Guide to Authors

To download our complete Guide to Authors as a pdf, please click here.

Article Type Specifications

Case Report*: Please see ‘Preparation of Case Reports’ in the Guide to Authors PDF for more details on how to structure your Case Report.
Specifications: Structured Abstract (Introduction; Case Presentation; Discussion) max 250 words; Main body of text (excluding abstract, tables/figures and references) max 2,500 words; Max of 10 tables or figures
Case Reports must adhere to the reporting guidelines as outlined by CARE Guidelines and authors must complete the CARE Checklist and upload as a Related Manuscript file at submission. 

Psychometric, Retrospective or Pilot Studies (Article)*: Please see ‘Preparation of Articles' in the Guide to Authors PDF for more details on how to structure your these. Please select ‘Article’ when submitting through the submission system.
Specifications: Structured abstract (Study Design; Objectives; Setting; Methods; Results; Conclusions; Sponsorship) max. 250 words; Main body of text (excluding abstract, tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 3,000 words; Max 10 tables or figures

Pulse Survey: These are invited features designed to assist in developing educational priorities for professionals and patients in the field of SCD; they follow the article format detailed in the Guide to Authors PDF and you must select Article when submitting
Specifications: Unstructured abstract max. 250 words; Main body of text (excluding abstract, tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 3,000 words; Max 10 tables or figures

Point Counter-Point: These invited papers include two different points of view pertaining to a single topic area. They are accompanied by a synopsis article that reflects and synthesizes these opinions. When submitting please select the article type Perspective
Specifications: Unstructured abstract max. 250 words; Main body of text (excluding abstract, tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 2,000 words; Max 2 tables or figures

Correspondence: Correspondences are encouraged. They may deal with material in published papers or they may raise new issues. In the former case the Editor-in-Chief may send the letter first to the authors of the original paper so that their response may be published at the same time as the letter.
Specifications: No abstract required; Main body of text (excluding tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 900 words; Max 10 tables or figures

Perspective: Perspectives are a hybrid of a correspondence and a review, providing an opinion-driven perspective on a particular research topic or field of interest to the Spinal Cord Series and Cases readership. Authors should present a 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 10 tables and/or figures

*If you wish to submit a case series with more than 3 cases you should decide on the best layout for your paper (see preparation of articles below); case report or article. It is essential that on the submission page you select the appropriate ‘article type’ to match the layout you have chosen. Please select the article type ‘Article’ if you wish to submit a case series with the layout of an article.  

Though there is no restriction on words/pages/figures or tables for most types of submissions, authors should be realistic of the length of their submission and what is needed to explain their methods and outcomes properly. When it is judged that the text is too long or the number of tables and figures exceed what is needed a restriction will be proposed.

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. 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. 

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: Please see Author Guide for full details on this.

New requirements
Cfr. the standardization as described by DeVivo et al. Authors are invited to follow these rules that all reports regarding age at injury include mean and standard deviation, median & range. When grouped, 15 year increments shall be used: 0–15, 16–30, 31–45, 46–60, 61–75, 76+. For pediatric SCI the following grouping is advised: 0–5, 6–12, 13–15, 16–21. Time since injury shall include mean and standard deviation, median & range. If to be given with intervals the following are to be used:<1 year, 1–5 years, 6–10 years, 11–15 years, and 5-year increments thereafter. Calendar time (years during which the study is conducted) shall be grouped by either 5 or 10 year increments with years ending in 4 or 9. Length of stay shall be given with mean and standard deviation as well as the median. The severity of injury shall be grouped as C1-4 ASIA Impairment Scale grade (AIS) A, B, or C; C5-8 AIS A, B, or C; T1-S5 AIS A, B, or C; AIS D at any injury level; Ventilator-dependent at any injury level or AIS grade. If the particular dataset is limited, the above groups may be collapsed.

Structured Abstract: Case Reports and 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:

Case Report

  • Introduction
  • Case Presentation
  • Discussion

Article

  • Study Design
  • Objectives
  • Setting (i.e. country and/or county or state)
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusions: Answer (significant or not) to main question
  • Sponsorship (where applicable)

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. Graphical abstracts are published in the table of contents and in the article. 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.

Case Presentation: This section should include a description of the patient’s relevant demographic details, medical history, symptoms and signs, treatment or intervention, outcomes and any other significant details.

Methods (for Articles): This section should contain sufficient detail, so that all experimental procedures can be reproduced. All standard procedures and outcome measures should be referenced. Methods, that have been published in detail elsewhere can be summarised with a reference to the full methodology. Authors should provide the name of the manufacturer and their location for any specifically named medical equipment or instrument. 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. Results presented in Tables or Figures should not be described extensively in the text. All results comparing groups should be presented as point estimates with measures of precision (e.g. between group differences and 95% confidence intervals).

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 in square brackets before punctuations and starting at one. Example “the scale maintains adequate construct validity and measures the attributes it purports to measure [15,16]”.
The full details of the References should appear at the end of the paper (double-spaced) in numerical order corresponding to the order of citation in the text.

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.

Examples:

Journal article:
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).
Complete book:
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.
Abstract:
Abstracts from the 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting of the British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS). J Hum Hypertens 34; 2020; 1–20
Website:
Kassambara A. rstatix: pipe-friendly framework for basic statistical tests. 2020. https://rpkgs.datanovia.com/rstatix/.
Online Document:
Doe J. Title of subordinate document. In: The dictionary of substances and their effects. Royal Society of Chemistry. 1999. http://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: Authors must include a statement about the contribution of each author to the manuscript (see section on Authorship). The initials of each author may be used. Please see example in the Guide to Authors document.

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.

Ethical Approval
Authors must provide a statement regarding ethical approval (see information on Human and Other Animal 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.

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. It is imperative that any tables used are editable, ideally presented in Excel. Each must be uploaded as a separate workbook with a title or caption and be clearly labelled, sequentially. Reference to table footnotes should be made by means of Arabic numerals. Tables should consist of at least two columns; columns should always have headings. 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.

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

Standard abbreviations: Because the majority of readers will have experience in spinal cord medicine, the journal will accept papers which use certain standard abbreviations, without definition in the summary or in the text. Non-standard abbreviations should be defined in full at their first usage in the Abstract and again at the first usage in the text, in the conventional manner. If a term is used 1-4 times in the text, it should be defined in full throughout the text and not abbreviated.

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.