Authors

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SQUMJ Guide for Authors

SQUMJ is a nationally and internationally peer-reviewed journal that publishes original articles in a wide variety of biomedical disciplines. SQUMJ is published quarterly in print and online with free access to full text articles. 

All SQUMJ issues and this Guide for Authors are freely available online at www.squmj.org.

Manuscripts should be submitted online via the Editorial Manager system at www.edmgr.com/squmj/

 

Key Issues

UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS OF ICMJE (INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF MEDICAL JOURNAL EDITORS)

Before submitting manuscripts, authors should check that they confirm to the Uniform Requirements of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (www.ICMJE.org) to which SQUMJ conforms.

TYPES OF MANUSCRIPT PUBLISHED

Manuscripts submitted must be based on original work and not have been published, submitted or accepted for publication elsewhere. The Journal accepts the following kind of manuscripts:

1. Editorials (by invitation from the Editorial Board, or papers received of exceptional merit)
2. Comments
3. Reviews
4. Special Contributions
5. Medical History articles
6. Sounding Board articles
7. Original Studies
8. Brief Communications
9. Technical Notes
10. Case Series and Case Reports
11. Continuing Medical Education articles
12. Interesting Medical Images
13. Letters to the Editor
14. Conference Abstracts

CONFIDENTIALITY

SQUMJ editors and publication staff keep all information about a submitted manuscript confidential and limited to those involved in the evaluation, review and publication process. Only the Editorin-Chief, the Editor, the Managing and Assistant Editors and the two allocated Associate Editors are aware of the names of manuscript authors and their affiliations. SQUMJ has a double-blind review process so that authors’ names and affiliations are not revealed to reviewers nor are reviewers’ names revealed to authors. Only information on accepted articles is archived (in hard copy and on CD) for future reference. Electronic and paper files of withdrawn or rejected articles are destroyed.

AUTHORSHIP

Authorship must be based on all of the following four criteria:

1) Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data

2) Drafting the article or revising it critically

3) Final approval of the version to be published

4) Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved

All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an acknowledgements section at the end of the article.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Trust in the peer-review process and the credibility of published articles depends partly on the handling of conflict of interest issues in the writing, peer review and editorial decision-making process. Conflict of interest exists when an author (or the author’s institution), reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence his/ her actions. These people must disclose all relationships that could be viewed as potential conflicts of interest. Authors need to complete the Conflict of Interest Section in the SQUMJ standard covering letter. The editors may use this information as a basis for editorial decisions and may publish it in the Journal. Peer-reviewers are requested to declare any conflict of interest. SQUMJ subject editors and reviewers have to declare any conflict of interest before taking responsibility for a manuscript.  

INFORMED CONSENT

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. SQUMJ does not publish identifying information in written descriptions or images unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or guardian) has given written informed consent for publication. This requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript before publication. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning and editors should so note. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the manuscript. 

ETHICAL PERMISSION - HUMAN AND ANIMAL RIGHTS

All studies on human or animal subjects must contain a statement about ethical permission for the study including the date it was granted and the name of the committee and organisation which granted it. Such studies must be in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008. If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach, and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether the institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.

COPYRIGHT

Copyright of the accepted manuscripts will transfer from the authors to the Journal (for full details see the copyright transfer section in the standard covering letter below).

SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCT POLICY

Following the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), SQUMJ defines scientific misconduct as:
1. Falsifying data: inventing data, selective reporting or omission, suppression or distortion of data.
2. Plagiarism: using the published or unpublished language, ideas or thoughts of another writer without reference or permission and presenting them as one’s own. Plagiarism includes duplicate publication (publication of an article in more than one journal or in another language) and redundant publication (more than 10% of an article overlapping with another of your submissions/publications).
3. Authorship issues: exclusion of involved researchers or inclusion of researchers who have not contributed to the work or publication without permission from all authors.
4. Disregard for generally accepted research practice: including manipulating experiments/statistics to get biased results or improper reporting of results.
5. Failure to follow legal requirements: violating local regulations and laws involving the use of funds, copyright, care of animals, human subjects, investigational drugs, recombinant products, new devices or radioactive, biological or chemical materials.
6. Inappropriate behaviour in cases of misconduct: including false accusations of misconduct; failure to report misconduct; not providing information relevant to a misconduct claim and retaliation against people claiming or investigating misconduct.

SQUMJ takes all these forms of misconduct extremely seriously. It follows the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines. The final decision on action is taken by the Editor-in-Chief. 

PEER REVIEW PROCESS

The Editorial Office of the Journal and the SQUMJ Subject Editors check each submitted manuscript for general quality, suitability and whether it conforms to the accepted format. All manuscripts are also checked for plagiarism; if discovered, immediate strong action is taken. If found prima facie acceptable, the manuscript will be sent out for double-blind international review. All reviewers treat the manuscript with the strictest confidentiality and must declare any conflict of interests. Substantial delays can be avoided if authors comply with these Guidelines. Comments and suggestions from the reviewers are conveyed to the authors via the online system. Revised manuscripts are subject to further review by the original reviewers and the responsible Subject Editors. The final decision as to acceptance or rejection lies with the Editor-in-Chief, with advice from the SQUMJ Editorial Board and Sultan Qaboos University's Academic Publications Board.

OPEN ACCESS

Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal is an Open Access Journal. This means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles under the following conditions: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). This is also in accordance with the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) definition of open access.

ARCHIVING

This journal utilizes the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration.

  

Preparing the Manuscript

TYPES OF ARTICLES – Length and Subsections

Editorials and Reviews: (c. 2,000 words & 20 refs. and 5,000 words & max 100 refs., respectively). These should have a sequence of logical sections related to their content and purpose. Editorials should be submitted via e-mail to the Editorial Office.

Comments: (c. 2,000 words & 20 refs.). These should refer to an article already published or scheduled to be published in an issue of SQUMJ. These should have asequence of logical sections related to their content and purpose. Comments should be submitted via e-mail to the Editorial Office.

Special Contributions & Sounding Board articles:  (c. 5,000 words & 30 refs. and 2,000 words & 20 refs., respectively). These should have a sequence of logical sections related to their content and purpose.

Medical History articles: (c. 2,500 words & 20 refs.). These articles should highlight the historical background of a disease or its discoverer, or any other topic within the history of medicine. These should have a sequence of logical sections related to their content and purpose. Medical History articles should be submitted via e-mail to the Editorial Office.

Clinical and Basic Research articles: (c. 3,000 words & 30 refs.). The manuscript should be divided into the following seven major sections: 1) Advances in Knowledge (how the paper contributes to this, list of max. 100 words); 2) Application to Patient Care (how the paper contributes to this, list of max. 100 words); 3) Introduction; 4) Methods; 5) Results; 6) Discussion; and 7) Conclusion. The Methods section should include sufficient details of methods and equipment so that another individual could repeat the work. Clearly mention the period of research and the institution where it was conducted.

Brief Communications: (c. 1,500 words & 15 refs.) The manuscript should be divided into the following five sections: 1) Introduction; 2) Methods; 3) Results; 4) Discussion; and 5) Conclusion.

Technical Notes: (c. 1,500 words & 15 refs.) This should have a sequence of logical sections related to its content and purpose.  

Case Series & Case Reports: (Series: c. 2,000 words and 15 refs; Reports: 1,500 words & 15 refs, or 2000 words & 25 refs. if literature review included). These should have the following four sections: Introduction; Case Report/s; Discussion; and Conclusion. Due to space constraints, these articles may not appear in the print edition although the abstracts will. However, full articles will still appear in the online edition.  

Continuing Medical Education articles: (c. 3,000 words & 30 refs.). These should have a sequence of logical sections related to their content and purpose, and be followed by a quiz with a key for the answers.  

Interesting Medical Images: These need a brief Introduction to the image/s and a detailed caption for each one, followed by a Comment section of maximum 500 words and c. 5 references.  

Letters to the Editor: (c. 1,000 words & 5 refs.). These are short communications either in response to a previous SQUMJ article, or on a new topic of interest.  

JOURNAL LANGUAGE & TRANSLATION

The Journal publishes papers in English, with the title, author names, abstracts and keywords published in Arabic and English. Where none of the authors are Arabic speaking, an abstract translation service is provided. British English spelling and punctuation are used.

STYLE

The modern trend to simplify has also influenced scientific writing. Avoid long sentences, jargon and clichés. When tempted to use a difficult word or complex sentence, see if it can be replaced by simpler one. Always write for the generalist, rather than the specialist.   

FORMAT

Use the Times New Roman font, 12 point in Microsoft Word. Use minimum formatting, since most formatting will be removed before typesetting. Restrict formatting to superscripts and subscripts and what is absolutely essential to reveal various heading levels. Use true superscripts and subscripts and not “raised/lowered” characters. For symbols, use the standard “Symbol” fonts on Windows or Macintosh. Using strange symbol fonts may give unpredictable results in print, even if the fonts are supplied by the author.

Article Sections

ABSTRACT

As the most widely read part of a paper, the abstract demands careful preparation. Editorials, Letters to the Editor and Interesting Medical Images do not need an abstract. Abstracts of Clinical & Basic Research studies and Brief Communications (max. 250 words and 150 words respectively) should be clearly divided into four Sections: Objectives, Methods, Results and Conclusion. Reviews, Sounding Board articles, Special Contributions, Technical Notes, Case Reports and CME articles should have a narrative abstract in a single paragraph (max. 150 words). The abstract is uploaded to the SQUMJ Editorial Manager website as a separate file.  

KEYWORDS

Keywords are needed for Reviews, Sounding Board articles, Special Contributions, Clinical and Basic Research articles, Brief Communications, Technical Notes, Case Series/Reports and CME articles. Provide max. 8 keywords using terms from the medical subject heading (MeSH) database on the PubMed site (From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/mesh). Keywords are uploaded on the SQUMJ Editorial Manager website in the special section for this purpose.  

ABBREVIATIONS & SYSTEM OF UNITS

Since abbreviations tend to make the text difficult to read, avoid them except when essential. In the Abstract and the article itself define each abbreviation when first used, e.g. coronary artery disease (CAD), and thereafter use the abbreviation alone without further explanation. Avoid beginning sentences with abbreviations. Abbreviations must be expanded in titles, subtitles and captions. Use abbreviations, rather than words, for units and percentages. (e.g. km, mm, kg, L, mL, %, etc.). SI units are used in this Journal. (eg. pmol/L) The corresponding units may be included in parentheses.  

REFERENCES

Details already available in the literature should not be included in the manuscript, but referenced sequentially in the manuscript, for example: “The Omani Ministry of Health has prioritised eye care in its next five-year plan”.3 The reference number must be in superscript after a comma or full stop. In the article itself and the Reference section, list all the references in sequential numerical order. In the Reference section, list all authors up to a maximum of six. If there are more than 6 authors then write et al. after the sixth author. The Journal uses a variation of the Index Medicus style of referencing. Please adopt the exact style as shown in the examples below, including punctuation. Journal names should be abbreviated as per the Journals Database section in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ nlmcatalog/journals). Please include DOI numbers where available.  

Journal Citation

Khandekar R, Mohammed AJ, Negrel AD, Riyami AA. The prevalence and causes of blindness in the Sultanate of Oman: The Oman Eye Study (OES). Br J Ophthalmol 2011; 86:952–8. doi: 10.1136/bjo.86.9.957.

Book Chapter

Brown J, Murphy KH. Adult-onset Still’s Disease. In: Maddison PJ, Woo P, Glass DN, Eds. Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology. 3rd ed. Oxford : Medical Publication, 2005. Pp. 1127–31.

Book

Smith MD. Introduction to Gynaecology. 6th ed. New York : Institutional Press, 2005. P.15.  

Report

World Health Organization. Issues in Health Services Delivery. Geneva : World Health Organization. WHO/EIP/00I. Pp. 3–4.  

Thesis

Rowe L. DNA damage-induced reactive oxygen species: A genotoxic stress response. PhD Thesis, 2009, Emory University , Georgia , USA .  

Website

Smith AD. Pregnancy after 35. From: www.marchof-dimes.com/pregnancy  Accessed: Sep 2008.

LAYOUT

Photographs - The quality of photographs must be high enough for good reproduction and should stand reduction. Photographs must be in digital format (300 dpi). It is the author’s responsibility to obtain permission for reproductions from other sources. Number photographs consecutively and provide a brief but fully self-explanatory caption for each. Cite all photographs in the text and number them consecutively. All photographs are printed in colour in SQUMJ.  

Drawings - All line drawings should be planned to fit the Journal’s page size (12 x 18cm). Lines should be dark enough and letters should be of professional quality in order to stand reduction. Do not use bold or all-capital lettering. Do not combine line drawings and photographs into one illustration. For best results, it is advisable to execute your drawings in a vector application such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw. The Editorial Office is able to accommodate a wide range of vector and bitmap formats executed on Windows or Macintosh platforms. Cite all drawings in the text and number them consecutively.  

Tables and Charts - Each table should be on a separate page at the end of the manuscript. Long tables and those with calculations should preferably be in Microsoft Excel. Number them consecutively, give concise but self-explanatory titles to each and cite them in the text. All X and Y axes must be clearlylabelled. Charts pasted into MS Word documents in un-editable “picture” formats are not acceptable.  

 Submission

MANUSCRIPT AND COVERING LETTER

SQUMJ manuscripts are now submitted online via the Editorial Manager system at: www.edmgr.com/squmj/ Authors can also track the progress of their manuscript and submit revised manuscripts on this site. Alternatively, authors can follow the link to the Editorial Manager site from the SQUMJ home page (www.squmj.org) or the Authors page. The latter contains the Guidelines for Authors, Resources for Authors and a link to our standard Covering Letter which must be uploaded along with the manuscript. If there should be any problems with this process, authors should contact the SQUMJ office at mjournal@squ.edu.om or squmjoman@gmail.com.

Review Process

The Editorial Office of the Journal and the SQUMJ subject editors check each submitted manuscript for general quality, suitability and whether it conforms to the accepted format. All manuscripts are also checked for plagiarism; if discovered, immediate strong action is taken. If found prima facie acceptable, the manuscript will be sent out for double-blind international peer review. All reviewers treat the manuscript with the strictest confidentiality and must declare any conflict of interests. Substantial delays can be avoided if authors comply with these Guidelines. Comments and suggestions from the reviewers are conveyed to the authors via the online system. Revised manuscripts are subject to further review by the original reviewers and the responsible subject editors. The final decision as to acceptance or rejection lies with the Editor-in-Chief, with advice from the SQUMJ Editorial Board and Sultan Qaboos University's Academic Publications Board.

Editing  

Papers selected for publication are edited by the SQUMJ Editorial Office for brevity, clarity, grammar, spelling and style. When the editing is extensive, with the possibility of altered meaning, queries are sent to the corresponding author by email.

Proofs & Prints  

The galley proof of an accepted article is emailed in PDF format to the corresponding author for typographical checking only. It should be returned within 48 hours of receipt. The corresponding author will be provided with one copy of the issue per author of the manuscript. Since high-quality PDF reprints are downloadable from the SQUMJ web site, physical reprints are not issued. The full text of all articles is also available in PubMed and the abstracts in Scopus.

Checklist for Authors  

•           Manuscript conforms to ICJME Uniform Requirements?

•           Covering letter - all required sections completed?

•           Abstract has required length and sections? Keywords provided?

•           Arabic translations of title, author-names, abstract & keywords provided (if one author is Arabic speaking)?

•           Manuscript conforms to SQUMJ’s style, length and number of sections?

•           Tables, drawings, charts and photographs placed after the article text and in editable format?

•           References in the Journal’s exact style?

•           Have all sources been acknowledged, ethical permission and patient consent received, any conflict of interest declared and copyright issues resolved?

SQUMJ Standard Covering Letter

Available from: www.squmj.org and also from: www.edmgr.com/squmj Author submission page.

This form covers Declaration of Author contributions, Source of Funding, Copyright Transfer and Declaration of Conflict of Interest. The signature of the corresponding author at the bottom of this form certifies compliance with all sections. Manuscripts will not be processed until the corresponding author has completed this form and uploaded it along with the manuscript to SQUMJ at: www.edmgr.com/squmj/

 

To: The Editor-in-Chief, SQU Medical Journal, College of Medicine & Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Post Box 35, PC 123 Al-Khod, Oman.

Please find enclosed my/our paper entitled:

Please consider it for publication in the SQUMJ. I/we certify that this paper has not been submitted for publication elsewhere and will not be submitted to another publication be it print or electronic. Likewise this paper has not been published elsewhere either in part or in its entirety in either print or electronic format. Upon acceptance of this manuscript, the copyright will transfer to SQUMJ.

Full Name & Signature Corresponding Author:

Full postal address of Corresponding Author:

E-mail address for correspondence:

COPYRIGHT TRANSFER

In order that SQUMJ may disseminate the articles submitted and accepted by SQUMJ, authors must transfer copyright to SQUMJ. If the article has multiple authors, each author must individually transfer his or her right to SQUMJ by signing this form.

1. The authors hereby transfer all copyrights in and to the manuscript named above in all forms and media, now or hereafter known, to the SQUMJ and effective if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication in SQUMJ.

2. The authors retain the following nonexclusive copyrights, to be exercised only after the manuscript has been published in online format on the SQUMJ website:

a) Reprint the manuscript in print collections of the author’s own writing.

b) Present the manuscript orally in its entirety.

c) Use the manuscript in theses and/or dissertations.

d) Reproduce the manuscript for use in courses the author is teaching. (If the author is employed by an academic institution, that institution may also reproduce the manuscript for course teaching.)

e) Distribute photocopies of the manuscript to colleagues, but only for non-commercial purposes.

f) Reuse figures and tables created by the author in future manuscripts the author writes.

g) Post a copy of the manuscript on the author’s personal website, departmental website and/or the university’s intranet, provided a hyperlink to the manuscript on the SQUMJ website is included.

h) In all the instances under clause 2a) through 2g) above, the author will give proper credit to the original publication in SQUMJ as follows: This research was originally published in SQUMJ. Author(s). Title. Sultan Qaboos University Med J Year; vol:pp-pp. © Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal.

3. The authors understand that if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication in SQUMJ it will be pre-published online in open access format one to two months before the issue appears in print. It will also appear in the SCOPUS Index in abstract format and in PubMed as a ‘Free PMC article’ (full text freely available).

4. The authors warrant that the manuscript (or its essential substance) has not been published other than as an abstract in any language or format and has not been submitted elsewhere for print or electronic publication consideration.

5. The authors warrant that the manuscript does not contain any material the publication of which would violate any copyright or other personal or proprietary right of any person or entity.

6. The authors will obtain and include with the manuscript written permission from any respective copyright owners for the use of any textual, illustrative, or tabular materials that have been previously published or are otherwise copyrighted and owned by third parties. The authors agree that it is their responsibility to pay any fees charged for permissions.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURE

SQUMJ is committed to ensuring the integrity of all its activities. The SQUMJ Conflict of Interest Policy requires each author to disclose all relevant financial and other interests that might be construed as resulting in an actual, potential or apparent conflict in one’s role as contributor to SQUMJ, regardless of amount or value. Nothing in the disclosure statement shall be regarded as creating a presumption of impropriety in the existence of financial interests or other relationships. SQUMJ’s purpose is to inform peer reviewers and readers of the existence of financial relationships pertinent to the article in the interest of the full transparency of the peer review and publication processes. This form must be filled out and signed if and when any of the authors has any conflict of interest to disclose. It also needs to be filled out if none of the authors have a conflict of interest to declare. During the peer-review process the conflict(s) of interests will only be disclosed to editors and reviewers who will keep them confidential. If the paper is accepted for publication in SQUMJ, all disclosures will appear in both the print and online edition of the article in the Conflict of Interest section at the end of the article. Please tick the relevant box below:

Either:  No author of this paper has a conflict of interest, including specific financial interests, relationships and/or affiliations relevant to the subject matter or materials included in this manuscript.

Or:  The authors certify that all conflicts of interest, as applicable to each author, including specific financial interests, relationships and/or affiliations relevant to the subject matter or materials included in this manuscript are disclosed in the manuscript, in the Conflict of Interest section.

SOURCE OF FUNDING

Please complete here giving name of funding organisation and grant number for your work (or insert ‘Unfunded’).

CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORK

I, the undersigned, corresponding author of this manuscript, agree to the conditions stated above and certify that I and my co-authors have contributed to all of the following:

1. Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data or analysis and interpretation of data

2. Drafting the article or revising it critically

3. Final approval of the version to be published

4. We agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved

Name Corresponding Author:

Organisation:

Signature: