gms | German Medical Science

GMS Journal for Medical Education

Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

ISSN 2366-5017

Information for authors

GMS Journal for Medical Education – Authors' Guidelines

1. General information
GMS Journal for Medical Education (GMS J Med Educ) – formerly GMS Zeitschrift für Medizinische Ausbildung – is an open access, interdisciplinary e-journal which publishes a wide range of papers, in both German and English, on the entire field of medical education and continuing medical education. GMS J Med Educ is published regularly as an open-access journal with at least five issues per year. In addition, special editions are published on current topics in education research. Manuscripts can be submitted in German and English. After a publication has been accepted, German-language manuscripts must also be translated into English and then appear bilingually; English-language manuscripts can also be translated into German and are then also published bilingually.
Before publication all articles go through a peer review process. The guidelines for authors follow the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors: Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals.
1.1 Procedures for special editions
  • Agree on dates (submission deadline, review deadlines, publication date) with the editorial office
  • Special agreements, for example in case of invited contributions, should be coordinated with the editors prior to the call for submissions for the special edition
  • Apply for grants for translations, etc. if applicable
  • Propose an editorial board for the special edition
  • Write a synopsis and submit it to the editorial office at least 2 weeks before the editors’ meeting in Jan/Feb or before the annual conference. The synopsis should provide information on the following points: Purpose of the special edition, type of articles that can be submitted, schedule, editorial board.
  • The editors decide on the release of the special edition.
1.2 Publication fee (effective at 1st July 2021)
If a manuscript has been accepted for publication, a publication fee applies. The manuscript can only be published once this fee has been paid. The previous manuscript processing fee no longer applies. From 1st July 2021 onwards the following fee rates apply:
  • GMA members, based on who the corresponding author is (the discount only applies to natural persons): €400.00
  • Non-GMA members: €800.00.
1.3 Submission opportunity
All authors may upload their submissions into the Manuscript Operating System (MOPS) of German Medical Science (GMS). This option is available via “Login & Submit” on the GMS website (
Alternatively manuscripts may be sent via e-mail to the editorial office of GMS J Med Educ, Beate Hespelein, Henkestr. 91, 91052 Erlangen, Germany,
The Editorial Office will confirm the receipt of the manuscript and inform you of the manuscript’s acceptance or rejection. No liability shall be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts. Recourse to legal action is excluded for all procedures concerning the submission and publication of manuscripts.
2. Publication requirements
2.1 Goals and target groups
GMS J Med Educ accepts submissions on issues and problems within the medical education and continuing medical education, medicine didactics, adult education, quality management in teaching, pedagogical psychology (insofar as it is relevant to medical education), educational policies, university teaching and health professions. The journal's goal is to provide information and communications on medical education and continuing medical education, including relevant research. The target audience includes all persons involved in higher education as well as the interested public.
Submissions can include the formats given in 3.2.
Manuscripts can be submitted in the categories given in 3.3.
2.2 Authorship and copyright
All authors ensure that they have each made a substantial contribution to the article and that they are in agreement with regards to the form and content of the manuscript. The author conducting the negotiations confirms in the Author's Contract that he holds the rights to both the work and the text and illustrations therein. If material (e.g., illustrations or tables) is used from other sources, the author must submit a written statement from the holder of the copyrights indicating agreement with publication in GMS J Med Educ. The exact source is to be cited in the text or in the corresponding legend or caption. In case of publication, the author shall grant GMS J Med Educ the right to store the article for an unlimited amount of time in databases, as well as the right of distribution and reproduction of the article in electronic form. All remaining usage rights of the author are not restricted; however, any further publication of the article must carry a notice of where it was published first ("originally published in: GMS J Med Educ. 2016;33…").
2.3 Conflicts of interest/support
Financial or other kinds of support received from institutes or companies, as well as public funding, are to be listed in the acknowledgments or conflict of interests section. The author should disclose in an attached form any financial or other ties he or she has to a company whose products or whose competitor's products are central to the facts contained in the article. This information will be treated confidentially. If the manuscript is accepted for publication, the Editorial Office will discuss with the author how this information will be communicated.
An important aspect in scientific publication is information about funding. The correct full name of the sponsor and the corresponding grant number must be indicated. The information on funding can be formulated as follows: This article was funded by [sponsors name] under grant number [xxx].
2.4 Protection of subjects and patients
When using photographs of patients or subjects, the author must ensure that the person is rendered unidentifiable. Otherwise, the author must seek explicit consent from the person concerned (or their representative) that he or she agrees to the publication in the present form. The author shall confirm in writing that this consent has been given.
2.5 Ethical standard/information and consent
Studies on persons must comply with the ethical standards of the Declaration of Helsinki (2013 Fortaleza version) and those of the Declaration of Geneva. Clinical studies and educational interventions require the opinion, and if necessary, the approval of an ethics committee. If applicable the author must state that the informed consent of patients and subjects as well as the approval of an ethics committee has been granted.
2.6 VG Wort royalties “texts in the internet”
In case of publication the text can be marked by a counter of the VG Wort on the author’s request (for further information:
3. Composition of the manuscripts
Only submissions can be considered for publication which have been prepared with careful consideration of this information.
3.1 General information
The manuscripts can be submitted in German or English. Manuscripts may also contain tables, figures and pictures as well as audio and video sequences. After a contribution submitted in German has been accepted for publication, it must be professionally translated into English (translation agency, native speaker, etc.), as all articles in the GMS J Med Educ are also published in English. In the case of English-language contributions, on the other hand, translation into German is optional. The author has to provide a declaration that the translation was examined and the content conforms to the original.
3.1.1 Cover letter
Each manuscript must have an extra cover letter providing…
  • An explanation of (1) why the submitted manuscript is important for the readers of GMS J Med Educ and (2) what the manuscript contributes to the state of research in medical education (original article) or why it is relevant beyond one’s own location (project reports)
  • Explanations of possible content overlaps between the manuscript submitted to GMS J Med Educ and manuscripts that have already been published or submitted elsewhere
  • A statement that and how each participating author contributed to the research project presented and the manuscript creation
  • The submitting author must also ensure that all co-authors have read the finished manuscript and agree to its publication in the present form.
  • A declaration regarding the requirements listed under 2.5. on ethical standards
  • This latter, finally, must also disclose any conflicts of interest
3.1.2 Length of the manuscript
Manuscripts should not exceed the following length. Manuscripts that are short and concise have better chances for publication:
  • Articles – Research papers, reviews, project reports, how-tos, good ideas – what’s next?: up to 21,000 characters
  • Short commmunications– Research papers, project reports: up to 6,000 characters
  • Other publications: up to 6,000 characters
  • Letters to the editor: up to 2,500 characters
  • Additionally to all research papers, reviews, project reports, how-tos and good ideas – what’s next? an abstract must be submitted, the length of which should not exceed 1,800 characters.
Number of characters = only the text without title, authors, abstract, figuren/tables and references. Blanks and headings are included in the number of characters. Please construct your manuscript obligatorily by following the technical requirements given in 3.4.
3.1.3 Gender neutral language
Please use gender neutral language when writing or translating a document for the JME.
Terminology: Many terms such as doctor, patient, student etc. are considered gender neutral and do not have to be rendered as "doctors and female doctors" or "male and female patients" but can simply be given as "doctors or patients". The exception are terms ending in "-man/-men". When not referring to an individual of known gender or a single-sex group of people, if a corresponding term with "-person(s)" exists (for example "chairpersons" instead of "chairmen"), this should be preferred. If no such term with "-person(s)" exist, use a periphrastic expression such as "air personnel" (instead of "airmen") or "cleaning staff" (instead of "cleaning ladies").
Pronouns: Gendered pronouns (he/him and she/her) may be used when referring to individuals of known gender. If the gender is unknown or if the German text uses the masculine forms purely for convenience sake, then the English text should use the gender neutral pronouns they/them. For example, instead of "the chief physician should ... when he is ..." the preferable option would be to write "the chief physician should ... when they are ..." when referring to chief physicians in general and not a specific individual. If the German text makes it clear that an individual prefers an alternative pronoun or if an individual is generally known to have a preference for an alternative pronoun (for example "shey" instead of "he/she"), this should be used.
3.1.4 Information on the structure of the manuscript
The main sections of the submission should be clearly separated by short subheadings and a decimal numbering up to 3 figures (e.g., 1. Introduction 1.1 Problem 1.1.1 Historical background … 1.1.4 Objective of the paper ... 1.2 Question, etc.).
3.1.5 Title page
The title of the article is to be listed on the first page of the manuscript, followed by the authors’ full names, their e-mail addresses and institutional affiliations in which they work. Below this, the name, postal and e-mail addresses of the corresponding author should be listed separately.
3.1.6 Abstract and keywords
All articles  must be preceded by a summary (abstract). The abstract is to be drawn up in such a way that it represents a condensed extract of the work (max. 1,800 characters). It should be divided in bold-faced headings objectives, methods, results, and conclusion. At the bottom the author should list appropriate keywords, which should be selected from Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) as far as is possible. In addition, the author should specify any trade names or manufacturer names of pharmaceuticals and medical products used, as well as chemical substances and their CAS numbers, in order for this information to be indexed in appropriate databases. See "Article Types" for further information on manuscript guidelines.
3.1.7 References
The literature cited in the text is listed at the end of the article in the reference list and in accordance with the Vancouver Style of References, which is also used in MEDLINE. References should be numbered in the order in which they were listed in the reference list. The reference list can be arranged according to the citation in the text or alphabetically according to the surnames of the first author. The references list is to be numbered consecutively in any case. The numbers from the references list are used for the citations in text, tables and legends, whereby the Arabic numerals are placed within square brackets. Please do not use footnotes!
Some examples:
Standard journal article:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347(4):284-7. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsb020632
Murray PR, Rosenthal KS, Kobayashi GS, Pfaller MA. Medical microbiology. 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2002.
Chapter/Contribution in a monograph:
Meltzer PS, Kallioniemi A, Trent JM. Chromosome alterations in human solid tumors. In: Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW, editors. The genetic basis of human cancer. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2002. p. 93-113.
Online journal article:
Eysenbach G. SARS and population health technology. J Med Internet Res. 2003;5(2):e14. Available from:
For further detailed sample references, see
Websites/webpages should be integrated in the text instead of appearing in the reference list, you may add the date the webpage was cited or updated.
Personal messages and unpublished works should not be located in the reference list. 
3.1.8 Figures and tables
Figures and graphic illustrations serve to present facts in a condensed form. They may be used to visualize structures or interactions. They should help to clarify the text. Figures and/or tables should not be used to repeat what has been presented in the text, nor should the text repeat the information in the figures/tables; numerical data in particular should only be presented once, either in the text or, preferably, in a table or figure. Please draw up your figures and tables according to the requirements of the American Psychological Association (APA). 
3.1.9 Acknowledgements
Acknowledgements, e.g. to collaborators, who collected material, but were not involved in the process of creating the manuscript should be located at the end of the text. Furthermore the acknowledgements should be short but include a justification for the mention.
3.2 Article types
3.2.1 Articles (up to 21,000 characters)
  1. Articles – Research papers
    These address current scientific questions regarding education, advanced professional training and continuing education in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and the health professions (referred to in the following as medical education and advanced training). These papers have an adequate theoretical basis, apply appropriate methods and lead to relevant results. A paper of this type should take a clear step toward clarifying its main issue (research question). Particularly in respect to papers involving quantitative methods, we recommend drawing on the expertise of methodologists or statisticians. Research papers need to follow this sequence: abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion and conclusions.
  2. Articles – Reviews
    Overviews should present the current state of research concerning a relevant issue or topic in medical education and advanced training. They should summarize and outline unanswered research questions for better understanding in the future. Overviews should contain an abstract and introduction, but may be structured as determined by the topic or issue. Meta-analyses or structured overviews are welcome.
  3. Articles – Project reports
    These present a project with relevance to medical education and advanced training (e.g. curricular changes, courses, continuing education programs). The need or issue giving rise to the project’s development and how it was implemented should be clearly communicated. Particular value should be placed on scientific aspects (e.g. consideration of pertinent preliminary studies, reference to pedagogical concepts and constructs, multi-dimensional evaluation). If possible, evaluation data should be reported, with which it is possible to assess the extent to which the project goals have been realized. In general, project papers should follow this sequence: abstract, introduction, project description, results, discussion, conclusion.
3.2.2 Short commmunications (research paper/project report; up to 6,000 characters, abstract max. 1,800 characters)
These can either report on research data from a research paper or present a project. The structure should reflect the content (see the different article subtypes).
3.2.3 Recommendations and position papers (up to 21,000 characters, abstract max. 1,800 characters)
These are recommendations regarding medical education that are based on evidence and consensus and that have been drafted in a clearly presented manner. As a general rule, these must be approved by the GMA board prior to publication.
3.2.4 How to (Maximum character length: 21,000 characters, abstracts max. 1,800 characters (as for all articles)
How-to articles deal with current topics in the context of training, further education and workplace training in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and health professions (hereinafter referred to collectively as medical training, further education and workplace training).
The articles are intended to provide practical information or tips on a topic or conceptual considerations for medical training, further education and workplace training. These can be based on the literature or on one’s own (positive and negative) experiences that must be clearly presented in context.
They can relate to both the planning and the implementation of teaching, learning and examination measures and can also include practical examples.
How-to articles should contain an abstract and an introduction but can otherwise be structured according to the requirements of the topic. The aim is that they offer a guide to follow the explanation in your own application context (e.g. flowchart, checklist, step-by-step explanation).
3.2.5 Good ideas – what’s next? / Good ideas for teaching (max 1,500 words, abstract max. 1,800 characters, maximum of 10 references, maximum of one figure and table (or two tables or two figures))
In this category, short articles on courses and teaching projects are published once or twice a year. The articles must be structured as follows:
  1. What is the context or background of the project?
    Brief introduction to contextualize the project. What is the context of the project? Is it an expression of local over regional changes (e.g. as part of a curriculum reform) or of trends in medical didactics, educational research, etc? For which target group was the project designed? At what point in the curriculum is it used?
  2. Why was the project started?
    What was the specific reason for the project? For what needs was it designed (e.g. newly-defined training goals)? Were there any problems or deficits (e.g. criticism from students, poor evaluation results) that the project is intended to eliminate? What goals does the project pursue (e.g. specific training and learning goals)?
  3. How is the project carried out?
    Concrete description of the various aspects of the project such as group size, duration and other organizational variables, materials and methods used, lecturers or tutors carrying out the project, etc.
  4. How is the project evaluated?
    Which indicators are there for the effect or the success of the project (e.g. test or evaluation results)? Which methods were used for the evaluation (e.g. test procedures, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, other feedback from students, teachers).
  5. Final overall assessment, outlook
    Was the project worth doing? What was the added value? Will the project be retained, expanded, changed? What should/must be given special attention in the future? What are the findings?
3.2.6  Commentaries (up to 6,000 characters)
Commentaries are well-founded statements of opinion and assumptions of a hypothetical nature that address current problems or issues in medical education and advanced training. These should contain an abstract and introduction, but may otherwise be structured as required by the content.
3.2.7 Editorials
These are brief texts that express opinions on a journal issue’s focal topic, individual articles, or topics of general importance to medical education and advanced training. Editorials are commissioned by the chief editors and can contain figures and/or short literature lists.
3.2.8 Letters to the editor (up to 2,500 characters)
These contain comments on and discussions of published articles.
3.2.9 Book reviews and Conference reports
These are brief commentaries on books or events.
3.2.10 Obituaries
These are brief tributes to deceased persons who have contributed significantly to the field of medical education.
3.3 Categories
Particular topics can be summarized in the following categories:
Human medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, healthcare professions, students, public health, and health policies, student contributions.
The last category covers contributions from students on medical education and advanced training and is meant to increase the visibility of precisely those who profit most from successful improvements to education. Position papers, opinions, reports on personal experience, and research projects in the field of education are welcome. The type of article as described under numbers 3.2.1 through 3.2.10 must be indicated on the manuscript.
3.4 Technical requirements
3.4.1 Typography and technical terms
  • Enter your text as running text (i.e., only use hard line breaks at the end of a paragraph); do not use block style or end-of-line hyphenation.
  • To indent a paragraph, use a tab stop or the indent function instead of spaces.
  • Enable the automatic page numbering feature of your application.
  • Use no more than one form of emphasis in your manuscript (e.g., only italic).
  • Use the ASCII code for special characters.
  • Citations are to be numbered consecutively in the text as explained in 3.1.7 and listed as text in the references section at the end of the document. Do not use the automatic footnote function. The GMS publication system does not allow for comments in the form of footnotes and endnotes. Textual explanations have to be integrated into the continuous text (in brackets, in italics, etc.).
  • All figures and tables are to be placed on an extra paper and provided with legends and numbered consecutively. Please indicate clearly in the manuscript where figures and/or tables are to be inserted.
  • The basic units of the International System of Units (SI) and the units derived from them are to be used for all units of measurement. The unit “mmHg“ is permissible for blood pressure values; the unit “°C“ may be used for temperature. If other units of measure are used in figures and tables, please indicate the conversion factors in the legend.
  • For the designation of chemical substances, use the nomenclature of the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) or the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB). We recommend indicating the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) registry number in addition.
  • Generic names should be used for pharmaceuticals in most cases.
  • If commercial products were used during the research, then their trade names and the names of their manufacturers should be mentioned in the Methods section. In addition, this information will be indexable by recording it in special data fields. For articles written in German, the orthography of “Rote Liste“ applies.
  • Common acronyms such as DNA and WHO may be used without further explanation. The complete term for all other acronyms should be given when they are first used. A list of acronyms and abbreviations may be added to the manuscript if necessary.
3.4.2 Submission and text formats
Authors may upload their submissions into the Manuscript Operating System (MOPS) of German Medical Science (GMS). This option is available via "Login & Submit" on the GMS Web site ( Alternatively, manuscripts may be submitted as an e-mail attachment to the editorial office of the GMS J Med Educ. Electronic submissions may be sent as Microsoft Word (*.doc or *.docx) or Rich Text Format (*.rtf) files.
3.4.3 Graphic formats
The following graphic formats can be used: TIFF and BMP (bitmap formats with no data loss), GIF and PNG (compressed bitmap formats) for charts, JPG (compressible bitmap format) for photos. Even if the graphics are integrated in the text, please provide them additionally as separate files with clear file names.
3.4.4 Research Data / Primary Data (Supplementary Material)
We expect our authors to submit relevant underlying data in addition to the manuscripts for peer review and publication. This complies with demands of funding organizations like Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and European Research Council in terms of ֧“Good scientific practice”.
Benefits of publishing research data / primary data include:
  • Citeability: recognition as an independent scientific achievement
  • Subsequent use: enables further interpretation of data, utilization for follow-up research projects, creation of interconnections between data sets, data/text mining
  • Transparency: through traceability and reproducibility (if applicable) of research results
  • Efficiency: through limitation of work and financial expenses
By co-operation with the Dryad repository, German Medical Science offers an easy way for publishing research data and achieving:
  • Cross-reference between article and underlying data via persistent identifiers (DOI)
  • Long-term archiving
  • Independent quality assurance through peer review and data curation
  • Legal security: Like the article, data are published under a Creative commons licence. Dryad is using the Creative Commons Zero.
ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences currently takes over the costs for data publications related to GMS articles.
Please submit a README file along with your data and use platform-independent file formats, such as CSV for tabular data. Please consider the FAIR Data Principles and best practice on this.
Further information about Dryad and the publication process is given at and in the FAQ. Should you have any further questions, please feel free to send an e-mail to
ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences also offers data publication in PUBLISSO – Repository for Life Sciences. If you prefer a repository hosted in Germany or another license than Creative Commons Zero or the data is in German, the Repository for Life Sciences is an alternative to Dryad. You find further information at For questions, please contact
3.5 Proofs
The proofs should be checked carefully and the corrected proofs are to be returned to the editorial office. Corrections must be made by the specified deadline; proofs returned after this deadline cannot be considered. The publisher reserves the right to seek reimbursement from the author for proofs returned late or which contain exceptionally extensive corrections or corrections for which the author is responsible. The proofs must be returned by the deadline in order to ensure that the journal can be published on time.
4. Review process
The Editorial Office of GMS J Med Educ confirms the receipt of every manuscript. All submissions go through a review process which assesses the originality and scientific quality of the presented material. The review is conducted by at least two experts chosen by the editorial advisory board. In case of a positive review (where necessary, after a revision), the editorial advisory board sends its recommendation to the editor-in-chief. The editor-in-chief makes the final decision on whether the manuscript will be accepted or not. The Editorial Office communicates this decision to the authors as soon as possible (precise description, see “About JME (ZMA)”).