Peer Review Process
Submissions are initially reviewed for compliance to manuscript preparation guidelines. Compliant manuscripts are then assessed by the editor in chief, who makes an initial editorial decision. Some manuscripts are immediately rejected or given feedback directly from the editor. Most submissions are assigned by the editor in chief to one of the associate editors, who then assign and coordinate peer review. A minimum of two peer reviewers are assigned to each compliant submission, and author revisions are typically needed as a result of reviewer comments. Family Medicine uses a single-blind peer review process for all submissions (authors do not know the identity of reviewers, but reviewers do know the identity of authors). When reviewer feedback has been addressed to the satisfaction of the associate editor, the associate editor makes a recommendation to the editor in chief, who makes the final determination regarding publication. Some final revisions may be requested at the time of acceptance by the editor in chief.
Use of Artificial Intelligence
Family Medicine encourages authors to appropriately use technology throughout the research process. Software that uses generative artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) may be used. Family Medicine, however, only allows humans to be listed as authors of original articles. Software programs (eg, ChatGPT) cannot be listed as authors. Human authors must take public responsibility for the scientific integrity and originality of their work. Authors are also responsible for ensuring that their articles are free from plagiarism and bias.
Disclosure of the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning software is required by Family Medicine in certain circumstances:
- When generative artificial intelligence is used to aid in the drafting parts of a manuscript (eg, to generate text, to create tables, to create figures, etc), this must be disclosed in the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript (eg, “The authors used ChatGPT to create Table 1.”)
- When generative artificial intelligence (eg, ChatGPT) is used as part of the analytical methods for an article, authors should clearly state this within the Methods section, and explain steps taken to ensure the validity of those analyses. For example, if ChatGPT was used to transform unstructured data into a more structured format, the authors should describe this process (prompts, preprocessing, postprocessing, validation, etc) as they would any other analytical or statistical procedure.
- When artificial intelligence is used incidentally in other aspects of the research process authors do not need to disclose this fact, unless such use is relevant to the meaning or interpretation of an article. For example, informal use of AI to aid in conducting a literature search for a simple survey project would not require disclosure, but formal use of AI tools to determine which articles to include in a systemic review would require disclosure.
Human Subject Recruitment and Informed Consent
Family Medicine submissions for any study involving human subjects must describe the following:
- Institutional Review Board (IRB) interactions
- Consent processes
- Participation incentives
- Recruitment procedures, description of outreach, etc.
Study subjects’ identifying information should never be included in manuscript text or accompanying materials (eg, figures, tables, appendices) unless it is essential for purpose of the study and the subjects have given written informed consent for publication. In any case where subjects’ identifying information is included in a submission, the corresponding author may be asked to provide documentation of informed consent.
Ethical Responsibilities of Editors and Reviewers
Family Medicine editors and reviewers must not disclose or discuss unpublished materials in a submitted manuscript with anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, or members of the Family Medicine editorial team. Family Medicine reviewers are expected to declare their conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from the peer-review process if a conflict exists for a manuscript they have been invited to review. Reviewers and associate editors are expected and encouraged to notify the editor in chief of suspected plagiarism, duplicate publication, and ethical concerns such as conflicts of interest among authors. Details regarding reviewer expectations and duties are outlined on this page: https://journals.stfm.org/familymedicine/reviewers/
Corrections, Retractions, and Expressions of Concern
If a substantive error is identified in a published article, the editor in chief and associate editors will decide whether to publish a formal correction, retraction, or expression of concern statement, or initiate a published discussion via letters to the editor. Substantive errors are confirmed errors that significantly affect the integrity of the publication or the interpretation of its results (eg, falsified, fabricated, or omitted data; plagiarism; undisclosed conflicts of interest). In such rare cases, a new document will be published in Family Medicine describing the nature of the error, and will provide a link back to the published article containing the error. A prominent corresponding link to the error statement will be added to the article containing the error. In the rare event of a retraction, a prominent mark and statement will be added to the the published article identifying it as retracted, in addition to the link to the editorial retraction statement. For errors that are disputed or pending further investigation, the Family Medicine editors reserve the right to determine whether they will be handled by a series of letters to the editor and subsequent author replies, or by the publication of an expression of concern letter, linked to the article in question in the same manner as corrections/retractions.
Copyright and Permissions
Prior to publication, all authors are required to sign a copyright release form, transferring copyright to the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM).
Unless otherwise noted, all Family Medicine content is copyrighted by STFM, and may not be reproduced without the written permission of STFM. If you would like to reproduce, reprint, or adapt material from Family Medicine for purposes other than nonprofit educational purposes, you must seek permission from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. A permission fee is charged when material is to be used in another form of publication (eg, newsletter, textbook, manual, journal/magazine, etc). The fee will be determined once request has been reviewed.
Family Medicine does accept advertisements for its journal, Family Medicine, according to STFM advertising principles.
These advertising principles are applied by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) to ensure adherence to the highest ethical standards of advertising and to determine the eligibility of products and services for advertising in the STFM digital publications. Advertising revenue is used to support the activities of STFM.
As a matter of policy, the STFM will sell advertising space in its publications when the inclusion of advertising does not interfere with the mission or objectives of STFM or its publications. To maintain the integrity of STFM publications, advertising (ie, promotional material, advertising representatives, companies, or manufacturers) cannot influence editorial decisions or editorial content. Decisions to sell advertising space are made independently of and without information pertinent to specific editorial content. STFM publications’ advertising sales representatives have no prior knowledge of specific editorial content before it is published. Placement of advertising adjacent to (ie, next to or within) editorial content on the same topic is prohibited. Complete policy details, including a list of advertising types that are and are not acceptable, can be found here (pdf).