Guide for Authors

  • All journal information and instructions compiled in one document (PDF) in just one mouse-click Author information pack

    • Types of Articles
    • Manuscript Submission
    • Ethics in publishing
    • Conflict of interest
    • Submission declaration
    • Copyright
    • Role of the funding source
    • Funding body agreements and policies
    • Open access
    • Language (usage and editing services)
    • Confidentiality/Informed Consent/IRB or Ethics Committee Review
    • Submission
    • Manuscript Preparation
    • Preparing Electronic Files
    • Essential title page information
    • Abstract, Key Words, and Running Title
    • Disclosures and Acknowledgments
    • Units
    • Artwork
    • Illustrations
    • Tables
    • References
    • Submission checklist
    • Use of the Digital Object Identifier
    • Proofs
    • Offprints

    Types of Articles

    The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management publishes the following types of articles:

    Original Articles present new information that makes a substantial contribution to the body of knowledge on the subject. The text should be divided into sections with the headings Abstract (see below), Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Disclosures and Acknowledgments, and References. Word limit: 3500 words, not including references.

    Review Articles describe and evaluate previously published material in order to suggest new approaches or ideas. The Journal accepts both systematic and narrative reviews of high quality. Word limit: 7000 words, not including references. An abstract is required (see below).

    Brief Reports present new information, comparable to an Original Article but effectively described in a paper requiring no more than 2500 words (not including references). An abstract is required (see below). Although most Brief Reports use the same headings as an Original Article, this structure is not required.

    Brief Methodological Reports describe new information focused on research methodology, including statistical innovations and cross-validation of previously validated instruments. An abstract is required (see below). Although most submissions use the same headings as an Original Article, this structure is not required. The length should be no more than 2500 words (not including references).

    Brief Quality Improvement Reports describe the results of national and international quality improvement projects. Submissions should describe the impact of the intervention, either in terms of change over time or relative to a comparator. An abstract is required (see below). Section headings are: Background, Measures, Intervention, Outcomes, Conclusions/Lessons Learned. The report should include no more than 10 references and two graphs or tables. The length should be no more than 2500 words (not including references).

    Clinical Notes are case series or small observational studies describing new or interesting clinical observations. An abstract is required (see below). Although the same headings as an Original Article may be used, this structure is not required. The length should be no more than 2000 words (not including references).

    Palliative Care Rounds present an informative case followed by a brief narrative review of the topic it highlights. The goal is to provide case-based information relevant to the clinical practice of palliative care. An abstract is not required. Headings should include Introduction, Case Description, and Comment. The length should be no more than 2500 words (not including references).

    Ethical Issues in Palliative Care presents an informative case followed by a brief analysis of an ethical issue or dilemma. An abstract is required (see below), and headings should include Introduction, Case Description, and Comment. The narrative should use fictitious initials for patients and families; change gender, age, and other nonessential identifiers; and avoid specific reference to the home institution. The length should be no more than 2500 words (not including references).

    Letters. The JPSM welcomes correspondence pertaining to issues of interest to readers. Letters are subject to review. Single case reports are generally considered for publication as a Letter. Letters written to comment on a previously published article may be forwarded to the article's author for a response. Letters should be no more than five double-spaced pages (approximately 1250 words), plus no more than 10 references and one table or figure. Note: Letters to the Editor are published online only. The title and a link to the Journal website will appear in the print table of contents.

    Special Articles. Those manuscripts that do not fit into the above categories may be published if they present new or relevant information. Word limit: 7,500 words, including references. An abstract is required (see below).

    Media Reviews. Books, monographs, films, and other materials submitted for review should be sent to the editorial office of the Journal, c/o Marilyn Herleth, Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care, Beth Israel Medical Center, First Avenue at 16th St., New York, NY 10003, USA.

    Manuscript Submission

    The JPSM uses a web-based online manuscript submission and review system. Please go to to submit your manuscript electronically. The website guides authors stepwise through the creation and uploading of the various files.

    All correspondence, including the Editor's decision and request for revisions, will be by e-mail. Authors may send queries concerning the submission process, manuscript status, or journal procedures to the Editorial Office at

    Ethics in publishing

    For information on Ethics in publishing and Ethical guidelines for journal publication see and

    Conflict of interest

    All authors MUST disclose any financial and personal relationships with other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence (bias) their work. Examples of potential conflicts of interest include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations, and grants or other funding. A conflict of interest form is integrated into the submission process and must be completed before your submission is finalized. See also

    Submission declaration

    Submission of an article implies that the work described has not been published previously (except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis or as an electronic preprint, see, that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere including electronically in the same form, in English or in any other language, without the written consent of the copyright-holder. This information may be included in the cover letter.


    Upon acceptance of an article, authors will be asked to complete a "Journal Publishing Agreement" (for more information on this and copyright see Acceptance of the agreement will ensure the widest possible dissemination of information. An e-mail will be sent to the corresponding author confirming receipt of the manuscript together with a "Journal Publishing Agreement" form or a link to the online version of this agreement.
    Subscribers may reproduce tables of contents or prepare lists of articles including abstracts for internal circulation within their institutions. Permission of the Publisher is required for resale or distribution outside the institution and for all other derivative works, including compilations and translations (please consult If excerpts from other copyrighted works are included, the author(s) must obtain written permission from the copyright owners and credit the source(s) in the article. Elsevier has preprinted forms for use by authors in these cases: please consult

    Manuscripts should be submitted exclusively to the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Manuscripts are reviewed and edited with the understanding that the authors are transferring all copyright ownership to the U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee.

    Retained author rights
    As an author you (or your employer or institution) retain certain rights; for details you are referred to:

    Role of the funding source

    You are requested to identify who provided financial support for the conduct of the research and/or preparation of the article and to briefly describe the role of the sponsor(s), if any, in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication. If the funding source(s) had no such involvement then this should be stated.

    Funding body agreements and policies

    Elsevier has established agreements and developed policies to allow authors whose articles appear in journals published by Elsevier, to comply with potential manuscript archiving requirements as specified as conditions of their grant awards. To learn more about existing agreements and policies please visit

    Open access

    This journal does not ordinarily have publication charges; however, authors can now opt to make their articles available to all (including non-subscribers) via the ScienceDirect platform, for which a fee of US $3000 applies (for further information on open access see Please note that you can only make this choice after receiving notification that your article has been accepted for publication, to avoid any perception of conflict of interest. The fee excludes taxes and other potential costs such as color charges. In some cases, institutions and funding bodies have entered into agreement with Elsevier to meet these fees on behalf of their authors. Details of these agreements are available at Authors of accepted articles, who wish to take advantage of this option, should complete and submit the order form (available at Whatever access option you choose, you retain many rights as an author, including the right to post a revised personal version of your article on your own website. More information can be found here:
    Your publication choice will have no effect on the peer review process or acceptance of submitted articles.

    Language (usage and editing services)

    Manuscripts should be written in proper English (American or British usage is accepted, but not a mixture of these). Authors who feel their English language manuscript may require editing to eliminate possible grammatical or spelling errors and to conform to correct scientific English may wish to use the English Language Editing service available from Elsevier's WebShop or visit our customer support site for more information.

    Confidentiality/Informed Consent/IRB or Ethics Committee Review

    It is the author's responsibility to ensure patient anonymity in case reports and elsewhere. Identifying information such as names, initials, hospital numbers, and dates must be avoided. Reports of studies involving human subjects must include a statement verifying:
    1) that all patients/other paticipants provided written informed consent or that an institutional review board/ethics committee determined that informed consent was not required; and 2) the study was approved by the investigator's institutional review board/ethics committee.


    Our online submission system guides you stepwise through the process of entering your article details and uploading your files. The system converts your article files to a single PDF file used in the peer-review process. Editable files (e.g., Word, LaTeX) are required to typeset your article for final publication. All correspondence, including notification of the Editor's decision and requests for revision, is sent by e-mail.

    Submit your article
    Please submit your article via

    Peer Review
    Manuscripts submitted to the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management undergo initial editorial review. Selected manuscripts are sent for external peer review. Note that reviewers are not blinded as to the author's identity.

    Manuscript Preparation

    Submission items include a cover letter and all elements of the manuscript (including title page, key words, running title, manuscript text, disclosures and acknowledgments, references, tables and figures). Complete instructions for electronic artwork submission can be found at, accessible through the journal home page,

    Preparing Electronic Files

    Text and graphics may be submitted as separate files in the following formats:

    Text: Use Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, WordPro or Rich Text Format (.rtf). Check the accuracy of all file conversions.
    Graphics: Create digital artwork after consulting the Elsevier Electronic Artwork website,, which contains appropriate instructions. Please note that Elsevier allows the submission of MS Office files (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) provided that they meet certain criteria (see information given on Electronic Artwork website). It is preferred to save files in JPEG or TIFF format. Label figures as referenced in text and include a list of figure legends.

    Note: Only for initial submission and review may a manuscript be submitted as a single PDF file. Tables and figures should be included on separate pages at the end of the PDF file. For final versions, the original source files are needed; otherwise, the manuscript cannot be processed at the typesetter.

    Cover letter:A cover letter is required. The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management invites authors to submit names of possible reviewers for their papers in the cover letter. Also, please include the submission declaration (see above).

    Essential title page information

    The title page must include: all authors' full first and last names, degrees, and current institutional affiliations, cities and countries; the name, address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the designated corresponding author; and a list of the number of tables, figures, and references and the word count for the submission.

    Abstract, Key Words, and Running Title

    Abstract: A concise, structured abstract of not more than 250 words is required for Original Articles, Review Articles, Brief Reports, and Brief Methodological Reports. The abstract should have the following headings: Context, Objectives, Methods, Results, and Conclusion. For Clinical Notes, Palliative Care Rounds, Ethical Issues in Palliative Care, and Special Articles, the Journal will accept either a structured or narrative abstract of no more than 250 words. For Brief Quality Improvement Reports, a structured abstract of no more than 150 words is required; headings are: Background, Measures, Intervention, Outcomes, Conclusions/Lessons Learned. Letters should not have abstracts. Abstracts should be on a separate page and follow the title page.

    Key Words: Immediately after the abstract, please provide a maximum of 6 key words, using American spelling and avoiding general and plural terms and multiple concepts (avoid, for example, 'and', 'of'). Be sparing with abbreviations: only abbreviations firmly established in the field may be eligible. These key words will be used for indexing purposes.

    Running Title: Please provide a running title of no more than 45 characters and spaces.

    NOTE: Abstracts, key words and running title must be included with the Word document of the submission, not just provided online.

    Disclosures and Acknowledgments

    For ALL types of manuscript submissions, except Letters, authors must complete the ICMJE Form ( for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest, which has been integrated in to the submission process. The Acknowledgments section may include the authors' expressions of gratitude, including mention of individuals who contributed to the work but whose involvement was not sufficient to warrant authorship. This section should appear before the References.


    Follow internationally accepted rules and conventions: use the international system of units (SI). If other units are mentioned, please give their equivalent in SI.



    Black-and-white photographs or line drawings are preferred. Separate typed legends should accompany each figure. Every figure must be cited in the text. If original artwork/photos are used, permission must be obtained from the artist or photographer and credit must be given. If subjects of photographs are persons and they are identifiable, permission must be obtained.

    Electronic artwork
    General points
    • Make sure you use uniform lettering and sizing of your original artwork.
    • Embed the used fonts if the application provides that option.
    • Aim to use the following fonts in your illustrations: Arial, Courier, Times New Roman, Symbol, or use fonts that look similar.
    • Number the illustrations according to their sequence in the text.
    • Use a logical naming convention for your artwork files.
    • Provide captions to illustrations separately.
    • Size the illustrations close to the desired dimensions of the printed version.
    • Submit each illustration as a separate file.
    A detailed guide on electronic artwork is available on our website:
    You are urged to visit this site; some excerpts from the detailed information are given here.
    If your electronic artwork is created in a Microsoft Office application (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) then please supply 'as is' in the native document format.
    Regardless of the application used other than Microsoft Office, when your electronic artwork is finalized, please 'Save as' or convert the images to one of the following formats (note the resolution requirements for line drawings, halftones, and line/halftone combinations given below):
    EPS (or PDF): Vector drawings, embed all used fonts.
    TIFF (or JPEG): Color or grayscale photographs (halftones), keep to a minimum of 300 dpi.
    TIFF (or JPEG): Bitmapped (pure black & white pixels) line drawings, keep to a minimum of 1000 dpi.
    TIFF (or JPEG): Combinations bitmapped line/half-tone (color or grayscale), keep to a minimum of 500 dpi.
    Please do not:
    • Supply files that are optimized for screen use (e.g., GIF, BMP, PICT, WPG); these typically have a low number of pixels and limited set of colors;
    • Supply files that are too low in resolution;
    • Submit graphics that are disproportionately large for the content.


    Type each table double-spaced on a separate page, number in order of appearance, and give a brief descriptive title. Every table must be cited in the text. Explanatory information should be placed in footnotes; note that the Journal uses superscript, italic Arabic letters for footnotes, not other symbols, e.g., asterisks. If the data shown are from another source, acknowledgment must be given and permission obtained. Note: Lengthy tables may be published online only, with a link to the Journal website indicated in the print article text. The determination regarding online publication only will be made by the Editor-in-Chief.


    Number references in order of their use in the text; do not alphabetize. Identify references in the text with Arabic numerals inside parentheses. When listing authors in the reference list: Five authors or less, list all five authors; six authors or more, list the first three authors followed by et al. For abbreviations of journal names, refer to List of Journals Indexed in Index Medicus. Provide inclusive page numbers. Reference accuracy is the responsibility of the author(s). Please do not use EndNote to compile your reference list.

    Examples of Reference Style:

    Journal Article
    Hatler CW, Grove C, Strickland S, Barron S, White BD. The effect of completing a surrogacy information and decision-making tool upon admission to an intensive care unit on length of stay and charges. J Clin Ethics 2012;23:129-138.

    Book Chapter
    Taylor C, Walker S. Compassion: luxury or necessity? In: Cobb M, Puchalski CM, Rumbold B, eds. Oxford textbook of spirituality in healthcare. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012:135-144.

    Cassell EJ. The nature of suffering and the goals of medicine, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

    Online Citations
    World Health Organization. Definition of palliative care. 2008. Available from: definition/en/. Accessed July 27, 2013.

    Citation in text
    Please ensure that every reference cited in the text is also present in the reference list (and vice versa). Any references cited in the abstract must be given in full. Unpublished results and personal communications are not recommended in the reference list, but may be mentioned in the text. If these references are included in the reference list they should follow the standard reference style of the journal and should include a substitution of the publication date with either 'Unpublished results' or 'Personal communication'. Citation of a reference as 'in press' implies that the item has been accepted for publication.

    Reference links
    Increased discoverability of research and high quality peer review are ensured by online links to the sources cited. In order to allow us to create links to abstracting and indexing services, such as Scopus, CrossRef and PubMed, please ensure that data provided in the references are correct. Please note that incorrect surnames, journal/book titles, publication year and pagination may prevent link creation. When copying references, please be careful as they may already contain errors. Use of the DOI is encouraged.

    Journal abbreviations source
    Journal names should be abbreviated according to the List of Title Word Abbreviations:

    Submission checklist

    The following list will be useful during the final checking of an article prior to sending it to the journal for review. Please consult this Guide for Authors for further details of any item.
    Ensure that the following items are present:
    One author has been designated as the corresponding author with contact details:
    • E-mail address
    • Full postal address
    • Phone numbers
    All necessary files have been uploaded, and contain:
    • Keywords
    • All figure captions
    • All tables (including title, description, footnotes)
    Further considerations
    • Manuscript has been 'spell-checked' and 'grammar-checked'
    • References are in the correct format for this journal
    • All references mentioned in the Reference list are cited in the text, and vice versa
    • Permission has been obtained for use of copyrighted material from other sources (including the Web)
    • Color figures are clearly marked as being intended for color reproduction on the Web (free of charge) and in print, or to be reproduced in color on the Web (free of charge) and in black-and-white in print
    • If only color on the Web is required, black-and-white versions of the figures are also supplied for printing purposes
    For any further information please visit our customer support site at

    Use of the Digital Object Identifier

    The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) may be used to cite and link to electronic documents. The DOI consists of a unique alpha-numeric character string which is assigned to a document by the publisher upon the initial electronic publication. The assigned DOI never changes. Therefore, it is an ideal medium for citing a document, particularly 'Articles in press' because they have not yet received their full bibliographic information. Example of a correctly given DOI (in URL format; here an article in the journal Physics Letters B):
    When you use a DOI to create links to documents on the web, the DOIs are guaranteed never to change.


    One set of page proofs (as PDF files) will be sent by e-mail to the corresponding author. Elsevier now provides authors with PDF proofs which can be annotated; for this you will need to download Adobe Reader version 7 (or higher) available free from Instructions on how to annotate PDF files will accompany the proofs (also given online). The exact system requirements are given at the Adobe site:
    If you do not wish to use the PDF annotations function, you may list the corrections (including replies to the Query Form) and return them to Elsevier in an e-mail. Please list your corrections quoting line number. If, for any reason, this is not possible, then mark the corrections and any other comments (including replies to the Query Form) on a printout of your proof and return by fax, or scan the pages and e-mail. Please use this proof only for checking the typesetting, editing, completeness and correctness of the text, tables and figures. Significant changes to the article as accepted for publication will only be considered at this stage with permission from the Editor. We will do everything possible to get your article published quickly and accurately – please let us have all your corrections within 48 hours. It is important to ensure that all corrections are sent back to us in one communication: please check carefully before replying, as inclusion of any subsequent corrections cannot be guaranteed. Proofreading is solely your responsibility. Note that Elsevier may proceed with the publication of your article if no response is received.


    The corresponding author, at no cost, will be provided with a personalized link providing 50 days free access to the final published version of the article on ScienceDirect. This link can also be used for sharing via email and social networks. For an extra charge, paper offprints can be ordered via the offprint order form which is sent once the article is accepted for publication. Both corresponding and co-authors may order offprints at any time via Elsevier's WebShop ( Authors requiring printed copies of multiple articles may use Elsevier WebShop's 'Create Your Own Book' service to collate multiple articles within a single cover (

    Note to NIH Grant Recipients
    Elsevier will send to PubMed Central the author's manuscript on behalf of authors reporting research supported by an NIH grant. The author manuscript reflects any author-agreed changes made in response to peer review comments. Elsevier will authorize its public access posting on PubMed Central 12 months after final publication. Authors will receive further correspondence from PubMed Central after the manuscript is deposited.

    You can track your submitted article at You can track your accepted article at You are also welcome to contact Customer Support via


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