Guide for Authors

  • 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.

    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 Authors unable to submit an electronic version should contact the Editorial Office to discuss alternatives.

    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. Figures can be embedded at appropriate points within the body of the PDF file, or they can 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.

    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, and should not be a simple repetition of readily available information. 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 include new information from either a clinical trial or observational study that can effectively be described in a paper requiring no more than 2000 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 that do not fit criteria for any of the above categories are 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.

    Peer Review
    Manuscripts submitted to the JPSM are usually reviewed by two or more authorities for significance, originality, and validity; note that reviewers are not blinded as to the author's identity.

    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 provided 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.

    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.

    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,

    Title Page. The title page must include: all authors' first and last names, degrees, and current institutional affiliations; 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. 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. Please provide 3-10 key words, and a running title of no more than 45 characters and spaces.

    Disclosures and Acknowledgments. For ALL types of manuscript submissions, except Letters, authors must include a section entitled Disclosures and Acknowledgments at the end of the text, before the Reference section. This section should describe all sources of funding and/or sponsorship, and disclose any potential conflicts of interest in the research reported or the development of the submission. Specifically, authors should describe, as appropriate, 1) any financial or personal relationships with individuals, organizations or companies that might be perceived to bias the work, and 2) the role of the funding source /sponsor in study design, or in the collection, analysis, interpretation or presentation of the information. If a medical writer was involved, this should be indicated, and the role of the writer and his or her relationship to the funding source/sponsor of the study should be described. If there was no funding source/sponsorship, or if the funding source/sponsor was not involved in the conduct of the study or development of the submission, this should be stated. Finally, the Disclosures and 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.

    References. 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.


    Journal Article
    1. Davidson JR, MacLean AW, Brundage MD, Schulze K. Sleep disturbance in cancer patients. Soc Sci Med 2002;54:1309-1321.

    Book Chapter
    2. Collins J. Symptom control in life-threatening illness. In: Doyle D, Hanks G, Cherny N, Calman K, eds. Oxford textbook of palliative medicine, 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004:789-798.

    3. Wall P, Melzack R. Textbook of pain, 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone, 1999.

    Online Citations
    4. World Health Organization. Definition of palliative care. 2008. Available from: definition/en/. Accessed July 27, 2010.

    Tables. 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. 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.

    Illustrations. 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.

    Updated January 2012


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