Tzu Chi Medical Journal (TCMJ) is the peer-reviewed and open access publication of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation and has been in publication since 1988. The Journal is served by an editorial board that is composed of experts, from Taiwan and internationally, from all major medical fields. The mission of the TCMJ is to provide practical, timely, and relevant clinical medicine and advanced basic science information to physicians and researchers practicing in Taiwan, across Asia, and worldwide. The Journal is published quarterly, in March, June, September and December, by Elsevier. It is indexed in EMBase, Scopus, ScienceDirect, SIIC Data Bases and CAS.
TCMJ welcomes manuscript submissions not just from Taiwan but worldwide. All papers considered for publication are reviewed by one associate editor and two to three reviewers. Only 60% of articles are accepted for publication in the journal. Examples of important articles we have published include those on specific disease patterns in the Asian-Pacific region such as tuberculosis, gout, and aboriginal alcoholism-related diseases, with a focus on improving diagnosis and treatment. As TCMJ aims to be a useful resource for clinicians, researchers, and medical professionals, we have expanded the scope of TCMJ to cover vegetarianism, medical education, medical ethics, medicolegal issues, medical economics, clinical practice and therapeutics, and imaging in clinical medicine. The Journal also features special articles for continuing medical education (CME).
The article types accepted by TCMJ are: Review Articles, Original Articles, Case Reports, Medical Ethics, Medical Education, Clinical Practice & Therapeutics, Images in Clinical Medicine, and clinical Pathology Pages.
Categories of Articles
The categories of articles that are published are described below.
• The maximum length of an article is 3000 words, inclusive of tables and figures, but not including references.
These should aim to provide the reader with a balanced overview of an important and topical subject in medicine, and should be systematic and critical assessments of literature and data sources, emphasizing factors such as cause, diagnosis, prognosis, therapy, or prevention. All articles and data sources reviewed should include information about the specific type of study or analysis, population, intervention, exposure, and tests or outcomes. All articles or data sources should be selected systematically for inclusion in the review and critically evaluated.
The following are given as examples of possible section headings: Introduction (to include a definition of the disease to be discussed, its incidence and relationship to age, sex and geography), Etiology, Pathology (macroscopic and microscopic), Diagnosis, Clinical Features/Complications, Prevention, Treatment, Prognosis, Conclusion or Summary. Figures, tables, algorithms and other forms of illustration should be included as appropriate.
These may be randomized trials, intervention studies, studies of screening and diagnostic tests, laboratory and animal studies, cohort studies, cost-effectiveness response rates, that represent new and significant contributions to medical science.
Each manuscript should state the objective/hypothesis, design and methods (including the study setting and dates, patients/participants with inclusion and exclusion criteria, or data sources and how these were selected for the study), the essential features of any interventions, the main outcome measures, the main results, discussion placing the results in context with the published literature, and conclusions. Section headings should be: Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion.
These are short discussions of a case or case series with unique features not previously described. Section headings should be: Abstract, Introduction, Case Report, Discussion.
These are original research articles in relation to ethical aspects of biomedical research and clinical practice, including professional choices and conduct, medical technologies, healthcare system and health policies.
These are review or original research articles discussing teaching methods, curriculum reform, the training of medical teachers, the selection of entrants and assessment techniques. The issues and commentaries include undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education, postgraduate training, continuing professional development and interprofessional education.
Clinical Practice and Therapeutics
These are evidence-based reviews of topics that focus on clinically oriented information about clinical diagnosis, clinical evidence, pathophysiology, therapies, adverse effects, clinical guidelines and recommendations.
Images in Clinical Medicine
These are characteristic or atypical images of common medical conditions.
• Word limit: 500 words
• Images: up to 4 images
These are characteristic or atypical histological findings of common medical diseases.
• Word limit: 500 words
• Tables/Figures: up to 4 tables and/or figures
These are review articles or scientific reports of original research in areas such as vegetarianism and health, medical economic policy, and healthcare policies.
Hann-Chorng Kuo, MD
Tzu Chi Medical Journal
Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital
707, Section 3, Chung-Yang Road
Hualien 970, Taiwan
Tel: (+886) 3-8561825 ext. 2113
–A brief cover letter should accompany all manuscript submissions and include your name, address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address.
– Each author’s contribution to the manuscript should be listed. Any and all potential and actual conflicts of interest should also be listed (see the "Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest" section for more information). Please use the TCMJ Authorship & Conflicts of Interest Statement form that follows these author instructions and that is also provided on the Journal’s website at www.tzuchimedjnl.com. The corresponding author must sign the statement on behalf of all the authors listed in the manuscript.
– A copyright transfer agreement. In the event that your manuscript is accepted for publication in the TCMJ, you are required to transfer all copyright ownership in and relating to the work to the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. Please use the TCMJ Copyright Transfer Agreement form that follows these author instructions and that is also provided on the Journal’s website at www.tzuchimedjnl.com. The corresponding author must sign on behalf of all the listed authors in the manuscript.
– Articles covering the use of human samples in research and human experiments must be accompanied by a letter of approval from the relevant review committee.
– Articles covering the use of vertebrates in scientific application planning must be accompanied by a letter of approval from the animal experiment management team of the relevant authorities.
– Where material has been reproduced or adapted from other copyrighted sources, the letter(s) of permission from the copyright holder(s) to use the copyrighted sources must be supplied.
• Articles submitted by e-mail should be in Microsoft Word document format and prepared in the simplest form possible. We will add in the correct font, font size, margins and so on according to the journal’s style.
• You may use automatic page numbering, but avoid other kinds of automatic formatting such as footnotes, endnotes, headers and footers.
• Please put text, references, tables, figures, and legends in one file, with each table and figure on a new page.
• Figures that are line drawings or photographs must also be submitted separately as high resolution picture files, in *.EPS or *.TIFF format. Please ensure that files are supplied at the correct resolution of a minimum of 600 dpi
Ethics in publishing
Please see our information pages on Ethics in publishing and Ethical guidelines for journal publication.
Human and animal rights
If the work involves the use of human subjects, the author should ensure that the work described has been carried out in accordance with The Code of Ethics of the World Medical Association (Declaration of Helsinki) for experiments involving humans; Uniform Requirements for manuscripts submitted to Biomedical journals. Authors should include a statement in the manuscript that informed consent was obtained for experimentation with human subjects. The privacy rights of human subjects must always be observed.
All animal experiments should comply with the ARRIVE guidelines and should be carried out in accordance with the U.K. Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 and associated guidelines, EU Directive 2010/63/EU for animal experiments, or the National Institutes of Health guide for the care and use of Laboratory animals (NIH Publications No. 8023, revised 1978) and the authors should clearly indicate in the manuscript that such guidelines have been followed.
Declaration of interest
All authors are requested to disclose any actual or potential conflict of interest including any financial, personal or other relationships with other people or organizations within three years of beginning the submitted work that could inappropriately influence, or be perceived to influence, their work. More information.
Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest
A conflict of interest occurs when an individual’s objectivity is potentially compromised by a desire for financial gain, prominence, professional advancement or a successful outcome. TCMJ Editors strive to ensure that what is published in the Journal is as balanced, objective and evidence-based as possible. Since it can be difficult to distinguish between an actual conflict of interest and a perceived conflict of interest, the Journal requires authors to disclose all and any potential conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest may be financial or non-financial. Financial conflicts include financial relationships such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements. Non-financial conflicts include personal or professional relationships, affiliations, academic competition, intellectual passion, knowledge or beliefs that might affect objectivity. Please ensure that the name of each author listed in your manuscript appears in either Section I or Section II on page 2 of the TCMJ Authorship & Conflicts of Interest Statement form (an author’s name cannot appear in both Section I and Section II of the form).
Submission of an article implies that the work described has not been published previously (except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis or as an electronic preprint, see 'Multiple, redundant or concurrent publication' section of our ethics policy for more information), that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere including electronically in the same form, in English or in any other language, without the written consent of the copyright-holder.
All authors should have made substantial contributions to all of the following: (1) the conception and design of the study, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data, (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, (3) final approval of the version to be submitted.
Changes to authorship
Authors are expected to consider carefully the list and order of authors before submitting their manuscript and provide the definitive list of authors at the time of the original submission. Any addition, deletion or rearrangement of author names in the authorship list should be made only before the manuscript has been accepted and only if approved by the journal Editor. To request such a change, the Editor must receive the following from the corresponding author: (a) the reason for the change in author list and (b) written confirmation (e-mail, letter) from all authors that they agree with the addition, removal or rearrangement. In the case of addition or removal of authors, this includes confirmation from the author being added or removed.
Only in exceptional circumstances will the Editor consider the addition, deletion or rearrangement of authors after the manuscript has been accepted. While the Editor considers the request, publication of the manuscript will be suspended. If the manuscript has already been published in an online issue, any requests approved by the Editor will result in a corrigendum.
Clinical trial results
In line with the position of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, the journal will not consider results posted in the same clinical trials registry in which primary registration resides to be prior publication if the results posted are presented in the form of a brief structured (less than 500 words) abstract or table. However, divulging results in other circumstances (e.g., investors' meetings) is discouraged and may jeopardise consideration of the manuscript. Authors should fully disclose all posting in registries of results of the same or closely related work.
Upon acceptance of an article, authors will be asked to complete a 'Journal Publishing Agreement' (see more information on this). An e-mail will be sent to the corresponding author confirming receipt of the manuscript together with a 'Journal Publishing Agreement' form or a link to the online version of this agreement.
As an author you (or your employer or institution) have certain rights to reuse your work. More information.
When the manuscript is accepted for publication, the authors agree to automatic transfer of copyright to the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. TCMJ is the official peer-reviewed publication of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. Manuscripts published in the TCMJ become the permanent property of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. All articles published in the Journal are protected by copyright, which covers the exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute the article, as well as translation rights. No TCMJ article, in part or whole, may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, by photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation.
This Journal is a peer reviewed, subsidized open access journal where the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation pays for the publishing costs incurred by the Journal. Authors do not have to pay any Article Processing Charge or Open Access Publication Fee.
All articles published open access will be immediately and permanently free for everyone to read, download, copy and distribute. Permitted reuse is defined by the following user license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND): for non-commercial purposes, lets others distribute and copy the article, and to include in a collective work (such as an anthology), as long as they credit the author(s) and provided they do not alter or modify the article.
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Funding body agreements and policies
Elsevier has established a number of agreements with funding bodies which allow authors to comply with their funder's open access policies. Some funding bodies will reimburse the author for the Open Access Publication Fee. Details of existing agreements are available online.
Green open access
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This journal has an embargo period of 0 months.
Elsevier Publishing Campus
The Elsevier Publishing Campus (www.publishingcampus.com) is an online platform offering free lectures, interactive training and professional advice to support you in publishing your research. The College of Skills training offers modules on how to prepare, write and structure your article and explains how editors will look at your paper when it is submitted for publication. Use these resources, and more, to ensure that your submission will be the best that you can make it.
Informed consent and patient details
Studies on patients or volunteers require ethics committee approval and informed consent, which should be documented in the paper. Appropriate consents, permissions and releases must be obtained where an author wishes to include case details or other personal information or images of patients and any other individuals in an Elsevier publication. Written consents must be retained by the author and copies of the consents or evidence that such consents have been obtained must be provided to Elsevier on request. For more information, please review the Elsevier Policy on the Use of Images or Personal Information of Patients or other Individuals. Unless you have written permission from the patient (or, where applicable, the next of kin), the personal details of any patient included in any part of the article and in any supplementary materials (including all illustrations and videos) must be removed before submission.
Published manuscripts become the permanent property of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation and may not be published elsewhere without written permission. However, the following rights of the authors are reserved: (i) the right to use, free of charge, all or part of their article in future works of their own, such as books and lectures; (ii) the right to reproduce the article for their own non-commercial and educational purposes.
Text should be typed double-spaced on one side of A4 (210 × 280 mm) paper, with outer margins of 3 cm. Each section of the manuscript should begin on a new page. Pages should be numbered consecutively, beginning with the title page.
The title page should contain the following information:
category of paper
the names (spelled out in full) of all the authors and their institutions
declaration of any source of financial support
declaration of any conflicts of interest
corresponding author details (e-mail address, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers)
The first page following the title page should contain a concise English abstract of no more than 300 words and up to 5 relevant key words/index terms in alphabetical order. Abstracts should be structured, with the section headings:
Objectives: describe the rationale for the study
Materials and Methods: briefly introduce the methods used to perform the study
Results: briefly present the significant results
Conclusion: state your conclusions concisely
International (SI) units must be used, with the exception of blood pressure values which are to be reported in mmHg. Please use the metric system for the expression of length, area, mass, and volume. Temperatures are to be given in degrees Celsius.
Use the Recommended International Non-proprietary Name for medicinal substances, unless the specific trade name of a drug is directly relevant to the discussion.
Where a term/definition will be continually referred to, it must be written in full, followed by the subsequent abbreviation in brackets, when it first appears in the text. Thereafter, the abbreviation may be used.
- References should be limited to those cited in the text.
- Each reference citation within the main body of the text should be an Arabic numeral enclosed in square brackets in line with the text.
- References must be numbered consecutively in order of appearance in the text, and listed in numerical order in the reference list: do not alphabetize.
- References cited in tables or figure legends should be included in sequence at the point where the table or figure is first mentioned in the text.
- Abstracts should not be cited unless the abstract is the only available reference to an important concept.
- Do not cite uncompleted work or work that has not yet been accepted for publication as references.
- References should include the complete title of the article and the last names and initials of all the authors up to 6. If there are more than 6 authors, include the last names and initials of the first 6 authors only, followed by “et al”.
- Abbreviations for journals should conform to those used in MEDLINE.
- Always give the last page number as well. If there is only 1 page, state if the article is an abstract or letter.
- If citing a website, please provide the author information, article title, the website address and the date you accessed the information.
- Reference to an article that is in press must state the journal name and, if possible, the year and volume. Use the “Vancouver” style, as described in: “International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. JAMA 1997;277:927-34”
Authors are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of their references and for correct text citation.
Examples are given below:
1. Chuang MH, Lin CL, Wang YF, Chung MI, Cham TM. Southern Taiwan findings from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Medication Safety Self Assessment for Hospitals survey. Tzu Chi Med J 2007;19:74-83.
2. Mikulski SM, Costanzi JJ, Vogelzang NJ, McCachren S, Taub RN, Chun H, et al. Phase II trial of a single weekly intravenous dose of ranpirnase in patients with unresectable malignant mesothelioma. J Clin Oncol 2002;20:274-81.
3. Hofele C, Schwager-Schmitt M, Volkmann M. Prognostic value of antibodies against p53 in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma--five years survival rate. Laryngorhinootologie 2002;81:342-5. [In German]
[dataset]  Oguro M, Imahiro S, Saito S, Nakashizuka T. Mortality data for Japanese oak wilt disease and surrounding forest compositions, Mendeley Data, v1; 2015. External link http://dx.doi.org/10.17632/xwj98nb39r.1.
1. Stevens J. Applied multivariate statistics for the social sciences. 3rd ed. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; 1996.
2. Jones CJ, Smith TH. Kidney disease. Boston: Little Brown & Company; 1973, p. 50-3.
3. Lin HC, Lee FY, Lee SD. Cirrhosis and portal hypertension. In: Sung JJY, Wong LKS, Li PKT, Sanderson J, Kwok TCY, eds. Principles and practice of clinical medicine in Asia. Treating the Asian patient. Hong Kong: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2002, p. 312-23.
Tables should supplement, not duplicate, the text. They should be labeled in Arabic numerals and titled concisely. Number all tables in the order of their citation in the text. Tables should be typed double-spaced in as simple a form as possible. Information requiring explanatory footnotes should be denoted using superscripted lowercase letters.
The number of figures should be restricted to the minimum necessary to support the textual material. Figures must be submitted as high resolution picture files, in *.EPS or *.TIFF format, at a minimum resolution of 600 dpi. If you are unable to submit such figures by e-mail, please post 3 sets of the original figures to the Editorial Office. They will not be returned. The figures should be in the form of unmounted, unretouched glossy prints (no larger than 4 x 6 inches in size), and marked on the back with the figure number, top of the figure, and the principal author’s name, using a soft lead pencil or stick-on labels. Patient identification should be obscured. Do not mark directly on the prints. Indicators/arrows and labels may be marked on a photocopy of the original print to indicate subtle but salient points. Include internal scale markers in photomicrographs and electron micrographs. All figures must be labeled in Arabic numerals in order of their citation in the text, and accompanied by legends and indicate the anatomic area and/or pathologic condition shown. For photomicrographs, include the type of specimen, original magnification, and stain. All symbols and abbreviations not defined in the text should be defined in the legend.
- Statistical analysis is essential for all research papers except case reports.
- Use correct nomenclature of statistical methods (e.g. two sample t test, not unpaired t test).
- All p values should be presented to the third decimal place for accuracy, unless they are less than 0.001.
- Descriptive statistics should follow the scales used in data description. Inferential statistics are important for interpreting results and should be described in detail.
This journal operates a double blind review process. All contributions will be initially assessed by the editor for suitability for the journal. Papers deemed suitable are then sent to a minimum of two independent expert reviewers to assess the scientific quality of the paper. The Editor is responsible for the final decision regarding acceptance or rejection of articles. The Editor's decision is final. More information on types of peer review.
Subdivision - numbered sections
Divide your article into clearly defined and numbered sections. Subsections should be numbered 1.1 (then 1.1.1, 1.1.2, ...), 1.2, etc. (the abstract is not included in section numbering). Use this numbering also for internal cross-referencing: do not just refer to 'the text'. Any subsection may be given a brief heading. Each heading should appear on its own separate line.
Immediately after the abstract, provide a maximum of 6 keywords, using American spelling and avoiding general and plural terms and multiple concepts (avoid, for example, 'and', 'of'). Be sparing with abbreviations: only abbreviations firmly established in the field may be eligible. These keywords will be used for indexing purposes.
Define abbreviations that are not standard in this field in a footnote to be placed on the first page of the article. Such abbreviations that are unavoidable in the abstract must be defined at their first mention there, as well as in the footnote. Ensure consistency of abbreviations throughout the article.
Collate acknowledgements in a separate section at the end of the article before the references and do not, therefore, include them on the title page, as a footnote to the title or otherwise. List here those individuals who provided help during the research (e.g., providing language help, writing assistance or proof reading the article, etc.).
Formatting of funding sources
List funding sources in this standard way to facilitate compliance to funder's requirements:
Funding: This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, WA [grant number zzzz]; and the United States Institutes of Peace [grant number aaaa].
It is not necessary to include detailed descriptions on the program or type of grants and awards. When funding is from a block grant or other resources available to a university, college, or other research institution, submit the name of the institute or organization that provided the funding.
If no funding has been provided for the research, please include the following sentence:
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
This journal encourages you to cite underlying or relevant datasets in your manuscript by citing them in your text and including a data reference in your Reference List. Data references should include the following elements: author name(s), dataset title, data repository, version (where available), year, and global persistent identifier. Add [dataset] immediately before the reference so we can properly identify it as a data reference. The [dataset] identifier will not appear in your published article.
Reference management software
Most Elsevier journals have their reference template available in many of the most popular reference management software products. These include all products that support Citation Style Language styles, such as Mendeley and Zotero, as well as EndNote. Using the word processor plug-ins from these products, authors only need to select the appropriate journal template when preparing their article, after which citations and bibliographies will be automatically formatted in the journal's style. If no template is yet available for this journal, please follow the format of the sample references and citations as shown in this Guide.
Users of Mendeley Desktop can easily install the reference style for this journal by clicking the following link:
External link http://open.mendeley.com/use-citation-style/tzu-chi-medical-journal
When preparing your manuscript, you will then be able to select this style using the Mendeley plug-ins for Microsoft Word or LibreOffice.
One set of page proofs (as PDF files) will be sent by e-mail to the corresponding author (if we do not have an e-mail address then paper proofs will be sent by post) or, a link will be provided in the e-mail so that authors can download the files themselves. Elsevier now provides authors with PDF proofs which can be annotated; for this you will need to download the free Adobe Reader, version 9 (or higher). Instructions on how to annotate PDF files will accompany the proofs (also given online). The exact system requirements are given at the Adobe site.
If you do not wish to use the PDF annotations function, you may list the corrections (including replies to the Query Form) and return them to Elsevier in an e-mail. Please list your corrections quoting line number. If, for any reason, this is not possible, then mark the corrections and any other comments (including replies to the Query Form) on a printout of your proof and scan the pages and return via e-mail. Please use this proof only for checking the typesetting, editing, completeness and correctness of the text, tables and figures. Significant changes to the article as accepted for publication will only be considered at this stage with permission from the Editor. We will do everything possible to get your article published quickly and accurately. It is important to ensure that all corrections are sent back to us in one communication: please check carefully before replying, as inclusion of any subsequent corrections cannot be guaranteed. Proofreading is solely your responsibility.
Authors receive 25 stapled offprints of their articles free of charge, which are sent by the Editorial Office to the corresponding author. Additional professional reprints (which include a cover page for the article) may be ordered at External link
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Authorship & Conflicts of Interest Statement
Copyright Transfer Agreement