Guide for Authors


Digestive and Liver Disease publishes papers reporting basic and clinical research in the field of Gastroenterology and Hepatology:

The Journal's format is in accordance with the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and the 2008 guidelines of the Council of Science Editors (CSE) to promote integrity in scientific publications. For details see: ,

Original Papers
The maximum length is 3,500 words, excluding the abstract, references, tables and figures. The abstract should be structured and not exceed 200 words.
Randomized clinical trials must be registered and the CONSORT checklist included with the submission.

Short Report
Small case series may be submitted as Short Reports. They should be structured as Original Articles. The maximum length is 1500 words, excluding abstract, references, tables and figures. The structured abstract must not exceed 150 words. No more than 4 figures and tables can be uploaded.
Note: Case Reports are not considered for publication and should not be submitted as a Short Report.

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editors should be up to 1500 words long, with no more than 6 authors, 1 or 2 images and/or 1 or 2 tables, and no more than 10 references. No more than 4 authors may appear in the author list. An abstract is not required.

Image of the Month
Only exceptional or particularly captivating images will be accepted for publication. Submissions should include no more than 2 Figures. The legend text should not exceed 220 words, and 1 reference. No more than 4 authors may appear in the author list.

Review Articles
Review articles are usually considered only upon invitation from the Editorial Board. No more than 6 authors may be listed as contributors. Manuscript should contain a non-structured abstract of no more than 200 words; text should not exceed 5,000 words, excluding the abstract, references, tables and figures.

Guidelines and Position Papers
Digestive and Liver Disease welcomes all official articles from the represented Scientific Societies referring to recommendations, practice guidelines, position papers or reports of Consensus Conferences on relevant topics in Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
The main text should not exceed 6,000 words (excluding abstract, references, tables and figures). All manuscripts should contain a non-structured abstract of no more than 200 words.
Authorship of the article should be attributed only to the reference society(ies), whose name(s) should be placed below the title.
Only contributors who meet specific authorship criteria are to be listed on the title page as Authors, with their affiliations. Any other participating contributors are to be listed in an Appendix at the end of the article.The methodology used to generate the recommendations should be reported, as well as the levels of evidence and strength of the recommendation, if applicable.
Due to the journal space restrictions, the submission of this type of articles should be first convened between the Editor and the Scientific Societies.
All official manuscripts are subjected to review by the Board of Editors for final approval before acceptance.

Editorials and Commentaries
These manuscripts are accepted only upon invitation from the Editorial Board.
The maximum length is 1500 words.

Other Publications
Congress proceedings, generally in the form of selected abstracts, may be considered for publication. Supplements to the journal containing extended abstracts, or full papers may also be taken into consideration.
News regarding recent books, forthcoming congresses and symposia, as well as scientific societies involved in the area of gastroenterology and/or hepatology, may be submitted and will be published if in conformity with the Journal's editorial policy.
Single case reports will no longer be considered for publication unless of exceptional relevance.


Submission to Digestive and Liver Disease proceeds totally on-line at can track accepted articles at , and set up e-mail alerts to inform you of when an article's status has changed. Also accessible from here is information on copyright, frequently asked questions and more.
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 (in whole or in part) 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 copyright-holder.

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Electronic format requirements for accepted articles
We accept most word-processing formats, but Word or WordPerfect is preferred. Always keep a backup copy of the electronic file for reference and safety. Save your files using the default extension of the program used.
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. Do not embed "graphically designed" equations or tables, but prepare these using the word processor's facility. The electronic text should be prepared in a way very similar to that of conventional manuscripts. Do not import the figures into the text file but, instead, indicate their approximate locations directly in the electronic text and on the manuscript. See also the section on Artwork Instructions.

Manuscripts must be written in good English. Authors whose native language is not English are strongly advised to have their manuscripts checked by an English-speaking colleague prior to submission. Manuscripts that do not conform to standard English style, usage or grammar will be returned to the Authors for modification prior to scientific review.

Manuscripts should have wide margins and double spacing throughout, i.e. also for abstracts, footnotes and references. Every page of the manuscript, including the title page, references, tables, etc., should be numbered. However, in the text no reference should be made to page numbers; if necessary, one may refer to sections. Avoid excessive usage of italics to emphasize part of the text.
Ensure that each new paragraph is clearly indicated. Present figure legends on separate pages at the end of the manuscript. If possible, consult a recent issue of the Journal to become familiar with layout and conventions.
Values should be expressed in SI and metric system units of measurement. Statistical methods are to be described in detail. If the names of drugs or equipment are used, the name of the manufacturer, town and country should be given.

Title, Abstract, Table headers and Figure legends should not contain abbreviations.
Standard abbreviations may be used in the text; they are to be placed in parentheses after the full term is used for the first time.
All abbreviations contained in the Figures must be explained in the Figure legend, even if already explained in the text.
All abbreviations contained in the Tables must be explained in a footnote below each table, even if already explained in the text.

A submission letter to the Editor should be typed in the "Cover Letter" section of the online submission system. It should contain a summary of the strengths of the study, and should state that:

  • The manuscript has not been published previously (except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis), and is not under consideration (in whole or in part) for publication elsewhere
  • The manuscript is approved by all Authors
  • in case of acceptance of the manuscript the copyright is transferred to Digestive and Liver Disease

Each manuscript should be organized in the following order:
1. Title page:

  • Title (this should be clear, descriptive and not exceed 160 characters, including spaces)
  • Name(s) of Author(s) with their highest earned degrees. Authorship should only be assumed by those workers who have contributed materially to the work and its report. Authorship credit should be based on:
    1. substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data
    2. drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and
    3. final approval of the version to be published
    Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, and 3. Colleagues who have otherwise assisted or collaborated should be recognized in the Acknowledgement section.
  • Complete postal address(es) of affiliations
  • Electronic word count (excluding abstract, references, tables, figures)
  • Full telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the corresponding Author
  • Present address(es) of Author(s) if applicable complete correspondence address (including postal zip code) and e-mail address to which the proofs should be sent
  • Source(s) of support in the form of grants, equipment, drugs, or all of the above
2. Abstract:
This should contain no more than 200 words. For original articles, the abstract should be structured (i.e., divided into six sections Background, Aims, Methods, Results, and Conclusion). Abstracts should briefly describe the problem being addressed in the study, how the study was performed and which measurements were carried out, the most relevant results, and what the Authors conclude from the results.
An abstract is often presented separate from the article, so it must be able to stand alone. References should therefore be avoided, but if essential they must be cited in full without reference to the reference list.
Non-standard or uncommon abbreviations should be avoided, but if essential they must be defined at their first mention in the abstract itself.

3. Key words: A list of 2-4 words or short phrases not already included in the title should be included after the abstract for indexing purposes.

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

5. Materials and Methods:
Experimental/Materials 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.
Animal studies. Manuscripts reporting experiments using animals must include a statement giving assurance that all animals received humane care and that study protocols comply with the institution's guidelines and animal research laws.
Human trials. Manuscripts reporting data from research conducted on humans must include a statement of assurance in the methods section of the manuscript reading that:

  • informed consent was obtained from each patient included in the study
  • the study protocol conforms to the ethical guidelines of the 1975 Declaration of Helsinki (6th revision, 2008) as reflected in a priori approval by the institution's human research committee.
Randomised controlled trials. Any paper that is an RCT should adhere to the CONSORT guidelines that can be found at: . The completed checklist and flowchart should be uploaded along with the manuscript files during submission.
Registration of clinical trials.Digestive and Liver Disease endorses the policy of the WHO and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) on the registration of clinical trials. Any trial that starts recruiting on or after July 1, 2005 should be registered in a publicly owned, publicly accessible registry and should satisfy a minimal standard dataset. Trials that started recruiting before that date will be considered for publication if registered before September 13, 2005. More detailed information regarding the definition of clinical trial, the minimal registration data set, and the requirements for an acceptable trial registry can be found in New Engl J Med 2004, 351:1250 1251 and New Engl J Med 2005, 352:2437 2438.
Metanalyses/Systematic Reviews of RCTs must follow the PRISMA checklist and flowchart found at
Completed flowchart and checklist should be uploaded with the manuscript files.Drugs and chemicals. Drugs and chemicals should be used by generic name. If trademarks are mentioned, the manufacturer's name and city should be given. All funding sources supporting the work, either public or private, especially those from pharmaceutical companies, must be included in the acknowledgement.
Statistical methods. Describe statistical methods with enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to verify the reported results. When possible, quantify findings and present them with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals). Indicate exact p values (avoid "p=ns"). Define statistical terms, abbreviations, and most symbols. Specify the computer software used.

6. Results:
These should be presented precisely, keeping discussion of their importance to a minimum. Do not duplicate information contained in tables and figures.

7. Discussion:
This should directly relate to the study being reported. Do not include a general review of the topic. Please include the conclusion in this section, unless it is a review article.

8. Appendices:
Identify appendices with capital letters: 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 forth.

9. Acknowledgements:
This section should acknowledge colleagues who have assisted or collaborated in the study who did not meet full authorship criteria (see Title Page).

10. References:
References should be numbered consecutively in the order in which they are cited in the text. The format of the references in the bibliography section should conform with the examples provided in New Engl J Med 1997;336:309-15.
References with four or more authors, the first three authors only must be listed, followed by et al. E
Examples of the correct form for references:

  • Standard journal article: Dusheiko G, Schmilovitz-Weiss H, Brown D, et al. Hepatitis C virus genotypes: an investigation of type-specific differences in geographic origin and disease. Hepatology 1994;19:13-8
    Gasbarrini A, Rapaccini GL, Rutella S, et al. Rescue therapy by portal infusion of autologous stem cells in a case of drug-induced hepatitis. Dig Liver Dis 2007;39:878-82
  • Book: Diener HC, Wilkinson M, editors. Drug-induced headache. New York: Springer-Verlag; 1988.
  • Chapter in a book: Weinsten L, Swartz NM. Pathological properties of invading microorganisms. In: Sodeman WA Jr, Sodeman WS, editors. Pathologic physiology: mechanisms of disease. Philadelphia: Saunders; 1974. p. 457-72.

11. Tables:
Tables should be typed with double spacing each on a separate sheet, numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals, and contain only horizontal lines. Number tables consecutively in accordance with their appearance in the text. The text should include references to all tables. Each table should occupy a separate page of the manuscript. Tables should never be included in the text. Each table should have a brief and self-explanatory title. Place footnotes to tables below the table body and indicate them with superscript lowercase letters, indicate each footnote in a table with a superscript lowercase letter. 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. Authors should take notice of the limitations set by the size and layout of the Journal. Large tables should be avoided, reversing columns and rows will often reduce the dimensions of a table. If many data are to be presented, an attempt should be made to divide them over two or more tables. Column headings should be brief, but sufficiently explanatory. Standard abbreviations of units of measurement should be added between parentheses. Vertical lines should not be used to separate columns. Leave some extra space between the columns instead.

  • Tables must be uploaded separately
  • There must be no more than a total of 6 figures and tables

12. Illustrations:
All illustrations (line drawings and photographs) should be submitted as separate files, in TIFF, EPS, JPEG or PDF format.

  • Illustrations should be numbered according to their sequence in the text. References should be made in the text to each illustration.
  • Illustrations should be designed with the format of the page of the journal in mind. Illustrations should be of such a size as to allow a reduction of 50%.
  • Lettering should be big enough to allow a reduction of 50% without becoming illegible. Any lettering should be in English. Use the same kind of lettering throughout and follow the style of the journal.
  • If a scale should be given, use bar scales on all illustrations instead of numerical scales that must be changed with reduction.
  • Each illustration should have a legend. The legends to all illustrations should be typed on a separate sheet at the end of the manuscript.
  • Explanations should be given in the figure legend(s). Drawn text in the illustrations should be kept to a minimum.
  • Photographs are only acceptable if they have good contrast and intensity.
  • If you submit usable colour figures, Elsevier would ensure that these figures appeared free-of-charge in colour in the electronic version of your accepted paper, regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in colour in the printed version. Colour illustrations can only be included in print if the Author contributes the additional cost of reproduction: you would receive information regarding the costs from Elsevier after receipt of your accepted article. Please note that because of technical complications which may arise by converting colour figures to 'grey scale' (for the printed version, should you not opt for colour in print), you should submit in addition usable black and white figures corresponding to all colour illustrations.
  • Advice on the preparation of electronic artwork can be found at the following URL:
  • There must be no more than a total of 6 figures and tables

13. Figures and Photographs:
Figures and photographs of good quality should be submitted online as a separate file. Please use a lettering that remains clearly readable even after reduction to about 66%. For every figure or photograph a legend should be provided, legends should be typed double-spaced and numbered consecutively in the order of their citation using Arabic numerals. All Authors wishing to use illustrations already published must first obtain the permission of the Author and publisher and/or copyright holders and give precise reference to the original work. This permission must include the right to publish in electronic media.

14. Footnotes:
Footnotes should be used sparingly. Number them consecutively throughout the article, using superscript Arabic numbers. Many word processors 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 on a separate sheet at the end of the article. Do not include footnotes in the Reference list.

15. Preparation of supplementary data
Elsevier now accepts electronic supplementary material to support and enhance your scientific research. Supplementary files offer the Author additional possibilities to publish supporting applications, movies, animation sequences, highresolution images, background datasets, sound clips and more. Supplementary files supplied will be published free of charge online alongside the electronic version of your article in Elsevier web products, including ScienceDirect: . In order to ensure that your submitted material is directly usable, please ensure that data are 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.

16. Copyright
Authors, when quoting from someone else's work or when considering reproducing an illustration or table from a book or journal article, should make sure that they are not infringing a copyright. Although in general Authors may quote from other published works, they should obtain permission from the holder of the copyright if they wish to make substantial extracts or to reproduce tables, plates, or other illustrations. If the copyright-holder is not the Author of the quoted or reproduced material, it is recommended that the permission of the Author should also be sought. Material in unpublished letters and manuscripts is also protected and must not be published unless permission has been obtained. A suitable acknowledgement of any borrowed material must always be made.


  • Cover Letter to the Editor
  • Consort Guideline Checklist and Flowchart for randomised controlled trials
  • Conflict of interest statement including manuscript title and list of coauthors
  • Check that your manuscript has a Title Page containing Title - Author(s) and Affiliation(s) - Electronic Word Count (excluding abstract and references) - Address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail of corresponding author - Sources of funding, grant support - Financial Disclosure
  • Manuscript, proper (double-spaced) - Structured abstract of less than 200 words - Two to four key words - Manuscript length: check maximum word count for each article type - Introduction/Background/Aims - Materials and methods - Results - Discussion - Appendices - Acknowledgements - References - Figure legends
  • Tables to upload separately
  • Figures to upload separately (EPS, JPEG or TIFF files)
  • Permission to reproduce any previously published material and patient permission to publish photographs

Authors should be aware that manuscripts will be screened upon submission. Only manuscripts which fully comply with the submission requirements outlined and in which the level of English is of an acceptable standard will enter the peer review process.
First submission. Once successful submission of a manuscript has taken place, an acknowledgement will be sent by e-mail to the corresponding author. The number of the manuscript should be used by the authors in all communications with the Editorial Office. All the manuscripts will be reviewed by the Editors and, in most cases, by other expert reviewers. After review, the corresponding author will be notified by means of a letter of the decision to accept or reject the manuscript for publication. This letter may include reviewers' comments, and will be sent only via email.
Resubmission of manuscripts. Authors may be invited to submit a revised version of the manuscript for further review. This invitation does not imply, in any case, that the revised version will be accepted for publication. Revised manuscripts must be received by the Editorial Office within three months of the date of the first decision, otherwise they will be considered withdrawn. Instructions for resubmission of manuscripts are identical to those for the first submission, with the following additions:

  • the cover letter must state that the revised manuscript has been modified according to the comments made by the Editor and the Reviewers.
  • all changes made in the revised manuscript should be underlined or highlighted.
A point by point reply to the Editor's and/or reviewers' criticisms must be uploaded along with the new cover letter, revised manuscript, figures and tables.

One set of proofs will be sent by e-mail to the corresponding Author as given on the title page of the manuscript. Only typesetter's errors may be corrected; no changes in, or additions to, the edited manuscript will be allowed.
Contact details for questions arising after acceptance of an article, relating to proofs, will be provided by the publisher.
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.

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