Journal of Medical Screening Guidelines for Authors

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These instructions comply with the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals formulated by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (for further details, see the ICMJE site)

1. Aims and scope
Journal of Medical Screening is concerned with all aspects of medical screening, particularly the publication of research that advances screening theory and practice. The journal aims to increase awareness of the principles of screening (quantitative and statistical aspects), screening techniques and procedures and methodologies from all specialties. An essential subscription for physicians, clinicians and academics with an interest in screening, epidemiology and public health.

2. Editorial policy


All material submitted for publication is assumed to be submitted exclusively to the journal unless the contrary is stated. If requested, authors shall produce the data upon which the manuscript is based for examination by the editor. The editor retains the customary right to style and if necessary to shorten material accepted for publication, and to alter the manuscript to achieve consistency of terminology.

Covering letter

The covering letter is important. To help the Editor in his preliminary evaluation, please indicate why you think the paper suitable for publication. If your paper should be considered for fast-track publication, please explain why. Each author must sign the covering letters as evidence of consent to publication.

Peer review

Papers are peer reviewed and the final decision on acceptance or rejection remains with the Editor. Authors are asked to provide the names and contact details of two people who might act as referees for their paper.

Ethical approval

All research submitted for publication must be approved by an ethics committee.

Patient consent

Any article containing identifiable patient information must be accompanied by a statement of consent to publication.
If there is any doubt about whether or not information is identifiable, the Editors are happy to discuss this before an article is submitted.
Reviewers will also be asked to take careful account of issues relating to patient confidentiality when reviewing articles.

Case studies are not the only kinds of article to which this rule will be applied, but they will be subject to additional scrutiny.
Not only should submissions be accompanied by a statement of consent, but the Editors also expect to be informed about the measures that have been taken to anonymise the details that could have led to parties being identified.
They also reserve the right to work with the authors to make additional anonymising changes as they or the reviewers see fit.
The Editors may also ask authors to remove personal information that, whilst interesting and colourful, does not add to the substance of an article, but does increase the likelihood of parties being identified.
The exception to this will be where the patient has indicated in writing that she/he wants to be identified, has read the material, has discussed the consequences of being identified, and has agreed to the disclosure of all the personal information contained in the article.

In order to ensure that valuable and novel issues are aired, the Editors will sometimes consider publishing cases studies that contain potentially identifiable information where it has been impossible or clearly undesirable to seek consent from relevant parties.
However, given the strong preference for consent having been sought and obtained the reasons for not seeking consent must be compelling, and the public interest arguments for publishing the case must be powerful.
In cases where consent has not been obtained, the authors must provide a statement from a Medical Director or equivalent that the hospital or medical centre is happy for the case to be published.

Competing interests and other declarations

All authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest when submitting papers for publication.
Declarations of funding sources, a guarantor and a statement of contributorship are also required.


All previously published material must be accompanied by the written consent to reproduction of the copyright holder.
An acknowledgement of permission should be included at the relevant point in the paper, and a full reference to the original place of publication should be included in the reference list.


Authors of accepted manuscripts will be required to sign a Licence for Publication form for their articles before publication.


Only the help of those who have made substantial contributions to the study and/or the preparation of the paper should be acknowledged.

3. Types of articles

Original articles

Original articles should not exceed 3000 words, with up to five tables or figures and no more than 40 references. The manuscript should be structured in the usual way: Abstract, Introduction, Patients / Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusions,

Short reports

Short reports should in general not exceed 1000 words, with one figure or one table and no more than 10 references.

Comments arising from recent articles published in the journal are welcomed. Original observations relating to short clinical or laboratory studies or single case reports may also be appropriately presented as a letter. Letters are not divided into sections and are limited to no more than 600 words and 10 references; one table or one figure may be included. Instructions for references, tables, and figures are the same as for full length articles.

Other articles

The journal also publishes guest editorials, invited reviews, opinion, and statistical issues. Authors wishing to contribute to the opinion or statistical sections should first consult the editor.

4. How to submit a manuscript

Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the guidelines below. An electronic letter of submission and a copy of the contribution for the Journal should be sent to Janette Mackie in the Editorial Office of the Journal.

All submissions must be in English and must be accompanied by a covering letter from the principal author. The author is advised to retain a copy of the manuscript for reference

File formats

Text files must be saved in .doc or .rtf format. Other suitable formats include .tif for photographic images, .xls for graphs produced in Excel, and .eps for other line drawings.

5. How to prepare a manuscript

Manuscripts must be submitted using double line-spaced, unjustified text throughout, with headings and subheadings in bold case. Press ‘Enter’ only at the end of a paragraph, list entry or heading.

Title page

The first page should contain the full title of the manuscript, a short title, the author(s) name(s) and affiliation(s), and the name, postal and email addresses of the author for correspondence, as well as a full list of declarations.

The title should be concise and informative, accurately indicating the content of the article. The short title should be no more than six words long.


A structured abstract of no more than 250 words must accompany all original articles, summarising the problem being considered in the study, where the study was carried out, how the study was performed, the salient results, and the principal conclusions of the study, each entered under subheadings of ‘Objectives’, ‘Setting’, ‘Methods’, ‘Results’, and ‘Conclusions’. It may not always be necessary for every heading to be used.

Short reports and other articles must be accompanied by an unstructured abstract of no more than 200 words.


Tables must be prepared using the Table feature of the word processor. Tables should not duplicate information given in the text, should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text, and should be given a brief title.


All figures should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text. All figures must be accompanied by a figure legend. If figures are supplied in separate files, the figure legends must all be listed at the end of the main text file.

Line drawings should be produced electronically and clearly labelled using a sans serif font such as Arial. Graphs may be supplied as Excel spreadsheets (one per sheet). Other line drawings should be supplied in a suitable vector graphic file format (e.g. .eps)

All photographic images should be submitted in camera-ready form (i.e. with all extraneous areas removed), and where necessary, magnification should be shown using a scale marker. Photographic images must be supplied at high resolution, preferably 600 dpi. Images supplied at less than 300 dpi are unsuitable for print and will delay publication. The preferred file format is .tif.


Only essential references should be included. Authors are responsible for verifying them against the original source material. RSM Press uses the Vancouver referencing system: references should be identified in the text by superscript Arabic numerals after any punctuation, and numbered and listed at the end of the paper in the order in which they are first cited in the text. Automatic numbering should be avoided. References should include the names and initials of up to six authors. If there are more than six authors, only the first three should be named, followed by et al. Publications for which no author is apparent may be attributed to the organization from which they originate. Simply omit the name of the author for anonymous journal articles – avoid using ’Anonymous’. Punctuation in references should be kept to a minimum, as shown in the following examples:

  1. Banks E, Reeves G, Beral V, et al. Predictors of outcome of mammography in the National Health Service Breast Screening Programme. J Med Screen 2002;9:74-82
  2. Brock DJH. Cystic fibrosis. In: Wald N, Leck I, eds. Antenatal and neonatal screening. 2nd ed. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000:325-49


Symbols and abbreviations should be those currently in use. Authors should not create new abbreviations and acronyms. The RSM’s book Units, Symbols and Abbreviations provides lists of approved abbreviations.


All measurements should be expressed in SI units.


If preparing statistical data for publication, please read the statistical guidelines.

6. Proofs and eprints
Proofs will be sent by email to the designated corresponding author as a PDF file attachment and should be corrected and returned promptly; corrections should be kept to a minimum.

A PDF eprint of each published article will be supplied free of charge to the author for correspondence; hardcopy offprints may be ordered from the publisher when the proofs are returned.