Publishing Biomedical Research: What Rules Should You Follow?

Medical research is key to advancement in healthcare and is often used to develop and test enhanced treatments for diseases. It is usually classified as primary or secondary research, of which the former comprises laboratory-based research, clinical research, and epidemiological research.

It is evident that publishing research in biomedical/medical journals has significant impact and practical applications. For this reason, they must meet certain predetermined standards for publication.

The most widely used benchmark for publications in biomedical journals is a set of recommendations published by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), commonly known as the uniform requirements.

Besides improving the quality of publications in the sphere of biomedical research, these requirements aim to enhance the clarity of the data and results that are about to be submitted for publication. They also provide specific guidelines for writing and editing a biomedical manuscript.

Researchers planning to submit their work to any journal that has adopted the uniform requirements should have a basic idea of what these guidelines deal with.


Roles and responsibilities of the journal owners, editors, and authors

The uniform requirements offer broad definitions of stakeholders’ roles in the publishing process. Moreover, they list ethical responsibilities of stakeholders. For instance, authors must declare their financial relationships that may profit from the research results. Similarly, reviewers and journal owners have to voluntarily withdraw from the publishing process if they have any personal relationships with the authors.

Finally, the requirements define the rights of participants in biomedical research, like the right to informed consent.


The uniform requirements stipulate specific courses of action that a publisher needs to take if they discover a case of scientific misconduct. They also include guidelines for retracting papers, managing copyrights, and collecting publication fees. In addition, the document provides guidelines for the preregistration of clinical trials and sharing of data after publication.


Guidelines for preparation and submission of manuscripts

For a researcher, the most important requirements are those connected with preparing and submitting manuscripts.

According to the uniform requirements, following the “IMRAD” structure, short for Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion, is essential during manuscript preparation. Separating the manuscript into the above sections organizes the contents into a coherent and accessible form for editors, reviewers and peers.

The uniform requirements also recommend following certain protocols during reporting of the study results, depending on the type of study.

When sending the manuscript to a publisher, a cover letter or a completed journal submission form should accompany it. The cover letter or form must include all relevant information regarding the study, including funding information, conflicts of interest, and contact information.

Being mindful of the uniform requirements while writing and submitting your manuscript can help save time and improve your chances of acceptance.