Information For Authors
- Manuscript Submission Guidelines
- Author Benefits Program
- Open Access Policy
- NIH/HHMI Wellcome Trust Policies
- Self-Archiving Policy
Submitting Your Manuscript
Autism in Adulthood is published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers. The founding Editor-in-Chief is Christina Nicolaidis, MD, MPH. The Journal is managed by an academic chief editor, associate editors, and an international editorial board comprised of leading researchers, autistic community leaders, and practitioners focused on autism in adulthood.
Use of Language
Autism in Adulthood strives to use anti-ableist language throughout. Please CLICK HERE to review the recommendations in Avoiding Ableist Language: Suggestions for Autism Researchers.
Terms related to autism and disability
The language used to describe autism can greatly affect people on the spectrum, and how society views them. Autism in Adulthood recommends authors consider the following recommendations.
Person-first vs. identity-first language
Autism in Adulthood respects that there are strong arguments and passions on both sides of the debate between the use of person-first language (e.g., “person with autism”) and identity-first language (e.g., “autistic person”) in relation to autism. However, there is a growing body of scientific and community literature documenting the dislike, amongst autistic individuals, of person-first language and its potential for increasing stigma.1-4 Based on this literature and the strong preference of the autistic members of the journal’s Editorial Board, we recommend either using identity-first language, or more neutral terms such as "person on the autism spectrum.”
For more information about the use of identity-first language, see:
- Gernsbacher MA. Editorial perspective: the use of person-first language in scholarly writing may accentuate stigma. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2017;58(7):859-861.
- Kapp SK, Gillespie-Lynch K, Sherman LE, Hutman T. Deficit, difference, or both? Autism and neurodiversity. Dev Psychol. 2013;49(1):59-71.
- Kenny L, Hattersley C, Molins B, Buckley C, Povey C, Pellicano E. Which terms should be used to describe autism? Perspectives from the UK autism community. Autism. 2016;20(4):442-462.
- Sinclair J. Why I dislike "person first" language. 1999. http://web.archive.org/web/20080616063934/http://web.syr.edu/~jisincla/person_first.htm. Last accessed September 10, 2020.
Subpopulations within the autism spectrum
Due to the ambiguity and potential offensiveness of terms such as “high functioning” or “low functioning” autism, “Kanner's” autism, or "mild" or "severe" autism, Autism in Adulthood recommends avoiding these terms. Instead, describe subpopulations using the specific characteristic(s) that make them a subpopulation. For example, "autistic people who qualify for developmental disability services," or "autistic people who primarily communicate using speech."
Terms related to autism diagnoses
The term “Autism Spectrum Disorder” (ASD) may be used when specifically discussing autism diagnoses. Otherwise, we recommend using terms such as “autism,” “autism spectrum,” “autistic adults,” or “autistic participants.” When referring to historic data, historic diagnoses such as Asperger's syndrome may be used; however, these terms should be considered out of date, and not used as terms for any part of the autism spectrum except when referring to someone’s self-identity.
Strengths-based vs. deficits-based language
Autism in Adulthood strongly encourages authors to take a strengths-based approach to writing about autism. Examples include:
- Referring to autism as a condition or disability instead of as a disease or illness;
- Using neutral terms such as "typically developing" or “non-autistic” rather than "healthy" or “normal;”
- Avoiding emotional phrases such as "suffering from autism;"
- Referring to “co-occurring” or “secondary” conditions instead of “comorbid” conditions;
- Referring to autistic characteristics in a neutral or positive manner, as opposed to as symptoms or deficits (e.g., “autistic traits,” “characteristics of autism,” or “features of autism” instead of “symptoms of autism”; “communication differences” instead of “communication deficits”).
General guidelines for writing about disability more broadly
There are many excellent guides to writing about disability more broadly. Authors may refer to resources from the following organizations:
- The Research and Training Center on Independent Living
- The National Center on Disability and Journalism
- The Association of University Centers on Disabilities
The Editors of Autism in Adulthood welcome questions by authors regarding language. We understand that language can be a gray area, can vary by geography and culture, and that there are many valid opinions. Contact the Editor at AutismInAdulthood@pdx.edu for further guidance.
Use of active voice and concise language
Autism in Adulthood recommends the use of the active voice as opposed to the passive voice. Further, we recommend that the actor in a sentence always be explicitly identified for clarity. For example: “A research assistant administered the surveys.” (Not: “Surveys were administered.”) Autism in Adulthood also recommends use of clear, concise language. Avoid using sentences with excessive clauses or unnecessary complexity.
The submitting author is required to complete the submission using an ORCID identifier. Please visit the ORCID website for more information, or to register. You must have an account in ScholarOne Autism in Adulthood before logging in with an ORCID identifier.
Manuscript Submission Site
Create an Account in ScholarOne
If you do not already have an account in ScholarOne for Autism in Adulthood, you will need to create one. Once you create your account, you may log in to the system to begin your submission. Each listed author on a submission must either have an account, or have one created, in the submission system.
All authors, including the co-authors, should be responsible for a significant part of the manuscript. All authors and co-authors should have taken part in writing the manuscript, reviewing it, and revising its intellectual and technical content. Any author whose name appears on a manuscript assumes responsibility and accountability for the results.
Please note that if manuscripts are submitted by third parties (i.e., editing services or other agents), those third parties must submit the manuscript as a submitting agent, using a corporate or official email account. In addition, the name and company of the submitting agent must be disclosed in the cover letter. Authors are responsible for manuscripts submitted by third parties. If we determine that a non-disclosed third party submitted the manuscript without following these procedures, we reserve the right to immediately reject the manuscript.
All Original submissions must contain:
- An Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval (or waiver) statement in the Methods section
- Acknowledgments section (if applicable) after the Conclusion of the manuscript, followed by
- An Author Contribution statement for each listed author, followed by
- An Author Disclosure Statement for each author listed on a submission, even if there are no conflicts to disclose, followed by,
- Funding statement(s), even if there is no funding information to declare.
Human Subjects: Patient Consent/Release
If applicable, it is incumbent upon the author(s) to obtain patient release statements of permission to reproduce any identifiable images of patients. The Journal does not provide a generic patient release form. Any identifying information should not be published in descriptions or photographs unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent/guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that an identifiable patient be shown the manuscript to be submitted. Authors should disclose to these patients whether any potential identifiable material might be available via the Internet as well as in print after publication. Nonessential identifying details should be omitted. Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are de-identified, the manuscript should contain assurances/statements that such changes do not distort scientific meaning.
In keeping with patients' rights of privacy, the Journal does not require the submission of patient consent forms, but instead requires the author(s) to retain and archive all patient consent documentation. Upon submission of a manuscript for review, the authors must make a statement in a cover letter to the Editor/Journal which attests that they have received and archived written patient consent.
All manuscripts must be prepared in accordance with the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (ICMJE Recommendations).
When submitting your manuscript for peer review, be prepared to:
- Provide a cover letter
- Enter the full title of the manuscript
- Enter the full names and institutional affiliations of ALL listed authors
- Enter ALL listed authors' institutional email addresses
- Identify the corresponding author
- Enter a running (abbreviated) title of no more than 45 characters (including spaces).
- Enter 3–6 keywords or phrases to assist in the selection of skilled reviewers in the field for the purposes of peer review.
- Provide a structured OR unstructured abstract (see further details in the Abstract section below)
- Confirm that the material has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere.
Note: There is a total limit of 350 MB per submission.
Submit a cover letter addressed to the Editor with each manuscript. Include a brief overview of the manuscript (including title, design, and major findings), and explain why the manuscript would be of interest to the readers of Autism in Adulthood and how it would impact the field. As appropriate, include additional information that would help the Editors place this study in the context of other work (e.g., if the manuscript describes one specific analysis from a larger study, explain how this manuscript fits in with other articles, where other articles have been published, and describe the stage of preparation of other planned manuscripts). If part of the manuscript information has been published previously, please indicate where it was published, and the extent of overlap with this manuscript. Attach a copy of the articles (or manuscripts) in question.
Create an Effective Title
- Manuscript titles should be brief, contain key terms, and clearly identify the purpose of the work conducted
- Manuscript titles should not exceed 15 -18 words. Exceptions can be made with the Editor’s approval
- Manuscript titles should be direct and to the point. Remember that the journal has a global readership, so clear and concise non-vernacular language is most effective
- Avoid the use of specific locations in the title
- Do not use proprietary/trademarked names in the title
- Do not use acronyms in the title unless they are universally recognized and accepted
- Avoid using the title to make declarative statements about the results of the study. For example, instead of “X is Related to Y in Autistic Adults,” use titles such as “The Association Between X and Y in Autistic Adults: Results from a Prospective Cohort Study.”
- NOTE: The title page of your submission must be included as part of your main text document (not as a separate file).
All file names should be in English and contain only alphanumeric characters. Do not include spaces, symbols, special characters, dashes, dots, or underscores. Label each file with the type of content contained in the file (i.e.: Text; Tables; FigureLegends; Fig1, Fig2, etc.)
Important: Please upload individual files of all manuscript material as described herein — please do NOT upload a combined PDF file containing all material in your submission.
Preparation of Manuscript
Prepare text of manuscripts, figure legends, and tables in Microsoft Word, double spaced. The order of elements in each manuscript should be:
- Title page, included as part of the main text document (with full manuscript title, all contributing authors’ full names, degrees, complete affiliations, and email addresses; a short running title; a denotation of the corresponding author with their complete contact information including address and email address; the study registry number, if applicable; and a list of 3-6 keywords). Include the word count for the abstract; word count for the main text; and word count for the lay summary.
- Main text (do not embed figures or tables)
- Conclusion (if applicable; as a separate paragraph, not as part of the Discussion section)
- Acknowledgments (if applicable)
- Authorship confirmation statement (see below)
- Author(s’) disclosure statement(s) (see below)
- Funding statement (see below)
- Figure legends
- Supplemental Information (if applicable; NOTE: Supplemental Information will not be copyedited or typeset; it will be posted online as supplied.)
Note: The keywords are search terms that will aid in the discoverability of the article in indexing services and search engines. These terms may or may not be different from the terms you select for the peer review process and areas of expertise. These keywords will be included in the published article.
Authorship Confirmation Statement
This statement should include a paragraph detailing each listed authors’ contributions to and responsibilities for the manuscript. This text should also contain a statement that all co-authors have reviewed and approved of the manuscript prior to submission. Lastly, include a confirmation statement that the manuscript has been submitted solely to this journal and is not published, in press, or submitted elsewhere (posting on a non-peer-reviewed preprint server does not constitute prior publication).
Refer to the Publisher Policies for information regarding qualifications on authorship vs. contributorship.
Author Disclosure Statements
On a separate page within the manuscript file, following the Authorship Confirmation Statement page, include any financial conflicts of interest, actual or potential, for each listed author on the submission. If no conflicts exist, the authors must state, “No competing financial interests exist.” Articles submitted without Author Disclosure Statements will be un-submitted so that a statement may be added.
Refer to the Publisher Policies for further information.
- The abstract must be included as part of the main text file
- Please refer to the Article Types and Word Limits for information regarding whether the abstract should be structured or unstructured and for the abstract word limits.
- Prepare the abstract on a separate page to be included after the title page
- References are not permitted in the abstract.
- Do not use proprietary or trade names in the abstract.
- For manuscript types requiring a structured abstract, use the following headings: Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions.
- For manuscript types requiring an unstructured abstract, the abstract should briefly summarize the background and rationale and clearly summarize the findings and/or conclusions of the work.
Original Research Articles and Brief Research Reports
The main text should use the following headings: Introduction; Methods; Results; and Discussion. The Discussion section should include (in the following order) a discussion of the study conclusions, how the study compares to and advances the existing literature, limitations, and implications (to individuals, practitioners, systems, policy, and/or research).
To ensure that studies with various methods have the highest quality reporting, Autism in Adulthood strongly suggests that authors use standard formats as described at http://www.equator-network.org (i.e., CONSORT for randomized trials, STROBE for observational studies, and SQUIRE for quality improvement studies, etc.). Authors are strongly encouraged to use the checklists offered for these guidelines. The Editor(s) may request those checklists during the manuscript review process.
Clinical Trials Registration: Autism in Adulthood ascribes to the registration policies of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) that can be found at http://www.icmje.org/about-icmje/faqs/clinical-trials-registration Appropriate registries (such as www.clinicaltrials.gov) must be accessible to the public at no charge and must be open to all prospective registrants and managed by a not-for-profit organization. There must be a mechanism to ensure the validity of the registration data, and the registry should be electronically searchable. Please include the appropriate Trial Registration Number on the Title Page of the submitted manuscript.
Autism in Adulthood welcomes well-supported, in-depth, analytic essays advancing theory, practice, or policy. Manuscripts should present a novel idea, develop a new conceptual theory or model, or synthesize the literature in an innovative way.
Advances in Methodology
Advances in Methodology manuscripts focus on methodologic issues in research on autism in adulthood. This article type purposefully allows for flexibility in how manuscripts are structured, so that authors can best present information to advance the field. For example, manuscripts may describe the processes used in a research project and discuss lessons learned or they may make evidence- or practice-based recommendations for why different methods are needed. We welcome evidence- or practice-based guidelines that advance research methods, processes, or approaches. Such manuscripts should explain the need for the new guidelines; describe how the guidelines were developed, including the evidence base and/or practice experience that guided them; provide the guidelines; describe how they advance the literature; explain where they may or may not apply; and discuss their implications for research, practice, and policy.
Autism in Adulthood welcomes well-referenced descriptions of innovative practices, grounded in theory, with lessons learned from their initial implementation or pilot-testing. Manuscripts should be organized as follows:
- Introduction (including why this emerging practice is needed)
- Theoretical Framework (describing how the practice is grounded in the literature)
- A description of the emerging practice, intervention, technology, or other advancement (note – authors may choose to name this section as appropriate)
- Evaluation Methods
- Lessons Learned (including evaluation data, observations from practice, and other lessons from initial implementation efforts)
- Discussion (including conclusions, how this work advances the literature, limitations, implications, and next steps).
Literature Reviews and Meta-Analyses
Whenever possible, Autism in Adulthood prefers systematic reviews, with or without a quantitative meta-analysis.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of quantitative evidence should follow the guidelines in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. PRISMA (an update and expansion of the QUOROM Statement) provides an evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses. It can be found at http://www.prisma-statement.org The PRISMA Statement comes with a corresponding checklist and flow diagram that can aid authors in ensuring that their Systematic Review and/or Meta-Analysis has components found in a well-reported Systematic Review. Authors are strongly encouraged to submit the PRISMA checklist and flow diagram along with their manuscript. Also include the systematic review registration number and funding source.
Autism in Adulthood will consider the inclusion of high-quality narrative or clinical reviews when the question of interest is too broad, the body of evidence too sparse, or the topic too new or controversial for a systematic review. Narrative (non-systematic) or clinical reviews should address a clinical, educational, services, policy, or methodological problem. They should meld expert opinion with a thorough and balanced review of available evidence. Reviews of clinical topics should include references to relevant practice guidelines. Scoping reviews may also be appropriate for topics where the literature is still relatively scant.
Perspectives are well-referenced opinions or recommendations on topics related to research, practice, or policy. Authors should heavily cite the literature to make a clear, coherent argument. They should be transparent about their own positionality, experience, and expertise. Perspectives must synthesize and advance the literature in a novel way, through the author(s) own lens(es), not solely review the current state of the science.
Autism in Adulthood welcomes personal memoir-like essays from autistic adults, family members, professionals, or other stakeholders. The essay should be written for an academic audience and use citations, if appropriate, but it should be in the author’s own voice. The author should use their personal experiences to provide insights to others in the field. Essays may be in a variety of formats, including, but not limited to first-person narratives, creative non-fiction, poetry, and graphics.
Note: Insight Essay authors work directly with our Insight Essay Editors, Drs. Dora Raymaker and Ralph Savarese. If interested in potentially writing an Insight Essay, please contact the editorial office prior to writing the essay. Do not use the ScholarOne System to submit Insight Essay manuscripts.
Prepare a lay-language summary, of up to 500 words, highlighting the most important aspects of the manuscript. This summary should be aimed at what the lay public, including autistic adults, family members, practitioners, services providers, and policymakers, would want to know about the manuscript. Please use Plain Language and avoid or define technical terms.
Lay summaries should use a question and answer format. Lay summaries for Original Research should use the following headers: “Why was this study done?” “What was the purpose of this study?” “What did the researchers do?” “What were the results of the study?” “What do these findings add to what was already known?” “What are potential weaknesses in the study?” and “How will these findings help autistic adults now or in the future?”
Authors may use different question headers for other article types. For example, a lay summary for an Emerging Practices manuscript may use headers such as: “Why was this program developed?” “What does the program do?” “How did the researchers evaluate the new program?” “What were the early findings?” “What were the weaknesses of this project?” ”What are the next steps?” and “How will this work help autistic adults now or in the future?”. Similarly, headers for a Perspectives manuscript may include: “Why is this topic important?” “What is the purpose of this article?” “What is the perspective of the author(s)?” “What is already known about this topic?” and “What do the authors recommend?” and “How will these recommendations help autistic adults now or in the future?”
For more information on Plain Language, please see:
Use only standard abbreviations, which can be found in the AMA’s Manual of Style for Authors and Editors, 10th edition At first usage, spell out terms and provide abbreviations in parentheses. Thereafter, use only the abbreviations. It is not necessary to spell out standard units of measure. Use generic names for drugs if possible. If you wish to use a proprietary drug name the first time it appears, use the generic name followed by the proprietary name, manufacturer, and location in parentheses.
Autism in Adulthood follows the AMA style. References must be prepared in Word, double spaced, and numbered consecutively as they are cited in the text. Include the reference section as part of the main text file, not as a separate file. References should be cited in the text in numerical order using superscript numbers without parentheses and placed outside of sentence punctuation. References appearing for the first time in tables and figures must be numbered in sequence with those cited in the text where the table or figure is mentioned. Use journal abbreviations as provided by PubMed/Medline. List all authors when there are six or fewer. When there are more than six authors, list the first three, followed by et al.
If references to personal communications or unpublished data are used, they are not to be in the list of references. They should be referred to in the text in parentheses with the researcher’s name and date: (e.g., AB Jones, personal communication, month and year of communication). Include among the references any articles that have been accepted but have not yet published; identify the name of publication and add "In Press." If the reference has been published online, provide the DOI number in place of the page range.
At this time, Autism in Adulthood does not yet have an output style in EndNote, but you may use the journal JAMA as a substitute as it follows the same reference style. Go to www.EndNote.com, search for “JAMA” and download the output style.*
*Note: The Publisher of Autism in Adulthood does not provide technical support for EndNote. If you have questions, click on the Support tab on EndNote’s website for assistance.
Sample style for references:
Raymaker DM, Teo AR, Steckler NA, et al. "Having all of your internal resources exhausted beyond measure and being left with no clean-up crew": defining autistic burnout. Autism Adulthood. 2020;2(2):132-143.
Siew CT, Mazzucchelli TG, Rooney R, Girdler S. A specialist peer mentoring program for university students on the autism spectrum: a pilot study. PLoS One. 2017;12(7):e0180854. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180854.
The preferred citation style for an electronic journal uses a DOI (digital object identifier). The DOI provides a persistent link to the electronic item and is considered to be more stable than a URL. If the DOI is not given on the full text article or in the citation, use a DOI Lookup Tool to locate it or use the format for an electronic article without a DOI.
Wright SD, ed. Autism Spectrum Disorder in Mid and Later Life. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers; 2016.
Chapter in a book:
Crapnell T, Lau L, Hanks CD, Nicolaidis C, Kuo AA. Autism. In: Pilapil M, DeLaet DE, Kuo AA, Peacock C, Sharma N, eds. Care of Adults with Chronic Childhood Conditions: A Practical Guide. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing; 2016:53–65.
National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities (NJC.) History of the National Joint Committee. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. https://www.asha.org/NJC/history Last accessed August 27, 2020.
Please follow this structure for Conference Proceeding references, including capitalization and punctuation:
List all Authors’ (or) Editors’ names (last name first, followed by first and middle initials). Conference title. Date of conference. Location of conference. City of publisher: Publisher; Year of publication. Complete number of pages in proceedings book.
Preprints may be cited in the same manner as a journal article. Discretion is recommended as preprints are, by definition, not peer reviewed.
Figure legends should be uploaded as a separate Word file and double spaced. In the legend, provide explanations for any abbreviations, arrows, etc. that appear in the figure. If the figure is taken from a copyrighted publication, permission must be secured, appropriate credit must be given in the legend, and a corresponding reference must appear in the reference section.
All tables should be prepared in one single Word file with each table presented on a new page. Upload one table file, containing all tables, under the “Table” file designation. Be sure to number each table within the file using Arabic numerals. Provide a brief descriptive title for each table. Cite tables in sequence in the text. Explain abbreviations and acronyms used in the body of the table in footnotes. All other types of table footnotes should be designated using superscript letters, not symbols. Do not repeat information that is given in the text, and do not make a table for data that can be given in the text in one or two sentences. If the table is taken from a copyrighted publication, permission must be secured, appropriate credit must be given in the legend, and a corresponding reference must appear in the reference section.
- Submission of high resolution .TIFF or .EPS figure files is strongly recommended.
- Prepare each figure as an individual file.
- Figures should not be embedded within the manuscript file.
- Cite figures consecutively in text within parentheses.
- A legend should be supplied for each figure and all legends numbered consecutively.
- Images should not show the name of a patient or a manufacturer.
- Do not include any illustrations as part of your text file.
When appropriate, we encourage the judicious use of online-only supplementary information (SI). Refer to all information/data in the SI in the article text, including reference to specific tables and figures in the SI. Upload supplementary tables, figures, and legends as separate files, either as “supplementary file” or “supplementary file for review only.” The article that appears in the printed journal should contain all data which are key to the conclusions and important for the reader to have direct access to when reading the article. Other supporting data and text are appropriate for the supplementary section.
Following the references, provide the name and complete affiliation and institutional email address of the person to whom correspondence should be sent.
Do NOT create a new submission for revisions of already-submitted manuscripts. Detailed instructions for submitting revised manuscripts are provided in an email which is sent to the corresponding author along with the reviewers’ comments. Revised submissions routinely undergo further review by the same reviewers who assessed the original submission, members of the editorial board, and/or the editor(s). Contact the Editorial Office immediately if the deadline for your revised submission has expired. Please note that an invitation to revise any submission does not guarantee acceptance.
To upload a revision of a manuscript, the submitting author should log in to their Author Center and click on “Revised Manuscripts in Draft.” All revised submissions will be required to meet all formatting conditions described herein. Submissions that do not satisfy these requirements will be un-submitted and returned to the submitting author for proper configuration.
Letters to the Editor
Autism in Adulthood will consider Letters to the Editor commenting on the scientific content of an article published in the Journal. Letters should not exceed 500 words of text and 5 references. Letters submitted for publication must be original and must not be submitted to any other publication simultaneously.
Journal Policies on:
Licensing Information: OPEN ACCESS and Copyright
Data Sharing and Preprint Policies
Post-Acceptance and Post-Publication Policies
Correction Statements / Retractions
Reprints, Permissions, & Social Media Use
Plagiarism Detection Software
Definitions of Scientific Misconduct
Responding to Allegations of Scientific Misconduct
Press Embargo Policy
Archiving and Preservation
For questions regarding manuscript submissions, contact our Author Services Division.
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