Guidelines for Authors


ORIGINAL ARTICLE: This category includes papers where the author presents empirical studies and for the first time describes the results of research work. Suggested length: about 3,500–5,500 words (excluding abstract, tables, figures, and references). ABSTRACT and TAKE HOME MESSAGE: required. Type of Abstract: structured (with headings).

THEORETICAL ARTICLE: They aim at developing new theories from existing research. Suggested length: about 3,500–5,500  words (excluding abstract, tables, figures, and references). ABSTRACT and TAKE HOME MESSAGE: required. Type of Abstract: structured (with headings).

COMMENTARY:This category includes commentaries that discuss a specific article recently published in Journal HSS or elswhere. Key statements and assertions should be supported with evidence. Suggested length: about 2,500–3,500 words (excluding any tables, figures, and references). ABSTRACT and TAKE HOME MESSAGE: required. Type of Abstract: unstructured (without headings).

VIEWPOINT: Viewpoints are opinion-based essays that describe the perspectives of an author(s) on significant issues in an insightful way. Suggested length: about 1,500–2,500 words. ABSTRACT and TAKE HOME MESSAGE: required. Type of Abstract: unstructured (without headings).

REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS: Papers that fall under this category are narrative and systematic review or meta-analyses. Suggested length: about 3,500–5,500 words (excluding abstract, tables, figures, and references). ABSTRACT and TAKE HOME MESSAGE: required. Type of Abstract: structured (with headings).

CASE REPORT: Case Reports are also concise articles. Suggested length: about 1,000–1,500 words (excluding abstract, tables, figures, and references). ABSTRACT and TAKE HOME MESSAGE: required. Type of Abstract: unstructured (without headings).

TECHNICAL REPORT: Technical Reports are also concise articles; they provide a crisp summary of current issues related to the scientific aspects related to Journal HSS. Suggested length: about 1,000–1,500 words (excluding abstract, tables, figures, and references). ABSTRACT and TAKE HOME MESSAGE: required. Type of Abstract: unstructured (without headings).

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Letters to the Editor discuss articles published recently in Journal HSS. Most Letters to the Editor are 500–1,000 words. ABSTRACT and TAKE HOME MESSAGE: NOT required.

CLINICAL IMAGES: Most Clinical Images are up to 500 words. ABSTRACT and TAKE HOME MESSAGE: NOT required.

BOOK REVIEW: Most Book Reviews are 500-1000 words. ABSTRACT and TAKE HOME MESSAGE: NOT required.

Other type of contributions: We also accept Conference Announcements, News and Obituaries.
Except for commissioned pieces such as editorials, ALL SUBMISSIONS will be published subject to double blind peer review.


Placement of figures and graphs should only be indicated in the text, do not include them in the text as such. Tables should be directly included in the text.


  • Use Times New Roman font, 12 point, double spaced and wide margins;
  • do not use the automated features of your application (endnotes, headers, footers, especially for references);
  • type a single space at the end of each sentence;
  • avoid using bold characters to emphasise words or sentences within the text;
  • indicate clearly titles of chapters and subchapters avoiding numbering;
  • Number consecutively all pages, including references.

Manuscript should be prepared using Microsoft Word for Windows. Do not send the text in PDF. Define acronyms at first mention in the text. Notes to the text, indicated by asterisks or similar symbols, should appear at the bottom of the relevant page. Mathematical terms and formulae, abbreviations, and units of measure should conform to the standards set out in Science 1954;120:1078.  Drugs should be referred to by their chemical name; the commercial name should be used only when absolutely unavoidable (capitalizing the first letter of the product name and giving the name of the pharmaceutical firm manufacturing the drug, town and country).


Abstract should contain a maximum of 250-300 words, followed, below it, by up to five keywords or brief phrases to assist in indexing. (MeSH headings, whenever possible. Refer to: The abstract should be structured with headings (for both original and review articles). It should include an introduction (outline of the problem), method of study, results and conclusions (significance of the research).


Kindly submit all tables in the text. Number tables consecutively in the order of their first citation in the text with Arabic numerals and supply a brief title for each. They should be understandable also without reference to the text and should be numbered in Arabic numerals in a consecutive and independent way according to their citation within the paper (e.g. Table 1). Tables should be prepared using Microsoft Word for Windows. Abbreviations should be reported in full in the legend. In the text and legend of the tables, authors must use, in the exact order, the following symbols: *, †, ‡, ¶, **, ††, ‡‡ …


Figures should be loaded as separate files. The following file formats are acceptable: JPEG, TIFF or EPS. A minimum resolution of 300 dpi is required. Figures should be numbered consecutively with arabic numerals and each figure should be accompanied by a legend only in the text of the manuscript. When referring to a Figure in the text, the word “Figure” is abbreviated as “Fig.”. It is spelled out completely in descriptive legends. Photographs, drawings, graphs, diagrams must have a minimum size of 10×15 cm. Figures will be printed in black and white or on greyscale. Colour figures will be printed in black and white, but will be visible in the original colour format in the electronic version of the printed article that will be available on the website of the journal. It is the author’s responsibility to ensure that colours printed in greyscale allow a clear reading of the image. If figures or graphs taken from other journals or books are intended to be published, the contributor must obtain prior written authorization to do so from the author and the publisher of such material. A copy of this authorization should be sent to the editorial board of the Journal and the source of the material used should be quoted in the article. Vectorial images (flow charts, schemes, and other non bitmap material) should be in Macromedia Freehand, Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft Power Point. Photographs must have a minimum resolution of 300 dpi, width 107 mm and presented in black and white.

Titles of the figures should be presented in the text of the manuscript (at the appropriate points) and contain a sufficient explanation of their object.

All image files for figures must be legible, and submitted in high-resolution TIFF or EPS format, according to the PMC’s Figure Graphic Formatting Guidelines.


The first time an uncommon abbreviation appears it should be explained in parenthesis. For writing symbols, quantities and units of measurements refer to the International Systems of Units (SI) and the ISO Standards.

Acknowledgements and mention of any grants or other forms of financial support should appear at the end of the paper, before the list of references.


References should be typed double-spaced in the order of their occurrence in the manuscript. Each reference must begin on a new line. All references in the text must be indicated by the corresponding Arabic numerals in square brackets, i.e. [1, 2, 3-6], and mentioned at the end of the article in the order in which they are quoted. The Vancouver style of referencing is used in line with the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors: (Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Sample References,2013). Titles of periodicals should be abbreviated in accordance with the Medline abbreviation of the US National Library of Medicine ( Online journal articles can be cited using, in addition to the complete citation, the DOI number. Responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of references lies with the author. If the work you need to reference has more than six authors, you should list the first six authors, followed by ‘et al.’. Page numbers should not be abbreviated, but left in full. Where available, both URLs (“Available from”) and “cited” (date) for the references must be provided.

Examples for the style to be used for the list of references are given below.

References should be compiled following the examples below.

Standard Journal Article

You CH, Lee KY, Chey RY, Menguy R. Electrogastrographic study of patients with unexplained nausea, bloating and vomiting. Gastroenterology. 1980;79(2):311-314.

Petrie KJ, Muller JT, Schirmbeck F, Donkin L, Broadbent E, Ellis CJ, et al. Effect of providing information about normal test results on patients’ reassurance: randomised controlled trial. British Medical Journal. 2007;334(7589):352–254.

E- Journal with a DOI

Camiller M, Parkman HP, Shafi MA, et al. Clinical guideline: management of gastroparesis.Am J Gastroenterol. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013 January;108(1):18–38. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2012.373

Journal article: no author

21st century heart solution may have a sting in the tail. BMJ. 2002;325(7537):184.

Journal article: Issue with no volume

Banit DM, Kaufer H, Hartford JM. Intraoperative frozen section analysis in revision total joint arthroplasty. Clin Orthop. 2002;(401):230-238.

Volume with supplement

Geraud G, Spierings EL, Keywood C. Tolerability and safety of frovatriptan with short- and long-term use for treatment of migraine and in comparison with sumatriptan. Headache. 2002;42 Suppl 2:S93-99.

Issue with supplement

Glauser TA. Integrating clinical trial data into clinical practice. Neurology. 2002;58(12 Suppl 7):S6-12.

Documents available on the web:
Goldacre B. Dore – the media’s miracle cure for dyslexia. Bad Science. Weblog [cited 2015 Dec 27].  Available from: .

Italia. Decreto legislativo 29 ottobre, n. 419. Riordinamento del sistema degli enti pubblici nazionali, a norma degli articoli 11 e 14 della legge 15 marzo 1997, n. 59. Gazzetta Ufficiale – Serie Generale n. 268, 15 ottobre 1999.

Book: online/electronic
Simons NE, Menzies B, Matthews M. A Short Course in Soil and Rock Slope Engineering.
London: Thomas Telford Publishing; 2001 [cited 2015 June 22].  Available from: .

British Standards Institution. BS 5950–8:2003. Structural use of steelwork in building: code of practice for fire resistant design. London: BSI; 2003.

Chapter in a Book
Partridge H, Hallam G. Evidence-based practice and information literacy. In: Lipu S, Williamson K, Lloyd A. (eds.) Exploring methods in information literacy research. Wagga Wagga, Australia: Centre for Information Studies; 2007. p. 149–170.

Conference Proceeding
Wittke M. Design, construction, supervision and long-term behaviour of tunnels in swelling rock. In: Van Cotthem A, Charlier R, Thimus J-F, Tshibangu J-P. (eds.) Eurock 2006: multiphysics coupling and long term behaviour in rock mechanics: Proceedings of the International Symposium of the International Society for Rock Mechanics, EUROCK 2006, 9–12 May 2006, Liège, Belgium. London: Taylor & Francis; 2006. p. 211–216.

Scientific and Technical reports
Akutsu T. Total heart replacement device. Bethesda (MD): National Institutes of Health, National Heart and Lung Institute; 1974 Apr. Report No.: NIH-NHLI-69- 2185-4.


Manuscripts should conform to the following reporting guidelines:

  • Studies of diagnostic accuracy: STARD
  • Observational studies: STROBE
  • Microarray experiments: MIAME
  • Other types of health-related research: Consult the EQUATOR web site for appropriate reporting guidelines.

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses must be reported according to the relevant reporting guidelines, i.e. PRISMA-S (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses literature search extension).

Scoping Reviews must be reported according to the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR): Checklist and Explanation.

Clinical trials must be reported according to the relevant reporting guidelines, i.e. CONSORT for randomized controlled trials, TREND for non-randomized trials, and other specialized guidelines as appropriate.

Authors of manuscripts describing the results of clinical trials must adhere to the CONSORT reporting guidelines appropriate to their trial design, available on the CONSORT Statement web site. Before the paper can enter peer review, authors must:

  • Provide the registry name and number in the methods section of the manuscript
  • Provide a copy of the trial protocol as approved by the ethics committee and a completed CONSORT checklist as supporting information (which will be published alongside the paper, if accepted). This should be named S1 CONSORT Checklist.
  • Include the CONSORT flow diagram as the manuscript’s “Fig 1”

Any deviation from the trial protocol must be explained in the paper. Authors must explicitly discuss informed consent in their paper, and we reserve the right to ask for a copy of the patient consent form.

All clinical trials must be registered in one of the publicly-accessible registries approved by the WHO or ICMJE (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors). Authors must provide the trial registration number. Prior disclosure of results on a clinical trial registry site will not affect consideration for publication. We reserve the right to inform authors’ institutions or ethics committees, and to reject the manuscript, if we become aware of unregistered trials. Where trials were not publicly registered before participant recruitment began, authors must:

  • Register all related clinical trials and confirm they have done so in the Methods section
  • Explain in the Methods the reason for failing to register before participant recruitment.