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.


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.


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 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.

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, keywords, text, acknowledgements, consent statement, references, tables, captions to illustrations.

Note: Consent statement and keywords are mandatory for every submission.

Consent statement: Please add the consent statement/ethical approval before the references for the paper if Laboratory experiments including animals/Human studies was performed. 'If your study does not require it, then please state this: Consent statement/Ethical approval: Not required'.


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.


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.

Data references
This journal encourages you to cite underlying or relevant datasets in your manuscript by citing them in your text and including a data reference in your Reference List. Data references should include the following elements: author name(s), dataset title, data repository, version (where available), year, and global persistent identifier. Add [dataset] immediately before the reference so we can properly identify it as a data reference. This identifier will not appear in your published article.
For reference style 3 Vancouver Numbered:
[dataset] [5] Oguro M, Imahiro S, Saito S, Nakashizuka T. Mortality data for Japanese oak wilt disease and surrounding forest compositions, Mendeley Data, v1; 2015.


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.

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'.


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.


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.


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.

Open access

This journal offers authors a choice in publishing their research:
Open access
• Articles are freely available to both subscribers and the wider public with permitted reuse
• An open access publication fee is payable by authors or on their behalf e.g. by their research funder or institution
• Articles are made available to subscribers as well as developing countries and patient groups through our universal access programs (
• No open access publication fee payable by authors.
Regardless of how you choose to publish your article, the journal will apply the same peer review criteria and acceptance standards.
For open access articles, permitted third party (re)use is defined by the following Creative Commons user licenses:
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.

The open access publication fee for this journal is USD 1850, excluding taxes. Learn more about Elsevier's pricing policy:

Green open access
Authors can share their research in a variety of different ways and Elsevier has a number of green open access options available. We recommend authors see our green open access page for further information ( Authors can also self-archive their manuscripts immediately and enable public access from their institution's repository after an embargo period. This is the version that has been accepted for publication and which typically includes author-incorporated changes suggested during submission, peer review and in editor-author communications. Embargo period: For subscription articles, an appropriate amount of time is needed for journals to deliver value to subscribing customers before an article becomes freely available to the public. This is the embargo period and begins from the publication date of the issue your article appears in.

This journal has an embargo period of 12 months.

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.


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.


The corresponding author will, at no cost, receive a customized Share Link providing 50 days free access to the final published version of the article on ScienceDirect. The Share Link can be used for sharing the article via any communication channel, including email and social media. For an extra charge, paper offprints can be ordered via the offprint order form which is sent once the article is accepted for publication. Both corresponding and co-authors may order offprints at any time via Elsevier's Webshop. Corresponding authors who have published their article open access do not receive a Share Link as their final published version of the article is available open access on ScienceDirect and can be shared through the article DOI link.

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:

Data Visualizations

Include interactive data visualizations in your publication and let your readers interact and engage more closely with your research. Follow the instructions here to find out about available data visualization options and how to include them with your article.

RESEARCH DATAThis journal encourages and enables you to share data that supports your research publication where appropriate, and enables you to interlink the data with your published articles. Research data refers to the results of observations or experimentation that validate research findings. To facilitate reproducibility and data reuse, this journal also encourages you to share your software, code, models, algorithms, protocols, methods and other useful materials related to the project. Below are a number of ways in which you can associate data with your article or make a statement about the availability of your data when submitting your manuscript. If you are sharing data in one of these ways, you are encouraged to cite the data in your manuscript and reference list. Please refer to the "References" section for more information about data citation. For more information on depositing, sharing and using research data and other relevant research materials, visit the research data page.

Data linkingIf you have made your research data available in a data repository, you can link your article directly to the dataset. Elsevier collaborates with a number of repositories to link articles on ScienceDirect with relevant repositories, giving readers access to underlying data that give them a better understanding of the research described. There are different ways to link your datasets to your article. When available, you can directly link your dataset to your article by providing the relevant information in the submission system. For more information, visit the database linking page .For supported data repositories a repository banner will automatically appear next to your published article on ScienceDirect.In addition, you can link to relevant data or entities through identifiers within the text of your manuscript, using the following format: Database: xxxx (e.g., TAIR: AT1G01020; CCDC: 734053; PDB: 1XFN). ?

Mendeley DataThis journal supports Mendeley Data, enabling you to deposit any research data (including raw and processed data, video, code, software, algorithms, protocols, and methods) associated with your manuscript in a free-to-use, open access repository. During the submission process, after uploading your manuscript, you will have the opportunity to upload your relevant datasets directly to Mendeley Data. The datasets will be listed and directly accessible to readers next to your published article online. For more information, visit the Mendeley Data for journals page.

Data statementTo foster transparency, we encourage you to state the availability of your data in your submission. This may be a requirement of your funding body or institution. If your data is unavailable to access or unsuitable to post, you will have the opportunity to indicate why during the submission process, for example by stating that the research data is confidential. The statement will appear with your published article on ScienceDirect. For more information, visit the Data statement page.