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In the first few months of the new editorship of Arthritis Care & Research (AC&R), several policy changes have occurred. Authors have stated that some of the existing procedures are confusing. The following policies relevant to AC&R have been adopted or restated by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Committee on Journal Publications and are presented to clarify these issues:

  • Clinical research. An international consortium of medical journal editors is now requiring that clinical trials be registered in a public database, of which several are available around the world. AC&R will observe this policy. Starting in January 2007, AC&R will require authors of prospective, interventional studies to affirm registration. Before that date, registration is strongly encouraged, as is registration of phase I studies and studies of psychosocial or epidemiologic observations. A more complete description of this policy has been published (Arthritis Rheum 2005;53:484–7). Upon electronic submission of manuscripts to AC&R, authors will be asked to mark a check box indicating whether the submitted work has been registered as required. Manuscripts reporting data from trials that have not been registered will not be reviewed.

  • Institutional Review Board (IRB) certification. Manuscripts describing studies involving human subjects must have been approved by local IRBs or other appropriate ethical review boards. Upon electronic submission of manuscripts to AC&R, authors will be asked to mark a check box indicating whether the submitted work has been so approved. Manuscripts reporting data from studies that have not been approved will not be reviewed.

  • Open Access. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) now requests that authors of reports funded in whole or part by the NIH deposit these reports within 1 year of publication into an open public database (PubMedCentral). Details regarding this NIH policy are available at http://nihms.nih.gov/. John Wiley & Sons, the publisher of AC&R, is working closely with NIH to develop a process for depositing this content on behalf of authors when the NIH system is fully operational, with the understanding that the NIH will not make these articles open until 12 months after publication in the journal. AC&R, through its Web site for electronic submission of manuscripts, will ask authors to mark a check box indicating whether the submitted work has received NIH support (intramural or extramural, grant, cooperative agreement, or contract).

  • E-pub ahead of print. Currently AC&R is able to publish manuscripts less than 6 months after acceptance, and to provide them as electronic publication (e-pub) ahead of print 10–14 days before the print publication date. Since provision of electronic availability earlier than this would require release of unedited and unpaginated documents, AC&R intends to continue its current policy. All electronic content of the journal is available to Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP)/ACR members at no charge. Issues dating back to 1999 are currently available at http://www.rheumatology.org/publications/acr/index.asp?aud=mem. All post-1998 content of AC&R is now being made openly accessible to nonsubscribers/nonmembers at no charge, 1 year after publication. In addition, all “backfile” content of AC&R, dating back to volume 1 (1988), has been added and is accessible electronically at no charge to members and on a pay-per-view basis to others.

  • Obituaries.AC&R will continue to publish obituaries of past officers of ARHP and Editors of AC&R.

  • Duplicate submission. All journals, including AC&R, require that manuscripts submitted for consideration are not under simultaneous consideration at any other journal and are not duplicative of other published work. The Editors reemphasize this policy. Manuscripts found to be in violation of this policy will be summarily rejected.

In addition, the following policies have been adopted by the editorial boards of AC&R and Arthritis & Rheumatism:

  • Case reports. To be considered for publication, case reports must describe new procedures, techniques, devices, educational programs, or equipment; illustrate a (new) mechanism of disease; present a concise discussion of an infrequently encountered problem that emphasizes a particular clinical point not generally available in the literature; or offer an observation that may distinctly change clinical practice. A description of a rare or unusual event, without such a message, will not fulfill this requirement. At the Editors' discretion, case reports will be reviewed by the Editors and Associate Editors rather than by conventional peer review.

  • Review of controversial manuscripts. Rarely, manuscripts on particularly controversial issues (primarily those involving policy) will be considered. At the Editors' discretion, these manuscripts will be adjudicated by the editorial board rather than by conventional peer review.

  • Digital photographs. Digital photographs submitted with manuscripts may be cropped and may undergo a single (“one click”) alteration of content or tint. Any other manipulation, such as erasure of unsightly contamination, is not allowed. Violation of this policy will be cause for rejection.