Paper type definitions

      

Case report
In medicine, a case report is a detailed report of the symptoms, signs, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of an individual patient. Case reports may contain a demographic profile of the patient, but usually describe an unusual or novel occurrence. Some case reports also contain a literature review of other reported cases.

Case series
More than 1 case report.  A case series (also known as a clinical series) is a medical research descriptive study that tracks patients with a known exposure given similar treatment or examines their medical records for exposure and outcome.
It can be retrospective or prospective and usually involves a smaller number of patients than more powerful case-control studies or randomized controlled trials. Case series may be consecutive or non-consecutive, depending on whether all cases presenting to the reporting authors over a period were included, or only a selection.

Commentary
Short, decisive observations and findings that generally relate to a contemporary issue, such as recent research findings, but can also include the discussion of difficulties and possible solutions in a field of research.

Corrigendum
Correction to an error in published paper; due to author’s error.

Editorial
An opinion piece written by the senior editorial staff or publisher. Editorials may be supposed to reflect the opinion of the journal.

Erratum
Correction to an error in published paper; due to publisher’s error.

Expert opinion
Where experts in their field can promote rigorous research that makes a significant contribution to advancing knowledge.

Hypothesis
A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories. Even though the words "hypothesis" and "theory" are often used synonymously, a scientific hypothesis is not the same as a scientific theory. A scientific hypothesis is a proposed explanation of a phenomenon which still has to be rigorously tested. In contrast, a scientific theory has undergone extensive testing and is generally accepted to be the accurate explanation behind an observation. A working hypothesis is a provisionally accepted hypothesis proposed for further research.

Letter to the editor
Supporting or opposing a stance taken by the publication in its editorial, responding to another writer's letter to the editor or commenting on any published paper.  Such letters may either be critical or praising or correct a perceived error or misrepresentation.  A Letter to the Editor may present new results, likely to stimulate further research and be of interest to the wider community.

Meeting Report
Should focus on developments presented at the meeting, particularly any new research discoveries. The abstract of the Meeting Report should be short and unstructured giving the name, location (city and state or country) and dates, as well as an indication of the meeting. The body of the article can have subsections with short headings. If speakers are mentioned please provide their full name, institution, city and country. There should be a maximum word count of 2500 words. A reference list should not be included. If abstracts are published from the meeting a URL should be included of where these can be found.

Methodology
The systematic, theoretical analysis of the methods applied to a field of study, or the theoretical analysis of the body of methods and principles associated with a branch of knowledge. A Methodology does not set out to provide solutions but offers the theoretical underpinning for understanding which method, set of methods or so called “best practices” can be applied to a specific case.

Original research
Reports data from original research, in which the conclusions drawn from data collected, show a major advance in understanding an important issue. Original research is the results of a study written by the researchers who did the study. The hypothesis, research method and results are detailed and the results are discussed.

Perspectives
More like a review but written with the author’s point of view in mind. They focus on a specific field or discipline, and discuss current advances or future directions, and may include original data as well as personal insights and opinions.

Rapid communication
Same as a Short report.

Research Letter

Research Letters are concise, focused reports of original research or observations.

Review
Literature reviews of published papers. These look in depth and discuss topics that have had significant research or progress over recent years. 

Retraction
In science, a retraction of a published scientific article indicates that the original article should not have been published and that its data and conclusions should not be used as part of the foundation for future research. The most common reasons for the retraction of articles are scientific misconduct including plagiarism, serious errors, and duplicate/concurrent publishing (self-plagiarism).

Short report
Same as Rapid communication. Brief (2-3 page) reports of data from original research, focused on initial findings that will be of interest to scientists in other fields.

Study protocol
A study protocol describes in detail the plan for conducting a specific clinical study and explains the purpose and function of the study as well as how to carry it out.

Updated 12 January 2017