Patient Safety – Policies

Welcome to Patient Safety, a peer-reviewed publication that highlights the latest in original research, advanced analytics, and contemporary healthcare issues!

Our mission is to bring clinicians, administrators, and patients the information they need to prevent harm and improve safety by disseminating evidence-based, peer-reviewed research; editorials addressing current and sometimes controversial topics; and analysis of data from one of the largest adverse event reporting databases in the world.

We invite you to submit articles that are aligned with our mission, including original research, reviews, commentaries, case studies, data analyses, quality improvement studies, or other manuscripts that will advance patient safety.

Together we can save lives.

Policy Statement on Editorial Freedom

Patient Safety is the official journal of the Patient Safety Authority (PSA). PSA is an independent agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Its mission is to improve the quality of healthcare in Pennsylvania by collecting and analyzing patient safety information, developing solutions to patient safety issues, and sharing this information through education and collaboration. PSA is funded by assessments paid by healthcare facilities under Act 13 of 2002, the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act. PSA is governed by an 11-member board of directors and is managed by an executive director appointed by the board.

The journal’s sole mission is to provide timely, original scientific research that can be used by healthcare systems and providers to improve patient care and educate frontline staff about safe practices. Its focus is on problems associated with a high combination of frequency, severity, and possibility of solution; novel problems and improvement strategies; and problems in which urgent communication of information could have a significant impact on patient outcomes. The journal is funded in its entirety by PSA. There are no reader subscription fees, no author processing fees, and no paid-for advertisements. The journal has no commercial incentive to balance with editorial freedom.

Due to the lack of conflict of interest between editorial freedom and commercial incentives, the journal’s editor-in-chief may also serve in additional positions within PSA, provided that they have direct access to the highest level of authority within PSA, in this case the chair of the board of directors. No more than two members of the editorial advisory board may also serve concurrently as members of the PSA board of directors. No current officer of the PSA board shall serve on the editorial advisory board.

The editor-in-chief shall have full authority over the entire editorial content of the journal and timing of publication. An independent editorial advisory board will be established to assist the editor with editorial policy and provide expert advice related to content of submitted articles.

Conflicts of Interest


A conflict of interest occurs when a participant in the publication process has a financial, personal, academic, political, religious, or other interest or affiliation that could influence the opinion, honesty, integrity, or decisions of the participant in their work related to the publication. The publication process includes planning, research, manuscript preparation, review, and editorial decisions. Participants include authors, reviewers, editors, journal staff, and editorial board members.


Authors are required to complete the journal’s conflict of interest form at the time of manuscript submission. Failure to complete the required conflict of interest form will result in rejection of the manuscript. If there is no conflict of interest, this must also be explicitly stated as “none declared.” All sources of funding must be acknowledged in the manuscript. All relevant conflicts of interest and sources of funding must be included on the title page of the manuscript with the heading “Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding.”

For example:

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: Author A is a paid consultant for Organization X, or Author B has received honoraria from Company Z. No conflicts were declared for the remaining authors.

Failure to Disclose a Potential Conflict of Interest

If a conflict of interest is discovered from other sources after manuscript submission or publication, the journal will investigate the alleged conflict. If the conflict is substantiated and the manuscript has been published, the journal will take necessary action to inform its readers of the conflict. This may include publishing the findings of the investigation.

Reporting Conflicts of Interest to Readership

The journal will publish any conflicts of interests to its readers, including authors’ conflicts of interest, sources of support for the published work, and authors’ access to the study data.

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor may be submitted in electronic format to PatientSafetyJ@pa.gov. Letters to the editor for publication should be noted as such in the subject line “Letter to the Editor for Publication.” These notes should be relevant to a recently published manuscript and should not exceed 350 words. Letters to the editor will be edited prior to publication. Any substantial changes will be sent to the submitter for approval prior to publication. Patient Safety appreciates and encourages scientific debate and critique; however, Patient Safety does not guarantee the publication of any letter to the editor. For example, letters that are irrelevant or derogatory will be rejected. Submitters must include their name, city, and state of residence and any conflicts of interest. Patient Safety generally does not accommodate anonymity. In rare circumstances anonymity may be granted where the submitter feels their life or livelihood is at risk. Editors may request the corresponding submitter to provide a response if appropriate.


Patient Safety publishes commentaries on recent articles, generally those which were published within the last six months. Commentaries on original research articles may be submitted at any time. Commentaries should not exceed 2,000 words. Commentaries may challenge an article, expand on the original author’s position, or provide a personal perspective or experience related to the article. Commentaries are subject to the peer-review process; please read the Author Guidelines.

Human Rights, Animal Rights, and Informed Consent

Protection of Research Participants

The rights of individual human research subjects are the most important priority in any research study, and no potential knowledge gained by the study supersedes those rights. Patient Safety is committed to upholding those rights. Authors must ensure that research studies were conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki as revised in 2013 (www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-declaration-of-helsinki-ethical-principles-for-medical-research-involving-human-subjects/). All submitted research must have been approved by an institutional review board (IRB), and the editor reserves the right to ask for verification of this approval at any time. If the author has reason to believe that any aspect of the research study was not in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki as revised in 2013, they must provide a written, detailed explanation to the editor.

Individual human research subjects have a right to privacy. All personal, identifiable information should be removed from the manuscript. In the event personal, identifiable information is included in the manuscript for valid, scientific purposes, the author must provide the subject’s informed consent. Additionally, the subject will have the opportunity to review the manuscript and to withdraw their consent prior to publication.

Animal Rights

Patient Safety does not anticipate that any studies on animals will be included in any manuscript. However, any manuscript that does include studies regarding animals must include a statement from the author that includes the following affirmation that the study complied with international, national, or institutional standards for the humane treatment of animals and that the study was approved by an ethics review committee. The author must also provide a description of the ethics review committee approval process and reference to what internationally, nationally, or institutional guidelines are followed in the process. The editor retains the right to reject the manuscript on the basis of any animal welfare concerns.

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