Scholarly Publishing Round-up January 2020

Learn more about a new interface for NIHMS, revised ICJME guidelines for authors, and a possible new Executive Order related to open access.

Coming Soon: A New NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) System

A new version of the NIH Manuscript Submission system (NIHMS) is scheduled to be released January 23, 2020. NIHMS will be unavailable beginning January 21 as part of this transition. Among the changes are an updated user interface that simplifies the login process for returning users; user-friendly options for importing article metadata, requesting corrections, and taking over the Reviewer role for stalled submissions. To learn more about the update, see the video.

The new NIHMS system launch is just around the corner:

“Researchers are encouraged to take this schedule into consideration when preparing progress reports (e.g., RPPRs) and in completing other public access compliance activities. Papers deposited to NIHMS prior to January 21 will be migrated to the new system and any action(s) required after the release will be taken in the new system. Researchers will have access to information on all submissions made over time upon logging in to the new NIHMS. Researchers with RPPRs due in February should address any outstanding compliance issues as soon as possible to avoid delays.”


The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME) recently made changes in the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals guidelines. Among the changes include:

  • Authors should avoid citing articles in predatory or pseudo-journals.
  • The corresponding author should confirm that disclosures of relationships and activities by authors are properly reported.
  • Reviewers should declare relationships and activities that might bias their evaluation of a manuscript.

To view all new recommendations, see the annotated version of the ICJME guidelines.


The Justice Department is investigating Sci-Hub, a website that provides free access to journal articles.



There are rumblings on the street as to a possible Executive Order (EO)  from the White House that would mandate free access to all published research funded by federal awards, with no embargo period. The Office of Science and Technology Policy currently operates under an EO issued in 2013: “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research” which requires access to published research funded by federal awards no later than one year after publication.



A definition for predatory journals? A group of scholars recently announced a consensus definition for predatory journals:

Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.

Project materials are available in the Open Science Framework.