IOVS Author Guidelines
Last Modified December 28, 2020
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS), published online several times a month, is an official journal of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), an international organization whose purpose is to advance research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Included are original contributions that emphasize clinical and laboratory hypothesis-based research with statistically valid results that clearly advance our knowledge of the normal and abnormal processes impacting vision. IOVS de-emphasizes purely descriptive studies.
Contact Information for IOVS Editorial Office
||5515 Security Lane, Suite 500
Rockville, MD 20852
ARVO/IOVS TERMS AND POLICIES
Articles present new data in one or more areas of vision research and are written concisely for a broad rather than a highly specialized audience. To be considered for publication, papers that are merely descriptions of new methods must be exceptional contributions, with implications extending beyond the particular applied area. Summaries of meetings/symposia, case reports, obituaries, and general review articles are generally not considered.
Lectures are written versions of ARVO awardees' presentations given at each Annual Meeting.
Letters to the Editor will be considered for publication relevant to material published in IOVS. Letters about material published in IOVS may highlight issues; provide support or agreement; and offer different points of view, clarification, or additional information. Letters will be reviewed and the author(s) whose article is discussed in a Letter will be given an opportunity to reply.
New Developments in Vision Research are solicited short reviews of new research findings or new general methodologies that are of broad interest to the ophthalmic and vision research community.
Point/Counterpoint are two invited articles with opposing views on a specific topic. The articles will be peer-reviewed. Each article should be 2-3 pages (final PDF pages). Those interested in submitting Point/Counterpoint articles should contact the Editor-in-Chief, explaining the scope of the two articles prior to preparation.
Perspectives are personal viewpoints on topics with broad interest (mini-editorial). Articles will be peer-reviewed. They may be up to 4 pages (final PDF pages), including art and tables.
Reviews are meant to sum up the current state of the research on an important topic and are regarded as being the first place to get authoritative information about that topic. They should contain new insights on the topic or provide a new synthesis of data.
Review articles should inform the reader about:
- The main contributors to the field
- Recent major advances and discoveries
- Significant gaps in knowledge
- Current debates in the area
- Ideas of where research might go next
Please consider the following issues when writing the manuscript:
- Make sure the review is up to date.
- Consideration of the topic should be comprehensive.
- The review should contain new insights or provide a new synthesis of data.
- The discussion should be fair and balanced in both the work cited and the presentation of conclusions. It should also be free of commercial bias.
- Recommendations for future research should be realistic and innovative.
- Preferably, the title should catch the reader’s attention and be clearly focused on the subject of the review.
- The figures should be clear and aid the reader in understanding the topic.
- The review must highlight and critically analyze the appropriate references, especially those of other laboratories.
Overall, the review should significantly advance understanding by providing new insights and perspectives, not just be a summary of the literature.
IOVS authors are asked to select the section code that best suits their research area. Article sections are based on the 13 ARVO sections and the 3 ARVO cross-sectional groups. Authors submitting manuscripts dealing with translational research may want to consider submitting their work to Translational Vision Science and Technology http://tvst.arvojournals.org/
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR RESPONSIBILITIES
1. Prior Publication/Duplicate Submission
All submissions must be original. Manuscripts are subjected to iThenticate plagiarism detection analysis prior to review. Manuscripts will not be considered that have been previously published, in full, or in part, in any format, except as an abstract, academic thesis, or in draft form on a non-peer reviewed preprint server. Authors are required upon submission of their manuscript to disclose the existence of any such prior versions of their work, and to ensure that ARVO publishing policies are not in conflict with those of the repository of the original work. An author may submit a manuscript that is part of his or her published thesis, provided that it has been published only as a thesis, and not as part of another journal article. Manuscripts that are currently under review with other journals may not be submitted. Authors must update any postings to a preprint server with the journal published version, as soon as it is available, and provide an appropriate link on the archive site to the copy on the journal website. Authors further agree not to post further updated versions beyond the journal published version. Published conference proceedings articles are not suitable for republication in ARVO journals.
If a manuscript is suspected of being a duplication submission, i.e., already under consideration at another journal, the review will be halted and the scientific editor of the other journal will be contacted. If it is confirmed that the manuscript is a duplicate submission, the manuscript will be rejected, the authors may be banned from submitting to IOVS, or to any ARVO journal, for a period of time, and their institutions may be contacted.
2. License to Publish/Open Access
Starting in 2020, ARVO deposits all articles in PubMed Central on behalf of the authors. (Previously, only articles citing support from certain funders were deposited to PMC.)
IOVS is now open access, beginning with articles published Jan. 2016. Authors retain copyright of their articles instead of signing it over to ARVO. Each author must complete a License to Publish (a link to their individual form will be emailed to each author after submission). This license grants ARVO permission, among other things, to publish and distribute the article. Authors will also need to indicate on the form if they are making their article open access under the CC BY-NC-ND or the CC BY license. (We will consider the corresponding author's license selection the official choice if there are any discrepancies among the authors.) For more information about open access, click here.
The Wellcome Trust, as well as some other funders, require authors to select the CC BY license. Please check with your funder for any requirements they may have regarding open access licenses.
Please note that only the CC BY-NC-ND license may be applied to Letters to the Editor and Author Responses, which currently do not have any publication fees. The CC BY license is not an option for Letters and Responses.
If you plan to include figures, photographs, or tables from other publications, obtain written permission from the copyright holder to reprint such items in IOVS, and submit this permission to the Editorial Office.
B. Other Policies
ARVO's Publications Ethics Statement, which includes some of the items below as well as others, is available here. IOVS is a member of, and subscribes to the principles of, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
The decision on who to include as an author should be discussed and agreed upon prior to the initial submission. For guidelines regarding authorship, please see the ARVO Publications Ethics Statement. If at any time during the peer review process there is a change to the authorship listing, then authors must complete a Change of Authorship form. When removing an author, only the author being removed can make this request and they should also submit a signed letter requesting removal along with this form. Authorship removal requests made by the corresponding author, or other coauthors on the manuscript, are not acceptable.
2. Human Subjects
For research involving human subjects, the ARVO journals require that authors state in the Methods section of their manuscript that their research was conducted in compliance with a suitable accredited Institutional Review Board (IRB) or its equivalent (such as a human ethics committee).
3. Statement for the Use of Animals in Ophthalmic and Vision Research
If experimental animals were used in the research, IOVS requires that authors confirm adherence to the ARVO Statement for the Use of Animals in Ophthalmic and Vision Research in the Methods section of their manuscript.
4. Guidelines for Manuscripts Involving Human Genetics
Descriptions of novel associations between genes and ophthalmic diseases
Manuscripts that describe the results of studies investigating novel associations between genetic variants and disease are of interest. Editors and reviewers will consider sample size and statistical approaches when evaluating the significance of the observed results. Reviewers or editors of such studies may ask for replication in a second population, demonstration of biological activity or proposed biological function related to the sequence variant(s) showing association, and/or additional measures of significance, such as smaller p values for association that approach the genome significance levels of 1 x 10-7.
Confirmation of reports of genetic variants recently or rarely associated with ophthalmic disease
Manuscripts confirming novel genetic associations are of interest, and those that confirm previous associations and refine or further define the genetic relevance to ocular disease are of special interest. Manuscripts that do not confirm a previously published association will only be considered when the power of the study is sufficient to conclusively identify a positive association, had it existed.
Screening new populations for genetic variants known to be associated with disease
Manuscripts describing results of population screening for genetic variants known to be associated with disease are of interest if screening the population provides new insight into disease mechanisms, disease prevalence, or other aspects of the epidemiology of the condition. Editors and reviewers will consider the number of subjects screened, the population demographics, and previously published studies.
Molecular or clinical studies that demonstrate disease mechanisms related to genetic variants associated with ophthalmic disease
Manuscripts describing cellular, biochemical, or molecular mechanisms of diseases that have genetic etiologies are of interest.
New mutation reports
Mutations in previously identified genes that are not associated with novel clinical phenotypes, do not establish new and significant genotype-phenotype correlations, or do not provide new insight into disease mechanisms will be returned to the authors without review.
5. ARVO Commercial Relationships Policy for IOVS
It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to assure that each co-author is aware of the ARVO Commercial Relationships Policy. For each author, please list all organizations that they have a commercial relationship with, relevant to the current manuscript, and the codes that apply. If there are no commercial relationships, list "None."
A.B Anderson, Alcon (C), Allergan (C, F), Optovue (F); J.R. Jones, None; C. Smith, Carl Zeiss Meditec (F), Heidelberg Engineering (F, R); A. Rodriguez, None
6. Clinical Trials Registration
IOVS will not consider articles dealing with clinical trials that were not registered with an ICMJE-approved registry before the first subject was enrolled. Please include the following information in a cover letter:
- beginning date of the trial
- date of registration
- trial registration number
- registration site
For more information, see the ARVO Statement on Registering Clinical Trials and the clinical trials registration FAQ.
7. Consent for Use of Identifying Material
Authors must obtain consent from subjects to use any identifiable material, e.g., a photograph of a subject's face, and forward that consent to the Editorial Office at submission. When the subject is a minor child, consent must be obtained from the parent or guardian. Authors should upload the consent form as a Cover Letter file or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact the Editorial Office if a blank consent form is needed.
8. Guidelines for Authentication of Cell Lines
We strongly suggest that STR analysis be used to validate the authenticity of cell lines used in papers submitted to IOVS. For reference, see the 2013 Perspective here.
IOVS will no longer consider manuscripts that only use transformed cell lines in their study. These cells typically do not represent cells in their native tissue. If utilized in a study they should be complemented with native cells isolated from the tissue of concern or the manuscript includes data from in vivo experiments supporting their transformed cell line findings.
C. Publication Costs
Although there are no costs for submission, the publication fee, charged only for accepted manuscripts, is $1,850. If the corresponding author is an ARVO member at the time of acceptance, a $350 discount will be applied. Amounts are in US dollars and were set by the ARVO Board of Trustees. ARVO sends out requests for payment of the fee (APC) after the manuscript is sent to the production team. In the very unlikely event that an accepted article does not end up getting published after payment was made, a full refund will be provided. The fee is not charged for Letters to the Editor or Author Responses to Letters.
Authors without funding may apply for financial assistance through the ARVO Publication Financial Assistance Program (PFAP), which covers the full cost of an article. For more information, please see the ARVO website. Authors must wait for notification of the outcome of their PFAP application before submitting an article to IOVS. Articles already accepted for publication and in production are not eligible.
D. Manuscript Preparation
Structure: the main manuscript document should be organized as follows:
- Title Page
- Structured Abstract: 250-word limit
- Figure legends, tables, and figures, if not embedded in text
Note: The manuscript file should include page and line numbers.
1. Title Page
The title page, which must be part of the main manuscript file, should include the title, authors' full names and institutions, word count, funding information, and commercial relationships disclosures. The title must contain no more than 150 characters, including punctuation and spaces. For guidelines regarding authorship, please see the ARVO Publications Ethics Statement.
2. Structured abstract
A structured abstract of fewer than 250 words is required for articles and should be arranged under the following headings: Purpose, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. Define abbreviations at first mention, and do not include references. The abstract must be included as part of the main manuscript file.
In addition, authors whose native language is not English may submit a Foreign Language Abstract along with the manuscript file. If the manuscript is accepted, the Foreign Language Abstract would be published as supplementary material.
IOVS recommends a 3,500 or fewer word count, excluding title page, legends, and references. The text should be double-spaced and the lines numbered.
In a brief Introduction (don't use any subheadings), provide the research rationale and objectives without extensively reviewing the literature.
In the Methods section, describe the experimental design, subjects used, and procedures followed. Previously published procedures should be identified by reference only. Provide sufficient detail to enable others to duplicate the research. Use standard chemical or nonproprietary pharmaceutical nomenclature. In parentheses, identify specific sources by brand name, company, city, and state or country.
If human subjects were involved in the investigation, the Methods section must confirm that: (1) informed consent was obtained from the subjects after explanation of the nature and possible consequences of the study; and (2) where applicable, the research was conducted in compliance with a suitable accredited Institutional Review Board (IRB) or its equivalent (such as a human ethics committee).
If experimental animals were used in the investigation, the Methods section must confirm adherence to the ARVO Statement for the Use of Animals in Ophthalmic and Vision Research and, where applicable, approval by the appropriate IRB.
Present the Results with a minimum of discussion. Cite all tables and figures in numerical order.
Limit the Discussion to statistically significant data and their limitations. Do not reiterate results.
Please review your manuscript carefully prior to submission.
Acknowledgements should be written in the third person and be limited to colleagues and research assistants. Acknowledgements are not meant to recognize appreciation for personal or manuscript production support. Including dedications to individuals or groups is not permitted by IOVS journal policy.
List references numerically by order of citation in the text, not alphabetically. All references must be cited in the text or tables, shown as superscript numbers. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of references.
- Unpublished data (including material in preparation or submitted) or personal communications should be listed parenthetically in the text only with year received or recorded.
- References to journal articles should include (1) author(s) (if there are more than six, write "et al." after the third name), (2) title, (3) journal name (as abbreviated in Index Medicus), (4) year, (5) volume number, (6) issue number, and (7) inclusive page numbers.
- References to books should include (1) author(s), (2) chapter title (if any), (3) editors (if any), (4) title of book, (5) city of publication, (6) publisher, (7) year, and (8) inclusive page numbers.
- ARVO abstract citations are to appear parenthetically within the text, not as bibliographic references. For ARVO abstracts from 1977 to 2001, citations should include (1) name of first author, (2) "IOVS", (3) year, (4) volume number, (5) "ARVO Abstract", and (6) program number. For ARVO abstracts from 2002 forward, citations should include (1) name of first author, (2) "IOVS", (3) year, (4) volume number, (5) "ARVO E-Abstract", and (6) program number.
- Reviewers are not required to look up online website references.
Choudhury A, Palkanis VA, Bowers WE. Characterisation and functional activity of dendritic cells from rat choroid. Exp Eye Res. 1994;59(3):297-304.
Stryer L. Biochemistry. 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: WH Freeman; 1981:559-596.
1977-2001: (Otaishat NM, et al. IOVS 1997;38:ARVO Abstract 1417)
2002- : (Roska BM, et al. IOVS 2002;43:ARVO E-Abstract 1415)
6. Tables, legends, figures, supplementary material
- Tables must be included in the main manuscript file. Each table should have a brief, self-contained title, understandable without reference to the text. Assign a short heading to each table column. Footnotes in tables should use symbols in the following sequence: *, †, ‡, §, ||, and #. Data that can be given in the text in two or three sentences should not be presented in table format.
- Legends should sum up the intent and content of the data contained in the figure. Use complete sentences or noun phrases with necessary modifiers, and conclude with a period.
- Figures should be cited in the text, in numerical order using Arabic numerals. Figures may be placed within the main manuscript file or uploaded separately. If a figure contains multiple parts, it should be assembled on one page; Figures 1A and 1B should not appear on separate pages. Please label each figure appropriately just beneath the inserted image. For example, labels should read "Fig. 1" or "Figure 1."
In the event that your manuscript is accepted, the Editorial Office will require you to upload your figures as TIFF or EPS files for the printer. Therefore, while any type of file may be embedded within the manuscript file, it is recommended that graphics be prepared using a program which can save files in a format that can ultimately be saved and submitted as EPS or TIFF. NEW: Color graphics should be saved in RGB (Red, Green, Blue) rather than CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black). For accepted manuscripts, the minimum resolution requirement for figure files is 300 dpi. Authors of accepted manuscripts can see here for further details regarding figure requirements for publication.
Supplementary material can be included at the end of the main manuscript file or uploaded separately.
- Supplementary material must be cited in the manuscript text, e.g., "See Supplementary Table S1 for a list of mutations." Acceptable file types include JPG, PDF, Excel. Movies should be mpg, mpeg, mov, avi, or wmv files and small enough that most people will be able to view them. If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com.
E. File Formats
Manuscript files will be converted into an unalterable PDF format that will be sent to the reviewers. The main manuscript document must be submitted in one of the following formats:
- Microsoft Word (.doc): Mac users should type in the .doc extension at the end of the file name when they save their document.
- WordPerfect (.rtf): WordPerfect documents must be saved as Rich Text Format files. Because WordPerfect fonts are not compatible with Adobe, the PDF that the system creates may incorrectly display special characters such as Greek letters and mathematical symbols. After you have finished uploading, please be sure to proof the PDF files before clicking on the final submit button. If the special characters do not show up properly, you may have to go back to your original file, change the fonts, and re-upload the file.
- PDF (.pdf): Should you choose to initially upload a PDF document for peer review, please note that you will need to upload a word processing document, with either a .doc or .rtf extension, upon acceptance.
- Rich Text Format (.rtf)
Do not use other word processing systems as they are not supported by eJournal Press, nor are they all readily available to those involved in the review process.
Follow guidelines of style, terminology, measurement, and quantitation as set forth in the American Medical Association Manual of Style, 10th edition.
- Use initial caps and descriptive clauses for titles and subheadings, avoiding complete sentences or questions.
- Keep abbreviations and acronyms to a minimum and define them at first mention.
- Use Système International (SI) measurements (http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/units.html) throughout the paper.
- Please use basic fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman. Arial is recommended as the font that causes the fewest problems during conversion to PDF.
- Place equations in their appropriate locations within the text of the manuscript. This will ensure their accurate appearance in the PDF proof.
G. Web Uploading Instructions
Submit your manuscript to IOVS online at https://iovs.msubmit.net. Do not submit a manuscript more than once; this constitutes a double submission and is a violation of IOVS policy. Follow the directions for each screen.
MANUSCRIPT REVIEW AND PUBLICATION
After an initial review of the paper, the Editor-in-Chief assigns it to an Associate Editor (AE). The AE then selects an Editorial Board Member (EBM) who is an expert in the field and who will be responsible for guiding the paper through the review process. The EBM selects several outside reviewers to ensure that at least two reviewers can be obtained. Once the completed reviews arrive, the EBM critiques them, synthesizing them in a coherent manner for transmission to the corresponding author. At the same time, the EBM recommends a decision to the AE. The AE reviews all material and makes the publication decision, which is then e-mailed to the author. In the case of rejections, the AE forwards their recommendation to the Editor-in-Chief, who makes the final decision. Submissions by nonmembers of ARVO will be given equal consideration. All manuscripts, including invited "New Developments" reviews, ARVO award lectures, and Letters to the Editor, are peer-reviewed.
APPEALS AND COMPLAINTS
All appeals and complaints should be sent to the editorial office by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, and will be considered by the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) unless the EIC has a conflict of interest, in which case an Associate Editor (AE) will handle the issue. The Editor-in-Chief (who is elected for a 5-year term by the ARVO society members) has the final say when considering all complaints and appeals of decisions. Many manuscripts are rejected by the EIC, in consultation with an AE, without external peer-review based on a judgment that they do not fit the scope or quality standards of the journal. These assessments are unlikely to change on appeal. Similarly, a decision obtained after a well conducted peer-review process is not often overturned by the EIC. A well-founded appeal should clearly describe why specific grounds for a decision are demonstrably wrong. All appeal decisions are made by the EIC and are final.
POST-PUBLICATION CORRECTIONS AND COMMENTARY
All issues relating to published articles should be reported by email, email@example.com. When a corresponding author reports an error in their published article it can usually be corrected by publishing an Erratum and making changes to the article. When the change is straightforward (e.g. misspelling of an author name, correction of grant information, etc.) it may be done by journal staff. When a change requested by an author is more significant (especially when related to the science) it will be brought to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) who will oversee the correction process. Significant issues in a published article that require correction may also be reported by a reader (who is not an author of the article) to the editorial office. These will always be considered first by the EIC, and the authors of the article will be contacted before a final decision about a correction is made by the EIC. (The identity of the person reporting the issue will not be shared with the authors of the article) In rare cases, when the validity of the article is sufficiently compromised, a Retraction will be considered. Letters to the Editor (as described above) will also be considered as a way of expressing alternative points of view that are of significant scientific interest to the community served by the journal. Clear significant errors in articles, no matter how they are reported, are usually better corrected by publishing Errata and making changes to the articles.
If you wish to submit an image to be considered for an IOVS cover, you can upload the image file(s) with your regular manuscript files. The submission can be related to a particular manuscript or it can be of a more general scientific nature relevant to IOVS. If the image has been published elsewhere or originated as someone else's work, a copyright release or permission must be included. When selecting a picture, please keep in mind the shape of the journal cover and remember that the IOVS logo will block part of the image at the top. Remember that enlargement will emphasize any imperfection, so please send the clearest, sharpest image possible.
For articles published 1962-2015
If you would like to reuse a figure or table from one of your own published IOVS articles, you do not need written permission. When reprinting the IOVS material, however, please include a full article citation and acknowledge the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology as the copyright holder.
If you would like to use material from an IOVS article for which you were NOT an author, please obtain permission through the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC). There is a fee of $35 per figure or table plus a small CCC service fee. When reprinting the IOVS material, please include a full article citation and acknowledge the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology as the copyright holder. If you have questions or an unusual request, e.g., reuse of material online, please contact Debbie Chin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All companies, commercial and nonprofit, should contact ARVO directly for permission to reprint articles or parts thereof. Please e-mail your request to Debbie Chin at email@example.com.
For articles published 2016 and later
If you would like to reuse a figure or table from one of your own published IOVS articles, you do not need written permission. When reprinting the IOVS material, however, please include a full article citation.
If you would like to use material from an IOVS article for which you were NOT an author, you may do so in the manner specified by the Creative Commons license applied to the article (either the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs or the Creative Commons Attribution license). In the PDF of the article, the license type is listed at the bottom of the first page. Please note that if any material (e.g., a figure) was published previously, you will need to contact the copyright holder of that material to obtain permission to reuse it.