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Instructions to Authors

International Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine is published monthly in Chinese by the Chinese Medical Association, and is a peer reviewed medical journal for doctors, medical researchers, and health workers in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The journal reports the advances and progress in current sciences and technology.

About the journal

International Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine was established in 1978, the predecessor of which is Foreign Medical Sciences-Classification of Traditional Chinese Medicine. International Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine is now indexed by Chinese biomedical literature database (SinoMed), Chinese Medical Current Content(CMCC), Chinese Medical Citation Index (CMCI), the Western Pacific Region Index Medicus(WPRIM), Chinese journal of traditional Chinese medicine literature database, Wanfang Data, etc. The impact factor of the journal is 0.322 in 2018. The journal is available both in print and online.

Scope of the journal

Int J Trad Chin Med publishes reports of clinical and basic investigation of any aspect of traditional Chinese medicine. It contains original contributions, reviews of selected topics and clinical investigative studies, foreign traditional medicines and work-in-progress as well as discussions on controversial issues. The journal disseminates up-to-date scientific information to scientific researchers, clinicians, and other health professionals interested in the field of traditional Chinese medicine.

Editorial process

A manuscript will be reviewed for possible publication with the understanding that it is being submitted to International Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine alone at that point in time and has not been published anywhere, simultaneously submitted, or already accepted for publication elsewhere. The journal expects that authors would authorize one of them to correspond with International Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine for all matters related to the manuscript. On submission, full time editors review all submitted manuscripts initially for suitability for formal review. Manuscripts with insufficient originality, serious scientific or technical flaws, or lack of a significant message are rejected before proceeding for formal peer-review. Manuscripts that are unlikely to be of interest to the journal readers are also liable to be rejected at this stage.

Manuscripts that are found suitable for publication in International Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine are sent to two or more expert reviewers. During submission, the contributor is requested to provide names of two or three qualified reviewers who have had experience in the subject of the submitted manuscript, but this is not mandatory. The reviewers should not be affiliated with the same institutes as the contributor/s. The selection of these reviewers is at the sole discretion of full time editors. The journal follows a double-blind review process, wherein the reviewers and authors are unaware of each other’s identity. The journal holds a meeting monthly to make the final decision on whether or not to publish a manuscript, with the Chief Editor and editorial board members of the journal as attendees. The comments and suggestions (acceptance/ rejection/ amendments in manuscript) received from reviewers are conveyed to the corresponding author. If required, the author is requested to provide a point by point response to reviewers’ comments and submit a revised version of the manuscript. This process is repeated till reviewers and editors are satisfied with the manuscript.

Manuscripts accepted for publication are copy edited by full time editors in the editorial office. Page proofs are sent to the corresponding author. The corresponding author is expected to return the corrected proofs within several days. The whole process of submission of the manuscript to final decision and sending proofs is completed online.

Authorship criteria

As stated in the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations, credit for authorship requires:

1. Substantial contributions to the conception and design, or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of the data;

2. The drafting of the article or critical revision for important intellectual content;

3. Final approval of the version to be published;

4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the article are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Authorship credit should be based only on substantial contributions to each of the four components mentioned above.

Participation solely in the acquisition of funding or the collection of data does not justify authorship. General supervision of the research group is not sufficient for authorship. Each contributor should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content of the manuscript. The order of naming the contributors should be based on the relative contribution of the contributor towards the study and writing the manuscript. Once submitted the order cannot be changed without written consent of all the contributors. Manuscripts must be submitted by one of the authors of the manuscript, and should not be submitted by anyone on their behalf. The corresponding author takes responsibility for the article during submission and peer review.

Changes in authorship

Authors should determine the order of authorship by themselves and should settle any disagreements before submitting their manuscript. Changes in authorship (ie, order, addition, and deletion of authors) should be discussed and approved by all authors. Any requests for such changes in authorship after initial manuscript submission and before publication should be explained in writing to the editor in a letter or email from all authors and should send the original signed written consent of all authors with authorized unit stamp.

Contribution details

Contributors should provide a description of contributions made by each of them towards the manuscript. Description should be divided in following categories, as applicable: concept, design, definition of intellectual content, literature search, clinical studies, experimental studies, data acquisition, data analysis, statistical analysis, manuscript preparation, manuscript editing and manuscript review. One author should take responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole from inception to published article and should be designated as ‘corresponding author’.

Conflicts of interest

All authors must disclose any and all conflicts of interest, they may have with publication of the manuscript or an institution or product that is mentioned in the manuscript and/or is important to the outcome of the study presented. Authors should also disclose conflicts of interest with products that compete with those mentioned in their manuscript. A conflict of interest may exist when an author (or the author’s institution or employer) has financial or personal relationships or affiliations that could influence (or bias) the author’s decisions, work, or manuscript. All authors are required to complete and submit the Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest. Note: This form will be requested after a manuscript has been submitted, but authors should also include conflict of interest disclosures in the Acknowledgment section of the submitted manuscript.

Clinical trial registry

International Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine requires registration of clinical trials. Registration in the following trial registers is acceptable: http://www.chictr.org.cn/; http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/; http:// www.isrctn.org/; http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/index.asp; and http://www.umin.ac.jp/ctr and any registry that is a primary register of the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (www.who.int/ictrp/network/primary/en/index.html).

Retraction policy

International Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine should consider retracting a publication if:

1. Editors have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (e.g. data fabrication) or honest error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error).

2. The findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper crossreferencing, permission or justification (i.e. cases of redundant publication).

3. It constitutes plagiarism.

4. It reports unethical research.

International Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine abides by COPE Retraction Guidelines. (http://publicationethics.org/files/retraction%20guidelines_0.pdf).

Submission of manuscripts

All manuscripts must be submitted on-line through the website: http://gjzy.cintcm.com. First time users will have to register at this site. Registration is free but mandatory. Registered authors can keep track of their articles after logging into the site using their user name and password. Authors do not have to pay for submission of articles. If you experience any problems, please contact the editorial office by Email: 2377591218@qq.com.

The submitted manuscripts that are not as per the “Instructions to authors” would be returned to the authors for technical correction before they undergo editorial/ peer-review.

Preparation of manuscripts

Manuscripts must be prepared in accordance with “ICMJE Recommendations”(http://www.icmje.org/). The uniform requirements and specific requirement of International Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine are summarized below. Before submitting a manuscript, contributors are requested to check for the latest instructions available. Instructions are also available from the website of the journal (http://gjzy.cintcm.com).

Original article is required to provide a structured abstract with no more than 300 words. Other articles are required to provide indicative abstracts with less than 200 words.

Copies of any permission(s)

It is the responsibility of authors/contributors to obtain permissions for reproducing any copyrighted material. A copy of the permission obtained must accompany the manuscript. Copies of any and all published articles or other manuscripts in preparation or submitted elsewhere that are related to the manuscript must also accompany the manuscript.

Types of manuscripts

Editorial/Commentary:Editorials/commentaries are usually commissioned, however, unsolicited editorials/commentaries are also welcome. Editorials/commentaries can be up to 3000 words in length with no more than 30 references and with an indicative abstract less than 200 words.

Guideline:Guidelines produced by the Chinese Society of Neurology are reported in this kind of article, with an indicative abstract less than 200 words.

Consensus:Consensuses produced by the Chinese Society of Neurology are reported in this kind of article, with an indicative abstract less than 200 words.

Original articles:These mainly include randomized controlled trials, studies of screening and diagnostic test, outcome studies, cost effectiveness analyses, case-control series, and basic medical studies.

The text of original articles amounting to about 5000 words (excluding abstract, references and tables) should be divided into sections with the headings abstract, key words, introduction, methods, results, discussion, references.

Abstract: The abstract of original articles in International Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine is a structured abstract, which includes the following four parts: objective, methods, results and conclusions. The total number words of abstract are no more than 300 words.

Key words: List 2-5 key words according to MeSH.

Introduction: State the purpose and summarize the rationale for the study or observation.

Methods: It should include and describe the following aspects:

Ethics: When reporting studies on human beings, indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional or regional) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (available at http://www.wma.net/e/policy/17-c_e.html). For prospective studies involving human participants, authors are expected to mention about approval of regional/ national/ institutional or independent Ethics Committee or Review Board, obtaining informed consent from adult research participants and obtaining assent for children aged over 7 years participating in the trial. The age beyond which assent would be required could vary as per regional and/ or national guidelines. Ensure confidentiality of subjects by desisting from mentioning participants’ names, initials or hospital numbers, especially in illustrative material. When reporting experiments on animals, indicate whether the institution’s or a national research council’s guide for, or any national law on the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.

Evidence for approval by a local Ethics Committee (for both human as well as animal studies) must be supplied by the authors on demand. Animal experimental procedures should be as humane as possible and the details of anesthetics and analgesics used should be clearly stated. The ethical standards of experiments must be in accordance with the guidelines provided by the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki on Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Humans for studies involving experimental animals and human beings, respectively. The journal will not consider any paper which is ethically unacceptable. A statement on ethics committee permission and ethical practices must be included in all research articles under the ‘Methods’ section.

Study design: Describe your selection of the observational or experimental participants (patients or laboratory animals, including controls) clearly, including eligibility and exclusion criteria and a description of the source population.

Identify the methods, apparatus (give the manufacturer name and address in parentheses), and procedures in sufficient detail to allow other workers to reproduce the results.

Give references to established methods, including statistical methods (see below); provide references and brief descriptions for methods that have been published but are not well known; describe new or substantially modified methods, give reasons for using them, and evaluate their limitations. Identify precisely all drugs and chemicals used, including generic names, doses, and routes of administration.

Reports of randomized clinical trials should present information on all major study elements, including the protocol, assignment of interventions (methods of randomization, concealment of allocation to treatment groups), and the method of masking (blinding), based on the CONSORT Statement (http://www.consort-statement.org).

Statistics: Quantify findings and present them with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals). Authors should report losses to observation (such as, dropouts from a clinical trial). When data are summarized in the Results section, specify the statistical methods used to analyze them. Specify the computer software used. P values are encouraged to be reported as the exact value or less than 0.05 or 0.01. Mean differences in continuous variables, proportions in categorical variables and relative risks including odds ratios and hazard ratios should be accompanied by their confidence intervals.

Results: Present your results in a logical sequence in the text, tables, and figures, giving the main or most important findings first. Do not repeat in the text all the data in the tables or figures; emphasize or summarize only important observations.

When data are summarized in the Results section, give numeric results not only as derivatives (for example, percentages) but also as the absolute numbers from which the derivatives were calculated, and specify the statistical methods used to analyze them. Restrict tables and figures to those needed to explain the argument of the paper and to assess its support. Use graphs as an alternative to tables with many entries; do not duplicate data in graphs and tables. Where scientifically appropriate, analyses of the data by variables such as age and sex should be included.

Discussion: Include summary of key findings (primary outcome measures, secondary outcome measures, results as they relate to a prior hypothesis); Strengths and limitations of the study (study question, study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation); Interpretation and implications in the context of the totality of evidence; Controversies raised by this study; and Future research directions (for this particular research collaboration, underlying mechanisms, clinical research).

Do not repeat in detail data or other material given in the Introduction or the Results section. In particular, contributors should avoid making statements on economic benefits and costs unless their manuscript includes economic data and analyses. Avoid claiming priority and alluding to work that has not been completed. New hypotheses may be stated if needed, however they should be clearly labeled as such. About 30 references can be included.


It is expected that these articles would be written by individuals who have done substantial work on the subject or are considered experts in the field. The prescribed word count is about 5000 words excluding tables, references and abstract. The manuscript may have about 100 references. The manuscript should have an indicative abstract (less than 200 words) representing an accurate summary of the article.

Academic discussion

Essays representing opinions or presenting hypotheses are reported in this kind of article. The text is limited to no more than 2500 words (not including tables, figures, and references), with an indicative abstract less than 200 words.

Research trend

Minutes of an important meeting or other events are reported in this kind of article and the length should be about 2500 words (not including tables, figures, and references), with an indicative abstract less than 200 words.


Authors are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of their references and for correct citation of the text. References should be numbered consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text (not in alphabetic order). Identify references in text, tables, and legends by Arabic numerals in superscript before the punctuation marks. References cited only in tables or figure legends should be numbered in accordance with the sequence established by the first identification in the text of the particular table or figure. The titles of journals should be abbreviated according to the style used in Index Medicus. Avoid using abstracts as references. Information from manuscripts submitted but not accepted should be cited in the text as “unpublished observations” with written permission from the source. Avoid citing a “personal communication” unless it provides essential information not available from a public source, in which case the name of the person and date of communication should be cited in parentheses in the text.

The commonly cited types of references are shown here. Number references in the order they appear in the text; do not alphabetize. In text, tables, and legends, identify references with superscript Arabic numerals. When listing references, abbreviate titles of journals according to Medline.

Note: List authors and/or editors up to three; if more than three, list the first three authors followed by et al. From Jan. 2016, the available DOI should be added at the end of each reference.

Examples of journal citations

[1] Cui RR, Sun J, Li PF, et al. Secreted frizzled-related protein 1 gene polymorphisms and smoking in large artery atherosclerotic stroke[J]. Chin J Neurol, 2018, 51(1): 14-20. DOI: 10.3760/cma.j.issn.1006-7876.2018.01.004.

[2] Stadler S, Jalili S, Schreib A, et al. Association of sleep-disordered breathing with severe chronic vascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes[J]. Sleep Med, 2018, 48: 53-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.sleep.2018.05.001.

Example of a book citation

[1] Murray PR, Rosenthal KS, Kobayashi GS, et al. Medical microbiology[M]. 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby, 2002: 45-49.

[2] Weinstein L, Swartz MN. Pathogenic properties of invading microorganisms. In: Sodeman WA Jr., Sodeman WA, eds. Pathologic physiology: mechanisms of disease[M]. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1974: 457-472.

Example of electronic sources citation

[1] Jablonski S. Online multiple congenital anomaly/mental retardation (MCA/MR) syndromes [DB/OL]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US). 1999 (2001-11-20) [2002-12-12]. http: //www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/jablonski/syndrome_title.html.


Tables should be self-explanatory and should not duplicate textual material.

Number tables, in Arabic numerals, consecutively in the order of their first citation in the text and supply a brief title for each.

Place explanatory matter in footnotes, not in the heading.

Explain in footnotes all non-standard abbreviations that are used in each table.

Obtain permission for all fully borrowed, adapted, and modified tables and provide a credit line in the footnote.


Upload the images in JPG format. The file size should be within 1024 kb in size while uploading.

Figures should be numbered consecutively according to the order in which they have been first cited in the text.

Labels, numbers, and symbols should be clear and of uniform size. The lettering for figures should be large enough to be legible after reduction to fit the width of a printed column.

Symbols, arrows, or letters used in photomicrographs should contrast with the background and should be marked neatly with transfer type or by tissue overlay and not by pen.

Titles and detailed explanations belong in the legends for figures not on the figures themselves.

When graphs, scatter-grams or histograms are submitted the numerical data on which they are based should also be supplied.

The photographs and figures should be trimmed to remove all the unwanted areas.

If photographs of individuals are used, their pictures must be accompanied by written permission to use the photograph.

If a figure has been published elsewhere, acknowledge the original source and submit written permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the material. A credit line should appear in the legend for such figures.

The Journal reserves the right to crop, rotate, reduce, or enlarge the photographs to an acceptable size.

Protection of patients rights to privacy

Identifying information should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, sonograms, CT scans, etc., and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian, wherever applicable) gives written informed consent for publication. Authors should remove patients’ names from figures unless they have obtained written informed consent from the patients.


The Chinese Medical Association (CMA) is the owner of all copyrights to any articles published in the journal. Published manuscripts become the permanent property of CMA and may not be published elsewhere without written permission. CMA keeps the right to use these manuscripts in any form, including print, video, audio and digital.