Guide for Authors

  • All journal information and instructions compiled in one document (PDF) in just one mouse-click Author information pack

    • Your Paper Your Way
    INTRODUCTION
    • Types of paper
    • Correspondence
    BEFORE YOU BEGIN
    • Ethics in publishing
    • Conflict of interest
    • Patient consent
    • Submission declaration
    • Changes to authorship
    • Copyright
    • Role of the funding source
    • Funding Body Agreements
    • Open access
    • Language (usage and editing services)
    • Submission address
    PREPARATION
    • Manuscripts
    • NEW SUBMISSIONS
    • References
    • Formatting requirements
    • REVISED SUBMISSIONS
    • Essential title page information
    • Abstracts
    • Keywords
    • Tables
    • Standardized genetic nomenclature
    • Guidelines for genetic association papers
    • Guidelines for meta-analyses
    • Supplementary data
    • Graphical abstract
    • Highlights
    • Footnotes
    • Artwork
    • Google Maps and KML files
    • 3D radiological data
    • Submission checklist
    AFTER ACCEPTANCE
    • Use of the Digital Object Identifier
    • Reprints
    • Online proof correction
    AUTHOR INQUIRIES

    Your Paper Your Way

    We now differentiate between the requirements for new and revised submissions. You may choose to submit your manuscript as a single Word or PDF file to be used in the refereeing process. Only when your paper is at the revision stage, will you be requested to put your paper in to a 'correct format' for acceptance and provide the items required for the publication of your article.
    To find out more, please visit the Preparation section below.



    Atherosclerosis is a fully electronic journal, all manuscripts are to be submitted via the internet.
    To submit your paper online, click on the link http://ees.elsevier.com/ath/. This will take you to the Atherosclerosis EES home page. The Authors section to the right of the page provides relevant information, including a tutorial on how to submit your manuscript.

    Authors must select an appropriate Associate Editor from the list shown on the website, the expertise terms for each Editor are shown to assist with this choice. Authors must suggest four potential reviewers for their paper and to avoid delay in processing your submission please ensure that email addresses given for reviewers are correct. The Editorial Board reserves the right to decide whether or not the suggested reviewers are used. Authors may also indicate if a particular reviewer should not be approached.

    Types of paper

    Types of papers that can be submitted for consideration by the Editorial Board include:

    a) Basic Research Papers reporting results of original research or investigation using in vitro cell culture or animal models. Basic Research Papers should not exceed 4000 words (including legends to figures and tables) and no more than 50 references. Flexibility on word count may be offered after discussion with the Editor.

    b) Clinical Research Papers reporting results of original clinical research or investigation in human subjects. Clinical Research Papers should not exceed 4000 words (including legends to figures and tables) and no more than 50 references. Flexibility on word count may be offered after discussion with the Editor.

    Basic and Clinical Research papers must have no more than 5 figures and tables in total (e.g., 1 figure consisting of panels A and B, and 4 tables). Authors are encouraged to include additional figures and tables as supplementary appendixes.

    c) Rapid Communications. These papers should provide a brief but complete account of important new observations which merit urgent publication. The papers should be less than 5 printed pages (8-10 double-spaced typed pages) including figures and tables and should be concisely but adequately referenced. Authors should state in the comments section during the submission process why the paper merits urgent publication. Papers requiring revision will not be considered as Rapid Communications. The Editor-in-Chief will normally reach a decision on these papers within one month.

    d) Short Communications. These papers should include original data of basic or clinical research. The following word limits apply: abstract 150 words, main text 1500 words, up to 2 figures and or tables and a maximum of 25 references. Authors maybe invited to submit a short communication by the editorial team.

    e) Review Articles and Mini-Reviews, usually by invitation. Mini-Reviews should normally consist of current short reviews of topical information. Word limit: 3500, 50 references and up to 3 tables and or figures. Full reviews may contain up to 6 tables and or figures, authors are encouraged to include a "mechanism/overview" figure. Word limit: 5000 and 100 references. Exceptions to these limits should be discussed with the Reviews Editor before submission. All Reviews should be submitted for handling by the Reviews Editor: Arnold von Eckardstein.

    f) Hypotheses and Viewpoints of up to 1500 words are published occasionally, and the inclusion of novel data (up to two figures or tables) will increase the chance of acceptance. These contributions are subject to the normal editorial procedure. These should be submitted to the Editor-in-Chief.

    g) Invited Commentaries. These will be commissioned by the editorial office, who will approach a suitably qualified author to write a commentary on an article of particular interest. If you wish to comment on work published in Atherosclerosis, please submit your opinions as a Letter to the Editor.

    h) Letters to the Editor if you have specific issues that you wish to raise concerning work published in Atherosclerosis please submit your opinions as a Letter to the Editor. Letters should not exceed 1200 words, and the inclusion of novel data ( up to two figures or tables) will increase the chance of acceptance. The original Author(s) will have the opportunity to respond to your comments in the same issue of the journal. Please submit Letters to the Editor-in-Chief, Steve Humphries

    Correspondence

    Correspondence can be sent to the Editor-in-Chief:

    Professor Steve Humphries
    Cardiovascular Genetics
    University College London
    Medical School, Rayne Institute
    5 University Street
    London WC1 E6JJ
    UK
    Fax: +44 20 7679 6212
    E-mail: rmhasle@ucl.ac.uk

    Reviews Editor: Arnold von Eckardstein (arnold.voneckardstein@ikc.usz.ch) Supplements Editor: Steve Humphries (rmhasle@ucl.ac.uk) To ensure fast and efficient correspondence, all Authors must provide recent e-mail addresses. Authors must submit the names, addresses, email addresses and phone/fax numbers of four potential reviewers.

    Ethics in publishing

    For information on Ethics in publishing and Ethical guidelines for journal publication see http://www.elsevier.com/publishingethics and http://www.elsevier.com/journal-authors/ethics.

    Conflict of interest

    All authors are requested to disclose any actual or potential conflict of interest including any financial, personal or other relationships with other people or organizations within three years of beginning the submitted work that could inappropriately influence, or be perceived to influence, their work. See also http://www.elsevier.com/conflictsofinterest. Further information and an example of a Conflict of Interest form can be found at: http://help.elsevier.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/286/p/7923.

    Patient consent

    Studies on patients or volunteers require ethics committee approval and informed consent which should be documented in your paper.
    Patients have a right to privacy. Therefore identifying information, including patients' images, names, initials, date of birth or hospital numbers, should not be included in videos, recordings, written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and you have obtained written informed consent for publication in print and electronic form from the patient (or parent, guardian or next of kin where applicable). If such consent is made subject to any conditions, Elsevier must be made aware of all such conditions. Written consents must be provided to Elsevier on request.
    Even where consent has been given, identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning and editors should so note. If such consent has not been obtained, personal details of patients included in any part of the paper and in any supplementary materials (including all illustrations and videos) must be removed before submission.

    Submission declaration

    Submission of an article to Atherosclerosis implies that the work described has not been published previously, except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis.

    Submission of an article therefore means:

    • The article is not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
    • Publication of the article is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out.
    • If the article is accepted, it will not be published elsewhere by the authors, including electronically in the same form, in English or in any other language, without the written consent of the copyright-holder.

    Atherosclerosis will not tolerate plagiarism in any form in submitted manuscripts. Passages of text, data or figures quoted or closely paraphrased from other authors (or from any of the author's own published work) must be identified as quotations or paraphrases and the sources of such material must be acknowledged. The use of unacknowledged material will be construed as plagiarism. If any manuscript is found to contain plagiarised material the review process will be halted immediately, and the University or Institute of the corresponding Author will be informed.

    Atherosclerosis will not tolerate manipulation or enhancement of data. Authors will be asked to provide further evidence for the validity of data, and the University or Institute of the corresponding Author will be informed if such evidence is not forthcoming.

    Statement of Originality and Covering Letter
    You will be required to outline in a covering letter and in a statement of originality that you have met the criteria above and that all authors are in agreement with submission of the manuscript to Atherosclerosis.

    Changes to authorship

    This policy concerns the addition, deletion, or rearrangement of author names in the authorship of accepted manuscripts:
    Before the accepted manuscript is published in an online issue: Requests to add or remove an author, or to rearrange the author names, must be sent to the Journal Manager from the corresponding author of the accepted manuscript and must include: (a) the reason the name should be added or removed, or the author names rearranged and (b) written confirmation (e-mail, fax, letter) from all authors that they agree with the addition, removal or rearrangement. In the case of addition or removal of authors, this includes confirmation from the author being added or removed. Requests that are not sent by the corresponding author will be forwarded by the Journal Manager to the corresponding author, who must follow the procedure as described above. Note that: (1) Journal Managers will inform the Journal Editors of any such requests and (2) publication of the accepted manuscript in an online issue is suspended until authorship has been agreed.
    After the accepted manuscript is published in an online issue: Any requests to add, delete, or rearrange author names in an article published in an online issue will follow the same policies as noted above and result in a corrigendum.

    Copyright

    This journal offers authors a choice in publishing their research: Open access and Subscription.

    For subscription articles
    Upon acceptance of an article, authors will be asked to complete a 'Journal Publishing Agreement' (for more information on this and copyright, see http://www.elsevier.com/copyright). An e-mail will be sent to the corresponding author confirming receipt of the manuscript together with a 'Journal Publishing Agreement' form or a link to the online version of this agreement.
    Subscribers may reproduce tables of contents or prepare lists of articles including abstracts for internal circulation within their institutions. Permission of the Publisher is required for resale or distribution outside the institution and for all other derivative works, including compilations and translations (please consult http://www.elsevier.com/permissions). If excerpts from other copyrighted works are included, the author(s) must obtain written permission from the copyright owners and credit the source(s) in the article. Elsevier has preprinted forms for use by authors in these cases: please consult http://www.elsevier.com/permissions.

    For open access articles
    Upon acceptance of an article, authors will be asked to complete an 'Exclusive License Agreement' (for more information see http://www.elsevier.com/OAauthoragreement). Permitted reuse of open access articles is determined by the author's choice of user license (see http://www.elsevier.com/openaccesslicenses).

    Retained author rights
    As an author you (or your employer or institution) retain certain rights. For more information on author rights for:
    Subscription articles please see http://www.elsevier.com/journal-authors/author-rights-and-responsibilities.
    Open access articles please see http://www.elsevier.com/OAauthoragreement.

    Role of the funding source

    You are requested to identify who provided financial support for the conduct of the research and/or preparation of the article and to briefly describe the role of the sponsor(s), if any, in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication. If the funding source(s) had no such involvement then this should be stated.

    Funding Body Agreements

    Elsevier has established agreements and developed policies to allow authors whose articles appear in journals published by Elsevier, to comply with potential manuscript archiving requirements as specified as conditions of their grant awards. To learn more about existing agreements and policies please visit http://www.elsevier.com/fundingbodies.

    Open access

    This journal offers authors a choice in publishing their research:

    Open access
    • Articles are freely available to both subscribers and the wider public with permitted reuse
    • An open access publication fee is payable by authors or their research funder
    Subscription
    • Articles are made available to subscribers as well as developing countries and patient groups through our access programs (http://www.elsevier.com/access)
    • No open access publication fee

    All articles published open access will be immediately and permanently free for everyone to read and download. Permitted reuse is defined by your choice of one of the following Creative Commons user licenses:
    Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA): for non-commercial purposes, lets others distribute and copy the article, to create extracts, abstracts and other revised versions, adaptations or derivative works of or from an article (such as a translation), to include in a collective work (such as an anthology), to text and data mine the article, as long as they credit the author(s), do not represent the author as endorsing their adaptation of the article, do not modify the article in such a way as to damage the author's honor or reputation, and license their new adaptations or creations under identical terms (CC BY-NC-SA).
    Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND): for non-commercial purposes, lets others distribute and copy the article, and to include in a collective work (such as an anthology), as long as they credit the author(s) and provided they do not alter or modify the article.

    Elsevier has established agreements with funding bodies, http://www.elsevier.com/fundingbodies. This ensures authors can comply with funding body open access requirements, including specific user licenses, such as CC BY. Some authors may also be reimbursed for associated publication fees. If you need to comply with your funding body policy, you can apply for the CC BY license after your manuscript is accepted for publication.

    To provide open access, this journal has a publication fee which needs to be met by the authors or their research funders for each article published open access.
    Your publication choice will have no effect on the peer review process or acceptance of submitted articles.

    The open access publication fee for this journal is $2500, excluding taxes.
    Learn more about Elsevier's pricing policy on http://www.elsevier.com/openaccesspricing

    Language (usage and editing services)

    Please write your text in good English (American or British usage is accepted, but not a mixture of these). Authors who feel their English language manuscript may require editing to eliminate possible grammatical or spelling errors and to conform to correct scientific English may wish to use the English Language Editing service available from Elsevier's WebShop (http://webshop.elsevier.com/languageediting/) or visit our customer support site (http://support.elsevier.com) for more information.

    Submission address

    Atherosclerosis is a fully electronic journal, all manuscripts are to be submitted via the internet.

    To submit your paper online, click on the link http://ees.elsevier.com/ath/. This will take you to the Atherosclerosis Editorial Manager home page. The Author Information box to the right of the page provides relevant information, including a tutorial on how to submit your manuscript.

    Manuscripts

    Original articles should report original research not previously published or being considered for publication elsewhere. Please note, suspected cases of plagiarism or manipulation of data will be dealt with in consultation with the communicating author and the relevant authorities (please see below). Manuscripts should be written in the English language (using either American or British spelling).
    As a rule, research papers should be divided into sections, headed by a caption (e.g. Abstract, Introduction, Materials, Methods, Experimental Results, Discussion, etc.).
    Please include a short paragraph of conclusions (at the end of the text), indicating the relevance of the study with regard to the basics and/or clinical aspect of atherosclerosis. A statement concerning the source of funding, conflicts of interests and disclosures of financial support is highly recommended. Si units must be used throughout (eg: mmol/L).

    NEW SUBMISSIONS

    Submission to this journal proceeds totally online and you will be guided stepwise through the creation and uploading of your files. The system automatically converts your files to a single PDF file, which is used in the peer-review process.
    As part of the Your Paper Your Way service, you may choose to submit your manuscript as a single file to be used in the refereeing process. This can be a PDF file or a Word document, in any format or lay-out that can be used by referees to evaluate your manuscript. It should contain high enough quality figures for refereeing. If you prefer to do so, you may still provide all or some of the source files at the initial submission. Please note that individual figure files larger than 10 MB must be uploaded separately.

    References

    There are no strict requirements on reference formatting at submission. References can be in any style or format as long as the style is consistent. Where applicable, author(s) name(s), journal title/book title, chapter title/article title, year of publication, volume number/book chapter and the pagination must be present. Use of DOI is highly encouraged. The reference style used by the journal will be applied to the accepted article by Elsevier at the proof stage. Note that missing data will be highlighted at proof stage for the author to correct.

    Formatting requirements

    There are no strict formatting requirements but all manuscripts must contain the essential elements needed to convey your manuscript, for example Abstract, Keywords, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Conclusions, Artwork and Tables with Captions.
    If your article includes any Videos and/or other Supplementary material, this should be included in your initial submission for peer review purposes.
    Divide the article into clearly defined sections.

    Figures and tables embedded in text
    Please ensure the figures and the tables included in the single file are placed next to the relevant text in the manuscript, rather than at the bottom or the top of the file.

    REVISED SUBMISSIONS

    Use of word processing software
    Regardless of the file format of the original submission, at revision you must provide us with an editable file of the entire article. Keep the layout of the text as simple as possible. Most formatting codes will be removed and replaced on processing the article. The electronic text should be prepared in a way very similar to that of conventional manuscripts (see also the Guide to Publishing with Elsevier: http://www.elsevier.com/guidepublication). See also the section on Electronic artwork.
    To avoid unnecessary errors you are strongly advised to use the 'spell-check' and 'grammar-check' functions of your word processor.

    Essential title page information

    Title. Concise and informative. Titles are often used in information-retrieval systems. Avoid abbreviations and formulae where possible.
    Author names and affiliations. Where the family name may be ambiguous (e.g., a double name), please indicate this clearly. 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.
    Corresponding author. Clearly indicate who will handle correspondence at all stages of refereeing and publication, also post-publication. Ensure that phone numbers (with country and area code) are provided in addition to the e-mail address and the complete postal address. Contact details must be kept up to date by the corresponding author.
    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.

    Abstracts

    A structured abstract (objective, methods, results and conclusion) of 50-250 words must be included.

    Keywords

    A keyword summary must be provided; normally 3-7 items should be included. Authors are encouraged to choose their own keywords but, if in grave doubt which items to select, Medical Subject Headings (issued with the January Index Medicus, 1969) may be used as a guideline.

    Tables

    Tables with titles and legends must be on separate pages with double spacing; they may be included in the same file as the manuscript text or in separate file(s). Authors must list on the title page or in the covering e-mail, the number of figures and/or tables to be found in the paper.

    Standardized genetic nomenclature

    Every gene, DNA sequence, cell line and polymorphism/variant referred to in an article must adhere to standardized nomenclature as outlined below:

    • All DNA sequences and GenBank accession numbers must be provided as bold underlined text, with letters in the accession number as capitals. Example: (GenBank accession nos. AI631510, AI631511, AI632198, and BF223228), a B-cell tumour from a chronic lymphatic leukaemia (GenBank accession no. BE675048), and a T-cell lymphoma (GenBank accession no. AA361117).
    • The rs number must be provided for all SNPs/variants. Example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/projects/SNP/snp_ref.cgi?rs=117852275.
    • Current standard nomenclature for designation of DNA and peptide sequence variants must be adhered to, for the latest recommendations please see: http://www.hgvs.org.
    • In order to allow for the work to be reproduced by others, where not previously published, authors are encouraged to provide as supplementary material for web-publication only, the primers and PCR conditions for all variants genotyped in the manuscript.

    Guidelines for genetic association papers

    Atherosclerosis is interested in publishing genetic association papers that present data that is novel, statistically robust, clinically relevant and that add significantly to the field. Authors are advised to follow the reporting guidelines outlined in the STREGA Statement (http://www.strega-statement.org) [1], and to achieve this, the following criteria should be met.

    1. All the following aspects should be addressed appropriately and Methods used should be reported: a) Population stratification should be addressed in case of admixed populations; b) Test on Hardy-Weinberg-Equilibrium must be carried out and the p value reported; c) LD-structure between SNPs (if multiple SNPs are reported) must be presented; d) Genotyping errors / call rate must be reported; e) Appropriate correction for multiple testing (if multiple independent SNPs are reported) must be included; f) Possible relatedness between studied subjects must be documented and addressed if present.

    2. All papers must include a power calculation to estimate the effect the size the study has the power to detect, based on sample size and minor allele frequency of the included SNPs. If power calculations are not included the paper is likely to be rejected without review. It should be stated whether or not power calculations were performed before or after study completion.

    Comment: The study should have an adequate sample size. Ideally, power calculations should have been performed before conducting the study since post-hoc power calculations are often a self-fulfilling prophecy. It should be stated whether or not power calculations were performed before or after study completion. Several programs are available to perform power and/or sample size calculations for genetic association studies, e.g. the "Genetic Power Calculator" (http://pngu.mgh.harvard.edu/~purcell/gpc) [2], and see table 1 below. Sample size and /or Power calculations on two-stage designs can be calculated e.g. by using the program CATS (http://www.sph.umich.edu/csg/abecasis/CaTS) [3] for case-control studies and QpowR (https://www.msu.edu/~steibelj/JP_files/QpowR.html) for studies on quantitative traits. Since genetic association studies often involve more complex study designs involving meta-analysis or several replication stages, simple answers on required sample sizes cannot be given. Authors are advised, however, to keep this issue in mind and give a good rationale, if the study is clearly underpowered.

    3. For any novel association a replication study must be included in the submitted manuscript. Any novel association not including a replication study may be rejected without review.

    Comment: The presentation of novel association results requires replication in most cases, if appropriate replication studies exist. However, if the first study has already an appropriate sample size (considering that very large studies with several thousands of individuals are available) and if the results show a strong association, it might not be necessary to provide a replication. Furthermore, giving additional evidence from other sources could replace replication studies, if they are convincing, e.g. results from functional experiments. Meta-analysis on the discovery stage or other outstanding studies do also not require replication in every case, but it should be clear that these are exceptional cases and have to discussed in that way to be acceptable for publication.


    4. For any association study replicating a previously published finding, there should be sufficient novelty to add significantly to the literature. This could include confirming the effect size in a different ethnic group, or extending the association observations to additional intermediate traits or disease groups. Any study not having sufficient novelty is likely to be rejected without review.

    5. We require all SNPs to have their designated RS number and for the numbering of base pair changes and amino acid changes and gene symbols to be using agreed nomenclature. For example see the following website: http://www.hgvs.org/mutnomen.

    6. Generally, authors should present the rationale as to why gene regions and SNPs have been selected. Association studies using SNPs where previous studies have demonstrated that the base change has an effect on protein function or gene expression will be favored over those using SNPs where no functionality has been previously determined. Studies using a tagSNP approach will also be considered, where these add additional data to the already known variations, in order to further explain observed associations.

    References:

    [1] Little J et al: STrengthening the REporting of Genetic Association Studies (STREGA): an extension of the STROBE statement. PLoS Med. 2009 Feb 3;6(2):e22.

    [2] Purcell S, et al. Genetic Power Calculator: design of linkage and association genetic mapping studies of complex traits. Bioinformatics 2003, 19(1):149-150.

    [3] Skol AD et al. Joint analysis is more efficient than replication-based analysis for two-stage genome-wide association studies. Nat Genet (2006) 38:209-13.

    In the following table, some sample sizes are given, calculated from the "Genetic Power Calculator", assuming an alpha-level of = 0.05, an additive inheritance model, an assumed prevalence of disease of 30% and a power of 80% for a balanced case-control study (1:1 case:control ratio) for varying minor allele frequencies (MAF) and genetic relative risks (GRR). Relative risks of between 1.1 and 1.3 are in the range that can be expected in genetic association studies on complex diseases. This table can be used as a rough guidance.

    MAF  
     
    GRR assumed
    per Allele
    Cases required
    in a balanced design
    0.01 1.1 40000
    1.3 4700
    1.5 1800
    0.05 1.1 8400
    1.3 1000
    1.5 380
    0.1 1.1 4500
    1.3 500
    1.5 200
    0.2 1.1 2500
    1.3 300
    1.5 125
    0.3 1.1 2000
    1.3 250
    1.5 100
    0.4 1.1 1700
    1.3 230
    1.5 100

    Guidelines for meta-analyses

    In principle, literature-based meta-analyses should be reported in that way, that any interested researcher is able to reproduce the results. To ensure this, authors are strongly advised to follow the guidelines listed below and are further encouraged to use the PRISMA (http://www.prisma-statement.org/statement.htm) and the MOOSE statements (http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/283/15/2008) as a guide. Therefore, as much information as needed should be provided. However, for the average reader only the most mandatory information should be reported in the main paper with additional information given in the Supplementary Material.

    1. Specification of objective and primary study outcome. If there are previous meta-analyses on the same outcome available, the authors should specify clearly the differences and added value of their meta-analysis in a separate section ("Added value to previous meta-analysis on the same topic").
    2. Detailed specification of search strategy, study selection strategy (including approaches to reach unpublished studies) and eligibility criteria for studies. It is highly recommended to use a graphical Flow Chart (templates available at http://www.prisma-statement.org/statement.htm).
    3. Description of possible sources of bias and confounding and strategies to prevent them. This includes:
      • Bias in individual studies
      • Bias across studies (e.g. publication bias, selective reporting within studies)
      • Quality and comparability of studies (study types, study outcomes, sample size)
    4. Description of Statistical Methods:
      • What is the primary summary measure (Difference in Mean, OR, etc.)? How was it extracted from the individual studies (e.g. calculated from raw numbers or tables or taken as reported)
      • Methods to assess heterogeneity and bias
      • Methods used for the combined analysis (fixed effects, random effects) including a rationale for using this method.
    5. Reporting of results:
      • Individual study characteristics (including sample size, study type, population/ethnicity, primary outcome, reference)
      • Individual study results (effect estimates including confidence intervals or standard errors). Graphical presentations is preferred (Forest plots).
      • Meta-analysis results: Combined effect estimate, confidence intervals, some measure of heterogeneity, results of bias assessment (preferably using graphical presentations, e.g. Funnel plot)
    6. Additional for meta-analysis of genetic association studies: meta-analysis on a single SNP with certain selected outcomes suffer from the problem that they completely ignore the other genetic variability within a certain gene region. Many of these meta-analyses also completely ignore already available results from genome-wide association (GWA) studies on the investigated outcomes. These GWA studies might not have studied the very SNP of interest but highly correlated ones in the same genetic region which can add valuable information to the meta-analysis. The authors must either discuss the findings from these GWAS or – even much better – approach the authors from these GWAS for a lookup of the meta-analyzed SNPs. Meta analyses that do not cover these issues will be rejected without review. Furthermore, these studies have to report the following information:
      • Specification of the genes / polymorphisms (rs numbers) and rationale for selection of the specific polymorphisms
      • Genotyping methods in each individual study
      • Genotype characteristics (genotyping success rate, minor allele frequency, frequencies of genotypes, Hardy-Weinberg-equilibrium)

    Supplementary data

    Elsevier accepts electronic supplementary material (e-components) to support and enhance presentation of your scientific research. Supplementary files offer the Author additional possibilities to publish supporting applications, movies, animation sequences, high-resolution images, background datasets, sound clips and more. Supplementary files supplied will be published online alongside the electronic version of your article in Elsevier Web products, including ScienceDirect: http://www.sciencedirect.com. In order to ensure that your submitted material is directly usable, please ensure that data is provided in one of our recommended file formats. Authors should submit the material in electronic format together with the article and supply a concise and descriptive caption for each file. For more detailed instructions please visit our artwork instruction pages at http://www.elsevier.com/artworkinstructions.

    Graphical abstract

    Although a graphical abstract is optional, its use is encouraged as it draws more attention to the online article. The graphical abstract should summarize the contents of the article in a concise, pictorial form designed to capture the attention of a wide readership. Graphical abstracts should be submitted as a separate file in the online submission system. Image size: Please provide an image with a minimum of 531 × 1328 pixels (h × w) or proportionally more. The image should be readable at a size of 5 × 13 cm using a regular screen resolution of 96 dpi. Preferred file types: TIFF, EPS, PDF or MS Office files. See http://www.elsevier.com/graphicalabstracts for examples.
    Authors can make use of Elsevier's Illustration and Enhancement service to ensure the best presentation of their images and in accordance with all technical requirements: Illustration Service.

    Highlights

    Highlights are mandatory for this journal. They consist of a short collection of bullet points that convey the core findings of the article and should be submitted in a separate editable file in the online submission system. Please use 'Highlights' in the file name and include 3 to 5 bullet points (maximum 85 characters, including spaces, per bullet point). See http://www.elsevier.com/highlights for examples.

    Footnotes

    Footnotes should be used sparingly. Number them consecutively throughout the article. Many wordprocessors build footnotes into the text, and this feature may be used. Should this not be the case, indicate the position of footnotes in the text and present the footnotes themselves separately at the end of the article. Do not include footnotes in the Reference list.

    Artwork

    Colour illustrations
    Colour illustrations online

    Please make sure that artwork files are in an acceptable format (TIFF, EPS or MS Office files) and with the correct resolution. Polaroid colour prints are not suitable. 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 on the Web (e.g. ScienceDirect and other sites. For further information on the preparation of electronic artwork, please see http://authors.elsevier.com/artwork.

    Electronic artwork
    General points
    • Make sure you use uniform lettering and sizing of your original artwork.
    • Preferred fonts: Arial (or Helvetica), Times New Roman (or Times), Symbol, Courier.
    • Number the illustrations according to their sequence in the text.
    • Use a logical naming convention for your artwork files.
    • Indicate per figure if it is a single, 1.5 or 2-column fitting image.
    • For Word submissions only, you may still provide figures and their captions, and tables within a single file at the revision stage.
    • Please note that individual figure files larger than 10 MB must be provided in separate source files.
    A detailed guide on electronic artwork is available on our website:
    http://www.elsevier.com/artworkinstructions.
    You are urged to visit this site; some excerpts from the detailed information are given here.
    Formats
    Regardless of the application used, 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 the font or save the text as 'graphics'.
    TIFF (or JPG): Color or grayscale photographs (halftones): always use a minimum of 300 dpi.
    TIFF (or JPG): Bitmapped line drawings: use a minimum of 1000 dpi.
    TIFF (or JPG): Combinations bitmapped line/half-tone (color or grayscale): a minimum of 500 dpi is required.
    Please do not:
    • Supply files that are optimized for screen use (e.g., GIF, BMP, PICT, WPG); the resolution is too low.
    • Supply files that are too low in resolution.
    • Submit graphics that are disproportionately large for the content.

    Figure captions
    Ensure that each illustration has a caption. 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.

    Reference links
    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 encouraged.

    Reference formatting
    There are no strict requirements on reference formatting at submission. References can be in any style or format as long as the style is consistent. Where applicable, author(s) name(s), journal title/book title, chapter title/article title, year of publication, volume number/book chapter and the pagination must be present. Use of DOI is highly encouraged. The reference style used by the journal will be applied to the accepted article by Elsevier at the proof stage. Note that missing data will be highlighted at proof stage for the author to correct. If you do wish to format the references yourself they should be arranged according to the following examples:

    Google Maps and KML files

    KML (Keyhole Markup Language) files (optional): You can enrich your online articles by providing KML or KMZ files which will be visualized using Google maps. The KML or KMZ files can be uploaded in our online submission system. KML is an XML schema for expressing geographic annotation and visualization within Internet-based Earth browsers. Elsevier will generate Google Maps from the submitted KML files and include these in the article when published online. Submitted KML files will also be available for downloading from your online article on ScienceDirect. For more information see http://www.elsevier.com/googlemaps.

    3D radiological data

    You can enrich your online article by providing 3D radiological data in DICOM format. Radiological data will be visualized for readers using the interactive viewer embedded within your article, and will enable them to: browse through available radiological datasets; explore radiological data as 2D series, 2D orthogonal MPR, 3D volume rendering and 3D MIP; zoom, rotate and pan 3D reconstructions; cut through the volume; change opacity and threshold level; and download the data. Multiple datasets can be submitted. Each dataset will have to be zipped and uploaded to the online submission system via the '3D radiological data' submission category. The recommended size of a single uncompressed dataset is 200 MB or less. Please provide a short informative description for each dataset by filling in the 'Description' field when uploading each ZIP file. Note: all datasets will be available for download from the online article on ScienceDirect. So please ensure that all DICOM files are anonymized prior to submission. For more information see: http://www.elsevier.com/about/content-innovation/radiological-data

    Submission checklist

    The following list will be useful during the final checking of an article prior to sending it to the journal for review. Please consult this Guide for Authors for further details of any item.
    Ensure that the following items are present:
    One author has been designated as the corresponding author with contact details:
    • E-mail address
    • Full postal address
    • Telephone
    All necessary files have been uploaded, and contain:
    • Keywords
    • All figure captions
    • All tables (including title, description, footnotes)
    Further considerations
    • Manuscript has been 'spell-checked' and 'grammar-checked'
    • All references mentioned in the Reference list are cited in the text, and vice versa
    • Permission has been obtained for use of copyrighted material from other sources (including the Web)
    • Color figures are clearly marked as being intended for color reproduction on the Web (free of charge) and in print, or to be reproduced in color on the Web (free of charge) and in black-and-white in print
    • If only color on the Web is required, black-and-white versions of the figures are also supplied for printing purposes
    For any further information please visit our customer support site at http://support.elsevier.com.

    Use of the Digital Object Identifier

    The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) may be used to cite and link to electronic documents. The DOI consists of a unique alpha-numeric character string which is assigned to a document by the publisher upon the initial electronic publication. The assigned DOI never changes. Therefore, it is an ideal medium for citing a document, particularly 'Articles in press' because they have not yet received their full bibliographic information. Example of a correctly given DOI (in URL format; here an article in the journal Physics Letters B):
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.physletb.2010.09.059
    When you use a DOI to create links to documents on the web, the DOIs are guaranteed never to change.

    Elsevier will do everything possible to get your article corrected and published as quickly and accurately as possible. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all of your corrections are sent back to us in one communication. Subsequent corrections will not be possible, so please ensure your first sending is complete.

    Reprints

    PDF offprints are provided free of charge. No reprints are provided free of charge. Reprints (50 copies minimum) can be ordered at quoted prices on order forms sent out together with the proofs.

    Online proof correction

    Corresponding authors will receive an e-mail with a link to our online proofing system, allowing annotation and correction of proofs online. The environment is similar to MS Word: in addition to editing text, you can also comment on figures/tables and answer questions from the Copy Editor. Web-based proofing provides a faster and less error-prone process by allowing you to directly type your corrections, eliminating the potential introduction of errors.
    If preferred, you can still choose to annotate and upload your edits on the PDF version. All instructions for proofing will be given in the e-mail we send to authors, including alternative methods to the online version and PDF.
    We will do everything possible to get your article published quickly and accurately. Please use this proof only for checking the typesetting, editing, completeness and correctness of the text, tables and figures. Significant changes to the article as accepted for publication will only be considered at this stage with permission from the Editor.It is important to ensure that all corrections are sent back to us in one communication. Please check carefully before replying, as inclusion of any subsequent corrections cannot be guaranteed. Proofreading is solely your responsibility.



    You can track your submitted article at http://help.elsevier.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/89/p/8045/. You can track your accepted article at http://www.elsevier.com/trackarticle. You are also welcome to contact Customer Support via http://support.elsevier.com.

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