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Instructions for Authors
Revised: 15 January 2015
Copyright: (c) 2012-15, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PathologyOutlines.com is the world's most popular pathology website, averaging 20,000 daily visits. Our new editorial standards are for each topic to be authored by a faculty pathologist (or a senior resident / fellow working under a faculty), and then to have the topic reviewed by an Editorial Board member for that subspecialty. These guidelines should be followed for writing any of our 7000+ topics. Although we provide a modest honorarium to authors (but not Editorial Board members), we assume that your primary motivation is academic, or to help your pathology colleagues. If not, please look elsewhere.

Our philosophy
Our primary mission is to provide information of use to, or of interest to practicing pathologists; i.e. those signing out cases. Each topic should be authoritative. Topics are in a standard format, so visitors know where to find things. Please do NOT alter the format without our permission. Let us know if you want to combine, split, add or remove topics. In general, we prefer redundancy, so pathologists can find information quickly and not get frustrated (we can add links so material doesn't have to be written twice).

We would like authors to:

  1. update the topic with new information and new references
  2. ensure that the topic contains material necessary for or interesting to practicing pathologists
  3. correct any substantive errors or text that is incomplete or difficult to understand
  4. add images (your own, or links to other free webpages) or diagrams as needed
  5. for topics that are already relatively complete, we require reviewers to have the level of expertise to give a presentation on the topic at a national conference
We will email you a Word document of the topic as it currently exists, along with the list of sections we use to organize topics. We will ask you to email us the revised topic, still organized into sections. After we have incorporated your changes and posted the topic, you will have another opportunity to review it, until you are satisfied. If you are deleting information, please tell us why.

Our online textbook is different than a written textbook. We have a standard format so visitors can find information quickly, and the topics are easy to read. For that reason, we have intentionally formatted our topics to be in “outline” format, with bullet points and short sentences. If you believe a sentence is ambiguous, please let us know, but your job is NOT to change the format to one you prefer. Please make sure most material is of interest to practicing pathologists. This means you do not have to include every immunostain published about an entity - just those likely to be important to pathologists. Before adding a new category of data, please check whether it is already included within another topic. Please ONLY do topics you are assigned.

Pathologists want ready access to abstracts or full text for the most important journal articles, and also to know that that each topic incorporates the most recent literature. Reviewers should search PubMed for articles posted since the last review, including Am J Surg Pathol, Mod Pathol, Am J Clin Pathol, Arch Pathol Lab Med and Hum Pathol. Of course, other journals and older articles may also be important. We prefer to include references from journals with free full text in English, since some pathologists cannot afford subscriptions. For rare topics, there may only be a few journal articles at all - we prefer some citations, even if older or in a foreign language. We prefer references to be next to the text they support, instead of listed at the end of the topic. If you refer to a study, or specific results from a study, please include the reference after the text.

We prefer that each topic have several diagnostic microscopic images. Images can be from your own collection or links to website pages that do not require registration or a subscription (send us the link to the page, not just the image). We prefer links to medical journals or educational websites, which tend to be more stable, not to personal or commercial sites (which tend to change). Do NOT include links to sites that sell images - they may threaten people just for linking. If you want to include your own images, please upload them to http://www.flickr.com/groups/pathologyoutlines/, and include the appropriate descriptive information, and send us a link in the Flickr page in the appropriate section of the topic. Websites that we find useful for images include: PathologyOutlines.com (particularly helpful for related entities), AFIP third fascicle (not online, but we have many digital images from this source), PathoPic, Webpathology.com, and free full text journals. It is usually helpful to include H&E images at low and high power, relevant immunostains, and to the extent relevant to the topic, clinical images (Xrays, endoscopy, intraoperative, patient lesions), gross images, molecular / cytogenetic images, and EM images.

Our chapters are divided up into sections, and we ask authors to sign up for one section of the chapter. Initially we will send one 'test topic' from the section so that we can evaluate your work and see if you would be a good fit. If we choose to proceed, you will be assigned to the section that you requested. We will send you the next topic and when you return it, we will continue to make sure that your editing meets our expectations. If so, we will send you the next topic, etc. We would like you to finish the topic within 2 weeks of receipt. If you need more time or are unable to continue, please let us know.

After completing the topic, we will post your name on the topics reviewed. We will also post your name, contact information and a "head shot" on our Reviewers / Authors / Editors page. We now pay $20 per topic, and send the payment when you finish a section or if you tell us that you are done reviewing, at least for now. In December, we will "clear our books" for the year, and pay any outstanding balances, even if you are in the middle of a section. Payment is by check (US/Canada only) or PayPal (required for pathologists outside of US/Canada, optional for US/Canada pathologists). We do not wire funds or pay by other means. We cannot make check payments to anyone other than the reviewer. PayPal payments are sent to any designated email address. For US residents who receive $600 or more per year from us, we will issue a 1099 form in February of the next year, and will need your social security number or tax identification number. To comply with US tax laws, we must withhold 30% of payments from non-US contributors and send it to the US government.

Order of topic sections:
For ease of use, we put topic sections in the same order. Note that each topic section may not be relevant for each topic, and there is some overlap of the topics. We do NOT want topic sections to contain obvious or repetitive information – leave them blank if there is nothing to include. If there is only one sentence in several topic sections, we may combine them.

A 1-2 sentence summary of the topic

Other names used today or historically that pathologists may be more familiar with

Who gets this lesion – age, gender, geographic location, very strong causal connections (example – Kaposi's sarcoma and HIV, HHV8); weaker associations are listed under clinical features)

Parts of the body typically affected

How the lesion / tumor arises (if not obvious)

Causes of the lesion (e.g. smoking)

Clinical features:
Anything not included above. Includes associations with other conditions

Diagnostic criteria:
Diagnostic criteria, supportive clinical or laboratory tests

Typical findings (positive or negative)

Typical findings (positive or negative)

For stains / biomarkers – what part of the cell stains (cytoplasm, nucleus, Golgi), and any typical staining patterns (diffuse, dot-like)

Uses by Pathologists:
For stains / biomarkers – how are these tests typically used by practicing pathologists. For many markers, there is “no current use by Pathologists”

Prognostic factors:
Favorable or unfavorable prognostic factors for a condition.

Case reports:
The format is typically “25 year old man with coexisting zzz (reference).” We prefer 2-3 case reports, if possible, per topic. We also prefer references from free full text journals / websites, so pathologists can review the entire article.

General modes of treatment. Drug dosages are usually not necessary – if you want to include them, please provide a reference.

Clinical images:
This includes radiologic images, intraoperative images, images of the patient, but NOT gross images

Gross description:
Description of the excised specimen

Gross images:
Images of the excised specimen

Micro description:
Patterns and cytologic features, common and uncommon. Associated features. Classification systems may be included here or under clinical features.

Micro images:
Low and high power, stains; if unavailable at this body site, you can include from another site with similar features.

Virtual slides:

Cytology description:
Cytologic features and limitations.

Cytology images:

Peripheral smear description / images:
For hematopathology, or as relevant

Positive stains:
List most commonly used first. If not uniformly positive, provide percentage of cases. List staining patterns if uncommon.

Negative stains:
List most commonly used first

Flow cytometry description / images:
For hematopathology, or as relevant

Electron microscopy descriptions / images:

Molecular / cytogenetics descriptions / images:
Includes idiotypes, karyogram, FISH, PCR gels

links to YouTube or other sites.

Differential diagnosis:
Include names of entities and most important differentiating features. We will link to the topic on our site.

Additional references:
General references for this topic. A reference used frequently throughout a chapter will be posted on the main chapter page.

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If you are interested in being an author, please click here to view the chapters that are currently being reviewed. Please contact our Reviewer coordinator at editor.pathout@gmail.com with any questions.