A small group of editors of general medical journals met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually; gradually it has broadened its concerns. The Committee has produced 5 editions of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. Over the years, issues have arisen that go beyond manuscript preparation. Some of these issues are now covered in the Uniform Requirements; others are addressed in separate statements. Each statement has been published in a scientific journal. The fifth edition (1997) is an effort to reorganize and reword the fourth edition to increase clarity and address concerns about rights, privacy, descriptions of methods, and other matters. The total content of the Uniform Requirements may be reproduced for educational, not-for-profit purposes without regard for copyright; ICMJE encourages distribution of the material. Journals that agree to use the Uniform Requirements (over 500 do so) are asked to cite the 1997 document in their instructions to authors.