Manuscript structure


Title page

  • First name/given name(s) and last name/family name of authors (see Authorship section below)
  • Author affiliations: department, institution, city, state, country
  • ORCID number(s) for all authors whenever available
  • If 2 or more authors on a paper contributed equally, please use the following format:
    Author name1*
    Author name2*
    Author name3
    *These authors contributed equally to this work

There are two types of abstracts - structured and unstructured. Original research papers require a structured abstract. Both types of abstracts should be no more than 300 words.

Plain Language Summary (optional)
It is useful for researchers to write plain language summaries of their articles to make them accessible to a wider audience but also to make research accessible to professionals in nearby disciplines. Crucially, plain language summaries are beneficial to improve public engagement with science and medical research. By helping the public to understand biomedical research, researchers can contribute to raising awareness of its value and attracting further public support and involvement.

As an author, promoting your work in an engaging way to a wider audience can help you:
- Attract more readers
- Potentially increase the number of citations to your articles
- Get noticed
- Build a strong reputation
- Connect with patients, carers, politicians, policy-makers and other decision-makers
- Attract more funding opportunities
- Expand your professional network

The plain language summary has no minimum word length, but should be no more than 250 words, be written in plain English, and be placed after the Abstract and before the Introduction. The plain language summary should be distinct from the abstract and should be written in an accessible, interesting way without spinning or exaggerating the story.
- The plain language summary should not be a “dumbed down” version of your work. You must not treat your audience as stupid or patronise the reader.
- Provide answers to the questions: Why was the study done, What did the researchers do and find, What do these results mean?
- Communicate the facts in an interesting way and put them in the appropriate context.
- Use short, clear sentences broken up into paragraphs for readability. You may use bullet points.
- Use the active voice rather than the passive voice (for example, “Dr Smith’s team report several improvements” rather than “Several improvements were reported by Dr Smith’s team”).
- Avoid jargon, complex grammatical structures or abbreviations. You should use everyday English words rather than complex words. If you need to use a technical term or abbreviation, please explain it the first time you use it.
- Phrase sentences in a positive manner rather than negatively.
- Use person-centred language rather than focussing on the condition/illness or disability.
- Ask someone, who doesn’t have any knowledge of the subject, to read your plain language summary and provide feedback. They should find it interesting and they should be able to understand what your study was, what the conclusions are and what the impact of the research may be.

For further information on how to write about biomedical and health research in plain English, please read the INVOLVE Plain English Summaries resource from the National Institute for Health Research.

3–6 keywords
Corresponding author
Name, physical address, phone, fax, email
Material and Methods
Abbreviations (if any)

Ethics approval and informed consent
All research studies on humans (individuals, samples or data) or animals must include a statement on ethics approval and, when human research is involved, consent. A statement confirming the name of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or other appropriate ethics committee that approved the study must be included within the manuscript. The relevant reference/permit numbers should also be included. Please see our editorial policies for more information.

Consent for publication
Consent to publish statements must confirm that the details of any images, videos, recordings, etc can be published, and that the person(s) providing consent have been shown the article contents to be published. Authors must be prepared to provide copies of signed consent forms to the journal editorial office if requested. Please see our editorial policies for more information.

Data availability (where applicable)
Please include a statement about where data supporting the results reported in the manuscript can be found and about data sharing including, where applicable, links to the publicly archived datasets. The statement of data availability should explain which additional unpublished data from the study, if any, are available, to whom, and how these can be obtained. In cases where authors do not wish to share their data or are unable to do so, they should state that data will not be shared and the reasons why. Please refer to our editorial policies for further information.

Please declare all the sources of funding including financial support. Please describe the role of the sponsor(s), if any, in any of the stages from study design to submission of the paper for publication. Please state if the sponsor(s) had no such involvement.

Please ensure that this information is accurate and in accordance with your funder’s requirement.

Competing interests
Your relationship with other people or organisations may influence the way you interpret data or present the information in your study. This is known as a competing interest and all authors of a paper submitted to any Dove Medical Press journal are required to complete a declaration of competing interests. This includes all financial or non-financial competing interests which can include employment with the study sponsor, stock holdings or options, patents, royalties, personal fees, holding a board position, or any political, religious, or academic interest relevant to the published content. All competing interests will be listed in the declarations at the end of the article.

Please consider the following when completing your competing interest declaration:

  • Financial competing interests

In the past three years have you received any funding from an organization that may have a financial interest in the manuscript? If so, please specify.

Do you hold any stock holdings or options in an organization that may have financial interest in the publication of this manuscript? If so, please specify.

Does the content of the manuscript relate to any patents you hold or are you currently applying for? If so, please specify.

Have you received any funding or salary from an organization that holds or has applied for patents relating to the content of the manuscript? If so, please specify.

Do you have any other financial competing interests? If so, please specify.

  • Non-financial competing interests

Have you received any drugs or equipment from an entity that might benefit or be at an advantage financially or reputationally from the published findings? If so, please specify.

Have you held a position on an industry board or private company that might benefit or be at an advantage financially or reputationally from the published findings? If so, please specify.

Do you have any personal, political, religious, ideological, academic and intellectual competing interests which are perceived to be relevant to the published content? If so, please specify.

If you are unsure whether you, or one your co-authors, has a competing interest please discuss this with the editor.

Dove Medical Press subscribes to the general intent of the principles adopted by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) on the control of data in publications arising from sponsored research. The author submitting a manuscript for a paper for any study funded by an organization with a proprietary or financial interest in the outcome shall have access to all the data in that study, and to have complete responsibility for the integrity and accuracy of the data, and the decision to publish. Please see our editorial policies for more information.

Authors' contributions
Dove ascribes to the IMCJE authorship guidelines and recommends authorship credit should be based on the following criteria:

  1. Made a significant contribution to the work reported, whether that is in the conception, study design, execution, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation, or in all these areas.
  2. Have drafted or written, or substantially revised or critically reviewed the article.
  3. Have agreed on the journal to which the article will be submitted.
  4. Reviewed and agreed on all versions of the article before submission, during revision, the final version accepted for publication, and any significant changes introduced at the proofing stage.
  5. Agree to take responsibility and be accountable for the contents of the article.

All authors must meet conditions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and appropriate credit for each author’s contribution should be given.

Acquisition of funding, data collection, or general team supervision alone does not constitute authorship.

Increasingly, authorship of multicentre trials is attributed to a group. All members of the group who are named as authors should fully meet the above criteria for authorship/contributorship.

The group should jointly make decisions about contributors/authors before submitting the manuscript for publication. The contact person should be prepared to explain the presence and order of these individuals. It is not the role of editors to make authorship/contributorship decisions or to arbitrate conflicts related to authorship.

All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgments section. Examples of who might be acknowledged include those who provided only technical help, writing assistance, or a department chairperson who provided only general support. Authors should declare whether they had assistance with the study design, data collection, data analysis, or manuscript preparation. If such assistance was provided, the authors should disclose the identity of the individuals who provided this assistance, with their permission, in the published article. Financial and material support should also be acknowledged.

Groups of persons who contributed materially to the paper but whose contributions do not justify authorship may be listed under such headings as “clinical investigators” or “participating investigators,” and their function or contribution should be described—for example, “served as scientific advisors”, “critically reviewed the study proposal”, “collected data”, or “provided and cared for study patients”. Because readers may infer their endorsement of the data and conclusions, these persons must give written permission to be acknowledged.

Collaborating authors or Study Group members
For Collaborating authors/Study Group members to be searchable in PubMed/PMC (for those journals listed on PubMed):

  • On title page under the author list add the name of the group e.g. “On behalf of…”
  • List the collaborating authors under a section heading “Collaborators” this must be text NOT a table, the format First Name, Middle initial(s) (optional), Last Name
  • Place between Author Contributions and Acknowledgments
  • Alternatively, you can provide a list as supplementary materials and a link should be included in the paper

Please note only a list of names will appear, no affiliations.

As it takes PubMed additional time to code these groups these may not be present when an article is initially included on PubMed.

Please note: the Authorship and “Contributors Listed in Acknowledgments” sections are reprinted from the ICMJE Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. Dove Medical Press prepared this reprint. The ICMJE has not endorsed nor approved the contents of this reprint. The official version of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals is located at Users should cite this official version when citing the document.

Authors' information (optional)
Information about the author(s) that may be relevant to the interpretation of the article may be listed here. This may include the authors’ affiliations, qualifications or other relevant background information. This section does not list any competing interests.

See Reference Style Guidelines

Updated 29 April 2024