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This page includes information about the aims and scope of Trials, editorial policies, open access and article-processing charges, the peer review process and other information. For details of how to prepare and submit a manuscript through the online submission system, please see the instructions for authors.
Aims & scope
Trials is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal that encompasses all aspects of the performance and findings of randomized controlled trials. We publish articles on general trial methodology as well as protocols, commentaries and traditional results papers - regardless of outcome or significance of findings.
Trials aims to experiment with, and refine, innovative approaches to improving communication about trials. We are keen to move beyond publishing traditional trial results articles (although these are included). We believe this journal represents an exciting opportunity to advance the science and reporting of trials.
Making all its content open access and not retaining copyright, Trials offers a way to make data both freely available and highly visible to trialists worldwide; this will benefit the impact of your publication among peers and societies. The journal has unrestricted space and takes advantage of all the technical possibilities available for electronic publishing.
To date, journals have focused on reporting the results of trials, with very little coverage of why and how they are conducted. Reports of trials have been restricted both by authors and editors &mdash both parties often select only a subset of the outcomes measured, while the latter often impose word limits on the articles published making it difficult to communicate the lessons learnt from conducting the trial, let alone include adequate details of how the trial was conducted.
The Internet offers both unlimited space and interactivity, and we are keen to harness these attributes. For instance, trialists are able to provide the detail required to be a true scientific record and do more to make the article's message comprehensible to a variety of reader groups. They are able to communicate not only all outcome measures, as well as varying analyses and interpretations, but also in-depth descriptions of what they did and what they learnt. This sharing of direct experience is fundamental to improving the quality and conduct of trials worldwide.
Prior to 2006, Trials was published as Current Controlled Trials in Cardiovascular Medicine (CCTCVM). All published CCTCVM articles are available via the Trials website and citations to CCTCVM article URLs will continue to be supported.
All articles published by Trials are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication, without subscription charges or registration barriers. Further information about open access can be found here.
Authors of articles published in Trials are the copyright holders of their articles and have granted to any third party, in advance and in perpetuity, the right to use, reproduce or disseminate the article, according to the BioMed Central copyright and license agreement.
For authors who are US government employees or are prevented from being copyright holders for similar reasons, BioMed Central can accommodate non-standard copyright lines. Please contact us if further information is needed.
Open access publishing is not without costs. Trials therefore levies an article-processing charge of £1115/$1805/€1335 for each article accepted for publication. We routinely waive charges for authors from low-income countries. Generally, if the submitting author's institution is a Member the cost of the article-processing charge is covered by the membership, and no further charge is payable. In the case of authors whose institutions are Supporter Members, however, a discounted article-processing charge is payable by the author. For further details, see our article-processing charge page. A limited number of waivers for article-processing charges are also available at the editors' discretion, and authors wishing to apply for these waivers should contact the editors.
All articles published in Trials are included in PubMed, the most widely used biomedical bibliographic database service, which is run by the US National Library of Medicine. Other bibliographic databases that index articles published in Trials include:
- Current contents
- Google Scholar
- Index Copernicus
- PubMed Central
- Science Citation Index Expanded
The full text of all research articles is deposited in PubMed Central, the US National Library of Medicine's full-text repository of life science literature, and other digital archives including e-Depot (The Netherlands).
Trials is tracked by Thomson Reuters (ISI) and has an Impact Factor of 2.21.
Publication and peer review process
Trials aims to be broad in scope and considers articles covering the following:
Articles about a specific randomized trial
- Complete trial protocol (an accompanying discussion of why the trial was designed the way it was is encouraged)
- First report of trial findings
- Expanded report of trial findings after a shorter version has appeared in another peer-reviewed journal
- Secondary analyses (e.g. health economic analysis, harms and other non-primary outcomes, sensitivity analyses)
- Discussion of specific issues of the trial design
- Description of particular aspects of the trial conduct, such as data collection, choice or measurement of outcomes, training of observers, data handling, organisational issues, etc
- Lessons learned: "What we would do differently knowing what we know now" Critical commentary on a trial report published elsewhere
Articles about randomized trials in general:
- Issues related to the design, conduct, analysis, interpretation, reporting or publication of randomized trials
- Issues relating to assessing outcomes, especially efforts to standardise outcomes in a particular medical field
- Reviews of published articles describing randomized trials relating to one or more of the following: trial design, organisation, conduct, analysis, reporting, and interpretation
- Discussion of issues relating to randomized trials, especially topical matters
- Commentary to accompany articles published in Trials (these are usually commissioned)
Articles relating to trial methodology are encouraged but must be practical in their nature. If a new method, test or procedure is described it should be presented alongside a specific example or examples of its application in a clinical setting. Articles that are primarily mathematical and/or theoretical would be better suited to another journal.
Articles should be classified as one of the following types:
- Study protocols: describe proposed or ongoing research, providing a detailed account of the hypothesis, rationale, and methodology of the study.
- Research: Original studies rated as scientifically valid contributions to the field.
- Commentaries: short, focused and opinionated articles on any subject within the scope of the journal. These articles are usually related to a contemporary issue, such as recent research findings, and are often written by opinion leaders.
- Methodology articles: present a new experimental method, test or procedure. The method described may either be completely new, or may offer a better version of an existing method.
- Reviews: comprehensive, authoritative descriptions of any subject within the journal's scope, these articles are usually written by opinion leaders that have been invited by the Steering or Advisory Group, but can be submitted after acceptance of an author's proposal.
Reviews and commentaries are usually commissioned, but suggestions in the form of a brief summary are welcome and should be sent to the Editors.
Authors and peer reviewers are requested to make use of checklists that have been developed for randomized controlled trials (CONSORT) and systematic reviews (PRISMA) and should consider all relevant design, intervention and data extensions of the CONSORT checklist.
Trials operates an 'open peer review' policy meaning reviewers are asked to sign their reviews. The pre-publication history including all submitted versions, reviewers' reports and authors' responses will be linked to from the published article.
Authors will be able to check the progress of their manuscript through the submission system at any time by logging into My Trials, a personalized section of the site.
High-quality, bound reprints can be purchased for all articles published. Please see our reprints website for further information about ordering reprints.
Trials will consider supplements based on proceedings (full articles or meeting abstracts), reviews or research. All articles submitted for publication in supplements are subject to peer review. Published supplements are fully searchable and freely accessible online and can also be produced in print. All full length articles (proceedings, reviews or research articles) are indexed by PubMed. PubMed displays the title of the supplement only in the case of meeting abstract collections. For further information, please contact us.
All manuscripts submitted to Trials should adhere to BioMed Central's editorial policies.
Citing articles in Trials
Articles in Trials should be cited in the same way as articles in a traditional journal. Because articles are not printed, they do not have page numbers; instead, they are given a unique article number.
Article citations follow this format:
Authors: Title. Trials [year], [volume number]:[article number].
e.g. Roberts LD, Hassall DG, Winegar DA, Haselden JN, Nicholls AW, Griffin JL: Increased hepatic oxidative metabolism distinguishes the action of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor delta from Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor gamma in the Ob/Ob mouse. Trials 2009, 1:115.
refers to article 115 from Volume 1 of the journal.
Why publish your article in Trials?
Trials's open access policy allows maximum visibility of articles published in the journal as they are available to a wide, global audience. Articles that have been especially highly accessed are highlighted with a 'Highly accessed' graphic, which appears on the journal's contents pages and search results.
Speed of publication
Trials offers a fast publication schedule whilst maintaining rigorous peer review; all articles must be submitted online, and peer review is managed fully electronically (articles are distributed in PDF form, which is automatically generated from the submitted files). Articles are published with their final citation immediately upon acceptance in a provisional PDF form. The article will subsequently be published in both fully browsable web form, and as a formatted PDF; the article will then be available through Trials, BioMed Central and PubMed Central and will also be included in PubMed.
Online publication in Trials gives authors the opportunity to publish large datasets, large numbers of color illustrations and moving pictures, to display data in a form that can be read directly by other software packages so as to allow readers to manipulate the data for themselves, and to create all relevant links (for example, to PubMed, to sequence and other databases, and to other articles).
Promotion and press coverage
Articles published in Trials are included in article alerts and regular email updates. Some may be included in abstract books mailed to academics and are highlighted on Trials's pages and on the BioMed Central homepage.
In addition, articles published in Trials may be promoted by press releases to the general or scientific press. These activities increase the exposure and number of accesses for articles published in Trials. A list of articles recently press-released by journals published by BioMed Central is available here.
Authors of articles published in Trials retain the copyright of their articles and are free to reproduce and disseminate their work (for further details, see the BioMed Central copyright and license agreement).
For further information about the advantages of publishing in a journal from BioMed Central, please click here.