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									                                                        From the Editor’s Notebook
   Follow the Yellow Brick Road: Preparing a Manuscript for
                           Submission to a Scientific Journal

O              K, you and your colleagues have
               just finished a research project;
               bench research, clinical research,
funded or nonfunded research, it makes no dif-
                                                            Third, read and follow the guidelines when
                                                        writing your paper. An Author’s Checklist (Ap-
                                                        pendix 1 on the reverse of this page) in the AJR
                                                        Guidelines for Authors describes the format and
                                                                                                                  plete and follow our instructions. As a result,
                                                                                                                  certain manuscripts arrive incomplete or im-
                                                                                                                  properly prepared. That is unfortunate. Corre-
                                                                                                                  sponding authors would save themselves and
ference. It was a long, arduous process, but            style to use for the title page, abstract, tables, ref-   others a lot of trouble if, before manuscripts are
that part is done. All that is left is to reduce        erences, and figures and legends for articles sub-         submitted, they would take the time to actually
your work to writing and submit the manu-               mitted to our Journal. Share our Guidelines with          read our Checklist to determine if their papers
script to a journal.                                    whoever is actually typing the manuscript and             truly comply with the requirements of our Jour-
   But be advised. Just as with the perfor-             provide a copy of the Guidelines to any copy edi-         nal.
mance of research, there is a right way and a           tor who assists you with your manuscript.                     And for heaven’s sake, if your article has
wrong way to go about writing a paper. After                Remind typists to use the spell checker. Poor         been rejected by one journal and you are now
all that work on the research, this is no time to       spelling gives manuscript reviewers and editors           submitting it to another journal, make certain
get hasty or sloppy. The preparation of a               a bad impression. If authors are sloppy with the          that, at the very least, you prepare a new cover
manuscript takes time, effort, and the same at-         simple nuts and bolts of a manuscript, they               letter before sending the paper onward. It is also
tention to detail that was required to perform          might well have been just as sloppy with their            possible that a new title page will be required.
the research in the first place.                         research. If English is not your native language,         The AJR has actually received papers with
   A poorly prepared manuscript may negate all          seek the assistance of someone who has com-               notes scrawled on the title page, or with Post-its
the hard work you and your colleagues put into          mand of the English language to review and                applied thereto, that read something like, “Char-
the research project. A poorly prepared manu-           correct your manuscript.                                  lie, bad news. Paper rejected by Radiology. Turn
script can lead reviewers and editors to question           Audible groans are often emitted in the AJR           it around and send it to the AJR. Thanks, Susie.”
the validity of your research. In fact, a poorly        Editorial Office when the mails arrive with                No, I am not making this up. True story (al-
prepared manuscript may cast your work in               manuscripts from certain institutions. These in-          though, admittedly, the names have been
such a poor light that the paper is rejected.           stitutions shall remain nameless, but they often          changed to protect the guilty). Also true that we
   So take pains to prepare your manuscript             enjoy national and international academic repu-           have received manuscripts accompanied by
properly.                                               tations of the highest order. But these same in-          cover letters addressed to the editor of another
   First, select a journal that is most appropriate     stitutions have become notorious among the                journal or cover letters that contain a statement
for your paper.                                         AJR staff for not following our Guidelines for            to the effect that the authors “are pleased to sub-
   Second, and most important, get a copy of            Authors. Some researchers at these institutions           mit our article to such an outstanding journal as
that journal’s most recently published guide-           seem to have the attitude that they don’t follow          _______ [which was, of course, the name of a
lines for authors. Most journals base their             guidelines, they write them. It takes a lot of ex-        journal other than the AJR].” I phone the corre-
guidelines on instructions set forth in the “Uni-       tra work for our staff to identify and correct the        sponding author when this happens. Needless to
form Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted             resultant deficiencies in their manuscripts. Fre-          say, the author is embarrassed; although, in this
to Biomedical Journals” [1]. As a result, author        quently, a manuscript must be returned to the             circumstance, all I am trying to do is be helpful.
guidelines are similar from one journal to an-          authors because it has been submitted single-             After all, we must establish to which journal the
other, but it is unlikely that they are precisely the   spaced, or the manuscript must be held back               author actually intended to submit the paper.
same. Some journals, such as the AJR, publish           from being reviewed because it is incomplete,                 So seek guidance to avoid embarrassment
their guidelines in each issue; other journals          missing some component—for instance, a sec-               and the rejection of your academic efforts. Turn
may publish theirs quarterly, or even less often.       ond set of figures or even the figure legends               to the Guidelines for Authors in preparing your
The Guidelines of the AJR are also available on         themselves. Such carelessness creates more                manuscripts for submission. Find out what you
the Web at www.arrs.org/pdf/authguide.pdf,              work for all involved.                                    are supposed to do and know where you are
which can be accessed directly or through the               Much of this extra effort could be avoided if         headed. Our Guidelines are a map. Find the yel-
Web sites of the ARRS (www.arrs.org) or the             authors would check their manuscripts closely             low brick road and follow it. It is the road to
AJR (www.ajronline.org). Such guidelines                to make certain they are complete and properly            publishing success.
are subject to change without notice, so make           prepared before they are submitted. The AJR
certain you have the most recent version pub-           provides an Author’s Checklist (Appendix 1)                                         Lee F. Rogers, M.D.
lished by the journal to which you plan to              for this purpose. In fact, authors are requested to                                      Editor in Chief
submit your paper. Don’t assume that all                complete this Checklist. However, some authors                                   lrogers@ajroffice.org
guidelines for authors are the same. Don’t cut          appear to make the requested check marks with-            Reference
corners and try to use the guidelines of an-            out ever taking the trouble to actually read the           1. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted
other journal.                                          list and verify that their manuscripts are com-               to biomedical journals. JAMA 1997;277:927–934


AJR:179, November 2002                                                                                                                                          1099
APPENDIX 1. AJR Author’s Checklist                                            Editor’s Notebook

   Complete the following checklist, sign the                  why it is worthy of attention. Explain the hypothe-           Tables
copyright agreement, and include both with the                 sis to be tested, the dilemma to be resolved, or the                 Each table is printed double-spaced in 12-
manuscript.                                                    deficiency to be remedied. The objective stated               point typeface on a separate page without vertical
      All authors must have signed a copyright form.           here must be identical to the one given in the title          or horizontal rules; each table has a short, descrip-
      A cover letter has been included, signed by the          and introduction of the paper.                                tive title. Tables do not exceed two pages in length
corresponding author, that lists phone, fax, and e-mail           Materials (or Subjects) and Methods. Describe              and must contain at least four lines and two col-
contacts and states the type of article being submitted.       succinctly the methods used to achieve the objective          umns of data.
      Two copies of the manuscript (the original               explained in the first paragraph, stating what was                   Tables are numbered in the order in which
and a photocopy) and two complete sets of figures              done, how it was done, how bias was controlled, what          they are cited in the text.
are submitted. The author has retained one copy of             data were collected, and how the data were analyzed.                 Abbreviations are defined in an explanatory
the manuscript and the figures.                                   Results. The findings of the methods described in          note below each table.
      If appropriate, AJR Guidelines for types of arti-        the preceding paragraph are presented here. All results              Tables are self-explanatory and do not dupli-
cles other than major papers have been followed.               should flow logically from the methods described and          cate data given in the text or figures.
      The manuscript, including references, tables,            not stray from the specific objective of the paper.                  All arithmetic (percentages, totals, differ-
and figure legends, is printed double-spaced in 12-            Include as many specific data as possible within the          ences) has been double-checked for accuracy, and
point typeface on 81/2 × 11 inch (21.6 × 27.9 cm)              overall length limitation of one typewritten page.            tabular data agree with data given in the text.
nonerasable paper and printed on both sides of the                Conclusion. In one or two sentences, present the
page, if possible. Right-hand margins are not justified.       message to be remembered when all else is forgotten.
                                                                                                                             Figures and Legends
      All manuscript pages are numbered consecu-               Describe the conclusion of the study, based solely on
tively beginning with the abstract. Neither authors’           the data provided in the body of the abstract. Conclu-              Two complete sets of original figures are submitted
names nor their affiliations appear anywhere on the            sions must relate directly to the objective of the paper as   unmounted in envelopes. Figure numbers correspond to
manuscript pages or on the images.                             defined in the title and first paragraph of the abstract.     the order in which the figures are cited in the text.
      The manuscript for a major paper is organized                  Do not use abbreviations. Do not use refer-                    Figures are clean, unscratched, glossy prints,
as follows: title page, blind title page (title only),         ence citations.                                               uniform in size and magnification, with white bor-
abstract, introduction, materials (or subjects) and                                                                          ders. A separate print (not larger than 5 × 7 inches
methods, results, discussion, acknowledgments, ref-            References                                                    [13 × 18 cm]) is submitted for each figure part.
erences, tables, figure legends, and figures.                         References (not to exceed 35) are typed dou-                 Images that have been electronically enhanced or
      For any study involving human subjects (or               ble-spaced, start on a separate page, and are num-            manipulated are identified and alterations are described.
animals), state in the Subjects (or Materials) and             bered consecutively in the order in which they                Original image accompanies the altered image.
Methods section of the manuscript that an appropri-            appear in the text.                                                 All figure parts relating to one patient have
ate institutional review board approved the study.                    All references are cited in the text, are              the same figure number.
      Informed consent has been obtained from patients         enclosed in brackets, and are typed on line with the                Each figure has on its back a nonremovable
who participated in clinical investigations. If experi-        text (not superscripted).                                     label with the figure number and an arrow indicat-
ments were performed on animals, authors complied                     Unpublished data are not cited in the refer-           ing “top.” Never write directly on images.
with NIH guidelines for use of laboratory animals.             ence list, but are cited parenthetically in the text,                Authors’ names and affiliations are not writ-
      Use of acronyms and abbreviations is dis-                for example: (Smith DJ, personal communication),              ten on the backs of figures nor do they appear in
couraged and kept to a minimum. When used, they                (Smith DJ, unpublished data). This includes papers            the images themselves.
are defined at first mention, followed by the acro-            submitted, but not yet accepted, for publication.                   Only removable (rub-on) arrows and letters are
nym or abbreviation in parentheses.                                   Papers presented at a meeting are not cited in         used on figures. Symbols are uniform in size and
      SI measurements are used throughout, or the              the reference list but are cited parenthetically in the       style, are large enough to withstand reduction, are
SI equivalent is given in parentheses.                         text, for example: (Smith DJ et al., presented at the         not broken or cracked, and are applied directly on
      Names and locations (city and state only) of manu-       American Roentgen Ray Society meeting, May                    the figure.
facturers are given for equipment and nongeneric drugs.        1996). After first mention, use (Smith DJ et al.,                    Line drawings and graphs are done in black
      Upon acceptance, the final version is submitted in a     ARRS meeting, May 1996).                                      ink on a white background, using the same size
single file on a 31/2-inch diskette in MS Word or Word-               Inclusive page numbers (e.g., 333–335) are             type as the text, and are output to a 600 dpi or bet-
Perfect format for Macintosh, MS-DOS, or Windows.              given for all references.                                     ter printer. Avoid 0.5-mm/rule hairline.
                                                                      Journal names are abbreviated according to                    Written permission to reprint in print and
Title Page                                                     Index Medicus.                                                electronic media, including online use, has been
      The following information is given: title of arti-             Style and punctuation of references follow the for-     obtained for use of all previously published illus-
cle; names and complete addresses (including zip               mat illustrated in the following examples. (All authors       trations (and copies of permission letters are
code) of all authors; present addresses of authors who         are listed when six or fewer; when seven or more              included), and an appropriate credit line is given in
have moved since study; and acknowledgment of                  authors, the first three are listed, followed by et al.)      the legends. A form is available at www.arrs.org
grants or other assistance. The corresponding author                                                                         for this purpose.
                                                               Journal article
is clearly identified, and a present address, telephone                                                                             Legends use AJR style: Fig. 1.—47-year-old
                                                                1. Long RS, Roe EW, Wu EU, et al. Membrane
and fax numbers, and an e-mail contact are given.                                                                            woman with rheumatoid arthritis. For each subject,
                                                                   oxygenation: radiographic appearance. AJR
      A blind title page is included after the title page in                                                                 supply age, sex, and condition or diagnosis.
                                                                   1986;146:1257–1260
each copy of the manuscript, giving only the title (with-                                                                           Authors wishing to submit images electroni-
out the authors’ names) for use in the review process.         Book                                                          cally—in addition to submitting prints required for
                                                                2. Smith LW, Cohen AR. Pathology of tumors, 6th              cropping—can receive instructions by contacting
Abstract                                                           ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1977:100–109           the publisher at 800-438-2777 or by accessing the
     An abstract of one typewritten page (250 words            Chapter in a book                                             ARRS Web site at www.arrs.org.
or fewer) is organized into the following paragraphs.           3. Breon AJ. Serum monitors of bone metastasis.                     When published, figures become the property
    Objective. In one or two sentences, indicate the               In: Clark SA, ed. Bone metastases. Baltimore:             of AJR/ARRS and will be returned only on written
specific goal or purpose of the article, and indicate              Williams & Wilkins, 1983:165–180                          request to the publisher in Leesburg, VA.




1100                                                                                                                                                      AJR:179, November 2002

								
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