Instructions for Authors

Specific instructions and guidelines for submitting eGEMs articles are outlined below. Please use this document as a resource to help you decide whether eGEMs is the right journal for your work, and also to learn more about suggested paper types, and eGEMs' formatting and production requirements.

Submitted articles that do not follow these instructions and guidelines are more likely to be rejected or to require major revisions before being sent on for peer review. Questions and comments are welcome at . The following sections outline the submission process-from the point of deciding whether to submit to eGEMs, to the production considerations for accepted manuscripts.

  1. What's Unique about eGEMs?
  2. Submission Types
  3. Policies
  4. Tips for a Successful eGEMs Submission
  5. Submitting Your Manuscript
  6. Editorial and Review Process
    Appendix A: eGEMs Submission Types
    Appendix B: Required Fields for eGEMs Submissions

I. What's Unique About eGEMs?

eGEMs was created to publish and rapidly disseminate innovative methods, strategies, and "lessons learned" using electronic health data for comparative effectiveness research (CER), patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR), and quality improvement (QI). All eGEMs submissions undergo a rigorous, double-blind peer-review before publication and are published upon acceptance.

eGEMs submissions must discuss uses or potential uses of electronic health data (electronic health record data, electronic patient-reported outcomes data, mobile health, data initially generated for clinical purposes, etc.) and must be relevant to CER, PCOR, QI, or the learning health system. The journal's audience includes government officials, payers, industry, delivery systems, patients and consumers, policymakers, and researchers.

Authors published in eGEMs, and other journals hosted by bepress, receive a monthly update via email informing them of the monthly downloads of their publications.

For more information about the journal, please see the About eGEMs page of the EDM Forum's website.

eGEMs is currently fully available through the NIH National Library of Medicine's (NLM) PubMed Central® and is searchable in PubMed. eGEMs is also indexed in Google Scholar, Bing, the Directory of Open Access Journals, EBSCOhost,  and is included in the NLM Catalog.

Who can Submit?

Anyone may submit work to be considered for publication in eGEMs provided the author owns the copyright to the work being submitted or is authorized by the copyright owner or owners to submit the article. Authors are the initial owners of the copyrights to their works (an exception to this in the nonacademic world might exist if the authors have, as a condition of employment, agreed to transfer copyright to their employer).

{ Top }

II. Submission Types

Authors may submit any one of the following seven submission types for consideration. Please refer to Table A1 for additional information about each submission type.

  • Case Study
  • Comparative Case Study
  • Review
  • Commentary or Editorial
  • Model/Framework
  • Empirical Research
  • Protocol

If the author has questions about which submission type is appropriate, the author should contact eGEMs editorial staff by emailing .

Visualizations and media submissions should be submitted under of the seven types listed above and should be accompanied by a description (minimum one-page) of the work and how it is useful to the community.

eGEMs is open to publishing other submission formats provided they are appropriate and relevant to the scope of eGEMs and if the file format can be supported by the Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress) platform. Authors who are interested in submitting materials not currently listed in the submission types are encouraged to contact editorial staff.

Word, Figure, and Table Maximums

Full-length manuscripts, including text and any notes, should be no longer than 5,000 words (abstract, references, tables, and figures are not included in this word count). Commentaries and editorials should not exceed 2,500 words. Short, well-crafted manuscripts that coherently cover all the necessary points typically score better with reviewers than manuscripts that are overly long and difficult to follow.

Abstracts* for all manuscripts should follow the organizational structure of the manuscript and should be no longer than 250 words. The number of tables and figures should not exceed five (this does not include figures, tables, and data sets uploaded as supplemental material).

Manuscripts that exceed these word limits or include more than five figures and tables may be considered if there is compelling justification for their inclusion in the paper. Please include any request to waive these maximums in your cover letter at the time of submission. If you have additional questions regarding word limits or limits to figures and tables, please contact the Editors at edmforum@academyhealth.org.

{ Top }

III. Policies

The eGEMs journal conforms to the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (ICMJE). For a comprehensive list of eGEMs journal policies, please visit: http://repository.academyhealth.org/egems/policies.html.

By submitting to eGEMs, authors agree to be subscribed to the EDM Forum's free monthly newsletter-to ensure receipt of updates on eGEMs' policies and new publications. Authors may opt out of receiving this newsletter at any time.

All work published in eGEMs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

{ Top }

IV. Tips for a Successful eGEMs Submission

To ensure an efficient review process and to maximize the likelihood of a positive review, the editors recommend the following:

  • Lead by explaining why. Papers should explain the innovation or approach to addressing shared challenges in a way that would make sense to people using or considering using electronic health data for research and quality improvement. Convey as specifically as possible why the work is innovative and how it has potential to advance knowledge and practice.
  • Clearly articulate what researchers and stakeholders can learn from the manuscript. Focus on generalizable lessons learned, both successes and failures. Invite dialogue and participation-suggest specific ways such dialogue can be encouraged with the eGEMs format that differs from usual print journals.
  • Show evidence that the proposed approach works as promised. For example, explain how bias is treated; highlight the internal and external validity of methods and results; and describe if there are certain situations in which the approach is likely to work better or worse.
  • Discuss the limitations of your innovation or approach. Explain how and what limitations may affect the generalizability of your findings, and future research. How could your innovation or approach be evaluated further in your own setting? How could it be evaluated further in other environments?
  • Invite dialogue and participation in developing new approaches. Suggest specific ways in which the community may generate solutions and approaches.
{ Top }

V. Submitting Your Manuscript

All manuscripts must be blinded, excluding author name and affiliations. Submissions must conform to eGEMs' style guide.

Please follow these steps to submit your work:

  1. From the eGEMs homepage, click the Submit link on the right-hand navigation bar. You will be prompted to log in with an email address and password. If this is your first time accessing the system, you will need to create an account using your email address and password.
  2. Once you have logged in or created your account, read and review the submission instructions. Then, click Continue.
  3. The Submission Agreement appears next. Please review the guidelines, then click Accept to continue.
  4. Enter your contact information. First name, last name, and institutional information are required, but other contact information may be entered as well. Then, click Continue.
  5. Enter information for co-authors, if applicable, by entering the co-author's email address and clicking Add Author. Then, click Continue.
  6. Complete all required and applicable fields on the submission form (Appendix B). Make sure to upload your primary submission file (i.e., your manuscript or other document for review) and provide a cover letter to the editor.

Formatting Requirements

eGEMs' Manuscript Preparation Guidelines provide further details about how to format manuscripts for submission. Note, abstracts should follow the structure of the respective submission type.


Along with relevant keywords used in the field, eGEMs encourages authors to include keywords that align with major MeSH headings used by the National Library of Medicine. In particular, authors are asked to include MeSH headings that may not appear in either the manuscript title or the abstract. This will ensure the most accurate search results for readers who use the PubMed and PubMed Central databases. The use of acronyms as keywords is discouraged since these can be ambiguous in search results.

Below is a list of recommended MeSH keywords that will likely apply to eGEMs articles; however, selecting terms from this list is not required.

  • Electronic Health Records
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Health Care Reform
  • Quality Improvement
  • Organizational Innovation
{ Top }

VI. Editorial and Review Process

All correspondence regarding the receipt of a manuscript, as well as registered decisions, will be provided to the corresponding author and other authors listed in the bepress system. If at any time authors have questions about the status of a manuscript, please contact edmforum@academyhealth.org.

The four steps of the editorial and review process are outlined below. At each step, the junctures at which authors will be notified or contacted for feedback or revision are indicated.

Initial Editorial Review

  • Once a manuscript is submitted to the bepress system the authors are notified of receipt.
  • The submission will promptly undergo initial review by editorial staff to ensure all required elements and formatting have been met. An eGEMs Senior Editor will then evaluate relevance to the scope of the journal and overall structure prior to formal peer review.
  • Editorial staff aims for a five-day period to reach an initial editorial decision to reject or to send for peer review.

External Peer Review

  • Submissions undergo external peer review subsequent to a successful editorial review. If staff is experiencing difficulty identifying or committing reviewers, we will contact the authors to request suggestions for additional peer reviewers.
  • Submissions undergo double-blind peer review by two independent reviewers. eGEMs manuscripts are evaluated on the following three criteria using a five-point scale:
    1. Usefulness: The submission is useful and advances the science of CER, PCOR, and QI by clearly articulating a reasonable approach or method to collecting, analyzing, disseminating, or using electronic health data, or for how to overcome a challenge or barrier.
    2. Credibility: The submission is credible in that the data, reasoning, and references are sufficient to substantiate the conclusions and recommendations offered.
    3. Innovation: The submission proposes innovative strategies or approaches to addressing a key issue, challenge, or barrier.

Responding to Reviews and Submitting Revisions

Subsequent to peer review, all authors receive an email with reviewer comments and one of the following decisions:

  • Accept;
  • Accept, with a request for minor revisions;
  • Major revisions required; or
  • Reject.

In some cases the editor may request revisions prior to peer review or may reject a paper and invite a resubmission with guidance on strengthening the manuscript.

Instructions on how to submit the revised manuscript will be provided at the bottom of the decision letter. If authors are instructed to make minor or major revisions, authors should make edits in tracked changes in the manuscript and provide a point-by-point response to the reviewer comments in a cover letter to the editor. Both the revised manuscript and cover letter should be submitted through the website. Authors will have two weeks to complete minor revisions and three weeks to complete major revisions.

Accepted Papers and Publication

  • The eGEMs editorial staff will notify all authors when a manuscript has been accepted for publication.
  • Once a paper is accepted it will be sent to the copy editor. Authors will have 48 hours to review and approve the copy edits prior to production for the journal's website.
  • Once a submission is published the authors will receive a bepress notification that includes a link to access the manuscript online.
  • Bepress provides email updates on monthly downloads to authors of papers published in eGEMs.
{ Top }

Appendix A: eGEMs Submission Types

Table A1: The seven specific submission types; and recommended formats, content, and headers.

Case Study Case studies cite specific details of the particular interventions or other research experiences.
"Journey" papers that describe the development of an innovative or novel approach are also appropriate for this type of submission.
  • Whenever possible, the manuscript should provide sufficient context about the authors' experience and recommendations.
  • Lessons learned should be highlighted, and potentially generalizable lessons should be emphasized.
  • In journey papers, the chronology of events should be clear.
  • Context
  • Case description (the implementation process or intervention)
  • Findings
  • Major themes
  • Conclusion
Comparative Case Study Comparative Case studies clearly articulate key questions, considerations, or alternatives for comparison, and they discuss these options in a structured, comparative format.
  • Authors are encouraged to organize the cases by major themes, or "lessons learned," and to compare examples from each case by theme.
  • Introduction
  • Case descriptions and variation among sites
  • Findings organized by comparative themes
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion (or Next Steps)
Review Reviews may be one of the following four submission types and should be clearly identified as focusing on one of the following areas:         
  • Methods Reviews contain an assessment of established methods or applications.
  • Infrastructure or Architecture Reviews provide an overview or logic of a given platform, governance structure, etc.
  • Policy/Governance Reviews provide an assessment of existing policy or governance structures.
  • Systematic Literature Reviews provide a synthesis of the literature on a specific topic. They will follow the traditional format of a systematic literature review.
  • Authors should clearly identify parts of the method, application, policy, or governance; its potential for uses in other settings; and any improvements upon the current method.
  • Readers should be able to understand how to apply the method in other settings or for related questions. Overviews should begin broadly and gradually work down to specific examples.
  • Authors are encouraged to use visualizations, graphics, and tables to clearly explain and describe the structure or platform.
  • Use of meta-analytic techniques is also welcome for literature review submissions.
  • Introduction
  • Description of current methods, applications, or infrastructure
  • Pros and cons of current methods, applications, or infrastructure
  • Suggestions for future use or implementation
  • Conclusion

Systematic reviews may follow a more traditional format such as:

  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
*Commentary or Editorial Commentaries present perspectives on a relevant issue. Commentaries also include critiques and discussion of relevant topics. Opinions should be supported by data to add credibility to the argument.
Editorials are authored by editorial staff and/or senior editors to discuss a timely topic of high interest to policy, business, or research. Editorials are also authored by guest editors to contextualize and synthesize work from a collection of papers or to introduce a special issue.
Editorials may also include interviews with leaders in the field. They detail current projects, best practices, and future projects or collaborations.
  • Commentaries and Editorials should be differentiated from Methods Reviews through clear selection of a relevant issue, rather than methods or applications.
  • The introduction of each commentary should clearly articulate an opinion on the primary issue addressed in the commentary.
  • Commentaries should not exceed 1,200 words.
  • Introduction
  • Facts and evidence for the argument
  • Suggestions for the Future (or Next Steps)
*Model/Framework For submissions to eGEMs, the terms "model" and "framework" are synonymous and may be one of two types.
Conceptual frameworks present a new (potentially interactive) representation of major lessons learned, framing the relationship of components or considerations for the field in a compact yet coherent way. Each framework should be accompanied by sufficient text to enhance understanding of key components.
Process models or frameworks should clearly outline process innovations and explain how to implement new processes.
  • A table or figure must be included in order for a paper to present a model or framework. The text of the paper should reflect the components of the figure or framework
  • Framework papers should draw upon a sufficient number of cases or experiences to lend credibility to the recommendations and to demonstrate that the framework is potentially generalizable.
  • If the "sample frame" is limited, include enough information about the settings so readers can think about the applicability of the data and findings to their own situation.
  • Introduction (or Problem Statement)
  • Table or Figure
  • Brief description of major components (organized by components of the framework)
  • Conclusion and Next Steps
Empirical Research Empirical Research reports findings based on actual observational or experimental studies, including evaluations. Quantitative studies demonstrate results or outcomes that can be quantified numerically. Qualitative studies may rely on text analysis, interviews, or focus groups. Mixed methods blend qualitative and quantitative results.
eGEMs papers in the Methods domain that are tagged as Empirical Research are studies to test or validate new methods.
  • Authors should clearly state the main result of any empirical research.
  • All empirical research submissions should indicate hypotheses, relevant, previous research/ literature, methods, and implications of the results.
  • Methods should be described with the goal of promoting the transparency and reproducibility of the research.
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
Protocol Protocols are a predefined, written procedural method for the design and implementation of studies using electronic health data.
Protocols are published to promote dissemination and discussion of innovative study designs using electronic health data.
Depending on the maturity of the project, protocols should either highlight innovative aspects of the study design or other features of the study that the authors are evaluating, or should share lessons learned based on implementing the protocol.
  • Submissions should explain why the protocol is innovative and potentially generalizable, and should clearly describe key aspects of the study design in sufficient detail so that other investigators could replicate the approach.
  • Protocols must be final and should not be under development at the time of submission.
  • Sample Code or other tools may be submitted as appendices.
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Ethical Considerations
  • Discussion
  • Next Steps

Note: *Submissions with a limited basis of empirical results should be framed as commentaries or frameworks to guide future research. These papers should offer a set of recommendations or describe new approaches or strategies. Examples of alternative formats include the following:

  • Structuring papers around a data visualization or a conceptual model, and organizing sections of the paper according to the model (for example, see Holve, 2013); or
  • Structuring the paper in a format more consistent with policy analysis, where a review and comparison of programmatic or scientific options and alternatives is the organizing framework (for example, see Marsolo, 2013; Wilcox, 2013; Schilling et al., 2013).

{ Top }

Appendix B: Required Fields for eGEMs Submissions

The eGEMs submission form includes the following required fields:

  • Title is the paper title.
  • Submission Type reflects the content presented in the submission as well as the corresponding structure and format.
  • Issue Type indicates if the submission is part of the general issue or a special issue.
  • Thematic Domain that the submission relates to includes: analytic methods, clinical informatics, governance, or the learning health system.
  • Keywords (at least three) describe the submission content.
  • Structured Abstract follows the structure of submission type outlined in Table A1 above.
  • Acknowledgementsof funders and collaborators must always be included in the submission form and in the text. If the work was not supported by funding, the authors should provide a clearly worded disclaimer in the acknowledgements section.
  • Cover Lettermust accompany the submission. The cover letter may be either pasted into the given text box provided or uploaded as another file. Please provide a clear statement of purpose, usefulness, and innovation.
  • Suggested Reviewers (at least three) are potential reviewers with the appropriate expertise but no apparent or real conflicts of interest. There is no guarantee that suggested reviewers will be used.
{ Top }