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Council Publications Policy

Statement of principles

The CSA prepares reports on diverse topics of medical science by priorities consistent with the AMA mission, vision, and strategic plan and in accordance with available resources. These reports may be developed by request of the HOD, the Board of Trustees, other Councils, or under the CSA s own initiative. When CSA reports are approved by the HOD, the CSA makes them available to a wider audience through electronic or printed publication.

1. Audience and dissemination

The primary audience for CSA reports is the HOD. Following approval by the House, reports may be disseminated more widely. Planning for such dissemination will begin when the CSA begins to plan a new report. Options include:

  • publication in a peer-reviewed journal   
  • publication in a journal that is not peer-reviewed   
  • dissemination in an AMA report   
  • publication on the CSA's Web site

If the CSA chooses publication in a peer-reviewed journal, the Council staff and liaisons will recommend appropriate journals. Once a report has been prepared, however, the CSA may change the venue of distribution.

2. Liaisons

Each CSA report will be assigned to at least one member of the AMA science staff, and at least one Council member will serve as liaison. Liaisons provide staff with guidance regarding report content, resources, and peer reviewers. Liaisons are assigned based on designated preferences of CSA members, taking into account Council members' existing assignments and expertise. Recommended liaison assignments will be submitted for approval by the CSA Executive Committee. The liaisons and staff will determine the length and format of the report. 

3. Length and structure of reports

Each report will be written in a format appropriate to its intended dissemination. Reports to be submitted for journal publication will be written in the format specified by that journal. CSA reports are intended to be concise, and should neither be an exhaustive review of the literature, nor superficial. This will allow staff to work more efficiently, will place less of a burden on the reader, and make acceptance for publication more likely. All reports,  regardless of length, must include essential details such as a description of methods used to review the literature.

4. Specialty and Service Societies

The Specialty and Service Societies (SSS) have important expertise that the CSA can call upon when developing its reports. The CSA will rely upon the SSS to determine which component societies or their representatives are best suited to work with the Council on a given report. The CSA proposes this mechanism: CSA staff will notify the AMA staff liaison to SSS of the report topic (including a copy of the HOD action, if any). The AMA staff liaison to SSS will solicit and coordinate responses of interest from SSS members. CSA staff will determine with the SSS staff liaison a specific deadline for receiving these responses. CSA members and staff will decide how to best utilize the efforts of responding SSS members; possible roles include:

  • recommending expert authors or reviewers   
  • discussing plans for disseminating reports   
  • collaborating with the CSA to present reports at HOD meetings.

5. Other stakeholders

The CSA's reports and recommendations often impact parties in the Federation as well as other groups and organizations. These may include professional associations, trade or manufacturing associations, regulators, or others. When appropriate, the CSA may invite these parties to participate in the preparation, review, or dissemination of CSA reports. However, the diversity of these stakeholders precludes developing a single policy for involving them. CSA staff and Council members assigned to each report will determine which other stakeholders should be approached, and choose an appropriate mechanism.

6. "Fast track" bulletins

At times the CSA may wish to inform the Federation about critically important new information. The subjects for "fast track" bulletins may be suggested by CSA members, staff, the Board of Trustees, or other interested parties. A subcommittee of the CSA will screen suggestions and review the fast track reports prior to development or dissemination. The subjects may include descriptions of new medications, current topics about which physicians are likely to be asked (for example, widely publicized treatments), or other subjects identified by the CSA. Fast track bulletins (information statements) on these topics will be developed by CSA staff and at least one Council member. In contrast to reports, which are considered by the CSA at its meetings, draft fast track bulletins will be informational only and will be disseminated to CSA members by electronic mail and FAX with a deadline for response of no less than 2 weeks. Following revision and approval by the CSA liaison, the fast track bulletin will be published on the CSA's Web page. The bulletin should include appropriate links to other Web sites (e.g., for a bulletin describing a new drug, appropriate links might include the Food and Drug Administration or the drug manufacturer). Such links should beaccompanied with a suitable disclaimer, as the CSA cannot warrant the accuracy of information on other Web sites.

7. Web publications

The CSA can publish its reports and fast track bulletins on its Web pages on the AMA Web site. Web publication allows rapid dissemination to a large audience (although only peer-reviewed journal publication results in an Index Medicus citation that will appear in literature searches). Most peer-reviewed journals regard Web publication as "prior publication" and will not consider Web-published documents for journal publication. The following guidelines for choosing Web publication will be utilized:

  • fast-track reports   
  • reports that the CSA chooses not to submit for journal publication   
  • reports not accepted for journal publication   
  • other reports selected by the Council

When the HOD approves a CSA report that the Council wishes to submit for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, the CSA will write an abstract that can be presented on the CSA Web site until the full report is published.

Note: This report was presented as Report 17 (Informational) of the Council on Scientific Affairs at the 1999 Annual Meeting of the AMA.

Reports by topic