Guide for Authors

  • Guidelines for Authors on the construction of articles

    The purpose of Medical Hypotheses is to publish interesting theoretical papers. The journal will consider radical, speculative and non-mainstream scientific ideas provided they are coherently expressed.

    Medical Hypotheses is not, however, a journal for publishing workaday reviews of the literature, nor is it a journal for primary data (except when preliminary data is used to lend support to the main hypothesis presented). Many of the articles submitted do not clearly identify the hypothesis and simply read like reviews.

    These notes are designed to help authors formulate an article for Medical Hypotheses in such a way that the article is clearly distinguishable from a review. These are guidelines only and the Editor is happy to accept other formats provided that the principal requirements are met.

    An hypothesis

    Roughly speaking, an hypothesis should be an organized logical structure (or model) that accounts for (some) known facts, and which has real world consequences that are (in principle) observable.

    The consequences of an hypothesis constitute predictions that may be tested against observations and experiments to determine whether some of them are (apparently) fulfilled.

    Most articles for Medical Hypotheses should fulfil the requirements of an hypothesis, and the logic of the proposals should be clearly stated and evaluated.

    Medical Hypotheses is a general journal and articles need to be intelligible to a wide audience in medicine and bioscience, including those who may not be specialists in the field. Clarity of presentation and concision are key requirements.

    Abstract/ Summary

    The abstract should present the paper in microcosm. It should contain explicit details of the hypothesis being advanced, the main lines of supporting evidence and the most important implications.

    Introduction/Background

    The introduction should be a concise introduction to the scientific area to be addressed, supported by appropriate references and should set the scene for the hypothesis. The introduction should not be an attempt to review the evidence in detail.

    The Hypothesis/Theory

    The hypothesis needs to be set out in explicit detail. Typically it should be clear why and how the hypothesis is different from current thinking, how the idea has evolved, and why it is important.

    The scientific logic of the hypothesis should be clearly evident (eg. the steps in its causal assumptions).

    Evaluation of the hypothesis/idea

    The proposed hypothesis should be evaluated in the light of known and published information. Generally, this entails an evaluation of both evidence in support and evidence (apparently) against the hypothesis. Only relevant, and critically evaluated, papers should be cited.

    An hypothesis should, if correct, have implications and make predictions. These predictions are (in principle) amenable to further observation and experimentation that could tend to confirm or refute the hypothesis. Typically, authors would be expected to indicate how their hypothesis might be tested.

    Empirical data

    Inclusion of extensive new data is not usually acceptable in Medical Hypotheses papers. However, at the Editor's discretion, pilot data may be included when it is required for support of the proposed hypothesis, and when it is unlikely to be published in its own right.

    Consequences of the hypothesis and discussion

    The importance of the hypothesis may need to be stated explicitly, with a discussion of the potential implications for the area of science under discussion if the hypothesis were to be confirmed.

    References

    As a general rule, references should be limited to those that have a direct bearing on the understanding of the hypothesis.

    Figures and Tables

    Diagrams, figures or tables may be invaluable in explaining the hypothesis. Tables may be a good way of presenting evidence for and against a hypothesis in a way which makes the strengths and weaknesses of the argument quickly apparent to the reader. Explanatory diagrams and figures are welcome - so long as they clarify the argument.

    Authors are requested to submit their manuscript and figures online via http://www.ees.elsevier.com/ymehy. This is the Elsevier web-based submission and review system. You will find full instructions located at this site - a Guide for Authors and a Guide for Online Submission. Please follow these guidelines to prepare and upload your article. Once the uploading is done, our system automatically generates an electronic pdf proof, which is then used for reviewing. All correspondence, including notification of the Editor's decision and requests for revisions, will be managed via this system.

    Paper submissions are not normally accepted. If you cannot submit electronically, please email the editorial office for assistance on medicalhypotheses@elsevier.com. Manuscripts may also be submitted to: Editorial Office, c/o Joanne Hodgkinson, Elsevier Limited, The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, OX5 1GB, UK.

    The Editors cannot accept responsibility for damage to or loss of typescripts. A paper is accepted for publication on the understanding that it has not been submitted simultaneously to another journal in the English language. Rejected papers will not be returned to authors except on request.

    The Editors reserve the right to make editorial and literary corrections. Any opinions expressed or policies advocated do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the Editors.

    Document Lay Out

    Papers should be set out as follows, with each section beginning on a separate sheet: title page, summary, text, acknowledgements, references, tables, captions to illustrations.

    Title

    The title page should give the following information: (1) title of article; (2) initials and name of each author, with highest academic degree(s); (3) name and address of the department or institution to which the work should be attributed; (4) name, address, telephone and fax numbers and E-mail address of the author responsible for correspondence and to whom requests for offprints should be sent; and (5) sources of support in the form of grants.

    Abstract

    The abstract is the most important section of the paper since it will be widely and freely disseminated by scientific indexing systems, and will be read far more often than the whole paper. Great care should therefore be taken to provide an informative abstract which summarizes the main argument of the paper. The maximum length allowed is 400 words. The abstract should not contain any references, because it will sometimes be disseminated in isolation from the rest of the paper. Please ensure that you submit your abstract within the first page of your manuscript.

    Within the Text

    Papers should be subdivided as the author desires, bearing in mind that the use of headings usually enhances the reader's comprehension. Major heading should be in capital letters at the centre of the page, minor headings in lower case letters (with an initial capital letter) at the left hand margin. It is suggested that authors bear in mind that hypotheses may be more persuasive when their implications are made explicit - for example, including suggestions for observational or experimental testing.

    Maximum Length

    Papers should normally be restricted in length to a maximum of 40 pages of double spaced 12 point type including tables, illustrations and references.

    Reference Format

    The accuracy of references is the responsibility of the author. References should be entered consecutively by Arabic numerals in parentheses in the text. The references should be listed in numerical order on a separate sheet in double or triple spacing. References to journals should include the authors' names and initials (list all authors when six or fewer; when seven or more, list only the first three and add 'et al.', full title of paper, abbreviated journal title, using Index Medicus abbreviations, year of publication, volume number, first and last page numbers. Internet references should include author, title, web address, date of publication (if known), and the date on which the website was accessed.

    Figures

    All line illustrations should present a crisp black image on an even white background. The illustrations should be 127 x 173 mm (5 x 7 in) in size, or no larger than 203 x 254 mm (8 x 10 in).

    Photographic illustrations and radiographs should be submitted as clear, lightly contrasted black-and-white prints (unmounted), sizes as above. Photomicrographs should have the magnification and details of staining techniques shown. X-ray films should be submitted as photographic prints, carefully made to bring out the detail to be illustrated, with an overlay indicating the area of importance.

    Figures should be submitted appropriately lettered in capitals. The size of the letters should be appropriate to that of the illustration, taking into account the necessary size reduction.

    All illustrations should be clearly marked (by a label pasted on the back or by soft crayon) with figure number and author's name, and the top of the figure should be indicated by an arrow. Never use ink of any kind. Do not use paper clips, as these can scratch or mark illustrations. Illustrations in colour cannot be accepted unless the cost of origination and publication is paid by the author. Captions should be typed, double-spaced, on separate sheets from the typescript.

    Where illustrations must include recognizable individuals, living or dead and of whatever age, great care must be taken to ensure that consent for publication has been given. If identifiable features are not essential to the illustration, please indicate where the illustration can be cropped. In cases where consent has not been obtained and recognizable features may appear, it will be necessary to retouch the illustration to mask the eyes or otherwise render the individual 'officially unrecognizable'.

    Tables

    These should be double-spaced on separate sheets and contain only horizontal rules. Do not submit tables as photographs. A short descriptive title should appear above each table and any footnotes, suitably identified, below. Care must be taken to ensure that all units are included. Ensure that each table is cited in the text.

    Units & Abbreviations

    Avoid abbreviations in the title and abstract. All unusual abbreviations should be fully explained at their first occurrence in the text. All measurements should be expressed in SI units. Imperial units are acceptable from USA contributors. For more detailed recommendations, authors may consult the Royal Society of Medicine publication entitled Units, Symbols and Abbreviations: A Guide for Biological and Medical Editors and Authors.

    Correspondence

    Medical Hypotheses welcomes correspondence, especially when letters are linked to previous publications in the journal. Alternatively, letters can summarise extensions of previous work, draw attention to new evidence relating to theories, describe new ideas, or make general comments concerning the journal or its field of interest. Letters should be 400 words maximum length, inclusive of any references.

    Reviewers

    Authors are asked to supply the names and email addresses of at least 3 and up to 5 potential reviewers for their manuscript. Please do not suggest reviewers from your own institution, previous or current collaborators or Editorial Board members. Without reviewer suggestions, processing of the manuscript may be delayed. Please do not contact any reviewers that you have suggested.

    Copyright Information

    In order for us to ensure maximum dissemination and copyright protection of material published in the journal, copyright must be explicitly transferred from author to publisher.

    The copyright transfer agreement to be used for the journal is reproduced in the first issue of each year. Extra copies are available from the Publisher or the Editors, or contributors may photocopy the agreement reproduced in the journal. A copy of this agreement must be signed by every author before any paper can be published.

    We assure you that no limitation will be put on your personal freedom to use material contained in the paper without requesting permission, provided acknowledgement is made of the journal as the original source of publication.

    Permissions Information

    Written permission to reproduce borrowed material (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 the kind permission of ... (publishers) from ... (reference)'.

    Conflicts of Interest/Role of the Funding Source

    At the end of the text, under a subheading "Conflict of interest statement" 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.

    All sources of funding should be declared as an acknowledgement at the end of the text. Authors should declare the role of sponsors, if any, in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; and in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. If the sponsors had no such involvement, the authors should so state.

    Proofs

    Careful proof reading of the manuscript to ensure the published paper is correct and accurate is the sole responsibility of the author. Authors may be charged for any alterations to the proofs beyond those needed to correct typesetting errors. Proofs must then be returned by email, fax or post to the Issue Manager at Elsevier within 48 hours of receipt.

    Offprints

    The corresponding author, at no cost, will be provided with a PDF file of the article via e-mail. The PDF file is a watermarked version of the published article and includes a cover sheet with the journal cover image and a disclaimer outlining the terms and conditions of use.

    Procedure for Publication

    Submitted manuscripts will be reviewed by the editor who will accept or reject the manuscript based on its adherence to the criteria described above and in the Journal's Aims & Scope. While awaiting print publication in the journal, a pre-print web version of accepted articles is made available to subscribers on ScienceDirect as an 'article-in-press'. Articles-in-Press have a digital object identifier (DOI) and are fully citable. For more information see: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03069877

    David Horrobin Prize

    All papers published in Medical Hypotheses will automatically be eligible for The David Horrobin Prize.

    This prize of 1000 pounds Sterling will be awarded to the corresponding author of the paper published in any given calendar year which - in the judges opinion - best fulfils the founding ideals of Medical Hypotheses (these can be read in the Editorial 2004; 62: 3-4).

    AudioSlides

    The journal encourages authors to create an AudioSlides presentation with their published article. AudioSlides are brief, webinar-style presentations that are shown next to the online article on ScienceDirect. This gives authors the opportunity to summarize their research in their own words and to help readers understand what the paper is about. More information and examples are available at http://www.elsevier.com/audioslides. Authors of this journal will automatically receive an invitation e-mail to create an AudioSlides presentation after acceptance of their paper.

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