Guide for Authors
Electronic submission is mandatory at http://jtcvs.editorialmanager.com
Information for Authors
E-Mail: email@example.com (general correspondence)Please address all non-Internet correspondence to:
Lawrence H. Cohn, MD, Editor
The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
American Association for Thoracic Surgery
500 Cummings Center
Beverly, MA 01915
General InformationThe Editors of The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery aim to promote excellence in the discipline and educate those practicing and interested in our specialty. To this end, the Journal accepts submissions in the form of original articles, editorials, expert reviews, surgical techniques, brief research reports, case reports for online only publication, cardiothoracic images, reflections of the pioneers, pro/con debates, and letters to the Editor on topics pertaining to the most recent developments in cardiothoracic transplantation; general thoracic surgery; surgery for acquired and congenital cardiovascular disease; and technical, physiologic, and medical issues as they relate to the specialty. The Journal commits to rigorous peer review, freedom from commercial influence, and promotion of the highest ethical and scientific standards in our specialty (See the AATS "Disclosure Policy and Guidelines for the Editors, Reviewers, and Authors" and "Cardiothoracic Surgical Organizations' Standards for Interactions with Companies" available at http://aats.org/Association/Policies.cgi).
Editorial PoliciesReview: Three or more referees are assigned to review each full-length original article. Acceptance is based on significance, originality, and validity of the material presented. If the article is accepted for publication, editorial revisions may be made to aid clarity and understanding without altering the meaning. Authors are given the opportunity to suggest one or more reviewers who they believe to be expert and impartial in the field represented by the manuscript; these reviewers may be selected at the Editor's discretion.
Guidelines for Reviewers: Because more papers are submitted to the Journal than can be published, only the very best papers should be recommended for publication. Accordingly, a manuscript should be evaluated not only with respect to its scientific competence and accuracy but also its relative importance in the field of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery and for its probable interest to our readership. Among the issues to consider are:
- What is the importance of the research question or subject field study?
- Are the methods and experimental techniques adequate?
- Do the results seem to be reliable and presented clearly?
- Is the discussion relevant?
- Are the conclusions reasonable?
- Are the illustrations and references appropriate and necessary?
- Is the abstract informative and written in a style that will make it intelligible to readers who do not work in the specific area addressed by the abstract?
- Is the writing clear and the organization of the paper sound?
- What is the originality of the work?
- Is the work too long?
Reviewers should be aware of the nine-point metric system used to review full-length manuscripts. Reviewers will be asked to grade manuscripts based on nine criteria, with each element being graded "1" or "0." This will not only simplify the process, but will serve as a guideline to the acceptance/rejection of a paper. If the manuscript does not meet a majority of the standards (5 and under), rejection will be recommended. If the paper received a score of 6-8, it is worthy of revision based on these metrics. A manuscript that meets all 9 points will be accepted. The nine criteria are:
- Important, timely, relevant, critical, prevalent problem
- Problem well stated, formulated
- Well-designed study (appropriate, rigorous, comprehensive design)
- Sophisticated approach to data analysis
- Sample size sufficiently large
- Thoughtful, focused, up-to-date review of the literature
- Practical, useful implications
- Interpretations took into account the limitations of study
- Well-written manuscript (clear, straightforward, easy to follow, logical)
- Made substantial contributions to conception and design, and/or acquisition of data, and/or analysis and interpretation of data
- Participated in drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content
- Gave final approval of the version to be submitted and any revised version to be published
The authors should describe the role of the study's sponsors in the following areas:
- Designing the study
- Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data
- Writing the report
- Making the decision to submit for publication
After a manuscript is accepted for publication, no author can be removed from or added to the author list nor can the order of the authors be changed without the written permission of all of the manuscript authors, submitted to the editorial office.Disclosure Policy: It is the policy of The American Association for Thoracic Surgery that each author of an original manuscript must disclose any financial interest or other relationship (grant, research support, consultant, etc.) that individual has with any manufacturer(s) of any commercial product(s) that may be discussed in the individual's manuscript. The AATS has procedures in place if a conflict of interest should arise. In addition, authors are asked to disclose when any discussion of unapproved use of pharmaceutical or medical device occurs in the manuscript.
Policy on Managing Conflict of Interest: (1)Review of Disclosure Information: The reviewers and Editors of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery will review Disclosure of Commercial Support information submitted by authors of potential Journal publications. AATS staff may request additional information from authors. All disclosures will be printed with accepted articles.(2) Determination of Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists: On the basis of the information in the Disclosure of Commercial Support and any other relevant information provided by authors, the Editors will determine whether a conflict of interest exists. In making this determination, consideration will be given to all relevant factors and information, including but not limited to the nature of the manuscript, the magnitude of the financial interest and the degree to which it is related to the manuscript content, the extent to which the interest could be directly affected by the manuscript, and the extent to which the manuscript may be affected by the interest.(3) Management and Resolution of Conflicts of Interest: If it is determined that a conflict of interest exists, decisions will be made regarding what conditions or restrictions should be imposed to resolve the conflict of interest. Prior to the recommendation of such conditions or restrictions, the author(s) will be given an opportunity to submit additional information. The author(s) will be encouraged to suggest measures designed to resolve the conflict. Each author of a manuscript must submit a signed "JTCVS Disclosure Statement" through the electronic submission system. In rare instances the editorial office will accept faxed copies of the disclosure form. The editorial office is currently working on an online solution for disclosure to streamline this process.Authors who violate our disclosure policy will be denied the privilege of publishing their work in our Journal for one to two years, depending upon the severity of the offense. All offenses are reviewed by the AATS Publications Committee, which then makes a recommendation to Council regarding censure.
Informed Consent: The Journal adheres to the principles set forth in the Helsinki Declaration (http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/index.html) and holds that all reported research conducted with human participants should be conducted in accordance with such principles. Reports describing data obtained from research conducted in human participants must contain a statement in the Methods section indicating approval by the institutional review board and affirmation that informed consent was obtained from each participant. If patients are identifiable from illustrations, photographs, case reports, or other study data, release forms (or copies of the figures with the appropriate release statement) giving permission for publication must be submitted with the manuscript. This should only be done in rare instances where such images are essential to the science and/or technique in the manuscript.Humane Animal Care: All papers reporting experiments using animals must include a statement in the Methods section giving assurance that all animals have received humane care in compliance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12910). Papers submitted from outside the United States must be in compliance with the guidelines established by their country's government or those of the National Institutes of Health and must include a statement to that effect in the Methods section.
CONSORT Statement: All authors engaged in studies based on randomized trials are asked to adhere to the principles outlined in the CONSORT statement (http://www.consort-statement.org/), an important research tool that takes an evidence-based approach to improve the quality of reports of randomized trials. Manuscripts reporting results of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) should include the CONSORT flow diagram showing the progress of patients through the trial (http://www.consort-statement.org). The CONSORT checklist should also be completed and submitted with the manuscript.Consultant Statistician and Statistical Methods: All manuscripts with statistical analysis are required to undergo biostatistical review to ensure adequate and appropriate study design, analysis, interpretation, and reporting. The Journal requires that a biostatistician review these manuscripts prior to submission. The most appropriate way to involve a biostatistician is as a consultant or coauthor from the investigators' home institution or collaborative group. The individual must review the Statistical Methods statement and complete and sign the Statistical Collaboration/Review Release Statement, available online at our manuscript submission site http://www.editorialmanager.com/jtcvs/account/Statistical%20Release%20Statement.pdf. Manuscripts may undergo further biostatistical review by the Journal after submission. Additional information on statistical methods can be found in "Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals" (www.icmje.org/index.html).
Copyright Statement: Copyright is obtained electronically via our publisher, Elsevier Inc., after manuscript acceptance. Please respond promptly to their electronic communication in this regard. Upon acceptance, authors must transfer all copyright ownership of the manuscript to The American Association for Thoracic Surgery. By completing the copyright, authors warrant that the article is an original work without fabrication, fraud, or plagiarism; does not infringe on any copyright or other proprietary right of any third party; is not under consideration by another publication; and has not been previously published. Authors also warrant that they each meet the requirements for authorship enumerated in the Journal's Information for Authors and understand that if the paper or part of the paper is found to be faulty or fraudulent, each author shares the responsibility.Dates of Receipt and Acceptance: The "received for publication" date is the date when the editorial office receives the complete manuscript via Editorial Manager. The "accepted for publication" date is the date when the manuscript has met all of the requirements of the editorial office regarding provision of the final revised manuscript, illustrations meeting requirements for print reproduction, and signed disclosure forms from all authors.
Registration of Clinical Trials: In 2004 the International Committee Of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommended that clinical trials be registered in a public database as a prerequisite for subsequent publication (see De Angelis C, Drazen JM, Frizelle FA, et al. Clinical trial registration: a statement from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. N Engl J Med. 2004;351:1250-1). The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, joining with the Surgical Journal Editors Group (SJEG), has agreed to adopt this registration standard. The Editor requires the pre-registration of all prospective clinical trials that have a control group, as well as any commercially sponsored clinical trial, including Phase I and II trials. Registration for retrospective reviews or summaries of standard clinical treatment is not required. Clinical trials that meet the above requirement and commenced after April 1, 2007, must be registered prior to enrollment of the first patient. Relevant trials that began before this date must be registered prior to editorial review. Registration must be indicated by providing the unique study number assigned at www.clinicaltrials.gov, the principle site of registration sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Detailed directions and a tutorial for registering a trial are available at http://prsinfo.clinicaltrials.gov (see Consensus statement on mandatory registration of clinical trials. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2007;133:859-60).Article Preparation
Manuscripts must be written so that a reasonably well-informed member of the thoracic surgical community can understand them. The primary goal of the Journal is the dissemination of information and education. Arcane content must be explained and considered understandable by the editorial staff. Articles are chosen based on their probability of achieving this goal. Authors are encouraged to follow the principles of clear scientific writing, such as those described by Gopen and Swan, as well as Blackstone.All manuscripts must adhere to the length requirements outlined below.
Note: To allow all manuscripts to be judged fairly, manuscripts exceeding length limitations are returned for shortening prior to review.Original Research Article: The Journal publishes original research in surgery and translational physiology as it relates to acquired and congenital cardiovascular disease, cardiothoracic transplantation, and general thoracic surgery. Meritorious work from closely related specialties, such as anesthesiology, molecular biology, pathology, pulmonary medicine, cardiology, and perfusion, is encouraged and will receive appropriate consideration if the linkage to our specialty is clear.
Original research articles are grouped in the Journal according to one of the following categories: Acquired Cardiovascular Disease; Congenital Heart Disease; General Thoracic Surgery; Evolving Technology/Basic Science; Perioperative Management; Cardiothoracic Transplantation; Cardiothoracic Surgical Education and Training. Authors are asked to self-categorize their articles during the submission process.Note: Submission to the Journal constitutes an author declaration that the manuscript is a single-journal submission and has not been submitted to another journal simultaneously.
Length Requirements: Original research articles may not exceed 7 printed pages, including title and abstract. The following guidelines offer the best approximation of appropriate article length. Submitted articles that do not meet these guidelines will be returned to the corresponding author for appropriate revision, prior to review.
- Title page, 250-word structured abstract, and a 50-word ultramini abstract
- A manuscript that contains no more than 3500 words in the body of the text, excluding abstracts and references
- A maximum combination of 5 figures and/or tables. Additional figures or tables may be submitted for online-only inclusion. A reference in the printed text will direct readers to the additional online content
- No more than 35 references
- A limit of 7 authors; exceptions are made for multi-center trials and can be requested for other situations, provided all authors meet the listed requirements
Expert Reviews: Expert reviews are meant to be short, concise reviews of a particular subject of the diagnosis and/or treatment of cardiovascular and thoracic disease written by a true expert in the field. More than one author is welcome, but the true "expert" must be the first or last author.Length Requirements: Expert Reviews should contain no more than 2500 words and 4 tables or figures (although any amount of supplementary material may be placed online and called out in the text), a limit of 4 authors, and no more than 25 references. They should contain an ultramini abstract but do not need a structured abstract.
Editorial: An editorial may be solicited or unsolicited. Solicited editorials reflect an opinion of the cardiovascular and thoracic surgical community on a particular article or subject published in the Journal of Thoracic Surgery. Unsolicited editorials may represent an opinion not attached to a previous publication in the Journal.Length Requirements: Editorials should contain no more than 2500 words and 4 tables or figures (though any amount of supplementary material may be placed online and called out in the text), a limit of 4 authors, and no more than 25 references. They should contain an ultramini abstract but do not need a structured abstract.
Reflections of the Pioneers: Reflections of the Pioneers is an invitation-only section by the Editor to those who have made significant, documented conceptual changes in the medical and surgical treatment of cardiovascular and thoracic disease. These are meant to explore the thought process of these innovative individuals from the very conception of these new technique or treatments and where it went from there.Length Requirements: Reflections of the Pioneers should contain no more than 2500 words and 4 tables or figures (though any amount of supplementary material may be placed online and called out in the text), a limit of 4 authors, and no more than 25 references. They should contain an ultramini abstract but do not need a structured abstract.
Surgical Techniques, Brief Research Reports, and Case Reports: The Editors are interested in brief clinical contributions containing substantive information concerning new or innovative surgical techniques (Surgical Techniques), preliminary research findings (Brief Research Reports), and clinical studies or pertinent observations (Case Reports). These submissions will be chosen on their discussion and educational value and on their scholarly use of the literature. Case Reports will appear in the print TOC of an issue, and will be fully citable and indexed in Medline, but the manuscript content will appear online only.Length Requirements: Surgical Techniques, Brief Research Reports, and Case Reports should contain no more than 750 words and 2 tables or figures, a limit of 4 authors, and no more than 5 references. They do not need a structured abstract or an ultramini-abstract.
Letters to the Editor: Readers are encouraged to submit commentary on articles published in the Journal. Letters should be of broad interest to readers and not designed to "split hairs." Conflicting opinions on broad issues are particularly welcome when documentation is possible. Letters may be published together with a reply from the original author. If the original author does not respond, a notation indicating "Response declined" will be published. Substantive Letters to the Editor are indexed in Index Medicus.Length Requirements: Letters to the Editor should not exceed 500 words, 1 figure or table, 3 authors, and 5 references.
Manuscript PreparationTitle Page: Provide a concise, informative title, with no unnecessary words (e.g., Studies in . . .). List all authors' academic degrees and affiliations. Include all sources of funding for the work, all possible conflicts of interest, and complete name, address, telephone and fax numbers, and E-mail address of the corresponding author. Article word count (exclusive of abstract and references) on the title page is required.
Abstract: The structured abstract (required for original manuscripts only) should be limited to 250 words, should not include acronyms or abbreviations, and should contain the following sections:
- Objective(s): describe the hypothesis or the purpose of the study
- Methods: identify the study design and statistical methods used
- Results: describe the outcome of the study and the statistical significance, if appropriate
- Conclusions: state the significance of the results
Ultramini Abstract (required for original manuscripts, expert review, reflections of the pioneers, and editorials): Provide 1 to 3 sentences of no more than 50 words total, containing the essence of the manuscript, to include immediately beneath the title of the paper in the table of contents.Units of Measurement: Report measurements of length, height, weight, and volume in metric units (meter, kilogram, or liter) or their decimal multiples. Give temperatures in degrees Celsius and blood pressures in millimeters of mercury. All hematologic and clinical chemistry measurements should be reported in the metric system in terms of the International System of Units (SI). The authors should also add alternate or non-SI units before publication. See http://www.icmje.org/manuscript_1prepare.html for more details.
Abbreviations: Except for units of measurements, abbreviations are discouraged. Abbreviations that are used should be defined at first mention. Internationally accepted abbreviations such as AIDS, DNA, SD, TLC need not be defined. For commonly accepted abbreviations, word usage, symbols, and so forth, please consult Scientific Style and Format3 and the American Medical Association Manual of Style.References: Limit references to directly pertinent published works or papers that have been accepted for publication. Original manuscripts are limited to 35 references, while brief communications and letters to the Editor are limited to 5 references. Unpublished data and personal communications should be cited only in the text, not as a numbered reference. Authors wishing to cite unpublished material must have a letter of permission from the originator of the communication to do so. This letter should be submitted with the manuscript. Number references serially in the text and list them, on a separate page, double-spaced, at the end of the paper in numerical order.
Reference format should conform to that set forth in "Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals" (www.icmje.org/index.html) and journal abbreviations should conform to the style used in the Cumulated Index Medicus. The style of citation should be as follows:Journals: authors' last names and initials; title of article; journal name; date; volume number, and inclusive pages (list all authors when six or fewer; when seven or more, list six and add et al):
Graeber GM, Gupta NC, Murray GF. Positron emission tomographic imaging with fluorodeoxyglucose is efficacious in evaluating malignant pulmonary disease. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1999;117:719-27.Lytle BW, Blackstone EH, Loop FD, Houghtaling PL, Arnold JH, Akhrass R, et al. Two internal thoracic artery grafts are better than one. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1999;117:855-72.
Books: authors' last names and initials; chapter title, editor's name, book title, edition, city, publisher, date, and pages:Mollnes TE. Analysis of in vivo complement activation: In: Herzenberg LA, Weir DM, Herzenberg LA, Blackwell C, eds. Weir's Handbook of Experimental Immunology. Vol 78, 5th ed. Boston: Blackwell Science; 1997:78.1-78.8.
Figures: For help with preparing electronic artwork for both on-screen review and eventual publication, see the information page created by Elsevier Inc. (http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/authors.authors/authorartworkinstructions). Figures must be of professional quality. When possible, please use first-generation artwork. Number figures in the order of their appearance in the text.The Journal will reproduce free of cost to the author a reasonable number of black and white as well as color illustrations. Please be sure that all figures that can be rendered in BW are done so, and reserve color for images that will truly benefit the reader in terms of comprehension. For instance, there should be no color in graphs or tables unless absolutely necessary. You may always post additional figures online.
Graph Creation: See Information for Authors at http://www.editorialmanager.com/jtcvs for more details.Efficient Use of Space:
- Eliminate blank spaces that contain no information (e.g., delete points on the x and y axes that do not contain data)
- Do not border a figure or a key with a box
- If they fit, place keys that apply to the figure within the figure itself (without a box); if the key does not fit in the figure, place it at the end of the legend (see Sample 2)
- Create figures in scale with each other to the extent possible
- Do not use background horizontal lines
- Avoid 3-dimensional art
- Make sure both axes are labeled
- Most figures will be one column wide. Ensure that all data and type within a figure are sized according to these guidelines to the extent possible
- Use upper- and lowercase type: It is much easier to read than all capital letters
- Use a consistent typeface and size (Helvetica or Universe, 11 or 12 points) throughout (avoid sans serif types, such as Courier)
- Use a bold typeface for emphasis; it is much more readable that italics or underlining
- Avoid gray shading; it does not reproduce well
- Make lines thick enough to ensure adequate reproduction (extremely thin lines do not reproduce well)
- For figures submitted in electronic format, all images should be at least 5 inches wide. Images should be provided in EPS or TIF format
- Graphics software such as Photoshop and Illustrator, not presentation software such as PowerPoint, CorelDraw, or Harvard Graphics, should be used to create art
- Color images need to be CMYK, at least 300 dpi, with a digital color proof, not a color laser print or color photocopy
- Gray scale images should be at least 300 dpi accompanied by a proof
- Line art (black and white or color) and combinations of gray scale and line art should be at least 1200 dpi and accompanied by a proof
- For best reproduction, avoid screening, shading, and lettering on a dark background
Tables: Tables should be self-explanatory and should supplement, not duplicate, the text. Each table should be on a separate page. Provide a brief title for each. Abbreviations used in table should be defined at the bottom of the table.Manuscript Submission
Electronic Submission:All manuscripts must be submitted via Editorial Manager (http://jtcvs.editorialmanager.com) and should include the following items:
- Abstract and ultramini abstract (where requested)
- Title page with all authors and affiliation as well as a word count
- Manuscript (using word processor file)
Note: Please include abstract, ultramini abstract, title page, manuscript, tables, and figure legends in one file
- Figures (attach as separate files)
The following items that accompany the manuscript must be scanned and submitted electronically or submitted by mail or fax if scanning is not an option (please note that this will cause a delay in manuscript processing as all files must be logged in by hand and then scanned and uploaded to your file):
- JTCVS Disclosure Statement
- Permission to reproduce published material (if applicable)
- Statistical Collaboration/Review Statement (if applicable)
- Note: It is the corresponding author's responsibility to ensure that each submitted version of the manuscript is the correct version. Format all text elements as double spaced for easier reading
- Insert page breaks between the title page, abstract, ultramini abstract, and first page of text
- Begin text, acknowledgments, references, and figure legends, respectively, on separate pages
- Begin each table on a separate page
- Write text in clear and concise language, using accepted standards of English style and usage. Define unfamiliar or new terms when first used and avoid use of jargon, clichés, and laboratory slang
- On the title page, include the title of the article and the author(s) name(s), degree(s), and institutional affiliation(s) as well as the name, telephone number, fax number, and E-mail address of the corresponding author. Where necessary, identify each author's affiliation by superscript numbers matched to the appropriate institutions. Also include word count of manuscript (required)
Note: To view your manuscript in PDF format on Editorial Manager, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer.Manuscript Revision
Revised manuscripts must be submitted in two parts as word-processing files (pdf files are not acceptable): (1) revised, marked manuscript showing additions and deletions, preferably using strike through format for deletions; (2) revised, unmarked manuscript.Manuscript Processing
Acknowledgment of Receipt: Each submission is assigned a unique number and acknowledged by E-mail. The editorial office considers the manuscript number a confidential communication, which should be given only to other authors of the paper. The editorial office staff releases information about manuscripts only to authors who provide the manuscript number. Information about a specific manuscript can be obtained via Editorial Manager only by the corresponding author or his designated representative who has access to his personal username and password.NIH Initiative
The National Institutes of Health "requests and strongly encourages" NIH-funded investigators to submit an electronic version of their final manuscript resulting from research supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH, on acceptance for publication, to PubMed Central (PMC) (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov). The final manuscript is the version containing all modifications from the publishing peer review process. Our Journal supports those authors who wish to participate in this initiative but does not participate in the submission process. Our publisher, Elsevier, does participate in the submission process and you can work with them to ensure deposit of your manuscript.Print References
- Gopen GD, Swan JA. The science of scientific writing. Am Sci. 78;1990:550-8.
- Blackstone E. Notes from the editors. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1996;112:209-221.
- Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. 6th ed. New York: Cambridge University Press; 1994.
- Iverson C, et al, eds. American Medical Association Manual of Style. 9th ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1998.
Checklist____JTCVS Disclosure Statement signed, one from each author
____Permission to reproduce published material or to cite unpublished data (if applicable)
____Informed consent statement (in Methods)
____Humane animal care statement (in Methods)
____Funding agency's role in data interpretation (in Methods)
____Signed Statistical Collaboration/Review Release Statement
____Clinical Trial Registry Number (if applicable)
____Original manuscript submitted via jtcvs.editorialmanager.com (abstract, ultramini abstract, title page, manuscript, references, tables, and figure legends in one file)
____Title of article
____Full name(s), academic degrees, and affiliation(s) of authors
____Telephone (business and home), fax, and E-mail address for corresponding author
____Word count (required)
____Abstract (250 words; double-spaced; for original manuscripts only)
____Ultramini abstract (50 words)
____References (double-spaced; separate pages)
____Tables (double-spaced; separate pages)
____Figure legends (double-spaced; separate pages)
____Figures (separate files; properly identified)