Information for Authors



General Information

Medical Decision Making is published 6 times per year. MDM has complete editorial independence of its owner and publisher, the Society for Medical Decision Making. The Editor in Chief of MDM is Mark Helfand, MD, MPH. The journal's audience includes researchers, clinicians, and policy-makers interested in methodological contributions to, and applications of, medical decision making. (See "Scope of Interest" for more information about what topics we are looking for.)

We are interested in articles that develop, advance or evaluate methods or theory in clinical research, diagnosis, health economics, evidence synthesis, health policy, research on patient-centered outcomes (comparative effectiveness), informatics, health services research, judgment and decision psychology, mathematical models of diagnosis and treatment, assessment of preferences and quality of life, decision aids, risk communication, technology assessment, and statistical methods pertinent to any of these areas.

MDM accepts about 25% of the 300 or so manuscripts received annually. Mean (median) turnaround time from submission to initial decision is 56 days, from submission to rejection is 15 days, and from acceptance to online publication is 90 days.

Manuscripts will be reviewed for possible publication with the understanding that they are being submitted to one journal at a time and have not been published, simultaneously submitted, or already accepted for publication elsewhere.

This does not preclude consideration of a complete report that follows publication of preliminary findings elsewhere, usually in the form of an abstract or report. MDM will consider manuscripts based on larger reports, such as technology assessments, cost-effectiveness analyses, comparative effectiveness reviews, or methodological guidance prepared for government agencies or nongovernmental technology assessment organizations. If you intend to submit an article based on a larger report, it is best to do so as early as possible, preferably before the larger report is published on the internet or in print. You should coordinate with the organization that will publish the larger report to ensure that the timing of publication meets MDM's needs.

When submitting manuscripts, submit a copy of the original research protocol, larger report, and other supplemental data as attachments if they think such materials would help the editors or reviewers better understand the work. To help the editors form a judgment about the degree of duplicate publication, please include reprints of published papers and copies of other papers in press that contain data that appear in the submitted manuscript.

Editorial Office Contact Information:
Lauren Saxton, Editorial Manager
3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd
Portland, OR 97239
Telephone: (503) 418-2245
Fax: (503) 494-4551
e-mail: mdm@ohsu.edu


Manuscript Submission

How to Submit a Paper [top]

Medical Decision Making considers only online submissions made through our web site. We use the Manuscript Central tracking system for all submissions of new, revised and resubmitted material. The editorial office does not accept submissions by email, mail or fax. Any submission that comes to the editorial office by email, mail or fax will be sent back to the author with instructions on how to submit using the online system. The MDM editorial office cannot be held responsible for the processing of manuscripts and materials that have been improperly submitted.

Before submitting, please thoroughly read the manuscript requirements described below.

To submit a new manuscript, use the following steps:

1. Access the Web site: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mdm.

2. If you have not done so already, create an account in Manuscript Central. Click on the Create Account button and follow the steps to create a user account.

3. Click into the Author Center and follow the prompts to submit your manuscript.

All submissions require a cover letter which you will be prompted to include at the time of submission. All resubmissions and revisions require an author rebuttal with point by point response to the previous reviewer and editor comments.

We accepted files submitted in .doc format. We do not accept .docx files. Please convert document files to .doc extension before submitting. Manuscripts submitted in Tex/LaTex format are acceptable but we require a PDF version be submitted as well. We accept graphic files in ppt, eps, tif, psd, or xls formats. If a manuscript is accepted for publication the authors will be required to submit all figures in separate files if they are not already. More information about file formats can be found on the Scholar One file upload tips page .

All components of the manuscript will be converted to a single PDF file to be used by the editors and reviewers during the review process.

Important: During the submission process, you will be asked to identify key words from two lists: a list of Application Areas and a list of Methodologic Areas. The editors use these keywords to match reviewers with pertinent expertise to your manuscript. It may be helpful to review the complete keyword lists fully before making selections in an effort to select the best possible keywords for your manuscript.

Notes on the submission process:

* It is not necessary to complete the submission in a single step. You can stop at any point, save, and continue at another session.

* It is not necessary to send an e-mail notifying us of your submission but you may do so if you wish. A system email will automatically be sent to from to the editorial office upon receipt of a new submission.

* Subsequent to submission, you may track the status of your manuscript by logging in to your Author Center in Manuscript Central.

Inquiries from authors should be addressed to the following:

Lauren Saxton, Editorial Manager
Phone: 503-418-2245
E-mail: saxtonl@ohsu.edu

Types of Submissions and Word Limits [top]

MDM publishes original research articles, reviews, tutorials, brief reports, technical notes, letters to the editor, essays, case studies, commentaries and editorials. MDM does not consider previously published articles for submission.

Original research articles. A typical research article is 3,000 to 5,000 words in length. While exceptions are sometimes granted, the chance of acceptance will be higher if the author stays within this word guideline. This word count does not include material that can be published in a web-only format. Authors should indicate which materials included in their submission can be published in the web-only format, such as methodological appendices, certain figures, evidence tables and other long tables.

Reviews. MDM considers systematic reviews as well as informal (narrative) reviews. Reviews should be no more than 3,500 words in length.

Brief reports, technical notes, and letters to the editor should be 1,500 words or less. Brief reports describe preliminary or limited results of original research, usually illustrating a new methodologic approach or a new feature of an established methodology. Technical notes describe and propose an approach to a methodological issue that is part of a larger model or analysis.

Editorials are regularly published in the journal and are considered with pre-submission inquiry or invitation only. Editorials are typically no more than 1,500 words in length.

Tutorials. Authors should consult with the Editor-in-Chief before submitting a tutorial. The prospective authors should provide an outline of the tutorial and an estimated length, not exceeding the 5,000-word limit. We are interested in tutorials about techniques (and software) for advanced mathematical, statistical, and economic modeling. It is desirable for tutorials to include links to online materials that can be used in the tutorial.

Rounds. MDM has ongoing, occasional series in the areas of "clinical decision making rounds" and "policy decision making rounds." Typically, clinical decision making rounds illustrate the application of a decision model to an individual patient. "Policy" rounds describe the role of an actual decision model, cost-effectiveness analyses, or other type of mathematical model in actual policy decisions, including, for example, a clinical practice guideline or a national coverage policy decision. The ideal "policy rounds" includes detailed information about the problem that was addressed; collaboration between the modelers and decision-makers in framing questions; development and results of the model; and how the model influenced (or failed to influence) a decision. Rounds manuscripts can be a single submission or a pair of papers and should be no more than 5,000 words total.


Manuscript Format and Style

Medical Decision Making largely conforms to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

Authors should write for a sophisticated general medical readership and follow principles of clear scientific writing. For randomized trials, adherence to the 2010 CONSORT statement and checklists is encouraged. Other CONSORT statements, such as STAR-D or STROBE, available here, may also be useful for structuring research papers. For systematic reviews, we recommend following the reporting guidelines in the Institute of Medicine report, Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews, Chapter 5. It can be viewed online free of charge here.

Order of Material [top]

Components of the manuscript should be in the following order: title page, abstract, text, acknowledgements (if any), references, tables in numerical sequence, figure legends, figures in numerical sequence, and appendices (if any). Number all pages consecutively, starting with the title page.

Front Matter [top]

Title Page: Provide a main title and subtitle (if any). If the study is a randomized trial, systematic review, or meta-analysis, add that descriptor as the subtitle at the end of the title (e.g.: Effectiveness of a decision aid for patients with asthma: a randomized trial.) Provide a running head of no more than 50 letters and spaces; name(s) of author(s) exactly as it (they) should appear in print, including highest degree(s) earned; name of department(s) and institution(s) where the work was done; meeting at which the paper was presented (if any); grant or other financial support (if any); contact information for the corresponding author, and contact information for the author to receive reprint requests. List the word count for the text of the manuscript. Don't include the abstract or the references in word counts.

As mentioned above, during the submission process, you will be asked to identify one or more key words from a list of Application Areas and three or more from a list of Methodologic Areas. Keywords should be selected from these lists.

Abstract: Word for word, the abstract is probably the most important part of the article. Editors use the abstract to decide whether the article is of interest for the journal. Reviewers use it to decide whether to accept an invitation to review. Once the paper is published, readers use it to decide whether they want to read further. Take the time to write a good, clear abstract that describes why readers will find the paper interesting, the critical points of the methods and results, and the most important conclusions, including clinical or policy implications. Think about words or phrases that will help readers and searchers find your article and use them in the abstract.

Abstracts should accompany all submissions except editorials and Brief Reports. Structured abstracts (275 words or less) are required for cost-effectiveness studies and systematic reviews, including meta-analyses. Structured abstracts are preferred but not required for other original research articles, although the editor retains the right to request a structured abstract for any article. For a Brief Report, an abstract is optional and the word limit is 175. The following table shows required (bold) and optional headings for an abstract based on the manuscript type:

Manuscript Type Abstract Structure
Cost-Effectiveness Study Background, Objective, Design or Methods, Data Sources, Target Population, Time Horizon, Perspective, Interventions, Outcome Measures, Results (or Results of Base-Case Analysis and  Results of Sensitivity Analysis), Limitations, Conclusions.
Systematic Reviews, including Meta-analyses Background, Purpose, Data Sources, Study Selection, Data Extraction, Data Synthesis, Limitations, Conclusions.
Other Original Research Article Background, Objective, Design or Methods, Setting, Patients, Intervention (if any), Measurements, Results, Limitations, Conclusions. If the study is a randomized controlled trial, list where the trial is registered and the trial's unique registration number at the end of the abstract.

Manuscript Text [top]

For original articles, economic analyses, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses, use four main headings when arranging text: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Aim for clear, concise, and logically organized presentations. Avoid convoluted sentences and use active voice, whenever possible. Specific guidance regarding text content follows.

Introduction: Use short introductions that concisely set up the context of the research for readers. Do not repeat background or theory that can be found in textbooks or previously published articles—instead, cite them. Always end the introduction section with a clear statement of the study's objectives or hypotheses.

Methods: For studies involving humans, describe in the Methods section how participants were assembled and selected, and the sites or setting from which they were recruited. Then describe study procedures including any interventions, measurements and data collection techniques. Use figures to diagram study processes including the flow of participants through the study. Provide the number of patients at each stage of recruitment and follow-up, including the number who declined to participate and the number who completed follow-up.

For studies that have numerical data and use statistical inference, include a section under Methods that describes the methods used for the statistical analysis and state the specific statistical software. For all studies, include a statement at the end of the Methods section describing the role of the funding source for the study. If the study had no external funding source or if the funding source had no role in the study, state so explicitly.

Results: The results section should be clear and concise and report results only. Implications, theories, opinions and findings related to these results should be included in the discussion section. Fully describe the study sample so that readers can gauge how well the study findings apply to their patients (external validity). Then present primary findings followed by any secondary and subgroup findings. Use tables and figures to demonstrate main characteristics of participants and major findings. Avoid redundancy between text, tables, and figures. (More specific guidance for structuring the results section of a systematic review can be found here.)

Discussion: Consider structuring the discussion according to the following sequence.

  • Provide a brief synopsis of key findings, with particular emphasis on how the findings add to the body of pertinent knowledge.
  • Discuss possible mechanisms and explanations for the findings.
  • Compare study results with relevant findings from other published work.
  • Discuss the limitations of the present study and any methods used to minimize or compensate for those limitations.
  • Mention any crucial future research directions.
  • Conclude with a brief section that summarizes in a straightforward and circumspect manner the clinical implications of the work. It is common, but not required, to have a separate "Conclusion" heading.

Tables and Figures [top]

Tables: Information included in a table format should be typed and double-spaced. Each table should be on its own page, with its caption on the same page. Excessive tabular material should be avoided; most data are better presented in text or figures. Information should never be duplicated among tables, text, and figures. Footnotes in tables should be used in the following order: *, †, ‡, §, ||, ¶, **, ††, ‡‡, and so on. Do not use numbers or letters.


  • Figures should be done in a graphics format that permits editing of objects. Bitmap or low-resolution output from some computer programs should be redrawn in a graphics file format such as PowerPoint (ppt), eps, tif, psd, or xls. More information can be about graphic files can be found here.
  • Avoid pie charts and 3-D effects.
  • Whenever possible, present measures of variability in charts and graphs.
  • Avoid clutter. Remove unnecessary borders, legends (when they make the graph itself smaller) and decimal places. Space axis values so they are legible. Below, for example, the graph on the right is preferred: 1) the upper and right borders are deleted 2) on the y-axis, unnecessary decimal places have been removed, and, on the x-axis, "0.0-15" is changed to "0-15" 3) the x-axis is longer so the round-trip distances appear on one line and are more legible and 4) open and closed markers makes the 4 data series more distinguishable. Also, the label for the x-axis indicates the units (km, not miles.) The example below shows two versions of the same figure. The version at left is acceptable for submission.

Acknowledgments [top]

Acknowledge persons who have contributed to the scientific content or provided technical support. Authors should obtain written permission from anyone that they wish to list in the Acknowledgments section. The corresponding author must also affirm that he or she has listed everyone who contributed significantly to the work in the Acknowledgments.

References [top]

References should be typed double-spaced in order of citation. All references must be cited in the text, tables, or figure legends.

  • The style of references is the Vancouver style (Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, Philadelphia, PA, American College of Physicians, 1997).
  • For in-text citations, number references, using Arabic numerals in parentheses, in the order in which they first appear in the text. References cited in a table/figure should appear in numeric order relative to the first citation of the table/figure in the text. For example, if the last reference cited before the table/figure in question is mentioned is reference 14, and that table/figure contains 5 references that have not been cited, the references in the table/figure would be numbered 15 through 19. Reference citations in the text would then recommence with number 20.
  • Appendix material should not have separate reference sections. References that appear in both the text and the appendix should be numbered as they appear in the text. Any references that appear only in the appendix should be added consecutively to the end of the text reference list.
  • List all authors when there are 6 or fewer; when there are 7 or more authors, list only the first 6 and add "et al.".
  • Do not use ibid. or op cit.
  • Include an "available from" note for documents that may not be readily accessible.
  • Cite symposium papers only from published proceedings.
  • When citing an article or book accepted for publication but not yet published, include the title of the journal (or name of the publisher) and the year of expected publication.
  • Include references to unpublished material in the text, not in the references.
  • Ensure that URLs used as references are active and available (the references should include the date on which the author accessed the URL)
  • Citations to articles that have been co–published should refer to the Medical Decision Making published version of the article.

Names, Numbers and Statistics [top]

Drug Names

Use generic names for all drugs. If the author desires, the proprietary name may be added in parentheses the first time a drug is mentioned.

Units of Measure

Authors should express all measurements in conventional units, with Système International (SI) units given in parentheses throughout the text. Figures and tables should use conventional units, with conversion factors given in legends or footnotes. In accordance with the Uniform Requirements, however, manuscripts containing only SI units will not be returned for that reason.

Currency can be presented in U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, British pounds, or euros; if you do not use U.S. dollars, you may wish to provide the rate of exchange to dollars at the time the study was conducted in the methods section (e.g, 1 Euro = 1.57 U.S. dollars (4/15/08)).


Except for units of measurement, abbreviations are strongly discouraged. Except for units of measurement, the first time an abbreviation appears, it should be preceded by the words for which it stands.

Presentation of Numbers and Statistics

Equations should be typed exactly as they are to appear in the final manuscript. The following table, adapted from the guidelines for authors for the Annals of Internal Medicine, shows how to present certain percentages and some statistical measures. Authors may also consult the American Psychological Association guidelines for presenting statistical results (LINK)

Issue Notes
Percentages Report percentages to one decimal place (i.e., xx.x%) when sample size is >=200.

To avoid the appearance of a level of precision that is not present with small samples, do not use decimal places (i.e., xx%, not xx.x%) when sample size is < 200.
Error measures Report confidence intervals, rather than standard errors, when possible. Use "mean (error measures)" rather than "mean ± error measure" notation.
P values Except when one-sided tests are required by study design, such as in noninferiority trials, all reported P values should be two-sided. In general, P values larger than 0.01 should be reported to two decimal places, those between 0.01 and 0.001 to three decimal places; P values smaller than 0.001 should be reported as P<0.001. Notable exceptions to this policy include P values arising in the application of stopping rules to the analysis of clinical trials and genetic-screening studies.
"Trend" Use the word trend when describing a test for trend or dose-response.
Avoid the term "trend" when referring to p-values near but not below 0.05. In such instances, simply report a difference and the confidence interval of the difference (if appropriate) with or without the p-value.


Manuscript Processing

Peer Review [top]

After initial review by the Editors, about 75% of submitted papers are sent out for peer review, usually to at least two reviewers. The editors reject some manuscripts without outside review. Before a manuscript is rejected without outside review, two editors (the Editor-in-Chief and one Associate Editor, or two Associate Editors) must agree on the decision. If either editor believes the article should be sent to reviewers, it will be sent.

The Editors select reviewers from an electronic database of about 5,000 reviewers, supplemented, if necessary, by authors cited in the reference list of the submitted article and by searching the literature. Authors are encouraged to suggest reviewers and may also list individuals that they do not want to be a reviewer. Preferred and un-preferred reviewer fields are provided in the manuscript submission form. We do not send a manuscript to a reviewer who is affiliated with the same institution as any of the authors and we request that reviewers disclose any conflicts of interest before reviewing an MDM manuscript.

Decisions [top]

When outside reviews are complete, the Editors make one of the following decisions:

  • Accept
  • Provisional Accept
  • Revise and Resubmit — A "Revise and Resubmit" decision means that the authors are invited to revise the manuscript to address the reviewers' and Editor's concerns. More information about revisions is included below.
  • Reject
  • Reject and Resubmit — We sometimes reject an article but invite a resubmission that addresses specific concerns of the Editors. Such an invitation means that the Editors believe it is possible that the research described is of potential interest and would have a chance of eventual acceptance if presented in a different manner. This decision means that the paper must be changed fundamentally. The authors are invited to resubmit if they feel confident in making the required revisions, however there is no guarantee that the resubmission will be successful. More information about resubmissions is included below.

Approximately 30% of first submissions result in a "Revise and Resubmit" or "Provisional Accept" decision. About 10% of first submissions receive a "Reject and Resubmit" decision.

Revision and Resubmission [top]

Almost all papers that we accept require some editorial or statistical revision before publication. The Journal differentiates between (A) manuscripts that have received a revise and resubmit or provisional acceptance decision and will undergo further consideration after requested changes have been made and (B) manuscripts that have been rejected with an invitation to resubmit after major revision.

Revision: If editors have asked you to make specific changes to your manuscript and return it for further consideration, you are sending a "revision."

Manuscripts receiving a revise and resubmit or provisional accept on the first version are to be revised and submitted through Manuscript Central as a revision. The submitting author can submit a revision by logging into their Manuscript Central account to access their author dashboard. Choose "Manuscripts with Decisions" from the dashboard list and then click the "create a revision" link next to the original manuscript listing in order to move forward with a revision. Once submitted, the revision will appear with the same manuscript number as the original but as "R1" (MDM-XX-XXX.R1). All revised manuscripts should include a point-by-point response to reviewer and editor comments, described below.

Resubmission: If you have received a letter of rejection with a conditional option to resubmit and wish to meet set conditions in order to have the editors reconsider their decision, you are "resubmitting."

Your file will be considered a new submission, and will receive a new six-digit manuscript number, but will remain connected to the original submission. The submitting author can submit a resubmission through their author queue in Manuscript Central. Under "Manuscripts with Decisions" click the link to "create a resubmission" next to the original manuscript details and follow the resubmission instructions. All resubmissions require a point-by-point response to the previous reviewer comments

Author Response [top]

All revisions and resubmissions must include a detailed, point-by-point, response to the previous reviewer and editor comments, if applicable. There is a space provided for this response, called the author rebuttal, in the revision process. Authors who are processing a resubmission should include the response in their cover letter. An upload function is provided in both processes if an author would like to attach the response file.

Revisions and resubmissions that are submitted without an author response will not be processed for review and will be returned to the authors.

Appeals [top]

Authors who feel their manuscript was wrongly rejected may e-mail an appeal request to the Editor-in-Chief. Appeal requests should be submitted within three months from the time the decision notification was received by the author. In the appeal request letter, the author should state the reason they feel the editor should reconsider their decision. Common reasons are that an author feels the editor's decision wasn't explained clearly or may have been based on an incorrect reading of the manuscript by a reviewer or by the editors, or that a reviewer or editor was biased or unfair in their judgment. If the editor grants your appeal request you will receive instruction on how to submit a formal appeal through Manuscript Central. The appeal letter should detail the author's concern with the editorial decision and discuss how the manuscript could be revised to address the main issues brought up in the editor and reviewer comments. After considering the author's appeal letter, the editor will either confirm the original decision of reject or allow the authors to submit a formal appeal through Manuscript Central.

Acceptance [top]

After a manuscript is accepted the editorial staff will process it through the MDM production queue in Manuscript Central before exporting it to Sage. In this queue, the manuscript will receive a tentative print issue assignment, the corresponding author will be prompted to fill out a copyright form, and the paper will undergo a final First Look evaluation by editorial staff.

The final manuscript acceptance date is the date the paper leaves the internal production queue and is sent to the publisher, not the date the acceptance letter is sent to the authors. This is the date that will appear in print.>


Manuscript Production

The print version of MDM is published six times a year on a bi-monthly schedule. Subscribers receive these issues by mail at the beginning of the second month of each issue: February, April, June, August, October, and December>

Copyright Form [top]

Authors of accepted papers will be prompted to sign a copyright form through the Manuscript Central system immediately after acceptance. A notification to access the copyright form online will be sent by email at which point the corresponding author can log into their Manuscript Central author account to read and sign the electronic copyright form. Government employees who are required to submit a different form can contact the editorial office to do so.

First Look [top]

After filling out the copyright form, the author may be contacted by the editorial staff to make any remaining minor changes that are required. This can include editor suggestions from the final acceptance letter, changes to formatting, requests for alternate figure files or requests for added supplementary materials. The author will receive an email from the First Look center detailing the remaining changes that are needed, and providing instructions to access the paper in the First Look queue. If no changes are needed in this stage, the manuscript will skip the First Look process and be exported directly to Sage Publications for production.

Sage Production [top]

Once the internal production process is complete the editorial office will forward the manuscript to SAGE Publications for production. The production editor at SAGE will contact the author with article proofs once the paper has been processed and typeset. This process can take up to a month from the time the manuscript is sent to SAGE production.

Once an author has reviewed and, if necessary, edited the article proofs, they may send an advance copy of the article to their institution's press office. Authors are free to discuss their research with representatives of the media but should not distribute copies of papers accepted for publication unless the Editor gives permission to do so. For more information see the section on pre-publication policy.

Web-Only Materials [top]

The journal editor reserves the right to deem any figures, large tables, appendices, supplementary materials or other related content as web-only materials. Such materials will be published in connection with the online version of an article and will be referenced in a menu on the opening page in both the print and online version of the article.

Online-Only Articles [top]

The MDM Editor-in-chief retains the right to deem full articles or parts of an article such as tables, figures, and appendices, online-only material. Articles that exceed twenty journal pages will be printed online-only. The title and author list will appear in the table of contents for both the print and online issue in which the article appears and the abstract of the online-only article will be included in the paper issue.

Online First [top]

All MDM articles will be available in the Online First queue soon after they have finished the production and proof process while they wait for the release of their assigned issue. Online First articles do not yet have a citation with page numbers can be cited by using the online posting date of the manuscript and the assigned DOI number. The posting date and the DOI number are both listed below the title on the main OnlineFirst contents page, http://mdm.sagepub.com/content/early/recent,

Once a paper is published in an issue it will leave the Online First queue and will remain accessible online in the assigned issue at which point it will have a full citation with page numbers.


Editorial Policies [top]

Medical Decision Making largely complies with the policies and ethical considerations of the Council of Science Editors. Their White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications should be consulted for our policies regarding the responsibilities of authors, reviewers, and editors, including authorship, access to data, and conflicts of interest.

Conflicts of Interest [top]

When authors submit a manuscript, they must disclose all financial relationships (both personal and institutional) that could be viewed as presenting a potential conflict of interest or might bias their work. To prevent ambiguity, authors must state explicitly whether potential conflicts do or do not exist. Potential conflicts include, but are not limited to, any financial relationship that involves conditions or tests or treatments discussed in the manuscript AND alternatives to the tests or treatments for those conditions. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, honoraria, stock ownership or options, paid expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending, and royalties) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and science itself.

Disclosure of these relationships is essential not only for original research articles but also for editorials, letters, commentary, and review articles. MDM will publish conflict of interest disclosures. If authors are uncertain, they should err on the side of full disclosure. All such disclosures should be listed in the Acknowledgments section at the end of the manuscript.

Financial Disclosure [top]

The following statement should be included in the cover letter that accompanies the manuscript and should also be included in the manuscript as a footnote for the title page:

"Financial support for this study was provided [choose one: entirely or in part] by a [choose one: grant from or contract with] [here insert the name(s) of the funding source(s), whether a company, government agency, philanthropic foundation, institute, etc.]. The funding agreement ensured the authors' independence in designing the study, interpreting the data, writing, and publishing the report. [The following sentence should be inserted, if applicable:] The following author(s) is/are employed by the sponsor: [identify employees]."

Authorship [top]

Each contributor should meet all criteria below (A, B, C, and D).

A. Contributor certifies that:

  • The Contribution represents the Contributor's valid work and neither this Contribution nor one with substantially similar content under Contributor's authorship has been published or is being considered for publication elsewhere, except as described in an attachment, and copies of any closely related manuscripts are provided.
  • If requested, Contributor will provide the data or will cooperate fully in obtaining and providing the data on which the Contribution is based for examination by the editors or their assignees.
  • For papers with more than one Contributor, Contributor agrees to allow the corresponding Contributor to serve as the primary correspondent with the editorial office, to review the edited typescript and proof, and to make decisions regarding release of information in the Contribution to the media, federal agencies, or both; or, if Contributor is the only contributor, Contributor will be the Corresponding Contributor and agree to serve in the roles described above.

B. Contributor has given final approval of the submitted Contribution.

C. All listed Contributors participated sufficiently in the authorship of the work (i.e., contributing to the content of the work) to take public responsibility for at least part of the content therein. (check 1 of 2 below)

___ part of the content.
___ all of the content.


D. The corresponding contributor certifies that all listed contributors have made substantial contributions to the intellectual content of the work in at least one of the following ways;

___ conception and design
___ acquisition of data
___ analysis and interpretation of data
___ drafting of the Contribution
___ critical revision of the Contribution for important
___ intellectual content
___ statistical analysis
___ obtaining funding
___ administrative, technical, or material support
___ supervision
___ no additional contributions
___ other (specify)


Permissions [top]

Materials taken from other sources must be accompanied by a written statement from both the author and the publisher giving permission to the publisher of Medical Decision Making for reproduction. If clearances are required by the author's institution, statements concerning such clearances should be provided in the manuscript. Obtain and submit written permission from authors to cite unpublished data or papers still in press. Questions regarding permissions can be directed to the Permission Department at Sage Publications, permissions@sagepub.com.

Prepublication Policy [top]

Online versions of articles are published as soon as the final proofs are processed by the publisher. >

Once an author has edited the proof of an accepted article, the author may send an advance copy of the article to their institution's members of the news media. Authors are free to discuss their research with representatives of the media and to be interviewed about their work. However, providing copies of a submitted manuscript to media, manufacturers, or government agencies requires the permission of the Editor. Authors should discuss any possible prepublication disclosure with the Editor in advance and obtain his or her agreement.

Copyright [top]

All authors, except government employees whose work was done as part of their official duties, must transfer copyright to the Society for Medical Decision Making, publisher of MDM. Transfer of copyright signifies transfer of rights for print publication; electronic publication; production of reprints, facsimiles, microfilm, or microfiche; or publication in a language other than English.

Wellcome Trust and National Institutes of Health-Funded Research Articles [top]

Some authors need to comply with funding body requirements, such as those in place from the Wellcome Trust and the National Institutes of Health.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research (Public Access Policy) strongly encourages all investigators to make their NIH-funded, peer-reviewed, author's final manuscript available to other researchers and the public through the NIH National Library of Medicine's (NLM) PubMed Central (PMC) immediately after the final date of journal publication. In support of this policy, we encourage authors of accepted manuscripts that describe original research funded entirely or in part by a NIH grant to submit their manuscript to the NIH grantee site

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Appendix: Sample References [top]


1. Standard article (List all authors when there are 6 or fewer; when there are 7 or more authors, list only the first 6 and add "et al.")

Vega KJ, Pina I, Krevsky B. Heart transplantation is associated with an increased risk for pancreatobiliary disease. Ann Intern Med. 1996;124:980-3.

2. Corporate author

Clinical exercise stress testing. Safety and performance guidelines. The Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. Med J Aust. 1996;164:282-4.

3. Supplement

Shen HM, Zhang QF. Risk assessment of nickel carcinogenicity and occupational lung cancer. Environ Health Perspect 1994;102(Suppl 1):275-82.

4. Special format (also applies to abstracts and editorials)

Enzensberger W, Fischer PA. Metronome in Parkinson's disease [Letter]. Lancet. 1996;347:1337.


List all authors or editors when 6 or fewer; when there are 7 or more authors, list only the first 6 and add "et al."

1. Author

Ringsven MK, Bond D. Gerontology and Leadership Skills for Nurses. 2nd ed. Albany, NY: Delmar; 1996.

2. Editors

Norman IJ, Redfern SJ, eds. Mental Health Care for Elderly People. New York: Churchill Livingstone; 1996.

3. Chapter in a book

Phillips SJ, Whisnant JP. Hypertension and stroke. In: Laragh JH, Brenner BM, eds. Hypertension: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Management. 2nd ed. New York: Raven Pr; 1995:465-78.

4. Published proceedings paper

Bengtsson S, Solheim BG. Enforcement of data protection, privacy and security in medical informatics. In: Lun KC, Degoulet P, Piemme TE, Rienhoff O, eds. MEDINFO 92. Proceedings of the 7th World Congress on Medical Informatics; 6-10 September 1992; Geneva, Switzerland. Amsterdam: North-Holland; 1992:1561-5.

Other Citations in Reference List

1. In press (must have journal title)

Leshner AI. Molecular mechanisms of cocaine addiction. N Engl J Med. 1996; [In press].

2. Magazine article

Roberts JL. Villain or victim? Newsweek. 1996;4 Nov:40-1.

In-Text Citations of Unpublished Material (to be placed within parentheses)

1. Personal communication

(Strott CA, Nugent CA. Personal communication)

2. Unpublished papers

(Lerner RA, Dixon FJ. The induction of acute glomerulonephritis in rats. In preparation)

(Smith J. New agents for cancer chemotherapy. Presented at the Third Annual Meeting of the American Cancer Society, 13 June 1983, New York)

Citations of Electronic References

Cisler S. MediaTracks. Public Access Comput Syst Rev [serial on-line] 1990;109-15. Accessed at Public Access Computer Systems Forum PACS-L at www.pubaccess.com on 29 November 1997.


References [top]

Bailar JC 3rd, Mosteller F. Guidelines for statistical reporting in articles for medical journals. Amplifications and explanations. Ann Intern Med. 1988;108:266-73. [PMID: 3341656] Medline

Bossuyt PM, Reitsma JB, Bruns DE, Gatsonis CA, Glasziou PP, Irwig LM, et al. Towards a complete and accurate reporting of studies of diagnostic accuracy: The STARD Initiative. Ann Intern Med. 2003;138:40-4.[PMID:12513043] Medline - Annals.org

CBESMC - Council of Biology Editors Style Manual Committee. Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. 6th ed. New York: Cambridge Univ Pr; 1994. ISBN: 0521471540

GRADE Working Group. Grading quality of evidence and strength of recommendations. BMJ 2004;328:1490-1494. {PMID: 15205295] Medline

Huth EJ. Medical Style and Format. Philadelphia: ISI Pr; Baltimore MD: Williams & Wilkins; 1987. ISBN: 0894950630

ICMJE - International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. Ann Intern Med.1997;126(1):36-47. [PMID: 8992922] Medline - Annals.org

Moher D, Schulz KF, Altman DG. The CONSORT statement: revised recommendations for improving the quality of reports of parallel-group randomized trials. Ann Intern Med. 2001;134(8):657-62. [PMID: 11304106] Medline - Annals.org

Philips Z. Ginnelly L. Sculpher M. Claxton K. Golder S. Riemsma R. Woolacoot N. Glanville J. Review of guidelines for good practice in decision-analytic modelling in health technology assessment. Health Technology Assessment (Winchester, England). 2004;8(36):iii-iv, ix-xi, 1-158. [PMID: 15361314] Medline

STROBE Group. Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE). 2005. www.strobe-statement.org. Accessed 6 February 2006.

Stroup DF, Berlin JA, Morton SC, Olkin I, Williamson GD, Rennie D, et al. Meta-analysis of observational studies in epidemiology: a proposal for reporting. Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) group. JAMA. 2000;283:2008-12. [PMID: 10789670] Medline

Weinstein MC. O'Brien B. Hornberger J. Jackson J. Johannesson M. McCabe C. Luce BR. ISPOR Task Force on Good Research Practices--Modeling Studies. Principles of good practice for decision analytic modeling in health-care evaluation: report of the ISPOR Task Force on Good Research Practices--Modeling Studies. Value in Health. 2003;6(1):9-17. [PMID: 12535234] Medline