The Milbank Quarterly is devoted to scholarly analysis of significant issues in health and health care policy. It presents original research, synthesis, policy analysis, and commentary from academicians, clinicians, and policymakers. The in-depth, multidisciplinary approach of the journal permits contributors to explore fully the social origins of health in our society and to examine in detail the implications of different health policies. Contributions are published from many disciplines, including history, law, medicine, epidemiology, bioethics, and the full array of social science and health services research disciplines. Topics addressed in The Milbank Quarterly include but are not limited to the impact of social factors on health, disease prevention, allocation of health resources, legal and ethical issues in health policy, health care management, historical analysis of health policies, and the organization and financing of health care.
When the manuscript is submitted and in order for external review to occur, the corresponding author (the author responsible for negotiations and the person to whom correspondence will be sent) must submit forms signed by each author indicating that he or she has read and complied with the Quarterly's policies regarding (1) authorship; (2) financial support and potential conflicts of interest; and (3) prior dissemination. Copyright transfer forms must be signed by each author upon acceptance of a manuscript. The policies are described below.
Forms may be sent by mail, fax, or email to:
Milbank Memorial Fund
645 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Each author of a manuscript submitted to The Milbank Quarterly must accept responsibility for the manuscript's content and must have (1) made substantial contributions to the design of the project, data acquisition, or analyses and interpretation of data and/or (2) made substantial contributions to the drafting of, or critical revisions to, the manuscript.
Accepted manuscripts are copyedited according to Quarterly style and returned to the corresponding author for approval. Authors are responsible for all statements made in their work, including changes made by the copyeditor and authorized by the corresponding author. The corresponding author will also be sent PDF page proofs for review.
Financial Support and Potential Conflicts of Interest
When a manuscript is submitted, all authors of the manuscript must disclose to the editor in the submission letter any potential conflicts of interest or situations that could give the appearance of a conflict of interest, resulting from authors' financial, personal, or professional affiliations as well as any direct financial support for the work reported in the manuscript. This information will be published in conjunction with the manuscript and, except for the authors' names and employers, will be made available to reviewers during the peer review. (Similarly, persons invited to review manuscripts submitted to The Milbank Quarterly must disclose to the editor any conflicts of interest that could bias their evaluation of the manuscript.)
A potential conflict of interest exists when an author has relationships with organizations or involvements in activities that could inappropriately influence his or her research or presentation of results and conclusions, whether or not such influence occurs. The most important potential conflicts of interest are financial relationships of an author and/or a member of his or her immediate family or household with organizations that have a pecuniary interest in any data or findings reported in the manuscript. Such relationships include, but are not limited to, a role in the governance of an organization, employment, paid or voluntary consultation or expert testimony, stock ownership, and receipt of honoraria or other financial support.
The policy of The Milbank Quarterly is to consider for publication only original work that has not previously been published. Below is guidance on this issue.
There are legitimate reasons why research may be disseminated before submission to a journal. Active communication among researchers about preliminary findings or the circulation of draft reports for discussion and critique contributes to the eventual quality of published work. In addition, organizations that support or carry out research have an understandable interest in disseminating their work. These reasons for dissemination must be balanced against two considerations. The first is the value of the peer review process. The rule against prior publication is intended to increase the credibility of published research. Papers are often improved during the peer review process, with findings, conclusions, and recommendations sometimes changed in response to reviewers' comments. The public and policymakers might be confused or misled if there are multiple versions of a paper in the public domain. Second, journal space is limited, and both time and expense are involved in the evaluation, publication, and distribution of journal articles. The Milbank Quarterly must make difficult choices about what to include; there is less value in publishing papers that have already been disseminated to their target audiences.
Below, we discuss several types of dissemination and provide guidelines with respect to the prior publication question. This discussion is essentially an elaboration of two rules, the first emphasizing previous dissemination of the material, the second stressing disclosure.
Rule One: If the material in a paper has already been disseminated to the Quarterly's audience, particularly in a format that appears to be a final product, then it is unlikely that a second version will be worth publishing in the journal.
Rule Two: It is the responsibility of authors to let the editor know at the time of submission if a paper's contents have been previously disseminated in any manner so that the editor can determine whether to proceed with the review process.
Previous Presentation at Meetings. Presentation of a paper at conferences or seminars does not constitute prior publication and does not jeopardize the possibility of publication.
Working Papers. Dissemination of "working papers" to a limited audience will not ordinarily jeopardize publication. Working paper series are used by many organizations as a means of enabling researchers to obtain critiques from fellow researchers. Working papers covered by this policy are those that are released by the author or an organization rather than by a publisher, are not advertised to the public, and are marked as drafts that are subject to future revision.
Internet Postings. Release via the Internet may jeopardize journal publication under some circumstances. Presentation of the work as a final report is a marker of an attempt to reach a wide audience, particularly when combined with efforts to direct traffic to the work (e.g., via links on other sites) and efforts to attract attention (e.g., press releases). In contrast, if a document is posted on the Internet only to facilitate communication among colleagues with the aim of getting feedback, and if there has been no attempt to otherwise attract the attention of journalists, the public, or the broader research community to the document, then this is unlikely to preclude journal publication.
In general, when posting on the Internet serves similar functions as presentation at professional meetings—facilitating the development of papers and the improvement of the research, influencing future revisions, and not constituting a "finished" product—it would not be considered prior publication. On the other hand, when the website posting functions as a virtual version of a conventional publication, which may even be copyrighted by the posting organization, the benefit of an additional publication in the journal will be scrutinized carefully.
In cases where there has been little to no exposure at the time that a paper is submitted to the journal, but the circumstances surrounding the posting make it likely that a high level of exposure (press coverage, etc.) might occur, then the author should remove a posting as a condition for further consideration of the manuscript.
Authors who post a paper on a website and do not want it to constitute prior publication should also post a disclosure statement such as: "This draft paper is intended for review and comments only. It is not intended for citation, quotation, or other use in any form." This statement should be kept on the website throughout the review process and until the paper is actually accepted for publication in the journal. Once accepted, authors must amend this statement as follows: “This is a preprint of an Article accepted for publication in The Milbank Quarterly © (year) The Milbank Memorial Fund.”
Formal Reports from Foundations, Academic Institutions, Institutes, Trade Associations, and Government Agencies. The dissemination efforts of foundations, government agencies, research institutes, and other organizations that support or carry out research can complement publication in peer-reviewed journals. If publication in The Milbank Quarterly is desired, organizational publications should be timed to coincide with or follow publication of the article in The Milbank Quarterly, with appropriate copyright permissions having been obtained. This sequence ensures that any deficiencies of method or presentation noted during the peer-review process will be able to be corrected.
Formal, published reports that have gone through an editorial process, that have been intended to reach a wide audience, and that are publicized and available to any interested party (whether free or not) usually will not be considered for journal publication. A paper that is based on such a report might be considered for publication if it were sufficiently different in emphasis or intent. In such instances, the author should explain at the time of submission (or before) how the paper differs from the previously released report and why its publication would represent a distinct and important contribution beyond that version.
Media Publicity. If results reported in a working paper have become widely known as a result of media exposure (or even if the potential for widespread exposure remains during review), and that working paper is readily available to interested readers (e.g., through a website), an editorial judgment will be made whether journal publication would be appropriate. Authors can help protect their work from unwanted media exposure by making clear on working drafts, copies presented at conferences, and other versions that it is a draft that has not yet undergone peer review for publication and that findings and conclusions are subject to change. Authors should also request that any "stories" derived from interviews with the media be embargoed until the article has been published or released by the publisher (see, for example, P.B. Fontanarosa and C.D. DeAngelis, 2002, "The Importance of the Journal Embargo," JAMA 288:748–50). Any accepted manuscript released to the media must contain the statement: “This is a preprint of an Article accepted for publication in The Milbank Quarterly © (year) The Milbank Memorial Fund.” Authors should check with the editor before speaking with or distributing papers to members of the media.
Importance of Disclosure. Prior to, or at the time of, submission of a paper that has been disseminated in any of the ways discussed above, authors must bring this to the attention of the editor so a determination can be made whether the paper has been disseminated too widely for publication in The Milbank Quarterly. In so doing, authors should describe in what form and how the work was previously disseminated and how the submitted manuscript differs from previously disseminated versions. The editor might be receptive to a modified version of a paper that has been widely disseminated if the submitted version has a different focus (e.g., more emphasis on methods, more sophisticated analytic approach, or a discussion of developments that have transpired since the initial dissemination). The key point is to let the editor know about any dissemination that will have, or is likely to have, occurred before the article goes through the Quarterly's peer-review and editorial processes. Authors should also include copies of other related papers that might be seen as covering the same material.
Failure to disclose prior dissemination could preclude publication in The Milbank Quarterly or, if already published, could result in a notice in the journal about the failure and may result in a retraction of the article.
The Milbank Quarterly requires each author of an article accepted for publication to transfer copyright to the Milbank Memorial Fund, except for authors who cannot transfer copyright because they were employees of the U.S. federal government when the work described in the manuscript was conducted.
Authors who register their article on Author Services will have free online access to their published article on Wiley Online Library (John Wiley & Sons publishes The Milbank Quarterly on behalf of the Milbank Memorial Fund). Copyright in the article rests with the Milbank Memorial Fund. The Milbank Memorial Fund grants back to both the corresponding author and all co-authors the right to arrange for free online access to their article to up to ten colleagues each for noncommercial use; to use all or part of the article and abstract, without revision or modification, in personal compilations or other publications of their own works; and to make copies of all or part of such materials for their use for lecture or classroom purposes (excluding the preparation of course pack material for onward sale by libraries and institutions), provided that the first page of such use or copy prominently displays the bibliographic data and the following copyright notice: "© (year) The Milbank Memorial Fund."
Following publication of their article, authors may continue to post the accepted version of their manuscript on the Internet with the following amended notice: “This is a preprint of an electronic version of an Article published in The Milbank Quarterly” along with complete citation information including identifying the Milbank Memorial Fund as the copyright holder. Authors are encouraged to include a link to the published article on Wiley Online Library. Posting of the published version of the article on the Internet can only be done with written permission from John Wiley & Sons. For information on obtaining permission please click here.
Authors also have the option of giving their published article permanent open access status by registering their article on Online Open, a service of John Wiley & Sons. The article will be immediately available free of charge in both HTML and PDF formats on Wiley Online Library. Additionally, authors may post a link to their article on Wiley Online Library and/or post the final, published PDF on a website, institutional repository, or other free public server. The cost for Online Open is US$3,000. For further information and to register, please click here.