- Competing interests, financial and non-financial relationships and activities
- Retraction and corrections
- Ethics approval
- Patient consent for publication
- Sex and gender-related reporting
- Clinical trial registration
- Data sharing
- Material from other publications
- Duplicate and prior publication of submitted material
- Media releases
- Summaries or commentaries for other publications
- Artificial intelligence-generated content
The MJA’s definition of authorship is based on that of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and encompasses the following four criteria:
1. substantial contributions to the concept and design of the article, or analysis and interpretation of data;
2. drafting of the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content;
3. final approval of the version to be published;
4. agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the article in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the article are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Conditions 1, 2, 3 and 4 must all be met to qualify as an author, and each author must be prepared to take public responsibility for the article.
We support use of the CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy) if authors wish to use it.
We strongly encourage all authors to provide their ORCiD identifier on submission.
We welcome declarations of country by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander authors.
Competing interests, financial and non-financial relationships and activities
Authors' competing interests
To maintain public trust in what we publish, the MJA requires all authors to declare all relevant financial and non-financial relationships and activities that might represent competing interests (sometimes called conflicts of interest). Potential competing interests exist when “professional judgment concerning a primary interest (such as patients' welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain). Perceptions of competing interests are as important as actual competing interest[s]” (ICMJE).
Declaring relationships and activities that could be competing interests is not an expression of wrongdoing. Indeed, they are often unavoidable, but we need to know about them as part of the MJA’s decision-making process. There will be instances when we decide not to commission or publish a paper if there is a high risk that competing interests may be too substantial.
The disclosure of interest statement should advise readers of any personal financial or non-financial relationships and activities on the part of each author that might be perceived to influence, or potentially influence, the article. These include:
- relevant competing interests for your submitted article,
- relevant financial activities outside the submitted article in the 36 months before submission;
- intellectual property, including patents and copyrights; and
- other relevant relationships not covered above.
If there are no competing interests, please write "Competing interests: No relevant disclosures".
Examples of disclosure statements are:
- John Brown receives consultancy fees from Pharma Company AB and honoraria for giving lectures organised by Pharma Company CD; he has undertaken clinical trials funded by Pharma Company EF.
- Jane Lee is on the advisory board of Pharma Company GH and is a member of the Rights for Advocacy Group IJ.
- Tony Citizen holds shares in Device Company KL.
Reviewers’ competing interests
Reviewers must recuse themselves from handling any paper where they have a potential or actual competing interest.
Editors’ competing interests
The Journal editors will recuse themselves from handling any paper where they have a potential or actual competing interest.
Retraction and corrections
While the MJA employs a rigorous peer review process to ensure that we publish only high quality articles, we are occasionally required to investigate a published article because of an identified error or scientific misconduct.
If readers identify an error, they should contact the journal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Retractions will be considered when there is evidence of:
- unreliable data or findings: including fabrication, deceptive reporting, and omission of data or other information that contradict the reported data;
- plagiarism: including unacknowledged copying of the published or unpublished ideas, thoughts, or other intellectual property of third parties;
- misrepresentation of authorship: including the exclusion of contributors who met our authorship criteria, inclusion as authors of persons who did not meet our authorship criteria, and submission of multi-authored manuscripts without the knowledge and approval of all authors;
- intentional failure to declare competing interests or funding relevant to the article;
- articles describing research that breaches Australian standards of ethical research, clinical practice, and professional behaviour; or
- any other reason that causes the MJA editorial staff to have doubts about the veracity, completeness, or ethical acceptability of the article or its origin.
If misconduct is alleged or other concerns are raised about the integrity of a published article, the MJA Editor-in-Chief will initiate its assessment. The MJA acknowledges that each case of error or misconduct may also need to be separately investigated by other relevant stakeholders. During the investigation, the MJA has the right to publish an “expression of concern” notice.
If the investigation cannot be resolved by discussion with the article authors and the appropriate stakeholders, the MJA will consider referring the matter to the MJA Editorial Advisory Group. If the investigation still cannot be sufficiently resolved, the MJA reserves the right to retract the published article.
Unintentional errors can arise that require correction. We encourage authors to contact us as soon as possible should they discover an error of content or analysis in their article that needs to be corrected. If the article has been published in the Wiley Online Library but not yet in the issue to which it has been allocated, the correction in the article is accompanied by a note recording the change. If the issue including the article has been published, an erratum notice, linked to the article, will be published in the Wiley Online Library, on the MJA site, and in the next MJA issue that appears after the publication of the electronic notices. Should the nature of the error be deemed to significantly affect the credibility of the article or the conclusions drawn, the MJA may instead consider retracting the article.
- All experimental investigations on humans should have received ethics approval, and the name of the ethics committee or institutional review board that gave approval for the study must be stated in the Methods section of the report as well as the approval number.
- All experimental investigations on humans must include a statement in the Methods section that the subjects gave their informed consent.
- Studies involving Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people must also state that they have been approved by the relevant local Indigenous representatives.
- Studies conducted for quality assurance purposes, or audits, must have formal ethics approval or an ethics committee waiver for publication; approval to conduct research for quality assurance purposes alone is insufficient for publication.
Patient consent for publication
- Patient anonymity must be preserved and identifying information should not be published or submitted to the Journal unless essential for scientific purposes and after discussion with the Journal editors.
- For all manuscript submissions in which living or deceased people are described and there is any possibility of identification in the text or images, even if only by the person themselves or health care staff who have cared for them, authors are required to obtain a signed patient permission form. Verbal consent is not adequate. Authors must keep this form with the patient records and will be required to declare on the manuscript submission system that consent has been obtained. The article must include a statement that consent has been obtained. Do not submit the signed form to the journal unless the MJA specifically requests it. We reserve the right to request this form at any time before or after publication. Failure to produce a form on request will lead to retraction of the paper. Please note we do not accept patient consent forms from institutions or other medical journals.
- If the image relates to children aged 14 years or older consent should also be obtained from the child as well as a parent. For a younger child, authors should consider the fact that the child will usually not have the opportunity to withdraw consent when they get older.
- Particular care needs to be taken for any images of intimate areas of children as children (and their parents) cannot consent to dissemination of pornographic images.
- Download the MJA patient consent form here.
Sex and gender-related reporting
The MJA recognises that sex and gender are important determinants of health and is committed to advancing equity in health and medicine. We endorse the ICMJE recommendations as they pertain to sex- and gender-related reporting and encourage authors to adhere to the Sex and Gender Equity in Research (SAGER) guidelines, which offer systematic approaches to the use and editorial review of sex and gender information in study design, data analysis, outcome reporting and research interpretation. systematic approaches to the use and editorial review of sex and gender information in study design, data analysis, outcome reporting and research interpretation.
Authors should explicitly state what definitions of sex and/or gender they are using to enhance the precision, rigor and reproducibility of their research and to avoid ambiguity and conflation of the terms. Although there are no universally agreed definitions of sex and gender, in health and medical research “sex” is usually used when reporting biological factors whereas “gender” is used to refer to identity and psychosocial or cultural factors. The SAGER guidelines offer the following recommendations for applying these terms:
Sex refers to a set of biological attributes in humans and animals that are associated with physical and physiological features including chromosomes, gene expression, hormone function and reproductive/sexual anatomy. Sex is usually categorised as female or male, although there is variation in the biological attributes that constitute sex and how those attributes are expressed.
Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours and identities of female, male and gender-diverse people. It influences how people perceive themselves and each other, how they behave and interact and the distribution of power and resources in society. Gender is usually incorrectly conceptualised as a binary (female/male) factor. In reality, there is a spectrum of gender identities and expressions defining how individuals identify themselves and express their gender.
Sex and gender analysis
Sex and gender analysis helps to identify and clarify the differences between women and men and boys and girls and demonstrates how these differences affect health status, access to, and interaction with, the health care system. Where relevant, authors should integrate a sex and gender perspective into the design, conduct and reporting of their research. The MJA encourages use of the SAGER checklist and has adopted minimum reporting requirements according to the ICMJE: minimum reporting requirements according to the ICMJE:
- Ensure the correct use of the terms sex (when reporting biological factors) and gender (identity, psychosocial or cultural factors).
- Describe the methods used to determine sex and gender.
- If the study was done involving an exclusive population, for example, in only one sex, authors should justify why, except in obvious cases (eg, prostate cancer).
- Unless inappropriate, report the sex and/or gender of study participants and the sex of animals or cells.
- Where appropriate, discuss the influence or association of variables such as sex and/or gender on the findings.
Unless published open access, authors will be asked to transfer copyright to the Australasian Medical Publishing Company (AMPCo) Ltd before their article is published by the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA). See Wiley information on licensing and author services.
Authors retain the copyright of open access articles; these articles may be reused, subject to the terms of the relevant Creative Commons license. Manuscripts that are not open access may not be published elsewhere, in whole or in part, without written permission from AMPCo. See here.
For further information about the MJA’s policy on copyright and permission to reproduce material from the MJA in other publications, see our Copyright and linking policy.
Please acknowledge any funding sources for the work and outline their role in the planning, writing or publication of the work, or, for a research paper, any role in study design, data collection, analysis or interpretation, reporting or publication.
Please acknowledge anyone who contributed to the article or study (eg, by collecting data or assisting with analysis) but who does not meet the above Authorship criteria 1, 2, 3 and 4. Any person named in your Acknowledgements must indicate that they have approved being acknowledged in your article. The corresponding author should collate and forward such permissions. Emails are acceptable. It is the responsibility of the principal author to obtain permission to acknowledge individuals; if permission is not obtained, the names cannot be published.
Clinical trial registration
- The MJA requires the registration of trials as an important initiative to improve the reporting of clinical studies.
- Clinical trials that began enrolling patients after 1 July 2005 must have been registered in a public trials registry at or before the onset of enrolment to be considered for publication.
- If you are submitting a randomised controlled trial, please add the registration number of the trial and the name of the trial registry in the abstract of your manuscript.
- The Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry is located at the National Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Centre at the University of Sydney.
- There are other trial registers that currently meet all of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and World Health Organization (WHO) requirements.
- The MJA follows the ICMJE policy on data sharing (see here).
- In addition, all manuscripts must include a data sharing statement. See example statements here.
- We expect authors to be aware of the FAIR principles and the CARE principles for Indigenous research data.
Material from other publications
Authors will need to provide a letter of permission from the copyright holder for the use of material from other publications if the material is not fully open access. If a fee is payable, this is the responsibility of the author.
Duplicate and prior publication of submitted material
The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) does not publish material which has been published elsewhere, including full manuscripts published in conference proceedings or online (other than as a preprint).
The MJA follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines. Authors should not simultaneously submit the same manuscript, in any language, to any other journal (other than as a preprint), and should not release information from the manuscript into the public domain prior to the publication (or rejection) of any submission (except in the event of a public health emergency). Submissions for publication of a paper that overlaps substantially with an article that has already been published, without clear or visible reference to the previous publication, will not be accepted. Similar provisions apply if there has been prior release in the public domain of information related to the manuscript. Information about acceptable secondary publication and about submitting manuscripts based on the same data can be found on the ICMJE website.
Presentation of a study at a meeting or publication of an abstract does not preclude subsequent publication of the full manuscript in the MJA, provided that copies of the data or the full manuscript are not distributed to attendees or journalists, and no formal news conferences are held or media releases issued. Authors who wish to attend a meeting where such releases could occur should contact the journal before the meeting to discuss whether any proposed activities would jeopardise their chances of publication. If sufficient advance notice is given (minimum, four months), the MJA may be able to coordinate publication of an article with its presentation at a conference. This option must be discussed with the Editor, as fast-tracking of peer review will be required.
When submitting a manuscript that reports work that has already been reported to a significant degree in a published article, or that is included in or closely related to another manuscript that has been submitted or accepted for publication elsewhere, the authors should clearly state the details in the covering letter of their submission and provide copies of the related material.
If authors violate the MJA duplicate publication guidelines and the article is published prior to the Editor becoming aware of the duplication, the Editor has the right to retract the article with or without an explanation or approval from the authors.
The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) will consider manuscripts for review that have been made available online as preprints, before submission of the manuscript to our Journal. We do not regard posting on a preprint server and publication in our Journal as duplicate publication, provided that copyright has not been granted to the preprint host.
If an article is accepted for publication in the MJA, we request that authors update any preprint versions of their manuscript with a link to the final published article:
“This is the original manuscript of our article published in the Medical Journal of Australia on [date of publication] and available online: [Wiley DOI]; [MJA DOI].”
The MJA media team may write and distribute a media release about selected articles to promote the article and its publication in the MJA. Media releases about selected articles from each issue of the MJA are issued to journalists and news media via the office of the MJA. The authors of any article selected for media release will receive a copy of the release in advance before publication and should be prepared to discuss their work with journalists under the conditions of any embargo placed on the public release of the work.
Authors, or an author’s institution’s media department, may issue their own media release provided that the MJA’s publishes its media release first and the MJA is acknowledged as the source of the article.
Summaries or commentaries for other publications
Authors may be invited to write a summary or commentary about their article for another publication, including online publications and blogs. This is only permissible if the publication allows the MJA (and InSight+ if applicable) to publish the work first and the author ensures that the MJA is acknowledged as the source of the original material within the text of the new article, preferably with an active link direct to the original article on the MJA website if the new article is online.
Artificial intelligence-generated content
These guidelines are taken from Wiley’s Ethics Guidelines.
Artificial intelligence-generated content (AIGC) tools — such as ChatGPT and others based on large language models (LLMs) — cannot be considered capable of initiating an original piece of research without direction by human authors. They also cannot be accountable for a published work or for research design, which is a generally held requirement of authorship (as discussed in the previous section), nor do they have legal standing or the ability to hold or assign copyright. Therefore, in accordance with COPE’s position statement on artificial intelligence tools, these tools cannot fulfill the role of, nor be listed as, an author of an article. If an author has used this kind of tool to develop any portion of a manuscript, its use must be described, transparently and in detail, in the Methods or Acknowledgements section.
The author is fully responsible for the accuracy of any information provided by the tool and for correctly referencing any supporting work on which that information depends. Tools that are used to improve spelling, grammar, and general editing are not included in the scope of these guidelines. The final decision about whether use of an AIGC tool is appropriate or permissible in the circumstances of a submitted manuscript or a published article lies with the MJA editorial team.