ISSN 1681-150X printed version
ISSN 2309-8309 online version



Scope and Policy

The scope of publication encompasses all orthopaedic surgery sub–disciplines including paediatric orthopaedics, hip, knee, tumour and sepsis, spine, shoulder and elbow, foot and ankle and hand surgery. In addition the journal addresses the subjects of orthopaedic service delivery, teaching, training and research. Publications should influence orthopaedic care on our continent.

The South African Orthopaedic Journal aims to advance the knowledge of all aspects of musculoskeletal medicine through publication of:

  • Original research articles.
    • Clinical research
    • Basic science and theoretical research
  • Review articles.
  • Invited expert opinions.
    • A review of significant local or international publications journal article or cluster of articles dealing with a similar topic for the purpose of conveying a useful message.
  • Editorials.
  • Letters to the editor.
    • Forum to raise issues or debate aspects of previously published papers.

Criteria for publication

  • The article falls within the scope of the journal.
  • Methods, statistics, and other analyses are performed to a high technical standard and are described in sufficient detail.
  • Results reported have not been published elsewhere.
  • Conclusions are presented in an appropriate fashion and are supported by the data.
  • The article is presented in an intelligible fashion and is written in standard English (British usage).
  • The research meets all applicable ethical standards.
  • The article adheres to guidelines provided in the instructions for authors section.

Guidelines for authorship

  • Each author should participate and is responsible for the content and design of the study, the preparation of the manuscript and its revisions, and final approval.
  • Other ‘contributors’ can be acknowledged at the end of the manuscript together with their contribution.
  • Authors of manuscripts representing a multi–centre study may list members of the group in the footnote on the title page of the published article and their affiliations are listed in an appendix.
  • The authors should clearly indicate the predominant surgeon or surgeons who have contributed patients to the study.

Registration of clinical trials

  • A clinical trial is defined as any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health–related interventions to evaluate the effects of health outcomes. Interventions include drugs, surgical procedures, devices, behavioural treatments, dietary interventions, and process–of–care changes.
  • Clinical trials should be registered in a public trials registry in accordance with International Committee of Medical Journal Editors recommendations.
  • Trials must be registered and approved by the relevant authorities before the onset of patient enrolment.
  • The Medicines Control Council (MCC) reference number and the SA National Clinical Trial Register (SANCTR) registration number should be included at the end of the abstract of the article.
  • Purely observational studies (those in which the assignment of the medical intervention is not at the discretion of the investigator) do not require registration.

Reporting guidelines

Role of funding source

  • Authors are requested to identify who provided financial support for the conduct of the research and/or preparation of the article and to briefly describe the role of the sponsor(s), if any, in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication. If the funding source(s) had no such involvement, then this should be stated.


Formatting of Submissions

Text formatting

  • Use Helvetica or Arial font, size 11.
  • Use double line spacing throughout the document.
  • Number the pages of the blinded manuscript consecutively.
  • Use italics for emphasis.
  • When referring to an article with multiple authors please use the following format: Rabinowitz et al. published their retrospective review.
  • Do not use field functions.
  • Use tab stops or other commands for indents, not the space bar.
  • Use the table function, not spreadsheets, to make tables.
  • Use the equation editor or MathType for equations.
  • Save your file in docx format (Word 2007 or higher) or doc format (older Word versions).


  • Use no more than three levels of displayed headings.


  • Define abbreviations and acronyms at first mention and use consistently thereafter.


  • Follow internationally accepted rules and conventions: use the international system of units (SI). If other units are mentioned, please give their equivalent in SI.


  • Figures should be numbered consecutively with illustration Arabic numbers 1, 2, 3, etc.
  • The figure should be listed in the text as follows: … wound irrigation and splinting (Figure 1).
  • Figures should be clear and easily understandable with a full descriptive legend stating any areas of interest and explaining any markings, letterings or notations. All figures should be understandable without the main text.
  • For radiographs please ensure you state the view used and the time point at which it was taken, as well as the demographic details of the patient if applicable.
  • Figures should not be imbedded in the text file, but should be submitted as separate individual files. Each figure should be a separate file, entitled Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.
  • Remove all markings, such as patient identification, from radiographs before photographing.
  • All line or original drawings must be done by a professional medical illustrator.
  • We accept a maximum of six figures.
  • Do not submit any figures, photos, tables, or other works that have been previously copyrighted or that contain proprietary data unless you have obtained and can supply written permission from the copyright holder to use that content.


  • Tables should carry uppercase Roman numerals, I, II, III, etc.
  • Tables should always be cited in the text in consecutive numerical order.
  • The table should be identified in the text as follows: Details of results are listed in Table I. Or, alternatively, … high–energy trauma that is often associated with these fractures (Table II).
  • Tables should be used to present information in a clear and concise manner. All tables should be understandable without the main text.
  • For each table, please supply a table heading explaining the components of the table.
  • Identify any previously published material by giving the original source in the form of a reference at the end of the table heading.
  • Footnotes to tables should be indicated by superscript lower–case letters and included beneath the table body.
  • Please submit tables as editable text and not as images. They should be created using the Table tool in Word.
  • Do not embed tables in the text file, but submit them as separate individual files. Each table should be a separate file, entitled Table I, Table II, etc.
  • We accept a maximum of eight tables.
  • Do not duplicate information given already in the text.
  • Do not submit any figures, photos, tables or other works that have been previously copyrighted or that contain proprietary data unless you have obtained and can supply written permission from the copyright holder to use that content.


  • References should be numbered consecutively in the order that they are first mentioned in the text and listed at the end in numerical order of appearance.
  • Identify references in the text by Arabic numerals in superscript after punctuation.
  • References should not be a listing of a computerised literature search but should have been read by the authors and have pertinence to the manuscript.
  • Authors should add DOIs to all references in articles.
  • Accuracy of references is the author’s responsibility and the author is to verify the references against the original documents.
  • Manuscripts in preparation, unpublished data (including articles submitted but not in the press) and personal communications may not be included in the reference listing. They may be listed in the text in parentheses only if absolutely necessary to the contents and meaning of the article.
  • The titles of journals should be abbreviated according to the style used in Index Medicus, obtainable through the website http://www.nlm.nih.govshould
  • The following format should be used for references:

    Journal article:
    Sidhu GS, Ghag A, Prokuski V, Vaccaro AR, Radcliff KE. Civilian gunshot injuries of the spinal cord: a systematic review of the current literature. Clin Orthop Relat Res 2013;471:3945-55.

    Ideally, the names of all authors should be provided, but the usage of ‘et al.’ in long author lists (more than six authors) will also be accepted: Fong K, Truong V, Foote CJ, et al. Predictors of nonunion and reoperation in patients with fractures of the tibia: an observational study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2013;14:103.

    On–line journal article:
    Caetano–Lopes J, Lopes A, Rodrigues A, et al. Upregulation of inflammatory genes and downregulation of sclerostin gene expression are key elements in the early phase of fragility fracture healing. PLoS One 2011;6:e16947.

    Web reference (with authors):
    Cierny G, DiPasquale D. Adult osteomyelitis protocol. (date last accessed 05 March 2013).

    Web reference (no authors listed):
    No authors listed. International commission on radiological protection. (date last accessed 20 September 2009).

    Chapter in a book:
    Young W. Neurophysiology of spinal cord injury. In: Errico TJ, Bauer RD, Waugh T (eds). Spinal Trauma. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott; 1991: 377-94.

    Borkowski MM. Infant sleep and feeding: a telephone survey of Hispanic Americans [dissertation]. Mount Pleasant (MI): Central Michigan University; 2002.

    Peterson L. Osteochondritis of the knee treated with autologous chondrocyte transplantation [abstract]. ISAKOS Congress, 2001.

Structure and content of submission

  • We accept a maximum of 3500 words including the abstract and body of the text (excluding references).
  • Exceptions to this rule may be made for systematic reviews and meta–analysis, at the discretion of the Editor–in–Chief.
  • Please follow the following structure when preparing your submission.
    • Title page (Title, authors and affiliations, corresponding author and declarations)
    • Blinded manuscript (Abstract, key words, introduction, methods, results, discussion, funding sources, conflict of interest statement, ethical statement, acknowledgements and references)
    • Tables (with headings), each as a separate file.
    • Figures (with legends), each as a separate file.

Title page


  • The title should be concise and informative.

Author names and affiliations

  • Please provide the following information for each author:
    • Full names and surname, as well as title
    • Qualifications
    • Affiliation and address
    • ORCID ID (see Article Submission section)
  • Please check that all names are accurately spelled.
  • Indicate all affiliations with a lower–case superscript letter immediately after the author's name and in front of the appropriate affiliation details.
  • Provide the full postal address of each affiliation, including the country name and, if available, the e–mail address of each author.

Corresponding author

  • Clearly indicate who will handle correspondence at all stages of refereeing and publication, including post–publication.
  • Ensure that the e–mail address and permanent address is given and that contact details are kept up to date by the corresponding author.
  • Please note that the corresponding author’s contact details will be provided in the final article.
  • Provide the following information for the corresponding author:
    • Full names and title
    • Affiliation
    • Physical address
    • Postal address
    • Telephone Number
    • E–mail address

Authors are to insert a section at the end of the title page entitled declarations. Following the declarations all authors need the to sign the document (please provide name of author, signature and date). The following statements are required under the declarations section:

  1. Authorship
    The authors confirm that all authors have made substantial contributions to all of the following:
    • The conception and design of the study, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data
    • The drafting the article or its critical revision for important intellectual content
    • Final approval of the version to be submitted.

  2. Sound scientific research practice
    The authors further confirm that:
    • The manuscript, including related data, figures and tables has not been previously published and is not under consideration elsewhere
    • No data have been fabricated or manipulated (including images) to support conclusions.
    • This submission does not represent part of a single study that has been split up into several parts to increase the quantity of submissions and submitted to various journals or to one journal over time (e.g. ‘salami–publishing’).

  3. Plagiarism
    The authors confirm that the work submitted is original and does not transgress the plagiarism policy of the journal.
    • No data, text or theories by others are presented as if they were the authors’ own.
    • Proper acknowledgements of others’ work has been given (this includes material that is closely copied, summarised and/or paraphrased); quotation marks are used for verbatim copying of material.
    • Permissions have been secured for material that is copyrighted.

  4. Conflict of interest statement
    A conflicting interest exists when professional judgement concerning a primary interest (such as the patient’s welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain or personal rivalry). It represents a situation in which financial or other personal considerations from authors, reviewers or editors have the potential to compromise or bias professional judgment and objectivity. It may arise for the authors when they have a financial interest that may influence their interpretation of their results or those of others. Examples of potential conflicts of interest include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations, and grants or other funding. All potential conflicts of interest need to be declared. The conflict of interest statement should list each author separately by name, i.e.,
    ‘John Smith declares that he has no conflict of interest. Paula Taylor has received research grants from Drug Company A. Mike Schultz has received a speaker honorarium from Drug Company B and owns stock in Drug Company C.’
    If multiple authors declare no conflict, this can be done in one sentence.

  5. Funding sources
    All sources of funding should be declared. Also define the involvement of study sponsors in the study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data; the writing of the manuscript; and the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. If the study sponsors had no such involvement, this should be stated.

  6. Compliance with ethical guidelines
    • For all publications:

      ‘The author/s declare that this submission is in accordance with the principles laid down by the Responsible Research Publication Position Statements as developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity in Singapore, 2010.’

      Available from:

      Institutional Review Board (IRB) ethical approval must have been given if the study involves human subjects or animals. Please provide the approval number. IRB documentation should be available upon request.

      ‘Prior to commencement of the study ethical approval was obtained from the following ethical review board: Provide name and reference number’

    • For studies with human subjects include the following:
      ‘All procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.’

      ‘Informed written consent was or was not obtained from all patients for being included in the study.’
    • For studies with animals include the following sentence:
      ‘All institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.’
    • For articles that do not contain studies with human or animal subjects:
      ‘This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.’
    • If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach, and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. If any identifying information about patients is included in the article, the following sentence should also be included: Additional informed consent was obtained from all patients for which identifying information is included in this article.

      The Helsinki Declaration 2008 can be found at

Blinded manuscript


  • A structured abstract (maximum of 350 words), summarising the most important points in the article is required.
  • The abstract consists of four paragraphs with the subheadings:
    • Aims (it is unnecessary to include an introductory section)
    • Patients and methods
    • Results
    • Conclusion
  • References should be avoided. Avoid uncommon abbreviations. If essential they must be defined at their first mention in the abstract itself

Key words

  • Immediately after the abstract, provide a maximum of six key words, using standard searchable terms. These key words will be used for indexing purposes.

Level of evidence

  • Level 1 to 5.
  • Please follow the level of evidence guidelines provided by the Oxford Centre for Evidence–Based Medicine (OCEBM); version 2.1.
  • Available from: OCEBM Levels of Evidence Working Group. ‘The Oxford Levels of Evidence 2’.Oxford Centre for Evidence–Based Medicine.


  • The introduction should contextualise the study by providing the background to the research; explain the problem that is to be addressed and provide the rationale for the study.
  • Briefly outline the relevance of the study with respect to the current literature. Avoid a detailed literature survey or a summary of the results.
  • The last sentence should outline the research question or hypothesis.

Patients (or Materials) and methods

  • State the methods, outcome measures, and selection criteria. The following aspects need to be described:
    • The study design and research methodology
    • Whether randomisation (with methods) was applied
    • If case controlled, how the controls were selected
    • The time period under review
    • Number of patients/subjects under investigation and why this number was chosen
    • Inclusion and exclusion criteria
    • Case and outcome definitions
    • A description of the procedure or intervention, including post–operative protocol
    • The outcome measures or scores used
    • The minimum follow–up period
    • Statistical analysis paragraph. This should be included at the end of this section to detail statistical tests and package used, the reasons why these tests were used, and what p–value was considered statistically significant. A power analysis is recommended for studies comparing two or more groups.

  • Provide sufficient detail so that another researcher can replicate the study.
  • The reader should understand from this description all potential sources of bias such as referral, diagnosis, exclusion, recall or treatment bias. This includes the manner in which investigators selected the patients. Consecutive inclusion implies all patients with a given diagnosis are included, while selective implies patients with a given diagnosis but selected according to certain explicit criteria (e.g., state of disease, choice of treatment).
  • Do not describe standard procedure for common operations. Only include new procedures or adaptations to standard procedure.
  • If you name any specific product, then it requires the name, city and state/country of the manufacturer.
  • Present information in the narrative format and use the past tense.
  • Where relevant, tables or figures may be included to provide information more clearly.
  • Generally, no data should be presented in this section.


  • Describe the relevant results and analysis thereof.
  • Provide details of the number of patients included and excluded, as well as the reason for exclusion.
  • It is important to state the follow–up period (mean and range).
  • The results can be broken down into separate sections, e.g. Treatment, Functional outcome, Complications, etc.
  • Tables may be used but avoid repeating data reported in the text in the tables.
  • All appropriate data should be presented as means with ranges, not with standard deviations (SDs). Medians should only be used when the data is skewed, accompanied by an interquartile range (IQR).
  • Avoid using percentages in studies involving well under 100 subjects.
  • All results must be backed up with p–values or survivorship analysis. All Kaplan–Meier data should be presented with the confidence intervals. Always present exact absolute p–values, whether significant or not, unless p < 0.001.
  • However, p–values do not always convey the entire picture and where relevant the confidence interval will also be required (in addition to the power of the study reported in the methods section).


  • The question or hypothesis stated at the end of the introduction should be discussed and either supported or rejected.
  • The results must be interpreted clearly and any deficiencies expressed. All possible confounding factors, sources of bias, or weaknesses in the study should be identified.
  • Explore the significance of the results of the work, rather than repeating the results.
  • The discussion must point out the relevance of the work described in the paper and its contribution to current knowledge.
  • Explain what can be deduced from the results and how will it affect clinical practice.
  • Include a review of the relevant literature, placing the results of the study in the context of previous work in this area.
  • Discussion of relevant prior research and references must be concise. Avoid extensive citations and discussion of published literature but put emphasis on previous findings that agree (or disagree) with those of the present study.
  • Do not repeat the introduction.
  • Present the limitations of the study and suggest how the study could have been improved for a future study.
  • Avoid making inferences from non–significant trends unless you believe your study is adequately powered to answer the question; in that case, provide a power analysis.


  • Provide a summary statement which conveys the conclusions of the findings.
  • Do not draw conclusions not supported by the data obtained from the specific study presented.

Conflict of interest

  • ‘Author A.B. (use initials of relevant author, not full name in order for the document to remain blinded) has received research grants from Company A. Author B.C. has received a speaker honorarium from Company X and owns stock in Company Y. Author C.D. is a member of committee Z.’
  • If no conflicts of interest exist, state this as follows: ‘The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest that are directly or indirectly related to the research.’

Ethical statement

  • For studies involving human subjects please include an ethical statement as follows: ‘All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.’
  • For animal studies please include the following ethical statement: ‘All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.’
  • If the study did not involve human or animal subjects state that: ‘This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.’
  • Please also include an informed consent statement: ‘Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.’
  • Or alternatively, for retrospective studies, please add the following sentence: ‘For this study formal consent was not required.’
  • If identifying information about participants is available in the article, the following statement should be included: ‘Additional informed consent was obtained from all individual participants for whom identifying information is included in this article.’

Funding sources

  • List all funding sources as follows: ‘This work was supported by the xxxx (grant numbers xxxx, yyyy).’
  • When funding is from a block grant or other resources available to a university, college or other research institution, submit the name of the institute or organisation that provided the funding.
  • If no funding was received, state as follows: ‘No funding was received for this study.’


  • Acknowledgements should be placed at the end of the discussion and before the references.
  • In this section persons who were involved but did not earn authorship can be acknowledged.
  • Statements should be brief. A person can be thanked for assistance or for comments.
  • Should not include contributions by editors or referees.


  • Please refer to the section on Formatting of submissions.

Tables and figures

  • Table and figures should not be imbedded in the text file, but should be submitted as separate individual files. Each table should be a separate file, entitled Table I, Figure 2, etc.
  • Each table and figure should be provided with a heading or legend.
  • Please refer to the ‘Formatting of submission’ section for further guidelines.


Instructions for Reviewers


  • Comprehensive, high–quality, blinded peer review is essential to maintain an adequate publication standard.
  • Peer reviewers are orthopaedic surgeons or physicians from other disciplines who possess special expertise and who have demonstrated their willingness to perform timely and thorough manuscript reviews for the journal. Guest reviewers are invited if unique experience or knowledge is required on a specific topic.
  • Reviewers are asked to follow the structure and guidelines described below.
  • A methodological review is conducted for papers that have received a favourable content review and are being considered for publication.
  • Please also see our peer review policy

General guidelines

  • When you receive the invitation to review please consider the following question:
    • Do you have time to complete the review before the deadline?
    • Are you familiar enough with the content area and/or methods to provide a high–quality review?
    • Do you have any potential conflicts of interest?

    If you are unable to review for any of these reasons please reply promptly to the invitation e–mail in order to for another reviewer to be appointed.

  • Please attempt to complete your review within the provided deadline. If you will not be able to complete your review in time, please contact the Editorial Office.

  • A well–organised, detailed, thoughtful review will often be passed on to the authors.

  • Make your review as objective and evidence–based as possible. Perform a literature search on the topic in order to familiarise yourself with the current literature on the topic (OVID, Google Scholar and Pubmed, at least).

  • Your review can be as critical as you judge necessary. Always provide constructive criticism. Your comments should be helpful to the author(s) and should never be demeaning or pejorative. The authors are likely to have put a huge amount of time and energy into their work. Disparaging comments are not helpful.

  • Do not spend a lot of time correcting language, grammar or spelling. If errors in these areas interfere with the overall message, make a general comment to this effect. If a specific error confuses a point, make a specific comment.

  • Please keep the content of the manuscript confidential.

  • Please avoid including a signature or any other ways of identifying you as a reviewer.

  • If you have any concerns please contact the section editor directly.

  • Follow a systematic procedure to review the manuscript and to write your review (see below).

Structure of review

  • Recommendations following review
    • Reject (resubmission not recommended)
    • Reject and resubmit
    • Major revision required
    • Accepted with minor revision
    • Accepted as is

  • Summary
    • Summarise the article in a short paragraph. The aim is to demonstrate your understanding of what the work is about.
    • Briefly state your understanding of the research question and methodology.

  • General comments
    • Please provide a paragraph for this to put the study in the context of previously reported information.
    • Is it relevant to clinical practice in South Africa?
    • Is the relevance to the South African orthopaedic surgeon discussed?

  • Specific comments
    • Title
    • Abstract
    • Level of evidence
    • Introduction
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Conclusion
    • References
    • Illustrations
    • Tables
    • Organisation
    • Language, punctuation, grammar and spelling

  • Further requirements:
    1. Was the research question clearly elucidated in the introductory section?
    2. Was sufficient detail provided in the methods section so that another researcher can replicate the study?
    3. Was the statistical methodology employed sound?
    4. Were subject recruitment procedures, and inclusion and exclusion criteria accurately described?
    5. Was the follow–up period adequate?
    6. Were the limitations of the study adequately explored?
    7. Was the conclusion supported by the data presented in the study?
    8. Were all necessary references provided?
    9. Was the necessary ethical standard maintained?
    10. Does the article satisfy the requirements set out in the Instructions for authors section?
    11. Note: If the answer to any of these questions is no, the paper should either be rejected, rejected and resubmitted, or returned to the authors for major revision.

Specific comments

This part of the review should consist of a detailed listing of your specific concerns with the manuscript. Each item in the list should refer to a specific location in the text (including the page, paragraph and line numbers). Your specific, precise comments will be valuable to the authors when they revise their work. Constructive criticism will be appreciated. In addition to the text, the following elements of the manuscript should be assessed.

  • Title
    • Does it clearly describe the subject of the paper?

  • Abstract
    • Is it an accurate, succinct reflection of the aims, methods, results and conclusion?

  • Level of evidence
    • Is the proposed level of evidence appropriate?
    • Please follow the level of evidence guidelines provided by the Oxford Centre for Evidence–Based Medicine (OCEBM); version 2.1.
    • Available from: OCEBM Levels of Evidence Working Group. ‘The Oxford Levels of Evidence 2’. Oxford Centre for Evidence–Based Medicine.

  • Introduction
    • Is it an unbiased introduction to the topic?
    • Is an adequate background given?
    • Does it mention the relevance of the research question?
    • Do the authors give a research question or hypothesis?
    • Are the aims and objectives communicated clearly?

  • Methods
    • Was the methodology employed appropriate for the research question that was posed?
    • Could the study be replicated with the details given?
    • Was the sampling described?
    • Are the inclusion and exclusion criteria adequate?
    • Is the statistical analysis sufficiently and correctly described and is it appropriate?

  • Results
    • Do the results address the research questions?
    • Are there unnecessary duplications (i.e. results in text also shown in tables?)
    • Are the results described logically and in a clear fashion?

  • Discussion
    • Is a logical and meaningful interpretation of the results made?
    • Is the interpretation of the results within the boundaries of the study limitations?
    • Are the results brought into context with current knowledge and evidence?
    • Has it been done in a balanced manner?
    • Did the authors describe the implications of the findings?
    • Is there a statement made regarding the generalisability of the findings?
    • Are limitations given adequately?

  • Conclusion
    • Is there a clear and logical summary of the findings?
    • Is the conclusion scientifically valid in terms of the results that were presented?
    • Do the authors give suggestions for future research?
    • Is a take–home message given?

  • References
    • Is the bibliography adequate and was all relevant literature discussed (without being excessive)?
    • Have all the important statements been referenced?

  • Illustrations
    • Do illustrations support the main point of the article?
    • Are all the illustrations appropriate and necessary? If not, which ones would you delete?
    • Are the legends adequate?

  • Tables
    • Are all the tables necessary, or could several tables be combined?
    • Are clarifications or additional columns needed?
    • Please suggest changes if you believe that they would help the author to present the information more clearly.

  • Organisation
    • Is the organisation of the manuscript satisfactory?
    • Does the text provide the reader with all the information that is needed in each section?

  • Language, punctuation, grammar and spelling
    • Is this of an acceptable standard?

Decision categories

  • Reject and resubmission not recommended

    This means that the paper is considered inadequate for publication in the journal, either because the quality is too poor, or because the paper is out of scope for the journal, or because of ethical problems (duplicate submission, self–plagiarism or plagiarism). List two or three major reasons why you believe the manuscript should be rejected. If you are recommending a rejection of the manuscript it is neither necessary nor desirable to complete a comprehensive specific comments section as these are intended to help the authors who are invited to revise their submission.

  • Reject and resubmit

    This is relevant in the following situations:
    • The submission is incomplete.
    • The submission fails to comply with the Instructions for authors guidelines.
    • The content of the paper could potentially be of interest but the paper has too many deficits to expect that it will be of sufficient quality to allow publication following major revision. Compared to a simple ‘reject’ decision, this is a signal to the authors that they may have an interesting idea but that they need to write a new paper and not to try to enhance the existing one.

  • Major revision

    This implies that in its present state the paper is below standard for publication and requires substantial revision. However, the reviewer believes that the authors can correct these deficiencies. Reasons may include lack of putting the work into perspective, lack of sufficient experimental validation, or serious flaws in the way the work is presented or justified, etc. A major revision decision is in no way a commitment to ultimately accept a revised version of the paper for publication. If the revised version of a paper has not addressed the initial concerns and still raises major concerns after major revision, it is probably better to reject it than to extend the reviewing process.

  • Accepted with minor revision

    This means that the major aspects of the paper are considered to be of sufficient quality for publication. This is actually a commitment to ultimately publish the paper, provided that the authors adequately answer the remaining concerns (which should be relatively minor) and correct the relevant language/grammar/spelling problems.

  • Accepted as is

    Article is suitable for publication as is, without further revision or corrections. This decision is not typically used following the first review but frequently applied to papers after minor/major revision.


Article Submission

Submission declaration and verification

With the submission of an article the authors confirm that:

  • The work described has not been published previously (except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis or as an electronic preprint). Please see our ethics policy for more information.
  • That it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
  • The content of the article is the sole work of the author(s) and that the article has been prepared with cognisance of our plagiarism policy.
  • That its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere in the same form, in any other language.

Prior to submission

  • Please familiarize yourself with the policies of the SAOJ.
  • Please read Instructions to Authors prior to submission. It will also be beneficial to familiarize yourself with the Instructions for Reviewers section.
  • It is the responsibility of the authors, and not the reviewers, to ensure that the language, grammar, or spelling is acceptable for publication.
  • Crosscheck all references to ensure that the bibliography is accurate.

Submission procedure

  • On submission of your article the ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) identifier of all authors will be required. ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized. To register and find more information please visit:
  • All correspondence will be sent by e–mail.
  • Articles can be submitted be e–mail to:


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South African Orthopaedic Association (SAOA)
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