AMJ Author Guidelines

 

Articles should be submitted in British English. All research must be the property of the submitting authors, and cannot have previously been published in part or in its entirety, or be in press in, any other journal. Plagiarism is strictly not permitted.

We encourage authors to follow the appropriate reporting guidelines where available, these include CONSORT for randomized trials, STROBE for observational studies, PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and STARD for studies of diagnostic accuracy. Authors citing guidelines should to a reasonable degree follow the recommendations of those guidelines, for example, articles citing STARD should include a STARD diagram.

Research articles

The text of original research articles should follow the IMRAD structure (Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion), followed by a conclusion, references and acknowledgements. with subheadings as needed. Other types of articles may take different formats (see below for guidelines for literature reviews and case reports). Supplementary electronic-only material is admissible at the editor’s discretion. See below for further information on specific article sections:

Title Page

The title page should contain the article title, author information, any disclaimers, sources of support and word count (excluding abstract, acknowledgements and references). The article title should include information that, along with the abstract, will enable searches of relevant keywords to recover the article. Case studies, articles reporting randomized trials, and systematic reviews, should indicate article type in their titles.

Author information should be provided for all persons significantly contributing to the article and/or research project. Each author's highest academic degrees should be listed, along with the name of the department(s) and institution(s) or organizations where the work should be attributed. The title page should list the corresponding author’s telephone number and email address.

Source(s) of support should be listed, including grants and/or other support that enabled the work described in the article or the writing of the article. Disclosure of any conflicts of interest, relationships with sponsors etc should be given on the title page.

Abstract

The abstract should provide the context or background for the article, and should include aims, an overview of the methods (for example, including selection of study participants, settings, measurements, analytical methods), summary results and key conclusions. It should emphasize the originality of the research. Clinical trial abstracts should include those items recommended for inclusion by the CONSORT group, and must include the clinical trial registration number at the end of the abstract. The information provided in the abstract must be consistent with that of the main text.

Abstracts for systematic reviews and clinical trials should be structured as follows: Introduction, Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusion. Case study abstracts do not need to be structured. Research articles may take structured abstracts if appropriate.

Introduction

This should provide the context for the study, the nature of the problem and its significance. The specific purpose or research objective should be briefly outlined. Citations should not be made in the abstract.

Methods

The Methods section should present and justify the chosen methods of the study. It must be sufficiently detailed that the study is fully reproducible. The methods should represent those planned prior to commencing the study or published in the corresponding research protocol- if these differ in any way, this deviation and its justification should be discussed here, although all other findings of the study belong in the results section. Work conducted by external parties (for example, DNA sequencing or sample collection) should be detailed in the methods. The Methods section should also include statements of any research review and approvals by review or ethics panels, either internal to the institution, or external.

The selection of observational or experimental participants (healthy individuals or patients, including controls) should be clearly described, including eligibility and exclusion criteria and a description of the source population. Descriptive data should be provided for study populations along with relevant demographic variables. Authors should distinguish prespecified from exploratory study designs, including subgroup analyses.

If a study has been completed in a subpopulation, for example in only one sex, or only in cardiac patients, authors should justify this. Authors should define how they determined race, ethnicity, sex etc and distinguish between reported and measured data. Authors should use neutral, precise, and respectful language to describe study participants and avoid the use of terminology that might stigmatize participants.

The methods should include equipment (including the manufacturer's name and address in parentheses), and procedures used. References can be made to previously published methods where applied, including brief descriptions where such methods are not well-known. Modifications or new methods should be justified and critically evaluated. Drugs and chemicals should be listed by their generic name, and the dose and route of administration included.

Statistical methods should be described sufficiently to be evaluated by the reader and to be reproduced in metaanalyses.

Statistics should be conveyed with appropriate errors or confidence intervals. Avoid reporting isolated statistics as proof of a hypothesis, for example reporting only P values, which overlooks important information about effect size and sample confidence. Statistical terms, abbreviations and clinical condition criteria should be outlined in the methods. Statistical software package(s) and versions used should be specified.

Results

The results should be logically sequenced in the text, tables, and figures, giving the main or most important findings first. Tables and figures should be inserted in line with the text, immediately following their first reference within the text. Table and figure data should not be reiterated in the text, with the exception of the most important observations. Lengthy descriptive or visual methods and results subsections are best included as methods and results supplements.

Quantitative results should not just be provided as derivatives (for example, percentages) but also as the absolute numbers from which the derivatives were calculated (e.g. n=x). Tables and figures should only be included where these are useful to explain the argument of the manuscript. We recommend using graphs as an alternative to tables with many entries, but authors should avoid duplicating data across graphs and tables. Technical statistical terms such as “random”, “normal,” “significant,” “correlations,” and “sample” must be used appropriately and not colloquially, supported by the appropriate values. Statistics should be conveyed with appropriate errors or confidence intervals. Separate reporting of data by demographic variables, such as age and sex, is important to allow later metaanalyses and comparison with other studies.

Discussion

The discussion should begin by briefly summarizing the main findings, then continue to explore possible mechanisms or explanations for these findings. New and important aspects of the study should be emphasized, and contextualised with other relevant and current evidence. All limitations of the study should be addressed here. Authors should explore the implications of the findings for future research and for clinical practice or policy. The influence or association of variables, such as sex and/or gender, on the findings should be discussed, where appropriate. Do not repeat in detail data or other information given in other parts of the manuscript, such as in the Introduction or the Results section.

Conclusions drawn should be linked with the goals of the study, but authors should avoid overreaching conclusions including unqualified statements and conclusions not adequately supported by the data. In particular, authors must distinguish between clinical and statistical significance, and avoid making statements on economic benefits and costs, unless the manuscript includes the appropriate economic data and analyses. Assumptions should not be made regarding work that has not yet been completed.

 

Literature reviews

Systematic reviews must describe the methods used for locating, selecting, extracting, and synthesizing data, providing quantitative results at each selection stage. A proportion of the screening process should be replicated by a second researcher in order to validate the search methods. We recommend that authors refer to the EQUATOR Network and the NLM's Research Reporting Guidelines and Initiatives for guidance on structuring systematic reviews. The use of tables to summarise information is advised, to reduce article length and allow readers to quickly access comparative information. Narrative reviews do not need to report quantitative data or follow reporting guidelines, but these should not be presented as systematic, and are typically expected to be briefer in form than systematic reviews.

 

Case studies

Case study patients should not be named, and any other personal data, such as place of work, specific age or ethnicity that could potentially identify an individual, should not be described unless directly relevant to the description of the case (for example, if ethnicity precludes differential risk). Written patient consent must be obtained prior to publication of details or photographs of individuals, even where data have been masked to prevent identification being possible. The following structure is recommended but not mandated for case studies:

Abstract

Summarise the case and outcomes, emphasising the lessons learned or unusual observations made.

Introduction

Explain the relevance and/or any unique features of the case described, highlight questions remaining in the field and indicate why the patient is of interest.

Case presentation

Describe the patient’s condition, comorbidities, history and admission circumstances, particularly those of the same episode if there has been a transfer of care from another team. Ensure all information given is relevant and specific.

Investigations

Describe the tests administered in order to separate differential diagnoses, and their results sequentially. Explain the flow of actions and their purposes.

Treatment and follow-up

List any treatments administered from the first point of treatment, and any alterations to the treatment regimen made during the follow-up period. ‘Treatments’ included may be pharmacological or non-pharmacological. Death during the follow-up period must be reported, even if this is not associated with the described condition.

Discussion

Discuss similar reported prior cases and the current guidelines for treatment of the condition. Explain if the results indicate that a change in treatment, diagnosis, or other aspect of care is required. A separate conclusion may be included if desired. Convey a relevant message to clinicians encountering patients with similar presentations.

 

Randomised control trials

Randomised control trials should follow the PICO structure:

Ethical approval and trial registration numbers must be provided at the end of the text. The article should show sufficient randomisation of the study design (e.g. concealed allocation and baseline similarity of the study groups).

The measurement and blinding methods, attrition rate and follow up steps taken should be described. If a protocol has been published associated with the study, this should be referenced in the methods, and the methods applies should closely match that protocol, with any deviations being justified.

RCTs should follow CONSORT guidelines for reporting pragmatic RCTs or cluster RCTs depending on the most appropriate fit to the study: http://www.consort-statement.org/

 

References

References should not be used spuriously by authors, editors, or peer reviewers to promote self-interests. References to papers accepted but not yet published should be indicated as being “in press”. To minimize citation errors, we recommend the use of automated referencing software such as Mendeley or Zotero, which enables easy switching between bibliography styles and simplifies the reordering of articles during drafting. Authors are responsible for checking that none of the references cite retracted articles, unless the article is directly referring to the retraction.

References should be formatted in Vancouver style (examples). The titles of journals should be abbreviated, according to the style used for MEDLINE (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog/journals). Authors should provide direct references to original research sources rather than reviews whenever possible.

Authors should identify references in the text, tables, and legends with superscript Arabic numerals. References should be numbered consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned. 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 inclusion of DOIs is encouraged.

 

Tables and figures

Number tables consecutively in the order of their first citation in the text and supply a title for each. Titles in tables should be short, but self-explanatory, so that they contain information that allows readers to understand the table's content without having to go back to the text. Be sure that each table is cited in the main body of the text.

Digital images of manuscript illustrations should be submitted in a suitable format for print publication, ideally in png or tiff format, in order to guarantee sufficient resolution. Before-and-after images should be taken with the same intensity, direction, and colour of light.

Letters, numbers, and symbols on figures should be clear and consistent, and large enough to remain legible when the figure is reduced for publication. Figures should be made as self-explanatory as possible. Titles and detailed explanations should be restricted to the legend, and not appear in the illustration itself. Photomicrographs should have internal scale markers. Symbols, arrows, or letters used in photomicrographs should contrast with the background. Explain the internal scale and identify the method of staining if relevant.

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

Units of Measurement

Measurements of length, height, weight, and volume should be reported in metric units (e.g. kilograms) or their decimal multiples. Temperatures should be provided in degrees Celsius. Where multiple units are in common use, the system used should be clearly outlined, and used consistently.

Abbreviations and Symbols

Authors should only use standard abbreviations, to be defined immediately in parentheses after the first use of their long form in the manuscript. Authors should avoid the use of nonstandard abbreviations. No abbreviations should be used in the title of the manuscript.

These guidelines have been developed in accordance with ICMJE guidance.

 

Citation guide

This guide explains the referencing requirements for submissions to the AMJ. We strongly recommend the use of referencing software such as Endnote, Mendeley and Zotero, which automates reference insertion, particularly for longer research articles and literature reviews. For manual insertion of references, the following guidelines should be followed:

 

In text citations

Citations should be indicated by superscript numbers immediately after the statement they support, for example:

Incidence is typically higher in men than in women.1

Author names can be included in the text, but should still be followed by the citation number. If citing multiple references together, these should be separated by commas, with the exception of consecutive reference numbers, which should be hyphenated. For example:

Incidence is typically higher in men than in women.1,2-5,12

 

References

For journal articles, information should be given in the following order:

Authors- The Surname, followed by the initials of each author, separated by commas. In the event of more than 6 authors, the first 6 should be listed, followed by “et al.”

Title- the full title of the article

SCI abbreviation of the Journal name e.g. Clin Anat (Clinical Anatomy). A full list is available at: https://images.webofknowledge.com/images/help/WOS/A_abrvjt.html

Year of publication, followed by a semi colon, edition, with volume in parentheses if appropriate, followed by a colon, then the page numbers. Providing the month of publication prior to the year is optional (e.g. Dec 2015;)

For example:

Kambin, P, Gellman H. Percutaneous Lateral Discectomy of the Spine: A Preliminary Report. Clin Orthop. 1983;174:127-32.

Although in Vancouver referencing, online accessed journal articles typically include notation of online access, due to online access becoming typical, articles accessed online should be cited as with other print journal articles, there is no need to provide the web link unless the sole access to the article is online (e.g. a webpage not originating from a print journal).

For websites, information should be given in the following order: Authors, article title, publishing body, “[Internet]”, publication year/date, date of citation, “Available from:”, web address.

For example:

Wisniewski M. Five babies at Chicago daycare diagnosed with measles. Globe and Mail [Internet]. 2015 Feb 5 [cited 2015 Feb 6]. Available from: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/five-babies-at-chicago-daycare-diagnosed-with-measles-report/article22805944/.

For book sections, information should be given in the following order- author, editor details, title, edition, city of publication, publishing house, year of publication, page range. This information can typically be found in search engines using a book’s ISBN.

For example:

Altobelli N. Airway management. In: Kacmarek R, Stoller JK, Heuer AJ, editors. Egan’s fundamentals of respiratory care. 10th ed. St. Louis: Saunders Mosby; 2013. p. 732-86.

It is not encouraged to cite whole books without guiding the reader to a chapter or set of pages.

For conference presentations or abstracts, information should be provided as follows- Authors, title, “Abstract/Poster session presented at:” (delete as appropriate), conference or event name, dates of event, city name.

For example:

Chasman J, Kaplan RF. The effects of occupation on preserved cognitive functioning in dementia. Poster session presented at: Excellence in clinical practice. 4th Annual Conference of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology; 2006 Jun 15-17; Philadelphia, PA.

Illustrations, charts and figures may be reused from other publications if they are significantly modified to convey further information than the original image. These must be fully cited in the legends accompanying each figure.

 

Further information

Authors take responsibility for ensuring that no sources cited have been retracted at the point of submission. Retracted articles can only be cited in the event that the retraction is also cited and the retraction issue adequately explored within the text.

In press articles should be cited as other journal articles, with ‘Forthcoming’ followed by the expected publication year in place of publication year. Articles submitted to yet not accepted for publication by a peer reviewed journal should not be cited.

The use of DOI is encouraged. DOIs are to be inserted at the very end of the reference (e.g. DOI: 10.1002/jcu.21990).