Skip Navigation

Manuscript Preparation

MANUSCRIPT TYPES
SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS
AUTHOR SELF ARCHIVING AND PUBLIC ACCESS
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED MATERIAL

MANUSCRIPT TYPES

Articles

Articles provide the most extensive description of new findings of major importance. An Article should contain 3000 or fewer words, not counting abstract, reference list, tables, footnotes, and figure legends. (See "Figures and Tables".) Methods are included in the word count, but some methods may be moved to an online-only Supplementary Methods section (see “Specific Requirements, Methods”).

Systematic Reviews (with or without Meta-analysis) and Meta-analyses

Articles using these study designs should be formatted like Articles (see above) and should contain 6000 or fewer words (including the Methods section, but not counting abstract, reference list, tables, footnotes, and figure legends). These studies will be classified as Reviews. The study design (eg, systematic review, meta-analysis) should be included in the title.

Brief Communications

Brief Communications are concise descriptions of new findings of general interest. A Brief Communication should contain 1000 or fewer words, not counting abstract, reference list, tables, footnotes, and figure legends. Neither a Brief Communication nor its abstract should be divided by heads and subheads. (See "Figures and Tables.")

Correspondence

Letters to the editor may express an opinion about material previously published in the Journal or express views on topics of current relevance to some aspect of cancer, but not with exclusive reference to a specific report published in a journal other than the JNCI. A letter should contain 500 or fewer words, not counting the reference list (seven references maximum), footnotes, and figure legend or table. A letter relating to work published in the Journal will ordinarily be referred to the author(s) of the original item for a response, which may be published along with the letter. Complete references should be given if the letter cites the work of others; if the letter comments on an item published in the Journal, that item must be included in the numbered reference list. (See "Figures and Tables.")

Editorials

Editorials convey opinions on any subject relevant to the Journal's concerns. They may discuss a paper in the same issue of the Journal, a recent finding published elsewhere, or a particular topic of importance. Editorials are usually solicited by the editors, but unsolicited submissions will be considered. Editorials usually contain about 1000 words, not counting reference list and footnotes, but length may be negotiated at the time of invitation.

Commentaries

Topical items under this heading convey to the reader, in relatively nontechnical style, a summary of current activities or issues that bear on some aspect of cancer. Discussions of appropriate data analyses or of thematic issues to emerge from recent scientific meetings are examples of suitable subject areas. Commentaries are generally solicited by the editors, but unsolicited contributions are welcome. A Commentary usually contains 2000-4000 words, not counting abstract, reference list, tables, footnotes, and figure legends. (See "Figures and Tables".)

Reviews

A good Review provides a comprehensive overview of an area of cancer biology, epidemiology, prevention, treatment, or behavioral science. Although Reviews should be accessible to knowledgeable readers not expert in the subject area, Reviews should be prepared with the same rigor as a research paper reporting specific results. (See J Natl Cancer Inst 1997;89:3 for detailed guidelines on preparing reviews for this journal. A copy of the guidelines can be obtained on the Journal's Web site; note that the article on review guidelines is the third of three articles in the posted PDF file.) Although most Reviews are solicited by the editors, unsolicited submissions are also welcome. A Review should contain 6000 or fewer words, not counting abstract, reference list, tables, footnotes, and figure legends. (See "Figures and Tables".)

MiniReviews

MiniReviews are concise Reviews that highlight timely topics in oncology of major importance that are of broad interest; they can also simplify complex topics for the broad readership. MiniReviews are not opinion pieces and should be prepared with the same rigor as a full review or meta-analysis, reporting and synthesizing specific results into a coherent overview. Some MiniReviews are solicited by the editors, but unsolicited submissions are also welcome. A MiniReview should contain 2000 or fewer words, not counting abstract, reference list, tables, footnotes, and figure legends; it should 4 or fewer figures plus tables (See "Abstract" and "Figures and Tables").

SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS

Manuscript Format

Manuscript title page, the body of the manuscript, reference list, footnotes, and figure legends must be typed double-spaced. Tables may be single- or double-spaced, although the type must be large enough and the lines of type sufficiently well spaced to be easily read.

Title Page

The title should be brief (14 words or fewer) and, except for Editorials and Correspondence, should not be in sentence form. If a letter to the editor pertains to an item published in the Journal, the title of the letter should be "Re:" followed by the title of the original item. The title page should give the full name and affiliation of each author and the name and address of the single author to whom correspondence and/or reprint requests are to be sent. Include the telephone and fax numbers and e-mail address of the corresponding author. Authors should be aware that the individual named first in a list of authors of a paper, and his/her institutional affiliation, will be the one named in any publication-related or postpublication citation or communication by the Journal concerning the paper.

Journal policy is to avoid the use of abbreviations whenever possible. If abbreviations are essential, list and define them. Author-created abbreviations are not to be used.

Abstract

Articles, Systematic Reviews (with or without Meta-analysis), Meta-analyses, Commentaries, Reviews, and MiniReviews must contain an abstract of no more than 250 words; Brief Communications must contain an abstract of no more than 150 words. Abstracts should be written using complete sentences. An abstract should clearly state unique elements of the work, should be readable by nonspecialists as well as by experts in the particular field, and should concisely state all important findings of the study, with data provided for the key findings. All information in the abstract (including implications) must be explicitly stated in the text.

Include, as appropriate, the following headings in abstracts for Articles, Systematic Reviews (with or without Meta-analysis), and Meta-Analyses (but not for Brief Communications, Commentaries, Reviews, or MiniReviews): Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusion(s).

The Background should come from the Introduction of the paper and should note relevant previous findings, designated as those of the authors and/or other investigators. It should also state the purpose of the present paper.

The Methods should indicate all important materials or techniques used to fulfill the purpose of the study; these methods will be described more fully in the Methods section of the paper, and for each finding noted in the Results, a corresponding method should be provided in the Methods.

The Results should contain only information detailed in the Results section of the paper. All important results should be noted in the Results. (See "Statistical Methods".) The Methods must not contain results, and the Results must not contain methods.

The next section of the abstract should state any important Conclusion(s) demonstrated or suggested by the results. The Conclusion(s) should come from the Discussion section and can include any implication(s) derived as a next logical step or inference directly from the results of the study reported and other related findings from investigators mentioned in the Discussion. Implication(s), as stated in the Discussion, may suggest directions for future experimental research and/or possible clinical applications and may note a particular need for confirmatory studies or offer cautions regarding interpretation of the results.

Carefully review each statement in the abstract to ensure that the above points are satisfied.

Text

All submitted text should be typed double-spaced and should be written in standard grammatical English. (Refer to the American Medical Association Manual of Style, 10th Edition on questions of style.) Indent the first line of each paragraph. Number all pages consecutively, beginning with the title page. Dot-matrix or italicized text will not be accepted. All symbols and abbreviations should be defined. Number references, tables, and figures in the order in which they are cited in the text. References in tables should continue the sequence of numbers in the text at the point where the table is first mentioned (ie, numbering of table references should not be reserved until the end of the reference list). Articles should contain a brief introduction and three additional sections labeled Methods (or a variation of the term), Results, and Discussion.

Methods

The methods of key experiments and statistical analyses must be in the main article and not in Supplementary Methods. Methods descriptions should be succinct but sufficiently detailed to allow replication of the study by a qualified investigator. If a procedure has been previously published, a brief description should be provided in addition to the reference, especially if the procedure was modified. Authors should specify full names, types, amounts, and sources of reagents (giving complete names and locations of suppliers); full names as well as standard abbreviations of labeled compounds and isotopes used for labeling; concentrations of solutions; and reaction conditions (eg, incubation times and temperatures). In addition, techniques and procedures used should be accurately named, clearly and thoroughly explained, referenced when appropriate, and organized under appropriate subheadings. The Methods section must be complete and should include the methodology corresponding to each of the end points presented in the Results. Authors should specify experimental conditions that limit the generalizability of the Results.

For clinical trials, authors should clearly define and explain the purpose of the study, study design, numbers of patients, clinical staging of disease, type and sequence of treatments given before and during the study, time points for evaluation of response, duration of follow-up, end points used (eg, overall survival, disease-free survival), specific outcomes assessed, and methods of assessment. This requirement should be met, even when the major focus of a study is not the clinical trial to which it is related (eg, association of gene, messenger RNA, or protein expression with disease therapy or prognosis). (See also "Clinical Trials".)

Where appropriate, clinical and epidemiologic studies should be analyzed to see if there is an effect of sex or any of the major ethnic groups. If there is no effect, it should be so stated in Results.

The Methods section should contain a "Statistical Analysis" subsection, where applicable. (See "Statistical Methods".)

The Methods sections of Articles are included in the word count (see “Articles”). Therefore, if meeting the requirements causes the article to exceed the word limit, general methods that do not specifically describe the key experiments and analyses may be moved to online-only supplementary materials (see “Online Data Supplements”).

Statistical Methods

The methods of statistical analysis should be described in sufficient detail that a knowledgeable reader could reproduce the analysis if the data were available. The word "significant" should be used only if a result is statistically significant. A P value or confidence interval should be cited in the abstract and in the text for any statistically significant finding reported; wherever possible, exact P values should be given. All tests of statistical significance should be two sided, and the abstract and the text should so state. Outcome variables should generally be given as point estimates, with 95% confidence intervals rather than standard deviations or standard errors.

Reporting Guidelines

Authors are encouraged to follow published standard reporting guidelines for the study discipline (eg, ARRIVE for animal studies; REMARK for prognostic markers; STARD for diagnostic markers; MOOSE for meta-analyses of observational studies in medicine Donna F. Stroup et al. JAMA. 2000;283:2008-2012; PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta-analyses of health care interventions; STROBE for cohort and case-control studies; STROBE Extension to Genetic Association studies: STrengthening the REporting of Genetic Association studies (STREGA) Little J, Higgins J, Ioannidis JPA, Moher D, Gagnon F, et al. PLoS Med 2009; 6: e22. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000022; and MIQE for studies that use qPCR experiments); Biospecimen Reporting for Improved Study Quality (BRISQ), particularly Tier 1 items, for studies using biospecimens; and to refer to Simon RM, Paik S, and Hayes DF J Natl Cancer Inst 2009;101:1446-1452 as a guide to studies that evaluate tumor markers,

Hollingshead MG J. Natl Cancer Inst 2008;100:1500-1510 as a guide to rodent model studies and to Table 3 in Dupuy A and Simon RM J. Natl Cancer Inst 2007; 99:147-57 as a guide to microarray-based studies for clinical outcomes.

Clinical Trials

In reporting randomized clinical trials, authors must comply with published CONSORT guidelines (http://www.consort-statement.org/). The recommended checklist must be completed and provided to the Journal at the time of manuscript submission. The recommended trial flow diagram should be presented as a figure (usually Fig. 1). Because manuscripts describing clinical trials are generally submitted as Articles, the allowable number of figures and tables for this format will be increased by one to accommodate the flow diagram. Thus, Articles describing clinical trials may have up to nine figures and tables. (See also "Methods".)

Authors of Phase III trials must provide to the Journal at the time of submission a brief description of the statistical plan of the original study that includes the primary and secondary endpoints, power calculation, and sample size.

Clinical trials should be registered in accordance with the criteria outlined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (http://www.icmje.org/), including the June 2007 update. Authors should provide the trial registration number in the Methods section and provide a link to the trial registration, to be cited as a reference.

Consent and Approval

Manuscripts reporting on biomedical studies involving human subjects must include explicit assurance that written informed consent was obtained from each subject or from his or her guardian. Such manuscripts must include a statement that the human investigations were performed after approval by a local institutional review board and in accord with an assurance filed with and approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where appropriate.

When a pedigree or family tree is depicted, assurance must be given that written informed consent was obtained from each living individual represented. In addition, authors must state in writing that they have not modified the pedigree or family tree to avoid potential identification of the family or its members. In rare instances, the editorial board may permit modification of a pedigree to preserve patient anonymity if the authors present compelling reasons for making such modifications and the changes made do not affect interpretation of the data. In such cases, authors must provide the original, unmodified data for examination by peer reviewers and the editorial board and must include a statement in the manuscript explaining that the pedigree has been modified.

Animal Welfare

Any study involving experiments with animals must state that their care was in accord with institution guidelines. Where applicable, the dose and schedule of anesthetics and analgesics should be reported.

Gene Nomenclature

Journal policy is to allow use of the specific gene symbol preferred by the author. For human genes, if a symbol other than that listed in Human Gene Mapping is preferred, the author should identify parenthetically, at first mention, the appropriate gene symbol listed in the Human Gene Mapping report from the most recent international workshop on human gene mapping. All Human Gene Mapping designations for human genes should be capitalized; for other species, the symbols should follow nomenclature committee recommendations, and the species of origin should be identified at fi rst mention.

Sequence Information

Before final acceptance of any manuscript containing new nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences, the author(s) must deposit the sequence information with the GenBank database (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Genbank/submit.html). Alternatively, authors of manuscripts originating from outside the United States may submit sequence information to either the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) database (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/embl/Submission/) or the DNA Databank of Japan database (http://www.ddbj.nig.ac.jp/sub-e.html). The accession number(s) must be provided to the Journal to verify that the information has been deposited in one of the three databases. Accession number(s) will be published in the relevant figure legend(s).

Microarray and Proteomic Data

Microarray and proteomic data serving as the basis of manuscripts published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute should be made publicly available at the time of publication. JNCI supports the Minimum Information About a Microarray Experiment (MIAME) guidelines of the Microarray Gene Expression Data society (MGED) (http://www.mged.org/Workgroups/MIAME/miame_checklist.html).

The data provided should include: (1) a file of the complete expression data for each microarray used in the manuscript. The expression data provided should include the complete output of the image analysis program before data selection and transformation for all probes/spots on the array—for example, for Affymetrix arrays the CEL files should be provided; (2) a file documenting the format of the expression data files; (3) a file identifying the genes represented on the array; (4) a file annotating the samples, indicating what labels were used for which samples and which samples were hybridized to which arrays; the annotations should include the clinical data sufficient for each sample to reproduce the analyses mentioned in the paper.

Authors are encouraged to deposit the data with either the GEO (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo/) or ArrayExpress (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/arrayexpress) public archives and to provide accession numbers by the time the paper is accepted. The data may alternatively be made available at the author's institutional Web site. Data stored on a public or institution web-based database can be cited in the text or supplementary files using the accession numbers and/or URL.

Cell Lines

Authors of provisionally accepted manuscripts that use cell lines should state the methods used to authenticate any cell lines used in their studies and should give the date of the last authentication.

Sharing of Materials

Authors of papers published in the Journal are expected to honor reasonable requests from qualified researchers to share biological materials that were used in the reported study. However, authors are not expected to share materials that are difficult to obtain and cannot be propagated, nor are they expected to provide materials for commercial use.

Reference List

For reference citation, the Journal follows the style guidelines of the American Medical Association Manual of Style, 10th Edition. (See "Editorial Policy.") The reference list should be typed as a separate section at the end of the manuscript. Each reference should be double-spaced. Number references in the order in which they are cited in the text. Use Index Medicus abbreviations of periodical names. For each periodical article, provide author(s), title, journal, year, volume, issue, and first and last page numbers; if an article has more than six authors, list the first three and add 'et al.' For a book chapter or section, name author(s) and title of the pertinent part, the book's editor(s), the book's title, the publisher and location, the year, and the page numbers. Papers still "in press" also may be listed. However, citation of papers in preparation or submitted for publication, unpublished observations, and personal communications should be noted parenthetically in the text, not in the reference list; in each case, cite the names of the first six investigators only and add 'et al.' Permission must be obtained in writing from one author of papers still in press, in preparation, or submitted for publication and for use of unpublished data and personal communications.

EndNote and Reference Manager softward programs for publishing and managing references/bibiographies, which are available from Thomson Reuters. If you use EndNote or Reference Manager to facilitate referencing citations, this journal's style is available for use. The EndNote program and relevant information can be found here: http://www.endnote.com/support/enstyles.asp. Please follow the instructions on this page regarding purchasing, downloading, and using the software.

Journal citation:
Eisenberger MA, Blumenstein BA, Crawford ED, et al. Bilateral orchiectomy with or without flutamide for metastatic prostate cancer. N Engl J Med. 1998;339(5):1036–1042.

Journal with supplement number:
Crino L, Cappuzzo F. Present and future treatment of advanced on-small cell lung cancer. Semin Oncol. 2002;29(3)(suppl 9):9–16.


Journal with part number:
McCormick MC, Kass B, Elixhauser A, Thompson J, Simpson L. Annual report on access to and utilization of health care for children and youth in the United States: 1999. Pediatrics. 2000;105(1, pt 3):219–230.


Online journal citation:

Laupland KB, Davies HD, Low DE, Schwartz B, Green K; Ontario Group A Streptococcal Study Group. Invasive group A streptococcal disease in children and association with varicella-zoster virus infection. Pediatrics. 2000;105(5):e60. http://pediatri~~.aappublications.org/cgi/content/h~l/lO5/5/e60. Accessed April 30, 2004.


E Publish Ahead of Print/DOI citation:
van der Hoek L. Identification of a new human coronavirus [published online ahead of print March 21, 2004]. Nat Med. 2004; doi:10.1038.nm1024.

Book:
Schroder FH, Kranse R. Book Title. 6th ed. New York, NY: Wiley; 1987.

Chapter from a book:
van Leeuwen FE, Travis LB. Second cancers. In: Devita VT, ed. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2005:2575–2602.

In press:
Eisenberger MA, Blumenstein BA, Crawford ED, et al. Bilateral orchiectomy with or without flutamide for metastatic prostate cancer. N Engl J Med. In press.


Paper presented at a meeting:
Durbin D. Risk of injury. Paper presented at 46th annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement for Automotive Medicines; September 2002; Temple, AZ.

Paper presentation published:
Brown DR, Group FIIS. Quadrivalent HPV (Type 6, 11, 16, 18) L1 VLP vaccine: second (FINAL) analysis of cross-protection against CIN/AIS caused by oncogenic HPV types in addition to 16/18. In: 24th International Papillomavirus Conference; November 3–9, 2007; Beijing, China.

Funding

Details of all funding sources for the work in question should be given in a separate section entitled 'Funding'. This should appear before the 'Acknowledgements' section.

The following rules should be followed:

  • The sentence should begin: ‘This work was supported by …’
  • The full official funding agency name should be given (ie, ‘the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health’ or simply 'National Institutes of Health' not ‘NCI' [one of the 27 subinstitutions] or 'NCI at NIH’ [full RIN-approved list of UK funding agencies])
  • Grant numbers should be complete and accurate and provided in parentheses as follows: ‘(grant number ABX CDXXXXXX)’
  • Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma as follows: ‘(grant numbers ABX CDXXXXXX, EFX GHXXXXXX)’
  • Agencies should be separated by a semi-colon (plus ‘and’ before the last funding agency)
  • Where individuals need to be specified for certain sources of funding the following text should be added after the relevant agency or grant number 'to [author initials]'.

An example is given here: ‘This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (P50 CA098252 and CA118790 to R.B.S.R); and the Alcohol & Education Research Council (HFY GR667789).

Oxford Journals will deposit all NIH-funded articles in PubMed Central. See http://www.oxfordjournals.org/for_authors/repositories.html for details. Authors must ensure that manuscripts are clearly indicated as NIH-funded using the guidelines above.

Figures and Tables

Manuscripts may contain a specific, limited number of figures and tables. Each panel of a figure will be counted as a separate illustration, unless the panels represent a logical sequence of closely related items; dissimilar panels should not be grouped together (eg, a graph and a photo) unless they present closely related data in different forms. The maximum numbers of figures plus tables are as follows: Articles and Reviews (eight); Commentaries and MiniReviews (four); Brief Communications (two); Correspondence (one). An exception to these limitations will be allowed when clinical trials are reported. (See "Clinical Trials".) Revised manuscripts from authors will not be further processed unless these requirements are met.

Where possible, artwork should be in black and white for good reproduction. Gray shading in figures may not reproduce well for publication and should be avoided; do not use overall background shading in figures; do not use gray-shaded bars in graphs—use bars with solid, open, or hatched fill (but avoid exotic varieties of hatching). Avoid fine lines and very small type and symbols in figures: Lines should be reasonably dark and type and symbols should be easily read if the figure is reduced for publication. Label separate figure parts with capital letters A, B, C, etc. Capitalize only the first word in a group of words (eg, in an axis label) unless capitalization is used in the text of the paper. Figure legends should be double-spaced. Do not include figure legends in the figure files. A legend should begin with the title of the figure; do not include the title on the figure. Identify in each legend any symbols or letters in the figure and define all abbreviations. See "Submission Procedures" for more information about preparing figures for submission.

Tables may be single- or double-spaced, but the type must be large enough and the lines of type sufficiently well-spaced to be easily read. Provide table titles, footnotes (as appropriate), and headings for all columns. Indicate units of measurement used and define all abbreviations. Tables must be provided in Microsoft Word Table format and should not be provided as images or as Microsoft Excel worksheets. Each table should be created as a new Word table rather than re-using previously used table formats.

Online Data Supplements

Material that substantially enhances a manuscript but cannot, for practical reasons, be printed in the Journal will be considered for placement on the Journal's Web site as a data supplement. Data supplements may include large data sets, videos, three-dimensional structures, extensive sequence comparisons, survey instruments, or ancillary data that are useful to readers but not integral to the printed version of a paper. If methods are extensive, general methods not describing specific experiments and analyses (acquisition, maintenance and verification of cell lines, animal models, antibodies, etc.; primer sequences; computer code; lengthy statistical and mathematical models) may be moved to a Supplementary Methods section. Material for data supplements should be submitted with the manuscript and will generally be subject to peer review. Authors may not alter a data supplement after a paper is accepted. The number of data supplements per manuscript should not exceed the total number of figures and tables allowed for the specific manuscript type submitted. If more files are submitted, a statement to justify why it is necessary to submit more files must be added to the cover letter.

Language Editing

Particularly if English is not your first language, before submitting your manuscript you may wish to have it edited for correct usage of American English. This is not a mandatory step, but may help to ensure that the academic content of your paper is fully understood by journal editors and reviewers. Language editing does not guarantee that your manuscript will be accepted for publication. If you would like information about one such service please click here. There are other specialist language editing companies that offer similar services and you can also use any of these. Authors are liable for all costs associated with such services.

Other

All manuscripts are considered for publication with the clear understanding that their contents have not been previously published; abstracts and papers presented at scientific meetings and published as part of the proceedings are excepted, but copies must accompany the manuscript submission. Failure to submit all related abstracts and manuscripts will be cause for rejection, even if the failure is discovered after an acceptance letter is mailed. If there is any doubt about whether a manuscript qualifies as related, it is best to submit it.

The Journal strongly discourages authors from the practice of fragmented reporting of aspects of a single investigation. Authors submitting a paper that is but one of a number of existing or planned manuscripts related to a single study must include a statement submitted with the manuscript that (a) so identifies the paper and (b) justifies the use of the fragmented approach. Authors must describe in the cover letter the scope of each planned related paper. The submitted paper itself must clearly explain and justify the fragmented approach and reveal the full extent of the investigation.

Written permission from the following parties should be submitted with the manuscript, as appropriate: (a) those named in acknowledgments who have been credited with substantive scientific contributions to the work and (b) one author of each work cited in the manuscript as a personal communication, unpublished data, or a manuscript in preparation, submitted for publication, or in press.

If an author has been sanctioned by the Office of Research Integrity of the U.S. Public Health Service, the manuscript will be returned unless the author affirms that the research described is unrelated to the matter for which the author was sanctioned.

AUTHOR SELF ARCHIVING AND PUBLIC ACCESS

Please visit http://www.oxfordjournals.org/access_purchase/self-archiving_policyb1.html to view Oxford University Press' policy on author self archiving and public access.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED MATERIAL

Authors submitting manuscripts should avoid the use of copyrighted material (eg, original, minimally altered, or partial versions of tables and illustrations). If the use of such material is unavoidable, authors must obtain written permission from the copyright holder for use by the Journal and Oxford University Press in print form, microfiche, and all electronic formats. This written permission must accompany the manuscript submission. Permission from the author of the original material is also required.