Authors

The Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC) is an open access, peer reviewed journal that publishes on all aspects of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy, aiming to enrich communication and advance scientific understanding in this rapidly evolving field. It publishes articles under several sections: Basic Tumor Immunology, Clinical/Translational Cancer Immunotherapy, Immune Cell Therapies and Immune Cell Engineering, Immunotherapy Biomarkers, and Oncolytic and Local Immunotherapy. Additional information about these sections can be found here.


Benefits of Publishing in JITC

Open Access and No Copyright Transfer

All content published in JITC is freely available upon publication.

High Impact Factor

JITC increased its Impact Factor to 9.913 in June 2020. JITC’s Impact Factor places the journal in the top 3 percent of all fully open access oncology journals and ranks in the top 8 percent of all journals published in the categories of oncology and immunology.

Stringent Ethical Standards

JITC is published by BMJ, a member of the Committee on Publishing Ethics.

Visibility

JITC is featured in a number of major indexing resources, including PubMed, PubMed Central, MEDLINE, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), Scopus, and Clarivate Analyics’ Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE).


Editorial Policies

JITC adheres to the highest standards concerning its editorial policies on publication ethics, scientific misconduct, consent and peer review criteria. The journal follows guidance produced by bodies that include the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). To view all BMJ Journal policies, please refer to the BMJ Author Hub policies page.

We take seriously all possible misconduct. If an editor, author, or reader has concerns that a submitted article describes something that might be considered to constitute misconduct in research, publication or professional behavior, they should forward their concerns to the journal. The publisher will deal with allegations appropriately.

For guidelines on policies and submissions across our journals, please click on the links below:


Copyright and authors’ rights

As an open access journal, JITC adheres to the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition of open access. Articles are published under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC or CC-BY) to facilitate reuse of the content and authors retain copyright. For US Federal Government officers or employees acting as part of their official duties, the terms are as stated in accordance with our license terms. Authors should refer to the latest JITC Author License for more information.

When publishing in Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, authors choose between two licence types – CC-BY-NC and CC-BY (Creative Commons open access licences require payment of an article processing charge).

As an author you may wish to post your article in an institutional or subject repository, or on a scientific social sharing network. You may also link your published article to your preprint (if applicable). What you can do with your article, without seeking permission, depends on the licence you have chosen and the version of your article. Please refer to the BMJ author self archiving and permissions policies page for more information.


Preprints

Preprints foster openness, accessibility and collaboration by allowing authors to make their findings immediately available to the research community and receive feedback on an article before it is submitted to a journal for formal publication.

BMJ fully supports and encourages the archiving of preprints in any recognised, not-for-profit server such as medRxiv. BMJ does not consider the posting of an article in a dedicated preprint repository to be prior publication.

Preprints are reports of work that have not been peer-reviewed; Preprints should therefore not be used to guide clinical practice, health-related behaviour or health policy. For more information, please refer to our Preprint policy page.


Peer Review

Articles submitted to JITC are subject to peer review. The journal operates single blind peer review whereby the names of the reviewers are hidden from the author; this is the traditional method of reviewing and is the most common. For more information on what to expect during the peer review process, please refer to BMJ Author Hub – after submitting.

BMJ requests that all reviewers adhere to a set of basic principles and standards during the peer-review process in research publication; these are based on the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. Please refer to our peer review terms and conditions policy page for further information.

BMJ is committed to transparency. Every article we publish includes a description of its provenance (commissioned or not commissioned) and whether it was internally or externally peer reviewed.

Plagiarism is the appropriation of the language, ideas, or thoughts of another without crediting their true source and representation of them as one’s own original work. BMJ is a member of CrossCheck by CrossRef and iThenticate. iThenticate is a plagiarism screening service that verifies the originality of content submitted before publication. BMJ runs manuscripts through iThenticate during the peer review process. Authors, researchers, and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting www.ithenticate.com.


Article Processing Charges

JITC is an open access journal and levies an Article Processing Charge (APC) of $2,600 (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). Members of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) are entitled to a lower APC of $1,300 (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). There are no submission, color or page charges.

Please see our Author Hub for detailed information on discounts and waivers. Applications for waivers or discounts should be made during initial submission and not after an article has been accepted. Editors are not involved in this process and the ability to pay has no bearing on editorial decisions. Payment will not be required unless your article is accepted. Accepted articles will not be published until payment has been received. BMJ does not refund APCs once paid.

As one of the founding members of the HINARI Access to Research in Health Programme, we provide free access to all of our journals and our journals archive to local, not-for-profit institutions in low income countries. In addition, we appreciate that some authors do not have access to funding to cover publication costs and we offer waivers through our Open Access Waiver Fund. We will accept part payment where only limited funds are available, and we offer waivers to authors in exceptional circumstances, on request.

For more information on open access, funder compliance, discounts and waivers, please refer to the BMJ Author Hub open access page.


Patient and Public Involvement

BMJ encourages active patient and public involvement in clinical research as part of its patient and public partnership strategy. To support co-production of research, we request that authors provide a Patient and Public Involvement statement in the methods section of their papers.

We appreciate that patient and public involvement is relatively new and may not be feasible or appropriate for all papers. We therefore continue to consider papers where patients were not involved.  Please note that this practice is only applicable for Research Articles and Registry Reports.

The Patient and Public Involvement statement should provide a brief response to the following questions, tailored as appropriate for the study design reported (please find example statements here):

  • At what stage in the research process were patients/the public first involved in the research and how?
  • How were the research question(s) and outcome measures developed and informed by their priorities, experience, and preferences?
  • How were patients/the public involved in the design of this study?
  • How were they involved in the recruitment to and conduct of the study?
  • Were they asked to assess the burden of the intervention and time required to participate in the research?
  • How were (or will) they be involved in your plans to disseminate the study results to participants and relevant wider patient communities (e.g. by choosing what information/results to share, when, and in what format)?

If patients were not involved, please state this.

In addition to considering the points above, we advise authors to look at guidance for best reporting of patient and public involvement as set out in the GRIPP2 reporting checklist.

If the Patient and Public Involvement statement is missing in the submitted manuscript, we will request that authors provide it.


Data Sharing

JITC adheres to BMJ’s Tier 2 data policy. We strongly encourage that data generated by your research that supports your article be made available as soon as possible, wherever legally and ethically possible. We also require data from clinical trials to be made available upon reasonable request. To adhere to ICMJE guidelines, we require that a data sharing plan must be included with trial registration for clinical trials that begin enrolling participants on or after January 1, 2019. Changes to the plan must be noted in the Data Availability Statement and updated in the registry record. All research articles must contain a Data Availability Statement. For more information and FAQs, please see BMJ’s full Data Sharing Policy page.


ORCID Policy

JITC mandates ORCID IDs for the submitting author at the time of article submission; co-authors and reviewers are strongly encouraged to also connect their ScholarOne accounts to ORCID. We strongly believe that the increased use and integration of ORCID iDs will be beneficial for the whole research community. Please find more information about ORCID and BMJ’s policy on our Author Hub.


CME Credit

All reviewers for JITC who meet the journal’s standards for timeliness and quality in peer review can receive Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit in exchange for their work. If you are interested in receiving credit, please mark the appropriate box on the reviewer form so that the handling editor can evaluate your review. There is no limit to the number of reviews for which a reviewer can receive credit, but a reviewer will receive only one credit per paper. For a brief overview of the process, please see here.


Submission Guidelines

Please review the below article type specifications including the required article lengths, illustrations, table limits and reference counts. The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements, contributions and references. Manuscripts should be as succinct as possible.

For further support when making your submission please refer to the resources available on the BMJ Author Hub. Here you can also find general formatting guidelines across BMJ and a formatting checklist.

You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services. If your article is accepted, you can take advantage of BMJ’s partnership with Editage, a free service to help you maximize your article’s reach.

Authors may find it useful to consult our pre-submission checklist. Please review the article type requirements below prior to submitting your manuscript or revision.  All other abbreviations should be fully spelled out in all instances in the text.

The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements and contributions and the references. If you are not a native English speaker and would like assistance with your article there is a professional editing service available.

Cover Letter

All submissions to JITC must include a ‘personal cover’ as a separate attachment before the ‘Manuscript’ when arranging your files in order on the online submission system. The cover letter should state why the paper would be of value to JITC‘s readership, what are the novel and original aspects of the work being reported, how it contributes to the advancement of the field, and if there are any specific individuals you would recommend to review or not review your paper.

Spacing and Formatting Requirements

JITC accepts submissions in the following file formats:

  • Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX)
  • Rich Text Format (RTF)

Any figures must be uploaded in the following file formats:

  • EPS (suitable for diagrams and/or images)
  • PDF (suitable for diagrams and/or images)
  • TIFF (suitable for images)
  • JPEG (suitable for photographic images, less suitable for graphical images)

Please note that editable files are required for processing in production. If your manuscript contains any non-editable files (such as PDFs), you will be required to re-submit an editable file when you submit your revised manuscript, or after your paper is accepted if no revision is necessary.

Bear in mind the following conventions when preparing your manuscript:

  • Use double line spacing
  • Include line and page numbering
  • Use SI units: Please ensure that all special characters used are embedded in the text, otherwise they will be lost during conversion to PDF
  • Do not use page breaks in your manuscript

Structure

All papers submitted to JITC should adhere to the general structure outlined below.

Title Page

All manuscripts must contain a title page that

  • presents a title that includes, if appropriate, the study design e.g.:”A versus B in the treatment of C: a randomized controlled trial”, “X is a risk factor for Y: a case control study”, “What is the impact of factor X on subject Y: A systematic review”
  • includes the title of one feature (listed in the Criteria) that best describes the content of the manuscript
  • lists the full names, institutional addresses and email addresses for all authors
  • if a collaborative group is listed as an author, please list the group name as an author (e.g., Drs. A, B and C, on behalf of the XYZ Committee). If you would like the names of the individual members of the Group to be searchable through their individual PubMed records, please include this information in the “Acknowledgements” section in accordance with the instructions below
  • contains a running title for use in the header of every other page
  • indicates the corresponding author

Keywords

You should provide a list of three to ten keywords representing the main content of the article.

Declarations

All manuscripts must contain the following sections under the heading ‘Declarations’:

  • Ethics approval and consent to participate
  • Consent for publication
  • Availability of data and material
  • Competing interests
  • Funding
  • Authors’ contributions
  • Acknowledgements
  • Authors’ information (optional)

List of Abbreviations

If abbreviations are used in the text, they should be defined in the text at first use, and a list of abbreviations should be provided.

Abstract

The abstract should not exceed the word count listed for your article type. Please minimize the use of abbreviations and do not cite references in the abstract.

Abstracts for original research must be structured. They should contain the following sections:

  • Background: the context and purpose of the study
  • Methods: how the study was performed and statistical tests used
  • Results: the main findings
  • Conclusions: brief summary and potential implications

If your article reports the results of a health care intervention on human participants, it must be registered in an appropriate registry and the registration number and date of registration should be in stated in this section. If it was not registered prospectively (before enrollment of the first participant), you should include the words ‘retrospectively registered’.

Abstracts for case reports must also be structured. They should contain the following sections:

  • Background: why the case should be reported and its novelty
  • Main Body: a brief summary of your findings or the case or patient in question
  • Conclusions: a brief summary of the clinical impact or potential implications of the case report

Graphical Abstracts

Though not required, we encourage authors to supply a graphical abstract in which the central findings of the paper are clearly articulated and represented. An example can be found here. All images must contain the title of the paper, a list of authors, and a short summary of the paper’s findings that consists of no more than two or three bullet points or sentences. If you are interested in providing a graphical abstract, you must upload it with your manuscript as a supplementary file in .JPG or .TIFF format.

Background

The background section should explain the context of the study and its aims and summarize the existing literature.

Methods

Clinical trial monitors, position articles and guidelines, and original research must contain a methods section that includes:

  • a clear description of all recommendation processes and comparisons. Generic drug names should generally be used. When proprietary brands are used in research, include the brand names in parentheses
  • the type of statistical analysis used, including a power calculation if appropriate
    scale for rating literature
  • procedure for managing conflicts of interest
  • the characteristics of participants or description of materials
Results

This should include the findings of the study including, if appropriate, results of statistical analysis which must be included either in the text or as tables and figures.

Discussion/Conclusion

This should clearly state the main conclusions, integrate the results with the current literature and include an explanation of their relevance or importance to the field.


Article Types

Information about the various types of articles accepted by JITC can be found below. A general overview of their requirements can be found here.


Case Reports

JITC welcomes Case Reports that include the following:

  • Novel immunotherapies, including early clinical data describing initial clinical experiences in one to three (1-3) patients
  • Topics covering the clinical introduction and application of novel immunotherapies, unexpected or unusual presentations of clinical responses to immunotherapies, new associations or variations in disease progression and/or response to immunotherapies, and unreported or unusual side effects or adverse interactions involving new (not PD-(L)1 and/or CTLA-4) checkpoints or cellular therapies
  • Clinical and/or translational results providing insight for mechanisms of response and/or toxicity
  • Newly emerging and/or clinically important side effects involving immunotherapy or cellular therapies

JITC will not consider submissions with the following:

  • Established toxicities or responses
  • Clinical descriptions that lack mechanistic investigations
  • Preventive or therapeutic interventions, as these generally require stronger evidence

Case reports should include relevant positive and negative findings from history, examination and translational investigation. They should include experimental figures and clinical photographs, the latter of which must be accompanied by written consent to publish from the patient(s). They should also include an up-to-date discussion of all previous cases in the field and relate to ongoing or finished clinical trials.

Word Count: up to 1,500
Unstructured Abstract: up to 200 words
Tables/Figures: up to 2
References: up to 10


Clinical Trials Monitor

Clinical trials monitor articles provide perspectives on late stage clinical trial results, highlight immuno-oncology trials in progress, and summarize important new regulatory approvals in cancer immunotherapy. These articles also address trial design and analysis considerations that may be unique to cancer immunotherapy and provide guidance for implementing and managing the use of cancer immunotherapies in the clinic. The articles should disseminate clinically oriented information and perspectives in one of the following formats:

Clinical Trial Reports

This feature will include Phase 2 or 3 clinical trials with primary clinical endpoints, studies that define biomarkers of therapeutic response, primary resistance to immunotherapy, and immune escape, and trials that define the patient experience (quality of life) with cancer immunotherapies.

Into the Clinic

This feature will review newly approved immunotherapies, highlighting the drug development process for the agent and indication, including any important biomarkers. It will also provide guidance about how the newly approved drug fits into the standard of care as it enters the clinic. These pieces will be written by leading immunotherapy experts in disease-specific areas, and should help inform the development of clinical practice guidelines by SITC, NCCN, and ASCO.

Regulatory Approval Summary

This feature will include approval summaries from regulatory agencies around the world as new immunotherapies are approved for standard clinical use.

Cutting Edge: Immunotherapy Clinical Trials in Progress

This feature will highlight clinical trials grouped by modality, pathway, or disease subtype. These summaries will include an introduction followed by clinical trials in progress within the domain of focus. They will span early first-in-man single agent (novel immune checkpoint targets or innovative vaccine strategies) or important combination strategies (IDO inhibition with vaccines or immune checkpoint blockade), and later stage trials testing novel combinations with more established immunotherapies (radiation with immune checkpoint blockade).

Glimpse of the Future: Emerging Immunotherapies

These pieces will succinctly highlight mechanistic principles underlying emerging immunotherapeutic strategies and technologies entering the clinic, providing a sound scientific foundation for trial design and evaluating the preclinical and clinical literature.

Beyond the Numbers

This educational feature puts cancer immunotherapy into broad context. Subject matter may include a discussion of statistical considerations and perspectives essential for understanding results of pivotal clinical trials, clinical trial design and data analysis issues particularly relevant to cancer immunotherapy, and unresolved issues related to reduction to practice (toxicity management or issues related to access to novel immunotherapies (adoptive T cell therapy/CAR T cells).

Word Count: up to 5,000
Abstract: up to 350 words
Tables/Figures: up to 2
References: up to 75


Commentary/Editorials

Commentaries and editorials are reactions to and/or perspectives on significant events in the field in the basic science area. They may address a critical challenge, elaborate or extend a conversation of a focal article, provide an application of a theoretical perspective, or shed light on a particular issue in the field. Note that commentaries must include abstracts, while editorials do not.

Word Count: up to 1,500
Abstract: up to 200 words
Tables/Figures: up to 1
References: up to 10


Hypotheses

Hypotheses should present an untested original hypothesis backed up solely by a survey of previously published results rather than any new evidence. Hypotheses should not be reviews and should not contain new data. They should be short articles (ideally 500 – 1500 words) outlining significant progress in thinking that would also be testable, though not so easily testable that readers will wonder why the testing has not already been done.

Word Count: up to 1,500
Abstract: up to 200 words
Tables/Figures: up to 2
References: up to 10


Meeting Reports

Meeting reports should focus on the key developments presented and discussed at the meeting and are intended to rely largely on the work described at the meeting, rather than being fully referenced accounts of a field.

For particularly large meetings it is preferable that more in-depth information is given on a few selected topics, rather than a brief account of absolutely everything presented. The main content of the Meeting reports should focus on new research discoveries and the application of this knowledge.

Meeting reports are usually commissioned but reports and suggestions may also be submitted for the editors’ consideration. Most often, authors are encouraged to expand upon meeting discussions and develop a thorough review on meeting-related subject matter.

Word Count: up to 2,500
Abstract: up to 350 words
Tables/Figures: up to 4
References: up to 30


Original Research

JITC accepts original research in the following categories:

Basic Tumor Immunology

Basic tumor immunology articles cover tumor antigens, innate and adaptive anti-tumor immune mechanisms, immune regulation, immune response, cancer and inflammation, preclinical models, chemotherapy and radiotherapy interactions/combinations of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and other combination treatments with the antitumor immune response.

Clinical/Translational Cancer Immunotherapy

Clinical/translational cancer immunotherapy articles are concerned with first-in-man clinical trials, phase II/III clinical studies, immune monitoring investigations, tumor microenvironment, host genetics and clinical outcome, combination therapies, and cell therapies.

Immune Cell Therapies and Immune Cell Engineering

Immune cell therapies and immune cell engineering articles discuss approaches, new targets, novel functionalities, clinical trial results, correlative studies in patients who have received cell-based therapies, novel engineering strategies (molecular switches, conditional expression, logic gating), gene-edited cells to knock out or knock in novel functions, synthetic gene circuits. They include pre-clinical animal modeling (small and large) and clinical trials.

Immunotherapy Biomarkers

Immunotherapy biomarkers articles are predictive/prognostic biomarker studies, gene expression studies in cancer immunotherapy, serological immune biomarkers, multiparameter flow cytometry-defined immune biomarkers, high content immunohistological studies, clinical trial analyses and identification of novel immune biomarkers.

Oncolytic and Local Immunotherapy

These articles focus on the role of therapeutic agents designed for targeting tumor cells and/or the tumor microenvironment. This includes oncolytic viruses, microbial agents, innate immune agonists, direct and systemically delivered proteins and DNA/RNA products that act within established tumors. Research describing the characterization and basic biology of oncolytic agents and novel delivery systems are encouraged. An emphasis on how novel intra-tumoral directed agents modulate local and systemic host innate and adaptive anti-tumor immunity are of particular interest. Articles on translational and clinical investigation involving new oncolytic immunotherapy agents or those that include an oncolytic approach as part of combination therapeutic regimens are also welcome.

Word Count: up to 5,000
Structured Abstract: up to 350 words
Tables/Figures: up to 7
References: up to 50


Position Articles and Guidelines

Position articles and guidelines highlight current or evolving clinical practice guidelines and consensus statements, and provides guidance to enhance clinical decision making in the field of cancer immunotherapy.

Consensus Recommendations

The body of a position article or guideline should be broken into subsections with short, informative headings, such as the following:

  • Questions to Explore
  • Literature Review and Analysis
  • Consensus Recommendations

Word Count: up to 5,000
Abstract: up to 350 words
Tables/Figures: up to 4
References: up to 50


Reviews

Reviews are generally directly commissioned by JITC editors. These are fact/data-driven works that cumulate several articles of importance on a particular subject or research area in a review format with the goal of providing the “state of the art” in the field. Topics include recent major advances and discoveries, significant gaps in the research, current debates, and/or ideas of where research might go next written by authors who are leading contributors in the field. We do not accept unsolicited submissions for this type of article, but potential authors may send presubmission inquiries addressed to the section editors at info.jitc@bmj.com for further consideration by JITC editorial leadership.

Word Count: up to 5,000
Abstract: up to 350 words
Tables/Figures: up to 4
References: up to 100


Short Reports

Short reports are suitable for the presentation of research that extends previously published research, including the reporting of additional controls and confirmatory results in other settings, as well as negative results. Authors must clearly acknowledge any work upon which they are building, both published and unpublished.

Word Count: up to 2,500
Abstract: up to 350 words
Tables/Figures: up to 4
References: up to 25


Supplements

Journals from BMJ are willing to consider publishing supplements. Supplement proposals may be made at the request of:

  • The journal editor, an editorial board member or a learned society may wish to organize a meeting, sponsorship may be sought and the proceedings published as a supplement.
  • The journal editor, editorial board member or learned society may wish to commission a supplement on a particular theme or topic. Again, sponsorship may be sought.
  • BMJ Publishing Group itself may have proposals for supplements where sponsorship may be necessary.

A sponsoring organisation, often a pharmaceutical company or a charitable foundation, that wishes to arrange a meeting, the proceedings of which will be published as a supplement.

In all cases, it is vital that the journal’s integrity, independence and academic reputation is not compromised in any way.

When contacting us regarding a potential supplement, please include as much of the information below as possible:

  • Journal in which you would like the supplement published
  • Title of supplement and/or meeting on which it is based
  • Date of meeting on which it is based
  • Proposed table of contents with provisional article titles and proposed authors
  • An indication of whether authors have agreed to participate
  • Sponsor information including any relevant deadlines
  • An indication of the expected length of each paper
  • Guest Editor proposals if appropriate

For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplements guidelines (PDF).