JRSM Guidelines for Authors


For details of benefits offered to RSM Press authors, please visit our benefits page.

For details of our policy on depositing articles in institutional or central respositories, please visit our archiving page.

For details of our policy on open access articles, please visit our RSM Open page.

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
The JRSM is a forum for debate, education, and entertainment for clinicians interested in UK medicine and relevant international developments and research. The aim of publication in JRSM is to influence clinical practice and policy making across the whole range of medicine. Authors should remember that the JRSM has an international and multispecialty readership that includes primary care and public health professionals, and that the JRSM’s prime responsibility is to readers. The JRSM supports open access to research articles.

JRSM is a benefit of membership of the Royal Society of Medicine but it has full editorial independence. If your article arises from a meeting of one of the Society’s Sections please indicate on the title page the name of the Section and the date of the meeting.

All enquiries should be sent to the Editor, Dr Kamran Abbasi, by email: [email protected]

2. Editorial policy
Covering letter

The covering letter is important. To help the Editor in his preliminary evaluation, please indicate why you think the paper 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 the JRSM, the remaining science-based articles, either original or review, are sent for open peer review, as explained in ‘JRSM introduces open peer review’ (JRSM 2006;99:379). Some material is published without external review. The JRSM welcomes appeals against decisions, although the editor may decide that a decision is final and disallow further appeals.

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. He also reserves the right to work with the authors to make additional anonymising changes as they or the reviewers see fit. The Editor may also ask authors to remove personal information that, whilst interesting and colourful, does not add to the substance of an article, but does increase 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 order to ensure that valuable and novel issues are aired, the Editor will sometimes consider publishing cases studies that contain potentially identifiable information where it has been impossible or clearly undesirable to seek consent from relevant parties. However, given the strong preference for consent having been sought and obtained the reasons for not seeking consent must be compelling, and the public interest arguments for publishing the case must be powerful. 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, a guarantor and a statement of contributorship are also required.


All previously published material must be accompanied by the written consent to reproduction of the copyright holder. 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.


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

3. Types of articles

Short pieces on topical subjects, usually commissioned by the Editor. 1000 words plus up to 10 references.


Communication in response to articles previously published in the JRSM. 300 words plus up to 5 references.


Informative articles on any subject relating to medicine, not usually including original research. 2000 words plus up to two tables or figures and up to 20 references.


Linked articles on a given topic published in sequential issues of the JRSM. Frequently guest-edited. For discussion with editor, but generally 2000 words plus up to two tables or figures and up to 20 references.


Authoritative reviews of medical issues, gathering together disparate information sources into a single coherent article. 3500 words plus up to five tables or figures and up to 30 references.


Original research into medical issues. 3500 words plus up to five tables or figures and up to 30 references.

Grand Round

Case reports. Should be either a novel presentation of a common condition, or a common presentation of a rare condition. 1000 words plus two tables or figures and up to 10 references.


Short articles on medicine in culture, including visual arts and literature. For discussion with editor, but generally 1000 words plus two tables or figures and up to 10 references.

From the James Lind Library

Articles on the history of evidence-based medicine, reproduced with the permission of the James Lind Library. No word limits.


Personal ‘soapbox’ articles. 1000 words, generally no references.

4. 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/jrsm will be considered for publication. Please note that although Manuscript Central appears to allow up to five authors only per paper, JRSM does accept papers with more than five authors. Please ensure that all authors are listed on the title page of the paper.

All submissions must be in English.

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; and (5) author proforma.

File formats

Text files must be saved in .doc or .rtf format. Other suitable formats include .tif for photographic images, .xls for graphs produced in Excel, and .eps for other line drawings.

5. How to prepare a manuscript

Manuscripts must be submitted using double line-spaced, unjustified text throughout, with headings and subheadings in bold case. Press ‘Enter’ only at the end of a paragraph, list entry or heading.

Title page

The first page should contain the full title of the manuscript, a short title, the author(s) name(s) and affiliation(s), and the name, postal and email addresses of the author for correspondence, as well as a full list of declarations.

The title should be concise and informative, accurately indicating the content of the article. The short title should be no more than six words long.

The correct order for declarations is: competing interests, funding, ethical approval, guarantor, contributorship, acknowledgements.


An abstract of no more than 300 words must accompany all Review, Research and Grand Round articles. For Reviews and Grand Round this abstract should be a single, unstructured paragraph. Research articles require structured abstracts with the following format: objectives, design, setting, main outcome measures, results, conclusions.


Tables must be prepared using the Table feature of the word processor. Tables should not duplicate information given in the text, should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text, and should be given a brief title.


All figures should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text. All figures must be 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.

Line drawings should be produced electronically and clearly labelled using a sans serif font such as Arial. Graphs may be supplied as Excel spreadsheets (one per sheet). Other line drawings should be supplied in a suitable vector graphic file format (e.g. .eps)

All photographic images should be submitted in camera-ready form (i.e. with all extraneous areas removed), and where necessary, magnification should be shown using a scale marker. Photographic 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.


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. Automatic numbering should be avoided. 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. Simply omit the name of the author for anonymous journal articles – avoid using ’Anonymous’. 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


Symbols and abbreviations should be those currently in use. Authors should not create new abbreviations and acronyms. The RSM’s book Units, Symbols and Abbreviations provides lists of approved abbreviations.


All measurements should be expressed in SI units.


If preparing statistical data for publication, please read the statistical guidelines.

6. 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.