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FPM publishes articles offering advice based on practical experience and on special knowledge or expertise. We don't normally publish formal review articles or research. While we prefer articles that reflect expert opinion or broad practice experience, we do occasionally publish first-person accounts or case studies when they are likely to have practical application for readers. The test of a manuscript we are considering will always be whether it is immediately useful to the family physicians who read FPM.
To get the best possible sense of what an FPM article is like, browse back issues of the journal. See FPM's Editorial Mission and Policies for more information. If you have an idea for an article, we would encourage you to contact us to make sure it suits FPM's needs and that we haven't recently accepted an article on the same topic (see "Getting in Touch with FPM").
In keeping with the informal approach of FPM, we encourage authors to use a reasonably informal, conversational writing style rather than "journalese." But don't worry too much about style. Our editors are experts at making articles as readable and accessible as possible.
Most FPM articles are written by family physicians, although we also welcome submissions from practice administrators, practice management consultants, health care attorneys, and other subject matter experts, as well as physicians in other specialties. Freelance writers are rarely used and work only on assignment.
What FPM is About
Submitting a Manuscript
We try to keep FPM articles short -- say, 2,000 to 3,000 words at most. That's about eight to 12 pages, double-spaced. If your manuscript includes a number of illustrations, graphs or tables, try to keep the manuscript text even shorter to compensate for the space these elements take up. We are also happy to have very short articles -- in the neighborhood of 750 to 1,500 words -- especially on reimbursement issues, information technology and clinical quality improvement. Finally, we welcome 750-word contributions to our one-page "Last Word" department. These brief pieces may be thoughtful reflections on medicine or light humor.
Nine Points to Keep in Mind
- The goal of FPM is to give family physicians the tools and information they need to build rewarding practices and improve patient care.
- We're looking for articles that give advice based on the experience and expertise of family physicians, practice management consultants and others.
- If possible, talk with the editors before beginning work on a manuscript for FPM.
- Our articles are informal and conversational. We keep references to a minimum.
- We welcome manuscripts in any format, but we prefer electronic files.
- FPM articles should be no longer than 3,000 words -- shorter if they also include several graphs, tables or illustrations.
- We will ask you to give the AAFP copyright to your article if we publish it.
- FPM articles go through internal review, peer review and, if accepted, three editing stages. We ask authors to approve all substantive edits.
- We try to make the process easy, while helping you produce the best article you can.
Contact information. Make sure the title page includes each author's name with highest academic degree and institutional affiliation, as well as contact information for the author responsible for correspondence about the manuscript. The more contact information you include, the better.
Credentials. With each article we publish, we include brief statements of the authors' current professional responsibilities. Please include no more than a sentence or two for each author.
References. Please keep references to a minimum. FPM is deliberately informal; it is a practical journal rather than a research journal. Supply references only when you quote from or refer directly to a publication or when you wish to support a statement that you believe readers are likely to question.
Graphs, tables and illustrations. We encourage authors to think about illustrations and graphic displays of data. Where we see the need, we are available to help authors create or refine graphs and artwork to illustrate articles we publish.
As a rule, we want tables, graphs and illustrations that build on information provided in the body of the article rather than duplicate it. They should be understandable on their own, not dependent on the article for explanation. If you supply illustrations, please include descriptive material that can be used in a caption. We're happy to have video or photos for publication, although we may decline to use those that are not sharp, well-lit, interesting or useful. Please include signed photo releases from the individuals depicted. (We can supply photo-release forms to use.)
On request, we will return original artwork and photographs submitted with manuscripts, although for manuscripts we accept we will normally need to hold onto these items until the article is published.
Copyright and Related Issues
Before we make a decision about whether to accept your manuscript for publication, we will need you and your co-authors to complete a release form transferring copyright of the article to the AAFP and a conflict of interest disclosure. Both forms are included in a single PDF (3-page PDF file; About PDFs). Please print and complete these forms and fax them to FPM at the same time you submit your manuscript (see "Getting in Touch with FPM").
Review and Editing
Getting in Touch with FPM
Telephone: 800-274-2237, ext. 5119
Mail: 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy. Leawood, KS 66211-2672
If your manuscript is accepted, it will go through three editing stages: a substantive edit, a light "polishing" edit and a review for correctness. Some manuscripts are edited heavily in the first stage, and we sometimes ask authors to fill gaps in their presentation at that point. We will ask you to review and approve all substantive changes. Once the content is essentially final, we won't ask you to review subsequent versions of the article. Time from acceptance to publication varies, but you should expect it to take several months.
If you think you have an FPM article in you, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We will make the manuscript preparation process as painless as possible, and you will have a chance to be published in the practice management journal of the AAFP and to help more than 140,000 family physicians.