Editorial and Operating Policies

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JACC Journals’ operating policies effective June 2018.



The Journals of the American College of Cardiology are the official peer-reviewed publications of the American College of Cardiology (ACC). The decisions of the Journal editors and their respective boards are made independent of the ACC, its publishing partner, or commercial interests. The ACC Publication & Education Coordination Committee, which reports into the ACC Board of Trustee and the ACC Compensation Committee, maintains oversight the Journals, and has approved these operating policies, which are proposed by the JACC Journals Editors in Chief. The JACC Journals Editors in Chief are responsible for the selection and management of their respective boards.

A. Conflicts of Interest

The Editors-in-Chief, Executive Editors, Deputy Editors and Associate Editors must disclose any relevant relationships with industry (RWI) or potential conflicts, and update those RWI on an annual basis within the ACC database.

JACC Journals’ Editorial Board members should not have overlapping decision-making roles in peer-reviewed cardiovascular journals not published by the American College of Cardiology. Within the JACC Journals, decision-making roles include Editor-in-Chief, Executive, Deputy and Associate Editor(s). Overlapping is specifically defined as overlapping content of a particular journal (e.g., a JACC Journal Associate Editor may not serve in the comparable role for another journal that publishes manuscripts in the same specialty area). If content overlap is not immediately apparent by the journal’s title and scope, responsibility and oversight resides with the overseeing JACC Journal Editor-in-Chief who must provide written justification to the ACC Scientific Publications Committee documenting absence of overlap in relevant cases.

B. Guest Editors

Guest Editors’ editorial decisions are expected to be made without any influence by the internal JACC boards. JACC journals’ papers are placed in the Guest Editor process if:

  • The paper contains an author who serves as an Editor-in-Chief, Deputy/Executive, or Associate Editor on that board.
  • The paper contains an author from the Editor-in-Chief’s institution
  • The paper contains an author from an institution wherein the majority of Associate Editors practice/work.
  • The paper contains an author who is a JACC journals’ Editor-in-Chief

If required, these papers must also undergo a statistical review by a Guest Statistical Editor.

C. Plagiarism

If a reviewer or editor raises a concern about plagiarism, that person should be informed that the Journal editors will perform an investigation. The paper will undergo a review with the CrossCheck software, followed by or accompanied by an editor’s comparative review. Following those steps, the paper should be brought for discussion to the editorial board for a consensus decision.

If clear plagiarism is identified (i.e., not paraphrasing/copying of short phrases only without attribution or redundancy, wherein there is copying from the author’s own work), wherein there is unattributed use of large portions of text and/or data, presented as if they were by the author, the first step is to contact the author. (The editors also may want to contact the author if minor copying is identified in neutral terms/expressing disappointment and explaining the Journal’s position to ask author to rephrase copied phrases or include as direct quotations with references.)

When contacting the corresponding author in writing, the JACC editors should enclose a signed authorship statement (or cover letter) stating that the submitted work is original/the author’s own, as well as documentary evidence of plagiarism. Depending on the author’s response or lack thereof, the editors can determine whether or not to contact the co-authors or formally contact the corresponding author’s institution. If the decision is to contact corresponding author’s institution, the JACC journals’ ethics committee should be informed, if not prior to that decision.

(Adapted from Committee on Publication Ethics [COPE])

D. Corrections & Retractions

Four types of corrections are published for significant errors of the JACC journals at the discretion of the editors.

  • Erratum. Notification of an important error made by the journal, usually related to the data, which affects the publication record or the scientific integrity of the paper, or the reputation of the authors, or of the Journal. The corresponding author will be notified if any erratum were to be issued, without his/her initial involvement. Errata will be updated with a notification on JACC.org, Science Direct, and PubMed.
  • Corrigendum. Notification of an important error made by the author(s), usually related to the data, which affects the publication record or the scientific integrity of the paper, or the reputation of the authors or the Journal. The corresponding author will be notified if any corrigenda were to be issued, without his/her initial involvement. In cases where coauthors disagree, the editors will decide whether an additional review is necessary by the editorial board or by an independent peer reviewer to impose the appropriate amendment, noting the dissenting author(s) in the text of the published version. Corrigenda will be updated with a notification on JACC.org, Science Direct, and PubMed.
  • Correction. Online corrections occur with information that does not impact the publication record or the scientific integrity of the paper, or the reputation of the authors or the journal. The corresponding author will be notified if any erratum were to be issued, without his/her initial involvement. Typically, corrections are made online when the authors have submitted name or institution inaccurately. Online corrections will be updated on JACC.org and Science Direct, but will not be updated on PubMed.
  • Retraction. Publication of invalid results or circumstances in which the Editor determines that that the paper requires a formal retraction in the record. However, the Editor will notify ACC leadership/General Counsel early in the retraction consideration process. The Editor will determine whether the manuscript removes discoverable by the public, or if the retraction notice should stand in its place. The corresponding author will be notified if any retraction were to be issued, without his/her initial involvement. In cases where coauthors disagree, the editors will decide whether an additional review is necessary by the editorial board or by an independent peer reviewer to impose the appropriate amendment, noting the dissenting author(s) in the text of the published version. Retractions will be updated with a notification on JACC.org, Science Direct, and PubMed.

(Adapted from Nature & Elsevier policies)

E. Preprint Server Policy

Public dissemination of manuscripts prior to, simultaneous with, or following submission to this journal, such as posting the manuscript on preprint servers or other repositories, is discouraged. We ask that authors disclose this information during the submission process, as the JACC Journals will not accept submissions that have previously posted on a preprint server.

F. Statistical Reviews

JACC journals’ original research papers (not review articles) are typically sent for statistical review after a paper is provisionally accepted. However, if an editor believes that a statistical review is necessary to determine if the paper should be accepted, the statistician should be invited as a reviewer on the paper. The scope of the statistical review should be related to the methodological application and outcomes, not necessarily the clinical findings of the study.

G. Social Media

The JACC journals staff maintains 2 social media platforms: JACC Journals Facebook page and the @JACCjournals Twitter page. Content is created by the JACC social media editors, who are editorial board members and not ACC staff, to ensure clinical and scientific accuracy. The content follows the ACC Guidelines for Social Media, as well as the JACC Journals Best Practices. The ACC staff posts the content and manages the platforms.

H. Transfer Offers Between the JACC Journals

If a JACC journals’ Editor-in-Chief and/or the board determines that a manuscript is better suited for a sister journal, the sister journal EiC is first consulted to see if a transfer is warranted. If it is determined, that the paper is not suitable for a transfer offer, the paper is issued a rejection. If the sister journal EiC determines they would welcome the transfer, they must declare what type of transfer they would like to offer the authors. Once the transfer offer is issued, the authors make the determination about whether or not to accept the transfer offer.

If a paper that one board would like to transfer to contains an author that has a potential conflict to the sister journal board (e.g., an author on a paper is a member of the sister journal’s editorial board), then the sister journal’s Guest Editor-in-Chief makes the determination about whether or not the paper should be offered a transfer. Likewise, a Guest Editor-in-Chief will offer a paper to a sister journal, if a paper is deemed a rejection for the journal.

I. Appeals

Any decision by the JACC journals can be appealed by the author. The Editor in Chief and/or the Associate Editors can determine whether or not to accept the appeal. Accepting an appeal is not accepting the paper—it is agreeing to review the paper again with same or new reviewers. The Editors also may request a revised version of the manuscript, before it begins the appeals process.

J. Peer Review

Please refer to complete COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers: https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines-new/cope-ethical-guidelines-peer-reviewers

K. ACC Council (or Section) Perspectives

The American College of Cardiology Committees and Councils are being encouraged to collectively author clinical perspective papers, the topics of which should be vetted through the JACC journals’ Editors-in-Chief before the writing process begins. The topic should be evaluated by the respective ACC council or committee, before being proposed to the Editor in Chief. The manuscript should be no longer than 5,000 (if selected to replace the weekly Review Topic of Week) or 10,000 words (if selected to replace the weekly State-of-the-Art Review). No committee or council will have more than 2 clinical perspectives manuscript in a given year, and these manuscripts can be written collaboratively between several councils. These manuscripts will undergo the standard peer-review process of all JACC journals solicited manuscripts, which means they are not guaranteed publication in the journals.

Published or not, these manuscripts are not official policy of the College. If the authors wish to convert their JACC journals Clinical Perspective Paper into an official ACC policy statement, they are encouraged to engage the appropriate executives committees at the College in a prospective and timely review at the earliest development stage to ensure that proper methods are followed.

Each Council or Section should have a designated representative whose responsibilities include:

  • Gathering consensus for relevant and timely topics for the creation of Council Perspectives manuscripts in JACC journals.
  • Gathering the appropriate writing group members, from within the ACC Council and external experts
  • Ensuring that 2 Council Perspectives are produced on an annual basis (JACC calendar year begins in July)


A. Authorship

Authorship credit should be based on:

  1. Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;
  2. Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and
  3. Final approval of the version to be published.
When a large, multicenter group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript.


Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.

(Adapted from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ statement)

B. Changes in Authorship

Authors should determine the order of authorship among themselves and should settle any disagreements before submitting their manuscript. Changes in authorship (i.e., order, addition, and deletion of authors) should be discussed and approved by all authors. Any requests for such changes in authorship after initial manuscript submission and before publication should be explained in writing to the editor in a letter or email from all authors. (Adapted from AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors. 10th ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2007.)

For the flagship JACC, the editors do not allow the adding or deleting of authors after the paper is accepted.

C. Conflicts of Interests

Authors are required to disclose any relationship with industry and financial associations within the past 2 years that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article on the title page. All sources of funding for the work should be acknowledged on the title page, as should all institutional affiliations of the authors (including corporate appointments). This includes associations such as consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interests or patent-licensing arrangements. If no relationship with industry exists, please state this on the title page. Relationship with industry guidelines apply to all authors. All forms are now signed and submitted electronically.

Once a manuscript is accepted, the authors will be sent links to complete the electronic Copyright Transfer and Relationship with Industry forms. Only the corresponding author may electronically sign the copyright form; however, all authors are required to electronically sign a relationship with industry form. Once completed, a PDF version of the form is e-mailed to the author. Authors can access and confirm receipt of forms by logging into their account online. Each author will be alerted if his form has not been completed by the deadline.

If authors are uncertain about what constitutes a relevant financial interest or relationship, they should contact the editorial office.

D. No Prior Publication

The JACC journals expect that the articles it publishes will not have been published or released elsewhere. Often referred to as “the Ingelfinger Rule,” this policy exists to allow time for the independent peer review of scientific findings before public dissemination and to protect the originality of content. The authors also are expected not release the details of their findings to the media before their work is published, unless the media outlet or journalist agrees to journal’s embargo date.

(Adapted from NEJM policies)

E. Clinical Trials Registration

The ICMJE clinical trial registration policy requires prospective registration of all interventional clinical studies. If the purpose of the trial is to examine the effect of the provider intervention on the health outcomes of the providers' patients, then investigators should register the trial. If the purpose is to examine the effect only on the providers (e.g., provider knowledge or attitudes), then registration is not necessary. The ICMJE accepts registration in the following registries:

(Adapted from ICMJE policies)

F. Compliance with IRB

Note compliance with institutional review board requirements and, when appropriate, approved laboratory procedures for animal research, and that the research conforms to the ethical standards of the Declaration of Helsinki, the Geneva Declaration, the Belmont Report, and Good Clinical Practices from the FDA, and the submission conforms to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication”.

(Adapted from ICMJE policies)