Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

The Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) is an international, peer-reviewed journal that aims to advance the practice and research knowledgebase of health sciences librarianship.

JMLA welcomes the submission of any original manuscript that seeks to improve the practice of health sciences librarianship, to improve the provision of information in health or biological sciences, or to articulate important developments and history of the profession and related fields. JMLA also welcomes manuscripts that extend the knowledgebase through research in the organization, delivery, use, and impact of information on health care, biomedical research, and health professionals’ education.

Manuscripts are reviewed for possible publication with the understanding that they have not been published, submitted, or accepted for publication elsewhere. General availability or mass distribution in an online format is considered publication. Presentation of a paper at a conference or inclusion of a preliminary report in published proceedings is not considered prior publication provided that the submitted manuscript is substantially more complete than the initial report and any duplicative material is kept to a minimum. Specific cases should be referred to the editor.

Material published on the JMLA site also appears through the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM’s) PMC digital archive.

JMLA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative

In light of national conversations around Black Lives Matter, systemic racism, police violence, and health disparities in the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe it is important to affirm JMLA’s commitment to promoting diversity and equity in health sciences librarianship.

As one part of this effort, we issue a call for manuscript submissions that recognize and address social injustices; speak to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our workforce and among our user populations; and share critical perspectives on health sciences librarianship. We also call for manuscript submissions on any topic within the journal’s scope from authors who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC). This is an ongoing call for submissions rather than an effort to compile a special issue because we believe that these topics and perspectives should be steadily woven throughout our thoughts, conversations, research and writing, and practice.

As other parts of this effort, we commit to several actions for 2020–2021, including sending quarterly calls for submissions addressing topics related to social injustices, equity, and critical librarianship and committing to publishing articles on these topics; creating partnerships with MLA’s African American Medical Librarians Alliance Caucus (AAMLA) and Latinx Caucus to develop strategies for including and supporting BIPOC authors and peer reviewers; providing opportunities for members of the JMLA editorial team to learn about systemic bias in publishing and how this bias might influence our actions and decisions; and assessing and promoting the racial diversity of JMLA authors, peer reviewers, and members of the editorial team.

Despite these commitments, we recently failed to honor BIPOC voices. We apologize for our failures, and we vow to bolster and accelerate our plans for making JMLA a journal that is more inclusive and supportive of diverse people and voices. This work is being executed by members of the JMLA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup, who welcome suggestions and feedback from JMLA readers, authors, and reviewers.



Section Policies


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President's Page

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Lectures and Awards

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Special Paper

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Knowledge Synthesis

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Original Investigation

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Case Report

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Virtual Project

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History Matters

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Letter to the Editor

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Book Review

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Resource Review

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Peer Review Process

JMLA uses a double-anonymized peer-review process in which reviewers do not know the names of authors and the names of reviewers are not revealed to authors. Reviewers are asked to complete a review form and use JMLA peer reviewer guidelines to inform their recommendation. JMLA aims to complete the review process and provide feedback to authors within eight weeks of submission.


Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content. Our publisher, the University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh, abides by the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition of Open Access:

By “open access” to [peer-reviewed research literature], we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.

Researchers engage in discovery for the public good, yet because of cost barriers or use restrictions imposed by other publishers, research results are not available to the full community of potential users. It is our mission to support a greater global exchange of knowledge by making the research published in this journal open to the public and reusable under the terms of a Creative Commons CC-BY license.

Furthermore, we encourage authors to post their prepublication manuscript in institutional repositories or on their websites prior to and during the submission process, and to post the publisher’s final formatted PDF version after publication. These practices benefit authors with productive exchanges as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.

There are no article processing charges, submissions fees, or any other costs required of authors to submit articles to or publish articles in this journal.



This journal utilizes the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. More...


Data Sharing Policy

JMLA requires authors of Original Investigation, Case Report, and Special Paper articles to (1) place the de-identified data associated with the manuscript in a repository and (2) include a Data Availability Statement in the manuscript describing where and how the data can be accessed.

JMLA defines data as the digital materials underlying the results described in the manuscript, including but not limited to spreadsheets, text files, interview recordings or transcripts, images, videos, output from statistical software, and computer code or scripts. Authors are expected to deposit at least the minimum amount of data needed to reproduce the results described in the manuscript.

Data can be placed in any repository that makes data publicly available and provides a unique persistent identifier, including institutional repositories, general repositories (e.g., Figshare, Open Science Framework, Zenodo, Dryad, Harvard Dataverse, OpenICPSR), or discipline-specific repositories.

The Data Availability Statement should be placed in the manuscript at the end of the main text before the references. This statement must include (1) an indication of the location of the data; (2) a unique identifier, such as a digital object identifier (DOI), accession number, or persistent uniform resource locator (URL); and (3) any instructions for accessing the data, if applicable.

Example Data Availability Statement:

“Data associated with this article are available in the Open Science Framework at <insert url>.”

Exceptions to this policy will be made in rare cases in which de-identified data cannot be shared due to their proprietary nature or participant privacy concerns. See more detailed information.



All persons designated as authors should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors provides guidelines for determining authorship. Authorship can be changed at any point before manuscript acceptance. 


Request Replacement Issues (Claims)

Missing a print issue? Please submit your request for a replacement to Jim Westwood. Claims must be filed no earlier than three weeks and no later than six months from the publication’s month of issue. Because of limited supplies, we cannot fill requests more than six months after the publication date. Older issues of the JMLA may be accessed for free through PubMed Central.


Editorial Board Membership

JMLA Editorial Board Members make critical contributions to the quality and direction of JMLA by lending their specific expertise, reviewing manuscripts with notable frequency and excellence, assisting with the development of journal policies and practices, and acting as ambassadors of the journal. Editorial Board members serve three-year volunteer terms and are expected to review several manuscripts per year, contribute to online and/or in-person discussions about journal policies and future directions, and have the option to serve on JMLA task forces focused on specific projects or initiatives. We seek Editorial Board members who have (1) an impressive or promising record of peer-reviewed publications and (2) a history of performing excellent peer reviews for JMLA