Editorial Policies

Peer Review

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) employs a highly rigorous peer-review process to evaluate manuscripts for scientific accuracy, novelty, and importance. The peer-review process often works to improve research while preventing overstatements of results from reaching physicians and the public. The Journals careful editing process often requires extensive revisions and involves detailed checking for accuracy.

Visit NEJM Publication Process for more information.

Authorship

It is the responsibility of every person listed as an author of an article published in NEJM to have contributed in a meaningful and identifiable way to the design, performance, analysis, and reporting of the work and to agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

As stated in the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations, credit for authorship requires:

  • Substantial contributions to conception and design; or acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data
  • Drafting of the article or critical revision for important intellectual content
  • Final approval of the version to be published
  • 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 article are appropriately investigated and resolved

Before publication, each author must sign a statement attesting that he or she fulfills the authorship criteria of the ICMJE Recommendations. At least one persons name (or the names of writing committee members) must accompany a group name (e.g., Thelma J. Smith, for the Boston Porphyria Group). As part of the submission process, authors must indicate whether any writing assistance other than copy editing was provided to them.

Co-First/Co-Senior Authorship

The Journal will indicate when two authors contribute equally to a work. In print, this reads as, Drs. XXX and YYY contributed equally to this article. When submitting an equally coauthored paper, authors can indicate dual first or senior authorship with an asterisk on the manuscript title page.

Corresponding Authors

NEJM permits only one corresponding author per manuscript submission. This person is solely responsible for all correspondence with the Journal and will receive all emails regarding forms, authorship issues, manuscript files, etc. NEJM editors will speak only with authors regarding manuscript submissions. However, after acceptance for publication, authors may designate more than one person to be contacted by readers.

For more information:

  • ICMJE Recommendations on Authors and Contributors

Conflicts of Interest and Financial Disclosures

NEJM is committed to publishing the highest-quality research and reliable, authoritative review articles that are free from commercial influence.

For all research articles published, NEJM:

  • Lists study sponsorship
  • Posts online (at NEJM.org) disclosure forms filed by all authors alongside the full text of each article
  • May publish additional information about author contributions in the Methods section of research articles

A separate disclosure policy applies to review articles and editorials, which comment on published articles but do not present new research. The Journal expects that authors of such articles have no significant financial interests in any biomedical company relevant to topics and products discussed in the subject they are reviewing or the article on which they are commenting. When prospective authors do have financial ties to disclose, Journal editors decide whether they are relevant to the subject and whether they are de minimis.

NEJM policy requires that none of its editors have any financial relationships with any biomedical companies.

Manipulation of Figures

When submitting new and revised manuscripts, authors must describe and clearly indicate all modifications, selective digital adjustments, and electronic enhancements made to any digital images. Authors must also ensure that all submitted figures meet the following criteria:

  • No specific feature in an image has been enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced
  • Any adjustments to brightness, color, or contrast have been made to an entire image and do not misrepresent any features of the original image
  • No image has been duplicated within the manuscript or published elsewhere
  • Original image metadata is available and can be provided to NEJM editors on request

Identifiable Patients

Authors should remove information from photographs and manuscripts that might identify a patient. Where this is impossible, submissions must be accompanied by a written release from the patient. One option is the NEJM Release Form for Photographs of Identifiable Patients.

Clinical Trials Registration

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and, therefore, NEJM require investigators to register trials in acceptable clinical trial registries before the onset of patient enrollment. Manuscripts describing primary results of nonregistered trials will be turned away prior to peer review.

Clinical Trials

The ICMJE requires that any research project that prospectively assigns human subjects to intervention and comparison groups to study the cause-and-effect relationship between a medical intervention and a health outcome must be registered before the start of patient enrollment. To be acceptable, a registry must be owned by a non-for-profit entity, be publicly accessible, and contain the 20 fields required by the World Health Organization (WHO). View a list of acceptable registries on the WHO website.

Each manuscript will be checked on submission to determine whether the study needed registration, and, if registered, whether the registration is complete and meaningful. No manuscript will enter the editorial process until it has passed this screen.

Pilot Trials

Pilot (phase 1) trials that began on or after July 1, 2008 must be registered before first patient enrollment.

Acceptable Registries

WHO maintains a list of acceptable registries. In addition, ICMJE will accept registration in any of the primary registries that participate in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP).

Microarray Studies

Data obtained by microarray must be submitted to a repository such as the Gene Expression Omnibus or ArrayExpress before manuscript submission. Raw and transformed datasets for each microarray experiment must be provided through the repository, and the accession number for each experiment or series must be provided in the Methods section of a manuscript. If data are password-protected, the user name and password must be provided in both the cover letter and Methods section of the manuscript at the time of submission. A criterion of publication is full access to the relevant datasets through a publicly accessible repository.

Data Sharing

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and, therefore, NEJM require investigators to submit a data-sharing statement (2018) and register a data-sharing plan when registering a trial (2019). NEJM has not yet formulated a policy on which types of data-sharing plans are acceptable.

Statistics

NEJM recognizes that there are many ways to perform statistical analyses and solve statistical problems. Suggested guidelines can be found under New Manuscripts.

Below are links to NEJM policies on Subgroup Analyses and Missing Data:

Preprint Posting

NEJM accepts the submission of manuscripts that have previously been posted on a nonprofit preprint server. Authors should notify NEJM of any preprint related to a manuscript submission.

Presubmission Inquiry

Authors may complete a Presubmission Inquiry to learn about the suitability of proposed manuscripts or to propose review article topics. An NEJM editor will generally respond by email within one week.

Rapid Peer Review

Authors may request a Rapid Review of their manuscripts. NEJM generally replies to Rapid Review requests within three business days and an initial decision on publication will typically be reached within two weeks.

Those studies that are most often approved for a rapid peer review generally:

  • Deal with urgent public health concerns
  • Have potential to dramatically change clinical practice or to affect mortality
  • Are timed to imminent meeting presentations

Approval for Rapid Review does not guarantee acceptance of the manuscript, nor does it guarantee expedited publication if the manuscript is accepted as each of these decisions is made separately.

No Prior Publication

When making manuscript decisions, the editors strongly consider the accuracy, novelty, and importance of the submission and strive to ensure that an independent peer review of the scientific findings occurs before public dissemination. NEJM will therefore not consider any manuscript that has been published elsewhere and any manuscript whose primary results have been released, except as indicated below.

The following activities do not violate NEJM embargo or no-prior-publication policies:

  • Presenting research at scientific meetings
  • Posting a manuscript on a non-profit preprint server for feedback from the scientific community
  • Releasing results to government agencies to meet statutory requirements or urgent public health needs

Embargo

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) employs a media embargo system, which allows journalists time to conduct interviews in the days before an articles publication.

The NEJM weekly print issues have Thursday cover dates. Qualified journalists receive embargoed online access to coming issues on the preceding Fridays at 10:00 a.m. ET and may conduct interviews with authors and prepare stories. These reporters agree to neither publish nor broadcast their stories until after the embargo lifts at 5:00 p.m. ET on the Wednesday prior to publication.

Visit the Media Relations Embargo Policy for complete details.

Medical Meetings and Government Oversight

Presenting research at scientific meetings or submitting results to government oversight boards before publication does not violate NEJM no-prior-publication editorial policy.

Additional guidance is provided below:

  • Media outreach. Authors will not jeopardize publication of their manuscript by responding to media inquiries at a medical meeting or during the week following a meeting. However, authors are asked to refrain from indicating that their research has been submitted to or accepted for publication by NEJM.
  • Meeting presentation. Meeting organizers may promote an authors presentation in a press release, plan a press conference, publish an abstract in meeting proceedings, or post presentations on their websites. NEJM should not be mentioned in such instances.

Visit the Media Relations Embargo Policy for complete details.

Public Access

Six months after publication, NEJM makes the full text of all research articles available free of charge at NEJM.org.

Certain materials may be released sooner at the discretion of NEJM editors. NEJM also grants immediate free access to low-income countries through partnership with Research4Lifes Access to Research in Health (Hinari) program.

NEJM does not offer an author-pays model and there is no charge to submit or to publish in NEJM.

Article Access and Funding Institutions

If research supporting an article was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Wellcome Trust, or another not-for-profit organization that requires authors to submit to a publicly available, not-for-profit (non-institutional) repository, NEJM will submit PDFs of the published version to the NIH Manuscript Submission System or Europe PubMed Central to be released six months after the article is published.

Copyrights/Permissions

Material published in the New England Journal of Medicine (ISSN 0028-4793) and the New England Journal of Medicine Online (ISSN 1533-4406) is covered by copyright. All rights are reserved under U.S. and international copyright and other laws and conventions. No copyright is claimed to any work of the U.S. government.

The Massachusetts Medical Society is the owner of all copyrights to any work it publishes. Authors agree to execute copyright transfer forms, as requested, with respect to their contributions accepted by the Society. The Society and its licensees have rights to use, reproduce, transmit, derive works from, publish, and distribute the contribution, in NEJM or otherwise, in any form or medium. Authors may not use or authorize use of the contribution without the Societys written consent, except as may be allowed by U.S. fair-use law. Additional information is available on the NEJM copyrights page.

NEJM, does, however, grant many reuse permissions to authors. See Author Permissions for complete details.

Unauthorized Use

TRADEMARK OWNERSHIP

The New England Journal of Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine logo design, NEJM, NEJM Group, NEJM Catalyst, and NEJM Knowledge+ (MMS Trademarks) are trademarks of the MMS. Any use of MMS Trademarks in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution, or advertising of any goods or services, which is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive, is strictly prohibited.

Publication Ethics

In addressing concerns raised by readers, the New England Journal of Medicine is guided by the recommendations and policies related to research and publication ethics developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, the Committee on Publication Ethics, and the Council of Science Editors.