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Submitting Your Manuscript

Please read through all instructions prior to beginning your submission:

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Paradigm, Practice, and Policy Advancing Integrative Health (JACM) has a mission to assist health care professionals, delivery organization leaders, policymakers, and scientists to evaluate and manage the evidence-informed inclusion of integrative, complementary, alternative, and traditional products, practices, and practitioners into clinical protocols, standards of care and health policy. Toward this aim, JACM publishes original human clinical trials, systematic reviews, qualitative and observational studies, implementation and cost-related research, unique or significant surveys, and focused commentaries. JACM also publishes articles on standards to foster effective and reliable measurement, data collection, analysis, and interpretation.  The Journal does not typically publish studies containing animal models or lab-based cellular work, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances, and with prior approval for submission from the Editor.

Given the whole-person, multi-modal nature of most traditional and integrative clinical strategies, JACM is interested in manuscripts related to the establishment and development of appropriate research methodologies and funding mechanisms for examining multimodal alternative and complementary diagnoses and interventions. More on the current editorial direction of the journal since June 2016 can be found at If you are uncertain if your work falls within the scope of the journal, please email the title and abstract of the article to the Editor prior to submission.

JACM carries a non-refundable manuscript submission fee of $49.00 USD upon submission of each new manuscript. The submission fee is non-refundable and is independent of the editorial decision/outcome. The fee guarantees a preliminary assessment of your manuscript by the Editor, and potentially, other selected members of the editorial board.  Only manuscripts that pass this preliminary assessment will go on through the peer review process. Submission fees are not refundable due to a decision not to process through peer review. Upon payment, you will be provided with a Manuscript Submission Code. You will be prompted to enter this information when uploading your files to our peer-review system. Please note:  Securing a submission fee token does not systematically create an account for you in our peer-review system.  If you do not already have an account for JACM, you will need to create one.   NOTE:  Effective October 1, 2020, the submission fee will increase to $60.00 USD.

Click here for questions or assistance with the Manuscript Submission Code and/or Fee.

Submissions do not need to be completed at once; submitting authors/agents may begin the submission process, save their work, and return to the site to complete the upload(s) at a later time. There is no limit to the number of times one can save their work and subsequently resume the submission. Doing so will not incur additional charges. Authors whose submissions do not comply with the Instructions for Authors will have their manuscripts un-submitted so that the file(s) may be adjusted accordingly. Directions regarding the necessary corrective actions will be provided in an email to the corresponding author at the time the manuscript is un-submitted. The submitting author/agent will then be provided with the opportunity to re-upload the corrected file(s). If a manuscript is un-submitted, it will remain in the corresponding author’s “Author Center” as a draft, and the submitting author/agent will be able to make the necessary adjustments and re-upload the manuscript without incurring another manuscript submission fee. If your manuscript is un-submitted, please do not create a new manuscript record.  Instructions will be provided for resubmission of corrected/adjusted files.

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 for The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 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 The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 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.



Check the Journal’s PEER REVIEW POLICIES

Manuscript Preparation / Determining Authorship


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.

All editorial correspondence concerning receipt, status, review, revision, and publication of a manuscript will be directed only to the corresponding author of record, who is responsible for communicating the manuscript status to all co-authors, and for obtaining the co-authors’ assent to any substantial changes of content or interpretation made during revision.

Include a separate paragraph after the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript detailing each author's contribution to the work.

Submission Process


NOTE:  Animal and Laboratory Studies: With JACM’s focus on human clinical trials, Animal and Laboratory Studies will be considered for publication only in the rarest of circumstances only if the study contains findings that are extraordinarily groundbreaking and revolutionary. Note that these studies are generally not accepted for publication; please CLICK HERE to consult with the Editor prior to submission.

Trial Registration:. Please include the evidence of the registration of the trial via the NIH or similar service: Provide information on the type of trial in the Materials and Methods section and in the abstract.  We encourage authors to include the Clinical Trial Registration number at the end of the abstract, in parentheses (ie:  CTR #:  xxxxxxxx)

Controlled Trials: For randomized controlled trials, JACM strongly recommends close adherence to STRICTA and CONSORT Guidelines as follows:

  • For controlled trials of acupuncture, use the preferred reporting criteria based on the STRICTA Guidelines
  • For homeopathy, use the preferred reporting criteria based on the supplement to the CONSORT Guidelines
  • For herbal medicines and Chinese herbal medicines, use additional, appropriate CONSORT Extensions
  •  For observational studies, follow the STROBE guidelines


  • A title page, containing the full title of the manuscript, the complete names and affiliations of all authors, a notation of the corresponding author and email address, 3-6 keywords (search terms), and a short running (abbreviated) title.
  • [Optional: 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.

Manuscripts submitted without IRB statements (or waivers) will be returned to the submitting agent and a request will be made to have the information added in order to continue the peer review process.

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 uploading the files of your manuscript for peer review, be prepared to:

  • 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 abstract.  For word limits, consult the ARTICLE TYPES AND WORD LIMITS
  • Provide the names and institutional email addresses of at least five potential preferred reviewers familiar with the field. Please make sure preferred reviewers are not from your university or institution or with whom you have collaborated.  Anyone whom the author does not want to be considered should also be named as a non-preferred reviewer. Ultimate reviewer selection is at the Editor’s discretion.
  • Confirm that the material has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere.

It is incumbent upon the submitting author to ensure the accuracy and inclusion of all contributing authors’ names and affiliations upon original submission of the manuscript. All authors’ names must be entered into the Journal’s submission site.

A cover letter is required and should be uploaded in Manuscript Central as a separate file. The cover letter specifically explain the importance and impact of the results of the submitted manuscript towards a clinical application. The cover letter must contain the following language for the manuscript to be considered suitable for review: “This original manuscript has never been published before and has not been, nor will be, submitted elsewhere while under consideration for publication by JACM.”

Note: There is a total limit of 500 MB per submission.

Create an Effective Title
  • Manuscript titles should be brief, contain key terms, and clearly identify the purposeof the work conducted
  • Manuscript titles -- ideally -- should not exceed 15 -18 words.  This is for search engine optimization purposes.
  • 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
  • If possible, 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
  • NOTE: The manuscript title page with all authors' names and affiliations should be included as part of your main text document, not as a separate file.  See Preparation of Manuscript below for more information.
File Naming

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 content of the file (i.e.: ManuscriptText; Tables; FigureLegends; Fig1, Table1, etc.).   It is not necessary to label your text file with the title of the manuscript.

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 (with full manuscript title, all contributing authors’ full names, complete affiliations, institutional email addresses, and phone numbers, a short running title, a denotation of the corresponding author, and a list of 3-6 keywords)
  • Include the word count of the main content of the text on the title page, starting at the Introduction and up through the end of the Conclusion.  Do not include the abstract, references, acknowledgments, disclosures, figure legends, or tables in the word count)
  • Structured Abstract (see Article Types and Word Limits for guidance on submission type)
  • Main text (do not embed figures or tables within the text)
  • Conclusion (as a separate paragraph, not as part of the Discussion section)
  • Acknowledgments (if applicable)
  • Authorship Confirmation Statement:  This is a list detailing each listed authors’ contributions to and responsibilities for the manuscript. This text should also contain a statement by the corresponding author that all coauthors have reviewed and approved of the manuscript prior to submission.
  • Author(s’) Disclosure Statement(s)
  • Funding Statement (even if there is no funding to declare)
  • Reference list, prepared according to journal style 
  • Figure legends
  • Tables
  • Appendices (if applicable)
  • Supplemental files (if applicable; if the submission is accepted, Supplemental Information will not be copyedited or typeset; it will be published as supplied.)

Note: 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 selected for the peer review process and areas of expertise. You will be asked to retype these search terms in the submission form when uploading your manuscript. These keywords will be included in the published article.  


Abstract Requirements:

  • A structured abstract should include sections clearly identified, such as Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and a one or two-sentence Conclusion. (alternatively: Objective, Design, Interventions, Results, and Conclusions).
  • The abstract should briefly summarize the background and rationale of the study, including the number of subjects. and clearly summarize the results and a very brief conclusion statement of the work.
  • References are not permitted in the abstract.
  • Proprietary or trade names should not be used in the abstract.
  • All abbreviations should be avoided unless they are universally known and accepted.  If the use of abbreviations in the abstract are unavoidable, they should be clearly defined.
Manuscript Text


In general, the text should be organized under the headings: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Limitations, Discussion, and Conclusions. In the event that slightly different subheadings might fit your research better (for instance, “design” and “interventions” for “materials and methods”), such substitutions can be made, as long as the categories are covered. In no case should limitations or author disclosure statements be omitted.

Pages should be numbered sequentially. Use of a template with numbered lines in the left margin is acceptable. Preferred fonts are Times New Roman, Arial, and Symbol (for equations) in size 12. Other fonts may not translate properly, and the authors should ensure that all special characters (e.g., Greek characters, mathematical symbols, etc.) are represented correctly in the body of the text and not as uninterpretable graphic representations. 

All original research and review manuscripts should be presented in the third person, rather than with personal pronouns.

Use only standard abbreviations, which can be found in the AMA’s Manual of Style for Authors & Editors or the Council of Biology Editors Style Manual, 10/e. 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. For botanical names, use the Linnaean classification in its first appearance in text; thereafter, use the common or Latin name. 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.

The Introduction should clearly state the premise on which the research is being reported throughout in the rest of the manuscript and should be concise and supported by appropriately cited published literature to present a clear hypothesis and platform for the rest of the manuscript.  Background material should be brief and relevant to the research described. Lengthy reviews of the literature in submissions labeled as “Original” should be avoided. These types of submissins should be classified as a Review.

The Materials and Methods (or Design and Interventions) section should be presented concisely. It should include information on Institutional Review Board approval and adherence to protocols. This section must make clear that the sources of all the methods/interventions presented in the manuscript include adequate information to ensure that all of the study can be fully reproducible. Any novel experimental procedures should be presented in detail. Be certain to describe any differences between published methods and the methods actually used. Published procedures should appropriately cite the original work, and reference any subsequent modification unless it would benefit the reader to provide a full detailed explanation.

The Discussion should be used to discuss and interpret the meaning of the results and their relevance to prior results in the literature such as to be able to draw conclusions and put the results into context where they can be applied by other researchers.  

Conclusions should be used to place the results and discussion into their full value and meaning, with care taken to distinguish between conclusions that follow logically and directly from the Results, and speculations which the authors choose to make based upon the Results. Advances should be clearly stated as such, including their potential impact, and negative results should also be presented, as those also provide value to researchers. Conclusions should reflect the size and power of the study.

Acknowledgments of collaborations and other acknowledgments must be listed in a separate section at the end of the text ahead of the Reference section.

Footnotes should be used only when essential.


For Users of EndNote  
Click here for the output style for JACM  Note: The publisher of JACM does not provide technical support for EndNote. If you have questions, click on the Support tab on EndNote’s website for assistance.

References must be prepared in Word, double spaced, and numbered consecutively as they are cited in the text (using superscript numbers within text, without parentheses).  Include the reference section as part of the main text file, not as a separate file. 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. All citations in the text must have a corresponding reference in the reference list, and all supplied references must be cited in the text.

Use journal abbreviations as provided by PubMed/Medline. List all authors when there are four or fewer. When there are more than four authors, list the first three, followed by et al. (not italicized). 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: (AB Jones, personal communication). When data from an unpublished source are given, supply complete information that will permit verification of the data (e.g., researcher’s name and location). 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.

Use of citations from conference proceedings, or citations that are abstracts or extended abstracts only is not acceptable.

Sample style for references:
  • Journal article: Ryan JJ, Hanes DA, Corroon J, et al. Prospective safety evaluation of a cardiovascular health dietary supplement in adults with prehypertension and stage I hypertension. J Altern Complement Med 2019;25:249-256.  
  • Book: Jonas WB. Mosby's Dictionary of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby; 2005.
  • Chapter in a book: Schnyer RN, Birch S, MacPherson H. Acupuncture practice as the foundation for clinical evaluation. In:  MacPherson H, Hammerschlag R, Lewith G, Schnyer R, eds. Acupuncture Research: Strategies for Establishing an Evidence Base. London, UK: Churchill Livingstone; 2007:153–179.
  • Website - Please follow this structure for website references, including capitalization and punctuation:
    List author (if available) and/or page name/title. Website article title. Provide website URL. Include last accessed date.
  • Preprints: Citing Preprints as an official reference is generally discouraged but are permitted.  Preprints should follow the same style as a journal article but must indicate in place of a journal citation that it is a preprint and not officially published. Note:  Discretion is recommended as preprints are, by definition, not peer reviewed.
  • Submission of high resolution .TIFF or .EPS figure files is strongly recommended.
  • Figures should not be embedded within the manuscript file.
  • Cite figures consecutively in text within parentheses (ie:  Fig. 1).
  • Images should be anonymized and never reveal the name/identity of a patient or a manufacturer.  
  • Do not embed any illustrations as part of your main text file.
  • The Journal will publish color figures, with a subsidy from the author. Costs are dependent upon the number of figures within a manuscript.    See the Publication Costs tab in the Polices section of our website.

Figure Legends: All figure legends should be prepared, double spaced, in a separate Word file and uploaded under the file category labeled “Figure Legends.”  Each figure legend should be numbered and provide explanations for any abbreviations, arrows, etc., that appear within the figure. If the figure is taken from a copyrighted publication, the author(s) must secure permission from the copyright holder, 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  Word file with each table starting on its own page. Each table should be numbered and and contain a title. Use Arabic numerals to number tables. Cite tables in sequence in the text. 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. Explain abbreviations used in the body of the table in footnotes. All other types of table footnotes should be designated using superscript letters, not symbols. If the table is taken from a copyrighted publication, the author(s) must secure permission from the copyright holder, appropriate credit must be given as a table footnote, and a corresponding reference must appear in the reference section.

Supplementary Information

When appropriate, we encourage the judicious use of online-only supplementary information (SI). All information/data in the SI should be referred to 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 manuscript should be written so that the article which appears in the printed journal contains 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.  Supplemental Information will not be copyedited or typeset; it will be published as supplied.

Correspondence Address:  Following the references, provide the name and complete affiliation and institutional email address of the person to whom correspondence should be sent.

Manuscript Revisions

Additional submission fees and codes are NOT required for revisions to previously submitted manuscripts. If after peer review, you are invited to submit a revision, do NOT create a new submission. Detailed instructions for submitting revised manuscripts are provided in an email that is sent to the corresponding author along with the reviewers’ comments. Revised submissions routinely will undergo further review by the same reviewers who assessed the original submission, members of the editorial board, and/or the editor(s). Please note that an invitation to submit a revision does not guarantee acceptance. Revised manuscripts are subject to peer review.

To upload a revision of a manuscript, the submitting author should log in to their Author Center and click on “Revised Manuscripts in Draft.” The manuscript will appear in this area, and the submitting author will be able to upload revised files without paying any additional charges or re-entering a submission code.  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. If the deadline for your revised submission has expired, contact the Editorial Office immediately. Do not create a new submission for an already-submitted manuscript. Note that creating a new manuscript at the revision stage will incur another nonrefundable manuscript submission fee of $49.00 USD.

Inquiries:  Queries concerning submission, manuscript status, or journal procedures are to be directed to the Editorial Office

Letters to the Editor: JACM will consider Letters to the Editor commenting on the content of an article published in the Journal. See CLICK HERE for guidelines.

See 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
Publication Costs
Archiving and Preservation
Publisher Information



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