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 original research 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 and others 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 earned its latest Impact Factor of 12.485 in the June 2022 Journal Citations Report (JCR). This places the journal in the top 12 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).
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 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.
Article transfer service
BMJ is committed to ensuring that all good quality research is published. Our article transfer service helps authors find the best journal for their research while providing an easy and smooth publication process. If authors agree to transfer their manuscript, all versions, supplementary files and peer reviewer comments are automatically transferred; there is no need to resubmit or reformat.
Authors who submit to the JITC and are rejected will be offered the option of transferring to another BMJ Journal, such as BMJ Open. Please note that the article transfer service does not guarantee acceptance but you should receive a quicker initial decision on your manuscript. Contact the Transfer Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Articles submitted to JITC are subject to peer review. The journal operates single anonymised 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. For more information on what to expect during the peer review process and about the journal’s appeals policy, 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 $2,800 (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). There are no submission, color or page charges. 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 information on waivers and discounts, see Waivers and Discounts below.
Waivers and discounts
Members of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) are entitled to a 35% discount of the APC (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). Current editors or reviewers who have completed reviews in the past 12 months are also eligible for a 15% discount of the APC. If your paper is eligible for one of these discounts, the corresponding author will receive a discount code from the journal’s editorial production assistant after acceptance; the code must then be entered when prompted during the checkout process in order to receive the discounted rate. BMJ journals offer waivers for the full Article Processing Charge (100% discount of the APC) where all authors are based in low-income countries. See full waiver list*. Requests for waivers should be made before or during initial submission**. If an article reports funding from a funder with an open access mandate or policy that covers paying APCs, BMJ expects that the APC will be paid. Visit our author hub to learn more about our waivers policy and how to request one. You might be eligible for institutional funding. A number of institutions have open access agreements with BMJ which can either cover the whole cost of open access publishing for authors at participating institutions or can allow authors to receive a discount of the Article Processing Charge (APC). Visit BMJ’s open access agreements page to find out whether your institution is a member and what discounts you may be entitled to. *These lists are based on the HINARI Core Offer Groups A and B, and the World Bank Country and Lending Groups, downloaded in July 2021. They will be updated annually. **Please note that 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.
Research Reporting Guidelines
Authors should ensure that research articles are written in accordance with the relevant research reporting guidelines.
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)?
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.
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.
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.
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. 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)
- 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)
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.
Authors All authors must list their current institution when submitting their work to JITC. If applicable, the department must also be specified. Note that this policy does not apply to authors of position articles and guidelines. Please note that BMJ uses the data from the ScholarOne submission (not the author manuscript) for the author list that appears in the article, so all author information and the order of authors must be correct at submission. When submitting, authors can upload their manuscript to pre-fill submission fields if needed. If the author list is not correct in ScholarOne, the corresponding author will need to revise this at the author proof stage. 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
- Authors’ contributions
- 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
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
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’. 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 Position articles, 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.
Supplemental Material Additional information such as figures, tables, raw data and methodology statements, may be submitted and published alongside your manuscript as ‘supplemental material’. Supplemental material shall only be accepted subject to the following criteria.
- Content: Supplemental material should be used to support and enhance the content of your manuscript. Content should be directly relevant to the content of your manuscript.
- Publication: Supplemental material may or may not be peer-reviewed, depending on the requirements of the relevant publication’s editorial office.
- Citation: The use of any supplemental material should be cited within the main text of the manuscript.
- Formatting: Supplemental material will only be published on an ‘as supplied’ basis, without checking for accuracy, copyediting, typesetting or proofing. You are responsible for proofing the content and for ensuring that the style and formatting of your content is consistent with the corresponding manuscript.
- File submission: Supplemental material may be submitted in PDF file format. Files should not exceed 350MB and should be uploaded using the file designation “Supplemental Material [Description]”.
- Restrictions: Supplemental material hosted on a third party website or platform will not be accepted.
- Liability Disclaimer: The Author Licence will apply in respect of any supplemental materials submitted. You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of that content. A disclaimer of BMJ’s liability will appear on the published supplemental material.
Information about the various types of articles accepted by JITC can be found below. A general overview of their requirements can be found here.
JITC welcomes Case Reports that include the following:
- Novel immunotherapies and/or novel insight from established 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 important emerging side effects or adverse interactions
- Experimental and translational data providing insight for mechanisms of response and/or toxicity
JITC will not consider submissions with the following:
- Established toxicities or responses to established immunotherapies (example of exception: known potential toxicities occurring in new or unusual indications)
- Clinical descriptions that lack mechanistic investigations
- Preventive or therapeutic interventions, as these generally require stronger evidence
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 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
Letters should be a short and concise communication commenting on recently published Original Research in the Journal or commenting on a current issue of concern to the readership. Letters must be submitted within 3 months of publication of the Original Research article in question. Letters that include original results will not be accepted. A statement of potential sources of conflict of interest must accompany the letter and may be published along with the letter. Publication is at the discretion of the Editor, who reserves the right to decline publishing for any reason, including insulting or inflammatory comments.
Word Count: up to 1,500 Abstract: none Tables/Figures: none References: up to 5
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 anti-tumor immune response. Clinical/Translational Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical/translational cancer immunotherapy articles cover clinical trials and preclinical studies. Clinical trial articles are prospective studies including first-in-human clinical trials, phase II/III clinical studies, and immune monitoring investigations. Small, single institution-based retrospective reports are discouraged. Preclinical studies lead to mechanistic understanding or novel development of agents and combination therapies directly relevant to human immunotherapy. 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, and synthetic gene circuits. They include pre-clinical animal modeling (small and large) and clinical trials.
Immunotherapy Biomarkers Immunotherapy biomarkers articles focus on the discovery, development and/or clinical significance of biomarkers for immunomodulatory anti-cancer treatments. This includes biomarkers for diagnostic, prognostic, predictive and pharmacodynamic purposes measured using diverse strategies including, but not limited to, genomic or gene expression, serological analyses, cell-based or single-cell studies, in situ/localized tissue-based protein imaging, high content/multiparametric molecular platforms and imaging studies conducted in model systems, retrospective collections and clinical trials. This section also welcomes studies reporting novel methods, technologies or computational approaches to interrogate the anti-tumor immune response that have the potential to advance the field. Manuscripts will be prioritized for peer review and publication on the basis of innovation/novelty of the biomarker-oriented research, adequate validation, clinical relevance and technological novelty. Special emphasis is assigned to: 1) Rigorous analytical validation of assays used (e.g. antibodies, mRNA probes, DNA sequences, molecular biosensors and modified reagents); 2) Reproducibility of findings in multiple populations/datasets/models; and 3) Use of appropriate statistics to account for cases stratification (e.g. cut-point selection), data overfitting and multiple hypothesis testing (e.g. adjustment of significance thresholds, P-values or other strategies to reduce type I error). Oncolytic and Local Immunotherapy Oncolytic and local immunotherapy 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. In addition, the section welcomes translational and clinical investigation involving new oncolytic immunotherapy agents or those that include an oncolytic approach as part of combination therapeutic regimens. Word Count: up to 5,000 Structured Abstract: up to 350 words Tables/Figures: up to 7 References: up to 50 Please include the key messages of your article after your abstract using the following headings. This section should be no more than 3-5 sentences and should be distinct from the abstract; be succinct, specific and accurate.
- What is already known on this topic – summarise the state of scientific knowledge on this subject before you did your study and why this study needed to be done
- What this study adds – summarise what we now know as a result of this study that we did not know before
- How this study might affect research, practice or policy – summarise the implications of this study
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 8,000 Abstract: up to 350 words Tables/Figures: up to 4 References: up to 120
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. Research reviews that systematically synthesise evidence (e.g. Systematic reviews, Meta-analysis, Scoping reviews, Mixed methods reviews, etc) are classified by the journal as Original research and must be submitted as such. 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 email@example.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 are suitable for the presentation of original results that extend previously published research into novel insights, innovative advances and/or practice changing clinical observations. 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
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.
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