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Journal Policies

Editorial Policies

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute publishes manuscripts that describe new findings of particular significance in any area relating to cancer, as well as associated news items, reviews, and commentaries. The Journal employs a process of rigorous yet rapid review of submitted manuscripts so that findings of high scientific and medical interest can be published with minimum delay.

The Journal encourages submission of reports of randomized controlled clinical trials and will provide expedited review of such manuscripts.

Review of manuscripts is conducted by the editorial board, with the assistance of external reviewers. The editorial board initially reviews all submitted manuscripts and, whenever possible, responds to authors within 2 weeks regarding any paper that is judged to be of insufficient priority for further consideration. Scientific papers of high interest will be sent out for external review.

Authors will be notified of acceptance, rejection, or need for revision as soon as the external reviews are available. All revised manuscripts are edited to ensure conformity with Journal style and editorial standards. Authors are strongly encouraged to adhere to the revised manuscript guidelines provided in the provisional acceptance letter when revising their manuscripts. Acceptance is contingent on author submission of complete and consistent data, accurate reference list, and conclusions consistent with results demonstrated in the study. Inconsistencies and inaccuracies found after acceptance may warrant return of the manuscript for resubmission. The decision to publish a manuscript is solely the responsibility of the editorial board. Opinions expressed by the authors are not necessarily those of the publisher or the editors.

The Journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and follows COPE guidelines with respect to handing ethical issues, including misconduct and retractions.

The Journal does not entertain pre-submission inquiries. Manuscripts or parts therein (Abstracts, outlines) that are submitted directly to the Editor-In-Chief or inquiries about the suitability of a manuscript for publication will not be considered.

The Journal endeavors to appeal to a broad, multidisciplinary audience. Accordingly, all manuscripts submitted for publication should be written with clarity and readability in mind. All manuscripts are edited to ensure conformity with Journal style and editorial standards.


The Journal follows the precepts of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. (See "ICMJE Recommendations" at http://www.icmje.org.)

All authors listed on the manuscript should have contributed significantly to the experimental design, its implementation, or analysis and interpretation of the data. All authors should have been involved in the writing of the manuscript at draft and any revision stages, and have read and approved the final version. All authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work, such that questions related to its accuracy or integrity are appropriately investigated and resolved. Anyone who made major contributions to the writing of the manuscript should be listed as an author (e.g. “ghost writing” is prohibited by the Journal).

Any other individuals who made less substantive contributions to the experiment or the writing of the manuscript should be listed in the Notes section.

By submitting your manuscript to the journal it is understood that this it is an original manuscript and is unpublished work and is not under consideration elsewhere. Plagiarism, including duplicate publication of the author’s own work, in whole or in part without proper citation is not tolerated by the journal. Revised manuscripts may be screened with iThenticate software, as part of the CrossCheck initiative to detect and prevent plagiarism. More information about CrossCheck can be found here.

We encourage authors of biomarker studies and authors of basic research studies to either include a biostatistician as a co-author when designing the study or to invite a biostatistician to review the manuscript and to acknowledge this review in the Notes section.

Many large collaborative studies are organized under a group name which represents all the participants. All articles must have at least one named individual as author. Authors who wish to acknowledge the umbrella group from which the data originate should first list the author(s) of the article and follow this with 'on behalf of the GROUP NAME'. If necessary the names of the participants may be listed in the Notes section.

For manuscripts with more than 21 authors, the author list on the first page will include the first 20 and last author and their affiliations. The full list of authors and their affiliations will be listed in the Notes section. A footnote will be added below the author list in these cases to direct readers to the Notes to see the full author list.

Authors should submit papers to the Journal only if the authors and their institutions are willing to adhere to Journal policies concerning confidentiality and prepublication press activities

Maintaining Confidentiality

The Journal holds all submitted manuscripts in confidence during the submission and publication process, releasing them only on an as-needed basis to individuals (e.g., peer reviewers, Editorial Board members) who agree to maintain that confidence. When questioned about an alleged unpublished manuscript, it is our policy to neither confirm nor deny its existence.

It is imperative that all authors – corresponding author, co-author(s), as well as invited editorialists – and their institutions maintain confidentiality about submitted manuscripts until the publication date. If there is a legitimate need to disclose data during the publication process (e.g., in grant proposals, to congressional committees, in citations), an author must discuss the matter with the Journal’s Scientific Managing Editor at (919) 677-2690 (telephone) or jncimanuscripts@oup.com before making a disclosure.

Media Coverage

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute produces Memos to the Media that summarize selected research articles published in the Journal. Memos to the Media include links to the research article and, if applicable, the related editorial, and are distributed to the media 2 days before the embargo date. The embargo date will be stated in the Memo to the Media, and the time at which your paper is made public is typically 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT).

If an author’s institution wishes to undertake press activities, the Journal requests that the following guidelines be followed.
• Institutions may send out press releases to reporters up to a week before publication.
• Institutions may hold press conferences the day before publication.
• Releases or advisories from the institution or posted on electronic wire services must be restricted to credentialed reporters. Publicly accessible databases must not release the information until after 4 p.m. ET on the date of embargo.

All of the above activities must clearly state the embargo date and time of the Journal article.
Questions regarding media coverage should be directed to Zack Rathner at (919) 677-2697 or jncimedia@oup.com.

If you are coordinating a press release with your press office and/or institution, please wait until one week after returning proofs to request a publication date. Requests for publication dates before proofs have been returned cannot be accurately addressed; therefore, these requests will not receive a response.

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