This journal uses double-blind review, which means that both the reviewer and author name(s) are not allowed to be revealed to one another for a manuscript under review. The identities of the authors are concealed from the reviewers, and vice versa. The main body of the paper (including the references, figures, tables and any Acknowledgements) should not include any identifying information, such as the authors' names or affiliations.
Authors should ensure that the place of origin of the work or study, and/or the organisation(s) that have been involved in the study/development are not revealed in the manuscript – “X” can be used in the manuscript and details can be completed if the manuscript is processed further through the publication process.
Use of wordprocessing software
It is important that the file be saved in the native format of the wordprocessor used. The text should be in single-column format. Keep the layout of the text as simple as possible. Most formatting codes will be removed and replaced on processing the article. In particular, do not use the wordprocessor's options to justify text. When preparing tables, if you are using a table grid, use only one grid for each individual table and not a grid for each row. If no grid is used, use tabs, not spaces, to align columns. The electronic text should be prepared in a way very similar to that of conventional manuscripts (Elsevier has produced a good guide to this: https://www.elsevier.com/guidepublication). Note that source files of figures, tables and text graphics will be required. See also the section on Electronic artwork.
Presentation of manuscript
Please write your text in good English (American or British usage is accepted, not a mixture of these). Use decimal points (not commas), use a space for thousands (10 000 and above). Please try to avoid abbreviations wherever possible. Authors should use person first language: e.g., "patients with arthritis" rather than "arthritis patients".
Present the entire manuscript using double spacing, line number and page numbers. Ensure that each new paragraph is clearly indicated. Present tables and figure legends on separate pages at the end of the manuscript. Consult a recent issue of the journal to become familiar with layout and conventions. Number all pages consecutively.
Provide the following data on the title page (in the order given).
Title. Concise and informative. Titles are often used in information-retrieval systems. Avoid abbreviations and formulae where possible.
Author names and affiliations. Present the authors' affiliation addresses (where the actual work was done) below the names. Indicate all affiliations with a lower-case superscript letter immediately after the author's name and in front of the appropriate address. Provide the full postal address of each affiliation, including the country name, and, if available, the e-mail address of each author.
Twitter handles. Twitter handles for one, or all, authors may be included on the title page if authors wish for these to be published.
Corresponding author. Clearly indicate who is willing to handle correspondence at all stages of refereeing and publication, also post-publication. Ensure that telephone and fax numbers (with country and area code) are provided in addition to the e-mail address and the complete postal address.
Present/permanent address. If an author has moved since the work described in the article was done, or was visiting at the time, a 'Present address' (or 'Permanent address') may be indicated as a footnote to that author's name. The address at which the author actually did the work must be retained as the main, affiliation address. Superscript Arabic numerals are used for such footnotes.
Word count. Provide a word count for the main body of the paper, excluding abstract, acknowledgments, figure legends, tables and references.
Abstracts. A concise and factual abstract is required (maximum length 200 words for an unstructured abstract or 250 words for a structured abstract). An abstract is often presented separate from the article, so it must be able to stand alone. The abstract should be written using the following headings as appropriate:
Objectives: a clear statement of the purpose of the study
Design: describe aspects of the study: randomisation, prospective, blinding, placebo controlled, observational, survey
Setting: include the level of care eg primary, secondary; number of participating centres
Participants: numbers, selection criteria, numbers entering and completing study
Interventions: what were the interventions, how and for how long
Main outcome measures: identify primary outcome measure and any supporting secondary outcome measures
Results: including main finding, point estimate and degree of uncertainty eg: confidence interval for the difference between groups, where appropriate
Conclusions: main conclusion based on results and objective of study, implications
Clinical Trial Registration number
For meta-analyses and systematic reviews, provide a structured summary in line with the PRISMA Statement, including as applicable:
Background or context
Objectives: the clinical question or purpose
Data sources: databases searched and other information sources
Study selection or eligibility criteria, (participants, and interventions)
Study appraisal and synthesis methods (or Data Extraction and Data Synthesis);
Conclusion and implications of key findings
Funding: for the systematic review
Systematic review registration number.
OPEN ACCESS: Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, The PRISMA Group (2009). Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: The PRISMA Statement. PLoS Med 6(6): e1000097. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed1000097
Immediately after the abstract, provide a maximum of 6 keywords. Words selected should reflect the essential topics of the article and will be used for indexing purposes.
Terms from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) list should be used (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/). If suitable MeSH terms are not available, subject specific terms can be used.
At the end of the paper, but before the references, please provide three statements:
•Ethical Approval: The organisation providing ethical approval and ethics protocol reference number where appropriate.
•Funding: any sources of funding should be stated.
•Conflict of Interest: Disclosed conflicts will be published if they are believed to be important to readers in judging the manuscript. If there are no conflicts of interest, authors should state that there are none.
Contribution of the Paper
All submissions (with the exception of Brief Reports, Technical Reports, Letters and Editorials) should include a "Contribution of the Paper" statement. This should inform the reader of the key messages of the article/what the paper adds to the current literature, and what new knowledge is added by this study. Please provide clear statements in the form of two or three short bullet points for each.
The bullet points should appear under a separate heading Contribution of paper and should be placed after the abstract but before the Keywords in your main manuscript file.
Presentation of data and subsequent analyses should be clear and transparent. When presenting parametric statistics (e.g. Mean, Standard deviation) and parametric data analysis, the authors should provide evidence that their data are normally distributed where appropriate. Non-parametric statistics (e.g. Median, Inter-quartile range) and non-parametric analysis should be used where the data does not fulfil the assumptions for parametric analysis. Report p-values < .05 to 3 digits and values >.05 to 2 digits. Therefore 0.066 should be 0.07 and 0.0003 should be <0.001.
Formatting of funding sources
List funding sources in this standard way to facilitate compliance to funder's requirements:
Funding: This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, WA [grant number zzzz]; and the United States Institutes of Peace [grant number aaaa].
It is not necessary to include detailed descriptions on the program or type of grants and awards. 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 organization that provided the funding.
If no funding has been provided for the research, please include the following sentence:
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
• Make sure you use uniform lettering and sizing of your original artwork.
• Embed the used fonts if the application provides that option.
• Aim to use the following fonts in your illustrations: Arial, Courier, Times New Roman, Symbol, or use fonts that look similar.
• Number the illustrations according to their sequence in the text.
• Use a logical naming convention for your artwork files.
• Provide captions to illustrations separately.
• Size the illustrations close to the desired dimensions of the published version.
• Submit each illustration as a separate file.
• Ensure that colour images are accessible to all, including those with impaired colour vision.
This detailed guide on electronic artwork can be found here - you are urged to visit this site; some excerpts from the detailed information are given below.
If your electronic artwork is created in a Microsoft Office application (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) then please supply 'as is' in the native document format.
Regardless of the application used other than Microsoft Office, when your electronic artwork is finalized, please 'Save as' or convert the images to one of the following formats (note the resolution requirements for line drawings, halftones, and line/halftone combinations given below):
EPS (or PDF): Vector drawings, embed all used fonts.
TIFF (or JPEG): Colour or grayscale photographs (halftones), keep to a minimum of 300 dpi.
TIFF (or JPEG): Bitmapped (pure black & white pixels) line drawings, keep to a minimum of 1000 dpi.
TIFF (or JPEG): Combinations bitmapped line/half-tone (colour or grayscale), keep to a minimum of 500 dpi.
Please do not:
• Supply files that are optimized for screen use (e.g., GIF, BMP, PICT, WPG); these typically have a low number of pixels and limited set of colours;
• Supply files that are too low in resolution;
• Submit graphics that are disproportionately large for the content.
Please make sure that artwork files are in an acceptable format (TIFF (or JPEG), EPS (or PDF), or MS Office files) and with the correct resolution. If, together with your accepted article, you submit usable colour figures then Elsevier will ensure, at no additional charge, that these figures will appear in colour online (e.g., ScienceDirect and other sites) regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in colour in the printed version. Further information on the preparation of electronic artwork.
Ensure that each illustration has a caption. Supply captions separately, not attached to the figure. A caption should comprise a brief title (not on the figure itself) and a description of the illustration. Keep text in the illustrations themselves to a minimum but explain all symbols and abbreviations used.
Permission of borrowed illustrations or table or identifiable clinical photographs
Permission to produce materials (illustrations and tables) must be obtained from the original publishers and authors, and submitted with the typescript. Borrowed material should be acknowledged in the captions in this style - 'Reproduced by kind permission of (publishers) from (reference)'. Written permission to use photographs of identifiable subjects must be provided.
Please submit tables as editable text and not as images. Tables can be placed either next to the relevant text in the article, or on separate page(s) at the end. Number tables consecutively in accordance with their appearance in the text and place any table notes below the table body. Be sparing in the use of tables and ensure that the data presented in them do not duplicate results described elsewhere in the article. Please avoid using vertical rules and shading in table cells.
Generally the search strategy should be reported, including details of the databases searched, the dates searched and the search terms. References will be judged not only on applicability, but also on time since publication. Although it is accepted that occasionally an historical reference is required, the majority of references should be recent. By providing the literature search strategy, this will illustrate that appropriate dates have been included should there be little recent literature in that area.
Responsibility for the accuracy of bibliographic citations lies entirely with the authors. The Vancouver Numbered style of referencing should be used. Authors should aim for 75% of their references to be within the preceding 5 years, with a limit of 40 references (10 references for short communications, 20 references for technical reports).
Citations in the text: Please ensure that every reference cited in the text is also present in the reference list (and vice versa). Any references cited in the abstract must be given in full. Unpublished results and personal communications are not permitted. Citation of a reference as ‘in press’ implies that the item has been accepted for publication.
Increased discoverability of research and high quality peer review are ensured by online links to the sources cited. In order to allow us to create links to abstracting and indexing services, such as Scopus, CrossRef and PubMed, please ensure that data provided in the references are correct. Please note that incorrect surnames, journal/book titles, publication year and pagination may prevent link creation. When copying references, please be careful as they may already contain errors. Use of the DOI is highly encouraged.
A DOI is guaranteed never to change, so you can use it as a permanent link to any electronic article. An example of a citation using DOI for an article not yet in an issue is: VanDecar J.C., Russo R.M., James D.E., Ambeh W.B., Franke M. (2003). Aseismic continuation of the Lesser Antilles slab beneath northeastern Venezuela. Journal of Geophysical Research, https://doi.org/10.1029/2001JB000884. Please note the format of such citations should be in the same style as all other references in the paper.
As a minimum, the full URL should be given and the date when the reference was last accessed. Any further information, if known (DOI, author names, dates, reference to a source publication, etc.), should also be given. Web references can be listed separately (e.g., after the reference list) under a different heading if desired, or can be included in the reference list.
This journal encourages you to cite underlying or relevant datasets in your manuscript by citing them in your text and including a data reference in your Reference List. Data references should include the following elements: author name(s), dataset title, data repository, version (where available), year, and global persistent identifier. Add [dataset] immediately before the reference so we can properly identify it as a data reference. The [dataset] identifier will not appear in your published article.
Reference management software
Please follow the format of the sample references and citations as shown in this Guide. If you use reference management software, please ensure that you remove all field codes before submitting the electronic manuscript. More information on how to remove field codes from different reference management software.
Users of Mendeley Desktop can easily install the reference style for this journal by clicking the following link:
When preparing your manuscript, you will then be able to select this style using the Mendeley plug-ins for Microsoft Word or LibreOffice.
Text: Indicate references by number(s) in square brackets in line with the text. The actual authors can be referred to, but the reference number(s) must always be given.
List: Number the references (numbers in square brackets) in the list in the order in which they appear in the text.
Reference to a journal publication:
 Van der Geer J, Hanraads JAJ, Lupton RA. The art of writing a scientific article. J Sci Commun 2010;163:51–9.
Reference to a book:
 Strunk Jr W, White EB. The elements of style. 4th ed. New York: Longman; 2000.
Reference to a chapter in an edited book:
 Mettam GR, Adams LB. How to prepare an electronic version of your article. In: Jones BS, Smith RZ, editors. Introduction to the electronic age, New York: E-Publishing Inc; 2009, p. 281–304.
[dataset]  Oguro M, Imahiro S, Saito S, Nakashizuka T. Mortality data for Japanese oak wilt disease and surrounding forest compositions, Mendeley Data, v1; 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.17632/xwj98nb39r.1
Note shortened form for last page number. e.g., 51–9, and that for more than 6 authors the first 6 should be listed followed by 'et al.'
Video material and animation sequences are accepted that support and enhance the scientific research. Authors who have video or animation files that they wish to submit with their article are strongly encouraged to include links to these within the body of the article. This can be done in the same way as a figure or table by referring to the video or animation content and noting in the body text where it should be placed. All submitted files should be properly labeled so that they directly relate to the video file's content. In order to ensure that your video or animation material is directly usable, please provide the file in one of our recommended file formats with a preferred maximum size of 150 MB per file, 1 GB in total. Please supply 'stills' with your files: you can choose any frame from the video or animation or make a separate image. These will be used instead of standard icons and will personalise the link to your video data. Note: since video and animation cannot be embedded in the print version of the journal, please provide text for both the electronic and the print version for the portions of the article that refer to this content.
Supplementary material such as applications, images and sound clips, can be published with your article to enhance it. Submitted supplementary items are published exactly as they are received (Excel or PowerPoint files will appear as such online). Please submit your material together with the article and supply a concise, descriptive caption for each supplementary file. If you wish to make changes to supplementary material during any stage of the process, please make sure to provide an updated file. Do not annotate any corrections on a previous version. Please switch off the 'Track Changes' option in Microsoft Office files as these will appear in the published version.
This journal encourages and enables you to share data that supports your research publication where appropriate, and enables you to interlink the data with your published articles. Research data refers to the results of observations or experimentation that validate research findings. To facilitate reproducibility and data reuse, this journal also encourages you to share your software, code, models, algorithms, protocols, methods and other useful materials related to the project.
Below are a number of ways in which you can associate data with your article or make a statement about the availability of your data when submitting your manuscript. If you are sharing data in one of these ways, you are encouraged to cite the data in your manuscript and reference list. Please refer to the "References" section for more information about data citation. For more information on depositing, sharing and using research data and other relevant research materials, visit this research data page.
If you have made your research data available in a data repository, you can link your article directly to the dataset.
In addition, you can link to relevant data or entities through identifiers within the text of your manuscript, using the following format: Database: xxxx (e.g., TAIR: AT1G01020; CCDC: 734053; PDB: 1XFN).
To foster transparency, we encourage you to state the availability of your data in your submission. This may be a requirement of your funding body or institution. If your data is unavailable to access or unsuitable to post, you will have the opportunity to indicate why during the submission process, for example by stating that the research data is confidential. The statement will appear with your published article. For more information, visit this Data Statement page for guidance.