AMA Journal of Ethics

Formerly Virtual Mentor

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics

Formerly Virtual Mentor

Illuminating the art of medicine

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the AMA Journal of Ethics' (JOE) permission-for-use policy?

We strongly believe that access to the best available thinking and professional consensus on matters of ethical import in medicine and the care of patients should be unrestricted. Towards that end, the AMA allows anyone to link to, quote from, reprint, and copy JOE articles, so long as the original authors, source, and AMA disclaimer are cited. The disclaimer must read as follows: "The viewpoints expressed in the AMA Journal of Ethics are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA." Written permission for use is not required from the AMA.

How can I respond to an article I read in the AMA Journal of Ethics?

Letters discussing a recent JOE article may be sent to Letters received within 6 weeks of the article's publication that do not exceed 800 words of text will be considered for publication. The text of letters should include the names, academic degrees, and primary institutional affiliations of the author(s) and the e-mail address for the corresponding author. Letters must not duplicate other material published or submitted for publication by the correspondent. Letters will be published at the discretion of the editors and are subject to abridgement and editing for style and content.

Does the AMA Journal of Ethics accept unsolicited manuscripts?

Yes. JOE considers unsolicited manuscripts submitted through our online manuscript submission and review system. Submit an article for consideration.

What types of articles does the AMA Journal of Ethics consider for publication?

Our editorial preference is for commentaries and articles that offer practical advice and information for medical students, resident physicians, and those who teach them. We keep the number of rare, infrequently encountered topics to a minimum, unless one such topic, e.g., the “octomom,” captures medical news headlines. We will consider both so-called “evergreen” topics and those exploring current events or debates in the medical ethics world. Most JOE articles are in the 1,500- to 1,800-word range, but we know some arguments take longer to develop, and some stories, longer to tell.

Are the AMA Journal of Ethics articles peer-reviewed?

We began accepting unsolicited articles for peer review in late 2014. We expect the number of peer-reviewed articles the journal publishes to grow over time. Submit an unsolicited article for possible peer review through the JOE online manuscript submission and review system.

Can I become an AMA Journal of Ethics guest editor?

Twelve US medical students or resident physicians are selected annually by a competitive process. Each student or resident selected receives a $2,000 honorarium and serves as editor for one issue of JOE in the coming year.

Does the AMA Journal of Ethics express only views and opinions that accord with AMA positions?

No. JOE operates under the provisions of the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), according to which the journal's editor-in-chief has full authority over the editorial content of the journal. Each JOE article contains this disclaimer: "The viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA."

Can I receive an e-mail notice when each issue goes live?

Yes. Click on receive e-mail alerts and follow the instructions to add your name to the list of those who receive the monthly JOE email.

There is a problem with your site. What should I do?

Notify us at Please include the details of the problem, e.g., the URL of the broken link. We will see that the message is routed appropriately.