We shall be using this space in each upcoming issue of the ASLME Insider to answer frequently asked questions about the Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics, the American Journal of Law & Medicine, and give a peek behind-the-scenes at the production of both journals. Your tour guides for this look at ASLME’s publications will be editors Ted Hutchinson and Courtney McClellan.
This month’s question: How does an author submit and publish an unsolicited manuscript in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics?
Submitting a manuscript to JLME is easy. Simply send your manuscript to the editor, Ted Hutchinson, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Manuscripts can be anywhere from 10 to 30 double-spaced pages, including footnotes. The ideal size for a manuscript in JLME is typically around 25 pages. It is helpful if the references are in JLME’s house style (which can be found in our online style guide) but it is not necessary. We will work with you on your notes during the copy-editing process if it is accepted. JLME accepts manuscripts on a rolling basis, so there are no hard deadlines for when you have to submit an unsolicited manuscript.
Once a manuscript is submitted to JLME, the editorial staff reads and reviews it to determine if the subject matter is appropriate for our journal. Sometimes we also ask a member of our board of editors to do a preliminary reading. This typically takes about a week.
If everything is in order, the manuscript next moves on to the peer-review process. The editorial staff at ASLME takes the manuscript and “blinds” it (effectively stripping it of all of its elements which could identify the author) and then sends requests to qualified reviewers to read and comment on the manuscript. It should be said that JLME would not be the great journal that it is without the invaluable contributions of its many wonderful peer-reviewers. We would thank them publicly, but of course we take our duty of protecting the identities of our peer reviewers very seriously.
It typically takes about 6-8 weeks for peer reviewers to read the essay and write a detailed recommendation. Once we get a response from the reviewer, we endeavor to get a decision to the author as quickly as possible. It should be said that JLME receives many, many high-quality manuscripts every year and only has the space to publish a small fraction of them. We regret that we must decline many fine manuscripts every year, and we are hopeful that some of them will find a good home in another journal.
Those that are accepted in JLME enter the copy-editing and layout process, which we will explore in next month’s “Ask the Editors.” Regardless, unsolicited manuscripts that are submitted to JLME and that are accepted for publication are typically printed 6-9 months from the date of receipt, depending on how full the journal is that cycle. We are proud of the many unsolicited manuscripts we publish each issue, and we encourage all of you to submit if you have a paper you think would fit in JLME.
We’d love to hear your questions. Post them on Twitter using the hashtag #AsktheEditors or send us a message on Facebook or LinkedIn.