The Malawi Medical Journal is a peer-reviewed journal which publishes original articles, reviews, case studies and correspondence about all aspects of practice, education, policy and research in medicine. The Journal hopes to encourage the study of medicine in Malawi and the southern African region but also globally. These guidelines are based on those of a number of international medical journals, including JAMA and the Croatian Medical Journal, and comply with the International Committee of Medical Journal Editor’s “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication” (www.icmje.org).

Manuscripts are accepted for consideration with the understanding that they have been submitted solely to the Malawi Medical Journal and that they have not been previously published, either whole or in part elsewhere. This does not refer to abstracts presented in the Proceedings of Societies or Conferences/Symposia. All original contributions are reviewed by the editors, and when appropriate, sent to one or more editorial consultants. The editors reserve the right to make editorial changes in all matter published in the Journal. Manuscripts mustВ be submitted through the online manuscript submission and review system at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mmj.В If you have difficulties with the ScholarOne ManuscriptsВ site, please send a query to mmjeditors@medcol.mwВ 0r check Author Submission guide: https://mchelp.manuscriptcentral.com/gethelpnow/training/author/.

Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content. One or more authors should take responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole, from inception to published article. Authorship credit should be based only on
(1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; and
(2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and
(3) final approval of the version to be published.
Conditions 1, 2, and 3 must all be met.1,2 Acquisition of funding, the collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, by themselves, do not justify authorship. The order of authorship on the byline should be a joint decision of the coauthors. Authors should be prepared to explain the order in which authors are listed.

 

The corresponding author (or coauthor designee) will serve on behalf of all coauthors as the primary correspondent with the editorial office during the submission and review process.

If authorship is attributed to a group (either solely or in addition to 1 or more individual authors), all members of the group must meet the full criteria and requirements for authorship as described above.3В If that is not the case, a group must designate 1 or more individuals as authors or members of a writing group who meet full authorship criteria and requirements. Other group members who are not authors may be listed in an Acknowledgement.

Any addition, deletion or rearrangement of author names in the authorship list should be made only before the manuscript has been accepted and only if approved by the journal Editor. To request such a change, the Editor must receive the following from the corresponding author: (a) the reason for the change in author list and (b) written confirmation (e-mail, letter) from all authors that they agree with the addition, removal or rearrangement. In the case of addition or removal of authors, this includes confirmation from the author being added or removed.

Only in exceptional circumstances will the Editor consider the addition, deletion or rearrangement of authors after the manuscript has been accepted. While the Editor considers the request, publication of the manuscript will be suspended. If the manuscript has already been published in an online issue, any requests approved by the Editor will result in a corrigendum.

All authors should state their contribution to the manuscript and provide their electronic signature in a template here. (Number of rows can be adjusted to suit the number of authors for a manuscript)

Name of the Author Role Signature

MMJ publishes original contributions, reviews, short reports, special communications, commentaries, and many other categories of articles. Topics of interest include all subjects that relate to the practice of medicine and the betterment of public health in Malawi. The most frequently published types of articles are described herein.

 

Original Contribution
Clinical Trial
Systematic Review (Including Metaanalysis)
Short Report
Case Report
Special Communication
Policy Forum
Commentary
Personal View
Letters to the Editor
Interview
Teaching Corner
Book and Media Reviews

Questions about any other categories of articles should be directed to the editorial office.

The Malawi Medical Journal expects that, prior to submission, aside from the technical aspects that are the main concern of peer reviewers, authors ensure that the language and grammar of their manuscripts are of a sufficient enough standard to allow reviewers to perform their duties without worrying about misinterpreting the text or being distracted by constant grammatical errors or unconventional modes of expression. If manuscripts are not of a minimum standard in terms of language and grammar, reviewers will be unwilling or unable to assess them in detail. For this reason we strongly suggest that, before submitting, authors either ask a colleague whose first language is English to review their papers for clarity, or they seek the services of a professional language editor or editing service. The following links will open advertisements for reliable manuscript editors known to the MMJ editorial office:

 

  • Kelvin Mkandawire
  • Lyle Taylor

Manuscripts mustВ be submitted online via the MMJ online manuscript submission and review system at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mmj. If you have difficulties with the ScholarOne ManuscriptsВ site, please send a query to mmjeditors@medcol.mw. At the time of submission, complete contact information (postal/mail address, e-mail address, telephone and fax numbers) for the corresponding author is required. First and last names, e-mail addresses, and institutional affiliations of all coauthors are also required.

 

Recommending reviewers:

In submitting a manuscript, authors are required to submit names and institutional email addresses of at least 3 potential reviewers. Suggested reviewers must not be from authors own institution and must not have collaborated with the author at least the last five years, and should not have already provided the author with comments on the manuscript. Authors should indicate the expertise of the reviewer in relation to the topic of the manuscript being submitted. Editors will have the rights to decide whether or not to invite these reviewers.

Manuscripts are normally considered with the understanding that they have not been published previously in print or electronic format and are not under consideration by another publication or electronic medium. In exceptional circumstances where the manuscript is of scientific relevance to the Malawian community, the MMJ will permit a publication of an already published article if all the following conditions are met:
(a) the Authors have received approval from the editors of both journals;
(b) the paper for secondary publication is intended for a different group of readers; in this case, an abbreviated version is sufficient; and
(c) a footnote on the title page of the secondary version acknowledges the primary reference. Copies of related or possibly duplicative materials (i.e., those containing substantially similar content or using the same or similar data) that have been previously published or are under consideration elsewhere must be provided at the time of manuscript submission.1

Data included in research reports submitted to MMJ should be as timely and current as possible.4 Manuscripts based on data from randomized controlled trials should be reported as soon as possible after the trial has ended, ideally within 1 year after follow-up has been completed. For cohort studies, the date of final follow-up should be no more than 3 to 4 years before manuscript submission. Likewise, data used in case-control or cross-sectional studies should have been collected as recently as possible, but certainly less than 3 to 4 years ago. Authors of manuscripts that report data that have been collected more than 3 to 4 years ago should provide an explanation regarding the relevance of the information in light of current knowledge and medical practice.

Manuscripts reporting survey data, such as studies involving patients, clinicians, the public, or others, should report data collected as recently as possible, ideally within the past 2 years.3 Survey studies should have sufficient response rates (generally at least 60%) and appropriate characterization of nonresponders to ensure that nonresponse bias does not threaten the validity of the findings. For most surveys, such as those conducted by telephone, personal interviews (e.g., drawn from a sample of households), mail, email, or via the Web, authors are encouraged to report the survey outcome rates using standard definitions and metrics.

For human or animal experimental investigations, formal review and approval, or review and waiver, by an appropriate institutional review board or ethics committee is required and should be described in the Methods section.1 For those investigators who do not have formal ethics review committees, the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki should be followed.4 For investigations of human subjects, state in the Methods section the manner in which informed consent was obtained from the study participants (i.e., oral or written).

A signed statement of informed consent to publish (in print and online) patient descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees should be obtained from all persons (parents or legal guardians for minors) who can be identified (including by the patients themselves) in such written descriptions, photographs, or pedigrees should be submitted with the manuscript and indicated in the Acknowledgment section of the manuscript. Such persons should be shown the manuscript before its submission.3 Omitting data or making data less specific to deidentify patients is acceptable, but changing any such data is not acceptable.

 

Patient ConsentВ Form

Published manuscripts become the permanent property of the Malawi Medical Journal (MMJ) and may not be published elsewhere without written permission. Unauthorized use of the MMJ name, logo, or any content for commercial purposes or to promote commercial goods and services (in any format, including print, video, audio, and digital) is not permitted by the MMJ.

Authors will be sent notifications of the receipt of manuscripts and editorial decisions by e-mail. During the review process, authors can check the status of their submitted manuscript via the online manuscript submission and review system http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mmj

 

All submitted manuscripts are reviewed initially by an MMJ editor. Manuscripts are evaluated according to the following criteria: material is original and timely, writing is clear, study methods are appropriate, data are valid, conclusions are reasonable and supported by the data, information is important, and topic has general medical interest. From these basic criteria, the editors assess a paper’s eligibility for publication.

Manuscripts with insufficient priority for publication are rejected promptly. Manuscript that are received and assigned either of three general priority levels:

(a) manuscripts considered for peer review;

(b) manuscripts returned to authors because they have not conformed to our guidelines (http://www.mmj.mw/?page_id=266), or because they require improvements in language or presentation before being further considered; and

(c) rejected manuscripts.

This editorial procedure reinforces our author-helpful policy because all manuscripts undergo editorial scrutiny and advice. Peer reviewer and author identities are kept confidential. The reviewers are asked to treat the manuscript with confidentiality, and reveal any research conflict of interest with the reviewed manuscript. Reviewers do not have to sign the review forms with suggestions to the authors, but may do so if they wish. The existence of a manuscript under review is not revealed to anyone other than peer reviewers and editorial staff. Information from submitted manuscripts may be systematically collected and analyzed as part of research to improve the quality of the editorial or peer review process. Identifying information remains confidential.

One to three months after submission of the manuscript, the authors will receive the reviews. The comments and suggestions made by the reviewers should be addressed and closely followed. In this respect, the Editor’s accompanying letter will give clear general instructions for further work on the manuscript.

Inclusion of the after-acceptance processes using “Guide for Authors 2” i.e. submission of the final accepted version within 14 days, copyediting done by editors and return of approved of changes and corrected version by authors within 5 working days, typesetting on the copyedited version, author approval and/corrections of typeset version by authors within 48 hour, online first publication followed by issue publication followed by indexing.

After 3 months of attempting to identify reviewers, we may ask the authors to withdraw and submit to another able journal.

MMJ is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Scientific misconduct is not uncommon in the field of research and publications. Examples of scientific misconduct include plagiarism, duplicate submission/publication and redundant publication, lack of declaration of competing interests and of funding/sponsorship, and other failures of author’s transparency. In particular, a serious and subtle form of scientific misconduct frequently encountered by editors at MMJ is salami publications.

Please, note that we take seriously all issues of scientific misconduct committed by authors in their manuscripts submitted to or published in the MMJ. When a case of scientific misconduct is suspected, MMJ editors will take a course of action recommended by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE. We, therefore, encourage authors to read this course of action to avoid repercussions that come with committing scientific misconduct and/or deliberate breach of publication ethics, which may include putting an author into academic disrepute.

Requests to publish corrections should be sent to the editorial office. Corrections are reviewed by editors and authors, published promptly, and linked online to the original article.

Papers accepted remain the copyright of the Malawi Medical Journal. This ensures that requests from third parties to reproduce articles are handled efficiently and consistently and will also allow the article to be distributed as widely as possible. In assigning copyright, authors may use their own material in other publications provided that the journal is acknowledged as the original place of publication, and the Malawi Medical Journal notified in writing and in advance.

We are keen to better understand and improve editorial conduct, decision making, issues related to peer review and communication of science in general. Therefore, we occasionally take part in or conduct editorial research and your submitted manuscript might be used in such research. If you do not want your manuscript entered into such a study please let us know in your submission letter. Your decision to take part or not will have no effect on the editorial decision on your manuscript.

We encourage contributors to communicate with the editorial office using e-mail (mmjeditors@medcol.mw). Other forms of communications are also acceptable, including the “Contact Us” form on this website.

  • Review manuscript submission requirements in these instructions.
  •  Include a cover letter as an attachment.
  • Designate a corresponding author and provide a complete postal/mail address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address.
  • Provide first (given) and last (family) names, e-mail addresses, and institutional affiliations for any coauthors.
  • On the title page, include a word count for text only, exclusive of title, abstract, references, tables, and figure legends.
  • Provide an abstract that conforms to the required abstract format.
  • Double-space manuscript and leave right margins unjustified (ragged).
  • Check all references for accuracy and completeness. Put references in proper format in numerical order, making sure each is cited in sequence in the text.
  • Include a title for each table and figure (a brief, succinct phrase, preferably no longer than 10 to 15 words) and explanatory legend as needed.
  • In the Acknowledgment section of the manuscript, include the names, academic degrees, affiliations, and specific contributions of all persons who have contributed to the work reported in the manuscript (e.g., data collection, analysis, writing or editing assistance, review of manuscript) but who do not fulfill authorship criteria.
  • If appropriate, include information on institutional review board/ethics committee approval or waiver and informed consent.
  • The reproduction of material (including tables and figures) that was previously published are discouraged. Original material should be provided, except under extraordinary circumstances.
  • Include informed consent forms for identifiable patient descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees.

Reference

  1. Iverson C, Flanagin A, Fontanarosa PB, Glass RM, Glitman P, Lantz JC, et al. American Medical Association manual of style: a guide for authors and editors. 9th ed. Baltimore (MD): Williams & Wilkins; 1998.
  2. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. Available from: http://www.icmje.org.
  3. Flanagin A, Fontanarosa PB, DeAngelis CD. Authorship for research groups. JAMA. 2002;288:3166–8.
  4. Fontanarosa PB, DeAngelis CD. Information for authors—2004. JAMA. 2004;291:107–8.
  5. World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki: ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. Available from: http://www.wma.net/e/policy/pdf/17c.pdf.
  6. Moher D, Schulz KF, Altman D. CONSORT Group. The CONSORT statement: revised recommendations for improving the quality of reports of parallel group randomized trials. JAMA. 2001;285:1987—91.
  7. World Medical Association. Helsinki Declaration. JAMA. 1964;190:175
  8. Huth EJ. Writing and publishing in medicine. 3rd ed. Baltimore (MD): Williams & Wilkins; 1999.