- 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:
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. http://www.osteomyelitis.com/pdf/treatment_protocol.pdf.
(date last accessed 05 March 2013).
Web reference (no authors listed):
No authors listed. International commission on radiological protection. http://www.icrp.org (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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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:
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.
- 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’).
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.’
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 http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/
- 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
- References should be avoided. Avoid uncommon abbreviations. If essential they must be defined at their first mention in the abstract itself
- 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. http://www.cebm.net/index.aspx?o=5653
- 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.’
- 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.’
- 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.