Author Guidelines



- a campaign to provide guidance for researchers when deciding which journal to publish their research in.

Preparation of Manuscript


  • Forename(s) and surnames of authors (see Authorship section below)
  • Author affiliations: department, institution, city, state, country
  • Abstract 300 words
  • Plain language summary (optional)
  • 3–6 keywords
  • Running header (shortened title)
  • Corresponding author: name, physical address, phone, fax, email
  • Reference list
  • Page numbers
  • Clear concise language 
  • American spelling (all components of a manuscript must be in English)
  • Ensure tables and figures are cited 
  • The preferred electronic format for text is Microsoft Word
  • Manuscripts will be accepted in LaTeX as long as the native LaTeX and a PDF is also supplied
  • Use International Systems of Units (SI) symbols and recognized abbreviations for units of measurement
  • Do not punctuate abbreviations eg, et al, ie
  • Spell out acronyms in the first instance in the abstract and paper
  • Word counts are not specified. In general, shorter items range from 1000 to 3000 words and reviews from 3000 to 7,500
  • Generic drug names are used in text, tables, and figures
  • Suppliers of drugs, equipment, and other brand-name material are credited in parentheses (company, name, city, state, country)
  • If molecular sequences are used, provide a statement that the data have been deposited in a publicly accessible database, eg, GenBank, and indicate the database accession number
  • Depositing laboratory protocols on is encouraged, where a DOI can be assigned to the protocol. To include a link to a protocol in your manuscript:
    1) Describe your step-by-step protocol on 
    2) Select "Get DOI" to issue your protocol with a unique DOI (digital object identifier)
    3) Include the DOI link in the Methods section of your manuscript using the format provided by (where xxxxxxx is the unique DOI)
    At this stage, your protocol is only visible to those with the link. This allows editors and reviewers to consult your protocol when evaluating the manuscript. You can make your protocols public at any time by selecting "Publish" on the website. Any referenced protocols will automatically be made public when your article in published.

While the editors fully understand the extra challenges posed to authors whose native language is not English, we must ask that all manuscripts be reviewed and edited by a native speaker of English with expertise in that area prior to submission.


Authorship credit should be based on:
1) Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;
2) Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; 
3) Final approval of the version to be published; and
4) Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship.

All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify should be listed.

Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.

Increasingly, authorship of multicenter 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.

When a large, multicenter group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript (3). These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship/contributorship defined above, and editors will ask these individuals to complete journal-specific author and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding author should clearly indicate the preferred citation and identify all individual authors as well as the group name. Journals generally list other members of the group in the Acknowledgments. The NLM indexes the group name and the names of individuals the group has identified as being directly responsible for the manuscript; it also lists the names of collaborators if they are listed in Acknowledgments. 

The group should jointly make decisions about contributors/authors before submitting the manuscript for publication. The corresponding author/guarantor 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.

Changes to authorship

Dove does not permit the changing/adding/deleting of authors after submission of the paper. 

Contributors Listed in Acknowledgments

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

Groups of persons who have 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.

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.

Authorship: Common issues

Number of authors:
Consideration should be given to the number of qualified authors needed to take responsibility for the publication. To some extent, this will depend on the complexity of the research and of the publication, but it would be unusual in biomedical research (with few exceptions) to require >10 authors to meet this need. A high number of authors calls into question whether they could all have provided "substantial intellectual contribution." Fewer authors are often preferable, and others can be acknowledged (e.g., as nonauthor contributors or collaborators). 

Author sequence:
Authors should decide how this will be determined at the initiation of the work, including the designation of the lead and corresponding authors, who may or may not be the same person. Final order, however, should be based on authors' actual roles and contributions in the development of the publication (and therefore cannot be agreed upon until this in complete). Those who made the greatest contribution are generally listed first, but alphabetical order may also be used. It may be useful to describe in the contributorship section of the publication whether alphabetical order or some other convention was used to determine author order.

Addition or removal or author:
In certain circumstances during the development of a publication, it may be necessary to add or remove an author (e.g., if an author fails to provide a substantial contribution or approve the final version of the work). In such cases, all authors should agree to the change. Only in rare cases, such as the work substantially changing in response to reviewer comments, should addition or removal of an author be considered after submission.

Death or incapacity of an author:
Should an author die after completing a major part of the work, posthumous authorship can be considered if agreed to by all other authors. We suggest, as a first step, seeking advice on correct attribution and process from journal instructions or the editorial office.
If the journal agrees to posthumous authorship but requires submission forms to be signed, then in the case of a sponsor-employed author or a contractor, a supervisor may be the most appropriate proxy. Otherwise, a family member or person with power of attorney should be approached. In all cases, efforts should be made to contact the family of the deceased author to inform them of the intention and request their consent to the listing or acknowledgment.

Change of affiliation:
If an author changes affiliation before the work is published, his or her affiliation should reflect where the major part of the work was done. The current affiliation and contact details should be listed in a footnote or in the acknowledgment section. Change of affiliation alone is not a valid reason to remove an author from a publication if he or she meets authorship criteria. 

Company- or sponsor-employed authors:
Sponsor-employed scientists and clinicians are often qualified to participate as authors of company-sponsored research publications and should have that opportunity. Such authors should not be denied authorship because of concerns about perception of bias. Whatever criteria are used to determine authorship should be applied equally to company employees, contractors, and others.

Professional writers as authors:
Professional medical writers who meet applicable authorship criteria should be listed as authors. If writers do not meet authorship criteria, their contribution should be disclosed (e.g., as a nonauthor contributor in the acknowledgment section). Writers who were not involved with study design, data collection, or data analysis and interpretation (e.g., those developing a primary publication from a clinical study report) generally do not meet International Committee of Medical Journal Editors authorship criteria. However, professional writers working on other types of publication (e.g., literature reviews) may qualify as authors.  

Please note: The "Authorship: Common issues" section was adapted from Battisti WP, Wager E, Baltzer L, Bridges D, Cairns A, Carswell CI, et al. Good Publication Practice for Communicating Company-Sponsored Medical Research: GPP3. Ann Intern Med. 2015;163:461-464. doi:10.7326/M15-0288 Appendix Table 2. Common Issues About Authorship.

Related Authors

Where authors of a paper are related this should be disclosed at the time of submission. Please provide details of the family relationship between such authors.

Figures and Tables

  • Submit as separate files and also as one combined file
  • Submit figures as JPG files
  • All figures and tables must be in English
  • Number consecutively
  • Provide a descriptive heading/legend
  • Place abbreviations immediately below the table
  • Use superscript a, b, c… as identifiers
  • Supply Line Art 900 dpi, Combination (Line Art + Halftone) 900 dpi, Halftone 300 dpi
  • Graphics downloaded from Web pages are NOT acceptable
  • Submit multi-panel figures, ie with parts labeled a,b,c,d, as one file

Plain Language Summary (optional)

Academic articles are generally written in a specific manner and aimed at communities of experts. It can be extremely difficult for lay audiences or people not familiar with the field of study to understand those articles.

One way to bridge the gap between providing open access to knowledge and improving its understanding is to provide an easily understandable, stand-alone plain language summary alongside the published research article. As Professor Sir Mark Walport said “Science is for everyone. It’s not just to be shared within a small, closed community. We are in the middle of an information revolution, which has been made possible by Open Access and electronic publications. Plain-English summaries are the way of the future” (Keynote speech, Access to Understanding competition awards ceremony 2014).

Not only is it useful for researchers to write plain language summaries of their articles to make them accessible to a wider audience but they can also 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. Plain language summaries can help connect researchers with those, who are directly and indirectly impacted by the outcomes of the research thereby helping scientists understand the needs of patients, carers, health professionals, and other members of the public. In turn, better understanding of biomedical research can inform future research directions and funding priorities as well as increase recruitment to clinical trials.

The optional plain language summary should have between 150-200 words, be written in plain English, and placed between the Abstract and Introduction of your manuscript (after the keywords). Provide answers to the questions: Why was the study done? What did the researchers do and find? What do these results mean?

Supplementary Data

Any supplementary data should be kept to 4 typeset pages or 2,400 words, and must be in English. If you have any more than this you should provide a link to the supplementary data on an external website, your institute’s website for example, and/or Dove Medical Press may be able to upload the raw supplementary data to the website and provide a link in your paper. We welcome video files either as supplementary data or as part of the actual manuscript to show operations, procedures, etc.  

Use of Brand Names in submitted manuscripts

We require that generic drug names are used in submissions. When proprietary brands are used in research, use the generic name throughout the text. You may include the brand name(s) in parentheses after the first mention only of the generic name (once in the Abstract and once in the body of the manuscript is acceptable).

Clinical Trial Registration

We require the registration of all clinical trials in a public trials registry at or before the time of first patient enrollment.

Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor will be considered for publication that are pertinent to articles recently published in Dove Medical Press (DMP) journals. Please ensure that your letter is addressed to the appropriate Editor-in-Chief of the journal concerned. All letters should be received within 30 days of the published paper appearing in a DMP journal. Letters received after this time will rarely be considered. All letters will be screened for appropriateness and significance and the Editor may assign external peer review at their discretion. DMP journals are not a vehicle for grievances or personal rebukes. DMP reserves the right to reject letters where the Editor-in-Chief has deemed it unfit on the grounds of misleading, inaccurate or inappropriate content. The Editor-in-Chief will make a final decision. Word count should not exceed 500 words of text and 5 references, 1 of which should be to the recent article, and no more than 3 cited authors. The text should include the full name, academic degrees, and a single institutional affiliation for each author and the e-mail address for the corresponding author. Letters should not duplicate other material published or submitted for publication and should not include unpublished data. Letters not meeting these specifications are generally not considered for publication.

Research Letter

Research Letters are concise, focused reports of original research or observations. They should not be under consideration, submitted or published elsewhere in any form, in part or as whole. They should not exceed 600 words of text and 7 references, and up to 2 tables or figures/photographs/images (photograph format should follow research article guidelines – see Figures and Tables). An abstract is not required for a Research Letter but authors should follow the manuscript preparation and submission guidelines. Research letters are subject to external peer review. The Editor-in-Chief of the journal will make the final decision on publication. Research Letters not meeting these specifications are generally not considered for publication.

Photo Essays

Manuscripts submitted as a Photo Essay should focus on the visual aspects of the topic presented. It should be a series of photographs that visually tell the story the author wishes to convey. The photos should be self-explanatory of very high quality. Photographs can be of clinical subjects, laboratory results (eg, slides, scans, magnetic resonance images, ultrasonograms) and therapeutic procedures. A Photo Essay should not exceed 300 words and should have no more than 10 references. The number of photographs is limited to 10, with a limit of 60 words for each legend. Please note that not all journals published by Dove Medical Press accept Photo Essays, please ask before submitting.

Submission of Manuscript

  • All manuscripts should be submitted via our website in English
  • By doing so you agree to the terms and conditions of submission
  • Keep a backup and hard copies of the material submitted


  • Authors are welcome to send an abstract of their manuscript to obtain a view from the Editor about the suitability of their paper. Please complete the pre-submission check form here. Our Editors will do a quick review (not peer review) of your paper and advise if they believe it is appropriate for submission to their journal. It will not be a full review of your manuscript.

Reference Style

See Reference Style Guidelines  


  • You will receive the typeset page proofs for approval
  • Check amendments made by the editor have not rendered the material inaccurate
  • Check you have answered all the editor’s queries
  • Ensure your corrections are minimal and absolutely necessary
  • Mark the adjustments clearly in the text and margins, and keep a copy of what you send to the editor
  • Notify the editorial office of all corrections within 72 hours of your receipt of the material
  • Ensure all authors sign and return the Approval for Publication and final page of Publication Agreement

All Dove journals are members of and subscribe to the principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

We also support the international standards for editors and authors that were developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity in Singapore in 2010.

Rejection Rate

For 2016 the total of rejections/withdrawals across all Dove journals was 53%. This was 47% in 2015 and 42% in 2014.

Updated 20 September 2017