Style guide and format

This is a guide to help authors supply manuscripts in the correct style.


Most common wordprocessing formats are accepted for text and tables, although Word (.doc or .docx) is preferred. Images should be submitted as GIF, TIFF, EPS or JPEG files and must not be embedded within the Word file.

Tables and illustrations

Tables should be kept to a minimum and should be created in Word. The legend should clearly explain what data the table is presenting without the need to refer back to the text. Tables should not duplicate information presented in figures.

Line figures and photographs will normally be reproduced at column width (88 mm). Histograms should be presented in a simple, two-dimensional format, with no background grid; graded colour tones should be avoided.

Digital images should be sent as GIF, TIFF, EPS or JPEG files, in CMYK format, at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi at an image size of 8.5 cm across. Please label them to correspond with the list of numbered figure captions; for example ‘Figure 3.jpg’ or ‘Figure 7B.jpg’, etc.


Measurements should be expressed in the metric system or in SI units. Temperatures should be given in °C. Centrifugation speeds should be given in g.

All abbreviations should be spelled out in full the first time they are used in the text with the exception of the following: click here

Medicines should be referred to by the generic name (recommended International Non-Proprietary Names [rINNs]), as listed on the website of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, followed by the proprietary name and manufacturer in brackets when first mentioned; eg, fenbendazole (Panacur; Intervet).

Parasitic infections should be referred to according to the Standardised Nomenclature of Parasitic Diseases (SNOPAD) guidelines, which are summarised by the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology.

Spelling should be in British English.

Research should be written in the third person.


References should be given in the Vancouver format.

In the text references should be numbered as they appear. In the reference list they should be given in numerical order.


Punctuation of references must follow adapted Vancouver style:

Lastname AB, Lastname CD. Article title. Journal title Year;vol:start page–end page.

Use one space only between words up to the year and then no spaces. The journal title should be in italics and abbreviated according to the style of Index Medicus. If the journal is not listed in Index Medicus then it should be written out in full. List the names and initials of all authors if there are 3 or fewer; otherwise list the first 3 and add et al. Except JMG, which lists all authors. The year of the document should be represented in four-digit format. The volume should be bold.

For example: You CH, Lee KY, Chey RY, et al. Electrogastrographic study of patients with unexplained nausea, bloating and vomiting. Gastroenterology 1980;79:311–14.


Personal author(s):
Colson JH, Armour WJ. Sports injuries and their treatment. 2nd rev edn. London: St Paul, 1986.

Editor(s), compiler as author:
Diener HC, Wilkinson M, eds. Drug-induced headache. New York: Springer-Verlag,1988.

Organisation as author and publisher:
Virginia Law Foundation. The medical and legal implications of AIDS. Charlottesville: The Foundation, 1987.

Chapter in a book:
Weinstein L, Swartz MN. Pathologic properties of invading micro organisms. In: Sodeman WA Jr, Sodeman WA, eds. Pathologic physiology mechanisms of disease. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1974: 457–72.

Conference paper

Harley NH. Comparing radon daughter dosimetric and risk models. In: Gammage RB, Kaye SV, eds. Indoor air and human health. Proceedings of the Seventh Life Sciences Symposium; 29–31 October 1984, Knoxville (TN) Chelsea (MI): Lewis, 1985:69–78.


Websites are referenced with their URL and access date. Access date is important, as websites can be updated and URLs change. The “data accessed” can be later than the acceptance date of the paper, and it can be given as the month the site was accessed.

Department of Health. Best practice guidelines for doctors and other health professionals on the provision of advice and treatment to young people under 16 on contraception, sexual and reproductive health. 2004. (accessed 3 March 2006)

Supplements (Suppl)

Goes after volume number, before page numbers, not in bold.

Accepted for publication

Reference goes in reference list in above format except ‘(In press)’ is added after the journal title instead of the volume and page number(s). If available the doi number should be added.


Reference does not go in the reference list. Instead, list all authors (surnames + initials) with ‘unpublished observations’: (F. Jones, T. Bloggs, unpublished observations).


References always go first.


Treated as MAC for alphabetical order, ST treated as Saint.


Keep like this in authors’ names after last initial, for example, KING, S. W., Jr, JONES, A. T., III.

Keep style

As in original title with respect to capital letters, for example, upper case for names of dogs, Thoroughbreds, and so on if this is the case in the original, but change to lower case after a colon (for example, Part 1: the stomach . . ., not Part 1: The stomach).

Personal communications

Should be cited within the text and follow the form (A. B. Smith, personal communication).


Should be styled as for books as far as possible.


For example, PhD thesis, Name of the university at which it was undertaken.

Number of authors

If the number of authors listed is more than 12, please list the first six and then add ‘and others’