Article format

The recommended length for an article is no more than eleven typeset pages.
No more than 4,500 words should be used in the main text (not counting the abstract, methods, references, and figure legends).
The article’s essential point should be conveyed in a single, scientifically correct statement in the title, which should not exceed 20 words and be devoid of puns or idioms.

You may combine the manuscript text and figures into a single file up to 3 MB in size for first submissions (i.e., unrevised manuscripts), with Microsoft Word being the recommended format. PDF files or any other format are not accepted. The right places for figures in the text should be indicated.


There should be no more than 200 words in the abstract.

Please refrain from citing any sources in your abstract. Ensure that it functions as a concise, non-technical synopsis of the primary findings and their consequences, as well as a broad introduction to the subject. An abstract need to be free of parts and subheadings, meaning it should be unstructured.


The title page of your manuscript text file should begin with the author affiliations and contact details, with an asterisk next to each name. It is suggested that an introduction containing cited literature be included in every part to provide further context for the work. It’s fine to have some overlap with the Abstract.
For the majority of the text, no particular specifications are needed. It can be arranged to best fit your research needs. But the arrangement that follows will be suitable in many cases:

  • Introduction
  • Results (with subheadings)
  • Discussion (without subheadings)
  • Methods

You should then follow the main body of text with:

  • References (limited to 60 references, though not strictly enforced)
  • Acknowledgements (optional)
  • Author contributions (names must be given as initials)
  • Data availability statement (mandatory)
  • Additional Information (including a Competing Interests Statement)
  • Figure legends (these are limited to 350 words per figure)
  • Tables (maximum size of one page)


In your reference list, you should:

  • Include all authors unless there are six or more, in which case only the first author should be given, followed by ‘et al.’.
  • List authors by last name first, followed by a comma and initials (followed by full stops) of given names.
  • Use Roman text for Article and dataset titles, with only the first word of the title having an initial capital and written exactly as it appears in the work cited, ending with a full stop.
  • Use italics for book titles, giving all words in the title an initial capital.
  • Use italics for journal and data repository names, abbreviating them according to common usage (with full stops).
  • Use bold for volume numbers and the subsequent comma.
  • Give the full page range (or article number), where appropriate.


Any acknowledgements should be clear and should not contain long, flowery remarks of gratitude to anonymous editors and referees. Numbers from grants or contributions may be acknowledged. You should also give credit to editors, proofreaders, and medical writers for their services.