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NIH Fellows Editorial Board Editorial Process Guidelines

Primary Editors

Three primary editors volunteer (or are assigned) per submitted document. New members will serve as a fourth primary editor on the first submission they volunteer to edit, which should be within the first six weeks of their membership. Full membership is only granted to members who volunteer. The primary editors serve as the main editors for the document and are responsible for creating the electronic and soft copy final reports for the author. These reports are due to the Senior Editor, in their final form, 7 days after the manuscript is submitted to FEB so that the Senior Editor can verify that the content of both reports agree and have them delivered to the author 10 days after submission.


The primary editors of each paper will be in charge of leading the discussion of the document at the next FEB meeting. This is meant to be a productive discussion to help the primary editors come up with a consensus as to what needs to be addressed in the report. All members of the board are encouraged to give their comments. It is recommended that all primary editors take notes during the discussion so that it will be easier to incorporate all the comments in either the soft copy or electronic reports. One primary editor must volunteer to compile the soft copy and another must volunteer to compile the electronic report.

Final Reports

The soft copy has many, but not necessarily all, of the edits of each primary editor compiled on a copy of the manuscript. All the edits would make it too messy and overwhelming for the author. For instance, if something needs to be in past tense, the first few instances should be corrected followed by a notation in the margin alerting the author that they need to change the tense accordingly for the rest of the document. If some sections are particularly confusing - i.e., a suggestion to combine parts of two sentences and move them to a different place in the paragraph - they can be included on the electronic copy to make it clearer. 

The electronic report is a typed document containing the various suggestions made by the editors. To facilitate the creation of this report, all the primary editors must create their own electronic report that can be emailed to the person compiling the final electronic report. The format used for the electronic report should contain the headings with comments under each: General Comments, Title, Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, Figures, Figure Legends, and Acknowledgements. The final electronic report is then emailed to the Senior Editor. It should also be in as "final" a format as possible without the need for significant additional editing by the Senior Editor. Please use the template provided.

The Senior Editor will compare the soft copy with the electronic copy to verify that the two agree. The final reports will then be sent to the author by e-mail.

NOTE: All members are asked to read all documents submitted, regardless if they are the primary editor for the document or not. This helps generate discussion during the meetings and also provides everyone with additional training and practice.

NIH Fellows Editorial Board Final Report Template

NIH Fellows Editorial Board

Final Report 

Author, I. et al., Title

General comments:

May start with a very brief (1-2) sentence summary of the manuscript followed with general comments that speak to the whole document as a whole. Remember to start with praise and point out what the author did well before the inevitable "however" statement. The format for this and the other sections of the compiled electronic report can be in paragraph form or in paragraph form followed by bulleted or enumerated comments. Whatever you feel will make it easier for the author to understand. The final report should be a compilation of the electronic comments of the other primary editors as well as any verbal comments brought up in the discussion of the manuscript. Please compile these into a professional and complete document void of grammatical and spelling errors. Please do not simply cut and paste the comments of the other primary editors.



The abstract is an extremely important part of any manuscript. It not only serves to summarize the key findings of a paper, but also acts as the main "advertisement" to get others to read it. In general, the reader should be able to clearly pick out the background, purpose, methods, results and conclusions.

Include other specific comments. 


Include any specific comments.

i.e. The introduction of manuscript usually goes from general background information to the specific problem addressed.


Include any specific comments.

i.e. The results should always be in past tense.

Experimental Procedures:

Include any specific comments.

i.e. The city and state should be provided for all manufacturers.


Include any specific comments.

i.e. The Discussion of a manuscript should discuss the results and not simply restate them. 


Include any specific comments.

i.e. The axes of all graphs should be clearly marked.


Include any specific comments.

i.e. The axes of all graphs should be clearly marked.


Include any specific comments.

i.e. Please acknowledge the NIH Fellows Editorial Board.