Editorial policies and procedures

A guide to our internal processes, from submission to production.

Article submission and processing

If you have an article proposal or would like to submit an unsolicited article to the Pharmaceutical Journal, please use the contact details here. For article proposals, the Editor is likely to request a working title and brief outline of the proposed article are submitted in the first instance. 

Initial screening of articles by internal editorial staff will assess the topicality and importance of the subject (including potential overlap with previously published material), the clarity of presentation, and relevance of the subject to the audience of The Pharmaceutical Journal.

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Peer review

Some articles in The Pharmaceutical Journal are peer-reviewed in order to ensure they are unbiased, scientifically accurate and clinically relevant. All articles are reviewed by at least two specialists, selected on the basis of experience and expertise, and usually takes three to four weeks. Authors are requested to submit a list of suitable peer reviewers with their article submission, in order to aid this process. 

The end goal is to provide a constructive critique of the article and to recommend where there are opportunities to add additional value to the manuscript. Review is performed on a double-blind basis, whereby the identity of the peer reviewers and author(s) are kept confidential. Peer reviewers must disclose potential conflicts of interests that would prevent or may affect their ability to provide an unbiased review of the manuscript (See conflict of interest policy). Peer reviewers are asked to complete a template report form, to provide general comments to the Editor and both general and specific comments to the author(s).

A detailed response to the reviewer comments are also required (authors should include these sections on the report form supplied). Manuscripts may be accepted at this point, however, depending on the nature of the comments and amount of revision necessary, articles may be subject to further peer review. The final decision regarding the acceptance of an article for publication lies with the journal Editor.

If an author believes that an editor has made an error in declining a paper, they may submit an appeal. The appeal letter should clearly state the reasons why the author(s) considers the decision to be incorrect and provide detailed, specific responses to any comments relating to the rejection of the article. Further advice from the Editor and/or other external experts will be sought in order to determine the eligibility for re-review.

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Pharmaceutical Journal Publications support authors in making their article publicly and freely available. The editors encourage all authors to post a Word version of their peer-reviewed, accepted article on their personal or institutional websites any time after publication online or in print. Your document should indicate the article’s citation and a link to the published article on pharmaceutical-journal.com website.

For authors of articles funded by one of the Research Councils UK, Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, Arthritis Research Council, British Heart Foundation, UK Department of Health, UK Chief Scientist Office, Austrian Science Fund, or Parkinson’s UK, we offer either a “gold” open access choice with a creative commons licence after payment of an article processing charge, or a “green” open access solution — where authors can deposit the final accepted version of their paper in any repository they choose six months after publication. In addition, for authors who choose the green open access solution, we will also make the published paper free to access on our websites six months after publication. For the gold open access solution we offer a choice of creative commons licences (CC BY or CC BY-NC-ND).

These options apply only to review papers submitted for publication in Pharmaceutical Journal Publications after October 2015, they will not be applied retrospectively.

Authors funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) can comply with the NIH’s public-access policy via the Journal Publishing Agreement (copyright transfer form), which is sent to the corresponding author of accepted articles. All Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists who are authors of accepted articles can also have their accepted manuscripts deposited in PubMed Central, if they complete the relevant section of the Journal Publishing Agreement.

Open access articles can be published either under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License, a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License, or a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License at the free choice of the authors.

Pharmaceutical Journal Publications’ publishing policies ensure that authors can fully comply with the public access requirements of the major funding bodies worldwide (http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/journals.php?id=416&fIDnum=&mode=simple&letter=ALL). However, it is the author’s responsibility to take the necessary actions to achieve compliance. This may include self-archiving or choosing open access publication under the appropriate licence type choice.

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Disclosure and conflict of interest policy

Authors must state explicitly whether potential conflicts do or do not exist (e.g. personal or financial relationships that could influence their actions) and any such potential conflict of interest (including sources of funding) should be summarised in a separate section of the published article. Authors must disclose whether they have received writing assistance and identify the sources of funding for such assistance. Authors who declare no conflict of interest are required to publish a statement to that effect within the article.

Authors must certify that all affiliations with or financial involvement with any organisation or entity with a financial interest in or financial conflict with the subject matter or materials discussed in their manuscript have been disclosed. Please note that examples of financial involvement include: employment, consultancies, honoraria, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending and royalties. This list is not exclusive of other forms of financial involvement. Details of relevant conflicts of interests (or the lack of) must be declared in the ‘Disclosure’ section of the manuscript for all listed authors.

External peer reviewers must disclose any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should disqualify themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if they believe it appropriate. Should any such conflict of interest be declared, the Editor will judge whether the reviewer’s comments should be recognised or will interpret the reviewer’s comments in the context of any such declaration.

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Patients’ rights to privacy

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information should not be included unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or legal guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that the patient be shown the manuscript to be published. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the manuscript.

In an attempt to maintain patient anonymity, identifying details should be omitted where they are not essential. However, patient data should never be amended or falsified. Informed consent should be obtained whenever there is any doubt that anonymity can be assured.

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Use of personal communications & unpublished data

Authors should avoid citing a personal communication unless it provides essential information not available from a public source, in which case include the nature and source of the cited information, using a term or terms to indicate clearly that no corresponding citation is in the reference list.

Authors can cite journal articles that have been submitted and accepted for publication that have yet to be published, however unpublished data that have not been accepted for publication are not to be cited in the reference list.

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Figures and tables

Summary figures and tables and boxes are useful, and we encourage their use in all article types. Figures and tables should be numbered consecutively according to the order in which they have been first cited in the text. All abbreviations used within them should be defined in the legend. Please ensure that scale bars are included in figures where appropriate (i.e. photomicrographs). Symbols, arrows or letters used in photomicrographs should contrast with the background. Please explain internal scale and identify the method of staining in photomicrographs.

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Permissions for reproduced or adapted material

Pharmaceutical Press, the publisher of the Pharmaceutical Journal
, is a signatory STM publisher (http://www.stm-assoc.org/copyright-legal-affairs/permissions/permissions-guidelines/).

If any of the figures or tables used in the manuscript require permission from the original publisher for publication, please clearly indicate this in the legend and make this known to the Editor on submission.

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Duplicate publication/submission & plagiarism

All articles submitted to the Pharmaceutical Journal are considered for publication on the understanding that they have not been published previously elsewhere or are under consideration for publication elsewhere. Authors will be asked to certify that the manuscript represents valid work and that neither this manuscript, nor one with substantially similar content under their authorship, has been published or is being considered for publication elsewhere, except as described in an attachment, and copies of closely related manuscripts are provided.

The use of published or unpublished ideas, words or other intellectual property derived from other sources without attribution or permission, and representation of such as those of the author(s) is regarded as scientific misconduct and will be addressed as such. 

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Scientific misconduct & retraction

If misconduct by authors or reviewers is suspected, either pre-publication or post-publication, action will be taken. An explanation will be sought from the party or parties considered to be involved. If the response is unsatisfactory, then an appropriate authority will be asked to investigate fully. Pharmaceutical Journal Publications will make all reasonable attempts to obtain a resolution in any such eventuality and correct the record or archive as necessary (publishing a retraction of the article if required).

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In-house production

We aim to process articles as soon as possible. Authors will be informed of the production schedule and informed of any delays. Authors will need to be available to receive proofs for approval.

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With the exception of certain government employees all authors will be required to grant an exclusive licence to Pharmaceutical Journal Publications. Readers may make single copies of items for their personal use. Permission should be sought from the publisher to make multiple copies or to republish material, for which a charge may be made.

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All references should be in the Vancouver style of referencing.

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Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Editorial policies and procedures;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20069564

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