Guide to Authors
Peer Review Terminology
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Springer Nature are participating in a pilot of NISO/STM's Working Group on Peer Review Terminology.
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and STM, the International Association of Scientific, Technology and Medical Publishers have recognized a need to identify and standardize definitions and terminology in peer review practices in order to help align nomenclature as more publishers use open peer review models.
A peer review terminology that is used across publishers will help make the peer review process for articles and journals more transparent, and will enable the community to better assess and compare peer review practices between different journals.
The following summary describes the peer review process for this journal:
- Identity transparency: Single anonymized
- Reviewer interacts with: Editor
- Review information published: None
The full terminology is detailed here.
We would welcome feedback on the Peer Review Terminology Pilot. Please can you take the time to complete this short survey.
Please Note: Manuscripts based on animal nutrition and in vitro studies will not be considered. Papers reporting validation of generally accepted methodologies in specific population groups and prevalence or incidence data on nutritional problems from countries have very low priority. When validation studies and prevalence or incidence data specific to countries are submitted for publication to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they will be processed only if they are submitted as a brief communication with the clear understanding that supplementary data will be made available by the authors to anyone interested in compiling regional or global comparisons.
Article Type Specifications
Article: An Article is a substantial, in-depth, novel research study or report of current or basic clicnical research which is of interest to the readership of the journal. The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition strongly encourages authors adhere to the reporting guidelines relevant to their specific research design. Any clinical trials submitted to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition must adhere to the registration requirements listed in the Editorial Policies. The structure an Article should follow is detailed below.
Specifications: Structured abstract (Background/Objectives; Subjects/Methods; Results; Conclusion) max. 250 words; Main body of text (excluding abstract, tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 3,000 words; Max 6 tables or figures; Max 50 references (please use as recent as possible)
Review Article (including Statistical Reviews and Meta-Analyses): A Review Article is a comprehensive analyses of specific topics or a balanced survey of recent developments in a research field. Proposals for reviews may be submitted by sending a covering letter and abstract to the Editor for consideration. PLEASE NOTE: All reviews should include search criteria and selection criteria in a Methods Section, along with the total number of articles identified and the total number selected for inclusion in the review. All invited reviews will undergo peer review prior to acceptance. When submitting a Meta-Analyses paper please select the article type ‘Review Article’. Please adhere to the PRISMA Guidelines. For full details see the Editorial Policies.
Specifications: Unstructured abstract max. 250 words; Main body of text (excluding abstract, tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 5,000 words; Max 8 tables or figures; Max 100 references
Case Report: These fall short of the criteria for full Articles (e.g. preliminary experiments limited by sample size or duration, or novel hypotheses). Apart from including an abstract, there is no strict obligation to divide the text into sections but structuring according to case history, major findings, discussion and conclusions (i.e. what can we learn from this case?) is recommended.
Specifications: Unstructured abstract max. 150 words; Main body of text (excluding abstract, tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 1,000 words; Max 2 tables or figures; Max 10 references
Brief Communication: These are studies that fall short of the criteria for full Articles (e.g. preliminary experiments limited by sample size or duration, or novel hypotheses). Apart from including an abstract, there is no obligation to divide the text into sections.
Specifications: Unstructured abstract max. 150 words; Main body of text (excluding abstract, tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 1,000 words; Max 2 tables or figures; Max 10 references
Correspondence: Correspondences provide readers with a forum for comment on papers published in the journal or to address new issues relevant to the research community. A correspondence must reference the original source but can use an arbitrary title.
Specifications: No abstract required; Main body of text (excluding tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 750 words; Max 2 tables or figures; Max 10 references (not including reference to the original article, if it is a European Journal of Clinical Nutrition article)
Comment: Comments discuss issues of particular significance to the field, or highlight significant papers in EJCN or eleswhere. Comments are usually solicited, however if you wish to offer an unsolicited contribution, we ask you to send a short description to the Editorial Office first.
Specifications: No abstract required; Main body of text (excluding tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 1,000 words; Max 2 tables or figures; Max 10 references
Perspective: Perspectives are a hybrid between a commentary and a review, providing an opinion-driven perspective on a particular research topic or field of interest to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition readership. Authors should present a (provocative) view that can be supported by data and literature with the goal of sparking debate and stimulating future research avenues.
Specifications: No abstract required; Main body of text (excluding tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 2,000 words; Max of 4 tables and/or figures; Max 25 references
Mini Review: Mini-Reviews should focus on a clearly defined topic of current interest, and describe recent developments in the field
Specifications: Unstructured abstract max. 200 words; Main body of text (excluding abstract, tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 3,000 words; Max of 6 tables and/or figures; Max 50 references
Editorial (by Editor invitation only): Proposals for Editorials may be submitted; however, authors should only send an outline of the proposed paper for initial consideration.
Specifications: No abstract required; Main body of text (excluding tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 1,000 words; Max of 2 tables and/or figures; Max 5 references
Preparation of Articles
House Style: Authors should adhere to the following formatting guidelines
- Text should be double spaced with a wide margin.
- All pages and lines are to be numbered.
- Do not make rules thinner than 1pt (0.36mm).
- Use a coarse hatching pattern rather than shading for tints in graphs.
- Colour should be distinct when being used as an identifying tool.
- Commas, not spaces should be used to separate thousands.
- At first mention of a manufacturer, the town (and state if USA) and country should be provided.
- Statistical methods: For normally distributed data, mean (SD) is the preferred summary statistic. Relative risks should be expressed as odds ratios with 95% confidence interval. To compare two methods for measuring a variable the method of Bland & Altman (1986, Lancet 1, 307–310) should be used; for this, calculation of P only is not appropriate.
- Units: Use metric units (SI units) as fully as possible. Preferably give measurements of energy in kiloJoules or MegaJoules with kilocalories in parentheses (1 kcal = 4.186kJ). Use % throughout.
- Abbreviations: On first using an abbreviation place it in parentheses after the full item. Very common abbreviations such as FFA, RNA, need not be defined. Note these abbreviations: gram g; litre l; milligram mg; kilogram kg; kilojoule kJ; megajoule MJ; weight wt; seconds s; minutes min; hours h. Do not add ‘s’ for plural units. Terms used less than four times should not be abbreviated.
Please note that articles must contain the following components. Please see below for further details:
- Title page (excluding acknowledgements)
- Materials (or Subjects) and Methods
- Data Availability Statement
- Author Contribution Statement
- Ethical Approval
- Competing Interests
- Figure legends
Reports of clinical trials must adhere to the registration and reporting requirements listed in the Editorial Policies.
Cover Letter: Authors should provide a cover letter that includes the affiliation and contact information for the corresponding author. Authors should briefly discuss the importance of the work and explain why it is considered appropriate for the diverse readership of the journal. The cover letter should confirm the material is original research, has not been previously published and has not been submitted for publication elsewhere while under consideration. If the manuscript has been previously considered for publication in another journal, please include the previous reviewer comments, to help expedite the decision by the Editorial team.
Title Page: The title page should contain:
- Title of the paper - brief, informative, of 150 characters or less and should not make a statement or conclusion
- Full names of all the authors and their affiliations, as well as the e-mail address of the corresponding author. If authors regard it as essential to indicate that two or more co-authors are equal in status, they may be identified by an asterisk symbol with the caption ‘These authors contributed equally to this work’ immediately under the address list.
- Consortia: For papers containing one or more consortia, all members of the consortium who meet the criteria for authorship must be listed individually as authors on the title page. The name of the consortia needs to also be on the title page and listed as an author (e.g. The BP Consortia). However, phrases such as “on behalf of” should not be used. If necessary, individual authors can be listed in both the main author list and as a member of a consortium. When submitting your manuscript via the online submission system, the consortium name should be entered as an author, together with the contact details of a nominated consortium representative. The Consortium should be mentioned in the Acknowledgements section, not as an Author, when it is made up of a group of people who do not meet authorship criteria. See here for further consortia formatting guidelines, which should be adhered to prior to acceptance.
Large Language Models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT, do not currently satisfy our authorship criteria. Notably an attribution of authorship carries with it accountability for the work, which cannot be effectively applied to LLMs. Use of an LLM should be properly documented in the Methods section (and if a Methods section is not available, in a suitable alternative part) of the manuscript.
Abstract: Articles must be prepared with a structured abstract designed to summarise the essential features of the paper in a logical and concise sequence under the following mandatory headings:
- Background/Objectives: What was the main question or hypothesis tested?
- Subjects/Methods: How many subjects were recruited, how many dropped out? Was the study randomised, case-controlled etc? Interventions/methods used and duration of administration
- Results: Indicate 95% confidence intervals and exact P values
- Conclusions: Answer (significant or not) to main question
Graphical Abstracts (optional): A graphical abstract, which summarizes the manuscript in a visual way, is designed to attract the attention of readers in the table of contents of the journal. The graphic should be submitted as a single file using a standard file format (.tiff, .eps, .jpg, .bmp, .doc, or .pdf.), it should be 9 cm wide x 5 cm high when printed at full scale and a minimum of 300 dpi. All graphical abstracts should be submitted with a white background and imagery should fill the available width, whenever possible. Colour graphical abstracts are encouraged and will be published at no additional charge. Textual statements should be kept to a minimum.
Introduction: The Introduction should assume that the reader is knowledgeable in the field and should therefore be as brief as possible but can include a short historical review where desirable.
Materials/Subjects and Methods: This section should contain sufficient detail, so that all experimental procedures can be reproduced, and include references. Methods, however, that have been published in detail elsewhere should not be described in detail. Authors should provide the name of the manufacturer and their location for any specifically named medical equipment and instruments, and all drugs should be identified by their pharmaceutical names, and by their trade name if relevant.
Results: The Results section should briefly present the experimental data in text, tables or figures. Tables and figures should not be described extensively in the text.
Discussion: The Discussion should focus on the interpretation and the significance of the findings with concise objective comments that describe their relation to other work in the area. It should not repeat information in the results. The final paragraph should highlight the main conclusion(s), and provide some indication of the direction future research should take.
Data Availability Statement: Please include a statement at the end of your paper that tells readers where the data generated or analysed during this study can be found e.g. within the published article and its supplementary files, within a recognised repository, with a link to the data in said repository, or if additional data are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
Please see the Data Availability and Policy page for more information.
References: Only papers directly related to the article should be cited. Exhaustive lists should be avoided. References should follow the Vancouver format. In the text they should appear as numbers starting at one and at the end of the paper they should be listed (double-spaced) in numerical order corresponding to the order of citation in the text. Where a reference is to appear next to a number in the text, for example following an equation, chemical formula or biological acronym, citations should be written as (ref. X). Example “detectable levels of endogenous Bcl-2 (ref. 3), as confirmed by western blot”.
All authors should be listed for papers with up to six authors; for papers with more than six authors, the first six only should be listed, followed by et al. Abbreviations for titles of medical periodicals should conform to those used in the latest edition of Index Medicus. The first and last page numbers for each reference should be provided. Abstracts and letters must be identified as such. Papers in press may be included in the list of references.
Personal communications can be allocated a number and included in the list of references in the usual way or simply referred to in the text; the authors may choose which method to use. In either case authors must obtain permission from the individual concerned to quote his/her unpublished work.
Neidlein, S, Wirth, R, Pourhassan, M. Iron deficiency, fatigue and muscle strength and function in older hospitalized patients. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2020; 75:456–463.
Journal article by DOI:
Kurotani K, Shinsugi C, Takimoto H. Diet quality and household income level among students: 2014 National Health and Nutrition Survey Japan. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2020; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-020-00794-1.
Journal article, in press:
Gallardo RL, Juneja HS, Gardner FH. Normal human marrow stromal cells induce clonal growth of human malignant T-lymphoblasts. Int. J Cell Cloning (in press).
Atkinson K, Champlin R, Ritz J, Fibbe W, Ljungman P, Brenner MK (eds). Clinical Bone Marrow and Blood Stem Cell Transplantation. 3rd ed. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004.
Chapter in book:
Coccia PF. Hematopoietic cell transplantation for osteopetrosis. In: Blume KG, Forman SJ, Appelbaum FR (eds). Thomas' Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. 3rd ed. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Malden, 2004. pp 1443–1454.
Abstracts from the 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting of the British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS). J Hum Hypertens 34; 2020; 1–20
Kassambara A. rstatix: pipe-friendly framework for basic statistical tests. 2020. https://rpkgs.datanovia.com/rstatix/.
Doe J. Title of subordinate document. In: The dictionary of substances and their effects. Royal Society of Chemistry. 1999. www.rsc.org/dose/title of subordinate document. Accessed 15 Jan 1999.
Acknowledgements: These should be brief, and should include sources of technical assistance, critical advice or other assistance, which contributed to the final manuscript.
Author Contributions: This section is mandatory. The individual contributions of authors to the manuscript should be specified in this section (for example JS designed experiments and helped write the manuscript; NAL contributed to data extraction and provided feedback on the report. Guidance and criteria for authorship can be found in the section on Authorship on the Editorial Policies page.
Funding: The funding section is mandatory. Authors must declare sources of study funding including sponsorship (e.g. university, charity, commercial organization) and sources of material (e.g. novel drugs) not available commercially. If no financial assistance was received in support of the study, please include a statement to this fact here.
Authors must provide a statement regarding ethical approval (see information on Human Experiments in the Editorial Policy section for further details). If ethical approval was not required, authors must provide an explanation of why it was not needed.
Competing Interests: Authors must declare whether or not there are any competing financial interests in relation to the work described. This information must be included at this stage and will be published as part of the paper. Please see the Competing Interests section under Editorial Policies for detailed information.
Industry Funded Research: For papers that stem from industry based collaborations we apply the following categories:
Category 1: Studies financed by industry (in part or total) but with a clear declaration that the industry was not involved in the study hypothesis/design, execution, analysis, or interpretation.
Category 2: Studies sponsored by industry (in part or total), with a clear declaration that industry was involved in the study hypothesis/design, execution, analysis, or interpretation, and the industry involvement in each aspect is clearly outlined.
Category 3: Studies funded and conducted by industry, with no external partners. All submitted papers in categories 1 and 2 will need to address the following four points (1–3 from Mozafarrian) in the cover letter or EJCN will return the submission for completion.
- Statement that industry funding was transparent, acknowledged, and appropriately recognized throughout all stages of design, implementation, and reporting.
- Evidence presented that project design, implementation, analysis, and interpretation had been performed with efforts to maximize academic independence in each of these areas.
- Confirmation of full academic independence to report and publish all the findings.
- Statement that all raw data will be uploaded to a publically accessible repository, or be made available to interested scientists if requested; understanding that there could be reasonable caveats for such requests. Any restrictions on material availability or other relevant information to be divulged in the paper’s methods section, and should include details of how materials and information may be obtained.
When submitting the manuscript authors whose papers fall under category 2 or 3 must select the Subject Category ‘Industry Research’ from the dropdown list.
 Mozaffarian D. Conflict of interest and the role of the food industryin nutrition research. JAMA. 2017;317:1755–6.
Figure Legends: These should be brief, specific and appear on a separate manuscript page after the References section.
Tables: Tables should only be used to present essential data; they should not duplicate what is written in the text. All tables must be editable, ideally presented in Excel. Each must be uploaded as a separate workbook with a title or caption and be clearly labelled, sequentially. Please make sure each table is cited within the text and in the correct order, e.g. (Table 3). Please save the files with extensions .xls / .xlsx / .ods / or .doc or .docx. Please ensure that you provide a 'flat' file, with single values in each cell with no macros or links to other workbooks or worksheets and no calculations or functions.
Figures: Figures and images should be labelled sequentially and cited in the text. Figures should not be embedded within the text but rather uploaded as separate files. The use of three-dimensional histograms is strongly discouraged unless the addition of the third dimension is important for conveying the results. Composite figures containing more than three individual figures will count as two figures. All parts of a figure should be grouped together. Where possible large figures and tables should be included as supplementary material.
Detailed guidelines for submitting artwork can be found by downloading our Artwork Guidelines. Using the guidelines, please submit production quality artwork with your initial online submission. If you have followed the guidelines, we will not require the artwork to be resubmitted following the peer-review process, if your paper is accepted for publication.
There is a charge if authors choose to publish their figures in colour in print publication (which includes the online PDF). VAT or local taxes will be added where applicable.
Colour charges will NOT apply to authors who choose to pay an article processing charge to make their paper Open Access.
Number of colour illustrations
Cost: Rest of world
Graphs, Histograms and Statistics
- Plotting individual data points is preferred to just showing means, especially where N<10
- If error bars are shown, they must be described in the figure legend
- Axes on graphs should extend to zero, except for log axes
- Statistical analyses (including error bars and p values) should only be shown for independently repeated experiments, and must not be shown for replicates of a single experiment
- The number of times an experiment was repeated (N) must be stated in the legend
Supplementary Information: Supplementary information is peer-reviewed material directly relevant to the conclusion of an article that cannot be included in the printed version owing to space or format constraints. The article must be complete and self-explanatory without the Supplementary Information, which is posted on the journal's website and linked to the article. Supplementary Information may consist of data files, graphics, movies or extensive tables. Please see our Artwork Guidelines for information on accepted file types.
Authors should submit supplementary information files in the FINAL format as they are not edited, typeset or changed, and will appear online exactly as submitted. When submitting Supplementary Information, authors are required to:
- Include a text summary (no more than 50 words) to describe the contents of each file.
- Identify the types of files (file formats) submitted.
Please submit supplementary figures, small tables and text as a single combined PDF document. Tables longer than one page should be provided as an Excel or similar file type. For optimal quality video files please use H.264 encoding, the standard aspect ratio of 16:9 (4:3 is second best) and do not compress the video. Supplementary information is not copyedited, so please ensure that it is clearly and succinctly presented, and that the style and terminology conform to the rest of the manuscript, with any tracked-changes or Review mark-ups removed.
Please note: We do not allow the resupplying of Supplementary Information files for style reasons after a paper has been exported in production, unless there is a serious error that affects the science and, if by not replacing, it would lead to a formal correction once the paper has been published. In these cases we would make an exception and replace the file; however there are very few instances where a Supplementary Information file would be corrected post publication.
Subject Ontology: Choosing the most relevant and specific subject terms from our subject ontology will ensure that your article will be more discoverable and will appear on appropriate subject specific pages on nature.com, in addition to the journal’s own pages. Your article should be indexed with at least one, and up to four unique subject terms that describe the key subjects and concepts in your manuscript. Click here for help with this.