Preparing your manuscriptHaving trouble choosing from the below? Determine your article type with our comparison chart.
General formatting guidelines
- Use double line spacing
- Include line and page numbering
- Use SI units: Please ensure that all special characters used are embedded in the text, otherwise they will be lost during conversion to PDF
- Do not use page breaks in your manuscript
The following word processor file formats are acceptable for the main manuscript document:
- Microsoft word (DOC, DOCX)
- Rich text format (RTF)
- TeX/LaTeX (use BioMed Central's TeX template)
Please note: editable files are required for processing in production. If your manuscript contains any non-editable files (such as PDFs) you will be required to re-submit an editable file when you submit your revised manuscript, or after editorial acceptance in case no revision is necessary.
Note that figures must be submitted as separate image files, not as part of the submitted manuscript file. For more information, see Preparing figures below.
Additional information for TeX/LaTeX users
Please use BioMed Central's TeX template and BibTeX stylefile if you use TeX format. Submit your references using either a bib or bbl file. When submitting TeX submissions, please submit both your TeX file and your bib/bbl file as manuscript files. Please also convert your TeX file into a PDF (please do not use a DIV file) and submit this PDF as a supplementary file with the name 'Reference PDF'. This PDF will be used by our production team as a reference point to check the layout of the article as the author intended. Please also note that all figures must be coded at the end of the TeX file and not inline.
The Editorial Manager system checks for any errors in the Tex files. If an error is present then the system PDF will display LaTex code and highlight and explain the error in a section beginning with an exclamation mark (!).
All relevant editable source files must be uploaded during the submission process. Failing to submit these source files will cause unnecessary delays in the production process.
BioMedCentral_article (ZIP format) - preferred template
Springer article svjour3 (ZIP format)
birkjour (Birkhäuser, ZIP format)
Style and language
For editors and reviewers to accurately assess the work presented in your manuscript you need to ensure the English language is of sufficient quality to be understood. If you need help with writing in English you should consider:
- Visiting the English language tutorial which covers the common mistakes when writing in English.
- Asking a colleague who is a native English speaker to review your manuscript for clarity.
- Using a professional language editing service where editors will improve the English to ensure that your meaning is clear and identify problems that require your review. Two such services are provided by our affiliates Nature Research Editing Service and American Journal Experts. BMC authors are entitled to a 10% discount on their first submission to either of these services. To claim 10% off English editing from Nature Research Editing Service, click here. To claim 10% off American Journal Experts, click here.
Please note that the use of a language editing service is not a requirement for publication in the journal and does not imply or guarantee that the article will be selected for peer review or accepted.
- 使用专业语言编辑服务，编辑人员会对英语进行润色，以确保您的意思表达清晰，并提出需要您复核的问题。例如我们的附属机构 Nature Research Editing Service 以及合作伙伴 American Journal Experts 都可以提供此类专业服务。BMC作者享受首次订单10%优惠，该优惠同时适用于两家公司。您只需点击以下链接即可开始。使用 Nature Research Editing Service的编辑润色10%的优惠服务，请点击这里。使用 American Journal Experts的10%优惠服务，请点击这里。
- プロの英文校正サービスを利用する。校正者が原稿の意味を明確にしたり、問題点を指摘し、英語を向上させます。Nature Research Editing Service とAmerican Journal Experts の2つは弊社と提携しているサービスです。BMCのジャーナルの著者は、いずれかのサービスを初めて利用する際に、10%の割引を受けることができます。Nature Research Editing Serviceの10%割引を受けるには、こちらをクリックしてください。. American Journal Expertsの10%割引を受けるには、こちらをクリックしてください。
영어 원고의 경우, 에디터 및 리뷰어들이 귀하의 원고에 실린 결과물을 정확하게 평가할 수 있도록, 그들이 충분히 이해할 수 있을 만한 수준으로 작성되어야 합니다. 만약 영작문과 관련하여 도움을 받기를 원하신다면 다음의 사항들을 고려하여 주십시오:
- 영어 튜토리얼 페이지에 방문하여 영어로 글을 쓸 때 자주하는 실수들을 확인합니다.
- 귀하의 원고의 표현을 명확히 해줄 영어 원어민 동료를 찾아서 리뷰를 의뢰합니다
- 리뷰에 대비하여, 원고의 의미를 명확하게 해주고 리뷰에서 요구하는 문제점들을 식별해서 영문 수준을 향상시켜주는 전문 영문 교정 서비스를 이용합니다. Nature Research Editing Service와 American Journal Experts에서 저희와 협약을 통해 서비스를 제공하고 있습니다. BMC에서는 위의 두 가지의 서비스를 첫 논문 투고를 위해 사용하시는 경우, 10%의 할인을 제공하고 있습니다. Nature Research Editing Service이용시 10% 할인을 요청하기 위해서는 여기를 클릭해 주시고, American Journal Experts 이용시 10% 할인을 요청하기 위해서는 여기를 클릭해 주십시오.
영문 교정 서비스는 게재를 위한 요구사항은 아니며, 해당 서비스의 이용이 피어 리뷰에 논문이 선택되거나 게재가 수락되는 것을 의미하거나 보장하지 않습니다.
Data and materials
For all journals, BioMed Central strongly encourages all datasets on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely to be either deposited in publicly available repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main paper or additional supporting files, in machine-readable format (such as spread sheets rather than PDFs) whenever possible. Please see the list of recommended repositories in our editorial policies.
For some journals, deposition of the data on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely is an absolute requirement. Please check the Instructions for Authors for the relevant journal and article type for journal specific policies.
For all manuscripts, information about data availability should be detailed in an ‘Availability of data and materials’ section. For more information on the content of this section, please see the Declarations section of the relevant journal’s Instruction for Authors. For more information on BioMed Centrals policies on data availability, please see our [editorial policies].
Formatting the 'Availability of data and materials' section of your manuscript
The following format for the 'Availability of data and materials section of your manuscript should be used:
"The dataset(s) supporting the conclusions of this article is(are) available in the [repository name] repository, [unique persistent identifier and hyperlink to dataset(s) in http:// format]."
The following format is required when data are included as additional files:
"The dataset(s) supporting the conclusions of this article is(are) included within the article (and its additional file(s))."
BioMed Central endorses the Force 11 Data Citation Principles and requires that all publicly available datasets be fully referenced in the reference list with an accession number or unique identifier such as a DOI.
For databases, this section should state the web/ftp address at which the database is available and any restrictions to its use by non-academics.
For software, this section should include:
- Project name: e.g. My bioinformatics project
- Project home page: e.g. http://sourceforge.net/projects/mged
- Archived version: DOI or unique identifier of archived software or code in repository (e.g. enodo)
- Operating system(s): e.g. Platform independent
- Programming language: e.g. Java
- Other requirements: e.g. Java 1.3.1 or higher, Tomcat 4.0 or higher
- License: e.g. GNU GPL, FreeBSD etc.
- Any restrictions to use by non-academics: e.g. licence needed
Information on available repositories for other types of scientific data, including clinical data, can be found in our editorial policies.
See our editorial policies for author guidance on good citation practice.
All references, including URLs, must be numbered consecutively, in square brackets, in the order in which they are cited in the text, followed by any in tables or legends. The reference numbers must be finalized and the reference list fully formatted before submission. For further information including example references please read our reference preparation guidelines.
What should be cited?
Only articles, clinical trial registration records and abstracts that have been published or are in press, or are available through public e-print/preprint servers, may be cited.
Unpublished abstracts, unpublished data and personal communications should not be included in the reference list, but may be included in the text and referred to as "unpublished observations" or "personal communications" giving the names of the involved researchers. Obtaining permission to quote personal communications and unpublished data from the cited colleagues is the responsibility of the author. Footnotes are not allowed, but endnotes are permitted. Journal abbreviations follow Index Medicus/MEDLINE.
Any in press articles cited within the references and necessary for the reviewers' assessment of the manuscript should be made available if requested by the editorial office.
How to format your references
Examples of the BioMed Central reference style are shown below. Please ensure that the reference style is followed precisely; if the references are not in the correct style, they may need to be retyped and carefully proofread.
Web links and URLs: All web links and URLs, including links to the authors' own websites, should be given a reference number and included in the reference list rather than within the text of the manuscript. They should be provided in full, including both the title of the site and the URL, as well as the date the site was accessed, in the following format: The Mouse Tumor Biology Database. http://tumor.informatics.jax.org/mtbwi/index.do. Accessed 20 May 2013. If an author or group of authors can clearly be associated with a web link, such as for weblogs, then they should be included in the reference.
Authors may wish to make use of reference management software to ensure that reference lists are correctly formatted.
Example reference style:
Article within a journal
Smith JJ. The world of science. Am J Sci. 1999;36:234-5.
Article within a journal (no page numbers)
Rohrmann S, Overvad K, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Jakobsen MU, Egeberg R, Tjønneland A, et al. Meat consumption and mortality - results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. BMC Med. 2013;11:63.
Article within a journal by DOI
Slifka MK, Whitton JL. Clinical implications of dysregulated cytokine production. Dig J Mol Med. 2000; doi:10.1007/s801090000086.
Article within a journal supplement
Frumin AM, Nussbaum J, Esposito M. Functional asplenia: demonstration of splenic activity by bone marrow scan. Blood 1979;59 Suppl 1:26-32.
Book chapter, or an article within a book
Wyllie AH, Kerr JFR, Currie AR. Cell death: the significance of apoptosis. In: Bourne GH, Danielli JF, Jeon KW, editors. International review of cytology. London: Academic; 1980. p. 251-306.
OnlineFirst chapter in a series (without a volume designation but with a DOI)
Saito Y, Hyuga H. Rate equation approaches to amplification of enantiomeric excess and chiral symmetry breaking. Top Curr Chem. 2007. doi:10.1007/128_2006_108.
Complete book, authored
Blenkinsopp A, Paxton P. Symptoms in the pharmacy: a guide to the management of common illness. 3rd ed. Oxford: Blackwell Science; 1998.
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.
Healthwise Knowledgebase. US Pharmacopeia, Rockville. 1998. http://www.healthwise.org. Accessed 21 Sept 1998.
Supplementary material/private homepage
Doe J. Title of supplementary material. 2000. http://www.privatehomepage.com. Accessed 22 Feb 2000.
Doe, J: Title of preprint. http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/mydata.html (1999). Accessed 25 Dec 1999.
Doe, J: Trivial HTTP, RFC2169. ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc2169.txt (1999). Accessed 12 Nov 1999.
ISSN International Centre: The ISSN register. http://www.issn.org (2006). Accessed 20 Feb 2007.
Dataset with persistent identifier
Zheng L-Y, Guo X-S, He B, Sun L-J, Peng Y, Dong S-S, et al. Genome data from sweet and grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). GigaScience Database. 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.5524/100012.
When preparing figures, please follow the formatting instructions below.
- Figures should be provided as separate files, not embedded in the main manuscript file.
- Each figure of a manuscript should be submitted as a single file that fits on a single page in portrait format.
- Tables should NOT be submitted as figures but should be included in the main manuscript file.
- Multi-panel figures (those with parts a, b, c, d etc.) should be submitted as a single composite file that contains all parts of the figure.
- Figures should be numbered in the order they are first mentioned in the text, and uploaded in this order.
- Figures should be uploaded in the correct orientation.
- Figure titles (max 15 words) and legends (max 300 words) should be provided in the main manuscript, not in the graphic file.
- Figure keys should be incorporated into the graphic, not into the legend of the figure.
- Each figure should be closely cropped to minimize the amount of white space surrounding the illustration. Cropping figures improves accuracy when placing the figure in combination with other elements when the accepted manuscript is prepared for publication on our site. For more information on individual figure file formats, see our detailed instructions.
- Individual figure files should not exceed 10 MB. If a suitable format is chosen, this file size is adequate for extremely high quality figures.
- Please note that it is the responsibility of the author(s) to obtain permission from the copyright holder to reproduce figures (or tables) that have previously been published elsewhere. In order for all figures to be open access, authors must have permission from the rights holder if they wish to include images that have been published elsewhere in non open access journals. Permission should be indicated in the figure legend, and the original source included in the reference list.
Figure file types
We accept the following file formats for figures:
- EPS (suitable for diagrams and/or images)
- PDF (suitable for diagrams and/or images)
- Microsoft Word (suitable for diagrams and/or images, figures must be a single page)
- PowerPoint (suitable for diagrams and/or images, figures must be a single page)
- TIFF (suitable for images)
- JPEG (suitable for photographic images, less suitable for graphical images)
- PNG (suitable for images)
- BMP (suitable for images)
- CDX (ChemDraw - suitable for molecular structures)
For information and suggestions of suitable file formats for specific figure types, please see our author academy.
Figure size and resolution
Figures are resized during publication of the final full text and PDF versions to conform to the BioMed Central standard dimensions, which are detailed below.
Figures on the web:
- width of 600 pixels (standard), 1200 pixels (high resolution).
Figures in the final PDF version:
- width of 85 mm for half page width figure
- width of 170 mm for full page width figure
- maximum height of 225 mm for figure and legend
- image resolution of approximately 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the final size
Figures should be designed such that all information, including text, is legible at these dimensions. All lines should be wider than 0.25 pt when constrained to standard figure widths. All fonts must be embedded.
Figure file compression
- Vector figures should if possible be submitted as PDF files, which are usually more compact than EPS files.
- TIFF files should be saved with LZW compression, which is lossless (decreases file size without decreasing quality) in order to minimize upload time.
- JPEG files should be saved at maximum quality.
- Conversion of images between file types (especially lossy formats such as JPEG) should be kept to a minimum to avoid degradation of quality.
If you have any questions or are experiencing a problem with figures, please contact the customer service team at email@example.com.
When preparing tables, please follow the formatting instructions below.
- Tables should be numbered and cited in the text in sequence using Arabic numerals (i.e. Table 1, Table 2 etc.).
- Tables less than one A4 or Letter page in length can be placed in the appropriate location within the manuscript.
- Tables larger than one A4 or Letter page in length can be placed at the end of the document text file. Please cite and indicate where the table should appear at the relevant location in the text file so that the table can be added in the correct place during production.
- Larger datasets, or tables too wide for A4 or Letter landscape page can be uploaded as additional files. Please see [below] for more information.
- Tabular data provided as additional files can be uploaded as an Excel spreadsheet (.xls ) or comma separated values (.csv). Please use the standard file extensions.
- Table titles (max 15 words) should be included above the table, and legends (max 300 words) should be included underneath the table.
- Tables should not be embedded as figures or spreadsheet files, but should be formatted using ‘Table object’ function in your word processing program.
- Color and shading may not be used. Parts of the table can be highlighted using superscript, numbering, lettering, symbols or bold text, the meaning of which should be explained in a table legend.
- Commas should not be used to indicate numerical values.
If you have any questions or are experiencing a problem with tables, please contact the customer service team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the length and quantity of data is not restricted for many article types, authors can provide datasets, tables, movies, or other information as additional files.
All Additional files will be published along with the accepted article. Do not include files such as patient consent forms, certificates of language editing, or revised versions of the main manuscript document with tracked changes. Such files, if requested, should be sent by email to the journal’s editorial email address, quoting the manuscript reference number. Please do not send completed patient consent forms unless requested.
Results that would otherwise be indicated as "data not shown" should be included as additional files. Since many web links and URLs rapidly become broken, BioMed Central requires that supporting data are included as additional files, or deposited in a recognized repository. Please do not link to data on a personal/departmental website. Do not include any individual participant details. The maximum file size for additional files is 20 MB each, and files will be virus-scanned on submission. Each additional file should be cited in sequence within the main body of text.
If additional material is provided, please list the following information in a separate section of the manuscript text:
- File name (e.g. Additional file 1)
- File format including the correct file extension for example .pdf, .xls, .txt, .pptx (including name and a URL of an appropriate viewer if format is unusual)
- Title of data
- Description of data
Additional files should be named "Additional file 1" and so on and should be referenced explicitly by file name within the body of the article, e.g. 'An additional movie file shows this in more detail [see Additional file 1]'.
For further guidance on how to use Additional files or recommendations on how to present particular types of data or information, please see How to use additional files.
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