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Author Guidelines

Submission Categories and Format Guidelines

If authors are not certain about the most appropriate category for their manuscripts, they are urged to contact the editor for assistance.

Knowledge Synthesis

Knowledge Syntheses are peer-reviewed review articles. Examples include systematic reviews, scoping reviews, and narrative reviews. Reviews employing a systematic literature search have a structured abstract (Objective, Methods, Results, Conclusions) of up to 250 words, and the body of the manuscript is divided into Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections. Reviews not employing a systematic literature search have an unstructured abstract of up to 250 words, and the body of the manuscript is structured as needed. The main text should comprise no more than 5,000 words. Up to 6 figures and/or tables are included in the main text; additional figures and/or tables can be included as supplemental appendixes.

Original Investigation

Original Investigations are peer-reviewed articles describing research that employs any type of quantitative or qualitative method of analysis. Examples include intervention studies, surveys, content analyses, qualitative case studies, bibliographic or bibliometric analyses, and search filter development and testing. Original Investigations have a structured abstract (Objective, Methods, Results, Conclusions) of up to 250 words. The body of the manuscript is divided into Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections, which together should comprise no more than 5,000 words; shorter manuscripts are also welcomed. Up to 6 figures and/or tables are included in the main text; additional figures and/or tables can be included as supplemental appendixes. Original Investigations manuscripts are covered by the JMLA Data Sharing Policy.

Case Report

Case Reports are peer-reviewed articles describing the development, implementation, and evaluation of a new service, program, or initiative, typically in a single institution or through a single collaborative effort. They differ from case studies (published as Original Investigations articles) in that they do not employ rigorous qualitative case study methodology. Case Reports have a structured abstract (Background, Case Presentation, Conclusions) of up to 250 words. The body of the manuscript is divided into Background, Case Presentation, and Discussion sections, which together should comprise no more than 3,000 words. Up to 3 figures and/or tables are included in the main text; additional figures and/or tables can be included as supplemental appendixes. Case Report manuscripts are covered by the JMLA Data Sharing Policy.

Commentary

Commentaries present viewpoints on timely topics of interest to health sciences librarians and information specialists. This category allows freedom of expression and encourages constructive discussion. Commentaries have an unstructured abstract of up to 250 words. The main text should comprise no more than 3,000 words. Up to 3 figures and/or tables are included in the main text; additional figures and/or tables can be included as supplemental appendixes. Commentaries undergo editorial review.

History Matters

History Matters are short articles on historical topics that are relevant to health sciences librarianship. History Matters articles have an unstructured abstract of up to 250 words. The main text should comprise no more than 3,000 words. Up to 3 figures and/or tables are included in the main text; additional figures and/or tables can be included as supplemental appendixes. History Matters articles undergo editorial review.

Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor comment on recent JMLA articles. Letters should be respectful in tone. Letters are sent to the authors of the original article to invite a response. Letters should comprise no more than 500 words and contain up to 5 references.

Special Papers

Special Papers are peer-reviewed articles of particular importance to the field of health sciences librarianship that do not fit one of the above submission categories. Special Papers may be solicited by a JMLA editor, or prospective authors of a Special Paper may submit a pre-submission inquiry to an editor. Special Papers have an unstructured abstract of up to 250 words. The body of the manuscript is structured as needed. The main text should comprise no more than 6,000 words. Up to 6 figures and/or tables are included in the main text; additional figures and/or tables can be included as supplemental appendixes. Special Paper manuscripts are covered by the JMLA Data Sharing Policy.

Lectures and Awards

Lectures and Awards are published versions of MLA lectures delivered at annual meetings, such as the Janet Doe Lecture, and awarded essays, such as the Erich Meyerhoff Prize.

Virtual Project

Virtual Projects are brief articles highlighting current, innovative, and notable virtual projects in health sciences libraries. The Virtual Projects section is published on an annual basis in the October issue of JMLA following an annual “Call for Virtual Projects.” An advisory committee of recognized technology experts selects project entries based on defined criteria. Virtual Projects articles undergo editorial review. See more detailed information.

Obituary

Obituaries honor select individuals who have made significant contributions to health sciences librarianship or related fields. Between 400 and 1,500 words in length, an Obituary addresses the person’s birth and background, education and training, experience and accomplishments, and influences on others in the profession. The Obituary should clearly define the person’s most important contributions to the field and can include personal anecdotes from colleagues or family. Generally, the JMLA obituary editor will select an author from among the deceased’s coworkers, family, and colleagues. See more detailed information.

Book Review

Book Reviews provide critical appraisals of new books and serials that assist readers in selecting works for their own professional use or for addition to their library collections. Reviewers are chosen based on their knowledge of and experience in areas relevant to the library and information world. Book Reviews should contain a brief overview of scope and content so that readers can determine the book’s interest to them. Reviewing each chapter of a book in detail is not necessary. For a research or historical work, please comment on its significance in relation to the focus area as well as to the field as a whole. For an applied or descriptive work, please comment on its usefulness. In both cases, compare the book with similar publications in its area and indicate its potential audiences, where relevant. When quoting the text, indicate page numbers in parentheses at the end of the quote. Book Reviews undergo editorial review. See more detailed information.

Resource Review

Resource Reviews provide critical appraisals of electronic resources, software, web services, and other technology tools that assist health sciences library staff in making collection development and technology implementation decisions. Reviewed resources can include databases and catalogs, electronic collections, research and reference tools, library management systems, educational instruments, commercial and open source software, and web-based productivity tools. Resource Reviews do not have an abstract. The main text should comprise no more than 2,000 words. Up to 2 figures and/or tables are included in the main text. Resource Reviews undergo editorial review. See more detailed information.

Association Record

The association record consists of the proceedings of the annual meeting of the previous year and the audited schedule of assets of the calendar year ending the previous December.

Writing Guidelines and Editorial Style

The writing style of manuscripts submitted to JMLA should conform to the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, which is prepared by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Other authoritative sources guiding the writing and editorial processes include the Medical Library Association (MLA) Style Manual; Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 2nd edition; the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style for punctuation, form, and other areas in which the ICMJE recommendations are silent; and the latest edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary for spelling.

For more information on structured abstracts, consult the MLA Research Section’s structured abstract guidelines.

Reference Style

JMLA reference style is based on the Medical Library Association (MLA) Style Manual, which in turn is based on Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 2nd edition. Authors are urged to consult recently published articles in JMLA for examples of properly formatted references. Example references appear below.

Journal article

Florczak KL. Prevent betrayal by predatory publishers: trust but verify. Nurs Sci Q. 2018 Jan;31(1):11–4. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0894318417741100.

Electronic resource

Association of College & Research Libraries. Framework for information literacy for higher education [Internet]. The Association; 2016 [cited 11 Oct 2019]. <http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework>.

Book chapter

Davis C, Ebron T. The changing face of librarianship. In: Jones SD, Murphy B, eds. Diversity and inclusion in libraries: a call to action and strategies for success. Medical Library Association Books Series. Chicago, IL: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 2019. p. 25–34.

Book

Stribling JC, ed. The clinical medical librarian’s handbook. Medical Library Association Books Series. Chicago, IL: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 2020.

Presentation

Keselman A, Smith CA, David R. Kaufman DR. Criteria for evaluating deception, disinformation, and controversy in the evolving digital consumer health information universe. Presented at: MLA ’19, the 119th Medical Library Association Annual Meeting; Chicago, IL; May 5, 2019.

Data set

Akers KG, Doty J. Emory University research data management faculty survey [dataset]. Emory Dataverse [2013; cited 18 Mar 2020]. <https://dataverse.unc.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=hdl:1902.29/11578>.

Parts of a Submission

Figures and tables

Figures (i.e., images, screenshots, diagrams, charts, graphs) can be in color for online issues but will be processed into black and white for print issues. Consecutively numbered figures with brief, descriptive captions (e.g., “Figure 1 Distribution of test scores”) should be placed in the text at appropriate locations. Standalone image files (minimum resolution of 300 dpi) and, when possible, the program files used to create charts and graphs (e.g., Excel files) should be submitted as supplementary files to be processed for publication.

Consecutively numbered tables with brief, descriptive titles (e.g., “Table 1 Number of study participants”) should be placed in the text at appropriate locations. Tables should be created using the word processing tools’ table commands.

Find more information about and samples of figures and tables.

Supplemental files

Supplemental files should include (1) survey instruments, evaluation rubrics, assessment instruments or other materials supporting the methodology to be published as appendixes and (2) images files (300 dpi minimum) and, when possible, the program files used to create charts or graphs (e.g., Excel files). Note that manuscripts describing the results of a survey must include a copy of the survey instrument unless it has been published elsewhere.

Acknowledgments

Personal acknowledgments may be placed at the end of the text before the references.

Submission process

All manuscripts must be submitted through the JMLA online submission system.

The submission process consists of 5 steps:

  1. Starting the submission: choose a journal section (e.g., Original Investigation, Case Report, Commentary), complete the submission preparation checklist (see below), agree to the copyright notice (see below), and provide comments to the editor, including the names and contact information for up to five suggested reviewers or individuals who should not review the work (optional).
  2. Uploading the submission: upload the manuscript file (including abstract, main text, references, acknowledgments, and embedded figures/tables)
  3. Entering the submission’s metadata: enter information for all coauthors (name, email address, ORCID ID [optional], affiliation [e.g., rank, department, institution], country, competing interests [if applicable], bio statement, manuscript title, abstract, keywords [mandatory], and contributors and supporting agencies.
  4. Uploading supplementary files: upload appendixes (including survey instrument, if applicable); standalone image files (300 dpi minimum) and, if possible, the program files used to create charts and graphs (e.g., Excel files)
  5. Confirmation: confirm the successful upload of all submission files

If authors exit the system before completing their submissions, their submissions are saved automatically. Authors can return to finish the submission (or remove it should they wish) at a future time.

Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission’s compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. The results, data, figures, or other material in this manuscript have not been published previously and are not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.
  2. If submitting a manuscript in peer-reviewed category (i.e., Knowledge Syntheses, Original Investigations, Case Reports, Special Papers), the manuscript includes page numbers and continuous line numbers and adheres to the instructions in Ensuring a Blind Review.
  3. If applicable, a statement on approval or exemption by an institutional review board or equivalent is included in the Methods section.
  4. References are formatted according to the Medical Library Association Style Manual.
  5. If submitting an Original Investigation, Case Report, or Special Paper, the manuscript contains a Data Availability Statement in accordance with the JMLA Data Sharing Policy.

Submitting a revised manuscript

If invited by the editor, authors should submit a revised manuscript under their original submission (i.e., without starting a new submission). After logging in and navigating to your author profile, click on the title of the manuscript under “Active Submissions.” Upload the revised manuscript file in the “Upload Author Version” box under “Editor Decision” on the “Review” page. Replies to reviewer comments and any updated appendixes, figures/tables, and so on can be uploaded by clicking “Add a Supplementary File” under “Submission” on the “Summary” page. There is no deadline for submitting a revised manuscript. For peer-reviewed submission categories, the revised manuscript and replies to reviewer comments may or may not be returned to the original reviewers to ensure that their concerns have been sufficiently alleviated.

Approving copyedits

After manuscript acceptance, a copyedited version of the manuscript is provided to authors for approval.

Peer-review evaluation

JMLA uses a double-blind peer review process in which the names of authors are not revealed to reviewers and the names of reviewers are not revealed to authors. Authors may suggest up to five reviewers who are well qualified to comment on the work and would not have a conflict of interest (e.g., not direct collegues or recent co-authors). Authors may also identify specific individuals who should not review their manuscript. Taking these recommendations into consideration, the editor will typically assign three reviewers to each manuscript. Reviewers are asked to use JMLA peer reviewer guidelines to inform their comments and recommendation. JMLA aims to complete the review process and provide feedback to authors within six weeks of submission.

Contacts

Email questions about JMLA to Katherine Akers, editor-in-chief.

Send books or resources for review in the JMLA to: JMLA Review Editor, Medical Library Association, 225 West Wacker Drive, Suite 650, Chicago, IL 60606-1210.

Resources for review in JMLA should be sent to: Ellen M. Aaronson, AHIP, JMLA Resource Review Editor, Mayo Clinic Libraries, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905.

Books for review in JMLA should be sent to: Melanie J. Norton, JMLA Book Review Editor, 96 Cass Avenue, Wallingford, CT 06492.

 

Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. The results, data, figures, or other material in this manuscript have not been published previously and are not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.
  2. If submitting a manuscript in peer-reviewed category (i.e., Knowledge Syntheses, Original Investigations, Case Reports, Special Papers), the manuscript includes page numbers and continuous line numbers and adheres to the instructions in Ensuring a Blind Review.
  3. If applicable, a statement on approval or exemption by an institutional review board or equivalent is included in the Methods section.
  4. References are formatted according to the Medical Library Association Style Manual.
  5. If submitting an Original Investigation, Case Report, or Special Paper, the manuscript contains a Data Availability Statement in accordance with the JMLA Data Sharing Policy.
 

Copyright Notice

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

  1. The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License or its equivalent, which, for the Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
  2. Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
  3. The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
    1. Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal website;with the understanding that the above condition can be waived with permission from the Author and that where the Work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.
  1. The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
  2. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
  3. Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
  4. The Author represents and warrants that:
    1. the Work is the Author’s original work;
    2. the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
    3. the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
    4. the Work has not previously been published;
    5. the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
    6. the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
  5. The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.

 

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