Guide to Authors

The Journal of Perinatology and Springer Nature are pleased to share detailed online Author Tutorials - including interactive quizzes - which cover the following topics:

  • Writing a journal manuscript
  • Submitting a journal and peer review
  • Writing in English
  • Open Access

You can also watch a brief video giving an overview of the tutorials here.

Article Type Specifications

Article: Generally, the Journal only considers original research materials that are directly relevant to clinical practice.Any text beyond the limit can be published as online-only supplementary material if you feel that it is necessary (see instructions below on supplementary material)
Specifications: Structured abstract, max. 150 words; main body of text (including abstract, tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 25 pages; max. 5 tables or figures; max. 50 references.

Quality Improvement: Authors are strongly encouraged to follow the SQUIRE framework for these articles

Specifications: Please consult the SQUIRE guidelines for abstracts; main body of text (including abstract, tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 20 pages; max. 5 tables or figures; max. 50 references.

Review Article: Reviews are intended to update readers on important subjects relevant to maternal-fetal and neonatal care. These articles are considered to be complete from the most recent major review in the literature. Review Articles are normally commissioned Please contact the editorial office if you would like to discuss a presubmission enquiry.
Specifications: Abbreviated, unformatted abstract is preferred; main body of text (including abstract) not to exceed 4,500 words; liberal use of tables and figures is encouraged; max. 100 references.

Perspective: Perspectives are shorter than reviews and provide an opinion-driven perspective on a particular research topic or field of interest to the JPER readership.

Specifications: Unstructured abstract, max. 150 words; main body of text (tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 2,500 words; max. 2 tables or figures; max. 100 references.

Journal Club: The Journal Club is a collaboration between the American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine (AAP SONPM), the International Society for Evidence-Based Neonatology (EBNEO), and the Journal of Perinatology. The Journal Club aims to: 1) provide education to trainees through both the content of the articles and the process of authoring the articles; 2) encourage trainees to critically evaluate the written literature; and 3) expose trainees to the process of authorship and review. Each Journal Club article is written by a trainee as first-author with at least one mentor as a senior author and highlights a practice-relevant study in neonatal-perinatal medicine published during the previous year.

Specifications: Articles consist of a formal description of the study, a short comment on the clinical implications of the study, and an Evidence-Based Medicine lesson. Examples may be found here. Submissions to Journal Club require pre-approval. Please contact Dr. Viral Jain or Dr. Matthew Rysavy for additional information.

Comment: Comment articles are personal viewpoints and discussions of important topics of particular interest to perinatology. Comments cover basic science and clinical issues as well as those which bridge the gap between research and practice. These articles are normally commissioned.  Specifications: No abstract; main body of text (tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 1,000 words; max. 1 table; max. 10 references.

Correspondence: These are brief comments on original research papers or other material published in the Journal within the last six months. These articles are subject to critical review and editorial policy. Original authors will have the opportunity to respond to the letter, should it be chosen for acceptance. Specifications: No abstract; main body of text (tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 500 words; max. 1 table or figure; max. 5 references.

Brief Communication:  These reports are concise studies of high quality and broad interest and typically contain original data. Most surveys should be submitted in this article category. Brief Communications are subject to critical review and editorial policy. Specifications: No abstract; main body of text (tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 750 words; max. 1 table or figure; 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.
  • Spaces, not commas 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.

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. Please also include a Competing Interests statement - see Editorial Policies for more details.

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
  • Running title – should convey the essential message of the paper in no more than 50 characters.  Should not contain any abbreviations
  • Full names of all the authors and their affiliations, together with 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.

Abstract:  A structured abstract is required for original articles, and an abbreviated unformatted abstract is preferred for Review articles. For clinical trials, the abstract should also include details of where and when the trial was registered, and the Clinical Trial Number.

Structured abstracts should use the following headings: Objective - reflecting the purpose of the study or the hypothesis that is being tested; Study Design - the setting for the study, the subjects (number and type), the treatment or intervention, and the type of statistical analysis; Result - include the outcome of the study and statistical significance, if appropriate; Conclusion - state the significance of the results.

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.

Additional Information: Details of the additional information that should be included are as follows:

Conflict of Interest:  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, but should also be noted in the cover letter. Please see the Competing Interests definition in the Editorial Policies section for detailed information.

Ethics approval and consent to participate: Manuscripts reporting studies involving human participants, human data or human tissue must:

  • Include a statement on ethics approval and consent (even where the need for approval was waived).
  • Include the name of the ethics committee that approved the study and the committee’s reference number if appropriate.
  • Include a statement that the study was performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.  

Consent for publication: If your manuscript contains any individual person’s data in any form (including individual details, images or videos), consent for publication must be obtained from that person, or in the case of children, their parent or legal guardian.

Availability of Data and Materials: We strongly encourage that all datasets on which the conclusions of the paper rely should be available to readers. We encourage authors to ensure that their datasets are either deposited in publicly available repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main manuscript or additional supporting files whenever possible. Where one does not exist, the information must be made available to referees at submission and to readers promptly upon request. Any restrictions on material availability or other relevant information must be disclosed in the manuscript’s Methods section and should include details of how materials and information may be obtained. Please see the journal’s guidelines on Research Data policy here.

Funding: The funding section is mandatory. Authors must declare sources of study funding including sponsorship (e.g. university, charity, commercial organization). If no funding was received, please also state this.

Author Contributions: Each author’s contribution to the manuscript must be provided in general terms (e.g. ‘AB designed the experiments and helped to write the manuscript’). To understand more about authorship definitions, please refer to the ICMJE Authorship Guidelines

Acknowledgements: These should be brief, and should include sources of support including sponsorship (e.g. university, charity, commercial organisation) and sources of material (e.g. novel drugs) not available commercially.

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. Please see the following for examples:

Journal article, up to six authors et al: Martin JC, Bourgnoux P, Fignon A, Theret V, Antoine JM, Lamisse F et al. Dependence on human milk essential fatty acids on adipose stores during lactation. Am J Clin Nutr 1993; 58: 653–569. 

Journal article, e-pub ahead of print: da Costa SP, van den Engel–Hoek L, Bos AF. Sucking and swallowing in infants and diagnostic tools. J Perinatol 2008; e-pub ahead of print 17 January 2008; doi:10.1038/sj.jp.7211924. 

Journal article, in press: Brown N. Perinatal and newborn care in South Asia: priorities for action. Arch Dis Child (in press). 

Complete book: Willett WC. Nutritional Epidemiology. Oxford University Press: New York, 1998. 

Chapter in book: Blizzard RM, Bulatovic A. (1996). Syndromes of psychosocial short stature. In: Lipshitz F (ed). Pediatric Endocrinology. Marcel Dekker: New York, 1986, pp 213–276. 

Abstract: Minck P. A synactive model of neonatal behavioral organization. Phys Occup Ther Pediatr 2002; 22(Suppl 1): 28 (abstract 456).   Correspondence: Sehgal A, Ramsden A (2008). Treating hypotension in the preterm infant: when and with what: a critical and systematic review [letter]. J Perinatol 28, 167. 

Correspondence: Sehgal A, Ramsden A (2008). Treating hypotension in the preterm infant: when and with what: a critical and systematic review [letter]. J Perinatol 28, 167. 

Electronic Database online: U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. PubMed [database]. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Bethesda, MD. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/ pubmed/ 

Software: IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows [software], Version 25.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp; Released 2017. https://www.ibm.com/analytics/ spss-statistics-software

Tables:  These should be labelled sequentially and cited within the text. Each table should be presented on its own page, numbered and titled. Reference to table footnotes should be made by means of Arabic numerals. Tables should not duplicate the content of the text. They should consist of at least two columns; columns should always have headings. Authors should ensure that the data in the tables are consistent with those cited in the relevant places in the text, totals add up correctly, and percentages have been calculated correctly. Unlike figures or images, tables may be embedded into the word processing software if necessary, or supplied as separate electronic files.

Figure Legends:  These should be brief and specific, and should appear on a separate manuscript page after the References section. Where the data is presented in a statistical format, N should be indicated and the type of error bars defined in the legend. 

Figures:  Figures and images should be labelled, sequentially numbered and cited in the text. Figure legends should be brief, specific and appear on a separate manuscript page after the References section. Refer to (and cite) figures specifically in the text of the paper. Figures should not be embedded within the text. If a table or figure has been published before, the authors must obtain written permission to reproduce the material in both print and electronic formats from the copyright owner and submit it with the manuscript. This follows for quotes, illustrations and other materials taken from previously published works not in the public domain. The original source should be cited in the figure caption or table footnote. Scale markers should be used in the image for electron micrographs, and indicate the type of stain used. Detailed guidelines for submitting artwork can be found by downloading the Artwork Guidelines PDF.

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. The use of three-dimensional histograms is strongly discouraged when the addition of the third dimension gives no extra information.

Supplementary Information:  Supplementary information is 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 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 
Upon submission authors will be asked to select a series of subject terms relevant to the topic of their manuscript from our subject ontology. Providing these terms will ensure your article is 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.