Ultrasound Guidelines for Authors


These instructions comply with the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals formulated by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (for further details, see the ICMJE site)

1. Aims and scope

Ultrasound is the official journal of the British Medical Ultrasound Society, and covers all aspects of medical ultrasound from technological advances through to clinical applications and their impact on both workforce and patients. The journal fulfils an educational and research role, publishing informative review articles, original research, best practice guidelines, case reports, clinical audits, and descriptions of new techniques and equipment. Our international Editorial Board welcomes contributions from the UK and overseas, and ensures that all articles are subject to rigorous peer review.

2. Types of articles

For general instructions, see ‘How to prepare a manuscript’. Articles usually take the following formats, although ultimately this is at the Editor’s discretion.

Original Research: Original scientific and medical research articles relating to any aspect of medical ultrasound. Maximum length for manuscripts is 4000 words plus up to six tables or figures and 40 references.

Reviews: Authoritative reviews of medical issues, gathering together disparate information sources into a single coherent article. Maximum length for review is 5000 words plus up to eight tables or figures and 50 references.

Essays: Informative, topical or educational articles on any subject relating to ultrasound in medicine (e.g. professional development issues, surveys and best practice guidelines). Maximum length for essays is 4000 words plus up to six tables or figures and 30 references.

Case Reports: Case reports should be either a novel presentation of a common condition, or a common presentation of a rare condition. All case reports should provide a clear educational (‘take-home’) message. Maximum length for case reports is 2000 words plus four tables or figures and up to 10 references.

Letters: Communication in response to articles previously published in Ultrasound. Maximum length for letters is 500 words plus up to one table or figure and five references.

Book reviews: Book reviews should be no more than 500 words in length, usually commissioned by the Editor.

Editorials: Short pieces on topical subjects, usually commissioned by the Editor. One thousand words plus up to 10 references.

3. How to submit a manuscript

Only manuscripts submitted via the online manuscript submission and peer review site, which can be found at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ult will be considered for publication.

All submissions must be in English and should be proofread by all authors prior to submission.

Tables and figures may be submitted as separate files, in which case the files should be uploaded in the following order: (1) main text, including title page, abstract and references; (2) tables; (3) figures; (4) supplementary files (this includes online-only supplementary files, e.g. video files).

File formats: Preferred file formats are .doc for text produced in Word, .tif for images, and .xls for graphs produced in Excel.

4. How to prepare a manuscript

Formatting: Type manuscripts as double-spaced unjustified text in size 12 font. Please put headings and subheadings in bold case, and press ‘Enter’ only at the end of a paragraph, list entry or heading. Assemble the manuscript in this order: (1) Title page; (2) Abstract; (3) Main text; (4) References; (5) Tables; (6) Figures.

Title page: The first page should contain the full title of the manuscript, a short title of no more than six words, the author(s) name(s) and affiliation(s), contact details for the corresponding author, and any declarations. The title should be concise and informative, accurately indicating the content of the article. Please also include three to five keywords for use as indexing terms.

Abstract: An abstract of no more than 300 words must accompany all articles except letters. For Reviews this abstract should be a single, unstructured paragraph stating the scope of the review, the main themes covered, and conclusions which may be drawn from the review including implications for clinical practice and future work. Original Research articles require structured abstracts with the following format: Introduction (description of rationale for study), Methods (brief description of methods or study design), Results (summary of significant results), and Conclusions (succinct statement of data interpretation). Please be concise, avoid the use of acronyms and abbreviations, and do not cite references in the abstract.

Text: Typical main headings for Original Research articles include Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion.

Please use current accepted abbreviations and define them at first mention. [Units, Symbols and Abbreviations published by RSM Press provides lists of approved abbreviations.] For equipment described in the Methods section, please supply the names of manufacturers. All measurements should be expressed in SI units.

Manuscripts that describe studies on humans must indicate that the study was approved by an institutional review committee and that the subjects gave informed consent. Reports of studies on both animals and humans must indicate that the procedures followed were in accordance with institutional guidelines.

References: Only essential references should be included. Authors are responsible for verifying them against the original source material. RSM Press uses the Vancouver referencing system: references should be identified in the text by superscript Arabic numerals after any punctuation, and numbered and listed at the end of the paper in the order in which they are first cited in the text. Punctuation in references should be kept to a minimum, as shown in the following examples:

1. Baynes J, Dominiczak M. Medical Biochemistry. Philadelphia: Mosby, 1999

2. Abozguia K, Phan TT, Shivu GN, et al. Insights into how to conduct a clinical trial in the UK. J R Soc Med 2007;100:469–72

References should include the names and initials of up to six authors. If there are more than six authors, only the first three should be named, followed by et al. Publications for which no author is apparent may be attributed to the organization from which they originate. Automatic numbering should be avoided. For internet references please provide the web address and the date the site was accessed.

Tables: Tables should be formatted in Word and accompanied by a brief title. Please number tables in the order in which they are mentioned in the text.

Figures: All figures should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text and accompanied by a figure legend. If figures are supplied in separate files, the figure legends must all be listed at the end of the main text file.

Graphs and diagrams should be produced electronically and clearly labelled using a sans serif font such as Arial. Please ensure that figure labels will be consistent with the size of the main text in final reproduction. Graphs may be supplied as Excel spreadsheets (one per sheet). Images must be supplied at high resolution, preferably 600 dpi. Images supplied at less than 300 dpi are unsuitable for print and will delay publication. The preferred file format is .tif.

5. Proofs and eprints

Proofs will be sent by email to the designated corresponding author as a PDF file attachment and should be corrected and returned promptly; corrections should be kept to a minimum.

A PDF eprint of each published article will be supplied free of charge to the author for correspondence; hardcopy offprints may be ordered from the publisher when the proofs are returned.

6. Editorial policy

Covering letter: The covering letter is important. To help the Editor in his or her preliminary evaluation, please indicate why you think your paper is suitable for publication. If your paper should be considered for fast-track publication, please explain why.

Peer review: After a preliminary triage to eliminate submissions that are unsuitable for Ultrasound, the remaining science-based articles, either original or review, are sent for peer review.

Ethical approval: All research submitted for publication must be approved by an ethics committee.

Patient consent: Any article containing identifiable patient information must be accompanied by a statement of consent to publication. If there is any doubt about whether or not information is identifiable, the Editor is happy to discuss this before an article is submitted. Reviewers will also be asked to take careful account of issues relating to patient confidentiality when reviewing articles. Case studies are not the only kinds of article to which this rule will be applied, but they will be subject to additional scrutiny. Not only should submissions be accompanied by a statement of consent, but the Editor also expects to be informed about the measures that have been taken to anonymise the details that could have led to parties being identified. The Editor may also ask authors to remove personal information that increases the likelihood of parties being identified. The exception to this will be where the patient has indicated in writing that she/he wants to be identified, has read the material, has discussed the consequences of being identified, and has agreed to the disclosure of all the personal information contained in the article.

In cases where consent has not been obtained, the authors must provide a statement from a Medical Director or equivalent that the hospital or medical centre is happy for the case to be published.

Competing interests and other declarations: All authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest when submitting papers for publication. Declarations of funding sources are also required.

Permissions: It is the responsibility of the author to obtain copyright permissions for reproduction of previously published material. An acknowledgement of permission should be included at the relevant point in the paper, and a full reference to the original place of publication should be included in the reference list.

Copyright: Authors of accepted manuscripts will be required to allocate copyright to the publisher prior to publication.