ISSN 1516-3180 printed version
ISSN 1806-9460 online version

INSTRUCTIONS TO AUTHORS

Aim and editorial policy

Indexing and scope
São Paulo Medical Journal (formerly Revista Paulista de Medicina) was founded in 1932 and is now published bimonthly by the Associação Paulista de Medicina. It accepts articles in the fields of clinical health science (internal medicine, gynecology & obstetrics, mental health, surgery, pediatrics, epidemiology and public health). Articles will be accepted in the form of original articles, narrative reviews, case reports, short communications and letters to the editor. Papers with a commercial objective will not be accepted.

The journal's articles are indexed in MEDLINE, LILACS, SciELO, Science Citation Index Expanded, Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition (ISI) and EBSCO Publishing.

The Journal's peer review policy and procedures
After receipt of the article through the electronic submission system, it will be read by the Editorial Team, who will check whether the text complies with the journal's Instructions for Authors. The Journal has adopted the Viper system for identifying plagiarism and any text that has been plagiarized, in whole or in part, will be rejected.

When the format of the manuscript is deemed acceptable, the Editorial Team will submit the article to the Editor-in-Chief who will assign at least two reviewers/referees with expertise in the theme, to assess it. The authors will then receive the reviewers' evaluation and will be required to provide all further information requested and the corrections that may be necessary. Changes to the text should be highlighted, accompanied by a letter answering the referees' comments, point by point.

Once the Editorial Team has received the revised manuscript, the text will be sent to the Editor-in-Chief for a decision. Manuscripts that are suitable for publication according to their scientific merit will be considered "accepted.". However, all of them will subsequently be scrutinized to check for any problems regarding sentence construction, spelling, grammar, bibliographical references and other matters that may arise. The authors should contribute towards improving the manuscript by making it as readable as possible. Lastly, the Editorial Team will provide page proofs for the authors to approve. No article is published without this final procedure.

São Paulo Medical Journal does not charge authors for publication: there are no submission fees for the evaluation of articles. The Journal is an open-access publication that does not charge the readers, either. Articles accepted for publication become the journal's property for copyright purposes, in accordance with the Creative Commons attribution-type BY.

 

The manuscript and types of articles

General guidelines: for all types of articles
All manuscripts must be submitted in English with a covering letter signed by the corresponding author. The letter must contain the following five essential items relating to the manuscript:

(1) a declaration that the manuscript is original and that the text has not been nor will be submitted for publication in any other journal.

(2) a statement that the manuscript has been approved by all authors, who agree to cede the copyrights to the Journal, disclose all sources of funding and declare all potential conflicts of interest.

(3) a statement that implementation of the study was endorsed by an Internal Review Board (Ethics Committee), including the date and number of the approval (in the case of original articles).

(4) a brief description of contributorship.

(5) a list of a minimum of five potential referees outside of the authors' institutions.

The Journal recommends that all articles submitted must comply with the editorial quality standards established in the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (available at www.icmje.org).1 This means that each type of study must be described in accordance with the specific quality guidelines for papers reporting on clinical trials (CONSORT),2 systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA),3,4 observational studies (STROBE),5,6 case reports (CARE)7 and accuracy studies on diagnostic tests (STARD).8,9

Abbreviations must not be used, even those in everyday use. Drugs or medications must be referred to using their generic names, avoiding casual mention of commercial or brand names. All drugs should be followed by the dosage and posology used. Any product cited in the Methods section, such as diagnostic or therapeutic equipment, tests, reagents, instruments, utensils, prostheses, orthoses and intraoperative devices must be described together with the manufacturer's name and place (city and country) of manufacture in parentheses.

Grants, bursaries and any other financial support for studies must be mentioned separately, after the references, in a section named "Acknowledgements." This section should also be used to acknowledge any other contributions from individuals or professionals who have helped in producing the study. The Journal supports the position taken by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (http://www.icmje.org) regarding authorship. This body's recommendations should be read to obtain clarifications regarding the criteria for authorship.

For any manuscript, all statements in the text that do not result from the study presented for publication in the São Paulo Medical Journal but from other studies must be accompanied by a quotation of the source of the data. All statements regarding health statistics and epidemiological data should generally be followed by references to the sources that generated this information, even if the data is only available electronically.

Articles must also include an abstract and three to five keywords in English. The keywords must be selected from the MeSH list only, as explained in detail below (no other keywords will be accepted).
Texts must be submitted exclusively through the Internet, using the electronic submission system, which is available at http://mc04.manuscriptcentral.com/spmj-scielo. Submissions sent by e-mail or through the post will not be accepted.

Authorship
Authors of articles published in São Paulo Medical Journal should all have contributed actively to the discussion of the study results and should review and approve the final version to be released. The corresponding author is the primary guarantor of all ethical issues relating to the manuscript, before, during and after its publication. However, São Paulo Medical Journal considers that all authors are held fully responsible for the study, regarding the accuracy or integrity of data and data interpretation in the text.

All authors should create an ORCID iD record (in www.orcid.org) before submitting their article and link the submission to their existing ORCID ID in the electronic submission system. ORCID identifications help to distinguish researchers with similar names.

During submission, the authors will be asked to indicate the names of three to five referees. All of them should be from outside the institution where they work and at least two should preferably be from outside Brazil. São Paulo Medical Journal does not charge authors for publication.

 

Format

Title page (cover page)

The title page must contain:

1) Type of paper (original article, review or updating article, short communication or letter to the editor).

2) Title of the paper in English, which must be brief but informative.

3) Full name of each author (the editorial policy of the São Paulo Medical Journal is that abbreviations of authors' names must not be used; therefore, we ask that names be stated in full or omitted, without using abbreviations); his/her background (Physician, Pharmacist, Nurse, Dietitian or another professional description, or undergraduate student); and his/her position currently held (for example, Master or Doctoral Student, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or Professor, but not Head of Department, Dean, Provost or Rector), in the department and institution where he/she works, and the city and country (affiliations).

4) Place where the work was developed.

5) Date and venue of the event at which the paper was presented, if applicable, such as congresses or dissertation or thesis presentations.

6) Sources of support in the forms of finance for the project, study bursaries or funding for purchasing equipment or drugs. The protocol number for the funding must be presented.

7) For Brazilian authors, all grants that can be considered to be related to production of the manuscript must be declared, such as fellowships for undergraduate, master and doctoral students; along with possible support for postgraduate programs (such as CAPES) and for the authors, such as awards for established investigators (Produtividade - CNPq), accompanied by the respective grant numbers.

8) Description of any conflicts of interest held by the authors. We recommend that the item "Conflicts of interest" at http://www.icmje.org should be read to obtain clarifications regarding what may or may not be considered to be a conflict of interest.

9) Complete postal address, e-mail address and telephone number of the author to be contacted about the publication process in the Journal (the "corresponding author"). The author should also indicate a postal address, e-mail address and telephone number that can be published together with the article.

Main document
Second page: abstract and keywords
The second page must include the title and a 250-word abstract in English (case reports with 100 words). Do not cite references in the abstract.

Use the following headings:

  1. Background – Describe the rationale for the study including the research question or the scientific hypothesis.
  2. Design and setting – Declare study design correctly,11 and the setting.
  3. Methods – Describe methods briefly.
  4. Results – Describe primary results with quantitative results describing the sampling strategy.
  5. Conclusions – Make a succinct statement of data interpretation answering the research question presented previously.
  6. Clinical Trial Registration – Mandatory for clinical trials, optional for observational studies. List the URL, as well as the Unique Identifier, on the publicly accessible website on which the trial is registered.

Insert 3 to 5 key words after the abstract, with terms differing from the title. The words must be chosen from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) list of Index Medicus, which is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=mesh.

Text

  • Typical main headings include Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusion. The authors can use short subheadings too.
  • Number the pages.
  • Abbreviations must be avoided.
  • A maximum of 3000 words in the main text, from the Introduction to the Conclusions; 1000 words for short communications.
  • Maximum number of figures and/or tables is 5
  • Maximum number of references is 35 (except for systematic reviews).

References
São Paulo Medical Journal uses the reference style known as the "Vancouver style," as recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Follow the instructions and examples at www.icmje.org, item "References", for the format. In the text, the references must be numbered in the order of citation. The citation numbers must be inserted after periods/full stops or commas in sentences, and in superscript (without parentheses or square brackets). References cited in the legends of tables and figures must maintain sequence with the references mentioned in the text.

The reference list should be inserted after the conclusions and before the tables and figures. In the list of references, all the authors must be listed if there are up to and including five authors; if there are six or more, the first three should be cited, followed by the expression "et al." For books, the city of publication and the name of the publishing house are mandatory. For texts published on the internet, the complete uniform resource locator (URL) or address is necessary (not only the main home page of a website or link), so that by copying the complete address into a computer internet browser, the journal's readers will be taken to the exact document cited, and not to a general website.

Figures and tables
Images must be submitted at a minimum size that is reproducible in the printed edition. Figures should be sent a resolution of 300 DPI and/or minimum size of 2500 pixels (width) and be recorded in ".jpg" or ".tif" format. Do not attach images inside Microsoft PowerPoint or Microsoft Word documents. Failure to send the original images at appropriate sizes leads to paper rejection before peer review.

Graphs must be prepared in Microsoft Excel (do not send them in image formats) and spreadsheets be accompanied by the tables of data from which they have been generated.

All the figures and tables should be cited in the text.

All figures and tables must contain legends or titles that precisely describe their content and the context or sample from which the information was obtained (i.e. what the results presented are and what the kind of sample or setting was). The reader should be able to understand the content of the figures and tables simply by reading the titles (without the need to consult the text), i.e. titles should be complete.

For figures relating to microscopic findings (i.e. histopathological results), a scale must be embedded to indicate the magnification used. The staining agent should be specified in the figure legend.

Original articles
Clinical trials; cohort, case-control, prevalence, incidence, accuracy and cost-effectiveness studies; case series (i.e. case reports on more than three patients analyzed together); and systematic reviews with or without meta-analysis, are considered to be full-text original articles, with a maximum of 3000 words.

Short communications are reports on the results from ongoing studies or studies that have recently been concluded for which urgent publication is important. They should be structured in the same way as original articles.

Short communications and case reports must be limited to 1000 words (from the introduction to the end of the conclusion). The abstracts in short communications should not be structured and have a maximum of 100 words.

Authors will be required to comply with the guidelines for writing each type of original article, as follows:

1. Observational articles: STROBE Statement5,6
2. Clinical trials: CONSORT Statement2
3. Accuracy studies on diagnostic tests: STARD Statement8,9
4. Systematic reviews of the literature and meta-analyses: PRISMA4
5. Case reports: CARE7

São Paulo Medical Journal supports the clinical trial registration policies of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and recognizes the importance of these initiatives for registration and international dissemination of information on randomized clinical trials, with open access. Thus, since 2008, manuscripts on clinical trials have only been accepted for publication if they have received an identification number from one of the clinical trial registers (the options are stated at http://www.icmje.org). The identification number should be declared at the end of the abstract. Authors of randomized clinical trials must thus register their studies before submitting them for publication in the São Paulo Medical Journal.

Results from cases with DNA sequences must be deposited in appropriate public databases. The protocol number or URL can be requested at any time during the editorial review. Publication of other research data in public repositories is also recommended, since it contributes towards replicability of research, increases article visibility and possibly improves access to health information.

Short communications, case reports, case series and narrative reviews
Short communications and case reports must be limited to 1000 words (from the introduction to the end of the conclusion), a maximum of five references and one figure or table. They should be structured in the same way as original articles. Individual case reports should contain the following sections: Introduction, Case Report, Discussion and Conclusion. Reports on case series constitute observational studies and these should be structured in accordance with the norms of the STROBE Statement.5

Both short communications and case reports must be submitted with abstracts and keywords. The abstracts in short communications should not be structured and have a maximum of 100 words.

The São Paulo Medical Journal is interested in publishing rare or instructive case reports, accompanied by a systematic search of the literature, in which relevant studies found (based on their level of evidence) are presented and discussed.11 The search strategy for each database and the number of articles obtained from each database should be shown in a table. The access route to the electronic databases used should be stated (for example, PubMed, OVID, Elsevier or Bireme). For the search strategies, MeSH terms must be utilized for Medline, LILACS, and Cochrane Library. DeCS terms must be used for LILACS. EMTREE terms must be used for Embase. Also, for LILACS, the search strategy must be conducted using English (MeSH), Spanish (DeCS) and Portuguese (DeCS) terms concomitantly. The search strategies must be presented exactly as they were used during the search, including parentheses, quotation marks and Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT) the search dates should be indicated in the text or in the table.

Narrative reviews may be accepted by the São Paulo Medical Journal provided that a systematic search is made, and they should be structured as Original Articles. The search strategy and results should be presented as described above for case reports. By invitation from the Editor-in-Chief, narrative reviews addressing historical personal or collective experiences relating to clinical health sciences, epidemiology and public health may be accepted, but with no more than two authors.

Individual case reports should contain Introduction, Case Report, Discussion and Conclusion. Case reports should be structured in accordance with the norms of the CARE Statements.7 Case reports published in São Paulo Medical Journal must be submitted with abstracts and keywords.

Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor may address articles published in the São Paulo Medical Journal publication or may deal with health issues of interest. Case reports must not be submitted as letters. In the category of letters to the editor, the text has a free format, but must not exceed 500 words and five references.

 

Documents cited

1. Internal Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals, writing and editing for biomedical publications. Available from: http://www.icmje.org. Accessed in 2012 (Aug 6).

2. The CONSORT Statement. Available from: http://www.consort-statement.org/consort-statement/. Accessed in 2012 (Aug 6).

3. Moher D, Cook DJ, Eastwood S, et al. Improving the quality of reports of meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials: the QUOROM statement. Lancet. 1999;354(9193):1896-900. Available from: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(99)04149-5/abstract. Accessed in 2012 (Aug 6).

4. PRISMA. Transparent Reporting of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Available from: http://www.prisma-statement.org/index.htm. Accessed in 2012 (Aug 6).

5. STROBE Statement. Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology. What is strobe? Available from: http://www.strobe-statement.org/. Accessed in 2012 (Aug 6).

6. von Elm E, Altman DG, Egger M, et al. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies. J Clin Epidemiol. 2008;61(4):344-9.

7. The CARE Guidelines: Consensus-based Clinical Case Reporting Guideline Development. Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research. Available from: http://www.equator-network.org/reporting-guidelines/care/. Accessed in 2016 (Dec 20).

8. STARD Statement. STAndards for the Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy studies. Available from: http://www.stard-statement.org/. Accessed in 2012 (Aug 6).

9. Rennie D. Improving reports of studies of diagnostic tests: the STARD initiative. JAMA. 2003;289(1):89-90.

10. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors, Available from: http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/defining-the-role-of-authors-and-contributors.html. Accessed in 2012 (Dec 20).

11. Phillips B, Ball C, Sackett D, et al. Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine Levels of Evidence (May 2001). Available from: http://www.cebm.net/index.aspx?o=1047. Accessed in 2012 (Aug 6).

 

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