MJA instructions for authors - Is my research article suitable for the MJA?

The MJA is Australia’s national peer-reviewed general medical journal and it aims to publish Australia’s best clinical medical research.

At the MJA, we believe that high-quality research must have the widest possible dissemination if it is to change practice or inform decision making, so as of January 2012, all MJA research articles are open access. If you publish your research in the MJA, your article can now be accessed by anyone, anywhere in the world, for free. This also means that MJA authors have no difficulty complying with requirements from funding bodies, such as the NHMRC, that research findings must be available in the public domain within a specified time frame.

We are continually striving to improve the quality of research articles in the MJA, and this starts with article selection. Articles are screened by the Journal’s medical editors and only those that are considered potentially suitable are sent for external peer review.

What is a suitable research article for the MJA?

The MJA considers original research relevant to clinical medicine and of interest to a general medical audience. The MJA does not publish animal or laboratory work.

Research articles must be:

  • original
  • of high scientific quality, with methods and analysis appropriate to the research question
  • important, with a clinically useful message
  • clearly and succinctly presented

Priority is given to research that:

  • is novel
  • answers important clinical questions
  • reports clinical outcomes (not just process)
  • includes a national (or international) perspective or a large representative sample
  • is a randomised controlled trial
  • follows the relevant reporting guidelines (eg, CONSORT for RCTs, STROBE for observational studies, see our Instructions for authors for other relevant checklists)
  • has a prospective design
  • if qualitative, follows accepted qualitative design and reporting parameters

Low priority is given to research that:

  • is from a single institution or has a small sample size that limits its generalisability (unless it is truly novel – the first study of its kind)
  • reports process within health services without meaningful clinical outcomes
  • confirms the findings of previous research but does not add to current knowledge
  • contains data older than 5 years
  • has a study design that is inappropriate or suboptimal to answer the research question
  • lacks statistical power, or is inadequately analysed
  • uses unvalidated research instruments
  • is unlikely to contribute to improvements in clinical practice, health care policy, medical education or further research
  • has limited relevance to general readers, or a narrow focus within a single specialty
  • is a survey with a low (<65%) response rate
  • is poorly presented or does not follow the MJA’s Instructions for authors, including word and reference limits, and abstract format