Guide for Authors

  • The journal editor, Michele Harms, welcomes articles for publication in the journal.


    Submission to this journal proceeds totally online at You will be guided stepwise through the creation and uploading of the various files. The system automatically converts source files to a single Adobe Acrobat PDF version of the article, which is used in the peer-review process. Please note that even though manuscript source files are converted to PDF 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 and via the Author's homepage, removing the need for a hard-copy paper trail.

    Note: electronic articles submitted for the review process may need to be edited after acceptance to follow journal standards. For this an "editable" file format is necessary. We accept most wordprocessing formats, but Word, WordPerfect or LaTeX is preferred. Although Elsevier can process most wordprocessor file formats, should your electronic file prove to be unusable, the article will be typeset from the hardcopy printout.

    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), 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and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere in the same form, in English or in any other language, without the written consent of the Publisher.

    Queries may be directed to the Editorial Office:

    Physiotherapy Editorial Office
    Elsevier Ltd
    The Boulevard
    Langford Lane
    Oxford OX5 1GB
    Tel: +44 (0) 1865 843672
    Fax: 44 (0) 1865 843992

    Guidelines for submissions
    Physiotherapy invites papers in the following categories: Original research, systematic reviews or meta-analysis, theoretical or debate articles (aim for 3000 words excluding abstract and references, with a limit of 40 references), brief reports (750 words and 1 table/figure, with a limit of 10 references), technical reports (1000-2000 words, with a limit of 20 references), and letters to the editor. While most of our editorials are commissioned, we also welcome editorials that deal with current or controversial topics (1000 words).

    Please ensure that submissions conform to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, issued by the International Committee for Medical Journal Editors (J Am Med Assoc 1997;277:927-934;


    All authors should have made substantial contributions to all of the following: (1) the conception and design of the study, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data, (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, (3) final approval of the version to be submitted.

    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.


    All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship as defined above should be listed in an acknowledgements section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, writing assistance, or a department chair who provided only general support. Authors should disclose whether they had any writing assistance and identify the entity that paid for this assistance.

    Conflict of interest

    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 organizations 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.

    Role of the funding source

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

    Physiotherapy supports the principles of the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE), which oblige the highest standards of practice on all participants in scientific research and publishing ( It is recognised that it may not be possible to identify or be aware of all transgressions to the code of practice. Complaints to this journal are dealt with by the Editorial Board in line with COPE's code of practice.

    Open Access

    This journal offers authors two choices to publish their research;
    1. 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

    2. Subscription
    • Articles are made available to subscribers as well as developing countries and patient groups through our access programs (

    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-Non Commercial-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.

    Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY): available only for authors funded by organizations with which Elsevier has established an agreement. For a full list please see

    Elsevier has established agreements with funding bodies. 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.

    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 USD, excluding taxes.

    Learn more about Elsevier’s pricing policy

    Presentation of manuscript

    Please write your text in good English (American or British usage is accepted, but not a mixture of these). Use decimal points (not commas), use a space for thousands (10 000 and above). Please try to avoid abbreviations wherever possible. Authors should use person first language: e.g., "patients with arthritis" rather than "arthritis patients".

    Present the entire manuscript using double spacing, line numbers and page numbers. Avoid full justification, i.e., do not use a constant right-hand margin. Ensure that each new paragraph is clearly indicated. Present tables and figure legends on separate pages at the end of the manuscript. Consult a recent issue of the journal to become familiar with layout and conventions. Number all pages consecutively.

    Provide the following data on the title page (in the order given).

    Title. Concise and informative. Titles are often used in information-retrieval systems. Avoid abbreviations and formulae where possible.

    Author names and affiliations. Present the authors' affiliation addresses (where the actual work was done) below the names. Indicate all affiliations with a lower-case superscript letter immediately after the author's name and in front of the appropriate address. Provide the full postal address of each affiliation, including the country name, and, if available, the e-mail address of each author.

    Corresponding author. Clearly indicate who is willing to handle correspondence at all stages of refereeing and publication, also post-publication. Ensure that telephone and fax numbers (with country and area code) are provided in addition to the e-mail address and the complete postal address.

    Present/permanent address. If an author has moved since the work described in the article was done, or was visiting at the time, a 'Present address' (or 'Permanent address') may be indicated as a footnote to that author's name. The address at which the author actually did the work must be retained as the main, affiliation address. Superscript Arabic numerals are used for such footnotes.

    Word count. Provide a word count for the main body of the paper, excluding abstract, acknowledgments, figure legends, tables and references.

    Abstracts. A concise and factual abstract is required (maximum length 200 words for an unstructured abstract or 250 words for a structured abstract). An abstract is often presented separate from the article, so it must be able to stand alone. The abstract should be written using the following headings as appropriate:
    Objectives: a clear statement of the purpose of the study
    Design: describe aspects of the study: randomisation, prospective, blinding, placebo controlled, observational, survey
    Setting: include the level of care eg primary, secondary; number of participating centres
    Participants: numbers, selection criteria, numbers entering and completing study
    Interventions: what were the interventions, how and for how long
    Main outcome measures: identify primary outcome measure and any supporting secondary outcome measures
    Results: including main finding, point estimate and degree of uncertainty eg: confidence interval, where appropriate
    Conclusions: main conclusion based on results and onjective of study, implications
    Clinical Trial Registration number

    For meta-analyses and systematic reviews, provide a structured summary in line with the PRISMA Statement, including as applicable:
    Background or context
    Objectives: the clinical question or purpose
    Data sources: databases searched and other information sources
    Study selection or eligibility criteria, (participants, and interventions)
    Study appraisal and synthesis methods (or Data Extraction and Data Synthesis);
    Conclusion and implications of key findings
    Funding: for the systematic review
    Systematic review registration number

    OPEN ACCESS: Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, The PRISMA Group (2009). Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: The PRISMA Statement. PLoS Med 6(6): e1000097. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed1000097


    Immediately after the abstract, provide a maximum of 6 keywords. Words selected should reflect the essential topics of the article and will be used for indexing purposes. Terms from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) list should be used ( If suitable MeSH terms are not available, subject specific terms can be used.

    Randomised controlled trials

    All randomized controlled trials submitted for publication in Physiotherapy should include a complete Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) flow chart. Please refer to the CONSORT statement website at for more information. Physiotherapy has adopted the proposal from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) which require, as a condition of consideration for publication of clinical trials, registration in a public trials registry. 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. For this purpose, a clinical trial is defined as any research project that prospectively assigns human subjects to intervention or comparison groups to study the cause and effect relationship between a medical intervention and a health outcome. Studies designed for other purposes, such as to study pharmacokinetics or major toxicity (e.g. phase I trials) would be exempt. Further information can be found at

    Further initiativesTo improve the quality of reporting of other categories of research, Physiotherapy supports the initiatives available through the EQUATOR Network (Enhancing the QUality and Transparency Of health Research) which houses a database of all reporting guidelines for health research ( These include:
    PRISMA: For systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
    STARD: For tests of diagnostic accuracy.
    MOOSE: For meta-analysis of observational studies.
    COREQ: Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research

    Although not mandatory, we encourage authors to register their systematic reviews in PROSPERO, an international database of prospectively registered systematic reviews in health and social care.


    The format of reports for questionnaires and surveys should follow that of research reports where appropriate. In consideration of respondent bias, the editorial board has made a response rate of more than 65% a requirement of publication. On occasion, a lower response rate may be acceptable although this will be judged on a paper-by-paper basis. Sampling frame, subject selection methods and strategies for follow-up of non-responders should be reported. Report responses in the format (83/300, 28%) - 300 being the number of possible respondents for this item. Percentages should be reported to the nearest integer.

    Outcome Measures

    Where appropriate, please provide details of the validity, reliability and measurement error in the units of measurement of any outcome measure. The Limits of Agreement method is preferred for method comparison studies and reliability studies (see: Altman DG, Bland JM. Measurement in medicine: the analysis of method comparison studies. Statistician 1983; 32: 307-17. Bland JM, altman DG. Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement. Lancet 1986; i: 307-10


    Work on human beings that is submitted to Physiotherapy should comply with the principles laid down in the declaration of Helsinki; Recommendations guiding physicians in biomedical research involving human subjects. Adopted by the 18th World Medical Assembly, Helsinki, Finland, June 1964, amended by the 29th World Medical Assembly, Tokyo, Japan, October 1975, the 35th World Medical Assembly, Venice, Italy, October 1983, and the 41st World Medical Assembly, Hong Kong, September 1989. The manuscript should contain a statement that has been approved by the appropriate ethical committees related to the institution(s) in which it was performed and that subjects gave informed consent to the work. Studies involving experiments with animals must state that their care was in accordance with institution guidelines. Patients' and volunteers' names, initials, and hospital numbers should not be used.
    In a case report, the subject's written consent should be provided. It is the author's responsibility to ensure all appropriate consents have been obtained.

    Patient Anonymity

    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, 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


    Generally the search strategy should be reported, including details of the databases searched, the dates searched and the search terms. References will be judged not only on applicability, but also on time since publication. Although it is accepted that occasionally an historical reference is required, the majority of references should be recent. By providing the literature search strategy, this will illustrate that appropriate dates have been included should there be little recent literature in that area.

    Responsibility for the accuracy of bibliographic citations lies entirely with the authors. The Vancouver Numbered style of referencing should be used. Authors should aim for 75% of their references to be within the preceding 5 years, with a limit of 40 references (5 references for case reports, 10 references for short communications, 20 references for technical reports).

    Citations in the text: Please ensure that every reference cited in the text is also present in the reference list (and vice versa). Any references cited in the abstract must be given in full. Unpublished results and personal communications should not be in the reference list, but may be mentioned in the text. Citation of a reference as 'in press' implies that the item has been accepted for publication.

    Citing and listing of web references. As a minimum, the full URL should be given. Any further information, if known (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; in square brackets in line with the text.

    Text: Indicate references by 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.


    Reference to a journal publication:

    [1] Van der Geer J, Hanraads JAJ, Lupton RA. The art of writing a scientific article. J Sci Commun 2000;163:51-9.

    Reference to a book:

    [2] Strunk Jr W, White EB. The elements of style. 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan; 1979.

    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; 1999, 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.'

    Preparation of electronic illustrationsSubmitting your artwork in an electronic format helps us to produce your work to the best possible standards, ensuring accuracy, clarity and a high level of detail.

    General points
    • Always supply high-quality printouts of your artwork, in case conversion of the electronic artwork is problematic.
    • Make sure you use uniform lettering and sizing of your original artwork.
    • Save text in illustrations as "graphics" or enclose the font.
    • Only use the following fonts in your illustrations: Arial, Courier, Helvetica, Times, Symbol.
    • Number the illustrations according to their sequence in the text.
    • Use a logical naming convention for your artwork files, and supply a separate listing of the files and the software used.
    • Provide all illustrations as separate files and as hardcopy printouts on separate sheets.
    • Provide captions to illustrations separately.
    • Produce images near to the desired size of the printed version.
    • Produce figures at the approximate size of the publised version to ensure clarity

    A detailed guide on electronic artwork is available on our website:

    Permission of borrowed illustrations or table or identifiable clinical photographs

    Permission to produce materials (illustrations and tables) must be obtained from the original publishers and authors, and submitted with the typescript. Borrowed material should be acknowledged in the captions in this style - 'Reproduced by kind permission of?(publishers) from?(reference)'. Written permission to use photographs of identifiable subjects must be provided.

    Colour illustrations
    Please make sure that artwork files are in an acceptable format (TIFF, EPS or MS Office files) and with the correct resolution. If, together with your accepted article, you submit usable colour figures then Elsevier will ensure, at no additional charge, that these figures will appear in colour on the Web (e.g., ScienceDirect and other sites) regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in colour in the printed version. For colour reproduction in print, you will receive information regarding the costs from Elsevier after receipt of your accepted article. Please indicate your preference for colour in print or on the Web only. For further information on the preparation of electronic artwork, please see

    Please note: Because of technical complications which can arise by converting colour figures to "grey scale" (for the printed version should you not opt for colour in print) please submit in addition usable black and white versions of all the colour illustrations.

    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.

    Line drawings
    The lettering and symbols, as well as other details, should have proportionate dimensions, so as not to become illegible or unclear after possible reduction; in general, the figures should be designed for a reduction factor of two to three. The degree of reduction will be determined by the Publisher. Illustrations will not be enlarged. Consider the page format of the journal when designing the illustrations.

    Do not use any type of shading on computer-generated illustrations.

    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.


    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 Authors of this journal will automatically receive an invitation e-mail to create an AudioSlides presentation after acceptance of their paper.

    Copyright Information
    Upon acceptance of an article, authors will be asked to sign a "Journal Publishing Agreement'' (for more information on this and copyright see Acceptance of the agreement will ensure the widest possible dissemination of information. An e-mail (or letter) 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.
    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: contact Elsevier's Rights Department, Philadelphia, PA, USA: phone (+1) 215 239 3804, fax (+1) 215 239 3805, e-mail Requests may also be completed online via the Elsevier homepage (

    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


    One set of page proofs in PDF format will be sent by e-mail to the corresponding author (if we do not have an e-mail address then paper proofs will be sent by post). Elsevier now sends PDF proofs which can be annotated; for this you will need to download Adobe Reader version 7 available free from Instructions on how to annotate PDF files will accompany the proofs. The exact system requirements are given at the Adobe site:
    If you do not wish to use the PDF annotations function, you may list the corrections (including replies to the Query Form) and return to Elsevier in an e-mail. Please list your corrections quoting line number. If, for any reason, this is not possible, then mark the corrections and any other comments (including replies to the Query Form) on a printout of your proof and return by fax, or scan the pages and e-mail, or by post.
    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. We will do everything possible to get your article published quickly and accurately. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all of your 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.


    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. Additional paper offprints can be ordered by the authors. An order form with prices will be sent to the corresponding author.
    For further information please consult

    Submission checklist

    Ensure that the following items are present:

    • One author designated as corresponding author:
    • E-mail address
    • Full postal address
    • Telephone and fax numbers

    At the end of the paper, but before the references, please provide three statements:

    •Ethical Approval: The organisation providing ethical approval and ethics protocol reference number where appropriate.
    •Funding: any sources of funding should be stated.
    •Conflict of Interest: Disclosed conflicts will be published if they are believed to be important to readers in judging the manuscript. If there are no conflicts of interest, authors should state that there are none.

    Further considerations

    • References are in the Vancouver style
    • 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)


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