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Academic Forensic Pathology

Academic Forensic Pathology

eISSN: 19253621 | ISSN: 19253621 | Current volume: 13 | Current issue: 2 Frequency: Quarterly

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners Foundation (ISSN 1925-3621) is published by Academic Forensic Pathology International. This triple-blinded, peer-reviewed journal is published electronically four times each year.

The Journal follows the Recommendations for Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, the principles of the World Association of Medical Editors, and the Committee on Publication Ethics.

Academic Forensic Pathology: The Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners Foundation is committed to publishing high quality, timely, and relevant peer reviewed scholarly manuscripts of importance to the practice of forensic pathology. We define forensic pathology as the medical subspecialty wherein practitioners observe, document, and interpret the medicolegal significance of injuries and diseases in both living and deceased humans. Given that, we will review manuscripts on any aspect of:

Death investigation
Forensic medicine including sexual assault/rape
Autopsy pathology
Forensic histopathology
Forensic imaging/radiology
Forensic anthropology
Forensic neuropathology
Cardiovascular pathology
Pulmonary pathology
Other subspecialty organ/tissue pathology of medicolegal relevance
Medical jurisprudence
Forensic photography
Forensic sciences include DNA biology, chemistry, entomology, and botany
Any other area with obvious relevance to the practice of forensic pathology

Editor-in- Chief
Christopher Milroy, MD, LLB, LLM, FRCPath, FRCPC, DMJ Ontario Forensic Pathology Service, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Associate Editor-in-Chief
Nicholas I. Batalis, MD Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA
Founding Editor and Editor Emeritus
J. Keith Pinckard, MD, PhD Travis County Medical Examiner's Office, Austin, TX, USA
Editorial Board
Russell T. Alexander, MD Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Baltimore, MD, USA
Sam W. Andrews, MD Travis County Medical Examiner's Office, Austin, TX, USA
Jonathan L. Arden, MD Arden Forensics, PC, McLean, VA, USA
Philip S.L. Beh, MBBS, DMJ, FHKAM (Pathology), FHKCPath, FFFLM The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
Ryan Blumenthal, MD, PhD University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Andreas Büttner, MD University Medical Center, Rostock, Germany
Jim Caruso, MD Denver Office of the Medical Examiner, Denver, CO, USA
Kim A. Collins MD, FCAP Newberry Pathology Associates, Newberry, SC, USA
David Fowler, MBChB, MMed Path (Forens) Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Baltimore, MD, USA
James Gill, MD Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Farmington, CT, USA
Thomas P. Gilson, MD Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office, Cleveland, OH, USA
Leslie E. Hamilton, MD, FRCPC Calgary Laboratory Services and University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
Jennifer Hammers, DO Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, New York, NY, USA
Walter Kemp, MD, PhD University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Forks, ND, USA
Laura D. Knight, MD University of Nevada-Reno School of Medicine, Reno, NV, USA
Kelly C. Lear, MD Arapahoe County Coroner's Office, Centennial, CO, USA
Dianne Little, MBBS, FRCPA Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services, Southport, Queensland, Australia
Owen Middleton, MD Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, Minneapolis, MN, USA
Melissa A. Pasquale, MD Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, New York, NY, USA
Kathy Pinneri, MD Montgomery County Forensic Services, Conroe, TX, USA
Reade A. Quinton, MD Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, Dallas, TX, USA
Robert Stoppacher, MD Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office, Syracuse, NY, USA
Alfredo E. Walker, MB, BS, FRCPath, DMJ (Path), MFFLM, MCSFS, Dip Teach Train Forensic Pathologist, Ontario Forensic Pathology Service, Ottawa, ON, Canada
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    Academic Forensic Pathology: The Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners Foundation subscribes to the principles outlined by the “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals” as defined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Additional considerations about manuscript preparation can be obtained from the ICMJE website (

    In General

    1. The style of writing should be American English, with American spelling (e.g., “center” and “esophagus”, not “centre” and “oesophagus”).

    2. If preparing the manuscript in a country that primarily uses a language other than English, it might be useful to utilize a professional translation service to ensure that the manuscript makes use of appropriate style and diction.

    3. All units of measurement should be expressed in metric system units, including body measurements (height and weight) and temperature.

    4. All symbols and abbreviations should conform to the American Medical Association Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors.

    5. The Journal generally does not publish bulleted or numbered lists. Please convert these to either paragraph form or present the information in the form of a table, as appropriate.

    6. All manuscripts should be written in Microsoft Word and submitted in native Word format (i.e., not in PDF format).

    7. We strongly recommend use of a citation management software package such as Endnote.



    Academic Forensic Pathology: The Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners Foundation will only consider manuscripts submitted for peer review through our online submission system ScholarOne (

    Instructions for the proper use of this site are available at the above URL.



    Following the descriptions of each article types, the required manuscript sections are listed in parentheses.

    Consistency & Cognition

    One of the goals of Academic Forensic Pathology is to promote manuscripts that evaluate and promote consistency and an evidence-based approach to the practice of forensic pathology and the concepts that we embrace. This manuscript type applies to those papers that embody this principle. Manuscripts in this category may be review articles or original research. (Abstract, Introduction, Discussion, Conclusion) [Methods and Results sections may be used].

    Review Article

    Most review articles will be solicited; however, unsolicited review articles are also welcome. A review article should be a balanced review of a particular topic. Review Articles may come to conclusions regarding proposed changes with respect to classification, daily practice, or other conventions in forensic pathology. (Abstract, Introduction, Discussion, Conclusion) [Methods and Results sections may be used].

    Original Article

    This is the typical unsolicited manuscript. Most consist of reports of original research and analysis of scientific observations. These may be based around short case reports AFP Journal: Submission Guidelines Page 48 of 55 or case series, provided they are accompanied by a thoughtful and critical review of the relevant literature. (Abstract, Introduction, Discussion, Conclusion) [Methods and Results sections may be used].

    Methods and Procedures

    This type of manuscript describes the results of new technical advances or refinements of existing techniques in the practice of forensic pathology. It may be based around short case reports or case series. (Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Discussion, Conclusion) [Results section may be used].

    Case of the Month

    In the interest of shifting the primary focus of the Journal away from case reports and toward more novel, original research and critical appraisals of the relevant basic science, medical and pathology literature, the Journal will generally publish one Case of the Month each month of the year (3 per issue, 12 per year). Priority consideration will be given to reports written by pathology residents and forensic pathology fellows. Each case should be presented in detail, be illustrated adequately (if appropriate), and include a thoughtful review of the relevant literature. (Abstract, Discussion, Conclusion). Authors may choose to use an Introduction section.

    Images in Forensic Pathology

    Forensic pathology is a visual profession that lends itself brilliantly toward the creation of high quality, informative images. Sometimes, those images might even be considered artistic. The Journal will generally publish one Images in Forensic Pathology manuscript each month of the year (3 per issue, 12 per year). The image (scene, macro-, micro-, or other photograph) must be accompanied by a short description of the case, the illustrated finding(s), and their significance. (Discussion only).


    Editorials are accepted by invitation only, and will generally be centered on the theme of a particular issue. They represent an opinion rather than a presentation or review of scientific data, and as such, are not peer reviewed.

    Letter to the Editor

    Letters to the Editor should address a previously published article. The paper being discussed should be identified and cited within the text, with the reference to the original paper included at the end of the letter. Letters to the Editor are not the appropriate format to present new scientific data; these should be submitted as manuscripts. Letters should begin with the text, “To the Editor:”.




    The title should accurately and completely summarize the work. Keep in mind that the title is the first thing a reader sees and is usually the deciding factor on whether the reader continues into the abstract. While no specific rules will be enforced, it is generally more effective for the title to simply state the findings rather than pose a question or use flowery references.

    Running Title This is a shortened version of the title which may be used for quick reference during the review process, and which will be printed on the footer of the journal article when published. The running title must be no longer than 40 characters, including spaces.

    Key Words

    The selection of appropriate key words is important to facilitate appropriate cataloguing of the manuscript and enabling ease of literature searches.


    As of September 2, 2017, our Journal is adopting strict policies regarding the use of structured abstracts. In keeping with the expectations of the National Library of Medicine, depending on the manuscript type, an abstract may be structured or unstructured

    Article types requiring a structured abstract:

    Original research

    Review papers

    Practice guidelines

    All other manuscript types may be unstructured.

    The IMRAD format the standard that reflects the process of scientific discovery. Within that style, authors summarize the INTRODUCTION, METHODS, RESULTS, and DISCUSSION.

    Regardless of whether or not an author uses a structured or unstructured abstract, the abstract must summarize the rationale for the study, the design, the findings, and the conclusion(s). Statements such as “the findings will be discussed” are not appropriate. The abstract must be able to stand on its own, and enable a reader to obtain a complete understanding of the findings and conclusions of the work. It is not appropriate to include citations within the abstract, as the cited references will only appear at the end of the paper and thus, the abstract would not be able to stand alone. If facts are stated in the abstract that require citation, it will be necessary to repeat that statement within the Introduction of the paper and cite it there.

    All manuscripts with the exception of “Images in Forensic Pathology” are required to have an abstract.


    The most important function of the introduction is to explain the purpose of the study. It sets up the problem and justifies why there is a need for the study. It provides a historical background of the problem and summarizes the current state of knowledge in that particular area. Essentially, the introduction is to “set up” the remainder of the manuscript. All manuscripts with the exceptions of “Case of the Month” and “Images in Forensic Pathology” are required to have an introduction.


    Describe how the research was done. This may be as simple as stating that records were retrospectively reviewed for certain criteria during a certain time period, or describing the search strategy used for an Internet search. This section may also be quite complicated, especially if it involves laboratory procedures or advanced statistics. The most important criterion for this section is that it should be complete enough to allow a reader to be able to independently reproduce the study. It is acceptable to use subheadings within this section to organize different topics within the manuscript. Depending on the nature of the article, a Methods section may not be necessary.


    The results section should summarize the findings of the study. It should reference and complement data represented in the figures and tables. This section should be limited to an objective description of the findings, without stating opinions or coming to any conclusions. It is acceptable to use subheadings within this section to organize different topics within the manuscript. Depending on the nature of the article, a Results section may not be necessary.


    The discussion should briefly summarize the findings of the study and then to draw appropriate conclusions and sometimes, give opinions. In a review article, it is the substantive portion of the paper. Two of the most common reasons a manuscript is rejected for publication are 1) that the conclusions are inappropriately drawn from the data presented and 2) that there are other reasonable but differing conclusions that could also be drawn but are either not discussed at all, or that the authors do not argue why their conclusions are more appropriate. It is acceptable to use author-defined subheadings within this section to organize different topics within the manuscript. All manuscripts are required to have a Discussion section.


    The conclusion should wrap up the manuscript and summarize the findings of the study. All manuscripts are required to have a Conclusion section.


    Because readers may infer their endorsement of the data and conclusions, these persons must give written permission to be acknowledged. Once the manuscript has been accepted, the corresponding author will be contacted and asked for email addresses for each person listed in the Acknowledgement section so that the Publisher may contact them.


    It is important to cite the appropriate source (cite the actual paper rather than a review article that references it). The Journal uses a numbered referencing convention, rather than listing the author’s name and year of publication, in parentheses within the text. Within the text of the paper, place the reference number in parentheses at standard script height (i.e., not superscripted) at the end of the sentence. The use of referencing programs such as Endnote is preferred. Please use the National Library of Medicine style of formatting references (this is one of the options in Endnote), available at

    Examples include:

    Journal article:

    Moritz AR. Classical mistakes in forensic pathology. Am J Clin Pathol. 1956 Dec; 26(12):1383-97.


    Dolinak D, Matshes E, Lew E. Forensic Pathology: Principles & Practice. 1 ed. San Diego: Academic Press; 2005.

    Chapter in a book:

    Matshes E, Lew E. Forensic osteology. In: Dolinak D, Matshes E, Lew E, editors. Forensic Pathology: Principles and Practice. 1 ed. San Diego: Academic Press; 2005.


    Legends must be included for each drawing or diagram (figures), photograph (images), and table. The only exception to this is in an “Images in Forensic Pathology” paper, in which the image might not require a legend due to the fact that the paper itself is focused on that image. Include all legends in the manuscript main document, immediately preceding the References section.


    A figure is a drawing or schematic diagram. These will be printed in brilliant full color.


    An image is a scene or autopsy photograph, or a photomicrograph. These will also be reproduced in brilliant full color. High resolution, non-formatted TIFF or JPEG files must be uploaded at the time of submission. Identifying features should be removed prior to upload into ScholarOne. Low quality scanned photos or photomicrographs can be improved by submitting original materials directly to the Publisher for scanning. Such a service is only available after your manuscript has been accepted for publication.


    Submit tables in any format desired. If accepted for publication, the data in the table will be redesigned during layout design in a standard format to ensure the consistent appearance of tables throughout the Journal. Upon acceptance of a manuscript, authors may be asked to provide raw data so as to facilitate reproduction of tables and/or figures in a uniform style.



    Authors must receive written permission to reproduce copyrighted material in their manuscripts. Examples include reproduction of figures, table, images, and some types of direct quotes. If any fees are associated with obtaining consent to reproduce copyrighted materials, those fees are to be paid by the authors.



    Detailed information about manuscript preparation, submission, peer review and the entire editorial and decision-making process are available on this website in various subsections of the Journal Information tab.

    If your manuscript is accepted for publication, with rare exceptions, you should expect:

    - Editorial or Publisher Staff may request that custom medical illustrations be prepared to supplement your work; you will have input on the form and content of the illustration(s), and the Publisher will bear all illustration expenses.

    - A PDF proof of your manuscript will be delivered within two (2) weeks of acceptance to the Journal.

    - You will have at least 48 hours to review the proof and to return comments and corrections to the Publisher.

    - Your manuscript will be published in the next issue of the Journal, so long as the proof is accepted for publication at least four (4) weeks prior to publication of that next issue.




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