Editorial and Publishing Policies of the Journal of Neurosurgery Publishing Group
Vision, Mission, and Core Values
Vision: As a membership journal of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), the Journal of Neurosurgery Publishing Group (JNSPG) will publish articles of the highest scientific caliber in all formats following rigorous peer review. These articles will have the greatest impact on neurosurgical practice, education, and research. In so doing, the JNSPG will advance the art and science of neurosurgery and its related disciplines worldwide.
Mission: We are the journals of record in neurosurgery.
Core Values: The JNSPG endorses the following core values to advance its vision and mission: Integrity, Innovation, Internationalism, Imagination, Credibility, Professionalism, Service, and Sustainability.
Descriptions of the Journals
The JNSPG produces six peer-reviewed journals for the AANS.
- Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS): Founded in 1944, the AANS’s flagship journal is recognized throughout the world by neurosurgeons and related medical specialists for its authoritative and cutting-edge clinical and laboratory research articles, case reports, technical notes, review articles, and more. JNS is the most referenced journal specific to neurosurgery in publication.
- Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine (JNS: Spine): First published in 1999 as a quarterly supplement to the Journal of Neurosurgery, JNS: Spine quickly grew in volume and frequency, and became an independent monthly journal in 2004. JNS: Spine provides the latest techniques and research findings in the rapidly advancing area of spine surgery.
- Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics (JNS: Peds): In 2004 this journal first appeared as a supplement to the Journal of Neurosurgery. In 2008 JNS: Peds became an independent monthly journal, and has become the foremost journal in its subspecialty, offering comprehensive coverage of pediatric neurosurgery and related fields.
- Neurosurgical Focus (Focus): This well-respected, freely accessible, online-only journal has been publishing important findings in neurosurgery since 1996. Each monthly issue covers a different topic in the field, and submissions are reviewed by experts on each topic. Continuing medical education credits are offered for many articles.
- Neurosurgical Focus: Video: This open-access, online-only journal presents high-definition videos of neurosurgery-related procedures, creating a unique educational experience that makes viewers feel present in the operating room. The video journal was first published in 2012 as a twice-yearly video supplement to Neurosurgical Focus. In July 2019 it became an independent quarterly journal under its new name, Neurosurgical Focus: Video.
- Journal of Neurosurgery: Case Lessons: This rapid-publication, open-access, online-only journal offers reports of single cases and small case series, with a focus on the lesson that the observation or experience provides to the reader. Journal of Neurosurgery: Case Lessons commenced publication in January 2021.
Scope and Types of Manuscripts Considered for Publication in JNSPG Journals
The Journal of Neurosurgery, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, and Neurosurgical Focus are devoted to the publication of original written works relating to neurosurgery, including studies in clinical neurophysiology, organic neurology, ophthalmology, radiology, pathology, and molecular biology. The Editors and Editorial Boards encourage submission of clinical and laboratory studies as well as review articles and meta-analyses. Other manuscripts accepted for review include technical notes on equipment or instruments that are innovative or useful to clinicians and researchers in the field of neuroscience, occasional opinion pieces, and manuscripts depicting historical persons or events related to neurosurgery. Letters to the Editor on recently published articles are also accepted. Book reviews and editorials are solicited by the Editors.
Journal of Neurosurgery: Case Lessons focuses on the publication of reports of single cases and small case series that contribute to the neurosurgical literature as well as to a growing standard of neurosurgical practice. Alone, such articles can alert the readers to new diseases, surprising complications, and novel treatments. Added together, these reports build on each other’s new information, creating a database of sound clinical observations and experiences that pooled can provide a higher level of evidence.
Neurosurgical Focus: Video welcomes submission of videos covering complex operative techniques, challenging clinical situations, novel approaches and nuances, and strategies to reduce complications.
Originality of Work and Attribution to Other Works Quoted, Paraphrased, or Otherwise Published
The JNSPG encourages submission of work that has not been previously published in whole or in part. Although we recognize that often a study is built on work done in a previous project, duplicate publication (publication of material that substantially overlaps material already published in print or electronically) should be avoided.
Authors must notify the Editor-in-Chief at the time of submission if some of the manuscript’s content may be considered duplicate publication. All such content should display clear reference to the previous work and any text that is identical to that in the previous work should be surrounded by quotation marks and referenced.
Material from works of others may be paraphrased or quoted as long as the original work is referenced. If a long quote (more than 150 words) is included, the author should seek permission from the copyright owner to include the quote. If paraphrasing is used, the author should consult a manual of writing style to ensure that the style and extent of paraphrasing avoids copyright infringement.
Previous Presentation at a Scientific Meeting and Posting on Pre-Print Servers
The JNSPG allows presentation of a study abstract at scientific conferences as well as pre-submission placement of a manuscript on a preprint server. Such activities are not considered duplicate publication, but they should be mentioned in the manuscript at the time of submission.
With respect to manuscripts posted on preprint servers, certain conditions must be met, specifically the following:
- On submission, the authors must state that their work has been deposited on a preprint server. They should provide the name of the preprint server as well as accession numbers and DOIs for all versions of the manuscript. URLs should also be provided.
- The preprint must be clearly marked as not peer reviewed.
- Authors may not update the preprint version of the manuscript to show any changes made in response to JNSPG peer review.
- If the preprint version of the manuscript carries an open access license, the authors must agree to the purchase of an open access license if accepted for publication. For some JNSPG journals, the open access option incurs no cost.
- If the manuscript is accepted by a JNSPG journal, the corresponding author is responsible for ensuring creation of a link from the preprint to the published article.
Peer Review in JNSPG Journals
To ensure the scientific integrity of a manuscript and its relevance to state-of-the-art diagnostics and surgical treatments, papers submitted to the JNSPG are subjected to rigorous review by surgeons and researchers whose specialties encompass work similar to that of the authors. Manuscripts are evaluated to determine their scientific merit, neurosurgical significance, and reader interest.
Peer review of manuscripts submitted to the print journals (Journal of Neurosurgery [JNS], JNS: Spine, and JNS: Pediatrics) is primarily undertaken by members of the Editorial Boards. “Outside reviewers” (non–board members) with expertise in a manuscript’s specific subject matter may also be included in the review panel. Authors are blinded to the identities of members of the review panel, but reviewers are not blinded to the identities of the authors or other reviewers.
For the most part, our peer-review process is consecutive: each reviewer reads the manuscript, provides a detailed critique, and passes the manuscript on to the next reviewer, who has access to comments from all preceding reviewers. Each manuscript is examined by primary and secondary reviewers. If the critiques of these two individuals differ significantly, the paper is forwarded to an arbitrator. Manuscript and reviews are then assessed by the chairperson of the editorial board and eventually by the Editor-in-Chief. On the basis of the reviewers’ recommendations, the Editor-in-Chief decides whether the paper should be accepted in its present form, returned to the authors for revision, or rejected. If the author is asked to submit a revised manuscript, the revision may undergo expedited review by the Editor-in-Chief or be subjected to a thorough examination by one or more members of the review panel.
Neurosurgical Focus features a variety of issue topics with designated Topic Editors who are leaders or experts in the topic area. Peer review is handled by the Topic Editors as well as by Associate Editors and the Editor-in-Chief; this journal has no standing editorial board. The Editor-in-Chief reviews all submissions and makes all final decisions after peer review is complete.
Similar to Neurosurgical Focus, peer review for Neurosurgical Focus: Video is handled by Topic Editors, Associate Editors, and the Editor-in-Chief. Each submission includes a text file and video file. Both files are reviewed and commented on; a final decision by the Editor-in-Chief is made after peer review is complete.
Peer review for the Journal of Neurosurgery: Case Lessons is simultaneous, unlike that for our other journals. The reason is that this open-access, peer-reviewed journal is a rapid-publication periodical that is published weekly. Simultaneous peer review is essential to keeping the time period from manuscript submission to article publication brief. Other than this, peer review for the Journal of Neurosurgery: Case Lessons follows a process similar to that for the Journal of Neurosurgery, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, and Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. Most reviews are performed by members of the journal’s Editorial Board, with a small group of ad hoc reviewers providing input on an as-needed basis. The Editor-in-Chief or Associate Editor reviews all manuscript submissions, and both of these Editors examine all reviewers’ comments before making a final decision.
Contents of submitted manuscripts and all internal communications and documentation generated during the peer review process are considered confidential. Identities of authors are known to JNSPG Editors, reviewers, and staff, but cannot be revealed to the public prior to publication. Identities of reviewers evaluating individual manuscripts are safeguarded and may not be released to authors specifically or to the public in general at any time.
Continual effort is made to avoid bias in reviewing manuscripts. Membership of an author in the AANS has no bearing on whether the review of a manuscript will be favorable or unfavorable. No author receives preferential treatment.
Reviewers and Editors are required annually to submit Conflict of Interest statements to the JNSPG. In addition, they must disclose if they have a relationship (financial or otherwise) with a manufacturer, researcher, or institution that could predispose them to regard an individual manuscript favorably or unfavorably. In the event that a clear conflict of interest exists, the reviewer or Editor will not be assigned to that manuscript or will recuse him/herself from reviewing the manuscript.
Authors and Contributors
The JNSPG agrees with the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors that authorship should reflect all four of the following criteria:
- Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
- Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
- Final approval of the version to be published; AND
- Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
–Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication [http://www.icmje.org]).
Listed authors are held responsible for their contributions to the paper.
Authors of Manuscripts Describing Clinical Trials: Authors are required to report all pertinent data relating to the trial. Authors of studies sponsored by the manufacturer of a drug or surgical device must have total access to all data and data analyses, and the manufacturer may have no influence on what material is reported in the manuscript.
Corresponding Author: The corresponding author is guarantor for the integrity of the study and manuscript and represents all authors when dealing with the Editor and staff members of the JNSPG. During the peer review process, this person is responsible for communicating to all authors the reviewers’ comments and, if a revision is requested, ensuring that all authors approve all revised versions prior to resubmission. If the manuscript is accepted, the corresponding author will be asked to respond to questions arising during the editing and composition of the manuscript, and to approve page proofs prior to publication.
Contributors: Some persons contribute to a study or to writing the results but do not fulfill all the criteria for authorship. Examples include program directors, healthcare professionals, lab technicians, data collectors, and medical Editors. These individuals and the part they play in the project should be mentioned in the manuscript section entitled “Acknowledgments.” For some papers on large studies, there may be a host of persons who made substantial contributions to a particular study but did not actively take part in writing the paper. These persons can be represented by a group name in the author listing and named separately in an Appendix; MEDLINE will list these persons in PubMed as collaborators when indexed.
Protection of Humans and Animals
Studies Involving Humans
Studies involving patients or healthy volunteers described in manuscripts submitted to the JNSPG must adhere to the principles set forth in the US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45, Part 46, Protection of Human Subjects (https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=&SID=83cd09e1c0f5c6937cd9d7513160fc3f&pitd=20180719&n=pt45.1.46&r=PART&ty=HTML), and the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki (https://www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-declaration-of-helsinki-ethical-principles-for-medical-research-involving-human-subjects/).
IRB Approval and Informed Consent: For a study involving human subjects to be considered for publication by a JNSPG journal, the relevant institutional review board (IRB) or ethics committee must have approved the study protocol and informed consent must have been obtained from the study participant (patient or healthy volunteer) or, in the case of an underage or incapacitated patient, from the person authorized to give consent (for example, the guardian or next of kin).
Clinical Trials: The JNSPG agrees with the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) that all interventional clinical trials should be registered. A study is considered an interventional clinical trial if it is a prospective research study in which people are assigned to a health-related intervention to study the relationship between that intervention and a health outcome. For the JNSPG to accept manuscripts for review, clinical trials must be registered before patient enrollment. We do not endorse a particular trial registry, but the one chosen should provide at a minimum, the 24-item trial registration dataset outlined by the World Health Organization and the ICMJE (https://prsinfo.clinicaltrials.gov/trainTrainer/WHO-ICMJE-ClinTrialsgov-Cross-Ref.pdf).
Confidentiality of Patient Identity: In general, no images, names or coding letters/numbers, or detailed data that can lead to identification of patients or healthy volunteers are included in JNSPG articles or in material submitted for ancillary publication online. On occasion, recognizable images or other identifiable data are integral components of an article. In such cases, written approval of publication of identifiable information must be obtained from the study participant or, in the case of a minor or deceased participant, from the guardian or next of kin, respectively.
Studies Involving Embryonic Human Stem Cells: Relevant studies must be conducted in accordance with applicable national, state/province, or local laws and regulations regarding such activities.
Studies Involving Animals
The care and use of animals in laboratory investigations reported in JNSPG journals must be humane and comply with the guidelines established in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animal, 8th edition (Institute for Laboratory Animal Research, National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2011; available online at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/guide-for-the-care-and-use-of-laboratory-animals.pdf) and with federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Approval of the study protocol by the local institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) must be obtained before commencement of all experiments.
Studies Involving Recombinant DNA
Studies involving the use of recombinant DNA/gene transfer must adhere to the principles set forth in the Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules issued from the US National Institutes of Health [https://osp.od.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/NIH_Guidelines.pdf ] and abide by all local laws and regulations.
When preparing their manuscript, authors should follow reporting requirements specific to their subject matter. Examples include CONSORT (randomized clinical trials), PRISMA (systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses), MOOSE (meta-analyses of observational studies in epidemiology), STROBE (observational research), CARE (case reports), STARD (diagnostic/prognostic studies), CHEERS (economic evaluations), and ARRIVE (pre-clinical animal studies). These requirement guidelines (and others) can be accessed via the EQUATOR Network website (https://www.equator-network.org/). At the time of submission, authors should submit the appropriate checklist with their paper.
Sharing of Resources and Data
As a condition of publication, authors must agree to share the methods and materials necessary to reproduce laboratory experiments and clinical studies described in JNSPG journals. Also required is sharing of data necessary to verify and build on the results of these studies. As far as possible, free access to methods, materials, and data must be given to interested parties who wish to use them for academic, noncommercial research.
Submission of Articles on Sponsored Research to PubMed Central
Some sponsoring agencies require authors of funded research to submit their peer-reviewed papers to PubMed Central following paper acceptance or publication. The JNSPG respects this requirement and asks that only final, published versions of articles be submitted to PubMed Central. Upon request and for a nominal fee, the JNSPG will submit articles to PubMed Central on behalf of authors. If authors prefer, they may submit their article themselves including a statement that the JNSPG has placed an embargo on the paper lasting 6 months after publication. After that time, PubMed Central can make the article freely available to the public.
Funding Sources and Potential Conflicts of Interest
All financial and in-kind support of studies and/or reporting of studies must be reported by authors. It is imperative that authors had total access to the study data and complete independence in data analysis and publication of the results.
JNSPG Policy on Conflict of Interest
To ensure the scientific objectivity of articles appearing in JNSPG journals, we require that all authors, Editorial board members, Topic Editors, Editors, and outside reviewers disclose any potential or perceived conflict of interest that may exist regarding manuscripts submitted for review. In addition, the JNSPG reserves the right to request a conflict of interest statement from physicians or scientists not listed as authors, who have made a substantial contribution to the work (including a statistician or scientific writer) and are listed in the manuscript’s Appendix or Acknowledgment section.
Journal of Neurosurgery, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, or Neurosurgical Focus
In general, authors of papers accepted by these journals are required to assign, transfer, and convey all rights, title, and interest in their manuscripts and accompanying original tables and figures (photographs, scans, images, sonograms, diagrams, graphs, flow charts, etc.), including copyright ownership, to the American Association of Neurosurgeons in the event that the work is published by the JNSPG.
In return for transfer of copyright, the JNSPG provides a liberal permissions policy to authors who wish to reuse such materials at a later time. Authors are allowed to reuse these materials for noncommercial, educational purposes (teaching, peer presentation, and inclusion in authors’ future articles in noncommercial educational publications) without first seeking formal permission from the JNSPG. If materials are reused in future articles, the initial JNSPG article must be fully credited. For detailed information on when formal permission is required, authors should contact the editorial office.
Exemptions from Copyright Transfer:
Authors who are employees of the U.S. Federal government are exempt from transferring copyright to the AANS, because their work product is not assigned copyright within U.S. borders.
An open-access option is offered to authors of manuscripts submitted to the Journal of Neurosurgery, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, and Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. With open access, articles are made freely available to the public (no subscription or reader fee is required) and authors retain copyright of their articles. Authors are charged a fee for open access to cover the costs of article preparation and online curation, which otherwise would have been covered by subscription costs and article purchases. Open-access articles are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license (see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Three types of content appearing in journal articles are also exempt from copyright transfer. These include original artwork, photographs of prepared cadaver specimens, and short video clips that serve as figures in a written article. Persons (artists or authors) or institutions holding copyright on these items may retain copyright and license the work to the AANS so that the figure can be published. A form for this purpose is found on each journal’s respective submission site.
Journal of Neurosurgery: Case Lessons and Neurosurgical Focus: Video
These open-access journals are published under a Creative Commons license. Copyright to articles or video articles remains in the hands of the authors, who must sign a Publication Agreement allowing the JNSPG to post the work. A link to this e-form will be emailed to the corresponding author after submission.
Article Withdrawal, Erratum, Retraction, and Editor's Alert
A manuscript may be withdrawn by the author at any time and for any reason. It may also be withdrawn at the request of the Editor-in-Chief if duplicate publication, plagiarism, or scientific fraud is identified and verified before publication.
If the corresponding author requests that a manuscript be withdrawn, he or she should assure the Editor-in-Chief that all authors have been notified of the withdrawal and agree to the action. The Editor will normally accept the request as a matter of course. In exceptional situations in which there is proof of plagiarism or scientific fraud, however, the Editor may choose to apprise the authors’ institution and/or funding agency of the circumstances of withdrawal.
Errors occasionally occur in publications. If an error is identified and verified by the authors, the published article will be corrected. An accompanying notice of erratum will be published in the JNSPG journal in which the original article appeared, and the original paper will be corrected online. A direct link between the article and the notice of erratum will be created online and PubMed/MEDLINE will be alerted.
A published article will be retracted if a substantial error in method or data reporting occurred and is discovered after publication. An article will also be retracted if scientific fraud, plagiarism, or copyright infringement due to duplicate publication (self-plagiarism) is identified and verified after publication. Retraction may be initiated by the authors or by the Editor-in-Chief. When a paper is retracted, a retraction notice to this effect will published in the JNSPG journal in which the original article appeared. On the JNSPG website, the original article will be retained but tagged as a retracted article, and a link will be provided to the retraction notice. The retraction notice will identify the reason why the article has been removed and specify whether it has been retracted by the authors or by the Editor-in-Chief. PubMed/MEDLINE will also note the article as retracted.
Editor’s Alert (Editorial Expression of Concern)
If the reliability of an article is suspect, the Editor-in-Chief may alert the readership by publishing an Editor’s Alert (also known as an expression of concern). This is likely to occur if investigation into the matter has become prolonged or the final evidence is inconclusive. The Alert will state the reason for concern and will be linked to the article. PubMed/MEDLINE will also note the Alert. Over time, an Editor’s Alert may be replaced by an exonerating statement or by an erratum or retraction notice.
Specific protocols for Erratum, Retraction, and Editor’s Alert can be found here.
Advertising policies for JNSPG journals
All advertising is subject to the publisher’s approval. The AANS reserves the right to accept, reject, or cancel any advertisement at any time if it is deemed not to be in keeping with JNSPG publications’ standards and to evaluate ad copy to ensure that it does not contain misleading statements or information contrary to AANS policy. All advertisements must clearly identify the advertiser and the product or service being offered and must be clearly identifiable to the reader as advertisements. Drug advertisements must include the full generic name of each active ingredient. Claims that include statistical statements or clinical studies must be based on studies by qualified individuals and documented by specific references. Articles accepted for publication but not yet published may also be used, but the name and date of issue of the journal involved must be furnished. Documentation based on scientific exhibits or personal communications are not acceptable; all promotional claims must have complete citations.