Guide to Authors

About UBCMJ

University of British Columbia Medical Journal (UBCMJ) is a student-driven academic journal with a goal to engage students in dialogue in medicine. Our scope ranges from original research and review articles in medicine to medical trends, clinical reports, and commentaries on the principles and practice of medicine. We strive to stimulate critical and independent thinking, to encourage collaborative production and cross-disciplinary communication, and to maintain a high level of integrity and accuracy in our work.

Online Submission System

All new manuscripts are submitted online via OJS, our online submissions system. New authors are required to register an account as “Author” and select “New Submission” after logging in. Please direct questions to the Managing Editors at managing.editor@ubcmj.com.

Please refer to the Submission Checklist to ensure documentation is complete.

Article Types and Content

We seek to establish ourselves as one of the leading student-driven publications in Canada and internationally and expect high quality submissions. We accept submissions in all areas of medicine, including but not limited to research, reviews, case reports, medical history, ethics, medical anthropology, epidemiology, public health, and international health.

Category Article Type Description Requirements
Academic Research Full-length Articles Student-driven research projects
  • 3000 words
  • Structured abstract
Research Letters Concise, focused reports of original research
  • 800 words
  • ≤2 tables and/or figures
  • No abstract
Clinical Review and Education Case Reports Summary of patient encounters in clinical or public health setting
  • 1500 words
  • 250-word abstract
Reviews Critical Assessment of literature focusing on body of scientific work
  • 1750 words
  • 250-word abstract
News Articles Highlight current events in field of medicine
  • 500 words
  • No abstract
Correspondence Letters to the Editor Letters discussing past or present article published in UBCMJ
  • 250 words
  • No abstract
 Opinion Commentaries Subjective pieces in virtually any topic in medicine, research, discovery, education, ethics, health policy
  • 1000 words
  • 100-word abstract

Academic Research

Research articles report student-driven research projects and succinctly describe findings in a manner appropriate for a general medical audience. The articles should place findings within the context of current literature in their respective disciplines.

Full Length Articles should not exceed 3000 words excluding abstract, figures, tables, and references. Accepted manuscripts may be shortened for the print edition of UBCMJ with complete versions of the article appearing online. The main text must be structured with sections ordered as follows: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgements (if any), References, Conflicts of Interest (if any), Figures and Tables (if any). An appropriate Discussion section should include an explanation of the findings in the context of the existing literature, provide a thorough overview of the study’s limitations, and provide brief statements outlining the study’s implications. Subheadings within sections are encouraged if they facilitate presentation of the material. Each full length article must include a structured abstract not exceeding 250 words with sections ordered as follows: Objective, Methods, Results, Conclusions. Figures and tables should be presented in the same document as the main text.

Research Letters summarize research of a shorter length and depth. These do not require extensive elaborations regarding methods or results. Research letters should not exceed 800 words with a maximum of 2 figures or tables. Abstracts are not required for research letters.

Permission from Contributors

The author(s) must obtain written permission to publish names listed in the Acknowledgements or Contributions where the manuscript or article contains any material(s) (including text, images or other media) or other contribution(s) belonging to others. The author(s) are solely responsible for obtaining permission in writing from the owner(s) for its publication in UBCMJ.

Case Reports

Case Reports describe patient encounters in a clinical or public health setting. The main text is limited to 1500 words. Abstracts are unstructured and limited to 250 words. The case should provide a relevant teaching point for medical students, either by describing a unique condition or by presenting new insights into the diagnosis, presentation, or management of a common condition. Each case report should include a brief introduction that provides background information pertinent to the case, a history of the presenting problem, a discussion of relevant signs, symptoms, diagnostic tests, pathophysiology of the condition, and potential treatment options. A clear rationale for the ultimate diagnosis and treatment plan should be outlined.

Patient consent

Where reports or articles contain any information that could potentially be used to identify a person, including images and written information, the author(s) must obtain written consent from the individual using the Patient Consent for Publication form provided by UBCMJ. It is expected that the patient will have been provided with a final draft of the article and informed of the possible risks of this disclosure. The patient’s consent form should be retained by the authors for a period of 5 years. Please do not provide the patient’s name or signature directly to UBCMJ.

It is expected that the author has read and understood UBCMJ’s consent policy prior to submission.

Reviews

Reviews provide an overview of a body of scientific work in academic literature or a medical trend in biomedical research. Reviews may outline a current medical issue or give insight into the principles of practice of a clinical field. The main text should not exceed 1750 words. Abstracts are unstructured and limited to 250 words. Author(s) may choose to review the etiology, diagnosis, treatment, or epidemiology of a specific disease. Articles may also provide a survey of literature dealing with pertinent philosophy or social sciences.

News and Letters

Abstracts are not required for News and Letters submissions. There are 2 main types of submissions:

  1. News Articles highlight current events in the field of medicine as well as significant medical advancements. Articles should not exceed 500 words.
  2. Letters to the Editor are meant for readers to express their opinion in response to any articles published in past issues of UBCMJ. Articles should not exceed 250 words.

Commentaries

Commentaries provide a platform for intellectual dialogue on topics relevant to the study and practice of medicine. Articles submitted to this section should correspond to one of the following descriptions outlined below. Commentaries are limited to 1000 words. Abstracts are unstructured and limited to 100 words. There are 2 main types of submissions:

  1. Subjective pieces relevant to medical studies, life as a future physician, or the current social context of medicine. Commentaries may draw on personal experiences to convey the writer’s perspective.
  2. Articles that highlight the significance of an interesting research study or topic from a clinical perspective. In critiquing published work, author(s) should summarize the research methodology and findings, critically evaluate the experimental design, suggest future experiments, and discuss current research trends in that field.

Author Eligibility

Authors must acknowledge and declare any sources of funding or potential conflicting interest, such as receiving funds or fees by, or holding stocks and benefited financially from, an organization that may profit or lose through publication of the submitted paper. Declaring a competing interest will not necessarily preclude publication but will be conducive to UBCMJ’s goal of transparency. Such information will be held in confidence while the paper is under review and will not influence the editorial decision. If the article is accepted for publication, the editors will discuss with the authors the manner in which such information is to be communicated to the reader. UBCMJ expects that author(s) of accepted articles do not have any undisclosed financial ties to or interest in the makers of products discussed in the article.

In the interest of full transparency, no current members of UBCMJ staff will be permitted to publish in the journal, except for those officially invited in a staff writer capacity. This policy is intended to limit potential conflicts of interest. All former members of UBCMJ staff are exempted from this policy, as they will not have involvement in the workings of the journal at the time of their submission.

Article Originality

Authors must declare that all works submitted to UBCMJ contain original, unpublished content and have been referenced according to the appropriate academic style. Written content which displays excessive similarity to previously published works, including works written by the submitting authors, will not be published by UBCMJ. This policy is consistent with the UBC policy on plagiarism (please see 2.2) and with the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals. UBCMJ editorial staff reserves the right to request revisions, to deny publication or to require retraction of submitted or published work that contains clear violations of this policy.

Ethics

UBCMJ expects that research involving human participants or animal subjects will adhere to the appropriate national standards for research ethics, such as those set out in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and the Canadian Council on Animal Care Guidelines.

Researchers should also have received approval from the appropriate institutional review board, and the approved protocol must be documented in the text of the manuscript. Further documentation of this approval may be requested by UBCMJ Editors. Where the research reports contain any information that could potentially be used to identify a person, including images and written information, the researchers must obtain written consent from such individual.

Preparation and Submission Requirements

All manuscripts must be submitted in electronic format through the online submission system. Formatting must conform strictly with the ICMJE Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, also known as the Vancouver Style. Manuscripts not conforming to UBCMJ style will be returned with a request for revision.

Files should be submitted as Microsoft Word documents (.doc or .docx) and written in clear, grammatical English, with 12-point font and double-spaced formatting. Articles should be written in a manner that conveys professionalism and is appropriate for a journal suitable for the quality and calibre of our publication. Manuscript pages must be numbered consecutively with the title page constituting page 1. We expect authors to include continuous line numbers on their manuscripts (see detailed instructions here) and remove all identifying information from the manuscript prior to submission for review.

Cover Letter

A cover letter should be included in the online submission and uploaded as a separate document to the manuscript, under “Supplemental Files”.

The cover letter should include:

  • A statement indicating that the paper is being submitted for consideration for publication in UBCMJ.
  • The type of submission (e.g. Academic Research, Case Reports, Reviews, News and Letters, Commentaries) and up to 5 keywords (MeSH headings) describing the article.
  • 3 recommendations for faculty reviewers. While this is not required to complete the submission, this step is pivotal to our review process. Authors must suggest reviewers that will be able to critically appraise all aspects of the paper. Please be aware that reviewers will sign a statement of disclosure indicating any potential conflicts of interest in reviewing the manuscript.

Manuscript Components

The main manuscript file should include the components: a manuscript title, abstract, main text, references, figure and table legends (if any), figures and tables (if any). Start each of these sections on a new page, numbered consecutively, with the title page as Page 1. Figures and tables should be included in the main manuscript file.

Title Page

The title page should be uploaded as a separate document. It should consist of: the manuscript title; the full names, highest academic degrees, and affiliations of all authors; name and contact information (email and phone number) of the corresponding author; manuscript word count not including title, abstract, acknowledgments, conflicts of interest, references, figures and table legends), and abstract word count. If the corresponding author is a medical student, please include their medical school class and site (e.g. VFMP 2021).

Tables, Figures, and Graphics

Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to use any tables, graphics, or figures adapted from other sources. All tables, figures, and graphics must be submitted with the manuscript’s main text, not as separate files. List all figure and table legends after the main text, then embed each figure and table on a separate page. The legend should describe the figure and explain all abbreviations used. Figures should be digitally-rendered; freehand-drawn figures, scanned figures and direct SPSS output will not be accepted. We accept the following image formats:

  • JPEG 300 dpi or higher, minimum compression
  • GIF 300 dpi or higher (NOT accepted for photographs)
  • TIFF (photos only, no text, minimum 300 dpi)

Images must be grayscale or CMYK (no RGB).

References

Authors are responsible for the accuracy of references cited within the manuscript. References should follow the order in which they appear in the text. References must adhere to the Vancouver Style. In-text references should be indicated by numbering within parentheses placed AFTER punctuation marks where applicable (e.g., Diane Wu and Pam Verma, UBC medical students,(1) started the new UBCMJ in 2009.(2)).

The author(s) must provide all relevant information when submitting journal articles, including both the full name and abbreviated version of the journal title. Unpublished articles and informal communication should also be cited in concordance with the Vancouver Style. Manuscripts are limited to 50 references and author(s) are encouraged to cite the most recent references where appropriate. Abstracts do not need to be referenced.

Refer to the ICMJE guidelines or to the NLM Style Guide, 2nd Edition for more information on the Vancouver Style.

Some examples:

Piper P, Powell SS, and Peters J. Pickled Peppers. NEJM 2001 Feb 31;765(1):897-905.

Piper, P. Pickled Peppers [Online]. 2008 Sept 7 [cited 2009 Jun 13]; Available from: http://www.peppers.com/peppers.html.

Drug Names

Both generic and trade names should be provided for all drugs, with the generic name in lower-case and the commercial name in parentheses and with a first letter in uppercase. Drugs not yet available in Canada should be so noted.

Review Process

Submissions will be initially reviewed by the relevant UBCMJ Section Editors as part of an initial screening process. Articles selected for further review will be sent as anonymized manuscripts to up to 3 reviewers: one faculty member, clinician, or professional expert and one or two medical students. UBCMJ uses a double-blind peer review process: reviewer identities are kept confidential; author identities are also kept confidential. The results of the review process will then be consolidated by the Section Editors, who will make a decision as to recommending the manuscript for publication. A committee of the Editors-in-Chief, Managing Editors, and Section Editors will determine if an article is accepted as well as what revisions are required. The editors reserve the right to edit manuscripts, overrule the decision of a peer reviewer, fit articles into available space, or suggest further changes to ensure conciseness, clarity, and consistency of the journal. Articles may be accepted for publication, accepted with revisions, or rejected. Author(s) will be notified of the status of their submission via email and comments of the reviewers will be communicated at that time.

The author(s) of accepted manuscripts will be required to authorize publication of the manuscript in its final format prior to its appearance in the journal. Should an article be returned for revisions, author(s) will have two weeks upon return of the paper to make the necessary changes and return the corrected paper to the corresponding Section Editor.

Revised copies of the manuscripts should be uploaded onto the OJS under “Editor Decision”. Should a paper be rejected, the author(s) will be notified as to the decision and be encouraged to re-submit after responding to all the reviewers’ comments and making corresponding changes to the manuscript. The re-submitted manuscript will be considered a new submission and will be subject to the standard review process of UBCMJ.

** Please note that views expressed in this journal do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors, the Faculty of Medicine, or any organizations affiliated with this publication. They are solely the author(s)’ opinion and are intended to stimulate academic dialogue.

Deadlines

The UBCMJ works on a very tight review and production schedule. Due to the large number of submissions expected, and in order to expedite the review process, it is strongly suggested that authors submit their manuscript as early as possible prior to the submissions deadline. Earlier submissions are more likely to undergo review for the intended edition. Articles that cannot be reviewed for the current issue due to volume will be reviewed in the next cycle of submissions with priority status.

Correspondence

For any questions related to your submission, please contact the appropriate Section Editors. Thank you.

Academic Research  (academic@ubcmj.com)
Case and Elective Reports (reports@ubcmj.com)
Reviews (reviews@ubcmj.com)
News and Letters (news@ubcmj.com)
Commentaries (commentaries@ubcmj.com)

Do not hesitate to contact the Managing Editor at managing.editor@ubcmj.com if you have any other submissions-related inquiries.