<i>Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery</i> Author Instructions


Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery is an international, peer-reviewed journal published 12 times per year by the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. Journal editorial policy is independent of that of the Academy/Foundation.

We invite submission of articles on topics pertaining to the science and art of medicine that help fulfill the journal’s mission of publishing contemporary, ethical, clinically relevant information in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery (ear, nose, throat, head, and neck disorders) that can be used by otolaryngologists, scientists, and clinicians to improve patient care and public health. Articles are published because of scientific merit and are not to be considered general practice standards.

All manuscripts must be submitted online, via Editorial Manager (http://otohns.edmgr.com), to John H. Krouse, MD, PhD, MBA, Editor in Chief, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Editorial communication should be addressed to the Editorial Office at otomanager@entnet.org.


Submissions not in compliance with the following instructions will be returned to the author by the Editorial Office, and a corrected version must be resubmitted within 30 days. Papers not resubmitted within that time will be withdrawn from consideration.

Revised manuscripts must follow the same instructions and should be submitted within 30 days of the revision letter date.

Accepted manuscripts sent to the publisher (SAGE) will be typeset and proofs will then be sent electronically to the corresponding author. If proofs are not approved and received by SAGE within 30 days, the article will not be published.


Editorial Policies

All manuscripts are first assessed by an Associate Editor, the Editor in Chief, or both. Manuscripts may be rejected at this stage without further peer review because of ethical concerns, serious design flaws, or inconsistency with the journal mission.

Original Research and review articles are usually assessed by at least two peer reviewers. Shorter manuscripts, such as Case Reports and Commentaries, may be sent to one or more reviewers at the discretion of the editors. The journal uses single-blind peer reviewing. No attempt is made to mask authors’ identities from peer reviewers, but feedback to authors is anonymous unless the reviewer explicitly decides otherwise.

Publication Criteria

Peer reviewers are asked to consider explicitly the following 5 criteria when assessing the suitability of a manuscript for publication:

  1. Relevance to mission: Can the information in this manuscript be used to improve patient care and public health?
  2. Internal validity: Are the study design, conduct, and analysis described in a manner that is unbiased, appropriate, and reproducible?
  3. External validity: Was the study sample chosen appropriately and described in adequate detail for results to be generalized?
  4. Level of evidence: Does this manuscript significantly improve the knowledge base beyond what is already published on this topic?
  5. Ethical conduct: Is the manuscript original, approved by an institutional review board (if applicable), and unbiased with regards to conflicts of interest?
Authors are provided with general and specific comments regarding their manuscript, from editorial and peer review. Based on these comments, plus personal review of the manuscript, the Editor in Chief renders an initial disposition of reject, minor revision, major revision, or accept.

Rejection Appeals

Authors have the right to appeal editorial decisions. Appeals should be sent via e-mail to the Editorial Office at otomanager@entnet.org with concise supporting arguments to substantiate the request. The Editor in Chief may reject the appeal or agree to further review the manuscript. Reject appeals are not permitted for Case Report and Clinical Photograph submissions. Appeal decisions are final.

NEW: Transferring to OTO Open

Authors whose manuscripts receive a Reject and Refer to OTO Open decision may transfer their manuscript to OTO Open: The Official Open Access Journal of the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation for further review and consideration. If the authors agree to the transfer, the manuscript will move to OTO Open's Editorial Manager Site. Authors will receive an email with instructions for resubmitting their manuscript. If accepted for publication, transferred manuscripts have the benefit of reduced article processing charges.


Article Categories

Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery publishes the types of articles defined below. When submitting your manuscript, please follow the instructions relevant to the applicable article category. Please check the Manuscript Preparation and Manuscript Submission sections for further details.

Original Research: Original, in-depth, clinical or basic science investigations that aim to change clinical practice or the understanding of a disease process. Article types include, but are not limited to, clinical trials, before-and-after studies, cohort studies, case-control studies, cross-sectional surveys, and diagnostic test assessments. Components of original research are:

Patient Safety/Quality Improvement (PS/QI): Original research aimed to improve patient safety and the quality of otolaryngology care. Topics include but are not limited to: healthcare delivery, avoiding medial errors, quality of care, comparative effectiveness research, and patient/resident education. The components of a PS/QI article are:
Systematic Reviews (including Meta-analyses): Critical assessments of literature and data sources on important clinical topics in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. Systematic reviews that reduce bias with explicit procedures to select, appraise, and analyze studies are highly preferred over traditional narrative reviews. The review may include a meta-analysis, or statistical synthesis of data from separate, but similar, studies leading to a quantitative summary of the pooled results. The components of a systematic review are:
State-of-the-Art Reviews: A narrative review article that (a) provides a comprehensive and scholarly overview of an important clinical subject, with a principal focus on developments in the past 5 years (or less), or (b) explains recent advances in science and technology that have influenced management of a condition in terms that teach relevant science to those who devote most of their time and effort to clinical endeavors, or (c) describes how the perception of an illness, diagnostic approach, or therapeutic intervention has evolved in recent years. The components of a state-of-the-art review are:
History of Otolaryngology: Presentation of a historical piece about a leader, teacher, clinician, or event in otolaryngology that discusses how this person or event has shaped the specialty and created a legacy of excellence. History of Otolaryngology papers should contain a title page, unstructured abstract of up to 150 words, and a narrative discussing the person or event being featured. They may be authored by an individual, group, society, or committee with an important concern of interest to readers. Manuscript length: No more than 1,200 words (from Introduction through Conclusion), with up to 10 references, and a total of 3 figures or tables.

NEW: Ethics in Practice: A case-based discussion of contemporary ethical issues arising in the field of otolaryngology. Submissions should include content relevant to otolaryngologists and highlight a topic or dilemma conducive to multiple perspectives or viewpoints. Suggested topics include (but are not limited to): conflicts among clinicians/disciplines; itinerant surgery; end of life care in head and neck cancer; discrimination in the workplace; research ethics; rationing/scarce resource utilization; billing/coding ethics; trainee selection and involvement in clinical care; clinical decision-making; doctor-patient relationships; the impaired clinician. The components of an Ethics in Practice article are: Manuscript length: No more than 2000 words total (200 for case presentation, 900 for point, and 900 for counterpoint), with up to 10 references, 1 figure, and 1 table each for the Point and Counterpoint sections.

Commentaries: Communication of a novel, scientifically based opinion or insight as an independent contribution, or regarding a manuscript published in the journal within the past 6 months. Commentaries should contain a title page, unstructured abstract of up to 150 words, and a main point and supporting discussion. They may be authored by an individual, group, society, or committee with an important concern of interest to readers. Manuscript length: No more than 900 words (from Introduction through Conclusion), with up to 10 references, and a total of 5 figures or tables.

Short Scientific Communications: Quick communication of preliminary results (including small sample studies) or scientific research that is not yet ready for presentation in full form. Such research should have the potential to stimulate communications among researchers and clinicians that may lead to new concepts and supportive work. Submissions must have a title page and an unstructured abstract of up to 150 words. Manuscript length: No more than 900 words (from Introduction through Conclusion) and a total of 3 figures or tables. There is no limit on references. IRB approval or exemption is required.

Clinical Techniques and Technology: A short report of unique or original methods for (1) surgical techniques or medical management, or (2) new devices or technology. CTT manuscripts cannot be only theoretical. They must include data on safety and outcomes in 3 or more subjects. Submissions must have a title page and an unstructured abstract of up to 150 words. Manuscript length: No more than 900 words (from Introduction through Conclusion), 5 references, and a total of 4 figures or tables. IRB approval or exemption is required.

Case Reports: Report of a truly unique, highly relevant, and educationally valuable case. Submissions should have a title page, have no abstract, and include an Introduction and Discussion. Do not combine case reports with a review of the literature. Manuscript length: No more than 700 words (from Introduction through Discussion), 5 references, and a total of 2 figures or tables. Case reports must have no more than four authors. IRB approval or exemption is required.

Clinical Photographs: Color photograph (not a picture of an x-ray) of a unique, relevant, and educationally valuable clinical entity with an accompanying discussion. The emphasis of the manuscript should clearly center on the photograph, not the case history or a literature review. Submissions must have a title page and no abstract. Manuscript length: No more than 300 words (from Introduction through Discussion), 2 figures, and 5 references. Clinical Photographs must have no more than two authors. IRB approval or exemption is required.

Letters to the Editor: Letters to the Editor regarding published material or information of timely interest. If the letter is related to a previously published article, it must be submitted within 3 months of the original publication, and those authors will be invited to reply. The letter should be titled and double-spaced, include a title page, and follow all manuscript formatting guidelines (see Manuscript Preparation). It should be brief and to the point, with no more than 400 words, 5 references, and 1 figure or table.

Book Reviews: Authors who wish to have their book considered for review by the journal should send the book to the Editorial Office with a cover letter so stating, and including the author’s e-mail address. (Journal Editorial Office: 1650 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314-2857.)

Supplements: Supplements to the journal are considered for publication on the basis of importance of topic, expertise of participants, and scientific quality of the articles presented. All supplements undergo peer review. Private funding for supplements is encouraged. Contact the Managing Editor of the journal at otomanager@entnet.org for further information and an application form, which must be returned before a supplement can be scheduled.


Manuscript Preparation

The journal will not consider manuscripts for publication if authors do not comply with the following instructions.

Correct preparation of the manuscript will expedite the review and publishing process. Manuscripts must conform to acceptable English usage. For further questions concerning style, consult a recent issue of this journal or the American Medical Association’s Manual of Style.

Submitting a Manuscript Online
Go to http://otohns.edmgr.com for directions on using Editorial Manager, the online submission and review system. We recommend using the most current version of Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Safari as browsers.

To use Editorial Manager, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader (a PDF reader) 5.0 or later installed on your system. If you need to install this software, you can download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/ readstep2.html. If you experience difficulty installing or using this software, contact your IT department for assistance.

Authors should first read the User Instructions available on the Editorial Manager homepage, and then, if a first-time user, register in Editorial Manager. Please contact the Editorial Office at otomanager@entnet.org if you have any questions about Editorial Manager.

Necessary Forms
Before starting the submission process, two forms must be completed for all authors.

Title: Do not exceed 15 words. Identify all animal research as such in the title.

Title Page: Include the submission title and all authors’ full names, academic degrees, institutional affiliations, and locations along with the corresponding author's contact information. Designate ONE author as the corresponding author (see Authorship, below), and provide his or her complete address, email address, and phone/fax numbers. The corresponding author will receive all correspondence regarding the manuscript, as well as proof pages and reprint requests. Also indicate where the paper was presented, and include a brief list of keywords.

Abbreviations: Do not use abbreviations in the title or abstract. When using abbreviations in the text, indicate the abbreviation parenthetically after the first occurrence and use the abbreviation alone for all subsequent occurrences.

Text: Do not use the “Track Changes” feature of any word processing program. If this feature has been used for any portion of the manuscript, all changes must be accepted before building a .pdf submission. Do not use “Endnotes” or similar programs for entering references. The Editorial Office will not edit or process submissions containing this formatting. When preparing the text:
Authorship: Authorship credit should be based on criteria established by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors: 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, 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 published, and 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 work are appropriately investigated and resolved. Each author must meet ALL FOUR conditions. Contributors who do not qualify as authors should be listed under “Acknowledgments,” with their particular contribution described.

Acknowledgments: All papers prepared in consultation with a writer, statistician, or any other contributor who is not a coauthor must contain an acknowledgment, following the text, indicating full name(s), degrees, and explicit role(s) in the design, conduct, analysis, or presentation of the research.

References: Authors are responsible for the completeness, accuracy, and format of their references.

Examples of correct reference format:
Tables: Data appearing in tables should supplement, not duplicate, the text. Tables must be submitted in Excel or Word table format and not as images. Tables should contain at least 2 columns of data and should not list qualitative information or single-column numeric data that can be easily described in the Results section. Put tables on separate pages and number them in order of their mention in the text. Place tables before the figure legend page and after the list of references, and do not embed them throughout the text. Provide a brief title for each table (not a separate legend), and define any abbreviations in table footnotes. Tables must be no larger than 1 page (with 1-inch margins), using a minimum font size of 10. Tables larger than 1 page will count as multiple tables. Tables larger than 3 pages will be considered for publication as online-only appendices.

Figures: Upload each figure as its own file in Editorial Manager. Provide a legend of no more than 30 words for each figure after your reference list. Because all figures will be printed in black and white unless selected by the Editor in Chief for color reproduction, please refrain from using color descriptors in the legend. Additional figure guidelines are as follows:

Appendices: Appendices will only be published online, not in the print journal, and may include additional figures or tables that enhance the value of the manuscript. Appendices must be submitted online with the rest of the manuscript and labeled as such. All tables larger than 3 pages (with 1-inch margins) and questionnaires will be considered as Appendices.


Ethical Concerns

Disclosure of Competing Interests, Financial, and Sponsor Information
Competing interests exist when an author or the author’s institution has financial or personal relationships with other people or organizations that could influence (or bias) the author’s decisions, work, or manuscript. Sponsorships and funding sources must also be identified. Financial relationships are easily identifiable, but conflicts can also occur because of personal relationships, academic competition, or intellectual passion. Full disclosure of all such conflicts and relationships is required. Failure to disclose conflicts may lead to publication of a corrigendum. The editors may use disclosure information as a basis for editorial decisions.

Patient Confidentiality
For manuscripts containing photographs of a person, submit a permission to publish statement from the person or guardian, or submit a photograph that will not reveal the person’s identity (eye covers are inadequate to protect patient identity). The journal has no standard patient consent form, but the statement must grant the authors the right to publish the photograph both online and in print in a scientific medical journal. The statement must be in English or provided with an English translation.

Using Previously Published Material and Illustrations
For manuscripts containing tables, figures, direct quotations longer than 100 words, or other material reproduced from another source, permission from the copyright holder (often the illustrator or original publication source) must be obtained and submitted to the Editorial Office. The journal has no standard permission form, but the statement must grant the authors the right to publish the material both online and in print in a scientific medical journal. A description or copy of the material to be republished must be included in the statement. In addition, the copyright holder must be credited in the manuscript.

IRB Policy and Animal Studies
For all manuscripts reporting data from studies involving human participants, formal review and approval, or formal review and waiver (exemption), by an appropriate institutional review board (IRB) or ethics committee is required and should be described in the Methods section with the full name of the reviewing entity. All clinical research requires formal review, including case reports, case series, medical record reviews, and other observational studies. For experiments involving animals, state the animal-handling protocol in the Methods section, including approval by an institutional board.

Duplicate or Redundant Submission
Manuscripts are considered with the understanding that they have not been published previously and are not under consideration by another publication. If the author would like the journal to consider a duplicate publication, he or she must submit the request, in writing, to the Editor in Chief with appropriate justification.


Required Submission

All Scientific Oral Presentations at the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting and all manuscripts resulting from Academy or Foundation-sponsored research or committee work must be submitted as full-length articles to Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, the official journal of the AAO-HNSF, for right of first refusal.

Notice NIH Grant Recipients

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH Funded Research (Public Access Policy) strongly encourages all investigators to make their NIH-funded peer-reviewed, author’s final manuscript available to other researchers and the public through the NIH National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) PubMed Central (PMC) database no later than twelve months after the date of publication. In support of this policy, we encourage authors of accepted manuscripts that describe original research funded entirely or in part by an NIH grant to submit their manuscript to the NIH grantee site at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/about/authorms.html. The “author’s final manuscript” is the peer reviewed, pre-copyedited version of the article. Articles may be deposited with PubMedCentral at any time after publication in the journal (including as part of OnlineFirst); however, the article should not be made publicly available until twelve months after the date of initial publication. For more information on open access options and compliance at SAGE, including self author archiving deposits (green open access), visit SAGE Publishing Policies on their Journal Author Gateway.


Publish Ahead of Print with OnlineFirst

OnlineFirst is a feature in which completed articles are published online prior to their inclusion in a print issue, offering authors the advantage of making their research accessible to the public in a more timely manner. Only online subscribers can view these PDFs, but abstracts are available to the public to view for free. OnlineFirst articles are fed to search engines and citation and content repositories, such as PubMed, MEDLINE, CrossRef, and Google Scholar, and therefore are available to be accessed and cited. Each OnlineFirst manuscript is citable by the publication date of the manuscript’s first online posting and the Digital Object Identifier (DOI), providing a persistent, permanent way to identify manuscripts published in the online environment. You can cite OnlineFirst articles as follows:

Author’s last name, first initials. Article title. Journal title. Prepublished month day, year; DOI: 10.1177/ 0123456789123456

Once your article has completed the production process and before it is published in a print issue, it will be posted online. You can access OTO OnlineFirst articles on the Web at http://oto.sagepub.com/content/ early/recent. Once posted online, articles may not be retracted or edited. If your article is not completed prior to its publication date, it will not go on OnlineFirst but will be posted online with the issue in which it is published.


Editing Services

Authors who wish to improve the grammar and spelling in their articles may wish to consult a professional service. Here are a few of the many available services:
SAGE Language Services
SPI Professional Editing

Reporting Hearing Outcomes

The journal requires that authors use the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery minimal reporting standard for reporting audiometric data in clinical research. While authors are welcome to interpret their data in any way they find interesting and informative, to facilitate comparison among studies results must include the minimal data set in the standardized AAO-HNS scattergram reporting format.

To create the required scattergrams, go to http://hearingoutcomes.stanford.edu. There you will find instructions on uploading your data and using the online tool to generate your scattergrams. The scattergrams must be uploaded as figures when you submit your manuscript to the journal.


This journal videocast, filmed at the 2012 AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM, is a panel discussion with tips for authors on how to get articles published. Watch then Editor in Chief Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, MPH, then Associate Editor for Otology and Neurotology Brian Blakley, MD, and then Associate Editor for General Otolaryngology and Case Reports Julie L. Wei, MD, provide their advice on the peer review process.


Submission Checklist


The Submission Not in Compliance Letter

The most common reasons your submission is returned without review