You’re probably already familiar with PubMed, the public access portal to the MEDLINE database of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in Bethesda, MD:

…this landing page provides an overview menu for the National Center for Biotechnology Information (parent entity of NLM), including tutorials on how to search the medical literature, if you’re not already familiar with the process (see the column on the left, "Using PubMed")

To get your feet wet with searching the database, the Advanced Search engine lets you plug in specific terms and combine in a Boolean "AND" or "OR" string:

PubMed’s PubReMiner provides a greater level of analysis for PubMed Search results


If you’d like to see the best offering of standardized basic guidelines to follow in preparing a biomedical article in determining authorship and contributorship, visit:

The most basic of all how-to resources on publishing in the medical literature comes from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)—specifically, ICMJE’s Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (last revised 2010), which center on the appropriate roles and responsibilities of authors and contributors to biomedical articles. Participation in ICMJE guidelines is voluntary on the journal’s part, and the site lists those that do. ICMJE is probably the most talked-about ‘standard’ in the biomedical publishing world, at least from the author’s standpoint.

2) GPP2

Good Publication Practices (GPP) guidelines have been around since 2003. GPP2 guidelines are the most recent version, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2009; 339: b4330) offers useful guidelines on authorship, contributorship, team-based planning of publications, providing authors with access to data

While GPP2 does pertain mainly to pharmaceutical industry-sponsored medical research, it provides comprehensive guidance on a number of key issues that are useful for any author, including:

  • Roles of, and disclosure and transparency on the part of, research sponsors, authors, and other contributors, such as professional medical writers
  • Financial disclosure
  • Conflicts of interest

Perhaps GPP2’s most practical feature is its manuscript checklist that analyzes a manuscript for integrity, completeness, transparency, accountability and responsibility that provide comprehensive background with which every author should be familiar.

3) The AMA style guide: AMA (American Medical Association) Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors, 10th Edition (online 2009; print version 2007) – about

Most biomedical journals follow AMA style. Published by Oxford University Press and edited by many of the key players on the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) team, the AMA style guide provides guidance on manuscript preparation, style and terminology, ethical and legal considerations. A good ‘how-to’ even for minute details of words, letters, numbers, punctuation, etc.


The Medical Publishing Insights and Practices Initiative (MPIP) is a group of industry and journal professionals focused on increasing transparency and quality of the biomedical literature. While MPIP focuses primarily on industry-sponsored research, its resources are valuable to any author—in particular, MPIP’s Author’s submission toolkit

(Chipperfield L et al. Authors’ Submission Toolkit: a practical guide to getting your research published. Curr Med Res Opin 2010;26:1967-82)

This article also offers a journal submission cover letter template:


The Committee on Publication Ethics provides several resources and guidelines for publishers, editors and authors, and offers links to events/forums, a newsletter (recent addition) and other useful resources aimed at maintaining high ethical standards in biomedical publications.

The article International Standards for Authors (Wager E & Kleinert S 2011)… standards_authors_for website_11_Nov_2011.pdf

…available on the COPE site, offers further publication standards you may find useful.

And…Some professional societies for medical writers and editors that offer an ‘inside look’ from the perspectives of contributors to the biomedical literature

Professional medical editor associations:

BELS (Board of Editors in the Life Sciences)

WAME (World Association of Medical Editors)

Professional medical writer associations

EMWA European Medical Writers Association

AMWA American Medical Writers Association

Thinking of running your own clinical study? If you’re not familiar with the following links, we highly recommend you become so:

…for an overview of any clinical study that’s planned, in progress, or basic results from one that’s been completed—worldwide–check out:

…this is the ‘gold-standard’ trial registry database operated by the National Institutes of Health in which sponsors of all studies conducted in humans care required to list and describe them in detail…yet another facet of that key concept: TRANSPARENCY

EQUATOR (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research) Guidelines comprise a variety of publication and clinical trial presentation resources:

Finally, as you may have read in our FAQ answers, not all journals are the same, and not all studies are the same…two major trend movements in biomedical publishing include open-access publishing (OAP) and an increased "push" to publish all clinical trial results, including negative or more esoteric ones—here are some links that provide access to journals that are addressing one or both of these concepts:

DOAJ – Directory of Open Access Journals

A directory of free, full-text, peer-reviewed biomedical and other scholarly journals (see DMWE’s FAQ page for an overview of open-access publishing).

MPIP List of journals accepting data of specialized interest or negative results

List of journals that encourage submission of high-quality manuscripts that report results that are negative, confirm previous results (…a basic principle of science, after all…) or on topics of specialized interest.