Press Room » Micrograms » Instructions for Authors for Microgram Journal

General Information

Microgram Journal is a periodical published by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Office of Forensic Sciences, and presents peer reviewed, full length Scientific Research Articles and Technical Notes on the detection and analyses of suspected controlled and/or abused substances for forensic/law enforcement purposes.

Submissions to Microgram Journal

Manuscripts are accepted both from within and outside of DEA, and reviewers are both internal (from within the DEA laboratory system) and external. All submissions must be in English. All submissions should, whenever possible, be submitted electronically, as straight email or as a PC-compatible Microsoft Word® attachment, to: DEA-Microgram -at- Current versions of Microsoft Word® (defined as having release dates less than 5 years old) should be utilized. If electronic (email) submission is not possible, submissions may be mailed to: Microgram Editor, Drug Enforcement Administration, Special Testing and Research Laboratory, 22624 Dulles Summit Court, Dulles, VA  20166. Hard-copy manuscripts should be submitted in triplicate, and should also be accompanied by an electronic version (written in Microsoft Word®) on a PC-compatible CD. Note that diskettes should be mailed in an irradiation-proof protective sleeve, and the mailing envelope should be marked: “Warning - Contains Electronic Media”. Hard-copy manuscripts should be printed in black ink using a laser or ink jet printer, double-spaced and single-sided on 8 1/2" x 11" or A4 high quality white bond paper. A Times New Roman/12-point font is preferred for all submissions (electronic or hard copy). Each page, including tables, photos, and figures, should have a one-inch (25 mm) margin on all sides. All photos and figures should also be submitted as stand-alone attachments, not only embedded in the manuscript. The pages should be numbered, but not stapled together.

Note that mailed submissions may be subject to lengthy handling delays beyond the control of the Office of Forensic Sciences, and electronic media sent through the mail may be destroyed en route by sanitizing procedures, despite protective measures and written warnings. For these reasons, submissions should be made electronically unless impossible.  All submissions should include the following Contact Information: The Full Name and Address of Submitting Laboratory or Office, and the Full Name, Phone Number, FAX Number, and Preferred email address of the Submitting Individual.

Scientific Research Articles are formal, full length reports detailing original research in the detection and analysis of suspected controlled and/or abused substances for forensic/law enforcement purposes, excluding in post-ingestion human/animal biological matrices (blood, urine, meconium, sweat, hair, saliva, fingernails, etc.) Technical Notes are shorter communications concentrating on a specific drug (or drug class), unusual case, novel or unusual procedure or method, or minor original research, again excluding in post-ingestion human/animal biological matrices. Each article/note should be a “stand-alone” work; multi-part, serial publications will not be considered. Similarly, articles/notes which essentially duplicate existing literature will not be considered unless the presented data reflect significant advances in instrumentation made since the original publication(s) (however, see: Dual Publications, below). All submissions will be subjected to peer review, and authors will be notified of the results of the review(s) within three months after the manuscript is received by the Editor.

The following guidelines should be used for all Articles (Technical Notes may follow an abbreviated version as appropriate):

Cover Letter - Provide the standard contact information and pertinent correspondence (if any) for the Editor.

Title - Should be specific and amenable to indexing; they should not include acronyms or abbreviations except for very common instrumental technique acronyms (e.g., GC/MS or HPLC) and/or very common drug acronyms (e.g., MDMA or PCP). Titles should be sufficiently informative that the readership should not have to read the Abstract or the Introduction to understand the focus of the article. If the manuscript reflects work previously presented at a scientific meeting, a statement detailing that presentation should be included as a footnote to the Title.

Author(s)/Affiliation(s) - The author's full name (including middle initial(s)) and title, and the full name and address of the laboratory or office should immediately follow the title. The author’s degree level may be included if desired, but is not required (however, multiple authors should all include or all exclude this information). If there are several authors from two or more laboratories or offices, each set of authors should be listed separately, followed by their corresponding laboratory name and address (that is, Authors I, Laboratory I, Authors II, Laboratory II, etc.). Excessive authorship should be avoided. If there is more than one author, the primary author should be indicated with a superscripted asterisk. The name, phone numbers (Voice and FAX), preferred email address, and (if different from the laboratory or office address) the full mailing address of the contact person should be included on the title page.

Abstract - State the purpose, procedures, and principal findings of the paper, in 120 words or less. Avoid the use of abbreviations, and use only common acronyms as defined under “Titles.” Note that the abstract will be provided to Chemical Abstracts.

Keyword List - A minimum of five (maximum ten) abstracting keywords should be included. Unless inappropriate, the last keyword pair should always be “Forensic Chemistry.”

Introduction - Briefly state the issue or problem. Detail existing practice in the topic area, and explain the shortcomings (if any) in what has been previously reported and/or what is being currently done in the field; that is, compare and contrast the selected methodology with previous and/or existing methods. Provide theoretical and practical background for novel or rarely utilized experimental or instrumental methods. The Introduction should include the results of a “reasonably comprehensive” literature search, and pertinent references cited (avoid “Personal Communications”).

Experimental (Chemicals, Instrumentation, Procedures) - Detail the chemicals, instruments, and procedures utilized (including experimental parameters). However, use caution in detailing syntheses of controlled or abused substances, especially novel syntheses to known controlled substances, or syntheses of novel substances that may be subject to abuse, that are not yet well known in the scientific and/or underground literature. [In such cases, a simple statement should be included to the effect that: “Experimental details on this synthesis are not provided, in accordance with Journal policy.”]

Results and Discussion - Present findings in a logical, easily followed sequence. Describe what was done, and where appropriate what conclusions can be drawn. Pertinent references should be included.  Compare and contrast the findings with previous studies and/or current practice. Discuss any problems and/or unresolved issues.

Conclusions - Optional - Summarized results should be included only for complex articles. Conclusions should not merely duplicate the Abstract or the summary paragraph in the Results and Discussion section.

Acknowledgments - Optional - Should be brief, and include the full name, affiliation, and specific contribution made by each cited individual.

References - Articles and notes should have all textual citations collected in an endnotes list. Within the text, references should be consecutively numbered with superscripted Arabic numerals, or with Arabic numerals in brackets, in accordance with their first appearance (either format is acceptable). Within the endnotes list, references should be consecutively numbered with Arabic numerals, as follows: Number, Period, Indent, Citation. Reference format should adhere to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (Note: This is the same reference format utilized in the Selected Reference Citations in Microgram Bulletin, Microgram Bulletin LE, and by the Journal of Forensic Sciences). Due to their inherently transitory nature, use of website URL’s as references are discouraged but are permitted; when a website is used, the “date of last access” should follow the citation. As previously noted, “Personal Communications” should not be utilized; however, if unavoidable, utilize the following format: Full Name, Title, Affiliation (Laboratory or Office), Location (City and State, plus Nation if not the United States), Personal Communication, Year.

Table and Figures - All Tables and Figures should be appended onto the end of the article (not embedded in the text). Tables and Figures should be consecutively numbered with Arabic numerals, in accordance with their first citation in the text. Each Table and Figure should be “stand-alone”; that is, include sufficient descriptive information such that the reader will not have to refer back to the text to understand the Table or Figure. The Header should include the Table or Figure number and a concise title. Explanatory material, definitions of acronyms and/or abbreviations, and/or references within the Table or Figure should be designated by superscripted, lower case letters in alphabetical order, and included in dedicated footnotes at the bottom of the respective Table or Figure. Unless color is needed to enhance differentiation of the depicted material, all Tables and Figures should be in black and white (that is, avoid frivolous use of color for “artistic” purposes). Figures of spectra, chromatograms, charts, graphs, etc., should have clear and legibly labeled axes, but should not include instrument generated printoffs of experimental parameter lists.

Manuscripts submitted to Microgram Journal are required to be finished, professional quality efforts. Authors should ensure clarity, brevity, and pertinence of the presented information. Attention to detail in formatting, syntax, grammar, and spelling are as important as the accuracy of the facts presented. At the Editor’s discretion, clearly substandard and/or inappropriate manuscripts will be returned to the authors without review.

Manuscripts will not be retyped, but “final” versions are subject to minor to moderate Editorial rewrite to improve presentation clarity or to reformat to current Microgram Journal style.

Dual publication - Re-publication of articles or notes of presumed interest to the Microgram Journal readership will be considered if the article was originally published in a journal that is not easily accessed and the primary author has obtained explicit, written copyright exclusion from the original publisher and consent from all co-authors. Examples include exact English translations of articles or notes originally published in a non-English language journal, non-sensitive articles or notes originally published in a restricted journal or on a password protected website, or articles or notes originally published in limited distribution newsletters or proceedings. In general, any article or note that was published in English in a mainstream journal is not a candidate for re-publication in Microgram Journal. Authors interested in re-publishing previously published articles or notes in Microgram Journal should discuss the issue with the Editor before submitting.
Note that (in accordance with standard ethical guidelines) re-published articles should not be included as “new” articles in the respective author(s)’ Curriculum Vitae.

Costs - There are no costs (to the contributor) associated with publication in Microgram Journal.

Reprints - Microgram Journal does not provide reprints to authors. Microgram Journal may be photocopied (or printed off the website) as needed.

Questions may be directed to the Editor.


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