Guidelines for Manuscript Preparation and Submission

The NCI Cohort Consortium Steering Committee has compiled the following document to help guide working groups on an authorship plan. We recommend each working group discuss and agree upon authorship plans at the beginning of collaborations. We also recommend each working group follow the ICMJE authorship guidelinesExternal Web Site Policy.

Project group leaders are encouraged to share, discuss, refine and agree on authorship guidelines with their members early on in their project meeting discussions to ensure expectations are aligned and can be met.

Project groups are encouraged to create a master file of study contacts, authors, acknowledgements and funding for your project group, as well as a process for individual studies to update details. We have included an example from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (see Excel file template for author and study details [XLSX - 52 KB]) that can be used in conjunction with EndNote (see EndNote instructions [PDF - 708 KB]). The first worksheet would include the current list of Study Contacts. This might be the PI, the lead investigator for the working group in question, or an administrative contact. The Study Contact is responsible (on behalf of the study) for correspondence for manuscripts.

Prior to submission:

  1. Check to make sure you have the most recent version of the master file for your working group/project.

  2. In addition to the writing group for a given paper, we recommend you select and include as authors on the manuscript the first N people (to be determined by the working group) from each applicable study. Authors not part of the writing group are recommended to be listed in alphabetical order (of family name) in the middle of the author list or an alternative strategy agreed upon by the working group. All listed affiliations should be included for each author.

  3. Include in the manuscript Acknowledgements and Funding from relevant studies. You may wish to add standard text as additional worksheets in the master file. Note that the NCI Cohort Consortium requires that any consortium project acknowledge the consortium in all publications, by including it in either the title (e.g., "Study title: a study within the NCI Cohort Consortium") or in the acknowledgment section of the publication (e.g., "This pooling study was a coordinated effort of the NCI Cohort Consortium" or "The data used for this study were contributed by the NCI Cohort Consortium").

  4. Also include any conflicts of interest listed for included authors (column U of first worksheet)

  5. Note that: [project groups to specify here any special requirements by individual studies regarding internal review of a manuscript prior to submission (e.g., approval by a review panel)].

  6. Email to Study Contacts only (identified using the list in i.) the draft manuscript and the Excel file (with selected authors highlighted). We recommend giving them at least 2 weeks to reply. We recommend not including all authors on this email, just the Study Contact (who may not be a listed author), given that the authorship list may vary between papers. Please consider adding extra time allowed if the period includes an NCI Cohort Consortium meeting, a major holiday, or the end of the year.

    In this email, we recommend you ask Study Contacts to:

    1. Check authors, affiliations, acknowledgements, funding, and conflicts of interest from their study and change these as appropriate
    2. Forward the manuscript to all authors from their study
    3. Send comments on the manuscript (including any corrections to authors, affiliations, acknowledgements, funding, or conflicts of interest) on behalf of all authors from their study
    4. Identify whether there are publication requirements from the funding body for their study and provide details of requirements (e.g., paper should be deposited in PubMed Central)
  7. Study Contacts should reply within the agreed upon timeframe, on behalf of their study, with:

    • Comments on manuscript from all authors
    • Any changes to authorship (names, affiliations)
    • Any changes to acknowledgements, funding, or conflicts of interest
    • Any additional conflicts of interest for any authors from their study
  8. Authors who are not part of the writing group, but who, through their feedback on the first circulated draft, make more substantial contributions to the final version, may be moved to the front or back of the author list.

  9. If a Study Contact does not reply within the agreed upon timeframe, it can be assumed that the authorship, affiliations, acknowledgements, funding, and conflicts of interest sections are correct for their study.

  10. A final draft (including all authors, affiliations, and the acknowledgement, funding, and conflicts of interest sections) should be sent to all authors 1 week prior to submission.

  11. Submitted version should be circulated to all authors on (or soon after) submission

Following submission:

  1. All authors should be informed by email of:

    • rejection of the paper and plans to resubmit
    • review of the paper (when received)
    • requests from the journal for action from co-authors (emails from journals sometimes go straight to junk mail for some people and so if you see that all authors have been emailed, forward this on to all authors, just to be sure they get it)
    • revised versions and response to reviewers' comments (1 week prior to their submission), with option to give feedback
    • acceptance of the paper
    • plans to publicise publication widely (e.g., press releases)
      • If press releases are planned, please be sure to notify Dr. Rachel Hanisch, Executive Director of the NCI Cohort Consortium
    • publication of the paper
  2. Corresponding author should complete publication requirements (e.g., PubMed Central deposit) based on feedback in vi. d) and either:

    • Request that the journal deposit the paper directly (if an option)
    • Complete submission themselves or designate a Study Contact to complete submission with the final, accepted version of the manuscript