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Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals

Page history last edited by Chinmay Shah 9 years ago

 

 

National Journal of Integrated Research in Medicine

 

Manuscript Preparation and Submission

 Scope of the Journal

The Journal seeks to be the pre-eminent Medical Journal . It aims to publish material of the highest quality reflecting world wide or provocative issues and perspectives. The contents will be of interest to learners and teachers and, potentially, have significant impact on the quality of health care.

The journal welcomes papers on any aspect of Medical research and development.

We are keen to encourage the submission of papers from authors whose first language is not English, although it is recommended that before submitting your manuscript to the journal you ask a colleague familiar with written English to read it through. This will greatly speed up the time taken to publish your paper.

When writing your paper for the NJIRM remember that the journal has an international readership. Readers will want to know something about the setting in which your work was conducted, why you did what you describe, and what the results mean. If you can set your work in the wider context of the international literature this will help readers understand how your work might apply to their own situation.

Papers are accepted in the following categories:

 

1. Original Research

These papers report major research and studies relevant to NJIRM and may be up to 4,000 words in length and include up to six tables or figures. Reports of studies using either quantitative or qualitative methods are welcomed. Papers will usually be organised using the Summary, Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (SIMRAD) structure although the editorial team is pleased to work with authors on more appropriate structures in certain cases. The Summary should be structured in relation to the organisation of the paper and not exceed 250 words. The context of the research and the conceptual framework and choice of methods used for analysis must be made clear in the text. References should be limited to no more than 15 and use the Vancouver style (see below).

 

2. Review Articles

Are particularly welcomed and may be up to 5,000 words in length and have fewer restrictions on the number of references. Authors considering submitting articles within this section are recommended to contact the editorial team during the preparation of their paper to discuss the scope and structure of their review.

 

3. Discussion Papers/Interesting Technologies 

Papers in this section may be up to 3,500 words long and are opportunities for authors to clarify concepts, critically discuss ideas or trends, or develop theories of relevance to Calicut Medical Journal. Particular attention should be given in such papers to the implications of the ideas for the current or future practice of teaching and learning.

 

4. Special Features

Are papers that vary in style and structure and are usually commissioned. They usually reflect a particular theme, for example, evaluation of teaching, or international aspects  of Medicine .

 

5. Short Reports

These shorter papers fall into two categories and should be no longer than 1,000 words in length, have no more than one Table or Figure and no more than five references.

{i}. Reports of research in progress or recently completed that would not be appropriate for the major Research Paper section, for example, reports of papers presented at conferences or at scientific meetings.

{ii}. Reports of innovation. An appropriate structure for such Reports may be Setting/Context, Aim(s), Learning Methods, Evidence for Effectiveness, Conclusion. Authors may wish to discuss alternative structures with a member of the editorial team.

{iii}.Case Reports/Clinical photographs/Radiology images. This is the section in which you can publish interesting cases, images etc that you have come across in your practice. Each photograph/image must be typical of the case and a short description of the case should be added.

 

6. Editorials

The Editor usually commissions editorials but ideas or suggestions are welcomed.

 

7. Conference Reports

A feature of NJIRM is that IT reports many of the conferences and meetings organised by Associations. The Journal is pleased to consider reports of other meetings that may be of interest to the readership. These will usually be between 1,200 and 1,500 words in length and must be submitted within six weeks of the date of the meeting or conference.

 

8. Letters/Opinion 

Are usually 400-500 words and are subject to copyediting. All authors should sign the letter. Preference will be given to letters responding to points raised by articles published in the Journal. Authors will not receive proofs.

Opinion articles relevant to newer developments in relation to Internet that would be of significance to medical profession is invited.

 

Preparing a Manuscript for Submission

 

Editors and reviewers spend many hours reading manuscripts, and therefore appreciate receiving with manuscripts that are easy to read and edit. Much of the information in journals’ instructions to authors is designed to accomplish that goal in ways that meet each journal’s particular editorial needs. The guidance that follows provides a general background and rationale for preparing manuscripts for any journal.

 

1.a. General Principles

The text of observational and experimental articles is usually (but not necessarily) divided into sections with the headings Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. This so-called “IMRAD” structure is not simply an arbitrary publication format, but rather a direct reflection of the process of scientific discovery. Long articles may need subheadings within some sections (especially the Results and Discussion sections) to clarify their content. Other types of articles, such as case reports, reviews, and editorials, are likely to need other formats.

Publication in electronic formats has created opportunities for adding details or whole sections in the electronic version only, layering information, cross-linking or extracting portions of articles, and the like. Authors need to work closely with editors in developing or using such new publication formats and should submit material for potential supplementary electronic formats for peer review.

Double spacing of all portions of the manuscript— including the title page, abstract, text, acknowledgments, references, individual tables, and legends—and generous margins make it possible for editors and reviewers to edit the text line by line, and add comments and queries, directly on the paper copy. If manuscripts are submitted electronically, the files should be double spaced, because the manuscript may need to be printed out for reviewing and editing.

During the editorial process reviewers and editors frequently need to refer to specific portions of the manuscript, which is difficult unless the pages are numbered. Authors should therefore number all of the pages of the manuscript consecutively, beginning with the title page.

1.b. Reporting Guidelines for Specific Study Designs

Research reports frequently omit important information. The general requirements listed in the next section relate to reporting essential elements for all study designs. Authors are encouraged in addition to consult reporting guidelines relevant to their specific research design. For reports of randomized controlled trials authors should refer to theCONSORT statement. This guideline provides a set of recommendations comprising a list of items to report and a patient flow diagram. Reporting guidelines have also been developed for a number of other study designs that some journals may ask authors to follow (see Table: Reporting Guidelines). Authors should consult the information for authors of the journal they have chosen.

Reporting Guidelines

Initiative

Type of study

Source

CONSORT

randomized controlled trials

http://www.consort-statement.org

STARD

studies of diagnostic accuracy

http://www.consort-statement.org/
stardstatement.htm

QUOROM

systematic reviews and meta-analyses

http://www.consort-statement.org/
Initiatives/MOOSE/moose.pdf

STROBE

observational studies in epidemiology

http://www.strobe-statement.org

MOOSE

meta-analyses of observational studies in epidemiology

http://www.consort-statement.org/
Initiatives/MOOSE/moose.pdf

2. Title Page

The title page should carry the following information:

1. The title of the article. Concise titles are easier to read than long, convoluted ones. Titles that are too short may, however, lack important information, such as study design (which is particularly important in identifying randomized controlled trials). Authors should include all information in the title that will make electronic retrieval of the article both sensitive and specific.

2. Authors’ names and institutional affiliations. Some journals publish each author’s highest academic degree(s), while others do not.

3. The name of the department(s) and institution(s) to which the work should be attributed.

4. Disclaimers, if any.

5. Corresponding authors. The name, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the author responsible for correspondence about the manuscript (the “corresponding author;” this author may or may not be the “guarantor” for the integrity of the study as a whole, if someone is identified in that role. The corresponding author should indicate clearly whether his or her e-mail address is to be published.

6. The name and address of the author to whom requests for reprints should be addressed or a statement that reprints will not be available from the authors.

7. Source(s) of support in the form of grants, equipment, drugs, or all of these.

8. A running head. Some journals request a short running head or foot line, usually of no more than 40 characters (count letters and spaces) at the foot of the title page. Running heads are published in most journals, but are also sometimes used within the editorial office for filing and locating manuscripts.

9. Word counts. A word count for the text only (excluding abstract, acknowledgments, figure legends, and references) allows editors and reviewers to assess whether the information contained in the paper warrants the amount of space devoted to it, and whether the submitted manuscript fits within the journal’s word limits. A separate word count for the Abstract is also useful for the same reason.

10. The number of figures and tables. It is difficult for editorial staff and reviewers to tell if the figures and tables that should have accompanied a manuscript were actually included unless the numbers of figures and tables that belong to the manuscript are noted on the title page.

3. Conflict of Interest Notification Page

To prevent the information on potential conflict of interest for authors from being overlooked or misplaced, it is necessary for that information to be part of the manuscript. It should therefore also be included on a separate page or pages immediately following the title page. However, individual journals may differ in where they ask authors to provide this information and some journals do not send information on conflicts of interest to reviewers. (See Section II.D. Conflicts of Interest)

4. Abstract and Key Words

An abstract (requirements for length and structured format vary by journal) should follow the title page. The abstract should provide the context or background for the study and should state the study’s purposes, basic procedures (selection of study subjects or laboratory animals, observational and analytical methods), main findings (giving specific effect sizes and their statistical significance, if possible), and principal conclusions. It should emphasize new and important aspects of the study or observations.

Because abstracts are the only substantive portion of the article indexed in many electronic databases, and the only portion many readers read, authors need to be careful that abstracts reflect the content of the article accurately. Unfortunately, many abstracts disagree with the text of the article (6). The format required for structured abstracts differs from journal to journal, and some journals use more than one structure; authors should make it a point prepare their abstracts in the format specified by the journal they have chosen.

Some journals request that, following the abstract, authors provide, and identify as such, 3 to 10 key words or short phrases that capture the main topics of the article. These will assist indexers in cross-indexing the article and may be published with the abstract. Terms from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) list of Index Medicus should be used; if suitable MeSH terms are not yet available for recently introduced terms, present terms may be used.

5. Introduction

Provide a context or background for the study (i.e., the nature of the problem and its significance). State the specific purpose or research objective of, or hypothesis tested by, the study or observation; the research objective is often more sharply focused when stated as a question. Both the main and secondary objectives should be made clear, and any pre-specified subgroup analyses should be described. Give only strictly pertinent references and do not include data or conclusions from the work being reported.

6. Methods

The Methods section should include only information that was available at the time the plan or protocol for the study was written; all information obtained during the conduct of the study belongs in the Results section.

6.a. Selection and Description of Participants

Describe your selection of the observational or experimental participants (patients or laboratory animals, including controls) clearly, including eligibility and exclusion criteria and a description of the source population. Because the relevance of such variables as age and sex to the object of research is not always clear, authors should explain their use when they are included in a study report; for example, authors should explain why only subjects of certain ages were included or why women were excluded. The guiding principle should be clarity about how and why a study was done in a particular way. When authors use variables such as race or ethnicity, they should define how they measured the variables and justify their relevance.

6.b. Technical information

Identify the methods, apparatus (give the manufacturer’s name and address in parentheses), and procedures in sufficient detail to allow other workers to reproduce the results. Give references to established methods, including statistical methods (see below); provide references and brief descriptions for methods that have been published but are not well known; describe new or substantially modified methods, give reasons for using them, and evaluate their limitations. Identify precisely all drugs and chemicals used, including generic name(s), dose(s), and route(s) of administration.

Authors submitting review manuscripts should include a section describing the methods used for locating, selecting, extracting, and synthesizing data. These methods should also be summarized in the abstract.

6.c. Statistics

Describe statistical methods with enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to verify the reported results. When possible, quantify findings and present them with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals). Avoid relying solely on statistical hypothesis testing, such as the use of P values, which fails to convey important information about effect size. References for the design of the study and statistical methods should be to standard works when possible (with pages stated). Define statistical terms, abbreviations, and most symbols. Specify the computer software used.

7. Results

Present your results in logical sequence in the text, tables, and illustrations, giving the main or most important findings first. Do not repeat in the text all the data in the tables or illustrations; emphasize or summarize only important observations. Extra or supplementary materials and technical detail can be placed in an appendix where it will be accessible but will not interrupt the flow of the text; alternatively, it can be published only in the electronic version of the journal.

When data are summarized in the Results section, give numeric results not only as derivatives (for example, percentages) but also as the absolute numbers from which the derivatives were calculated, and specify the statistical methods used to analyze them. Restrict tables and figures to those needed to explain the argument of the paper and to assess its support. Use graphs as an alternative to tables with many entries; do not duplicate data in graphs and tables. Avoid non-technical uses of technical terms in statistics, such as “random” (which implies a randomizing device), “normal,” “significant,” “correlations,” and “sample.”

Where scientifically appropriate, analyses of the data by variables such as age and sex should be included.

8. Discussion

Emphasize the new and important aspects of the study and the conclusions that follow from them. Do not repeat in detail data or other material given in the Introduction or the Results section. For experimental studies it is useful to begin the discussion by summarizing briefly the main findings, then explore possible mechanisms or explanations for these findings, compare and contrast the results with other relevant studies, state the limitations of the study, and explore the implications of the findings for future research and for clinical practice.

Link the conclusions with the goals of the study but avoid unqualified statements and conclusions not adequately supported by the data. In particular, authors should avoid making statements on economic benefits and costs unless their manuscript includes the appropriate economic data and analyses. Avoid claiming priority and alluding to work that has not been completed. State new hypotheses when warranted, but clearly label them as such.

9. References

9.a. General Considerations Related to References

Although references to review articles can be an efficient way of guiding readers to a body of literature, review articles do not always reflect original work accurately. Readers should therefore be provided with direct references to original research sources whenever possible. On the other hand, extensive lists of references to original work on a topic can use excessive space on the printed page. Small numbers of references to key original papers will often serve as well as more exhaustive lists, particularly since references can now be added to the electronic version of published papers, and since electronic literature searching allows readers to retrieve published literature efficiently.

Avoid using abstracts as references. References to papers accepted but not yet published should be designated as “in press” or “forthcoming”; authors should obtain written permission to cite such papers as well as verification that they have been accepted for publication. Information from manuscripts submitted but not accepted should be cited in the text as “unpublished observations” with written permission from the source.

Avoid citing a “personal communication” unless it provides essential information not available from a public source, in which case the name of the person and date of communication should be cited in parentheses in the text. For scientific articles, authors should obtain written permission and confirmation of accuracy from the source of a personal communication.

Some journals check the accuracy of all reference citations, but not all journals do so, and citation errors sometimes appear in the published version of articles. To minimize such errors, authors should therefore verify references against the original documents. Authors are responsible for checking that none of the references cite retracted articles except in the context of referring to the retraction. For articles published in journals indexed in MEDLINE, the ICMJE considersPubMedthe authoritative source for information about retractions. Authors can identify retracted articles in MEDLINE by using the following search term, where pt in square brackets stands for publication type: Retracted publication [pt] in PubMed.

9.b. Reference Style and Format

The Uniform Requirements style is based largely on an ANSI standard style adapted by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for its databases. Authors should consultNational Library of Medicine’s Citing Medicinefor information on NLM’s recommended citation formats for a variety of reference types.

References should be numbered consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text. Identify references in text, tables, and legends by Arabic numerals in parentheses. References cited only in tables or figure legends should be numbered in accordance with the sequence established by the first identification in the text of the particular table or figure. The titles of journals should be abbreviated according to the style used in Index Medicus. Consult the list of Journals Indexed for MEDLINE, published annually as a separate publication by the National Library of Medicine. The list can also be obtained through theLibrary's web site. Journals vary on whether they ask authors to cite electronic references within parentheses in the text or in numbered references following the text. Authors should consult with the journal that they plan to submit their work to.

10. Tables

Tables capture information concisely, and display it efficiently; they also provide information at any desired level of detail and precision. Including data in tables rather than text frequently makes it possible to reduce the length of the text.

Type or print each table with double spacing on a separate sheet of paper. Number tables consecutively in the order of their first citation in the text and supply a brief title for each. Do not use internal horizontal or vertical lines. Give each column a short or abbreviated heading. Authors should place explanatory matter in footnotes, not in the heading. Explain in footnotes all nonstandard abbreviations. For footnotes use the following symbols, in sequence:

*,†,‡,§,||,¶,**,††,‡‡

Identify statistical measures of variations, such as standard deviation and standard error of the mean.

Be sure that each table is cited in the text.

If you use data from another published or unpublished source, obtain permission and acknowledge them fully.

Additional tables containing backup data too extensive to publish in print may be appropriate for publication in the electronic version of the journal, deposited with an archival service, or made available to readers directly by the authors. In that event an appropriate statement will be added to the text. Submit such tables for consideration with the paper so that they will be available to the peer reviewers.

11. Illustrations (Figures)

Figures should be either professionally drawn and photographed, or submitted as photographic quality digital prints. In addition to requiring a version of the figures suitable for printing, some journals now ask authors for electronic files of figures in a format (e.g., JPEG or GIF) that will produce high quality images in the web version of the journal; authors should review the images of such files on a computer screen before submitting them, to be sure they meet their own quality standard.

For x-ray films, scans, and other diagnostic images, as well as pictures of pathology specimens or photomicrographs, send sharp, glossy, black-and-white or color photographic prints, usually 127 x 173 mm (5 x 7 inches). Although some journals redraw figures, many do not. Letters, numbers, and symbols on Figures should therefore be clear and even throughout, and of sufficient size that when reduced for publication each item will still be legible. Figures should be made as self-explanatory as possible, since many will be used directly in slide presentations. Titles and detailed explanations belong in the legends, however, not on the illustrations themselves.

Photomicrographs should have internal scale markers. Symbols, arrows, or letters used in photomicrographs should contrast with the background.

If photographs of people are used, either the subjects must not be identifiable or their pictures must be accompanied by written permission to use the photograph (see Section III.D.4.a). Whenever possible permission for publication should be obtained.

Figures should be numbered consecutively according to the order in which they have been first cited in the text. If a figure has been published, acknowledge the original source and submit written permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the material. Permission is required irrespective of authorship or publisher except for documents in the public domain.

For illustrations in color, ascertain whether the journal requires color negatives, positive transparencies, or color prints. Accompanying drawings marked to indicate the region to be reproduced might be useful to the editor. Some journals publish illustrations in color only if the author pays for the extra cost.

Authors should consult the journal about requirements for figures submitted in electronic formats.

12. Legends for Illustrations (Figures)

Type or print out legends for illustrations using double spacing, starting on a separate page, with Arabic numerals corresponding to the illustrations. When symbols, arrows, numbers, or letters are used to identify parts of the illustrations, identify and explain each one clearly in the legend. Explain the internal scale and identify the method of staining in photomicrographs.

13. Units of Measurement

Measurements of length, height, weight, and volume should be reported in metric units (meter, kilogram, or liter) or their decimal multiples.

Temperatures should be in degrees Celsius. Blood pressures should be in millimeters of mercury, unless other units are specifically required by the journal.

Journals vary in the units they use for reporting hematological, clinical chemistry, and other measurements. Authors must consult the information for authors for the particular journal and should report laboratory information in both the local and International System of Units (SI). Editors may request that the authors before publication add alternative or non-SI units, since SI units are not universally used. Drug concentrations may be reported in either SI or mass units, but the alternative should be provided in parentheses where appropriate.

14. Abbreviations and Symbols

Use only standard abbreviations; the use of non-standard abbreviations can be extremely confusing to readers. Avoid abbreviations in the title. The full term for which an abbreviation stands should precede its first use in the text unless it is a standard unit of measurement.

IV.B Sending the Manuscript to the Journal

An increasing number of journals now accept electronic submission of manuscripts, whether on disk, as attachments to electronic mail, or by downloading directly onto the journal website. Electronic submission saves time as well as postage costs, and allows the manuscript to be handled in electronic form throughout the editorial process (for example, when it is sent out for review). When submitting a manuscript electronically, authors should consult with the instructions for authors of the journal they have chosen for their manuscript.

If a paper version of the manuscript is submitted, send the required number of copies of the manuscript and figures; they are all needed for peer review and editing, and editorial office staff cannot be expected to make the required copies.

Manuscripts must be accompanied by a cover letter, which should include the following information.

  • ·
  • · A statement of financial or other relationships that might lead to a conflict of interest, if that information is not included in the manuscript itself or in an authors’ form
  • · A statement that the manuscript has been read and approved by all the authors, that the requirements for authorship as stated earlier in this document have been met, and that each author believes that the manuscript represents honest work, if that information is not provided in another form (see below); and
  • ·

The letter should give any additional information that may be helpful to the editor, such as the type or format of article in the particular journal that the manuscript represents. If the manuscript has been submitted previously to another journal, it is helpful to include the previous editor’s and reviewers’ comments with the submitted manuscript, along with the authors’ responses to those comments. Editors encourage authors to submit these previous communications and doing so may expedite the review process.

Many journals now provide a pre-submission checklist that assures that all the components of the submission have been included. Some journals now also require that authors complete checklists for reports of certain study types (e.g., the CONSORT checklist for reports of randomized controlled trials). Authors should look to see if the journal uses such checklists, and send them with the manuscript if they are requested.

Copies of any permission to reproduce published material, to use illustrations or report information about identifiable people, or to name people for their contributions must accompany the manuscript.

V. References

A. References Cited in this Document

1. Davidoff F for the CSE Task Force on Authorship. . Who's the Author? Problems with Biomedical Authorship, and Some Possible Solutions. Science Editor. 2000 Jul-Aug;23 (4):111-9.

2. Yank V, Rennie D. Disclosure of researcher contributions: a study of original research articles in The Lancet. Ann Intern Med. 1999 Apr 20;130(8):661-70.

3. Flanagin A, Fontanarosa PB, DeAngelis CD. Authorship for research groups. JAMA. 2002;288:3166-8.

4. F Godlee, T Jefferson. Peer Review in Health Sciences. London: BMJ Books, 1999.

5. World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki: ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. JAMA. 2000 Dec 20;284(23):3043-5.

6. Pitkin RM, Branagan MA, Burmeister LF. Accuracy of data in abstracts of published research articles. JAMA. 1999 Mar 24-31;281(12):1110-1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Journal of Integrated Research in Medicine

 

Manuscript Preparation and Submission

 Scope of the Journal

The Journal seeks to be the pre-eminent Medical Journal . It aims to publish material of the highest quality reflecting world wide or provocative issues and perspectives. The contents will be of interest to learners and teachers and, potentially, have significant impact on the quality of health care.

The journal welcomes papers on any aspect of Medical research and development.

We are keen to encourage the submission of papers from authors whose first language is not English, although it is recommended that before submitting your manuscript to the journal you ask a colleague familiar with written English to read it through. This will greatly speed up the time taken to publish your paper.

When writing your paper for the NJIRM remember that the journal has an international readership. Readers will want to know something about the setting in which your work was conducted, why you did what you describe, and what the results mean. If you can set your work in the wider context of the international literature this will help readers understand how your work might apply to their own situation.

Papers are accepted in the following categories:

 

1. Original Research

These papers report major research and studies relevant to NJIRM and may be up to 4,000 words in length and include up to six tables or figures. Reports of studies using either quantitative or qualitative methods are welcomed. Papers will usually be organised using the Summary, Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (SIMRAD) structure although the editorial team is pleased to work with authors on more appropriate structures in certain cases. The Summary should be structured in relation to the organisation of the paper and not exceed 250 words. The context of the research and the conceptual framework and choice of methods used for analysis must be made clear in the text. References should be limited to no more than 15 and use the Vancouver style (see below).

 

2. Review Articles

Are particularly welcomed and may be up to 5,000 words in length and have fewer restrictions on the number of references. Authors considering submitting articles within this section are recommended to contact the editorial team during the preparation of their paper to discuss the scope and structure of their review.

 

3. Discussion Papers/Interesting Technologies 

Papers in this section may be up to 3,500 words long and are opportunities for authors to clarify concepts, critically discuss ideas or trends, or develop theories of relevance to Calicut Medical Journal. Particular attention should be given in such papers to the implications of the ideas for the current or future practice of teaching and learning.

 

4. Special Features

Are papers that vary in style and structure and are usually commissioned. They usually reflect a particular theme, for example, evaluation of teaching, or international aspects  of Medicine .

 

5. Short Reports

These shorter papers fall into two categories and should be no longer than 1,000 words in length, have no more than one Table or Figure and no more than five references.

{i}. Reports of research in progress or recently completed that would not be appropriate for the major Research Paper section, for example, reports of papers presented at conferences or at scientific meetings.

{ii}. Reports of innovation. An appropriate structure for such Reports may be Setting/Context, Aim(s), Learning Methods, Evidence for Effectiveness, Conclusion. Authors may wish to discuss alternative structures with a member of the editorial team.

{iii}.Case Reports/Clinical photographs/Radiology images. This is the section in which you can publish interesting cases, images etc that you have come across in your practice. Each photograph/image must be typical of the case and a short description of the case should be added.

 

6. Editorials

The Editor usually commissions editorials but ideas or suggestions are welcomed.

 

7. Conference Reports

A feature of NJIRM is that IT reports many of the conferences and meetings organised by Associations. The Journal is pleased to consider reports of other meetings that may be of interest to the readership. These will usually be between 1,200 and 1,500 words in length and must be submitted within six weeks of the date of the meeting or conference.

 

8. Letters/Opinion 

Are usually 400-500 words and are subject to copyediting. All authors should sign the letter. Preference will be given to letters responding to points raised by articles published in the Journal. Authors will not receive proofs.

Opinion articles relevant to newer developments in relation to Internet that would be of significance to medical profession is invited.

 

Preparing a Manuscript for Submission

 

Editors and reviewers spend many hours reading manuscripts, and therefore appreciate receiving with manuscripts that are easy to read and edit. Much of the information in journals’ instructions to authors is designed to accomplish that goal in ways that meet each journal’s particular editorial needs. The guidance that follows provides a general background and rationale for preparing manuscripts for any journal.

 

1.a. General Principles

The text of observational and experimental articles is usually (but not necessarily) divided into sections with the headings Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. This so-called “IMRAD” structure is not simply an arbitrary publication format, but rather a direct reflection of the process of scientific discovery. Long articles may need subheadings within some sections (especially the Results and Discussion sections) to clarify their content. Other types of articles, such as case reports, reviews, and editorials, are likely to need other formats.

Publication in electronic formats has created opportunities for adding details or whole sections in the electronic version only, layering information, cross-linking or extracting portions of articles, and the like. Authors need to work closely with editors in developing or using such new publication formats and should submit material for potential supplementary electronic formats for peer review.

Double spacing of all portions of the manuscript— including the title page, abstract, text, acknowledgments, references, individual tables, and legends—and generous margins make it possible for editors and reviewers to edit the text line by line, and add comments and queries, directly on the paper copy. If manuscripts are submitted electronically, the files should be double spaced, because the manuscript may need to be printed out for reviewing and editing.

During the editorial process reviewers and editors frequently need to refer to specific portions of the manuscript, which is difficult unless the pages are numbered. Authors should therefore number all of the pages of the manuscript consecutively, beginning with the title page.

1.b. Reporting Guidelines for Specific Study Designs

Research reports frequently omit important information. The general requirements listed in the next section relate to reporting essential elements for all study designs. Authors are encouraged in addition to consult reporting guidelines relevant to their specific research design. For reports of randomized controlled trials authors should refer to theCONSORT statement. This guideline provides a set of recommendations comprising a list of items to report and a patient flow diagram. Reporting guidelines have also been developed for a number of other study designs that some journals may ask authors to follow (see Table: Reporting Guidelines). Authors should consult the information for authors of the journal they have chosen.

Reporting Guidelines

Initiative

Type of study

Source

CONSORT

randomized controlled trials

http://www.consort-statement.org

STARD

studies of diagnostic accuracy

http://www.consort-statement.org/
stardstatement.htm

QUOROM

systematic reviews and meta-analyses

http://www.consort-statement.org/
Initiatives/MOOSE/moose.pdf

STROBE

observational studies in epidemiology

http://www.strobe-statement.org

MOOSE

meta-analyses of observational studies in epidemiology

http://www.consort-statement.org/
Initiatives/MOOSE/moose.pdf

2. Title Page

The title page should carry the following information:

1. The title of the article. Concise titles are easier to read than long, convoluted ones. Titles that are too short may, however, lack important information, such as study design (which is particularly important in identifying randomized controlled trials). Authors should include all information in the title that will make electronic retrieval of the article both sensitive and specific.

2. Authors’ names and institutional affiliations. Some journals publish each author’s highest academic degree(s), while others do not.

3. The name of the department(s) and institution(s) to which the work should be attributed.

4. Disclaimers, if any.

5. Corresponding authors. The name, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the author responsible for correspondence about the manuscript (the “corresponding author;” this author may or may not be the “guarantor” for the integrity of the study as a whole, if someone is identified in that role. The corresponding author should indicate clearly whether his or her e-mail address is to be published.

6. The name and address of the author to whom requests for reprints should be addressed or a statement that reprints will not be available from the authors.

7. Source(s) of support in the form of grants, equipment, drugs, or all of these.

8. A running head. Some journals request a short running head or foot line, usually of no more than 40 characters (count letters and spaces) at the foot of the title page. Running heads are published in most journals, but are also sometimes used within the editorial office for filing and locating manuscripts.

9. Word counts. A word count for the text only (excluding abstract, acknowledgments, figure legends, and references) allows editors and reviewers to assess whether the information contained in the paper warrants the amount of space devoted to it, and whether the submitted manuscript fits within the journal’s word limits. A separate word count for the Abstract is also useful for the same reason.

10. The number of figures and tables. It is difficult for editorial staff and reviewers to tell if the figures and tables that should have accompanied a manuscript were actually included unless the numbers of figures and tables that belong to the manuscript are noted on the title page.

3. Conflict of Interest Notification Page

To prevent the information on potential conflict of interest for authors from being overlooked or misplaced, it is necessary for that information to be part of the manuscript. It should therefore also be included on a separate page or pages immediately following the title page. However, individual journals may differ in where they ask authors to provide this information and some journals do not send information on conflicts of interest to reviewers. (See Section II.D. Conflicts of Interest)

4. Abstract and Key Words

An abstract (requirements for length and structured format vary by journal) should follow the title page. The abstract should provide the context or background for the study and should state the study’s purposes, basic procedures (selection of study subjects or laboratory animals, observational and analytical methods), main findings (giving specific effect sizes and their statistical significance, if possible), and principal conclusions. It should emphasize new and important aspects of the study or observations.

Because abstracts are the only substantive portion of the article indexed in many electronic databases, and the only portion many readers read, authors need to be careful that abstracts reflect the content of the article accurately. Unfortunately, many abstracts disagree with the text of the article (6). The format required for structured abstracts differs from journal to journal, and some journals use more than one structure; authors should make it a point prepare their abstracts in the format specified by the journal they have chosen.

Some journals request that, following the abstract, authors provide, and identify as such, 3 to 10 key words or short phrases that capture the main topics of the article. These will assist indexers in cross-indexing the article and may be published with the abstract. Terms from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) list of Index Medicus should be used; if suitable MeSH terms are not yet available for recently introduced terms, present terms may be used.

5. Introduction

Provide a context or background for the study (i.e., the nature of the problem and its significance). State the specific purpose or research objective of, or hypothesis tested by, the study or observation; the research objective is often more sharply focused when stated as a question. Both the main and secondary objectives should be made clear, and any pre-specified subgroup analyses should be described. Give only strictly pertinent references and do not include data or conclusions from the work being reported.

6. Methods

The Methods section should include only information that was available at the time the plan or protocol for the study was written; all information obtained during the conduct of the study belongs in the Results section.

6.a. Selection and Description of Participants

Describe your selection of the observational or experimental participants (patients or laboratory animals, including controls) clearly, including eligibility and exclusion criteria and a description of the source population. Because the relevance of such variables as age and sex to the object of research is not always clear, authors should explain their use when they are included in a study report; for example, authors should explain why only subjects of certain ages were included or why women were excluded. The guiding principle should be clarity about how and why a study was done in a particular way. When authors use variables such as race or ethnicity, they should define how they measured the variables and justify their relevance.

6.b. Technical information

Identify the methods, apparatus (give the manufacturer’s name and address in parentheses), and procedures in sufficient detail to allow other workers to reproduce the results. Give references to established methods, including statistical methods (see below); provide references and brief descriptions for methods that have been published but are not well known; describe new or substantially modified methods, give reasons for using them, and evaluate their limitations. Identify precisely all drugs and chemicals used, including generic name(s), dose(s), and route(s) of administration.

Authors submitting review manuscripts should include a section describing the methods used for locating, selecting, extracting, and synthesizing data. These methods should also be summarized in the abstract.

6.c. Statistics

Describe statistical methods with enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to verify the reported results. When possible, quantify findings and present them with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals). Avoid relying solely on statistical hypothesis testing, such as the use of P values, which fails to convey important information about effect size. References for the design of the study and statistical methods should be to standard works when possible (with pages stated). Define statistical terms, abbreviations, and most symbols. Specify the computer software used.

7. Results

Present your results in logical sequence in the text, tables, and illustrations, giving the main or most important findings first. Do not repeat in the text all the data in the tables or illustrations; emphasize or summarize only important observations. Extra or supplementary materials and technical detail can be placed in an appendix where it will be accessible but will not interrupt the flow of the text; alternatively, it can be published only in the electronic version of the journal.

When data are summarized in the Results section, give numeric results not only as derivatives (for example, percentages) but also as the absolute numbers from which the derivatives were calculated, and specify the statistical methods used to analyze them. Restrict tables and figures to those needed to explain the argument of the paper and to assess its support. Use graphs as an alternative to tables with many entries; do not duplicate data in graphs and tables. Avoid non-technical uses of technical terms in statistics, such as “random” (which implies a randomizing device), “normal,” “significant,” “correlations,” and “sample.”

Where scientifically appropriate, analyses of the data by variables such as age and sex should be included.

8. Discussion

Emphasize the new and important aspects of the study and the conclusions that follow from them. Do not repeat in detail data or other material given in the Introduction or the Results section. For experimental studies it is useful to begin the discussion by summarizing briefly the main findings, then explore possible mechanisms or explanations for these findings, compare and contrast the results with other relevant studies, state the limitations of the study, and explore the implications of the findings for future research and for clinical practice.

Link the conclusions with the goals of the study but avoid unqualified statements and conclusions not adequately supported by the data. In particular, authors should avoid making statements on economic benefits and costs unless their manuscript includes the appropriate economic data and analyses. Avoid claiming priority and alluding to work that has not been completed. State new hypotheses when warranted, but clearly label them as such.

9. References

9.a. General Considerations Related to References

Although references to review articles can be an efficient way of guiding readers to a body of literature, review articles do not always reflect original work accurately. Readers should therefore be provided with direct references to original research sources whenever possible. On the other hand, extensive lists of references to original work on a topic can use excessive space on the printed page. Small numbers of references to key original papers will often serve as well as more exhaustive lists, particularly since references can now be added to the electronic version of published papers, and since electronic literature searching allows readers to retrieve published literature efficiently.

Avoid using abstracts as references. References to papers accepted but not yet published should be designated as “in press” or “forthcoming”; authors should obtain written permission to cite such papers as well as verification that they have been accepted for publication. Information from manuscripts submitted but not accepted should be cited in the text as “unpublished observations” with written permission from the source.

Avoid citing a “personal communication” unless it provides essential information not available from a public source, in which case the name of the person and date of communication should be cited in parentheses in the text. For scientific articles, authors should obtain written permission and confirmation of accuracy from the source of a personal communication.

Some journals check the accuracy of all reference citations, but not all journals do so, and citation errors sometimes appear in the published version of articles. To minimize such errors, authors should therefore verify references against the original documents. Authors are responsible for checking that none of the references cite retracted articles except in the context of referring to the retraction. For articles published in journals indexed in MEDLINE, the ICMJE considersPubMedthe authoritative source for information about retractions. Authors can identify retracted articles in MEDLINE by using the following search term, where pt in square brackets stands for publication type: Retracted publication [pt] in PubMed.

9.b. Reference Style and Format

The Uniform Requirements style is based largely on an ANSI standard style adapted by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for its databases. Authors should consultNational Library of Medicine’s Citing Medicinefor information on NLM’s recommended citation formats for a variety of reference types.

References should be numbered consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text. Identify references in text, tables, and legends by Arabic numerals in parentheses. References cited only in tables or figure legends should be numbered in accordance with the sequence established by the first identification in the text of the particular table or figure. The titles of journals should be abbreviated according to the style used in Index Medicus. Consult the list of Journals Indexed for MEDLINE, published annually as a separate publication by the National Library of Medicine. The list can also be obtained through theLibrary's web site. Journals vary on whether they ask authors to cite electronic references within parentheses in the text or in numbered references following the text. Authors should consult with the journal that they plan to submit their work to.

10. Tables

Tables capture information concisely, and display it efficiently; they also provide information at any desired level of detail and precision. Including data in tables rather than text frequently makes it possible to reduce the length of the text.

Type or print each table with double spacing on a separate sheet of paper. Number tables consecutively in the order of their first citation in the text and supply a brief title for each. Do not use internal horizontal or vertical lines. Give each column a short or abbreviated heading. Authors should place explanatory matter in footnotes, not in the heading. Explain in footnotes all nonstandard abbreviations. For footnotes use the following symbols, in sequence:

*,†,‡,§,||,¶,**,††,‡‡

Identify statistical measures of variations, such as standard deviation and standard error of the mean.

Be sure that each table is cited in the text.

If you use data from another published or unpublished source, obtain permission and acknowledge them fully.

Additional tables containing backup data too extensive to publish in print may be appropriate for publication in the electronic version of the journal, deposited with an archival service, or made available to readers directly by the authors. In that event an appropriate statement will be added to the text. Submit such tables for consideration with the paper so that they will be available to the peer reviewers.

11. Illustrations (Figures)

Figures should be either professionally drawn and photographed, or submitted as photographic quality digital prints. In addition to requiring a version of the figures suitable for printing, some journals now ask authors for electronic files of figures in a format (e.g., JPEG or GIF) that will produce high quality images in the web version of the journal; authors should review the images of such files on a computer screen before submitting them, to be sure they meet their own quality standard.

For x-ray films, scans, and other diagnostic images, as well as pictures of pathology specimens or photomicrographs, send sharp, glossy, black-and-white or color photographic prints, usually 127 x 173 mm (5 x 7 inches). Although some journals redraw figures, many do not. Letters, numbers, and symbols on Figures should therefore be clear and even throughout, and of sufficient size that when reduced for publication each item will still be legible. Figures should be made as self-explanatory as possible, since many will be used directly in slide presentations. Titles and detailed explanations belong in the legends, however, not on the illustrations themselves.

Photomicrographs should have internal scale markers. Symbols, arrows, or letters used in photomicrographs should contrast with the background.

If photographs of people are used, either the subjects must not be identifiable or their pictures must be accompanied by written permission to use the photograph (see Section III.D.4.a). Whenever possible permission for publication should be obtained.

Figures should be numbered consecutively according to the order in which they have been first cited in the text. If a figure has been published, acknowledge the original source and submit written permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the material. Permission is required irrespective of authorship or publisher except for documents in the public domain.

For illustrations in color, ascertain whether the journal requires color negatives, positive transparencies, or color prints. Accompanying drawings marked to indicate the region to be reproduced might be useful to the editor. Some journals publish illustrations in color only if the author pays for the extra cost.

Authors should consult the journal about requirements for figures submitted in electronic formats.

12. Legends for Illustrations (Figures)

Type or print out legends for illustrations using double spacing, starting on a separate page, with Arabic numerals corresponding to the illustrations. When symbols, arrows, numbers, or letters are used to identify parts of the illustrations, identify and explain each one clearly in the legend. Explain the internal scale and identify the method of staining in photomicrographs.

13. Units of Measurement

Measurements of length, height, weight, and volume should be reported in metric units (meter, kilogram, or liter) or their decimal multiples.

Temperatures should be in degrees Celsius. Blood pressures should be in millimeters of mercury, unless other units are specifically required by the journal.

Journals vary in the units they use for reporting hematological, clinical chemistry, and other measurements. Authors must consult the information for authors for the particular journal and should report laboratory information in both the local and International System of Units (SI). Editors may request that the authors before publication add alternative or non-SI units, since SI units are not universally used. Drug concentrations may be reported in either SI or mass units, but the alternative should be provided in parentheses where appropriate.

14. Abbreviations and Symbols

Use only standard abbreviations; the use of non-standard abbreviations can be extremely confusing to readers. Avoid abbreviations in the title. The full term for which an abbreviation stands should precede its first use in the text unless it is a standard unit of measurement.

IV.B Sending the Manuscript to the Journal

An increasing number of journals now accept electronic submission of manuscripts, whether on disk, as attachments to electronic mail, or by downloading directly onto the journal website. Electronic submission saves time as well as postage costs, and allows the manuscript to be handled in electronic form throughout the editorial process (for example, when it is sent out for review). When submitting a manuscript electronically, authors should consult with the instructions for authors of the journal they have chosen for their manuscript.

If a paper version of the manuscript is submitted, send the required number of copies of the manuscript and figures; they are all needed for peer review and editing, and editorial office staff cannot be expected to make the required copies.

Manuscripts must be accompanied by a cover letter, which should include the following information.

· A full statement to the editor about all submissions and previous reports that might be regarded as redundant publication of the same or very similar work. Any such work should be referred to specifically, and referenced in the new paper. Copies of such material should be included with the submitted paper, to help the editor decide how to handle the matter.

· A statement of financial or other relationships that might lead to a conflict of interest, if that information is not included in the manuscript itself or in an authors’ form

· A statement that the manuscript has been read and approved by all the authors, that the requirements for authorship as stated earlier in this document have been met, and that each author believes that the manuscript represents honest work, if that information is not provided in another form (see below); and

· The name, address, and telephone number of the corresponding author, who is responsible for communicating with the other authors about revisions and final approval of the proofs, if that information is not included on the manuscript itself.

The letter should give any additional information that may be helpful to the editor, such as the type or format of article in the particular journal that the manuscript represents. If the manuscript has been submitted previously to another journal, it is helpful to include the previous editor’s and reviewers’ comments with the submitted manuscript, along with the authors’ responses to those comments. Editors encourage authors to submit these previous communications and doing so may expedite the review process.

Many journals now provide a pre-submission checklist that assures that all the components of the submission have been included. Some journals now also require that authors complete checklists for reports of certain study types (e.g., the CONSORT checklist for reports of randomized controlled trials). Authors should look to see if the journal uses such checklists, and send them with the manuscript if they are requested.

Copies of any permission to reproduce published material, to use illustrations or report information about identifiable people, or to name people for their contributions must accompany the manuscript.

V. References

A. References Cited in this Document

1. Davidoff F for the CSE Task Force on Authorship. . Who's the Author? Problems with Biomedical Authorship, and Some Possible Solutions. Science Editor. 2000 Jul-Aug;23 (4):111-9.

2. Yank V, Rennie D. Disclosure of researcher contributions: a study of original research articles in The Lancet. Ann Intern Med. 1999 Apr 20;130(8):661-70.

3. Flanagin A, Fontanarosa PB, DeAngelis CD. Authorship for research groups. JAMA. 2002;288:3166-8.

4. F Godlee, T Jefferson. Peer Review in Health Sciences. London: BMJ Books, 1999.

5. World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki: ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. JAMA. 2000 Dec 20;284(23):3043-5.

6. Pitkin RM, Branagan MA, Burmeister LF. Accuracy of data in abstracts of published research articles. JAMA. 1999 Mar 24-31;281(12):1110-1.

 

Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication (accessed site on 24.11.2010) Available from: http://www.ICMJE.org

 



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