Guide for Authors

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

    BEFORE YOU BEGIN
    • Ethics in publishing
    • Human and animal rights
    • Conflict of interest
    • Submission declaration and verification
    • Contributors
    • Changes to authorship
    • Clinical trial results
    • Reporting clinical trials
    • Registration of clinical trials
    • Copyright
    • Role of the funding source
    • Funding body agreements and policies
    • Language (usage and editing services)
    • Informed consent and patient details
    • Submission
    • Submission
    • Referees
    PREPARATION
    • Use of word processing software
    • Article structure
    • Essential title page information
    • Abstract
    • Graphical abstract
    • Highlights
    • Keywords
    • Abbreviations
    • Acknowledgements
    • Math formulae
    • Footnotes
    • Artwork
    • Tables
    • References
    • Supplementary data
    • Submission checklist
    AFTER ACCEPTANCE
    • Use of the Digital Object Identifier
    • Online proof correction
    AUTHOR INQUIRIES

    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.

    Human and animal rights

    If the work involves the use of animal or human subjects, the author should ensure that the work described has been carried out in accordance with The Code of Ethics of the World Medical Association (Declaration of Helsinki) for experiments involving humans http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/index.html; EU Directive 2010/63/EU for animal experiments http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/lab_animals/legislation_en.htm; Uniform Requirements for manuscripts submitted to Biomedical journals http://www.icmje.org. Authors should include a statement in the manuscript that informed consent was obtained for experimentation with human subjects. The privacy rights of human subjects must always be observed.

    Conflict of interest

    All authors must disclose any financial and personal relationships with other people or organisations that could inappropriately influence (bias) their work. Examples of potential conflicts of interest include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations, and grants or other funding. See also http://www.elsevier.com/conflictsofinterest.

    Please complete and upload the Conflict of Interest and Author Declaration form with your manuscript. Inclusion of this form is mandatory.

    Submission declaration and verification

    Submission of an article 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 or as an electronic preprint, see http://www.elsevier.com/postingpolicy), that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere in the same form, in English or in any other language, including electronically without the written consent of the copyright-holder. To verify originality, your article may be checked by the originality detection service CrossCheck http://www.elsevier.com/editors/plagdetect.

    Contributors

    Each author is required to declare his or her individual contribution to the article: all authors must have materially participated in the research and/or article preparation, so roles for all authors should be described. The statement that all authors have approved the final article should be true and included in the disclosure.

    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.

    Clinical trial results

    In line with the position of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, the journal will not consider results posted in the same clinical trials registry in which primary registration resides to be prior publication if the results posted are presented in the form of a brief structured (less than 500 words) abstract or table. However, divulging results in other circumstances (e.g., investors' meetings) is discouraged and may jeopardise consideration of the manuscript. Authors should fully disclose all posting in registries of results of the same or closely related work.

    Reporting clinical trials

    Randomized controlled trials should be presented according to the CONSORT guidelines. At manuscript submission, authors must provide the CONSORT checklist accompanied by a flow diagram that illustrates the progress of patients through the trial, including recruitment, enrollment, randomization, withdrawal and completion, and a detailed description of the randomization procedure. The CONSORT checklist and template flow diagram can be found on http://www.consort-statement.org.

    Registration of clinical trials

    Registration in a public trials registry is a condition for publication of clinical trials in this journal in accordance with International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE, http://www.icmje.org) recommendations. Trials must register at or before the onset of patient enrolment. The clinical trial registration number should be included at the end of the abstract of the article. A clinical trial is defined as any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects of health outcomes. Health-related interventions include any intervention used to modify a biomedical or health-related outcome (for example drugs, surgical procedures, devices, behavioural treatments, dietary interventions, and process-of-care changes). Health outcomes include any biomedical or health-related measures obtained in patients or participants, including pharmacokinetic measures and adverse events. Purely observational studies (those in which the assignment of the medical intervention is not at the discretion of the investigator) will not require registration.

    Copyright

    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). Acceptance of the agreement will ensure the widest possible dissemination of information. 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.

    Retained author rights
    As an author you (or your employer or institution) retain certain rights; for details you are referred to: http://www.elsevier.com/authorsrights.

    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 and policies

    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.

    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.

    Informed consent and patient details

    Studies on patients or volunteers require ethics committee approval and informed consent, which should be documented in the paper. Appropriate consents, permissions and releases must be obtained where an author wishes to include case details or other personal information or images of patients and any other individuals in an Elsevier publication. Written consents must be retained by the author and copies of the consents or evidence that such consents have been obtained must be provided to Elsevier on request. For more information, please review the Elsevier Policy on the Use of Images or Personal Information of Patients or other Individuals, http://www.elsevier.com/patient-consent-policy. Unless you have written permission from the patient (or, where applicable, the next of kin), the personal details of any patient included in any part of the article and in any supplementary materials (including all illustrations and videos) must be removed before submission.

    Submission

    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 source files to a single PDF file of the article, which is used in the peer-review process. Please note that even though manuscript source files are converted to PDF files at submission for the review process, these source files are needed for further processing after acceptance. All correspondence, including notification of the Editor's decision and requests for revision, takes place by e-mail removing the need for a paper trail.

    Submission

    Please submit your article via http://ees.elsevier.com/bfopcu

    Referees

    Please submit the names and institutional e-mail addresses of several potential referees. For more details, visit our Support site. Note that the editor retains the sole right to decide whether or not the suggested reviewers are used.

    Use of word processing software

    It is important that the file be saved in the native format of the word processor 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 word processor's options to justify text or to hyphenate words. However, do use bold face, italics, subscripts, superscripts etc. 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 (see also the Guide to Publishing with Elsevier: http://www.elsevier.com/guidepublication). Note that source files of figures, tables and text graphics will be required whether or not you embed your figures in the text. 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.

    Article structure

    Subdivision - numbered sections
    Divide your article into clearly defined and numbered sections. Subsections should be numbered 1.1 (then 1.1.1, 1.1.2, ...), 1.2, etc. (the abstract is not included in section numbering). Use this numbering also for internal cross-referencing: do not just refer to 'the text'. Any subsection may be given a brief heading. Each heading should appear on its own separate line.

    Introduction
    State the objectives of the work and provide an adequate background, avoiding a detailed literature survey or a summary of the results.

    Material and methods
    Provide sufficient detail to allow the work to be reproduced. Methods already published should be indicated by a reference: only relevant modifications should be described.

    Theory/calculation
    A Theory section should extend, not repeat, the background to the article already dealt with in the Introduction and lay the foundation for further work. In contrast, a Calculation section represents a practical development from a theoretical basis.

    Results
    Results should be clear and concise.

    Discussion
    This should explore the significance of the results of the work, not repeat them. A combined Results and Discussion section is often appropriate. Avoid extensive citations and discussion of published literature.

    Conclusions
    The main conclusions of the study may be presented in a short Conclusions section, which may stand alone or form a subsection of a Discussion or Results and Discussion section.

    Appendices
    If there is more than one appendix, they should be identified as A, B, etc. Formulae and equations in appendices should be given separate numbering: Eq. (A.1), Eq. (A.2), etc.; in a subsequent appendix, Eq. (B.1) and so on. Similarly for tables and figures: Table A.1; Fig. A.1, etc.

    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.

    Abstract

    A concise and factual abstract is required. The abstract should state briefly the purpose of the research, the principal results and major conclusions. An abstract is often presented separately from the article, so it must be able to stand alone. For this reason, References should be avoided, but if essential, then cite the author(s) and year(s). Also, non-standard or uncommon abbreviations should be avoided, but if essential they must be defined at their first mention in the abstract itself.

    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 a short collection of bullet points that convey the core findings of the article. Highlights are optional and should be submitted in a separate 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.

    Keywords

    Immediately after the abstract, provide a maximum of 6 keywords, using American spelling and avoiding general and plural terms and multiple concepts (avoid, for example, 'and', 'of'). Be sparing with abbreviations: only abbreviations firmly established in the field may be eligible. These keywords will be used for indexing purposes.

    Abbreviations

    Define abbreviations that are not standard in this field in a footnote to be placed on the first page of the article. Such abbreviations that are unavoidable in the abstract must be defined at their first mention there, as well as in the footnote. Ensure consistency of abbreviations throughout the article.

    Acknowledgements

    Collate acknowledgements in a separate section at the end of the article before the references and do not, therefore, include them on the title page, as a footnote to the title or otherwise. List here those individuals who provided help during the research (e.g., providing language help, writing assistance or proof reading the article, etc.).

    Math formulae

    Present simple formulae in the line of normal text where possible and use the solidus (/) instead of a horizontal line for small fractional terms, e.g., X/Y. In principle, variables are to be presented in italics. Powers of e are often more conveniently denoted by exp. Number consecutively any equations that have to be displayed separately from the text (if referred to explicitly in the text).

    Footnotes

    Footnotes should be used sparingly. Number them consecutively throughout the article, using superscript Arabic numbers. 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.
    Table footnotes
    Indicate each footnote in a table with a superscript lowercase letter.

    Artwork

    Image manipulation
    Whilst it is accepted that authors sometimes need to manipulate images for clarity, manipulation for purposes of deception or fraud will be seen as scientific ethical abuse and will be dealt with accordingly. For graphical images, this journal is applying the following policy: no specific feature within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced. Adjustments of brightness, contrast, or color balance are acceptable if and as long as they do not obscure or eliminate any information present in the original. Nonlinear adjustments (e.g. changes to gamma settings) must be disclosed in the figure legend.

    Electronic artwork
    General points
    • 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 printed version.
    • Submit each illustration as a separate file.
    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
    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): Color 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 (color 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 colors;
    • 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. 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.

    Tables

    Number tables consecutively in accordance with their appearance in the text. Place footnotes to tables below the table body and indicate them with superscript lowercase letters. Avoid vertical rules. Be sparing in the use of tables and ensure that the data presented in tables do not duplicate results described elsewhere in the article.

    References

    Citation in 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 recommended in the reference list, but may be mentioned in the text. If these references are included in the reference list they should follow the standard reference style of the journal and should include a substitution of the publication date with either 'Unpublished results' or 'Personal communication'. Citation of a reference as 'in press' implies that the item has been accepted for publication.

    Web references
    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.

    References in a special issue
    Please ensure that the words 'this issue' are added to any references in the list (and any citations in the text) to other articles in the same Special Issue.

    Reference style
    Text: Indicate references by superscript numbers in the text. The actual authors can be referred to, but the reference number(s) must always be given.
    List: Number the references in the list in the order in which they appear in the text.
    Examples:
    Reference to a journal publication:
    1. 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:
    2. Strunk Jr W, White EB. The elements of style. 4th ed. New York: Longman; 2000.
    Reference to a chapter in an edited book:
    3. 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.
    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.' For further details you are referred to 'Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts submitted to Biomedical Journals' (J Am Med Assoc 1997;277:927–34) (see also http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/uniform_requirements.html).

    Journal abbreviations source
    Journal names should be abbreviated according to the List of Title Word Abbreviations: http://www.issn.org/services/online-services/access-to-the-ltwa/.

    Supplementary data

    Elsevier accepts electronic supplementary material to support and enhance your scientific research. Supplementary files offer the author additional possibilities to publish supporting applications, 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 provide the data 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.

    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
    • Phone numbers
    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'
    • References are in the correct format for this journal
    • 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.

    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 upload all of your corrections within 48 hours. 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. Note that Elsevier may proceed with the publication of your article if no response is received.



    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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