Section Policies


A member of the editorial board will contribute an editorial piece to each issue.  They will range from anecdotal expressions to reactions to present trends and issues in the field.

Make a new submission to the Editorial section.

Major Contributions

These articles will be a primary mode of communication for the journal and may include the results of original research with interesting and pertinent findings or other forms of high quality scholarship touching on topics of importance to the medical education community.  Submissions to this section are expected to be framed within a clear theoretical lens both in the methodology and the substance of the study.  For example, decisions on which instructional activities were chosen for exploration must be grounded in the education and instructional literature and any findings (expected or especially unexpected) must likewise invoke accepted and relevant theoretical frameworks and explanations. Small scale - though high quality - research occurring at one or two centres only should be submitted as a Brief Report.  Survey studies that report the results of an environmental scan or needs assessment should be submitted as a Brief Report if they are subsequently applied to the development of a curricular initiative or produce a set of recommendations for policy makers and/or medical educators.

Major Contributions must include a statement concerning ethical review by a third party and consent procedures if the study reports data from human subjects.  Maximum length is 4,500 words and must be submitted with a 250 word structured abstract. 

Make a new submission to the Major Contributions section.

Brief Reports

This section includes research reports that may be local or national in scope and high-quality program evaluations with clear frameworks and connections to the literature. The CMEJ expects Brief Reports to 1) be situated in the literature with a clear statement of the problem that was investigated, 2) utilize a clear framework, robust study design, and appropriate reporting of the main findings, and 3) contain a conclusion that states how the results contribute to our understanding of the problem. Typically, these studies occur at only one or two sites or include only one or two years of data.  Survey studies that report the results of an environmental scan or needs assessment will not be considered unless they are subsequently applied to the development of a curricular initiative or produce a set of recommendations for policy makers and/or medical educators.

Brief Reports must include a statement concerning ethical review by a third party and consent procedures if the study or program evaluation includes human subjects or their information. All Brief Reports should be limited to about 1,500 words and a total of two Tables and/or Figures.

Make a new submission to the Brief Reports section.

Review Papers and Meta-Analyses

Submissions to this section include review and meta-analysis manuscripts and should be limited to 4,500 words.  They must include a 250-word abstract.

Make a new submission to the Review Papers and Meta-Analyses section.

Black Ice

Black Ice: ‘x’ Ways to Get a Grip! is a form of review article with practical advice, pointers, and guidelines for teachers, researchers, and/or leaders in medical education based on program evaluation and evidence from the existing literature on the specific topic. Typically about 1000 words, articles for Black Ice will have two sections: Introduction and “How to …..” Included within the introduction is a summary of some of the misunderstandings, misguided practices, and irregularities in the use or implementation of certain practices (the “black ice”). The rest of the article (How to …) will outline the advice and guidelines (and help people “get a grip”). Both the critique and guidelines should be, as much as possible, based on published examples and/or extensive professional experience and observations. For example, one might imagine this title: Black Ice: 7 Ways to Get a Grip on Planning Systematic Reviews. In the introduction, the authors would outline some of the ways that teams fail to plan properly or plan improperly (with negative consequences). The rest of the article would then explain those seven pointers and how they address the main concerns expressed in the introduction. For ease of reading and to maintain the purpose and style of Black Ice, authors should include at least 5 ways to get a grip and limit themselves to two tables and/or figures in total.  For an example, see: Zhao R, & D’Eon M. Five ways to get a grip on grouped self-assessments of competence for program evaluationCan Med Ed J. 2020; 11(4), e90-e96.

Make a new submission to the Black Ice section.


This section includes comments, opinions and debates, and news with a particularly Canadian flavour or dimension. Submissions could involve personal narratives, historical pieces, and arts and humanities work. All submissions should be limited to 1,000 words.

Make a new submission to the Canadiana section.

You Should Try This

This section includes short descriptions of new initiatives (often student or resident led) that are great ideas but not yet fully developed, researched, or evaluated. This section is for sharing these good ideas that could (and maybe should) be tried in another setting or center. Submissions to this section must include some preliminary evaluation outcomes, and provide suggestions for next steps. Manuscripts must include a statement concerning ethical review by a third party and consent procedures if the study or program evaluation includes human subjects or their information.  All You Should Try This submissions are limited to 500 words, one Table or Figure, and six references.  Instead of an abstract, authors are asked to submit an Implication Statement of no more than 100 words describing how and why people might use the innovation in their own setting and what they might get out of it. We recommend that submissions to YSTT are structured according to an Introduction, Description of the innovation, Outcomes, and Suggestions for next steps. Click here for a sample You Should Try This! review form.

Make a new submission to the You Should Try This section.


The CMEJ will be publishing works-in-progress for medical education studies that are related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation is changing fast; the responses of medical education organizations and learners to the spread of COVID-19 are rapid and often dramatic. The medical education community needs to better coordinate and collaborate immediately. Publishing works-in-progress is one way that the CMEJ can bring medical education researchers, leaders, and learners together now.

We hope that by publishing these works-in-progress, by better informing us of the promising research that is being conducted across Canada and the world, we will provide several advantages and benefits. We hope this initiative will help generate productive partnerships, stimulate in-depth thinking both about methodologies and topics, lead to more rigorous studies through external peer review, reduce duplication, allow us to support valuable data collection, and give us the luxury of anticipating the eventual findings.

Each submission must meet these inclusion criteria:

  • REB (or IRB or equivalent) approval (where possible) or
  • In the event where REB approval is not needed, data collection begun by the time of publication
  • Formal or informala internal scientific peer review.
  • A statement to the editors indicating how these criteria have been met
  • Under 600 words

a Informal peer review includes a review from any qualified person outside of the author team. This might include a colleague or research coordinator or faculty mentor or supervisor. If you are not sure, please contact an editor with the CMEJ.

Submissions must include these elements:

  • Introduction
    • situating the study in the context of previous research within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
    • outlining the research questions
    • describing the need for the study and intended outcomes (not necessarily the findings but how the study may affect medical education)
  • Methods (Fitting the type of study; see guidelines for authors)
    • Describing the methods selected to gather and analyze data
    • Outlining the extent to which the investigators are willing to consider various forms of collaboration from other researchers at other sites
  • Summary
    • Brief overview of context, questions, methods, and implications

In most cases, authors should give approximately equal weight to the Introduction and the Methods. There may be good reason for authors to emphasize one section or the other. Authors are free to set those proportions based on how they want to communicate their study to the public.

Publishing works in progress does not impose upon the CMEJ any commitment or expectation, tacit or implicit, that the completed work will be published. If the studies are completed and submitted to the CMEJ each one will be subject to a rigorous peer review process, the same as for any other submission to a similar section of our journal. The corollary is also true: the authors are not obligated or expected to submit their completed work to the CMEJ. They are free to submit their papers to any section in any journal of their choice.

Commentary and Opinions

These submissions are highly relevant and stimulating opinion pieces with strong arguments and no more than 750 words. They do not include any supporting material i.e. graphs, charts, etc. but may have up to five (5) references.

Make a new submission to the Commentary and Opinions section.

Letters to the Editor

These are meant to be a reaction to a pertinent issue relating to the CMEJ or a recently published article.  They should be no longer than 250 words unless by special arrangement.  They do not include any supporting material i.e. graphs, charts, etc. but may have up to three (3) references.

Make a new submission to the Letters to the Editor section.

Book Reviews

This section will be limited to reviews of recently released books that pertain in some way to the field of medical education.  They can include textbooks, edited works, etc.  Submissions are to be no more than 1000 words in length and must include a brief, 100 word abstract.

Make a new submission to the Book Reviews section.


This section includes images of interest, graphics, photographs, and artwork pertaining to Canadian Medical Education.  Submissions may be featured on the CMEJ cover page, or published within an issue.  Only high-resolution images will be accepted.  Images should be uploaded in PNG or JPG file format with the longest side measuring at least 3130 pixels.  Authors are responsible for obtaining written permission from any identifiable individuals depicted in their photos, and permission for any copyrighted material used, including illustrations, and will be asked to provide formal written permission upon acceptance for publication. Authors are expected to adhere to the standards for intellectual property rights and plagiarism, and authors assume full responsibility for the content of their submissions.

Make a new submission to the Images section.

Position Papers, Technical Reports, and White Papers

Articles in this section will be papers of interest to medical educators that fall within the focus and scope of the CMEJ. See About on our home page. These must not have been previously published (but might be available on internal web sites that are not available to the general public). Authors wishing to submit to this section may want to inquire of the editors regarding whether their paper fits.

We will accept heading structures that suit the paper and guide the reader rather than specifying a certain style of headings or structure. However, the citation and reference style must be that of the CMEJ (Vancouver style) along with other guidelines of the CMEJ. Authors should read and follow the Submission Guidelines for Authors found under Submissions on our home page.

If there is no Executive Summary already a part of the paper or report, please provide a 200 word Abstract.

Make a new submission to the White Papers section.

COVID-19 Related CMEJ Blog Posts

The COVID-19 pandemic and pubic health measures implemented to curb the spread (flatten the curve) and protect us all from exploding and fatal levels of infection have been very disruptive. This has led to unprecedented innovation but also considerable suffering from death of friends and relatives to minor inconveniences such as restrictions on non-essential movements and our favourite recreational activities.

The lives and careers of medical students, residents, faculty, and staff have been affected in many ways and to different degrees. If you are willing and able to write about your medical education related experiences but need a medium to get your ideas out to a wide audience, consider submitting your essays to the CMEJ blog through our normal submission process. Blogs will not be subject to a full peer review process. One or more of our editors will work with authors to polish the blog post before being published on-line. Due to the time-sensitive nature of these posts, we will try to expedite their processing.