INSTRUCTIONS TO AUTHORS

Medical Physics publishes articles broadly concerned with the relationship of physics to medicine and biology. The articles may be experimental or theoretical.

Updated: June 13, 2016

Article Types and Page Limits

Submissions may be in the form of a (1) Research Article, (2) Technical Note, (3) Medical Physics Letter, (4) Review Article, (5) Vision 20/20 Article, (6) Task Group Report, (7) Special Report, (8) Point/Counterpoint “Debate,” (9) Correspondence, (10) Editorial, (11) Ph.D. Thesis Abstract, (12) Erratum, (13) Medical Physics Dataset Article, or (14) Book Reviews. All submissions (except Ph.D. Thesis Abstracts) will undergo full peer review.

Page limits of individual articles are noted below. Page lengths beyond this limit will be charged to the author at $200 per additional page. To estimate your manuscript length, please click on the "Estimating Manuscript Length" tab at the top of the PeerX-Press (PXP) manuscript submission page.

  1. A Research Article is a report of original experimental or theoretical research. Authors should keep in mind that attention to clarity and conciseness facilitates the review process and also the impact of the published article. Research articles must include novel medical physics scientific or technical content or broadly applicable clinical physics innovations (generally, most articles with a purely applied/clinical focus should be submitted to our sister journal, the Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics). The page limit for research articles is 10 printed pages.
  2. A Technical Note is a concise description of a specific development, procedure or device which should be a solution to a specific problem and have sufficient relevance to be useful to many readers of Medical Physics. Authors will need to insert the words “Technical Note:…” at the beginning of their title. Technical Notes should be concise and occupy no more than 5 printed pages in Medical Physics.
  3. A Medical Physics Letter (MPL) is a short article on a scientific or clinical topic of overriding importance to medical physicists. MPLs are subjected to an expedited review process. The initial review cycle decisions are limited to: “accept with no revisions,” “conditionally accept with minor or major revisions”, or “reject”. A final decision must be made by the end of the second review cycle. A MPL does not preclude publication of a regular research article at a later time, provided the latter is substantial expansion of the former. Because of the timeliness of a Medical Physics Letter, any revision must be submitted within 4 weeks of receiving the Editor's decision email. The page limit for Medical Physics Letters is 5 printed pages.
  4. A Review Article is an authoritative review of a subject important to the field of medical physics. It may be either invited or proffered. Authors who intend to submit proffered reviews should first contact the Editor-in-Chief, who will initiate the process to determine if the review article is appropriate for the journal. Review Articles are published online only. A potential author of a Review Article should discuss the subject of the article with the Editor-in-Chief before beginning development of the article. The page limit for Review Articles is 18 printed pages.
  5. A Vision 20/20 Article defines the state-of-the-art development of a particular subject important to medical physics (e.g., an evolving technology), projects where the development of the subject will be in 10 years or so, and describes a strategy for moving from the current to the projected state of development of the subject. Authors intending to submit a proffered Vision 20/20 article should discuss the subject of the article with the Editor-in-Chief before beginning development of the article. The page limit for Vision 20/20 articles is 14 printed pages.
  6. A Task Group Report is a technical report prepared by an official task group of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM). Task Group Reports are published online only. Task Group reports may not be submitted to Medical Physics until they have gained full approval from the internal AAPM review process (the cover letter should explicitly state that approval has been granted). A Task Group Report is peer-reviewed in the usual manner, except that the associate editor is appointed by the journal editor from a short list of potential associate editors proposed by the parent committee. The proposed associate editors shall not have been involved in the writing of the Task Group Report. The appointed associate editor shall select four referees: two referees from the parent committee of the Task Group who may have reviewed the report, but are not report coauthors; and two referees external to the Task Group or parent committee, who have not been involved as a reviewer or in any other manner in the preparation of the Task Group Report. Task Group Reports should have a standardized title, such as “Monitor unit calculations for external photon and electron beams: Report of the AAPM Therapy Physics Committee Task Group 71.” Task Group Reports should not exceed 30 printed pages except in special cases and excess page fees will be charged. For Task Group Reports that exceed 30 printed journal pages, an Executive Summary, rather than the full Task Group Report, is reviewed and, if acceptable, published online, with a link to the full Task Group Report available on the AAPM web page.
  7. A Special Report is a report of general interest to medical physicists that falls outside the categories described above.
  8. A Point/Counterpoint “Debate” is a concise article consisting of pro and con positions on a controversial issue in the discipline. These are typically invited rather than proffered. The Editor invites authors to submit articles addressing a specific topic, one for each side of the argument. Each side of the debate should be prepared by a single author unless coauthorship by both sides has been arranged prior to the start of the debate. Readers who wish to volunteer to debate a controversial issue should contact the Point/Counterpoint Moderator for instructions (Dr. Colin Orton: ortonc@comcast.net).
  9. Correspondence normally addresses a scientific point in connection with a previous publication Medical Physics.
  10. An Editorial is a brief (usually 2 page or less) article of general interest to readers. It may be either invited or proffered.
  11. A Ph.D. Thesis Abstract is a short description of a Ph.D. research project of a recent graduate. They are published online only. Ph.D. abstracts should be submitted via e-mail journal@aapm.org .
  12. An Erratum is a statement by the authors of the original paper that briefly describes any correction(s) resulting from errors or omissions. Any effects on the conclusions of the paper should be noted. The corrected article is not removed from the online journal, but notice of erratum is given. The Erratum is made freely available to all readers and is linked to the corrected article. There is no page limit for an Erratum.
  13. Medical Physics Dataset Articles (MPDAs) describe scientifically or clinically valuable open-access datasets with high potential for contributing to the research of medical physicists working on related problems. In contrast to Research Articles, MPDAs should not include hypothesis testing, or data analyses supporting generalizable conclusions. The publically accessible dataset must be permanently archived before the MPDA can be published. At the current time, submissions of this new article type will be considered only by prior arrangement with the Editor-in-Chief. The page limit for a Medical Physics Dataset Articles is 10 printed pages.
  14. A Book Review is a 1 to 3 page critical review of a published book or anthology that has been commissioned by the Book Review Editor. Authors who are interested in having their publications reviewed in Medical Physics should contact the Journal Manager at journal@aapm.org. Acceptance of a publication for review is at the discretion of the Editors.

The Manuscript Review and Revision Process

Manuscripts are normally reviewed by an Associate Editor and by two or more independent referees chosen by the Associate Editor. Suggestions by authors of appropriate Associate Editors and/or referees are always welcome. Referee comments are both general and specific. When invited to prepare a revised manuscript, it is important for the author to respond to each specific comment or suggestion in an itemized fashion. Final review is performed by the Editor.

When a revision is called for, the authors must submit their revision by the following deadlines, or the manuscript will be assigned a new manuscript number and considered as a new submission to the Journal.

  1. Medical Physics Letters: 4 weeks (28 days)
  2. Conditional Acceptance/Minor Revisions: 4 weeks (28 days)
  3. Conditional Acceptance/Major Revisions: 4 weeks (28 days)
  4. Editorial Decision Deferred: 8 weeks (56 days)

When submitting a revision, as well as including a point-by-point response, highlight the text where the revisions were made. Please note that we are now requiring the following for revisions:

  1. Modified article text must be highlighted in yellow or in a different font color.
  2. Modified article text must have embedded figures and line numbers.
  3. The point-by-point responses must contain the following 3 elements for every criticism:
    1. Text of the original criticism
    2. Rebuttal
    3. The modified text along with line numbers in the revised article

If these requirements are not included, the revision will be sent back to the author for completion.

Authorship Policies

The author submitting the manuscript is the corresponding author and is assumed to represent the interests of all authors. All correspondence will be carried out with this author. The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that all individuals included as authors on a manuscript have:

  1. Made substantial contributions to conception and design, and/or acquisition of data, and/or analysis and interpretation of data;
  2. Drafted the article and/or revised it critically for important intellectual content, and
  3. Given final approval of the version to be submitted for review.

All authors should meet conditions (1), (2) and (3). All authors are reminded that they are accountable in the event of challenges to the veracity or integrity of the reported work and that they will be held responsible for the work if questions arise in the future about its authenticity and credibility. The corresponding author is also responsible for ensuring that no legitimate authors have been omitted. In cases where the first author is a student or fellow, the corresponding author should be an experienced investigator with supervisory responsibilities. Any change in authorship after a manuscript is submitted to Medical Physics, including changes desired in future revisions of the manuscript, must be approved by the Editor. In the listing of author affiliations in a published article, it is permissible to provide a URL to a description of the particular center or group that the authors represent.

Medical Physics supports the concept of multiple first authors by means of a footnote indicating that the identified authors have made equal intellectual contributions to the manuscript and the associated scientific investigation.

Authors should use the same form of their names in the byline of all Medical Physics submissions. This practice makes indexes more useful and less confusing.

Conference Papers, Duplicate Submissions, and Plagiarism Policies

Presenters of papers at the AAPM Annual Meeting and RSNA Annual Meeting are encouraged to submit their papers to Medical Physics. Presenters of papers at other meetings and conferences with published abstracts or meeting proceedings also may submit their papers to Medical Physics, but the papers should be a substantial expansion of the information published in the proceedings. Authors should include a copy of their proceedings paper and a list of differences between that paper and their submitted manuscript in their submission. Authors are encouraged to contact the Journal Manager at journal@aapm.org, if they have any questions.

Submission of a manuscript indicates that it has not been published previously nor concurrently submitted for publication elsewhere, and this should be stated in the cover letter. The AAPM Transfer of Copyright Agreement governs manuscripts accepted for publication and published articles; at no time should a manuscript under review with Medial Physics be posted or otherwise made available through any electronic outlet. Commercial names should not appear in the title, abstract, or keywords, although they may appear in the text or as footnotes.

AAPM does not tolerate plagiarism or any misrepresentation of original work. In support of this position, the AAPM Board of Directors and the Medical Physics Editorial Board have adopted policies and procedures in response to any accusation of plagiarism. All submissions are screened for plagiarism using Ithenticate/CrossCheck software.

Cover Letter

A cover letter must be submitted with each new manuscript containing the following information:

  1. The corresponding author’s full address, email address, and telephone number.
  2. Full disclosure of any and all potential conflicts of interest that could be perceived to bias the results reported in the manuscript. Conflicts of interest include financial interests in products and services described in the manuscript, or financial or personal relationships with manufacturers or distributors of such products and services. Potential conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to, the following items: employment, affiliation or consultancy with a company, research funding, honoraria, royalties, or speaker fees from a company, stock ownership or options in a company, or patents filed or owned jointly with a company. In addition, potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed in Disclosure of Conflicts of Interestsection at the end of the manuscript.
  3. Any previously published proceedings papers (as well as those under review) with content overlapping that of the submitted paper must be disclosed, and the extent of overlap and differentiation from this submission described in the cover letter. Copies of overlapping proceedings papers should be submitted along with the manuscript.
  4. If the manuscript has been previously rejected, please reference the relevant correspondence. Previously rejected manuscripts may not be resubmitted to Medical Physics unless resubmission has been offered in the previous decision letter or the rejection decision has been successfully overturned on appeal.

Manuscript Preparation Guidelines

Manuscripts are expected to be written in excellent English and composed according to Medical Physics specifications, including article headings and references. A manuscript with poor grammar or confusing text construction may be returned to the author without review. If English is not the first language of the authors, they should have a colleague for whom English is the first language review and edit the manuscript before its submission. Medical Physics is not able to provide free English-language editing services to authors, but such services are available to authors from commercial vendors. Our publisher, AIP Publishing, partners with Edanz for this service edanzediting.com/aip1 .

The word “significant” should be used in a manuscript only in a statistical context and should be accompanied by the results of a statistical analysis. It should not be used as a modifying adjective.

  1. Style: Authors are expected to follow the conventional writing, notation, and illustration style prescribed in the AIP Publishing Author Resource Center. A copy is available here. Authors should also review the form and style of material recently printed in Medical Physics. For ease of review, manuscripts should be submitted as a single column, double-spaced document and not as it might appear in the Journal. Abbreviations, symbols, units, etc. should correspond with the suggestions in the AIP Publishing Author Resource Center. Authors are required to use SI units. Some modifications are acceptable, such as the specification of brachytherapy sources as described in AAPM Report No. 21. Where common laboratory practice employs conventional units, these may be employed with the SI units in parentheses.
  2. Title Page: The submission should contain a complete title and by-line. Please provide the Department, Company/University, City, (State), Zip/Mailing code, and Country for each one of the authors of the submitted manuscript. In addition, the title page should indicate the corresponding author and contact information including email address. The byline must be placed after the title and before the abstract in your article file not as a separate file.
  3. Abstract:An abstract must accompany every article (except Editorials, Point/Counterpoint “Debates”, Correspondence, and Errata). The abstract should be submitted at the front of the complete manuscript (Article File). For Research Articles, Technical Notes, and Medical Physics Letters, a structured abstract is required that consists of 4 parts: Purpose, Methods, Results and Conclusions. For Research Articles, that abstract should not exceed 500 words. A limit of 300 words applies to Technical Notes and Medical Physics Letters.
    • A Ph.D. Thesis Abstract should be e-mailed as a Word document to journal@aapm.org (Download the Template). If the dissertation is available online, please include the URL. If not, please include references to any accessible publications by the author that relate specifically to the dissertation. Please do not include abstracts of papers presented at scientific meetings. Ph.D. Thesis abstracts, if accepted, appear on www.medphys.org but not in print.
  4. Keywords: Up to 5 keywords should be chosen that capture the topic and subject matter addressed in the article. These keywords are used for bibliographic searching and indexing and should be chosen thoughtfully.
  5. Format and Manuscript Structure: Manuscripts must be in English and must be submitted through the PeerX-Press system. Specific instructions for online submission are available at the PeerX-Press website.
  6. Introduction:Every review and research article must include an introduction that identifies the issue or problem addressed in the article, describes why it is important, and provides a summary of the approach to the issue or problem. The introduction should provide a context for a reader who is not intimately familiar with the issue or problem addressed in the article. In addition to an introduction, all Research Articles, Technical Notes, and Medical Physics Letters must have the following 4 sections: Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusions. For more guidance on writing papers fo Medical Physics, please see: Medical Physics Workshop Writing good scientific papers and responding to critiques.
  7. Acknowledgements and Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest sections: These sections should follow th Conclusions section but precede the References section. The optional Acknowledgements section should include funding sources as well as technical, resource, or editorial contributions to the manuscript from institutions or individuals who are not authors. The required Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest section must include all potential conflicts noted in the cover letter along with any others discovered during the review process. If there are no conflicts of interest, the authors must include a statement similar to “The authors have no relevant conflicts of interest to disclose.”
  8. Mathematics: Mathematical expressions should be formatted as completely as possible. Do not use mathematical derivations that are easily found elsewhere in the literature; merely cite the references. Equations need to be editable, so we recommend that you create them with the built-in Microsoft® Equation Editor included with your version of Word. If you wish to use Mathtype, check for compatibility at tinyurl.com/lzny753.
  9. Tables: Extensive numerical material should be presented in tables rather than in the body of the text. Each table must have a caption that makes the data in the table intelligible without reference to the text. Complicated column headings should be avoided, but symbols used in the tables should be explained in the caption. Long tables should be avoided if possible. Footnotes to tables should be indicated by lower-case letters: a, b, c, etc. Tables should not include extensive detail that could be included in the main manuscript. Do not use vertical lines between columns. Use double horizontal lines above and below the table and single horizontal lines above and below the column headings. Tables must be inserted in the article file where mentioned in the text and not listed at the end of the article. Tables should be created with Word’s Insert Table function. If the table has already been made, please be sure it has been made with Word’s Table features. Tables created with spaces or tabs will create problems and may be improperly typeset.
  10. Supplemental Material:
    • Supplemental material are files either to aid the reviewer or for publication alongside the manuscript. Appropriate items for publication as supplemental materials include data tables and text (e.g., appendixes) that are too lengthy or of too limited interest for inclusion in the article. A URL link will be included in the published article to allow users to navigate directly to the associated files. Note that subdirectories (folders) are not acceptable. Please name files appropriately, so that all files can reside at the root directory, allowing successful linking between the published paper and its associated supplemental.
    • All supplemental material for publication must be approved by the Journal Editor as part of a manuscript’s normal review cycle, and must be listed in the reference section as follows: “See supplemental material at [URL will be inserted by AIP] for [give brief description of material].” This reference number should be also mentioned in the text.
    • All supplemental material is posted online exactly as provided by the author. AIP Publishing makes no changes to the supplemental material files, including text editing or file conversion.
  11. References: References should be assigned consecutive numbers as they occur in the body of the text. They should also be listed in the same order on a separate page. Full titles of articles, complete lists of authors, and inclusive pagination must be included. References must be in the accessible, archival literature. “Private Communications” and commercial identifications and manuals are not appropriate for the reference list but can be identified as footnotes to the text. References should appear in the following formats

    1G. Kürbitz, “Electro-optic imaging,” in The Optics Encyclopedia: Basic Foundations and Practical Applications, Vol. 1, edited by T. G. Brown, K. Creath, H. Kogelnik, M. A. Kriss, J. Schmit, M. J. Weber (Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2004), pp. 549-585.

    2G. Pang and J. A. Rowlands, “X-ray imaging: A novel direct-conversion design and its feasibility,” Med. Phys. 31, 3004-3016 (2004).

    3W. R. Hendee, G. S. Ibbott, and E. G. Hendee, Radiation Therapy Physics, 3rd ed. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 2004).

    A list of standard abbreviations for journal names appears in the AIP Style Manual. Additionally, potential authors can use software tools to format references correctly and abide by the Journal’s guidelines. Such a tool is Endnote, developed by Thomson Scientific, which can be accessed here. Authors are urged to exclude unnecessary and/or incomplete references.
  12. Illustrations: Please adhere to the following guidelines when preparing your illustrations for submission:

    Guidelines
    • Embedded figures should be placed in your article-text file near the point of first reference. Upon revision, you will be asked to upload individual figure files should your paper be accepted for publication.
    • Number figures in the order in which they appear in text.
    • Identify all figure parts with (a), (b), etc. Avoid any large size differences of the lettering and labels used within one illustration.
    • Submit illustrations in the size and resolution you wish them to appear in print.
      • The maximum published width for a one-column figure is 3.37 inches (8.5 cm). The maximum width for a two-column figure is 6.69 inches (17 cm). Each illustration should be prepared for 100% reproduction in order to avoid problems arising from large reductions in size.
    • Ensure that lettering and lines are dark enough and thick enough to reproduce clearly, especially if reduction is necessary. Remember that fine lines tend to disappear upon reduction.
    • Color online only (RGB) is a free service; Color in Print (CMYK) may require fees (see Color Printing Charges).
    • IMPORTANT: All fonts must be embedded in your figure files.
    Electronic Graphic Formats
    • Use these file formats only: EPS (preferred format), PS, TIFF (.tif), PDF, JPEG (.jpg). Application files (e.g., Corel Draw, Microsoft Word) are not acceptable.
    • Scalable vector formats (i.e. EPS and PS) are greatly preferred. AAPM suggests the use of Adobe Illustrator (Paid, OS X, Windows) or Inkscape (Freeware, OS X, Windows, Linux) for the creation of acceptable illustrations and Adobe Photoshop (Paid, OS X, Windows) or GIMP (Freeware, OS X, Windows, Linux) for the editing of acceptable photographs.
    • Submit a single file for each figure with figure parts; label each part (a), (b), etc.
    • When submitting your manuscript, include all illustrations and line art for your paper.
    • Set the correct orientation for each graphics file.
      • Set the graphic for:
      • Line art: 600 dpi resolution and black/white bitmap, not grayscale.
      • Halftones: 300 dpi resolution and grayscale, not black/white bitmap.
      • Combinations (line art + halftone): 600 dpi and grayscale, not black/white bitmap.
      • Color: 300 dpi TIFF, PS, or EPS format. If selecting a file mode, use CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) for color figures in print or RGB (red, green, blue) for color figures online only.
    Production-Ready PDF Graphics
    For accepted manuscripts, PDF as the source file for illustrations is not preferred. However, properly prepared PDF illustration files may be used in the production process of your accepted manuscript if you follow these guidelines:
    • PDF should be used as the source file for illustrations only when the preferred formats (PS, EPS, or TIFF) cannot be generated.
    • In the PDF illustration, the resolution of any shaded or photographic images must be 600 pixels per inch (PPI).
    • Within the PDF illustration, resolution of line art with no shading should be 1200 pixels per inch (PPI).
    • All fonts must be embedded in the PDF.
    • When creating a PDF through your application’s print command, select “High Quality Print.”
    Color
    • Illustrations will appear in color in the online journal free of charge to authors. To take advantage of this free service, you must:
      • Supply color graphics files in the appropriate format (.eps, .ps, .tif, or .pdf only),
      • Submit graphics files in time for utilization during the production process,
      • Submit only one version of each graphics file,
      • Ensure that colors chosen will reproduce well when printed in black & white (use of different line styles (e.g., dashed or dotted) and line thicknesses may also be used to better distinguish multiple plots in black and white), and
      • Ensure that descriptions of figures in text will be sufficiently clear for both print and online versions. Text references and figure captions for color figures that are printed in black & white may refer to color of lines and symbols but must include “(online version only)” as a qualifier.
    • For color figures in the printed journal, you or your institution must pay the required fee of $325 per color figure. For multipart figures, a single charge will apply only if all parts are submitted as a single piece of artwork.
    • For color in the printed journal, you are required to sign an acknowledgment of color charges prior to publication of the article. Otherwise, the figures will appear in color only online and in black & white in print.
  13. Submissions to Medical Physics must have line and page numbering. To add line numbers to a Word file for your manuscript/article:
    1. Switch to print layout view.
    2. From the File menu (at top left of Word window), click Page Setup, and then click the Layout tab.
      1. Select the following:
      2. Section start: Continuous
      3. Apply to: Whole document
    3. Click on the button labeled "Line Numbers" near lower left of Page Setup / Layout panel.
      1. Click in the "Add line numbering" check box.
      2. Use the following options:
      3. Start at: 1
      4. From text: Auto
      5. Count by: 5
      6. Numbering: Continuous
      7. Click on the "OK" button.
    4. Back on the Page Setup panel, also click on the "OK" button.
    5. Save your document.
  14. Proofs: Authors will be sent an email message to view, correct, and approve proofs online. Once an author sends in their corrections, no further corrections will be accepted.
  15. Manuscript Length: Please refer to the information stated above for page length guidelines.

Responsibility for detecting errors rests with the author.

The quality of all figures must be checked by the author. The quality of the illustration on the proof is essentially the same as in the published manuscript.

Excessive alterations due to imperfections of the manuscript or to changes introduced by the author in the proof will be charged to the author.

Appeals

In order for your appeal to be considered, first submit it to journal@aapm.org with a complete point-by-point response for each criticism:

  1. Duplicate the text of the original criticism
  2. Provide authors' response including level of agreement and the basis for any disagreement with the Referee
  3. A description of how authors propose to amend the paper to address the criticism

At this point, a revised manuscript is not needed. After careful consideration, a decision will be made on whether your appeal has merit.