Academic Forensic Pathology

The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners (ISSN 1925-3621) is published by Academic Forensic Pathology International. This triple-blinded, peer reviewed journal is published electronically four times each year.

The Journal follows the Recommendations for Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (available at http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/), the principles of the World Association of Medical Editors (http://wame.org), and the Committee on Publication Ethics (http://publicationethics.org). 

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Journal Information

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners is committed to publishing high quality, timely, and relevant scholarly manuscripts of importance to the practice of forensic pathology.  We define forensic pathology as the medical subspecialty wherein practitioners observe, document, and interpret the medicolegal significance of injuries and diseases in both living and deceased humans.  Given that, we will review manuscripts on any aspect of:

  • Death investigation
  • Forensic medicine, including sexual assault/rape
  • Autopsy pathology
  • Forensic histopathology
  • Toxicology
  • Forensic imaging/radiology
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Forensic neuropathology
  • Cardiovascular pathology
  • Pulmonary pathology
  • Other subspecialty organ/tissue pathology of medicolegal relevance
  • Medical jurisprudence
  • Forensic photography
  • Forensic sciences, including DNA biology, chemistry, entomology, and botany
  • Any other area with obvious relevance to the practice of forensic pathology

The reputation of our (and any) medical specialty is in large part a function of the scholarly literature it produces. The vision of the Editor-In-Chief and the Publisher is for a forensic pathology journal that is worthy of representing our field. High quality, timely, and relevant are the descriptors we promote. As the quality of our literature directly reflects the reputation of our field, we can only afford to publish high quality manuscripts that demonstrate that we forensic pathologists understand the basic principles of science, and that we understand and utilize the basic principles of evidence-based medicine. To accomplish this, we must take an innovative and visionary approach to publishing. Our profession is very small, and for decades has been built around countless fascinating stories. This leads to an (over) abundance of single case reports and small case series. Despite the fact that data, tissue, and new (scholarly) ideas are plentiful, the lack of a single full-time researcher in the field combined with severe limitations of funding (within individual offices, from grant-conferring agencies, and within the field on the whole), the generalized understaffed and overworked nature of most offices, complicated ethical considerations around human tissue retention and research, and other issues all contribute toward making it a challenge to have successful academic ventures.

We strive to produce an excellent periodical that stands toe-to-toe with the top clinical journals of other medical specialties. To strive for less does not make sense, and further promotes the misconception that forensic pathologists are not “real” doctors, do not really practice medicine, and are somehow less valuable to our communities than our clinical colleagues.

Success starts with recognition that our field is different – forensic pathology is populated with practitioners who are predominantly paid to function as “service pathologists.”  As such, any forensic pathology journal model reliant on the output of forensic pathology researchers, or “traditional academics” will fail. Recognizing this, our Journal takes a practical approach to scholarly publishing.  Each issue highlights a specific, predetermined topic, and approximately half of each issue ultimately represents “invited” reviews that successfully navigate stringent peer review.  By reducing our reliance on unsolicited manuscripts, we can more stringently scrutinize original article submissions and thus commit to publishing only “the best of the best” science in our profession.  We believe that by setting a very high standard for acceptance into publication, our Journal will promote a higher quality of research in the field as a whole, and will thereby improve our visibility and reputation amongst our clinical colleagues.

Manuscripts accepted for publication in Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners (the “AFP Journal”) receive global attention in the English-speaking forensic pathology world.  As the result of our relationship with our sponsoring society (NAME – the National Association of Medical Examiners), every NAME member receives access to the Journal.  Furthermore, our Journal has become a go-to resource for many attorneys, law enforcement officers, public health officials, and medical professionals, who require specialized information on high-level medicolegal topics. The AFP Journal has received significant support and accolades from both NAME and a wide variety of stakeholder agencies.

Authors who successfully publish their manuscripts in our Journal have demonstrated a commitment to the highest levels of scientific publishing. Acceptance of a manuscript denotes the completion of a stringent “testing” of their work through aggressive triple-blinded peer review, in the face of industry standard policies and guidelines that guide moral, ethical, and professional aspects of medical journal writing, reviewing, and editing.

The Editorial Management team consists of both appointed and “staff” members:

Appointed Editorial Officers

  • Editor-in-Chief
  • Associate EIC
  • Editorial Board

Journal Oversight Committee (appointed)

  • NAME Journal Committee Chair
  • Ethics Director
  • Content & Quality Director
  • Compliance Director
  • Information Technology Director

Editorial Staff

  • Editorial Director
  • Medical Illustrator

The Journal Oversight Committee is a committee of appointed members who are selected annually from peer nominations.  To be considered for appointment to the committee, members must be fellowship trained and examination board-certified forensic pathologists, or be qualified in a related paramedical or scientific specialty.  The committee is composed of:

NAME Journal Committee Chair
Owen Middleton MD
Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office
Minneapolis, MN

Ethics Director
Dan Atherton MD
Jefferson County Coroner/Medical Examiner’s Office
Birmingham, AL

Content & Quality Director
Kathy Pinneri MD
Montgomery County Forensic Services Department
Conroe, TX

Compliance Officer
Mario Rascon MD
El Paso County Office of the Medical Examiner
El Paso, TX

Information Technology Director
Robert Stoppacher MD
Chief Medical Examiner-Onondaga County Health Department
Syracuse, NY

Members-at-Large
Odey Ukpo MD
Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner
Los Angeles, CA

Margy Warner PhD
National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Atlanta, GA

Editor-In-Chief 
J. Keith Pinckard MD PhD
Chief Medical Examiner
Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office
Austin, TX, USA

pinckard@academicfp.com


Associate Editor-In-Chief 
Nicholas I. Batalis MD
Associate Professor
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, SC, USA

batalis@academicfp.com


Together with the Editorial Board, the Editor-In-Chief and the Associate Editor-In-Chief constitute the appointed Editorial Officers of our publication.

In compliance with ICMJE Guidelines, the Editor-In-Chief (EIC) is appointed by the Publisher.  The EIC must be a fellowship-trained and examination board-certified forensic pathologist with a proven track record in scholarly pursuits including scientific publishing.  Term appointments to the EIC position are made in consultation with the Executive Committee of the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), and the Journal Oversight Committee.  One or more Associate EIC’s are recommended by the EIC to the Publisher based on a proven track record of providing high quality peer reviews for the AFP Journal.  The Associate EIC may be a member of the Editorial Board.

Russell T. Alexander MD
Assistant Medical Examiner
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
State of Maryland
Baltimore, MD, USA

Sam W. Andrew MD
Deputy Medical Examiner
Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office
Austin, TX, USA

Jonathan L. Arden MD
President
Arden Forensics, PC
McLean, VA, USA

Jim Caruso MD
Chief Medical Examiner
Denver Office of the Medical Examiner
Denver, CO, USA

David Fowler MBChB MMed Path (Forens)
Chief Medical Examiner
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
State of Maryland
Baltimore, MD, USA

James Gill MD
Chief Medical Examiner
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
Farmington, CT, USA

Michael Graham MD
Chief Medical Examiner
City of Saint Louis;
and Professor of Pathology
Saint Louis University
Saint Louis, MO, USA

Leslie E. Hamilton MD FRCPC
Neuropathologist/Autopsy Pathologist and Neuropathology Residency Program Director
Calgary Laboratory Services and University of Calgary
Calgary, AB, Canada

Jennifer Hammers DO
Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Brooklyn Campus
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
New York, NY, USA

Walter Kemp MD PhD
Associate Professor
University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Grand Forks, ND, USA

Laura D. Knight MD
Chief Medical Examiner
Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner's Office;
and Associate Professor
Departments of Pathology and Pediatrics
University of Nevada-Reno School of Medicine, Reno, NV, USA

Kelly C. Lear-Kaul MD
Coroner/Forensic Pathologist
Arapahoe County Coroner's Office
Centennial, CO, USA

Owen Middleton MD
Assistant Chief Medical Examiner
Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office
Minneapolis, MN, USA

Christopher Milroy MD LLB LLM FRCPath FRCPC DMJ
Director of Forensic Pathology
Ontario Forensic Pathology Service
Ottawa, ON, Canada

Marcus Nashelsky MD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics;
and Chief Medical Examiner
Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Office
Iowa City, IA, USA

William R. Oliver MD
Assistant Medical Examiner
Regional Forensic Center
Knoxville, TN, USA

Kathy Pinneri MD
Director
Montgomery County Forensic Services
Conroe, TX, USA

Reade A. Quinton MD
Deputy Chief Medical Examiner
Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences
Dallas, TX, USA

Robert Stoppacher MD
Chief Medical Examiner
Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office
Syracuse, NY, USA

Victor Weedn MD JD
Professor, Department of Forensic Sciences
George Washington University
Washington, DC, USA


Together with the Editor-In-Chief and the Associate Editor-In-Chief, the Editorial Board members constitute the appointed Editorial Officers of our publication.

The day-to-day operations of the Journal are coordinated by numerous individuals including:

Publisher 
Emma O. Lew MD
publisher@academicfp.com

Executive Director 
Evan W. Matshes MD FRCPC
matshes@academicfp.com

Director of Operations 
Don Downey BA PMT
don@academicfp.com

Editorial Director 
Lori Selanders BSc MSc
selanders@academicfp.com

Director of Education 
Karen Barboza
barboza@academicfp.com

Research Associate 
Kacy Krehbiel MD
krehbiel@academicfp.com

Medical Illustrator-In-Residence 
Diana Kryski
diana@academicfp.com

Web Designer & Programmer
Kimm Wiens
kimm@academicfp.com

IT Consultant
Alex Kiriako
alex@academicfp.com

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners is published by Academic Forensic Pathology International (AFPi).  AFPi is a small medical education and publishing house originally founded by three forensic pathologists: Evan Matshes MD FRCPC, David Dolinak MD, and Emma Lew MD as Academic Forensic Pathology Incorporated.  AFPi produces the AFP Journal, offers educational courses and sessions for private citizens and academic/governmental units, and publishes paper print publications.

The AFP Journal operates from a revenue stream generated by:

  • NAME member dues (paid directly [annually] by our sponsoring society)
  • Institutional subscription sales
  • Non-NAME member individual subscriber dues
  • Reprint fees
  • Advertising fees from third party companies 

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners is published four (4) times per year in electronic format – in both PDF and XML-tagged full text versions.

The Journal is accessed online at www.afpjournal.com.

Members of the National Association of Medical Examiners
A subscription to the AFP Journal is included with all NAME member dues.  As such, all current NAME members automatically have Journal access. If you have forgotten or lost your log-on information, please email admin@academicfp.com, or call 1-888-909-7856 (toll free) or 1-858-299-5151 for assistance.

If you are not a NAME member, but would like to become a NAME member, please email name@thename.org or go to www.thename.org.

Individuals who are not members of the National Association of Medical Examiners
You can purchase either (a) an annual Journal subscription or (b) reprints of individual articles by visiting the AFPi store at https://store.academicfp.com.


Institutions
Any library, academic unit, or government body may purchase an institutional subscription by visiting the AFPi store at https://store.academicfp.com.  We recommend telephone consultation prior to your purchase.  Please call 1-888-909-7856 (toll free) or 1-858-299-5151 for assistance.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners is published four (4) times per year:

  • March 1
  • June 1
  • September 1
  • December 1

A special “Supplemental” issue containing the abstracts submitted and accepted for platform or poster presentation at the NAME Annual Meeting is published each November.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners is committed to maintaining a permanent digital archive of all manuscripts accepted for publication. To that end, we are proud to house copies of all published manuscripts with CLOCKSS (http://www.clockss.org).

According to CLOCKSS:

CLOCKSS (Controlled LOCKSS) is a not-for-profit joint venture between the world’s leading academic publishers and research libraries whose mission is to build a sustainable, geographically distributed dark archive with which to ensure the long-term survival of Web-based scholarly publications for the benefit of the greater global research community.

CLOCKSS is for the entire world's benefit. Content no longer available from any publisher ("triggered content") is available for free. CLOCKSS uniquely assigns this abandoned and orphaned content a Creative Commons license to ensure it remains available forever.


As of March 2017, Academic Forensic Pathology International is actively pursuing listing in PubMed Central as a further permanent digital archive of our content (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/).

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners utilizes a triple-blinded peer review process, meaning that:

  • The authors are blind to the identities of the reviewers;
  • The reviewers are blind to the identities of the authors; and
  • The Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editor-in-Chief are blind to the identities of the authors.

When a manuscript is submitted, Journal staff removes all identifying information such as author names and institutional affiliations and redact identifying information within the text of the submitted manuscript before the manuscript is sent to the Editor-in-Chief for review and triage.

Our editorial process involves three core components:

First Decision:
The submitted manuscript is evaluated for compliance with Journal Editorial Policies and all applicable Instructions for Authors.  If the manuscript is found to be compliant with these requirements, an anonymized version of the manuscript is submitted to the Editor-in-Chief for triage review (see Second Decision).

Second Decision:
Having been found compliant with Journal Editorial Policies and applicable Instructions for Authors, the Editor-in-Chief assesses the suitability of the manuscript for possible publication in the Journal.  The primary criterion assessed at the point of the Second Decision is compatibility with the Scope and Philosophy of the Journal.  If the Editor-in-Chief concludes that the manuscript is within the Scope and Philosophy of the Journal, the Associate Editor-in-Chief is asked to identify two or more reviewers (selected from the Editorial Board, external expert reviewers, or both) to undertake a formal review of the manuscript under consideration.

Third Decision
Having been found to be within the Scope and Philosophy of the Journal, assigned peer reviewers are asked to perform a formal (both template-driven and free-form) assessment of the scientific merit and quality of the manuscript.  In general, the peer reviewers are asked to review:

  • Overall scientific quality (e.g., clarity of the hypothesis, if relevant; novelty of the work; practicality of the work; etc.)
  • The abstract
  • Methods
  • Results/Data
  • Conclusions
  • Ethics
  • Other as necessary and relevant

The peer reviewers then offer an editorial decision (see Editorial Decisions under Editorial Policies).  The Associate Editor-in-Chief then also offers a penultimate decision, which is reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief who concludes with a “third” or “final” decision.

Editorial Timeline

First Decision:
Authors will be advised within three (3) business days of submission if their manuscripts have been accepted for formal editorial review.

Second Decision:
If the manuscript has not been triaged for peer review, an explanation will be provided.

Third Decision:
The results of peer reviews are conveyed to the Associate Editor-in-Chief and then the Editor-in-Chief who considers the opinions, speaking directly with the reviewers if necessary. A final decision on acceptance of the manuscript is made within 30 to 45 days, depending on the results of the review.  Specifically:

  1. Uniform agreement by the reviewers, the Associate Editor-in-Chief, and the Editor-in-Chief to accept, with or without revision, results in publication. This decision will be reported to the author(s) within 30 days.
  2. Uniform agreement by reviewers, Associate Editor-in-Chief, and the Editor-in-Chief to reject the manuscript results in immediate rejection. This decision will be reported to the author(s) within 30 days.
  3. Non-uniform agreement regarding manuscript acceptance will mandate involvement of at least one additional reviewer, who might be either a member of the Editorial Board, or a guest reviewer. After the Editor-in-Chief receives the results from the additional reviewer(s), the decision about acceptance/rejection rests with the Editor-in-Chief and will be based upon consideration of all available reviews and his/her own review. This decision will be reported to the author(s) within 45 days.

In accordance with the accepted standards of editorial practice, the Editor-in-Chief is ultimately responsible for the editorial content of the Journal.

Prior to final manuscript acceptance, the Editor-in-Chief will review a version of the manuscript that includes all identifying data, as well as the results of online plagiarism/duplication investigations.

When a manuscript is accepted with revisions, the author(s) will have 30 calendar days to comply with the Editor-in-Chief’s editorial requirements or to withdraw their manuscript. Revised manuscripts received after 30 calendar days will be treated as new submissions.

There are no author fees for submission of a manuscript for peer review.

There are no author fees for pre-publication production activities such as typesetting and design.

There are no author fees for publication of an accepted manuscript.

Put another way, authors never pay any fees to have their accepted manuscripts published in Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners.

Upon submission of a manuscript for editorial review, the corresponding author (with permission of all individuals claiming authorship) must complete an online Manuscript Submission Agreement to transfer copyright from the author to Academic Forensic Pathology International. There are certain situations in which copyright transfer may be retained, the most notable of which is when the authors are employees of the United States Federal Government.

Manuscripts accepted for publication become the property of Academic Forensic Pathology International.  However, authors retain broad article reproduction rights:

  1. The right to make print or electronic copies of the article for their own personal use. Personal uses extend to the classroom where an author is granted the right to distribute print or electronic copies to students.
  2. The right to distribute print or electronic copies of the article to colleagues, strictly for scholarly use. This expressly excludes commercial uses including fee-for-service consultations. The author may not receive any form of payment in exchange for provision of a print or electronic copy of the article.
  3. The right to present the substance of the author’s article at scientific meetings and to distribute a copy of that article to meeting attendees.
  4. The right to provide a copy of the article to the author’s employer or home institution.
  5. The right to prepare derivative works from the article, including books, so long as full acknowledgement of the original publication is provided.

When research is grant-funded, authors may have Open Access requirements imposed upon them by grant funding agencies.  The AFP Journal is pleased to facilitate such Open Access requests (see Open Access below).

Subscribers and individuals/agencies who purchase an article reprint may download and print-off Journal articles for their own personal scholarly use. Subscribers and those purchasing reprints may not receive payment in exchange for reproducing an article published in the Academic Forensic Pathology journal.  Any individual, group, institution, or corporation who does not have authorship over an AFP Journal article, but intends to distribute that article in any fashion (including distribution at meetings, educational sessions, etc.), must obtain a special offprint license from AFPi directly or risk copyright violations. Inquiries should be directed to the Publisher. Please email admin@academicfp.com, or call 1-888-909-7856 (toll free) or 1-858-299-5151 for assistance.

Special Permission to Reproduce Articles for Courtroom (Evidentiary) Purposes
Any attorney wishing to introduce an AFP Journal article into evidence in a judicial process should first seek a complimentary, personalized license from the publishers.  Please email publisher@academicfp.com or call 1-888-909-7856 (toll free) or 1-858-299-5151 for assistance.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners respects the requirements imposed upon authors by grant funding agencies (e.g., the National Institute of Health, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, etc.) to have published manuscripts freely accessible (i.e., without fee or copyright restrictions).  Any author who self-identifies as a grant recipient with an Open Access publication requirement, and whose manuscript is accepted for publication, will have their finalized article made available for download on the Open Access section of the Journal website.  The manuscript will also be made available for free download from the Academic Forensic Pathology International store (https://store.academicfp.com).

Authors may reproduce text, tables, figures, and images from Open Access manuscripts without permission, so long as the reproduced elements are appropriately cited in any derivative works.

All content of this website, and of the Journal itself are copyright © Academic Forensic Pathology International. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means now or hereafter known, electronic or mechanical, without permission from Academic Forensic Pathology International.  Articles marked “Open Access” are an exclusive exception to our copyright rules (see Open Access for more information).

All persons, groups and/or institutions interested in reproducing text, tables, and figures (e.g., photographs, photomicrographs, etc.) from the Journal must first obtain written permission from Academic Forensic Pathology Incorporated. All requests should be directed in writing to the Publisher:

EMAIL: publisher@academicfp.com

or

Academic Forensic Pathology International
7946 Ivanhoe Avenue, Suite 107
La Jolla, CA 92037 USA

The Publisher (Academic Forensic Pathology International), the appointed Editorial Officers (Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor-In-Chief and the Editorial Board) and the sponsoring society (National Association of Medical Examiners) are committed to the publication of high quality, timely, and relevant scholarly forensic pathology materials, and take every effort to ensure that the information presented within the Journal are precise and accurate. However, errors can occur and readers must carefully evaluate the literature and decide how to best integrate it into their own practice. Please report any errors directly to the Publisher (publisher@academicfp.com) or the Editor-In-Chief (editor@academicfp.com).

The Publisher shall not be liable or responsible for any direct or indirect losses or damages of any kind whatsoever, whether based in contract, tort, strict liability, or otherwise, arising out of or in any way connected with:

  • Your use of or inability to use this website;
  • The provision of or failure to provide services;
  • Any information, products, services, software, or graphics obtained through this site.

The Editorial Officers and the Publisher do not assume any responsibility for any injury and/or damage to persons or property related to any use of the content contained herein.

Publication of an advertisement or other product mention in Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners is not an endorsement of either the product or the manufacturer’s claims and should not be construed as such.  The website of Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners may contain links to external websites.  This is not an endorsement nor does Academic Forensic Pathology International take responsibility or liability for any content, advertising, products, or other materials on any linked websites, and does not take responsibility for the sites’ availability.

Executive Offices
7946 Ivanhoe Avenue, Suite 107
La Jolla, CA
92037

Toll-free (USA/Canada): 1-888-909-7856, Extension 101
International: 1-858-299-5151

EMAIL:

General: publisher@academicfp.com
Editorial: editor@academicfp.com

At the time a new manuscript is submitted, authors whose works meet specific criteria can request a Fast-Track Review; in these circumstances, the time between manuscript submission and final decision will be seven calendar days. The Editor-in-Chief may independently select the Fast-Track Review option if his/her initial review of the submitted manuscript suggests the contents of the manuscript are of sufficient magnitude to warrant rapid review and (if accepted for publication) dissemination to the profession and its stakeholders. 

Criteria for Fast-Track Review are: 

  • The results of the research are of significant magnitude as to have an immediate impact on the practice of forensic pathology, or
  • A delay in publication could result in a negative impact to the forensic pathology and criminal justice communities, or to members of the general public.

Authors should request a Fast-Track Review in writing in their cover letter when their manuscript is uploaded via ScholarOne (https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/afpj).

Editorial Policies

Submission of a manuscript to Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners implies:

  1. That the manuscript conforms to all of the Journal’s policies and requirements; and
  2. That all of the manuscript authors have read, agreed to, and understand the Journal’s policies.

Manuscripts submitted to Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners are the private work product of the authors.  Thus, it is the reviewer’s responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of any manuscripts that he or she reviews. It is a violation of the terms of practice for a reviewer to contact the author(s) of a manuscript they are reviewing or have reviewed, or communicate with any other individual regarding the content of the submitted manuscript, their review of that manuscript, or any related communications between themselves and the Editor-in-Chief/Associate Editor-in-Chief, or the Publisher.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners recognizes four (4) editorial decisions: accept, accept pending revisions, reconsider after major revisions, and reject.  Descriptions of those decisions are quoted directly from Provenzale JM, Stanley RJ. A systematic guide to reviewing a manuscript. Am J Roentgenol. 2005 Oct; 185(4):848-54.

Accept
The global rating of Accept is clear-cut and unambiguous; this rating implies that the reviewer does not see any need for revision of the manuscript and that it is suitable for publication “as is.” In fact, because most reviewers (with good reason) suggest changes to any manuscript, the Accept rating is granted to few manuscripts on initial review. Given that it is a rare manuscript that cannot be improved in some way, sometimes the Accept rating is an indication that the reviewer has not looked at the manuscript with an eye toward improvement. When revisions are suggested, the decision category always should be Accept Pending Revisions rather than Accept.

Accept Pending Revisions
The Accept Pending Revisions rating indicates that the reviewer finds some ways in which the manuscript should be changed before final acceptance. The suggested changes may include items such as a request for clarification of the methods. However, it is implied in this rating that the authors can reasonably make these changes and that doing so will more or less result in publication of the revised version of the original manuscript.

Reconsider After Major Revisions
A rating of Reconsider After Major Revisions indicates that the reviewer believes that considerable changes are needed but that a reasonable possibility exists for the manuscript to proceed to publication. Examples of indications for providing this rating include a belief that, first, the reported data need to be analyzed in a different manner; second, additional data are needed; third, the authors have failed to appropriately take certain study factors into account; or fourth, the authors have not appropriately discussed their results against the background of previous studies. Most manuscripts that receive a Reconsider After Major Revisions recommendation are ultimately published.

Reject
The Reject rating is provided when the reviewer is of the opinion that no amount of revision will make the manuscript suitable for the journal to which it was submitted. It is worth emphasizing that, in some cases, the rating is based not on the opinion that the manuscript is poorly written or an inadequate study. Instead, sometimes a reviewer recommends rejection on the belief that the manuscript was submitted to the inappropriate journal.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners takes authorship very seriously.  Each and every individual listed as an author on a manuscript submitted to our Journal must qualify for authorship.  It is not acceptable to include individuals as authors who do not have meaningful contributions to the work. This means, for example, that the Chief Medical Examiner should not be a de facto author on any paper originating in his/her office simply because that person is the Chief and allowed the work to take place, using case material from the office.

As a member of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), our Journal conforms to the definition of authorship published in the ICMJE document “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals.”  The following requirements for authorship are reproduced directly from that document (http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/defining-the-role-of-authors-and-contributors.html):

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  • 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.

To qualify for authorship, an individual must meet ALL four of the above conditions. Furthermore:

  • Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship.
  • All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify should be listed.
  • Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.

At the time of manuscript submission, the corresponding author must certify that all listed authors satisfy each of these criteria. All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an acknowledgements section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, writing assistance, or a department Chairperson [or Chief Medical Examiner] who provided only general support.

Upon acceptance of a manuscript, the authors will be asked to verify the roles that each author played, and these will be published on the first page of the manuscript.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners subscribes to the principles outlined by the document entitled  “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals” as published by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE; http://www.icmje.org).  

The AFP Journal also adheres to The National Library of Medicine (NLM) definitions for standard literature correction terminology. These definitions can be found in the NLM Fact Sheet at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/errata.html as well as in the Council of Science Editors White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications (http://www.councilscienceeditors.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3647). 

The AFP Journal also adheres to the Retraction Guidelines published by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), which can be accessed at http://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines

The definitions below are taken from these cited sources.

Errata
Errata are published changes or emendations to an earlier article, also referred to as corrections or corrigenda, which originate either in the publication process or from errors of scientific logic or methodology. Errata identify an important error made by the journal. They involve a correction to a small, isolated portion of an otherwise reliable article; errata are generally not published for simple, obvious typographical errors, but corrections are published when an apparently simple error is significant or if the publication record is seriously affected, for example with regard to the scientific accuracy of published information, or the reputation of the authors, or the reputation of the journal. Corrigendum make note of an important error made by the author(s) that affects the publication record or the scientific integrity of the paper, or the reputation of the authors or the journal. All authors must sign corrigenda submitted for publication. In cases where coauthors disagree, the editors will take advice from independent peer-reviewers and impose the appropriate amendment, noting the dissenting author(s) in the text of the published version.

When such an amendment is published, the corrections will appear on a numbered page, be listed in the Table of Contents, include the complete original citation and be linked bi-directionally to and from the article being corrected. A PDF version of the correction is added to the original article PDF so that the original article PDF will remain the same as the printed page and readers downloading the PDF will receive the original article plus amendment.

Retractions
Retractions identify an article that was previously published and is now retracted or withdrawn through a formal issuance from the author, editor, publisher, or other authorized agent such as the academic or institutional sponsor. Articles can be retracted because of pervasive error, unsubstantiated or irreproducible data, scientific misconduct, or duplicate publication.

When a retraction is published it will appear on a numbered page in a prominent section of the online and print edition of the journal, be listed in the Table of Contents page, and include in its heading the title of the original article. Ideally, the first author of the retraction should be the same as that of the article, however, depending on the circumstances the editor may accept retractions by other responsible persons. The retraction should not simply be a letter to the editor; rather, the text of the retraction should explain why the article is being retracted and include a complete citation reference to that article.

Partial Retractions
A “retraction in part” or a “partial retraction” is just that — only a portion of the article is being retracted. It is more significant than an erratum. Partial retractions are usually the result of an incorrect section or a particular portion of an article that is incorrect, leaving the majority of the information and the article’s stated conclusions uncompromised by the removal of that portion of the content.

Partial retractions will be published similar to a full retraction and will explicitly state that a single statement or specified text, graph, figure, or data is being retracted so that it is abundantly clear and unambiguous that only a portion of the article is being retracted, not the full article.

Corrected and Republished Articles
If the journal decides to correct or amplify a previously published article by republishing the article in its entirety, often to rectify an editorial or printing error in the original article, it will be referred to as a Corrected and Republished Article. A link will be created between the original PDF article and the corrected and republished PDF article.

Duplicate Publication
If an article is found to substantially duplicate another article without acknowledgement, a notice of duplicate publication will be published within the journal upon discovery.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners takes decedent and patient privacy very seriously.  As such, the AFP Journal will only publish decedent/patient information and images that have been sufficiently anonymized. The Journal defines “sufficient anonymization” as:

  • Anonymization of data or images such that neither the patient or anyone else could identify the subject(s) presented in the manuscript.

In some unusual circumstances, sufficient anonymization may result in the loss of information or evidence. In this event, the authors will be asked to confidentially submit detailed information to satisfy the claims made by the authors.  A statement to this effect would be included in the publication of the article.

All photographs must be anonymized prior to submission for consideration of publication.  This includes removing identifiable personal features (e.g., some facial features, tattoos, case numbers, etc.).  Some jurisdictions have strict regulations on the reproduction of autopsy photographs, and other photographs produced during the course of a State-mandated death investigation.  Authors are required to ensure compliance with any legal or regulatory requirements that pertain to the use and reproduction of the photographs of deceased individuals.

Patient and decedent health/death investigation information may be protected under law in your jurisdiction.  Authors are required to ensure compliance with local, regional, State, and Federal legal and regulatory requirements. 

Reproduction of the protected health information of living patients can be very complicated. Authors must be aware of all local institutional and legal implications of any scientific manuscripts they produce that may identify living patients.  In particular, authors must be cognizant of the special implications of publishing information about living (a) children, (b) patients who lack capacity, and (c) persons in custody of a prison or any form of law enforcement.

Authors should see also our Statement of Informed Consent (below).

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners subscribes to the principles outlined by the “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals” as defined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Additional information about conflict of interest can be obtained from the ICMJE website (http://icmje.org).

Conflict of interest is a complex issue. As such, it is not possible to list all of the possible types of conflict that may occur during the creation of a scholarly article. Authors are asked to carefully review their own situation, determine whether or not perceived or actual conflicts of interest have occurred, and to communicate such conflicts to the Publisher and the Editor-In-Chief. Conflict disclosure is to occur during initial submission of the manuscript through ScholarOne Manuscripts (https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/afpj), but authors should feel free to declare potential or actual conflicts at any other time by contacting the Publisher (publisher@academicfp.com).

Examples of potential and actual conflict of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Receiving payment for writing or reviewing the manuscript;
  • Receiving payment for committee work related to the production of the manuscript;
  • Receiving payment for expert testimony specifically related to the manuscript; and
  • Receiving payment, royalties, stock options, etc., in return for featuring a commercial product in a manuscript.

The Editor-In-Chief, Associate Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Board Members, Guest Editors, ad hoc reviewers and Publishing staff are required to disclose relationships that may be real or perceived conflicts of interest, and to excuse themselves when necessary from the editorial process.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners accepts fee-for-service advertising online on the Journal website, and within the non-scholarly content of the Journal PDF. 

Journal guidelines for inclusion of paid advertising:

  1. Only advertisements for products and services logically related to forensic pathology or more broadly to death investigation, will be considered for inclusion in the Journal.
  2. The decision on acceptance of an advertisement for publication in the Journal rests fully and finally with the Editor-in-Chief.
  3. The Editor-in-Chief has the full authority and requirement to enforce this policy.  The Editor-in-Chief will also consider all criticisms of advertisements included for publication.
  4. Advertisements will never be juxtaposed within scholarly content. 
  5. Advertisements adjacent to scholarly content will not be directly related to the neighboring manuscript.  For example, a paper testing the efficacy of testing for a drug with Test X, will not be printed next to an advertisement for a company that sells Test X.
  6. Online “banner advertisements” will be randomly displayed, and not based on reader behavior.
  7. The Journal never accepts advertisements for products that have been proven to be harmful to health.
  8. Advertisements will always be clearly visible as such; no advertisement will ever be printed in a format that mimics the style or design of our scholarly content.
  9. Beyond the guidelines listed here, neither the interests of the Publisher or of the sponsoring society, will control advertising.
  10. Each whole issue of the Journal shall contain the following statement:

Publication of an advertisement or other product mention in Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners is not an endorsement of either the product or the manufacturer’s claims and should not be construed as such.  The website of Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners may contain links to external websites.  This is not an endorsement nor does Academic Forensic Pathology International take responsibility or liability for any content, advertising, products, or other materials on any linked websites, and does not take responsibility for the sites’ availability.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners subscribes to the principles outlined by the “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals” as defined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Additional considerations about Informed Consent can be obtained from the ICMJE website (www.icmje.org).  Authors should see also our policy on Decedent/Patient Anonymity (above).

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent. Identifying information, including names, initials, hospital numbers, and autopsy numbers should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, or pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the living patient (or parent or guardian), or the decedent’s legal next of kin provides written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that an identifiable patient (or the next of kin of the decedent) be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should disclose to these patients/next of kin whether any potential identifiable material might be available via the Internet as well as in print after publication. Nonessential identifying details should be omitted. Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients may be inadequate protection of anonymity.

Photographs depicting living or deceased individuals may be edited by Journal staff and/or the editor as needed to further protect the identity of subjects; the author(s) will be notified of such changes and allowed to view and approve the updated photographs prior to publication. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance, and the editor will note, that such alterations do not distort scientific meaning.

When informed consent has been obtained, it will be indicated in the published article. Consent must be written and archived with the author and be made available upon request by the Journal. The Journal will advise authors prior to publication if written informed consent is required.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners subscribes to the principles outlined by the “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals” as defined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Much of this policy has been taken directly from that document. Additional considerations about human and animal rights can be obtained from the ICMJE website (www.icmje.org).

When reporting experiments on human subjects, authors should indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2013. If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether the institutional and national guide for the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.

It is actually possible to plagiarize oneself. Once a journal publishes a manuscript, the copyright assignment is generally transferred from the authors to the publisher (see Copyright in Journal Information above). With rare exception, it is not permissible to publish the same work in more than one journal, even if it would be beneficial to have the work available to two vastly different readerships. There are certain exceptions, for example, republishing seminal papers or guideline papers, providing the appropriate permissions from the original publisher is obtained. Publishing similar papers in two different journals, even if the two manuscripts are not verbatim copies, using the same data or research material, is also unethical, may constitute plagiarism, and would likely violate copyright law.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners subscribes to the guidelines outlined by the Committee on Publication Ethics (http://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines).  If, during the editorial process the Editor-In-Chief (EIC) believes that an author has acted inappropriately (including acts of dishonesty such as plagiarism and double submission), or receives an allegation of such misconduct, the Editor-in-Chief will communicate the allegations to the author. Then, also in accordance with the recommendations of the World Association of Medical Editors (http://www.wame.org/), the Editor-in-Chief will communicate the allegations to the appropriate author institution for further investigation. If the allegations arise prior to manuscript publication, publication will be suspended until the matter is resolved. If the allegations are proven true after publication, “the editor should publish that fact, which may include a letter from one or more of the authors and an institutional official retracting the article. Editors should not retract articles on their own initiative.”

Based on the nature and magnitude of the offense, sanctions may include lifetime ban from authorship in the Journal.

As the official publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), Academic Forensic Pathology has the right of first refusal for the publication of any manuscripts based on platform or poster presentations from the NAME Annual and Interim meetings. If an author wishes to publish in a journal other than Academic Forensic Pathology, he/she may discuss the matter with the Editor-in-Chief, and it is possible that an exception might be made in certain situations.

Presentation at a NAME meeting does not guarantee publication in the Journal, as all manuscripts must go through the peer review process.

Abstracts submitted to NAME for oral or poster presentation at a NAME scientific meeting will be published once yearly in a Supplemental Volume.  However, these meeting abstracts are not indexed.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners subscribes to the guidelines outlined by the Committee on Publication Ethics, COPE (http://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines).  Appeals and/or complaints directed to the Editor-in-Chief will be dealt with in a manner compliant with the COPE guidelines.  The Editor-in-Chief will respond promptly to complaints.

If a complainant remains dissatisfied after communicating their matter(s) directly with the Editor-in-Chief, the complainant is then directed to formally discuss their concerns with the Publisher.

Should the complainant remain unsatisfied after communicating directly with the Publisher, they are then directed to formally discuss their concerns with COPE for final resolution.

The Editor-in-Chief can be reached via email at: editor@academicfp.com.

The Publisher can be reached via email at: publisher@academicfp.com.

The COPE can be accessed online at www.publicationethics.org.

The mission of Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners is to support and promote the scholarly activities of forensic pathologists (and related professionals), in the global delivery of high quality, timely, and relevant forensic pathology manuscripts to the globe.   Given the central role forensic pathology plays in the criminal and civil justice systems, in public health, and in other circles, we are committed to publishing only thoroughly reviewed, scientifically defensible manuscripts.  As such, the Editorial Officers and the Publisher Staff are committed to following all Journal Editorial Policies, and to embracing the recommendations and guidelines of relevant oversight commissions such as the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) and the Council of Publication Ethics (COPE).

Furthermore, the Journal is responsible to reporting about our ongoing activities to the Journal Committee at the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME); the Editor-in-Chief and the representative of the Publisher make formal presentations to the NAME Executive Committee and Board of Directors twice each year. The NAME Journal Committee Chair, the Editor-in-Chief, and the Publisher all produce written reports on Journal activities twice per year, and distribute those reports to the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.

Finally, the Publisher and NAME created an ad hoc committee – the NAME-AFP Journal Special Task Group – to review and comment on Journal policy and procedure, scholarly content, and website functionality.  The committee, composed of ten (10) individuals, met for the first time in November, 2016 in La Jolla, CA at the Publisher’s corporate offices.  The committee will be meeting twice per year.

Instructions for Authors

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners subscribes to the principles outlined by the “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals” as defined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Additional considerations about manuscript preparation can be obtained from the ICMJE website (http://www.icmje.org).

In General

  1. The style of writing should be American English, with American spelling (e.g., “center” and “esophagus”, not “centre” and “oesophagus”).
  2. If preparing the manuscript in a country that primarily uses a language other than English, it might be useful to utilize a professional translation service to ensure that the manuscript makes use of appropriate style and diction.
  3. All units of measurement should be expressed in metric system units, including body measurements (height and weight) and temperature.
  4. All symbols and abbreviations should conform to the American Medical Association Manual of Style:  A Guide for Authors and Editors.
  5. The Journal generally does not publish bulleted or numbered lists. Please convert these to either paragraph form or present the information in the form of a table, as appropriate.
  6. All manuscripts should be written in Microsoft Word and submitted in native Word format (i.e., not in PDF format).
  7. We strongly recommend use of a citation management software package such as Endnote.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners will only consider manuscripts submitted for peer review through our online submission system ScholarOne (https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/afpj).

Instructions for the proper use of this site are available at the above URL.

Following the descriptions of each article types, the required manuscript sections are listed in parentheses.

Consistency & Cognition
One of the goals of Academic Forensic Pathology is to promote manuscripts that evaluate and promote consistency and an evidence-based approach to the practice of forensic pathology and the concepts that we embrace. This manuscript type applies to those papers that embody this principle. Manuscripts in this category may be review articles or original research. (Abstract, Introduction, Discussion, Conclusion) [Methods and Results sections may be used].

Review Article
Most review articles will be solicited; however, unsolicited review articles are also welcome. A review article should be a balanced review of a particular topic. Review Articles may come to conclusions regarding proposed changes with respect to classification, daily practice, or other conventions in forensic pathology. (Abstract, Introduction, Discussion, Conclusion) [Methods and Results sections may be used].

Original Article
This is the typical unsolicited manuscript. Most consist of reports of original research and analysis of scientific observations. These may be based around short case reports or case series, provided they are accompanied by a thoughtful and critical review of the relevant literature. (Abstract, Introduction, Discussion, Conclusion) [Methods and Results sections may be used].

Methods and Procedures
This type of manuscript describes the results of new technical advances or refinements of existing techniques in the practice of forensic pathology. It may be based around short case reports or case series. (Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Discussion, Conclusion) [Results section may be used].

Case of the Month
In the interest of shifting the primary focus of the Journal away from case reports and toward more novel, original research and critical appraisals of the relevant basic science, medical and pathology literature, the Journal will generally publish one Case of the Month each month of the year (3 per issue, 12 per year). Priority consideration will be given to reports written by pathology residents and forensic pathology fellows. Each case should be presented in detail, be illustrated adequately (if appropriate), and include a thoughtful review of the relevant literature. (Abstract, Introduction, Discussion, Conclusion).

Images in Forensic Pathology
Forensic pathology is a visual profession that lends itself brilliantly toward the creation of high quality, informative images. Sometimes, those images might even be considered artistic. The Journal will generally publish one Image of the Month each month of the year (3 per issue, 12 per year). The image (scene, macro-, micro-, or other photograph) must be accompanied by a short description of the case, the illustrated finding(s), and their significance. (Discussion only).

Editorial
Editorials are accepted by invitation only, and will generally be centered on the theme of a particular issue. They represent an opinion rather than a presentation or review of scientific data, and as such are not peer reviewed.

Letter to the Editor
Letters to the Editor should address a previously published article. The paper being discussed should be identified and cited within the text, with the reference to the original paper included at the end of the letter. Letters to the Editor are not the appropriate format to present new scientific data; these should be submitted as manuscripts. Letters should begin with the text, “To the Editor:”.

Title
The title should accurately and completely summarize the work. Keep in mind that the title is the first thing a reader sees and is usually the deciding factor on whether the reader continues into the abstract. While no specific rules will be enforced, it is generally more effective for the title to simply state the findings rather than pose a question or use flowery references.

Running Title
This is a shortened version of the title which may be used for quick reference during the review process, and which will be printed on the footer of the journal article when published. The running title must be no longer than 40 characters, including spaces.

Key Words
The selection of appropriate key words is important to facilitate appropriate cataloguing of the manuscript and enabling ease of literature searches.

Abstract
The abstract may be structured or unstructured. It must summarize the rationale for the study, the design, the findings, and the conclusion(s). Statements such as “the findings will be discussed” are not appropriate. The abstract must be able to stand on its own, and enable a reader to obtain a complete understanding of the findings and conclusions of the work. Abstracts must be no longer than 250 words. All manuscripts with the exception of “Images in Forensic Pathology” are required to have an abstract.

Introduction
The most important function of the introduction is to explain the purpose of the study. It sets up the problem and justifies why there is a need for the study. It provides a historical background of the problem and summarizes the current state of knowledge in that particular area. Essentially, the introduction is to “set up” the remainder of the manuscript. All manuscripts with the exception of “Images in Forensic Pathology” are required to have an Introduction. 

Methods
Describe how the research was done. This may be as simple as stating that records were retrospectively reviewed for certain criteria during a certain time period, or describing the search strategy used for an Internet search. This section may also be quite complicated, especially if it involves laboratory procedures or advanced statistics. The most important criterion for this section is that it should be complete enough to allow a reader to be able to independently reproduce the study. It is acceptable to use subheadings within this section to organize different topics within the manuscript. Depending on the nature of the article, a Methods section may not be necessary.

Results
The results section should summarize the findings of the study. It should reference and complement data represented in the figures and tables. This section should be limited to an objective description of the findings, without stating opinions or coming to any conclusions. It is acceptable to use subheadings within this section to organize different topics within the manuscript. Depending on the nature of the article, a Results section may not be necessary.

Discussion
The discussion should briefly summarize the findings of the study and then to draw appropriate conclusions and sometimes, give opinions. In a review article, it is the substantive portion of the paper. Two of the most common reasons a manuscript is rejected for publication are 1) that the conclusions are inappropriately drawn from the data presented and 2) that there are other reasonable but differing conclusions that could also be drawn but are either not discussed at all, or that the authors do not argue why their conclusions are more appropriate. It is acceptable to use author-defined subheadings within this section to organize different topics within the manuscript. All manuscripts are required to have a Discussion section.

Conclusion
The conclusion should wrap up the manuscript and summarize the findings of the study. All manuscripts are required to have a Conclusion section.

Acknowledgments
Because readers may infer their endorsement of the data and conclusions, these persons must give written permission to be acknowledged. Once the manuscript has been accepted, the corresponding author will be contacted and asked for email addresses for each person listed in the Acknowledgement section so that the Publisher may contact them.

References
It is important to cite the appropriate source (cite the actual paper rather than a review article that references it). The Journal uses a numbered referencing convention, rather than listing the author’s name and year of publication, in parentheses within the text.  Within the text of the paper, place the reference number in parentheses at standard script height (i.e., not superscripted) at the end of the sentence. The use of referencing programs such as Endnote is preferred.  Please use the National Library of Medicine style of formatting references (this is one of the options in Endnote), available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7256/.

Examples include:

  • Journal article:
    Moritz AR. Classical mistakes in forensic pathology. Am J Clin Pathol. 1956 Dec; 26(12):1383-97.
  • Book:
    Dolinak D, Matshes E, Lew E. Forensic Pathology: Principles & Practice. 1st ed. San Diego: Academic Press; 2005.
  • Chapter in a book:
    Matshes E, Lew E. Forensic osteology. In: Dolinak D, Matshes E, Lew E, editors. Forensic Pathology: Principles and Practice. 1st ed. San Diego: Academic Press; 2005.

Legends
Legends must be included for each drawing or diagram (figures), photograph (images), and table. The only exception to this is in an “Images in Forensic Pathology” paper, in which the image might not require a legend due to the fact that the paper itself is focused on that image.  Include all legends in the manuscript main document, immediately preceding the References section.

Figures
A figure is a drawing or schematic diagram. These will be printed in brilliant full color.

Images
An image is a scene or autopsy photograph, or a photomicrograph. These will also be reproduced in brilliant full color. High resolution, non-formatted TIFF or JPEG files must be uploaded at the time of submission. Identifying features should be removed prior to upload into ScholarOne. Low quality scanned photos or photomicrographs can be improved by submitting original materials directly to the Publisher for scanning. Such a service is only available after your manuscript has been accepted for publication.

Tables
Submit tables in any format desired. If accepted for publication, the data in the table will be redesigned during layout design in a standard format to ensure the consistent appearance of tables throughout the Journal. Upon acceptance of a manuscript, authors may be asked to provide raw data so as to facilitate reproduction of tables and/or figures in a uniform style.

Authors must receive written permission to reproduce copyrighted material in their manuscripts.  Examples include reproduction of figures, table, images, and some types of direct quotes.  If any fees are associated with obtaining consent to reproduce copyrighted materials, those fees are to be paid by the authors. 

Detailed information about manuscript preparation, submission, peer review and the entire editorial and decision-making process are available on this website in various subsections of the Journal Information tab.

If your manuscript is accepted for publication, with rare exceptions, you should expect:

  • Editorial or Publisher Staff may request that custom medical illustrations be prepared to supplement your work; you will have input on the form and content of the illustration(s), and the Publisher will bear all illustration expenses.
  • A PDF proof of your manuscript will be delivered within two (2) weeks of acceptance to the Journal.
  • You will have at least 48 hours to review the proof and to return comments and corrections to the Publisher.
  • Your manuscript will be published in the next issue of the Journal, so long as the proof is accepted for publication at least four (4) weeks prior to publication of that next issue.
Journal Information PDF
ANNOUNCEMENTS

Welcome to Academic Forensic Pathology: The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners

On behalf of the entire Academic Forensic Pathology (AFP) Journal development, management, production and editorial teams, we would like to welcome you to our new website.

Here, you are able to access both “full text” and PDF versions of all our articles (2011 through current).

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Last Modified Date: April 12, 2017