found and, as appropriate, separate analysis of high quality versus low quality evidence.

Discussion

  • The first paragraph should briefly summarize the most important, surprising, or unique findings from the study in 1 to 3 sentences.
  • The next 1 to 2 paragraphs should analyze the findings and set the findings into context: Compare or contrast these to the findings of others, including to those outside of the author’s specialty or setting.
  • The following paragraph should discuss the effects that the study or project limitations might have on the validity of your findings. This includes external validity, or generalizability, and internal validity, or the likelihood that your findings are true. Authors need to explore alternative explanations of their findings and suggest other study questions or designs that might uncover different results. Limitations should not be presented as a list.
  • JGME does not allow discussion of the strengths of your findings.
  • The last paragraph should contain 1 to 2 sentences that describe specific research steps that might follow from your study.
  • Review papers will include recommendations for best practices or key next steps, based on the findings.
  • The discussion should not contain a summary of the introduction, methods, or results.

Conclusions

  • Conclusions should be brief and conservative.
  • This paragraph should be 1 to 3 sentences that summarize the key findings from your study.
  • No next steps or future research should be included here, except for Review papers.

For additional guidance in writing manuscripts, particularly when reporting specific types of research design studies, please see the resources section at the end of this document.

E. Tables, Figures, and Boxes

Boxes. Should be used for single cell tables, such as bulleted ideas. Boxes should be cited within the text where appropriate and should be placed after the References. A title should be provided.

Tables. Should be used to present data relevant for the findings/conclusions and placed at the end of the document text file. Each table should be numbered in sequence using Arabic numerals (ie, Table 1, 2, etc).

Figures. Use of figures is strongly encouraged to present concepts and process flow in a concise manner. Figures should be provided as separate, individual files. A brief title should be provided.

  • The following file formats can be accepted: Microsoft Word, PDF, Excel, PowerPoint, .jpg, .tiff, .gif.
  • Each figure should comprise a single file, with resolution of 300 dpi or higher. Figures should be submitted in grayscale only.
  • Figures should be cited consecutively in Arabic numerals in the text.
  • Figure legends should be limited to 200 words and should contain sufficient explanation to allow figures to be interpreted without reference to the text.
  • Figures must be submitted in a form that permits reproduction without retouching or typesetting. Lettering and labeling should be large enough to allow reduction for page layout.
If figures, tables, or boxes have previously been published, it is the responsibility of the author(s) to obtain permission from the copyright holder to reproduce them in JGME. Appropriate credit text must be included in the figure legend. Documentation of permission to reproduce must be sent with the manuscript during submission.

Photographs. Should be used to present models, simulation set-ups, or other images that aid understanding, and should be high-quality images that can be scaled to fit the layout.

Supplemental online content. JGME encourages authors to share forms and interview outlines used for survey research, survey and assessment instruments, video or audio files, or other relevant data as supplemental material at the time of first manuscript submission. These additional files will not be displayed in the print form of the article, but will be made available in the online version. The editorial office reserves the right to convert figures or tables to online supplemental material.

Authors should list all supplemental content consecutively at the end of the manuscript. This should include the type of material submitted, should be clearly labeled as “supplemental content,” and be cited consecutively in the text.

F. References

All references must be numbered consecutively in the order they are cited in the text, tables, or legends. Please follow AMA Manual of Style (https://www.amamanualofstyle.com) when formatting the list of References. Abbreviations of journal names must follow the MEDLINE format. Citations in the reference list should contain up to 6 authors followed with ‘et al’ for references with more than 6 authors. All references must be provided as citations in the text using superscripted numbers (ie, 1,2,3). Footnotes in tables or figures use superscripted letters (ie, a,b,c).

G. Word Use

JGME encourages clear, accurate and specific language that does not overstate findings. To that end, authors should adhere to the following word use:

  • “Significant” should only be used in the statistical sense.
  • “Impactful” should be avoided and “impact” used sparingly.
  • Use “program” instead of “programmatic.”
  • Use “function” instead of “functionality”
  • Do not refer to “adult learning theory” as adult differences are not supported by evidence
  • “Qualitative” should only be used for studies following rigorous qualitative methods. Consider “open-ended responses” or “feedback” instead. Using open-ended comments does not allow the paper to qualify for the increased word count afforded to qualitative studies.
  • Do not use the word, “providers.” Choose the specific term, or if a generic term is needed, consider, “clinicians.” Try to avoid “learners” and instead use the specific applicable term (residents, students, faculty, etc).
  • Use the ACGME terms of “wellness” to describe an intervention, or “well-being” to describe a person.
  • When describing what is being appraised: “Assessment” refers to people, and “evaluation” refers to programs.

5. MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION

File formats. Please submit manuscripts in Microsoft Word format. Text must be double-spaced, pages numbered, left aligned (unjustified), without hyphenated words at line breaks.

Manuscripts must be submitted by one of the authors of the manuscript at http://www.editorialmanager.com/jgme/. Instructions and support are available from the online site. A user ID and password need to be obtained on the first visit.

Submission of a manuscript indicates that:

  • All authors have read and agreed with the manuscript’s content.
  • Any research with human subjects was performed with the approval or exemption of an appropriate ethics or review board.
  • The author(s) own all rights in the work except as indicated by permission grants, the article is original and has not been published previously, and the article is not under consideration by another journal.

Authors should note the following:

  • The submitting author takes responsibility for the article during submission and peer review.
  • JGME accepts all submissions via its online system.
  • On acceptance, all rights are transferred to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which will register the copyright per the copyright form authors will be asked to submit before article publication.

Authors may link to the on-line article for educational use or can request permission from jgme@acgme.org for other uses. Questions about manuscript preparation and submission should be directed to the JGME editorial staff at jgme@acgme.org.

6. EDITORIAL AND PEER-REVIEW PROCESSES

Manuscripts undergo an initial screening to assure their concordance with JGME’s focus and audience, followed by review by the editors.

  • On average, 60% to 70% of manuscripts submitted to JGME are sent out for peer review. Statistical reviews are requested as needed. Reviewers are asked to declare any competing interests.
  • Peer review seeks to evaluate the manuscript for its scientific merit that includes:
    1. significance of the topic’s relevance to the JGME audience;
    2. connection with existing literature/best practices in the field;
    3. methodological rigor; and
    4. quality and clarity of the writing.
  • The final decision is made by JGME’s Editorial Board and Editor-in-Chief, based on reviewer recommendations.
  • Accepted manuscripts are copyedited for grammar, punctuation, clarity of language, and style. Proofs are provided for author approval. Prior to publication, authors are asked to complete a copyright form.
  • The editorial board may select articles as especially noteworthy and give them greater prominence, external publicity, or a commentary.

7. RESOURCES FOR AUTHORS

About the Journal of Graduate Medical Education

  • Sullivan GM. JGME Enters Adolescence: Our First 10 Years. J Grad Med Educ. 2019;11(5):491-494.
    Full text | PDF
  • Sullivan GM. Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Journal of Graduate Medical Education. J Grad Med Educ. 2010;2(4):491-492.
    Full text | PDF
  • Sullivan GM. Publishing Your Education Work in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education. J Grad Med Educ. 2010;2(4):493-495.
    Full text | PDF

Assessment instruments (Design, and Validity and Reliability)

  • Sullivan GM. A Primer on the Validity of Assessment Instruments. J Grad Med Educ. 2011;3(2):119-120.
    Full text | PDF
  • Sullivan GM, Artino Jr AR. Analyzing and Interpreting Data From Likert-Type Scales
    Full Text | PDF (54 KB)
  • Sullivan GM, Artino Jr AR. How to Create a Bad Survey Instrument J Grad Med Educ. 2017;9(4):411-415.
    Full Text | PDF (54 KB)
  • Rickards G, Magee M, Artino Jr AR. You Can't Fix by Analysis What You've Spoiled by Design: Developing Survey Instruments and Collecting Validity Evidence. J Grad Med Educ. 2012;4(4):407-410.
    Full text | PDF
  • Magee C, Rickards G, Byars LA, Artino Jr AR. Tracing the Steps of Survey Design: A Graduate Medical Education Research Example. J Grad Med Educ. 2013;5(1):1-5.
    Full Text | PDF
  • Willis GB, Artino Jr AR. What Do Our Respondents Think We're Asking? Using Cognitive Interviewing to Improve Medical Education Surveys. Journal of Graduate Medical Education: J Grad Med Educ. 2013;5(3):353-356.
    Full Text | PDF

Authorship

Conflict of Interest

Effect Size

  • Sullivan GM, Feinn R. Using Effect Size—or Why the P Value Is Not Enough. J Grad Med Educ. 2012;4(3):279-282.
    Full text | PDF
  • Sullivan GM. FAQs About Effect Size. J Grad Med Educ. 2012;4(3):283-284.
    Full text | PDF

Institutional Review Board Review

  • Sullivan GM. Education Research and Human Subject Protection: Crossing the IRB Quagmire. J Grad Med Educ. 2011;3(1):1-4.
    Full text | PDF
  • Sullivan GM. IRB 101. J Grad Med Educ. 2011;3(1):5-6.
    Full text | PDF

Medical Education Research

  • Sullivan GM. Deconstructing Quality in Education Research. J Grad Med Educ. 2011;3(2):121-124.
    Full text | PDF
  • Sullivan GM. Getting Off the “Gold Standard”: Randomized Controlled Trials and Education Research. J Grad Med Educ. 2011;3(3):285-289.
    Full text | PDF
  • Picho K, Artino Jr AR. 7 Deadly Sins in Educational Research J Grad Med Educ. 2016;8(5):483-487.
    Full Text | PDF
  • O’Brien BC, Balmer DF, Maggio LA. Finding Our Way Through Shades of Gray: 6 Virtues to Guide Researchers in Planning, Conducting, and Writing Up Research J Grad Med Educ. 2017;9(5):555-559.
    Full Text | PDF
  • Maggio LA, Sewell JL, Artino Jr AR. The Literature Review: A Foundation for High-Quality Medical Education Research. J Grad Med Educ. 2016;8(3):297-303.
    Full Text | PDF

On Writing

  • Sullivan GM. Writing Education Studies for Publication. J Grad Med Educ. 2012;4(2):133-137.
    Full text | PDF
  • Sullivan GM. Is There a Role for Spin Doctors in Med Ed Research? J Grad Med Educ. 2014;6(3):405-407.
    Citation | Full text | PDF
  • Sullivan G. What to Do When Your Paper Is Rejected. J Grad Med Educ. 2015;7(1):1-3.
    Full Text | PDF
  • Sullivan GM, Simpson D, Yarris LM, Artino Jr AR. Writing Author Response Letters That Get Editors to “Yes.” J Grad Med Educ.2019;11(2):119-123.
    Citation | Full text | PDF

Qualitative Research

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