Submission Policies & Guidelines

Copyright and Permissions

Creative Commons Licensing

Authors retain ownership of their materials submitted to and published on MedEdPORTAL. Each publication is associated with a Creative Commons license, chosen by the author, which is a legal license that governs how the materials can be used and redistributed by others. Click here for more information on Creative Commons.

Informed Consent

MedEdPORTAL abides by the standards for informed consent described by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors in its Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (available at, from which some of the following has been adapted.

Patients have a right to privacy, therefore publication of their identifying information should be kept to a minimum and requires their informed consent. Types of identifying information include, but are not limited to, names, initials, hospital names/numbers, photographs, pedigrees, medical charts, histories, test results, addresses, etc.  Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt as to whether the submission includes identifying information.

Copies of patients’ informed consent must be included with the initial submission. In addition, MedEdPORTAL staff screen for potential identifying information. If found and no informed consents have been provided, the author will be notified that one of the following two requirements must be complied with:

  • Provide written permission from each patient/actor to incorporate their health information in the submission; or
  • Ensure all identifiers (e.g., picture of individual’s face, name, date of birth, social security number, address) have been removed from any photos, images, charts, graphs, lab values, radiographs, or medical records included in the submission.

Authors may use our PDF Document PDF DocumentActor Release Form as valid proof of consent for all identifiable persons who are not listed as authors on the submission.

If permission has not been or cannot be obtained and de-identification is not feasible, the author must remove the information. Otherwise, the submission will not be considered for publication.

When informed consent has been obtained and a submitted resource is accepted and published, the existence of the informed consent must be indicated in the published resource.

Original Content

All content found in a MedEdPORTAL submission must be original work by one of the authors or the authors must obtain written permission from the copyright owner to include non-original materials in the submission. Staff editors review all embedded photos, images, charts, graphs, cartoons, sound files, text, and published articles to determine if appropriate copyright permissions have been obtained for any materials not created by the author or co-authors.

All written permissions must acknowledge that the embedded materials are intended to be submitted to MedEdPORTAL and will be distributed under the Creative Commons License associated with the publication. For template language to use when requesting permission, please view the PDF DocumentThird-Party Content Permission Form. If there are items where the authors are not known or it will be difficult to receive the necessary permission, these items must be removed from the submission.

Replacing Copyrighted Materials

Pills If written permission for use cannot be obtained, the copyrighted items must be removed from the submission. Alternatively, such items can be replaced with those that reside in open-access digital repositories. Many searchable images featured within these repositories are associated with an author-generated Creative Commons License detailing how the image may be used. Imagery that meets MedEdPORTAL standards and policies is outlined as nonrestrictive and can be found under these specific terms: free and unlimited use, reproduction, and modification. Prior to publication, these Creative Commons License citations must be attributed and affixed to each image featured in the submission. MedEdPORTAL encourages authors to visit digital resource libraries such as Flickr to identify and select substitute imagery for their resource under the aforementioned license terms.

Example: "Medicine 04"
Image retrieved on 18 March 2011 from:
Creative Commons License associated:

Prior and Duplicate Publication

MedEdPORTAL will only consider original work that has not been previously published. At submission, authors must disclose any prior dissemination of the content in print or electronic format.

The following forms of posting are not deemed by MedEdPORTAL to constitute prior publication and will not disqualify a submission.

  • Author’s personal website or blog

  • Employer’s or institution’s website or intranet

  • Thesis

  • Presentation at a conference

  • Preprint server

 During the time that a submitted resource is undergoing MedEdPORTAL peer review, it must not be submitted for publication at another peer-reviewed venue or platform (e.g., another peer-reviewed journal or peer-reviewed online posting platform).

Submissions Related to Prior Publication

While MedEdPORTAL will not consider previously published works, there are some instances where curricular materials related to prior publications (e.g., slides, assessment tools) may be submitted as stand-alone resources, as long as the following conditions are met:

  1. The resources submitted to MedEdPORTAL must be original and should not have been included in the prior publication (e.g., as an appendix or a supplemental file).
  2. The Educational Summary Report (ESR) must be distinct from the prior publication in wording and essence. The ESR should reference the prior publication but must be free of plagiarism (including self-plagiarism). If previously published evaluation data are referenced, the synthesis of the evaluation results must not closely resemble those in the prior publication.

The MedEdPORTAL editor-in-chief makes the final determination whether or not a submission represents a unique and original contribution.

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Commercial/Non-Commercial Funding

Authors must disclose any support that aided the development and promotion of materials submitted to MedEdPORTAL Publications. This includes both commercial and non-commercial support.


Authors are required to remove any explicit product and/or service endorsements from submitted materials.


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Submission Format and Technical Requirements

Technical Requirements

Authors must submit all files and materials needed for implementation of the educational activity. Files must be in accessible, commonly used formats (e.g., .doc, .ppt, .mp4, .zip, .html, .xls, .wmv, etc.) and should not require the download and/or installation of other programs.

Web-based Submissions

In order to ensure that all content within MedEdPORTAL is accessible for free and unaltered, any web-based submission must adhere to one of the following conditions:

  • If web-based submissions are simply postings of downloadable content (Word/PDF/PowerPoint documents), authors should package and upload the actual resource files for distribution via the MedEdPORTAL site. This does not prevent authors from maintaining their own website; however, the version of the content deemed to be formally peer reviewed will be the one accessed directly from MedEdPORTAL, not the version on the author website.

  • Web-based, interactive activities that cannot be packaged for upload should be broken down and repackaged on a disc (CD or DVD) that allows users to complete the learning without visiting an external website. Discs will be distributed to users upon request and at no charge to the user or published author.

Inclusion of Supporting or External Material

Referencing external or supporting resources is permitted for enduring materials such as published books, journal articles, or other printed content as long as the materials will remain accessible and referenced by a standard citation. For the purpose of an expedited peer review process, authors are required to provide copies of all external material at the point of submission; however, this material will not be included as part of the final publication.

Multi-Module Submissions

Authors who intend on submitting multiple modules as separate submissions in a series, or modules that together comprise a larger curriculum, should take caution in their submission preparation. Each submission to MedEdPORTAL must be considered a unique and complete/stand-alone learning or teaching activity with an accompanying Educational Summary Report (ESR). Authors should demonstrate in the ESR that the module submitted for publication has been evaluated individually and could be implemented independently from the larger curriculum. Additionally, acceptance of one module does not affect the likelihood that a subsequent module will be accepted.

Therefore, authors may prepare multiple submissions as a series only if the following criteria are met: (1) the submission functions completely independent of a larger curriculum or series of modules, and (2) the ESR contains original content primarily describing the included activity, with only secondary mention of the larger curriculum. Recognizing that the Methods may contain some common instructions, all other ESR sections should have original content specific to the module; simple paraphrasing is insufficient to distinguish the ESR of one module from another. If the Abstract, Objectives, Introduction, Results, and Discussion could apply equally to another submission, then these submissions should be combined.

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Post-Publication: Appeals, Resubmissions, and Updates

Appealing a Publication Decision

Only rejection editorial decisions may be appealed. The primary author may appeal a rejection decision for one of the following reasons:

  1. Compelling evidence of bias.
  2. Compelling evidence of a conflict of interest.
  3. Significant factual error(s) or administrative process error(s) made by one or more of the reviewers or editors that had a substantial negative impact on the outcome of the review.Appeals solely on the basis of differences of opinion are not likely to be granted.

The author must notify the MedEdPORTAL editor-in-chief at within 10 calendar days from the date of the rejection letter. The appeal must provide evidence to support the author's argument that the rejection decision was primarily and directly the result of one or more of the above reasons.

Revising a Rejected Submission

Authors of rejected submissions are welcome to submit a substantially revised version for publication consideration. The new submission must carefully address the reviewer's concerns detailed in the rejection letter and adhere to current submission standards.

Updating a Publication

If an author wishes to update a publication with information that significantly impacts the nature or meaning of the work (e.g., adding, removing, or replacing substantial content, particularly incorporating new data or findings), then the author may revise the work and resubmit the revised resource as a new submission. If the submission passes initial editorial screening, it will be treated as an update of the original resource and will undergo peer review. If accepted, the resource will be labeled as an updated publication. The unaltered original resource and the updated publication will be linked together and available to MedEdPORTAL users.

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Publication Expiration/Time-Sensitive Materials

MedEdPORTAL strives to build and maintain a collection that is both accurate and relevant. The time-sensitive nature of many medical education resources is such that published resources may soon become inaccurate or obsolete. Abstracts of MedEdPORTAL publications identified as time-sensitive will display a notice informing end users that the publication contains information that may be inaccurate, obsolete, or irrelevant three years after the posted date of the author’s last revision to the material.

The MedEdPORTAL expiration policy affords primary authors the opportunity to reevaluate their submission for accuracy and relevance after three years. If the author would like to make cosmetic alterations that do not affect the content of the resource, MedEdPORTAL staff will simply replace the previously published resource with the revised version. If an update requires a significant change to the content of the publication, authors are encouraged to submit the revised resource as an entirely new submission to MedEdPORTAL. This second version will undergo the formal peer review process and, if published, will be identified as publication version 2.0. The original expired publication will not be removed from MedEdPORTAL, but its abstract will reference the most recent version published in MedEdPORTAL.

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Authorship Criteria

MedEdPORTAL follows the authorship criteria recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and used by journals such as Academic Medicine and JAMA. Authorship is based on meeting all four of the following criteria:

  1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  2. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  3. Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

(Criteria quoted from the ICMJE Web site.)

Contributors who do not meet all four of the above criteria must not be listed as authors, but their contributions can be recognized in an acknowledgment.

It is important that the primary/lead author complete the submission form using their ScholarOne author account. MedEdPORTAL will not accept submissions completed by other users on behalf of the primary author.

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Conflict of Interest

Authors must disclose any support and conflict of interest related to the development and promotion of materials submitted to MedEdPORTAL. This includes both commercial and non-commercial support. To meet this standard, MedEdPORTAL requires all authors to fill out the ICMJE’s Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts. Authors should download this form, fill it out, and include an electronic copy with their MedEdPORTAL submission. Note that in the case of a multiple-author submission, each author will need to fill out and include his/her own copy of the form. Submissions without a complete form for each author will not be considered.

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Plagiarism and Misconduct

The following policies contain material adapted with permission from the CrossRef Guidelines for Handling Plagiarism. Other sources are noted at the appropriate points in the text. Academic publishing depends, to a great extent, on trust. Editors trust peer reviewers to provide fair assessments, authors trust editors to select appropriate peer reviewers and to make fair decisions based on their editorial judgment, and readers put their trust in this publishing process. Unfortunately, the editorial process occasionally reveals areas of misconduct. The AAMC will address all instances of misconduct on a case-by-case basis and take appropriate remedial action.

Types of Misconduct

Plagiarism occurs when authors use words, ideas, or other intellectual property not belonging to them and without attribution or permission. The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Guidelines on Good Publication Practice define plagiarism as follows: “Plagiarism ranges from the unreferenced use of others’ published and unpublished ideas, including research grant applications, to submission under ‘new’ authorship of a complete paper, sometimes in a different language. . . . It applies to print and electronic versions.”

Plagiarism can appear in a number of different forms. The most common have been identified by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) as follows:

  • Verbatim copying, or near-verbatim copying, of another author’s work (including equations, tables, or illustrations) without citing the source and without identifying copied text as quoted material.

  • Verbatim copying of portions from another author’s paper with citation, but without clearly differentiating what text has been copied.

Additional sources of misconduct noted by the ACM include:

  • Self-plagiarism: the verbatim or near-verbatim reuse of significant portions of one’s own work without citing the original source.
  • Redundant or duplicate publication: publishing substantially the same results in different or multiple publications.

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