2019 BJS Instructions to Authors
BJS publishes original articles, reviews, meta-analyses, systematic reviews and randomized clinical trials, all of which are submitted to rigorous peer review. BJS subscribes to the policies published by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)1 and adheres to publishing ethics guidelines published by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)2.
OnlineOpen is available to authors of primary research articles who wish to make their article available to non-subscribers on publication, or whose funding agency requires grantees to archive the final version of their article. With OnlineOpen, the author, the author’s funding agency, or the author’s institution pays a fee to ensure the article is made available to non-subscribers upon publication via Wiley Online Library, as well as deposited in the funding agency’s preferred archive. For the full list of terms and conditions see https://authorservices.wiley.com/author-resources/Journal-Authors/licensing-open-access/open-access/onlineopen.html.
Before acceptance there is no requirement to inform the Editorial Office that you intend to publish your paper OnlineOpen if you do not wish to. All OnlineOpen articles are treated in the same way as any other article. They go through the journal’s standard peer-review process and will be accepted or rejected based on their own merit.
The BJS editorial team welcomes proposals that might lead to the publication of evidence-based guidelines relevant to surgical practice, acknowledging that the best available evidence might be no more than a consensus view. Potential authors are encouraged to submit initial ideas for consideration, and not completed documents, to assess whether publication in BJS is possible.
Before guidelines are submitted, an outline proposal not exceeding 500 words should describe:
– The intended guideline topic. This can include any issue directly relevant to clinical surgery, but should explain the need for guidelines on the chosen topic.
– The proposed methodology. This might include the use of systematic reviews, a Delphi consensus or combinations of methodologies, but should be specified, along with an estimate of the life span of the guidelines.
– Details of the group responsible for the guidelines. This should indicate the involvement of professional associations or societies, and commercial organisations. Sponsorship or funding details should be provided in this section. The tasks and contributions to be undertaken by each author should be listed.
– Geographic origin and extent of influence. The relevance of the guidelines and their influence should be explained in global terms. Guidelines that relate to the healthcare systems of a single country are unlikely to be accepted.
Proposals considered suitable by the editors will be sent for peer review. As with all other submissions to BJS, acceptance is likely to be conditional, subject to editorial and reviewers’ comments. A designated BJS Editor will work with the responsible group to ensure consistency of style and prompt publication.
The outline proposal should be submitted online through ScholarOne Manuscripts (details below). Please note that there are many mandatory sections during submission that are not relevant to Guidelines. Please mark these as ‘N/A’ in the ScholarOne submission.
1. Important information for authors
An article is reviewed for publication on the assumption that its contents have not been submitted simultaneously to another journal, have not been accepted for publication elsewhere and have not already been published3. Authors will be asked to confirm that this is the case during the electronic submission process. Any attempt at dual publication will lead to automatic rejection, may prejudice acceptance of future submissions, and may be highlighted within the pages of the Journal. Please submit with your manuscript copies of any other papers (including abstracts) – published, in press, or submitted for consideration elsewhere – that relate in whole or in part to the same data set; this is essential to enable assessment of any potential overlap by the Editors. Indicate on the title page whether the paper is based on a previous communication to a society or meeting.
Articles and their illustrations become the property of the Journal unless rights are reserved before publication.
2. Article types
Please note that BJS does not publish case studies.
a) Leading articles
The Editors commission leading articles of 800–1000 words and up to ten references. A single author is preferred. Submissions may be subjected to peer review and the Editors retain the right to alter textual style.
b) Reviews (including systematic reviews and meta-analyses)
Priority will be given to work that addresses a topic of current interest. All meta-analyses of randomized trials must adhere to the guidelines outlined in the PRISMA statement, which is designed to improve manuscript quality4. It is strongly recommended that the PRISMA statement is used in conjunction with the PRISMA Explanation and Elaboration Document5 and PRISMA abstracts guidelines6. The PRISMA for abstracts checklist gives authors a framework for condensing their systematic review and meta-analysis into the essentials for an abstract.
Authors must include a suitable PRISMA flow chart in their submission. The flow diagram depicts the flow of information through the different phases of a systematic review. A template of the PRISMA flow diagram is available here as a Word document.
Other useful resources for authors of review articles include the article Systematic reviews and meta-analysis for the surgeon scientist by Galandiuk and colleagues7, and the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions8.
BJS will consider for publication Cochrane review articles that have been substantially shortened and re-written for a surgical audience. Such submissions must state this on the title page of the manuscript, and copies of the original article must be sent to the Editorial Office for consideration. You must be the author of the Cochrane review and must also apply for permission from the Cochrane Library – further information on how to do this is available in the Cochrane Manual9. These articles will be subject to the usual BJS peer-review process and will usually be published only if submitted within 6 months of publication of the Cochrane Review.
c) Prospective clinical trials
BJS expects all authors to register prospective clinical trials in a suitable electronic and freely accessible registry (e.g. www.clinicaltrials.gov, www.controlled-trials.com), according to the ICMJE guidelines1,10. For this purpose, a clinical trial is defined as any research project that prospectively assigns human subjects to intervention or comparison groups to study the cause-and-effect relationship between an intervention and a health outcome. The registration number of the clinical trial should be quoted at the end of the abstract. If you wish the Editor to consider an unregistered trial, please explain why the trial has not been registered.
In addition, all randomized clinical trials must adhere to the guidelines outlined in the CONSORT statement11,12. It is strongly recommended that the CONSORT statement is used in conjunction with the CONSORT Explanation and Elaboration Document13. Investigators must include a suitable CONSORT flow chart in their submission. The CONSORT 2010 Flow Diagram template can be downloaded here. Furthermore, it is strongly advised that the CONSORT for abstracts guidelines are consulted14.
The primary end point of the trial and the power calculation must be stated clearly stated. Randomized clinical trials should be identified as such in both the title and the abstract.
The main CONSORT Statement is based on the ‘standard’ two-group parallel design. However, there are several different types of randomized trials with other designs. To help improve the reporting of these trials the CONSORT group has extended and modified the main CONSORT Statement for application in various areas, and the resulting CONSORT extensions can be found on http://www.consort-statement.org/extensions12.
d) Original articles
Original articles should normally be in the format of Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion. A structured abstract of fewer than 250 words should be provided (further details on this can be found below).
e) Observational studies
STROBE is an international, collaborative initiative of epidemiologists, methodologists, statisticians, researchers and journal Editors involved in the conduct and dissemination of observational studies, with the common aim of STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology15. STROBE makes recommendations to the three main analytical designs that are used in observational research: cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies. Please visit to STROBE website for more information and available checklists (http://www.strobe-statement.org/).
f) Experimental papers
Papers involving experimental or animal research are sometimes challenging to read. The Editors wish to encourage authors to submit high-quality experimental research for publication in BJS, particularly if it has obvious clinical or translational relevance. To try and improve the quality of experimental research published in BJS, future submissions will generally be restricted to a maximum of 3500 words, a combined total of five figures and tables, and 30 references. Additional material over and above these instructions could be published as supplementary material online.
Authors should also submit a 150-word summary describing the surgical relevance of the paper, which will be published on the front page together with the abstract. The aim is to provide a short section of text explaining the potential clinical relevance of the study using the following structure: what is already known, what is new, and the potential impact on future practice. One or two short sentences under each heading will suffice.
Authors of papers involving animal research must follow the ARRIVE Guidelines (Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments)18. Please follow this link for details19.
The equator network website offers more information on enhancing the quality, transparency of reporting health care studies including key reporting guidelines. Please have a look at http://www.equator-network.org.
g) Snapshots in Surgery
BJS publishes illustrations in the print issue that are used as the basis for a surgical quiz. We consider single surgical images in colour that are of educational value to surgeons.
All illustrations must be in colour and of a high quality (>400dpi, preferably TIFF or EPS files); they must not have been published previously. Snapshots should be accompanied by a short question that might be general (e.g. what is this condition, and how should it be treated?), or multiple choice. The authors must also provide the answers to the quiz using text of no more than 100 words. Images of patients should be accompanied by a signed consent form available here.
Snapshots in Surgery should be submitted online at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjs. Please note that there are many mandatory sections during submission that are not relevant to Snapshots in Surgery. Please mark these as ‘N/A’ in the ScholarOne submission.
To view all previous Snapshots in Surgery please click on Clinical Library and go to Images.
BJS works together with Wiley’s Open Access Journal, Clinical Case Reports, to enable rapid publication of good quality snapshots that the Editors are unable to accept for publication in BJS. Authors of snapshots rejected by BJS will be offered the option of having their snapshot, along with any related peer reviews, automatically transferred for consideration by the Clinical Case Reports editorial team. Authors will not need to reformat the snapshot at this stage, and publication decisions will be made a short time after the transfer takes place. Clinical Case Reports will consider case reports, clinical images and procedural videos from every clinical discipline including Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, and Veterinary Science. Clinical Case Reports is a Wiley Open Access journal and article publication fees apply. For more information please go to www.clinicalcasesjournal.com.
h) Your comments
The Editors welcome topical comment from readers relating to articles published in the Journal. Correspondence should be submitted via the abstract page of the article after registration on this website. All letters will be reviewed and, if approved, appear on the website. Comments must be no more than 250 words in length, including no more than five references. Original data will not be published in the comments section.
3. Preparation of manuscripts
BJS subscribes to the policy of uniform requirements for manuscripts; this facilitates resubmission of papers to journals without extensive recasting. Authors are advised to consult the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals1. BJS accepts the criteria for authorship proposed in the ICMJE1,11 and subscribes to the COPE guidelines on good publication practice2. These guidelines are summarized below.
BJS seeks to minimize the risk of gratuitous authorship by limiting the number of authors listed on the cover page of an article. BJS holds the view that in the context of surgical publishing, most articles are unlikely to involve significant contributions from more than ten authors. If more than ten authors are listed from a single institution, details of their individual contribution will be required. BJS is a signatory to international guidelines on authorship policy: please click http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/defining-the-role-of-authors-and-contributors.html.
Authorship should be decided at the launch of the research study. The authorship credit should be based on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and 3) final approval of the version to be published. Authors must meet all conditions 1, 2 and 3.
b) Group authorship: collaborators
Results of multicentre studies may be reported under the name of the organizing group. A core organizing and writing group may be listed as authors on the cover page of the article. This group should identify other collaborators who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript; they should meet all the criteria for authorship described above. Groups who wish individuals to be credited with authorship should provide a list, together with a statement that the individuals are collaborators of the study. The names of group members will then be published under the heading: collaborators. Each collaborator will be tagged individually by BJS, so that they will be picked up by PubMed and credited accordingly. If there is a long list of collaborators, it may be published online only. Please note that BJS will not publish errata or corrigenda for errors in lists of collaborators, so the corresponding author is responsible for ensuring the list is accurate before publication.
Authors must acknowledge any assistance they received (e.g. provision of writing assistance, literature searching, data analysis, administrative support, supply of materials). If/how this assistance was funded should be described and included with other funding information. Contributors who do not qualify as authors or collaborators should be listed and their particular contribution described in the Acknowledgements section of the article. On submission of the article, the corresponding author will be asked to confirm how all individuals listed as authors and collaborators meet the appropriate authorship criteria, that no-one who qualifies for authorship has been omitted from the list, that written authorization has been received from all co-authors and contributors, and that all funding sources (for authors and contributors) have been properly acknowledged.
The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that all authors and collaborators have seen, approved and are fully conversant with the contents of the manuscript. All authors are responsible for the accuracy of the manuscript, including all statistical calculations and drug doses.
4. Submission guidelines
a) Preferred file formats
Preferred file formats for text and tables are .doc or .rtf. Figures should be .tif or .eps. Please note: restricted file extensions are .shs, .zip, .exe, .com, .vbs and .pdf.
b) Title page
On the title page please state: (1) the title of the article; (2) the name and initials of each author; (3) the department(s) and institution(s) to which the work should be attributed; (4) the name, postal and e-mail addresses, telephone and facsimile numbers of the author responsible for correspondence and to whom requests for reprints should be addressed; (5) sources of funding for research and/or publication; (6) the category in which the manuscript is being submitted (original article, review, randomized clinical trial); and (7) whether the paper is based on a previous communication to a society or meeting (with full details).
This must contain fewer than 250 words in a structured format. Background: state why the study was done, the main aim and the nature of the study (randomized clinical trial, retrospective review, experimental study, etc.). Method: describe patients, laboratory material and other methods used. Results: state the main findings, including important numerical values. Conclusion: state the main conclusions, highlighting controversial or unexpected observations. For systematic reviews/meta-analysis and randomized controlled trials please see guidelines for abstracts as reported by PRISMA and CONSORT6,14.
d) Main text
The main text of the paper should have separate Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion sections (these sections may not be applicable to all article types, e.g. Reviews). A short Acknowledgements paragraph may also be included. When quoting specific materials, equipment and proprietary drugs, the name and address of the manufacturer must be given in parentheses. Generic names should normally be used. Any data mentioned in the abstract or discussion must be presented in the results section of the main text.
e) Tables and illustrations
Submit each illustration as a separate file except compound figures e.g. 1a, 1b, 1c, etc., which should be supplied as a single file. Please avoid presenting tables in landscape format, portrait is preferred. If tables are too large to be displayed in portrait format please supply them as supporting information and they will be available for download with the published article. Type each table on a separate page with a brief title. Supply artwork at the intended size for printing. Line drawings are acceptable as clear black on white graphics and must be high quality. Use hatchings, not tints. Illustrations should be provided in a ‘true’ figure format (tiff, jpeg, eps, etc.); pdfs, docs, ppts (or any Microsoft Office software format) will not be accepted. All illustrations must be supplied at the correct resolution:
1200 dpi (dots per inch) for black and white line art (simple bar graphs, etc.)
300 dpi for halftones (black and white photographs)
600 dpi for combination halftones (photographs that also contain line art such as labelling or thin lines)
Illustrations in colour are encouraged and will be printed at no cost to the author. Label each illustration with the figure number and lead author’s name. Indicate the top of the illustration and a measure of magnification for photomicrographs. Include explanations of symbols and shading within the figure, use arrows to identify particular areas of interest. Survival curves must be accompanied by a table giving the actual numbers of patients involved and should be truncated when the numbers at risk are small; that is, when they are less than one-third of the starting figure. The preferred style for health-related quality of life measurements is presentation as radar or spider plots, in preference to standard graphs. These plots can be created in excel. Include in the legends to illustrations, and the footnotes to tables, brief but comprehensive explanations of all the information presented. Look at recent issues of the Journal for examples of accepted layout.
Videos can be submitted with a manuscript online, but it must also be sent under separate cover to the Editorial Office with the corresponding manuscript number. If an article includes video, the upper right corner of the title page of the manuscript must be marked ‘Video is part of article’.
Formats/File Types: We will accept digital files in MPG4, MP4, MOV, and WMV formats. Please upload as a ‘Supplementary File’ on Scholar One. Combined files of a manuscript, including video, tables, figures and text must not exceed 100MB.
Content: Contributors are asked to be succinct, and the Editors reserve the right to require shorter video duration. Legends for the video segments should be placed at the end of the article. The video should be high quality (both in content and visibility). The video should make a specific point; particularly, it should demonstrate the features described in the text of the manuscript. In addition, the content of the video sequence should directly follow the content of the video legend. The content of the video should not display overt product advertising. Educational presentations are encouraged.
Patient Consent: The corresponding author must confirm in the Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA) that he or she has received a signed release form from each patient video taped authorizing the offline and/or online distribution of this video material. Videos will not be sent out for review until the signed CTA has been received. Ideally patients should not be identifiable from the video.
The Editors reserve the right to request additional video editing by the authors (which may delay publication) and to edit video submissions prior to posting and/or distribution, including the insertion of a voiceover by the Editor.
Avoid using abbreviations. Terms that are mentioned frequently may be abbreviated but only if this does not impair comprehension. Abbreviations must be used consistently and must be defined on first use.
h) Numbers and units
Provide absolute numbers always; percentages may be given in addition but never on their own (percentages are not acceptable for sample sizes less than 50). Use the decimal point, not a comma; for example 5.7. Use a space and not a comma after thousands and multiples thereof; for example 10 000. Use SI units (International System of Units) except for the measurement of blood pressure (mmHg).
i) Statistics and design
Set out clearly the objectives of the study; identify the primary and secondary hypotheses, the chosen end-points and justify the sample size with a power calculation.
Clearly describe methods used for analysis; methods not in common usage should be referenced. Report results of statistical tests by stating the value of the test statistic, the number of degrees of freedom and the P value. Actual P values should always be reported to three decimal places, especially when the result is not significant. The results of the primary analyses should be reported using confidence intervals instead of, or in addition to, P values. For detailed guidance on the handling of statistical material consult the article by Murray21.
j) Reporting of sex
BJS is a member of the Surgery Journals Editors Group that believes that conducting sex-inclusive biomedical and clinical research is imperative to improving health outcomes of men and women (2018). The majority of biomedical research in the field of surgery and related topics is conducted on male animals and male cells, even when studying diseases prevalent in women. We support uniform, defined reporting of the sex used for human, animal, tissue, and cell research in all manuscripts published in BJS. If only one sex is reported, authors must include a justification statement.
Use double spacing in the Vancouver style. Reference to abstracts and personal communications is discouraged. In the text, number references consecutively by superscript: e.g. 1 or 1-3. References cited only in tables or figures should be numbered in sequence.
5. Copyright and permissions (ownership)
If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to log in to Author Services where, via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS), they will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper.
For authors signing the copyright transfer agreement
If the OnlineOpen option is not selected the corresponding author will be presented with the copyright transfer agreement (CTA) to sign. The terms and conditions of the CTA can be previewed in the samples associated with the Copyright FAQs here.
For authors choosing OnlineOpen
If the OnlineOpen option is selected the corresponding author will have a choice of the following Creative Commons License Open Access Agreements (OAA):
– Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License OAA
– Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial-NoDerivs License OAA
To preview the terms and conditions of the open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services here and visit http://www.wileyopenaccess.com/details/content/12f25db4c87/Copyright–License.html.
If you select the OnlineOpen option and your research is funded by the Wellcome Trust and members of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) you will be given the opportunity to publish your article under a CC-BY license supporting you in complying with Wellcome Trust and RCUK requirements. For more information on this policy and the Journal’s compliant self-archiving policy please visit http://www.wiley.com/go/funderstatement.
RCUK and Wellcome Trust authors, please click on the link below to preview the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons License.
To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services here and visit http://www.wileyopenaccess.com/details/content/12f25db4c87/Copyright–License.html.
It is the authors’ responsibility to obtain written permission to reproduce (in all media, including electronic) any material that has appeared previously in another publication. Authors should provide copies of permission letters for any material reproduced from copyrighted publications. Submitted material will not be returned to the author unless specifically requested.
6. Research ethics
Human investigation and animal experiments must have local ethics committee approval and, if human participants were involved, manuscripts must be accompanied by a statement that the experiments were undertaken with the understanding and appropriate informed consent of each. Written consent must be obtained from the patient (legal guardian or executor, if appropriate) for publication of any detail or photograph that might identify an individual. Submit evidence of such consent with the manuscript.
Editors reserve the right to reject papers if there is doubt whether appropriate procedures have been followed.
7. Research transparency
a) Data, Materials, and Analytical Methods (Code) Transparency
The policy of BJS is to publish papers in which authors indicate whether the data, methods used in the analysis, and materials used to conduct the research will be made available to any researcher for the purposes of reproducing the results of replicating the procedure.
Authors should indicate in the acknowledgments section whether they are willing to make their data, analytic methods, and study materials available to other researchers. If an author agrees to make materials available, they should specify where that material will be available.
BJS policy is to publish papers in which authors indicate whether or not the conducted research was preregistered with an analysis plan in an independent, institutional registry (e.g., http://clinicaltrials.gov/, http://socialscienceregistry.org/, http://openscienceframework.org/, http://egap.org/design-registration/, http://ridie.3ieimpact.org/). Preregistration of studies involves registering the study design, variables, and treatment conditions. Including an analysis plan involves specification of sequence of analyses or the statistical model that will be reported.
1. Authors should indicate in the acknowledgment section whether they did or did not preregister the research with or without an analysis plan in an independent, institutional registry.
2. If an author did preregister the research with an analysis plan, the author should:
a. Confirm in the text that the study was registered before conducting the research with links to the time-stamped preregistrations at the institutional registry, and that the preregistration adheres to the disclosure requirements of the institutional registry or those required for the preregistered badge with analysis plans maintained by the Center for Open Science.
b. Report all pre-registered analyses in the text, or, if there were changes in the analysis plan following preregistration, those changes must be disclosed with explanation for the changes.
c. Clearly distinguish in text analyses that were preregistered from those that were not, such as having separate sections in the results for confirmatory and exploratory analyses.
c) Data sharing and data accessibility
BJS encourages authors to share the data and other artefacts supporting the results in the paper by archiving it in an appropriate public repository. Authors should include a data accessibility statement, including a link to the repository they have used, in order that this statement can be published alongside their paper.
8. Publication ethics
On submission of the manuscript the corresponding author must warrant that the article is an original work, has not been published before, and is not being considered for publication elsewhere in its final form, in either printed or electronic media.
Publication of abstracts and presentations at scientific meetings will not jeopardize full publication. Authors should declare that any republication of the data (e.g. in secondary analysis or translation) will not constitute redundant publication, will not breach copyright, and will reference the original publication.
b) Redundant (multiple) publication
BJS does not consider the following to be prior publication: abstracts and posters at conferences, results presented at meetings (for example, to inform investigators or participants about findings) and results databases (data without interpretation, discussion, context or conclusions in the form of tables and text to describe data/information where this is not easily presented in tabular form). Manuscripts that have been published previously in another language should state this on the title page of the submission. Manuscripts that have been previously published in English that are submitted with the aim of serving different audiences are not generally accepted by BJS (an exception to this is the publication of substantially shortened Cochrane Review articles; see section 2.b).
Editors may request copies of related publications if they are concerned about overlap and possible redundancy.
Sub-group analyses, meta-, and secondary analyses should be clearly identified as analyses of data that have already been published, and must refer to the primary source.
c) Conflict of interest statements
All authors must provide details of financial interests (including employment, significant share ownership, patent rights, consultancy, research funding, speaker’s fees) in a company or institution that might benefit from the publication of the submitted article. In addition, authors must provide details of any other potential competing interests that readers or editors might consider relevant to their publication (for example, political, intellectual, or religious interests).
d) Research and publication misconduct
BJS adheres to COPE guidelines2 and will pursue cases of suspected research and publication misconduct (including falsification, fabrication, plagiarism, inappropriate image manipulation, redundant publication and authorship misdemeanours). In such cases, BJS will follow the processes set out in the COPE flowcharts22. Authors found guilty of misconduct can expect their behaviour to be reported to the head of the relevant institution, and details of the case may be highlighted in the pages of the journal23. If you have concerns regarding the legitimacy of an article published in BJS, please write to the Chief Editor at email@example.com.
e) Research or publication funding
Authors must disclose all sources of funding for their research and its publication on the title page of the manuscript. Involvement of the funder in study design, data collection, data analysis, manuscript preparation and publication decisions should be clearly stated, and authors are also asked to confirm that they had complete access to the study data that support the publication24.
9. Manuscript submission
BJS operates an online submission and peer-review system that enables authors to submit articles online and track their progress via a web interface. Queries regarding ScholarOne Manuscripts or manuscript submission should be directed to the Editorial Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manuscripts should be submitted online through ScholarOne Manuscripts at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjs.
Authors whose first language is not English may wish to consult a specialist English language editing/proofing service before submission. Please contact the Editorial Office (email@example.com) if you would like to receive the details of such services.
10. Author resources
From the Publishers of BJS, Author Resources offers a full menu of customizable research capabilities and special features to guide authors through every stage of the publication process. Available tools include: Citation Download – download citations and abstracts directly into reference management software; Citation Tracking – see which other papers have cited the article that you’re currently reading, ToC Alerts – sign up to receive tables of content from selected journals; Saved Search Alerts – store and re-run detailed search queries, and opt to receive an email each time new content matching your defined search is published online. In addition, the ‘Track my Articles’ function enables authors to track articles through the BJS publication process and opt-in to receive email notification when their article is published online.
11. Peer review and editing
On submission of a manuscript for publication, the submission is checked for compliance with these author instructions. If the submission is complete, the Chief Editor assesses the manuscript for suitability. A small percentage of manuscripts are rejected without peer review at this stage; for example, if the article type is inappropriate (e.g., BJS does not publish case reports), if the subject matter is unsuitable for the BJS readership (for example, ‘A new method of internal fixation of fractures of the fibula’), or if the scientific and/or surgical merit of the paper is flawed (for example, if it is not ethical). All other articles are allocated to a specialist Editor, who either selects relevant referees for single-blind peer-review (the referees know the identity of the authors, but the authors do not know the identity of the referees) or consults with at least one other Editor before rejecting the manuscript without peer review (for the reasons outlined above).
This ‘triage’ system of rejecting a small percentage of manuscripts without peer review serves two purposes. Firstly, quick decisions on papers unsuitable for BJS facilitate submission to another Journal in a timely fashion and, secondly, the Journal’s most valuable asset – the referees – are not overloaded with manuscripts that will not be accepted for publication.
Three referees are usually invited to comment on each submission; if the first two referee reports are in agreement, a decision is made on the basis of two reports, hopefully saving the third referee some valuable time. When the opinions of the referees differ significantly, the manuscript is discussed at our monthly Editors’ meeting. When a decision has been reached this is communicated to the author.
Articles not subjected to peer review include solicited Leading Articles (in which case the topic and structure of the article is largely designed by the Chief Editor in collaboration with the author), Your Views, Book Reviews, and Scientific Surgery, all of which are overseen to the highest standards by a dedicated BJS Editor.
The Editors’ decision is final unless there is a proven to be an error in the process of manuscript evaluation or peer review. If you believe that there has been an error of process in the handling of your manuscript, please address your concerns to the Chief Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org), quoting the manuscript submission number.
On acceptance of a manuscript it is edited by both an Editor and a copy-editor before being sent for typesetting. If there are extensive queries at this stage, the authors may be asked to provide clarification before the typesetting process. Proofs are sent approximately 6–8 weeks after acceptance via e-mail as a link to a PDF file. Acrobat Reader will be required in order to read this file – this software can be downloaded free of charge25. Further instructions will be sent with the proof. Absent authors should arrange for a colleague to access the e-mail to retrieve the proof.
13. Preprints and preprint servers
This journal will consider for review, articles previously available as preprints on non-commercial servers such as ArXiv, bioRxiv, psyArXiv, SocArXiv, engrXiv, etc. Authors may also post the submitted version of their manuscript to non-commercial servers at any time. Authors are requested to update any pre-publication versions with a link to the final published article.
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5. Liberati A, Altman DG, Tetzlaff J, Mulrow C, Gotzsche PC, et al. (2009) The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate health care interventions: explanation and elaboration. PLoS Med 6 (7) e1000100 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000100.
6. Beller EM, Glasziou PP, Altman DG, Hopewell S, Bastian H, et al. (2013) PRISMA for Abstracts: Reporting Systematic Reviews in Journal and Conference Abstracts. PLoS Med 10(4): e1001419. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001419
7. Mahid SS, Hornung CA, Minor KS, Turina M, Galandiuk S. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses for the surgeon scientist. Br J Surg 2006; 93: 1315-1324.
8 The Cochrane Collaboration. Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions http://www.cochrane.org/editorial-and-publishing-policy-resource/cochrane-handbooks [accessed 25 May 2014].
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