Guidelines for Authors

Content type | Manuscript preparation | References | Tables | Figures and illustrations | Supplementary material | Research integrity | Research ethics | Review and publication process

Manuscripts submitted to About Open must be an original contribution not previously published in any language or country (except as an abstract or preliminary report) and must not be under consideration for publication elsewhere.  If the manuscript submitted includes parts (quotations, tables, or illustrations) to which the authors do not own copyright, then written permission from the copyright owner must be submitted upon acceptance, along with full details on the original source. Allow ample time to request and receive permission. Any permission fees required by the copyright owner are the responsibility of the authors.

AboutOpen is committed to a fair and transparent editorial and publication policy, detailed here. We encourage our authors to register to ORCID, the Open Reseracher and Contributor ID, which provides a unique identifier for researchers, helping to correctly disambiguate and attribute each contribution to them. Click here to find out more on  ORCID ID or to register.

Manuscript submitted to AboutOpen are published after having successfully completed their peer review process. The publication of open access articles is covered by article processing charges (APC) paid by the author after acceptance. There are no submission fees, no fees for rejected articles and there is no additional cost for manuscript length, colour items or supplementary files, including videos. APC is waived for invited contributions.

All readers have unlimited access to the full text of all articles published in the journal, without subscription or other firewalls, with no embargo period. Authors retain copyright of their work and all articles are published under the Creative Commons NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Click here to read our Open Access policy


Submission guidelines
Step 1: Register on the Journal website;
Step 2: Read these guidelines and prepare your submission files (Manuscript, figures, supplementary online-only materials if included)
Step 5: Log in;
Step 6: Click on “Make submission

Once you have started a new submission, you can leave it and continue later, as the system will save your information. The corresponding author will be able to track the progress of the submission through the system. Should you have any difficulties, please contact the Journal Office. All submissions receive a unique reference number: please include it in all correspondence.


Manuscript preparation
A detailed list of accepted contents is available here.

The Journal follows the AMA Manual of Style for manuscript submitted to biomedical journals.  Set your document as A4 (International Standard: ISO 216) paper, use double-line spacing, Arial font size 12, number all pages, do not justify the right margin, add line numbers and page numbers. Save your manuscript as a Word document (.doc, .docx, or previous; Open Office or RTF formats).
Structure your manuscript file as follows: Title page, Manuscript Text, Acknowledgments, Figure legends, References, Tables.

Title page
The first page (title page) of your manuscript file must include the following information:

  • Full title (max 135 characters including letters and spaces), which must be concise and informative.
  • Short title (max 75 characters, including letters and spaces).
  • All authors listed as first name, initials, and last name (i.e., Paul M. Smith) with highest academic or medical degree first.
  • Institutional affiliation for each author, using superscripts and not symbols (e.g., Paul M. Smith1).
  • Corresponding author’s information (full mailing address, phone and fax numbers, email address); this is usually the submitting author.
  • Clinical Trial Protocol number when submitting a Clinical Trial Protocol.
  • List of online-only supplementary material, with a short description.
  • Abstract, not longer thank 250 words and divided in the sections indicated in each content type
  • Keywords: provide up to 6 keywords in alphabetical order under which you believe the article should be indexed. Use terms from the Medical Subject Headings list from lndex Medicus whenever possible. A library of terms is available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/meshhome.html.

Manuscript text
Divide the text as indicated for each content type. Use commas (,) to separate thousands and full stop (.) for decimals (e.g. 12,354.55). Include tables in the manuscript file, after the references.  Number all figures (graphs, charts, photographs, and illustrations) in the order of their citation in the text. Figures must be submitted as separate files and not embedded in the Word document. 
If relevant to your study, include a statistical methods section, describing adequately the methods used to allow reproduction by independent analysis of the dataset. Include a statement on how the data presented were selected including prospective sample size calculations, the reasons for including/excluding subjects or data points, and what steps the authors have taken, if any, to exclude intentional or unintentional bias in recruitment, measurement, data retention, analysis, reporting and comment. Keep discussion to a minimum in this section of the manuscript.

Units of Measure
Laboratory values are expressed using conventional units of measure, with relevant Système International (SI) conversion factors expressed secondarily (in parentheses) only at first mention. Articles that contain numerous conversion factors may list them together in a paragraph at the end of the Methods section. In tables and figures, a conversion factor to SI units should be provided in a footnote or legend. The metric system is preferred for the expression of length, area, mass, and volume. For more details, see the Units of Measure conversion table on the AMA Manual of Style website.

Names of drugs, devices, and other products
Use non-proprietary names of drugs, devices, and other products, unless the specific trade name of a drug is essential to the discussion.

Cancer classification scheme
Authors are encouraged to use the American Joint Commission on Cancer TNM Classification scheme (see AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, 7th Edition, Springer, New York). 

Abbreviations
Use only standard abbreviations: the full term for which an abbreviation stands for should precede its first use in the text. Do not use abbreviations in the title. All abbreviations must be spelled out when they are used for the first time in the abstract and again when they are used for the first time in the text.

Acknowledgements
List in this section

  • Any substantial contribution when provided by a person different from the author and list all other persons who do not fulfil authorship criteria.
  • The assistance of medical writing experts.
  • All participating group authors who do not meet the full authorship criteria.
  • All sources of funding for the manuscript and the financial disclosures for all authors.

Written permission must be obtained to include the names of all individuals included in the Acknowledgments section.  If the manuscript has been presented at a meeting, please indicate in this section its name, location, and date.

Figure legends and legends for supplementary material
At the end of the manuscript, include a short title and a legend for each figure. When symbols, arrows, numbers, or letters are used to identify parts of the figures, identify and explain each one clearly in the legend.
For photomicrographs, include the type of specimen, original magnification or a scale bar, and stain in the legend. For gross pathology specimens, label any rulers with unit of measure. Digitally enhanced images (CT/MRI, blots, photographs, photomicrographs, ultrasound images, x-ray films, etc.) must be clearly identified in the figure legends as digitally processed images. References used within figure legends should be included in the reference list and numbered in consecutive order according to the figure citation in the text.
Any figure that has been published elsewhere should have an acknowledgment to the original source; a copy of the permission to publish the figure, signed by the copyright holder, must accompany the submission.

References
Authors are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of their references and for correct text citation. Personal communications, unpublished data, abstracts, and oral or poster presentations should be limited and incorporated in parentheses within the text without a reference number. A signed permission should be included from each individual identified in a personal communication or as a source for unpublished data, as well as the date of communication.
References must be double line spaced and numbered consecutively in order of appearance within the text, using the automated numbering tool of Word.
Identify references in text, tables, and legends in Arabic numerals in parentheses, i.e., (7).
List all authors when six or fewer; when seven or more, list only the first three and add et al.
References used within tables or figure legends should be included in the reference list and numbered in consecutive order according to the table/figure citation in the text.
Journals’ names should be abbreviated according to Index Medicus/Medline. If there is any doubt about abbreviation of a journal name, it should be spelled out completely.
Any references to studies (including books or articles) that have been accepted for publication, but not yet published, should indicate where they will be published and have the term “in press” in the reference in place of volume and page numbers. These must be updated prior to publication, if possible.
Do not add a discussion or comment to a reference.
Suffixes such as Jr, Sr, and III follow author’s initials.

Examples of reference style: 

  1. Standard journal article
    Gass JD, Harbin TS Jr, Del Piero EJ. Exudative stellate neuroretinopathy and Coats’ syndrome in patients with progressive hemifacial atrophy. Eur J Ophthalmol 1991; 1: 2-10.
  2. Book
    Harrington DO, Drake MV. The Visual Field. Text and Atlas of Clinical Perimetry, 6th ed. St Louis: CV Mosby, 1990; 156.

  3. Chapter in book
    Harrington DO, Drake MV. The Visual Field. Text and Atlas of Clinical Perimetry, 6th ed. St Louis: CV Mosby, 1990; 156.

  4. Online-only reference
    References to web resources must always include the full link and the date the information was accessed and the link was live e.g.: Hussain N, Clive J, Bhandari V. Current incidence of retinopathy of prematurity, 1989–1997. Pediatrics 1999; 104: e26 Available at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/104/3/e26.abstract. Accessed July 21, 2014.

Tables
Submit tables in your manuscript file after references. Do not submit them as separate files. As a general rule, tables should not unnecessarily offer duplicate information given within the text. Starting on a new page, type each table on a separate sheet, using double line spacing. Tables should be created in a Word document using the table tool. Do not format tables using tabs and do not submit tables as figures. Tables should be numbered consecutively in Roman numerals by order of citation in the text. Each table must include title, appropriate column headings, and explanatory legends, including definitions of any abbreviations used. References used within tables should be included in the reference list and numbered in consecutive order according to the table citation in the text. Identify statistical measures of variations such as SD and SEM.


Figures and illustrations
Number all figures (graphs, charts, photographs, and illustrations) in the order of their citation in the text. Include a title for each figure (a brief phrase, preferably no longer than 10-15 words). Do not embed figures in the Word document. Figures must be submitted as individual .jpg or .tif files and have a high enough resolution for publishing. Do not submit figures as Word, PowerPoint or PDF files.
Clinical photographs that identify an individual must be accompanied by a signed statement by the patient or guardian granting permission for publication for educational purposes or must be masked to prevent identification of the patient.

Please refer to the Artwork Guidelines for more details.

Image integrity
Preparation of scientific images (clinical images, radiographic images, micrographs, gels, etc.) for publication must preserve the integrity of the image data. Digital adjustments of brightness, contrast, or color applied uniformly to an entire image are permissible as long as these adjustments do not selectively highlight, misrepresent, obscure, or eliminate specific elements in the original figure, including the background.
Figure and illustrations submitted with an article must be original. Image manipulation that may affect data interpretation is a frequent cause of rejection or retraction.


Supplementary material
Authors may submit supplementary material to accompany their article.
This material should be important to the understanding and interpretation of the report and should not repeat material within the print article. Supplementary material should be original and not previously published and will undergo editorial and peer review with the main manuscript. Supplementary material must be listed on the title page of your submission and should be cited in the manuscript text in parentheses, in a similar way as when citing a figure or a table. Provide a legend for each supplementary material submitted. Supplementary material will not be edited or formatted; thus, the authors are responsible for the accuracy and presentation of all such material.

Appropriate content:

Tables
Expanded datasets and spread sheets, should be supplied in their original format or as PDF.
Type text using Arial font size 10, and single line spaced. The table title should be set in Arial font size 12, and bold. Headings within tables should be set in Arial font size 10 point, and bold. Table footnotes should be set in Arial font size 8, and single line spaced. If a table runs on to subsequent pages, repeat the column headings at the top of each page. Wide tables may be presented using a landscape orientation. 

Figures
Additional digitized figures and illustration should be supplied according to the technical specifications for figures.

Video clips
Accepted file formats: .mov, .mpg, .mpeg, .mp4, .wmv, or .avi
Maximum size: 10 MB
Maximum length: 5 minutes
Verify that the videos are viewable in QuickTime or Windows Media Player.
For each video, provide a citation in the appropriate place in the manuscript text where a legend should also be included. If multiple video files are submitted, number them in the order in which they should be viewed.
Patients should not be identifiable, or their pictures must be accompanied by written permission to use the video. It is the author's responsibility to supply video files in the correct format. The Journal will not consider video material not submitted according to specifications. 


Editorial policies for authors
Research integrity
Authorship: Each person listed as an author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content and agree to be accountable for all aspects related to its accuracy or integrity. This participation must include conception and design of the manuscript, data acquisition or data analysis and interpretation, drafting of the manuscript and/or revising it for critically important intellectual content, revision and final approval of the manuscript and statistical analysis, obtaining funding, administrative, technical, or material support, or supervision. Authors who do not meet the above criteria should be acknowledged in the Acknowledgments Section. 

Once a manuscript has been submitted, the order of authorship (including addition or removal of  authors) cannot be changed without a written request to the Editorial Office made by the Corresponding Author. Should agreement between authors not be reached, the manuscript will be withdrawn.

Authorship changes cannot be submitted with proof changes. The publisher is not allowed to make such changes and it will delay the publication of your manuscript.

Corresponding author: The corresponding author is responsible for submission and all communication with the Journal regarding that submission. It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure that all authors meet the required authorship criteria indicated above and for ensuring that the conflict of interest disclosures included in the manuscript's disclosures are accurate and up-to-date.

Authors’ Disclosures: Authors are required to include in the Acknowledgement section specific statements in their manuscript regarding:
a) Conflict of interest: Financial conflict of interest may exist if any financial gain is brought to the author or to his/her family, business partners, or employer by direct or indirect commission; stock ownership or options in manufacturing company; involvement in any for-profit or not-for-profit corporation where the author or his/her family is a director or recipient of a grant, including consultant and travel costs reimbursement.
Non-financial competing interest may be political, personal, or intellectual.
b) Funding/Support: Payment or services from a third party (government, commercial, private foundation, etc.) to support the research and the work reported.

We encourage all authors to complete and share with the Corresponding Author the ICMJE Conflict of Interest form, which will generate the appropriate disclaimer to include in the manuscript. 

Plagiarism, duplicate submission: Research and publication misconduct is considered a serious breach of ethics. The Journal systematically employs iThenticate, a plagiarism detection and prevention software designed to ensure the originality of written work before publication. Manuscripts proved to include plagiarized content will be rejected. Should an article include plagiarized contents or parts copyrighted by others without appropriate permission, we may take further appropriate action.

Data availability: authors must ensure that original research data remain available after publication through appropriate archiving. To preserve the transparency, reproducibility and integrity of research records we also encourage authors to make their research data available to readers, either by depositing into data repositories or by publishing data and files as supplementary information in this journal. 

Research ethics
Research involving human subjects: If manuscripts report research performed on human subjects, human-derived materials, or human medical records, they must have obtained formal review and approval or waiver by an appropriate institutional review board (IRB) or ethics committee and informed consent by all patients involved. This must be included in the Methods section. For investigators who do not have formal ethics review committees, the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki should be followed and stated in the Methods section of the manuscript.

Patient confidentiality protection: When a patient is identifiable in a photograph or in medical records submitted to the Journal, the author(s) must supply the Journal with written permission from all patients (parents or legal guardian for minors) to publish it online and in print or to ensure that personal information and identification is not possible by masking personal data.

Research involving animals: Experimental research performed on animals must comply with the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals or equivalent. A statement that research has been performed according to the NIH Guidelines must be included in the Methods section.

Clinical trial registration: All clinical trials must be registered at an appropriate online public registry that should be electronically searchable and includes a minimum of data elements (www.icmje.org/#clin_trials). Trial registry name, registration identification number, and the URL for the registry should be included in the space provided on the online manuscript submission form.

Research Reporting Guidelines: Authors are encouraged to use the relevant research reporting guidelines for the study type provided by the EQUATOR Network. This will ensure that you provide enough information for editors, peer reviewers and readers to understand how the research was performed and to judge whether the findings are likely to be reliable.
The key reporting guidelines are:
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs): CONSORT guidelines
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses: PRISMA guidelines and MOOSE guidelines
Observational studies in epidemiology: STROBE guidelines and MOOSE guidelines
Diagnostic accuracy studies: STARD guidelines
Quality improvement studies: SQUIRE guidelines
For cost effectiveness analysis: CHEERS guidelines


Review and publication process

Technical check at submission
All submissions to AboutOpen are initially screened by the Editorial Office, who performs an initial technical check based on the manuscript being a) suitable for the journal and its sections, b) with a sound author background and c) complete in all its parts. If it is not deemed appropriate it will be rejected immediately. The Editorial Office will also perform a thorough plagiarism checking using iThenticate by CrossCheck.

Section Editor assignement
All suitable submissions are then assigned to a Section Editor who will be in charge of selecting and inviting reviewers, evaluating their comments and submitting an editorial suggestion.

Peer review
AboutOpen adopts a single-blind peer review process, which means that the author does not know the identity of the reviewer, but the reviewer knows the identity of the author: reviewers are asked to supply confidential comments and recommendations which will only be visible to the Editor and comments for the authors which are shared in an anonymous way. We invite reviewers and allow 7 days for them to agree or decline to perform the review, asking to return their comments within 2 to 4 weeks from acceptance. 

Publication process
Accepted submissions will be processed and published online after author approval of proofs and payment of publication fees, which are only due after acceptance of the manuscript:  the final responsibility for published contents rests with the authors and the statements and opinions are solely those of the individual authors and contributors.  Upon acceptance authors receive an Article Processing Charge form and a Licence to Publish which will need to be signed and returned to the Publisher to proceed with the publication process. AboutOpen publishes manuscripts under Creative Commons licenses. The standard license for the journal is Creative Commons NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) which allows others which allows users to Read, print and download, Copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, Translate (for private use only) and Reuse portions or extracts from the article in other works, quoting original source. Alternative license are available if required to meet  particular funder mandates, made at the author’s request.

Accepted submissions are edited by experienced language editing professionals, with a vast experience in the specific field the article reports on. No charge is made to the authors for language editing.  The corresponding author will receive proofs, which will include all changes made by the style editor and must be reviewed within 48 hours. It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure that there are no errors in the proofs.

Once approved  your article will be published online immediately: it will have a DOI number and be fully citable, free to read and download to all.

Publication Fees
The publication of an article in AboutOpen is subject to publication fees as indicated for each content type. Publication charges are due upon acceptance of a manuscript and are subject to VAT as applicable.


For submission enquiries and for additional requests contact Lucia Steele (Publication Manager):
lucia.steele@aboutscience.eu