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CORRESPONDENCE
2019:32:4;254-254
doi: 10.4103/0970-258X.291304
PMID: 32769259

A universal manuscript for all medical journals

Sanjay A Pai1 , Madhukar Pai2
1 Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 McGill Global Health Programs, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Corresponding Author:
Sanjay A Pai
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka
India
sanjayapai@gmail.com
Published: 01-Aug-2020
How to cite this article:
Pai SA, Pai M. A universal manuscript for all medical journals. Natl Med J India 2019;32:254
Copyright: (C)2019 The National Medical Journal of India

It is a source of much frustration to authors that medical journals have vastly different submission requirements.[1] These differences span the whole spectrum: from the need for each journal to have a unique login/ password to differing word-counts for the abstract to a mind-numbing array of referencing styles. To make matters worse, each journal has its own set of author forms and signatures. In 2019, it is incredible that some journals still insist on wet signatures!

None of these issues have any bearing on the quality of the research work, and addressing these for each submission is a tremendous drain on researchers’ time and energies. It is hard to understand why editors and publishers cannot agree on a universal manuscript with one common login, one reference style, submitted as a single file upload, with zero signatures or forms at the time of initial submission.

Once a manuscript is deemed worthy of revision or acceptance, publishers could demand their own unique house style for the formatting and production and could ask the authors to upload forms, etc. While organizations such as the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) could take the lead and create a universal manuscript template for all medical journals, we would like to see a journal like the The National Medical Journal of India advocate this idea, whose time has come.

The medical publishing industry is having a challenging time,[2],[3] and it is important for medical editors and publishers to tune into the needs of the research community. Otherwise, they run the risk of alienating their most critical stakeholders.

Conflicts of interest. None declared

References
1.
Pai M. Dear Editor (An authors’ wish list to medical journal editors). Nature Research Microbiology Community (blog). Available at https://naturemicrobiologycommunity. nature.com/users/20892-madhukar-pai/posts/43103-dear-editor (accessed on 16 Jul 2019).
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Buryani S. Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? The Guardian; 27 June, 2017. Available at www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jun/27/profitable-business-scientific-publishing-bad-for-science (accessed on 16 Jul 2019).
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Fox A, Brainard J. University of California boycotts publishing giant Elsevier over journal costs and open access. Science 2019. Available at www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/02/university-california-boycotts-publishing-giant-elsevier-over-journal-costs-and-open (accessed on 16 Jul 2019).
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