Guidelines and Policies
Manuscript Submission Guidelines
1. General standards
1.1. Article Type
The Southern African Journal of Medical and Health Sciences (SAJMHS) requires authors to carefully select the appropriate article type for their manuscript and to comply with the article type descriptions defined in the journal’s “Article Types” section. Please pay close attention to the word count limits.
If working with Word please use the SAJMHS template. During the Interactive Review, authors are encouraged to upload versions using “Track Changes.” Editors and reviewers can only download the PDF file of the submitted manuscript.
1.3. Manuscript Length
SAJMHS requests the authors to closely follow the article word count lengths given in the “Article Types” page of the journals. The manuscript length includes only the main body of the text, footnotes, and all citations within it, and excludes the abstract, section titles, figure and table captions, funding statement, acknowledgments, and references in the bibliography. Please indicate the number of words and the number of figures and tables included in your manuscript on the first page.
1.4. Language Editing
SAJMHS requires manuscripts submitted to meet international English language standards to be considered for publication.
1.5. Language Style
The default language style at SAJMHS is British English. If you prefer your article to be formatted in British English, please specify this on the first page of your manuscript.
1.6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There are a few simple ways to maximize your article’s discoverability. Follow the steps below to improve search results of your article:
• include a few of your article’s keywords in the title of the article;
• do not use long article titles;
• pick 5 to 8 keywords using a mix of generic and more specific terms on the article subject(s);
• use the maximum amount of keywords in the first 2 sentences of the abstract;
The title should be concise, omitting terms that are implicit and, where possible, be a statement of the main result or conclusion presented in the manuscript. Abbreviations should be avoided within the title.
Witty or creative titles are welcome, but only if relevant and within measure. Consider if a title meant to be thought-provoking might be misinterpreted as offensive or alarming. In extreme cases, the editorial office may veto a title and propose an alternative.
Authors should try to avoid, if possible:
• titles that are a mere question without giving the answer;
• unambitious titles, for example starting with “Towards,” “A description of,” “A characterization of,” “Preliminary study on;”
• vague titles, for example starting with “Role of…,” “Link between… ,” “Effect of…” that do not specify the role, link, or effect;
• include terms that are out of place, for example the taxonomic affiliation apart from species name.
1.8. Authors and Affiliations
All names are listed together and separated by commas. Provide exact and correct author names as these will be indexed in official archives. Affiliations should be keyed to the author’s name with superscript numbers and be listed as follows: Laboratory, Institute, Department, Organization, City, State abbreviation (only for United States, Canada, and Australia), and Country (without detailed address information such as city zip codes or street names).
Example: Emmanuel Chirwa1
1. Faculty of Pre-Medical Sciences, Lusaka Apex Medical University, Lusaka, Zambia.
The Corresponding Author(s) should be marked with an asterisk in the author list. Provide the exact contact email address of the corresponding author(s) in a separate section.
Emmanuel Chirwa email@example.com
If any authors wish to include a change of address, list the present address(es) below the correspondence details using a unique superscript symbol keyed to the author(s) in the author list.
1.9. Consortium/Group and Collaborative Authors
Consortium/group authorship should be listed in the manuscript with the other author(s). In cases where authorship is retained by the consortium/group, the consortium/group should be listed as an author separated by”,” or “and,”. The consortium name will appear in the author list, in the citation, and in the copyright. If provided, the consortium/group members will be listed in a separate section at the end of the article.
Example: John Smith, Barbara Smith and the Collaborative Working Group.
In cases where work is presented by the author(s) on behalf of a consortium/group, it should be included in the author list separated with the wording “for” or “on behalf of.” The consortium/group will not retain authorship and will only appear in the author list.
Example: John Smith and Barbara Smith on behalf of The Collaborative Working Group.
As a primary goal, the abstract should render the general significance and conceptual advance of the work clearly accessible to a broad readership. In the abstract, minimize the use of abbreviations and do not cite references, figures or tables.
For Clinical Trial articles, please include the Unique Identifier and the URL of the publicly accessible website on which the trial is registered.
All article types require a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 8 keywords.
The entire document should be single-spaced and must contain page and line numbers in order to facilitate the review process. The manuscript should be written using Microsoft Word.
• The use of abbreviations should be kept to a minimum. Non-standard abbreviations should be avoided unless they appear at least four times, and defined upon first use in the main text. Consider also giving a list of non-standard abbreviations at the end, immediately before the Acknowledgments.
• Equations should be inserted in editable format from the equation editor.
• Italicize gene symbols and use the approved gene nomenclature where it is available. For human genes, please refer to the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee.
• We encourage the use of Standard International Units in all manuscripts.
• Chemical compounds and biomolecules should be referred to using systematic nomenclature.
The manuscript is organized by headings and subheadings. The section headings should be those appropriate for your field and the research itself. For Original Research articles, it is recommended to organize your manuscript in the following sections or their equivalents for your field:
Succinct, with no subheadings.
This section may be divided by subheadings and should contain sufficient detail so that when read in conjunction with cited references, all procedures can be repeated. For experiments reporting results on animal or human subject research, an ethics approval statement should be included in this section.
This section should be divided by subheadings.
This section may be divided by subheadings. Discussions should cover the key findings of the study: discuss any prior research related to the subject to place the novelty of the discovery in the appropriate context, discuss the potential shortcomings and limitations on their interpretations, discuss their integration into the current understanding of the problem and how this advances the current views, speculate on the future direction of the research, and freely postulate theories that could be tested in the future.
Other sections include the following; IMPLICATION TO PRACTICE CONCLUSION RECOMMENDATIONS LIMITATIONS
This is a short text to acknowledge the contributions of specific colleagues, institutions, or agencies that aided the efforts of the authors. Should the content of the manuscript have previously appeared online, such as in a thesis or preprint, this should be mentioned here, in addition to listing the source within the reference list.
2. Figure and Table Guidelines
2.1. CC-BY License
All figures, tables, and images will be published under a Creative Commons license, and permission must be obtained for use of copyrighted material from other sources (including re published/adapted/modified/partial figures and images from the internet). It is the responsibility of the authors to acquire the licenses, follow any citation instructions requested by third-party rights holders, and cover any supplementary charges.
2.2. Format and Color Image Mode
• The following formats are accepted: TIP/TIFF (.tiff.tiff), JPEG (.jpg), and EPS (.eps) (upon acceptance).
• Images must be submitted in the color mode.
SAJMHS encourages authors to make the figures and visual elements of their articles accessible for the visually impaired. An effective use of colour can help people with low visual acuity, or color blindness, understand all the content of an article.
A. Ensure sufficient contrast between text and its background
People who have low visual acuity or color blindness could find it difficult to read text with low contrast background color. Try using colors that provide maximum contrast.
We recommend the following contrast ratio levels:
• Level AA, contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1
• Level AAA, contrast ratio of at least 7:1
You can verify the contrast ratio of your palette with these online ratio checkers:
• Color Safe
B. Avoid using red or green indicators
More than 99% of color-blind people have a red-green color vision deficiency.
C. Avoid using only color to communicate information
Elements with complex information like charts and graphs can be hard to read when only color is used to distinguish the data. Try to use other visual aspects to communicate information, such as shape, labels, and size. Incorporating patterns into the shape fills also make differences clearer; for an example please see below:
• All citations in the text, figures or tables must be in the reference list and vice-versa.
• The names of the first six authors followed by et al. and the DOI (when available) should be provided.
• The reference list should only include articles that are published or accepted.
• Unpublished data, submitted manuscripts or personal communications should be cited within the text only, for the article types that allow such inclusions.
• For accepted but unpublished works use “in press” instead of page numbers.
• Data sets that have been deposited to an online repository should be included in the reference list. Include the version and unique identifier when available.
• Personal communications should be documented by a letter of permission.
• Website URLs should be included as footnotes.
• Any inclusion of verbatim text must be contained in quotation marks and clearly reference the original source.
• Preprints can be cited as long as a DOI or archive URL is available, and the citation clearly mentions that the contribution is a preprint. If a peer-reviewed journal publication for the same preprint exists, the official journal publication is the preferred source.
3.1. In-text Citations
• For works by a single author, include the surname, followed by the year.
• For works by two authors, include both surnames, followed by the year.
• For works by more than two authors, include only the surname of the first author followed by et al., followed by the year.
3.2. Reference List
ARTICLE IN A PRINT JOURNAL
Sondheimer, N. & Lindquist, S. (2020). Rnql: an epigenetic modifier of protein function in yeast. Molecular Cell. 5, 163-172.
ARTICLE IN AN ONLINE JOURNAL
Tahimic, C.G.T., Wang, Y., Bikle, D.D. (2013). Anabolic effects of IGF-1 signaling on the skeleton. Frontline Endocrinology. 4:6. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2013.00006
ARTICLE OR CHAPTER IN A BOOK
Sorenson, P. W. & Caprio, J. C. (1998). “Chemoreception,” in The Physiology of Fishes, ed. D.
H. Evans (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press), 375-405.
Cowan, W. M., Jessell, T. M., & Zipursky, S. L. (1997). Molecular and Cellular Approaches to Neural Development. New York: Oxford University Press.
World Health Organization. (2018). E.coli. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/e coli [Accessed March 15, 2018].
THESES AND DISSERTATIONS
Smith, J. (2008) Post-structuralist discourse relative to phenomological pursuits m the deconstructivist arena. [dissertation/master’s thesis]. [Chicago (IL)]: University of Chicago.
4. Types of articles
4.1 Original Research
Original Research articles report on primary and unpublished studies. Original Research may also encompass confirming studies and disconfirming results which allow hypothesis elimination, reformulation and/or report on the non-reproducibility of previously published results. Original Research articles are peer-reviewed, have a word count of 3,000 to 5000 words and may contain no more than 15 Figures/Tables. Authors are required to pay a fee (A-type article) to publish an article. Original Research articles should have the following format: 1) Abstract, 2) Introduction, 3) Materials and Methods, 4) Results, 5) Discussion and should include a maximum of 50 references.
4.2 Systematic Review
Systematic Review articles present a synthesis of previous research on a given topic that uses systematic and clearly defined methods to identify, categorize, analyse and report aggregated evidence on a specific topic. Included in this article type are meta-synthesis, meta-analysis, systematic review, and systematic review with a meta-analysis. Systematic Reviews articles are peer-reviewed, have a maximum word count of 10,000 and may contain no more than 15 Figures/Tables. Authors are required to pay a fee (A-type article) to publish a Systematic Review article. Systematic reviews should: Clearly define the research question in terms of population, interventions, comparators, outcomes and study designs (PICOS), state which reporting guidelines were used in the study (for design and reporting, conform to the reporting guidelines in your field (e.g., PRISMA, Cochrane, Campbell), include the PRISMA flow diagram as part of your submission http://prisma-statement.org/prismastatement/flowdiagram.aspx (if applicable), include funding information (if no specific funding to carry out the research, please state so). Systematic Review articles should have the following format: 1) Abstract, 2) Introduction, 3) Methods (including study design; participants; interventions; comparators; systematic review protocol; search strategy; data sources; studies sections and data extraction; data analysis), 4) Results (including a flow diagram of the studies retrieved for the review; study selection and characteristics; synthesized findings; assessment of risk of bias), 5) Discussion (including summary of main findings; limitations; conclusions). The title should include the words systematic review/meta-synthesis/meta-analysis, as appropriate.
Review articles cover topics that have seen significant development or progress in recent years, with comprehensive depth and a balanced perspective. Reviews should present a complete overview of the state of the art (and should not merely summarize the literature), as well as discuss the following: 1) Different schools of thought or controversies, 2) Fundamental concepts, issues, and problems, 3) Current research gaps, 4) Potential developments in the field. Review articles are peer-reviewed, have a maximum word count of 6,000 and may contain no more than 15 Figures/Tables. Authors are required to pay a fee (A-type article) to publish a Review article. Review articles should have the following format: 1) Abstract, 2) Introduction, 3) Subsections relevant for the subject, 4) Discussion. Review articles must not include unpublished material (unpublished/original data, submitted manuscripts, or personal communications) and may be rejected in review or reclassified, at a significant delay, if found to include such content.
4.4 Mini Review
Mini Review articles cover focused aspects of a current area of investigation and its recent developments. They offer a succinct and clear summary of the topic, allowing readers to get up to-date on new developments and/or emerging concepts, as well as discuss the following: 1) Different schools of thought or controversies, 2) Current research gaps, 3) Potential future developments in the field. Mini Reviews articles are peer-reviewed, have a maximum word count of 3,000 and may contain no more than 2 Figures/Tables. Authors are required to pay a fee (B-type article) to publish a Mini Review article. Mini Review articles should have the following format: 1) Abstract, 2) Introduction, 3) Subsections relevant for the subject, 4) Discussion. Mini Review articles must not include unpublished material (unpublished/original data, submitted manuscripts, or personal communications) and may be rejected or reclassified, at a significant delay, if found to include such content.
4.5 Policy and Practice Reviews
Policy & Practice Reviews provide a comprehensive coverage and balanced overview of current and relevant topics related to policy, regulations, and guidelines that may be coming from academia, relevant societies, regulatory bodies, industries and others. In contrast to Policy Briefs, this article type provides authors with more space to elaborate on policies and/or guidelines. Policy & Practice Reviews are peer-reviewed, have a maximum word count of 6,000 and may contain no more than 15 Figures/Tables. Authors are required to pay a fee (A-type article) to publish a Policy & Practice Review. Policy & Practice Reviews should have the following format: 1) Abstract, 2) Introduction, 3) Sections on assessment of policy/guidelines options and implications, 4) Actionable Recommendations, 5) Discussion.
4.6 Clinical Trial
Clinical Trial articles describe the results of interventional studies related to health. These articles can include pilot studies, safety and efficacy trials, surrogate endpoint studies, and proof of concept studies. Clinical Trial articles are peer-reviewed, have a maximum word count of 10,000 and may contain no more than 15 Figures/Tables. Authors are required to pay a fee (A type article) to publish a Clinical Trial article. Clinical Trial articles should have the following format: 1) Abstract (please include the clinical trial registry number), 2) Introduction, 3)
Materials and Methods (including flow diagram when applicable, for example the CONSORT FLOW DIAGRAM- http://www.consort-statement.org/consort-statement/flow-diagram), 4) Results, 5) Discussion. All clinical trials must be registered in a public trials registry to be considered for publication, and authors should be compliant with the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT).
4.7 Case Report/Case Series
Case Reports highlight unique cases of human or animal patients that present with an unexpected/ diagnosis, treatment outcome, or clinical course. Case Reports are peer-reviewed, have a maximum word count of 3,000 and may contain no more than 4 display items (figures, tables, or videos). Authors are required to pay a fee (B-type article) to publish a Case Report article. Authors should follow the CARE guidelines and submit a completed CARE checklist as a supplementary file (template available here: http://data.care-statement.org/wp content/uploads/2019/03/CARE-checklist-English-2013.pdt) Case Reports should have the following format: 1) Abstract, 2) Introduction: including what is unique about the case and medical literature references, 3) Case description: including de-identified patient information, relevant physical examination and other clinical findings, relevant past interventions and their outcomes, 4) A figure or table showcasing a timeline with relevant data from the episode of care,
5) Diagnostic assessment, details on the therapeutic intervention, follow-up and outcomes, as specified in the CARE guidelines, 6) Discussion: strengths and limitations of the approach to the case, discussion of the relevant medical literature (similar and contrasting cases), take-away lessons from the case, 7) Patient perspective. Authors are required to obtain written informed consent from the patients (or their legal representatives) for the publication. Only Case Reports that are original and significantly advance the field will be considered. All Case Reports should carry the title “Case Report: ‘area of focus'”. More information on CARE guidelines here: https://www.care-statement.org/
Opinion articles allow authors to contribute viewpoints on the interpretation of recent findings in any research area, value of the methods used, as well as weaknesses and strengths of scientific hypotheses. They should abide to the following guidelines: not contain unpublished or original data, be supported by evidence, be fully referenced, encourage constructive discussion, refrain from emotionally-charged argumentation. Opinion articles are peer-reviewed and have a
maximum word count of 2,000 and may contain no more than 1 Figure/Table. Authors are required to pay a fee (C-type article) to publish an Opinion article. Opinion articles should have the following format: 1) Introduction, 2) Subsections relevant for the subject, 3) Discussion.
4.9 Study Protocol
Study Protocol articles document the design of prospective research and it is intended to facilitate dissemination of ongoing studies and promote transparency. Study Protocol articles are peer-reviewed, have a maximum word count of 6,000 and may include up to 15 Figures/Tables. Authors are required to pay a fee (A-type article) to publish a Study Protocol article. Study Protocol articles should have the following format: 1) Abstract (please include the clinical trial registry number for clinical studies), 2) Introduction, 3) Methods and Analysis (including design; selection/treatment of subjects; interventional methods; data analysis), 4) Discussion, 5) Ethics and Dissemination. For clinical studies, registration in a public clinical trial registry is mandatory prior to the submission of the manuscript and the authors are strongly encouraged to follow the SPIRIT guidelines (http://www.spirit-statement.org/) and checklist. Study Protocols are not considered if other articles relating to the study are already published or in review, if it reports any research data from the study, or for any pilot or feasibility study.