Author Guidelines

Academic Emergency Medicine is the official journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM). AEM publishes peer-reviewed information relevant to the practice, educational advancement, and investigation of emergency care, including (but not limited to):

Progressive Clinical Practice (articles that seek to answer clinical questions through consideration of relevant clinical evidence or provide an appraisal of existing evidence on a topic pertinent to most emergency physicians - academic and non-academic), Original Research Contributions (this combines the three previous sections Basic Investigations, Clinical Investigations, and Clinical Practice). Possible content includes: clinical trials, observational cohort studies, other human subject studies, innovative diagnostics and therapeutics, concept papers, clinical controversies,economic or policy research, health services research, laboratory science, basic science studies, and volunteer human non-patient studies). Educational Advances (educational research, curri­culum planning and development, and procedural skill training and assessment), Commentaries (solicited editorial statements, editorials related to the content of the current issue, and unsolicited opinion pieces not related to the content of the current issue), The Biros Section on Research Ethics (original analysis, commentaries, and reviews on the ethics of research), Special Contributions SAEM policy papers and narrative reviews), Research Methods and Statistics (descriptions and explanations of research methodo­logies and statistical techniques), Bench to Bedside, Clinical Pathologic Conference, (published online only) Ethics Seminars, Profiles in Patient Safety, Brief Reports (pilot studies and methodological development papers), Evidence-based Diagnostics (systematic reviews of history, physical exam, and bedside tests for a single diagnosis), Peer-reviewed Lectures (PeRLs) (videos of lectures on topics in emergency medicine), Correspondence (letters related to previously published research articles), Media Reviews (solicited book, software, and other media reviews – published online only), Resident Portfolios (reflections and introspection of emergency medicine residents), Reflections (humanistic essays or photographs), and Dynamic Emergency Medicine (short video productions that provide verbal and visual instruction or infor­mation). AEM does not publish case reports.

Academic Emergency Medicine publishes both in print and online. Publishing selected papers online-only allows the editors to conserve print space, and take advantage of some of the features that only electronic publishing can offer. The editorial board will exercise its discretion in determining whether a given submission will run in the print journal, or online-only in its e-pages. Similarly, the editors may choose to run data supplements, appendices, and other text-dense material, as well as complex or supplementary figures, tables, and graphs online-only, with links to the print-­version paper.

Manuscript submission

AEM submission requirements correspond with the “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals” ( We require that clinical trials be registered at or another nationally recognized clinical trials registration system.

AEM utilizes a web-based manuscript submission and

peer-review system. Authors should submit their manuscripts, with figures and tables, electronically at the AEM online submission web site, Complete guidelines are available at the web site. When submitting a manuscript to the online system, authors must provide an electronic version of the manuscript. For this purpose original source files, not PDF files, are preferred. Submissions must include:

  •  One copy of the complete title page
  •  One blinded copy of the manuscript, in which all authors, institutions, and other identifiers from the title page, methods, and elsewhere throughout the manuscript have been deleted.
  •  All figures and tables
  •  Any supplemental material for online-only publication
  •  A completed AEM cover page, including the author contributions section, available for download at the website.
  •  A completed ICMJE conflicts of interest disclosure form (available from the Manuscript Central site) for the lead author upon submission and for each named author upon acceptance. Members of a study group who are not named authors are not required to submit a form. Note: the journal may request additional information from authors, beyond what is shown on the ICMJE form, regarding funding sources, industry relationships, etc.

Authors experiencing any difficulty during the submission process or requiring any assistance should contact the editorial office at one of the e-mail addresses listed at the end of these Author Guidelines. If authors do not receive an e-mail confirmation of submission within 24 hours, it may be an indication that the manuscript has not been received by the editorial office. All correspondence, including the editor’s decision and request for revisions, will be by e-mail.

Correspondence and questions regarding the status of review should be directed to the AEM office and include the assigned manuscript number and its title. Manuscripts under consideration by another publication and/or materials previously published elsewhere by the authors will not be considered. Copies of similar manuscripts currently under review or previously published elsewhere must be provided.

AEM employs a plagiarism detection system; by submitting your manuscript to this journal you accept that your manuscript may be screened for plagiarism against previously published works.

Accepted manuscripts become the permanent property of AEM and may not be published elsewhere in whole or in part without permission from the publisher (Wiley-Blackwell).

Manuscript preparation

Writing should conform to accepted English usage and syntax. Avoid the use of slang and medical jargon. All abbreviations should be defined the first time used in the manuscript; obscure abbreviations should be avoided. Measurements should be given in standard international units and generic drug names should be used unless the trade name is relevant.

For authors whose primary language is not English, the AEM editorial board offers language editing assistance for SAEM members, and for authors from nations that are beneficiaries of the HINARI initiative. Others may take advantage of the Wiley-Blackwell author services (

Please note: Editing assistance in no way guarantees publication. Standard peer review processes will be followed for all such papers.

Duplicated material

Written permission from the copyright holder for reproduction of figures and tables taken from other publications must be provided at the time of manuscript acceptance. Permission must be obtained for both print and electronic versions of the material to be reproduced. The sources of reproduced material must be acknowledged in the manuscript.

Peer review

AEM uses a blinded peer-review process with multiple statistical and topic reviewers to evaluate submitted manuscripts. Submitted manuscripts are assigned to the appropriate associate editor, who assigns primary reviewers, collates raw reviews of the manuscript, and develops a consensus review. The consensus review describes the major concerns that arose during the primary review of the paper. The consensus review and a decision regarding the manuscript are sent to the author.


Acceptance of the manuscript for publication is contingent upon completion of the editing process. This includes copyediting and a final review by the editor-in-chief, who may ask for more information or additional revisions, or even reverse a previous ‘accept’ decision. Every author is responsible for all statements published in the article, including the revisions made in the editing process. After typesetting, the proofs will be e-mailed to the corresponding author for routing to co-authors and final approval. Substantial edits may not be made at the proofs stage of production.

Preparation guidelines

General: The editor-in-chief determines the category in which each manuscript will be published. Aside from the Brief Reports and Correspondence formats, AEM does not have guidelines regarding article length. In general, use as many words as needed to present the material in a comprehensive yet succinct manner. Manuscripts are typically too long, not too short.

Conflict of Interest and Disclosures

AEM uses the ICMJE standardized conflict of interest form for author reporting of potential conflicts. Relevant potential conflicts of interest will be listed in the front matter of the article. All funding sources must be disclosed. A completed ICMJE conflicts of interest disclosure form must be completed for the lead author upon submission and for each named author upon acceptance. Further information including a link to the form and sample indicating how it should be filled out is available at the online Authors Guidelines page at

Original Research Contributions

Original Research Contributions, research-related Brief Reports, and Educational Advances submissions should contain the following sections. Number the pages consecutively, and include the running title as a header.

1. Title Page. The title should not exceed 50 words. Do not use abbreviations. List the full names, terminal degrees, and affiliations of all authors or members of a study group; the addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, and e-mail addresses to which requests for reprints and author correspondence should be sent; a short running title. If an author’s affiliation has changed since the work was completed, list the new and old affiliations. If the work described in the manuscript has been formally presented at a scientific meeting or has won a presentation award, provide the name of the organization, date, and location of the meeting. Identify financial support of the investigation or manuscript development. Describe any financial arrangements that may represent conflict of interest. Acknowledge individuals who have provided assistance or support in the study or manuscript preparation.

2. Study Group Authorship Page. When authorship is attributed to a study group, all members must meet the criteria for authorship. Identify the members by responsibility or by institution on the study group authorship page.

3. Abstract. The abstract should contain no more than 500 words. Original research submissions require a structured abstract that defines the Objectives, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. The abstract should not include references, figures, tables, or graphs.

4. Introduction. The introduction should briefly describe the study question, its scope and relevance to emergency practice, and the hypothesis and/or objectives of the investigation. The reader should have a very clear understanding of exactly what the study question or objective is after reading the introduction section.

5. Methods. The methods should include subsections with headings that detail the Study Design (include human subject or animal use committee review), Study Setting and Population, Study Protocol, Measurements or key outcome measures, and Data Analysis (include sample size determinations and other relevant information, the names of statistical tests, and software used). The role of funding organizations and sponsors in the conduct and reporting of the study should be included here.

When equipment is used in a study, provide in parentheses the model number, name, and location of the manufacturer. Research involving human subjects or animals must meet local legal and institutional requirements and generally accepted ethical principles such as those set out in the Nuremberg Code, the Belmont Report, or the Declaration of Helsinki. (See Biros MH, Hauswald M, Baren J. Procedural versus practical ethics. Acad Emerg Med 2010;17:989-990 for more information.)

Manuscripts reporting data involving human subjects must indicate a positive review by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or equivalent. This requirement includes studies that qualify for IRB expedited status. Most institutions require IRB review of studies that qualify for exempt status and that this determination be made by the IRB, not by the authors. The “Methods” section of the manuscript must explicitly state that IRB approval was obtained, that the IRB determined the study was exempt, or that the study did not involve human subjects (e.g. publicly available and previously de-identified information from national data sets, or other studies not meeting the definition of human subjects research as set forth in US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45, Part 46 – additional information available at The “Methods” section should also indicate the type of consent used (written, verbal, or waived), and confirm that consent was obtained from all subjects (unless waived by the IRB).

Manuscripts reporting the results of investigations of live vertebrate animals must indicate approval by an Animal Care and Use Committee or equivalent.

We reserve the right to request submission of IRB or Animal Care and Use Committee documentation at any time. Authors with any questions or concerns, particularly those from countries that have different requirements for approval, should contact Dr. Mark Hauswald, Senior Associate Editor for Global Emergency Medicine, at

Statistical methods used should be defined, and any not in common use should be described in detail and/or supported by references. Reporting of randomized controlled trials must conform to the CONSORT statement ( and include a flow chart describing patient progress throughout the trial. Resuscitation studies should follow the applicable Utstein criteria when appropriate. We support consensus-based methodologic standards for other study types, including the MOOSE standards for meta-analyses of observational studies, the PRISMA standards for systematic reviews and other types of meta-analyses, the STARD statement on studies of diagnostic tests, and the STROBE statement on observational epidemiologic studies. Authors are encouraged to adhere to these whenever possible.

6. Results. Results should be concisely stated and include the statistical analysis of the data presented. Results presented in tabular or graphic form should be referred to in the text, but the material should not be presented again. In addition to the data collected in the study, the results should also indicate the success of protocol implementation (e.g., was blinding successful, was there a high inter-rater reliability?).

In keeping with the 1993 National Institutes of Health initiative to advance research by ensuring the inclusion of women in clinical research and analyzing health outcomes by sex, please provide sex-specific and/or racial/ethnic-specific data when appropriate, in describing the outcomes of epidemiologic analyses or clinical trials, or specifically state that no sex-based or racial/ethnic-based differences were present.

7. Discussion. The discussion should put the study results in the context of current knowledge. An unbiased review and critique of previous relevant studies should be included and appropriately referenced.

8. Limitations. Discuss shortcomings and biases related to study design and execution. Highlight areas where future investigations and/or different methods of analysis might prove fruitful.

9. Conclusions. The conclusions should not simply repeat the results, but rather answer the study question. Recommendations supported by the study findings may be included.

10. References. Citations and references should be listed

in numerical order. Every reference must be cited at least once in the text. References to journal articles should include, in order: a) all authors up to six, b) title and subtitle, if any, c) journal name, d) year, e) volume number (and issue number if the journal’s pages are not numbered consecutively throughout the year), and f) inclusive page numbers. Book references should include: a) authors as above, b) chapter title, if any, c) editor, if any, d) title of book, e) city of publication, f) publisher, and g) year. Include volume and edition, specific pages, and translators where appropriate. Website references should include the most recent date of access. Personal communications should be cited in the body of the paper in parentheses, not listed in the references section. Authors are responsible for accuracy and completeness of the references and text citations.

11. Tables. Tables should be created using the table tool in MS Word. Tables must be referenced in the text in sequential order. Each table should be submitted on a separate page with a descriptive title. Define all abbreviations in a footnote to the table. Symbols related to the table contents (e.g., *) must also be defined in a footnote.

12. Figures and legends. Figures must be referenced in the text in sequential order. Figures should clarify and augment the text. Put figure legends on a separate page. Figures in pdf are not of acceptable quality for publication. Photographs must be submitted electronically according to the followi­ng specifications: color photographs should be saved as TIF files in RGB at a minimum of 12.5 cm (5 in.) in width at 300 dpi; black and white photographs should be saved as TIF files in grayscale at a minimum of 12.5 cm (5 in.) in width at 300 dpi. Figure reproduction cannot improve on the quality of the originals. Any special instructions about sizing, placement, or color should be clearly noted. Symbols, arrows, or letters used to identify parts of the illustration must be explained clearly in the legend. If a figure has been previously published, the legend must acknowledge the original source.

The ability to reproduce figures and photographs in color is limited, and at the discretion of the editor-in-chief. Line drawings and graphs are not published in color, and color should not be used to differentiate data in these. In some circumstances, color figures and photographs may be published.

Brief Reports

Brief Reports related to research efforts should be formatted as in the general methods listed above. However, brief reports should not exceed 1,500 words, and should contain no more than 10 references and no more than one table or figure. The title page and AEM cover page should follow the format listed above. Case reports will not be considered and case series are generally assigned a low priority for publication.

Consensus Conference Follow-Up Manuscripts

Submissions in any category (Original Research Contributions, Brief Reports, etc) that describe research that was initiated to address a research agenda topic generated at one of the prior Academic Emergency Medicine consensus conferences should be identified as such in the cover letter that accompanies the manuscript, when the manuscript is submitted for review. Authors should state to which consensus conference the manuscript relates, and should also state which issue(s) discussed or raised at that consensus conference is/are addressed by the manuscript. Attempts will be made to publish consensus conference follow-up manuscripts as a group, rather than individually, and if authors are aware of other papers underway from that same conference’s research agenda, they are encouraged to coordinate submission with the authors of those other papers. Contact: Gary Gaddis, MD, PhD (

Evidence-based Diagnostics

Submissions to this section seek to answer diagnostic clinical questions on a single topic pertinent to most emergency physicians using a diagnostic systematic review. An appropriate report would seek to promote the use of information drawn from previous high quality diagnostically-focused clinical research upon the routine clinical practice of emergency medicine. Search methods should be explicit and reproducible. These submissions should use at least two investigators to rate the evidence quality using the Quality Assessment Tool for Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (available online at Heterogeneity should be assessed and meta-analysis performed, when applicable. Disease prevalence in emergency medicine populations presenting with the suspected condition should be defined via the literature review. Diagnostic accuracy (sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios) for history, physical exam, bedside tests, and relevant imaging studies should be reported in these analyses, including interval likelihood ratios for continuous data. Test-treatment thresholds should be defined using the methods of Pauker and Kassirer (available online at The discussion section should include a succinct summary of implications for future diagnostic research within this field. All articles in this series undergo standard blinded peer review. Authors are encouraged to contact the section editor with any specific questions regarding submission to this section. Contact: Christopher R. Carpenter, MD (

Non-research Educational Advances and Special Contributions

These submissions should include a non-structured abstract, an introduction, discussion, and conclusions or a summary statement. The title page and AEM cover page should follow the format listed above. A blinded copy is required.

Ethics Seminars/Profiles in Patient Safety

Ethics Seminars and Profiles in Patient Safety should include a brief case presentation, a discussion of relevant principles and concepts related to the case, and a discussion of their application. Discussion of innovative concepts, new observations, and analysis of approaches to solving dilemmas are encouraged. A comprehensive review of the subject is not required. Citations are encouraged, but are limited to 15.

Bench to Bedside

Articles for this series should include a brief abstract describing the purpose of the article and a brief overview of the topic. The usual instructions regarding structured methods section do not apply, but the manuscript should include a section that specifically discusses the topic from the perspective of its role in emergency medicine research and clinical practice. Other guidelines for format and style are consistent with those listed in the general author guidelines.

The Biros Section on Research Ethics

The journal invites submissions for the ongoing Biros Section on Research Ethics. Original analysis, commentaries, and reviews are invited. The goal is to advance the practical issues and philosophical thinking related to research in emergency medicine. Investigator experiences regarding patient consent, original insights about research in the acute care setting, and ethical analysis of existing or potential guidelines are invited. Protecting research subjects during investigations conducted under emergent circumstances is a priority focus. AEM is dedicated to advancing the science of the specialty, and manuscripts that help shape, advance, enable, and improve the way that research is conducted will be considered for this section. Submissions should follow existing guidelines, while mentioning the Biros Section on Research Ethics in the cover letter. Contact: James G. Adams, MD (

Progressive Clinical Practice

Articles in this section seek to answer clinical questions through consideration of relevant clinical evidence, or provide an appraisal of existing evidence on a topic pertinent to most emergency physicians - academic and non-academic. An appropriate report would seek to promote the use of information drawn from previous clinical research in the routine clinical practice of emergency medicine. Examples of appropriate formats for this section include (but are not limited to): systematic reviews, meta-analyses, comprehensive topical reviews with evidence grading, clinical scenarios with limited evidence, and structured evidence-based medicine (EBM) reviews (refer to the online Authors Guidelines page at for instructions on structured EBM reviews). All articles in this series undergo standard blinded peer review. Authors are encouraged to contact the section editor with any specific questions regarding submission to this section. Contact: Alan E. Jones, MD (

Educational Advances

Authors are encouraged to submit educational advances both as original research manuscripts and non-research educational advances. Research advances should follow the journal guidelines above for original research articles. Non-research educational advances should include a non-structured abstract, an introduction, discussion, and conclusion(s) or a summary statement. Authors may wish to consult the following two articles for information regarding principles and methodologies of high-quality education research: Kessler C, Burton JH. Moving beyond confidence and competence: education outcomes research in emergency medicine. Acad Emerg Med 2011;18:S25. Yarris LM, Deiorio NM. Education research: a primer for educators in emergency medicine. Acad Emerg Med 2011;18:S27. Contact: John H. Burton, MD (

Research Methods and Statistics

As the biomedical research enterprise becomes increasingly complex, investigators who perform studies and clinicians who incorporate research findings into clinical practice may benefit from literature that describes and explains the applied use of these methods. Submissions to this section should address innovations in methodology that can facilitate the conduct of research in emergency medicine, or provide new insights into the critical appraisal of studies that address the interpretation, evaluation, or application of research into practice. Acceptable submissions of particular interest to researchers can cover the gamut from study design to novel or complex analytic methods to standards for the reporting of clinical research, though additional methods-related topics will also be considered. Manuscript submissions should target clinicians and other end-users, with a goal of promoting mastery of an increasingly complex scientific literature and enhancing the conduct of high-quality emergency care research. Articles describing applied methodology are encouraged, with use of relevant clinical examples, sample data, and sample statistical code (e.g., available through an online appendix), as appropriate. Organization of the manuscript is flexible, but should be appropriate to the technique or methodology being described, and should typically be instructional in format, rather than using the traditional manuscript headings (Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusions). We suggest reviewing the format and content of previous “Advanced Statistics” publications in AEM for formatting examples. Contact: Craig D. Newgard, MD, MPH (

Peer-reviewed Lectures (PeRLs)

Peer-reviewed Lectures (PeRLs) is a series of videos of lectures on topics in emergency medicine. These are intended to represent the state of the art in EM education. Residents, practicing physicians, and medical students may use them for didactic education. Prospective authors should consider contacting the PeRLs Editorial Board for a discussion before starting on video production of a lecture for a determination of topic suitability. Full instructions regarding submission procedures can be found online at


In most circumstances, commentaries are solicited and the author will be provided with appropriate information. Unsolicited opinion pieces or editorials are occasionally published, and submissions should include a title page and acknowledgment page, similar to that described above. Unsolicited submissions should be limited to 10 double-spaced pages and include no more than 10 appropriate references.


All letters that comment on a published work must be received within 6 weeks from the date of the related publication (e.g., by December 15 for the November issue). Letters should be no longer than 500 words, with no more than five references. An editorial decision regarding acceptance of the letter will be made after the author of the related work has had the opportunity to review the letter and comment. Letters regarding current issues in academic aspects of emergency medicine, but not related to a published work, are also encouraged. Research studies will not be accepted as correspondence. No tables or graphs should accompany letters to the editor. Contributions must otherwise conform to the relevant manuscript submission guidelines. The editors reserve the right to edit the length of letters, and the number of letters published on a given subject. In general, after publication of letters and the author reply (if any), further letters on the same subject will not be considered. General tips on writing letters to the editor can be found at: Golub RM. Correspondence course. JAMA 2008; 300:98-99. Contact: Jeffrey A. Kline, MD (


The Reflections section publishes essays, poetry, reflective writing, and creative photographs. The general author guidelines listed above should be applied for any text submitted. There is a limit of 600 words, and shorter works that can be used as filler on partial pages are preferred. In most circumstances, photographs will be accepted only in black and white. Each photo should be titled, and should contain a brief legend. If the photo includes identifiable patients, health care providers, or other individuals, permission must be obtained to publish them in the journal. Reflections are published on a space-available basis. Contact: Brian Zink, MD (

Media Reviews

Media reviews are, in general, solicited, and information regarding these can be obtained directly from the department editor. Contact: Peter E. Sokolove, MD (

Dynamic Emergency Medicine

Videos of interest to our readers are published in this online-only section of the journal. Each submission must be accompanied by a brief written description of the video contents. Videos should not exceed four minutes in length, and will undergo peer review. The preferred formats are MPEG (.mpg, .mpe, .mpeg, .m2t, .m2v, .m4v, .mp4, .m2t), Apple QuickTime (.mov, .mp4), or Windows Media (.asf, .asx, .wmv). Other acceptable formats include DivX (.divx), Audio Video Interleave (.avi), 3G phone (.3g2, .3gp, .3gp2, .3gpP). or Ogg (.ogg). Please submit through the online website as any other submission. Upload the video portion as “supplemental materials for online publication.” The section editor will contact you if there are file size, quality, or compatibility issues with the video you submit. Contact: Scott Joing, MD (

Clinical Pathologic Conference (CPC)

A Clinical Pathologic Conference (CPC) manuscript describes the logical systematic evaluation and diagnosis of a clinical case as it unfolds in the emergency department. An effective CPC case illustrates the typical presentation of an uncommon disease or the unusual presentation of a common disease. We invite all participants of the Annual CPC Competition sponsored by CORD/EMRA/ACEP/SAEM to submit their cases for publication. CPC cases not presented at the Annual Competition will also be considered. The manuscript format should mirror the format of the CPC competition: case presentation, discussion of the differential diagnosis, and case resolution. All accepted manuscripts are published as online-only articles. Contact: Mark B. Mycyk, MD (

Resident Portfolios

Manuscripts of reflections and introspection of experiences encountered by emergency medicine residents during their training are invited. Submissions should be no more than five pages, with no more than 15 references, and may include one table or figure. Patient and colleague confidentiality must be assured. An abstract that places the experience into a professional development context and a “take home” point are required. Portfolios may undergo invited commentary from individuals with expertise in the identified area of discussion. These commentaries will be a maximum of two pages and will focus