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Preparing your manuscript

This section provides general style and formatting information only. Formatting guidelines for specific article types can be found below.

General formatting guidelines

Preparing figures

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When preparing figures, please follow the formatting instructions below.

  • Figures should be numbered in the order they are first mentioned in the text, and uploaded in this order. Multi-panel figures (those with parts a, b, c, d etc.) should be submitted as a single composite file that contains all parts of the figure.
  • Figures should be uploaded in the correct orientation.
  • Figure titles (max 15 words) and legends (max 300 words) should be provided in the main manuscript, not in the graphic file.
  • Figure keys should be incorporated into the graphic, not into the legend of the figure.
  • Each figure should be closely cropped to minimize the amount of white space surrounding the illustration. Cropping figures improves accuracy when placing the figure in combination with other elements when the accepted manuscript is prepared for publication on our site. For more information on individual figure file formats, see our detailed instructions.
  • Individual figure files should not exceed 10 MB. If a suitable format is chosen, this file size is adequate for extremely high quality figures.
  • Please note that it is the responsibility of the author(s) to obtain permission from the copyright holder to reproduce figures (or tables) that have previously been published elsewhere. In order for all figures to be open access, authors must have permission from the rights holder if they wish to include images that have been published elsewhere in non open access journals. Permission should be indicated in the figure legend, and the original source included in the reference list.


Figure file types

We accept the following file formats for figures:

  • EPS (suitable for diagrams and/or images)
  • PDF (suitable for diagrams and/or images)
  • Microsoft Word (suitable for diagrams and/or images, figures must be a single page)
  • PowerPoint (suitable for diagrams and/or images, figures must be a single page)
  • TIFF (suitable for images)
  • JPEG (suitable for photographic images, less suitable for graphical images)
  • PNG (suitable for images)
  • BMP (suitable for images)
  • CDX (ChemDraw - suitable for molecular structures)

For information and suggestions of suitable file formats for specific figure types, please see our author academy.

Figure size and resolution

Figures are resized during publication of the final full text and PDF versions to conform to the BioMed Central standard dimensions, which are detailed below.

Figures on the web:

  • width of 600 pixels (standard), 1200 pixels (high resolution).


Figures in the final PDF version:

  • width of 85 mm for half page width figure
  • width of 170 mm for full page width figure
  • maximum height of 225 mm for figure and legend
  • image resolution of approximately 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the final size


Figures should be designed such that all information, including text, is legible at these dimensions. All lines should be wider than 0.25 pt when constrained to standard figure widths. All fonts must be embedded.


Figure file compression


  • Vector figures should if possible be submitted as PDF files, which are usually more compact than EPS files.
  • TIFF files should be saved with LZW compression, which is lossless (decreases file size without decreasing quality) in order to minimize upload time.
  • JPEG files should be saved at maximum quality.
  • Conversion of images between file types (especially lossy formats such as JPEG) should be kept to a minimum to avoid degradation of quality.


If you have any questions or are experiencing a problem with figures, please contact the customer service team at info@biomedcentral.com.


Preparing main manuscript text

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Quick points:

  • Use double line spacing
  • Include line and page numbering
  • Use SI units: Please ensure that all special characters used are embedded in the text, otherwise they will be lost during conversion to PDF
  • Do not use page breaks in your manuscript

File formats

The following word processor file formats are acceptable for the main manuscript document:

  • Microsoft word (DOC, DOCX)
  • Rich text format (RTF)
  • TeX/LaTeX (use BioMed Central's TeX template)

Please note: editable files are required for processing in production. If your manuscript contains any non-editable files (such as PDFs) you will be required to re-submit an editable file when you submit your revised manuscript, or after editorial acceptance in case no revision is necessary.

Additional information for TeX/LaTeX users

Please use BioMed Central's TeX template and BibTeX stylefile if you use TeX format. Submit your references using either a bib or bbl file. When submitting TeX submissions, please submit both your TeX file and your bib/bbl file as manuscript files. Please also convert your TeX file into a PDF (please do not use a DIV file) and submit this PDF as a supplementary file with the name 'Reference PDF'. This PDF will be used by our production team as a reference point to check the layout of the article as the author intended. 

The Editorial Manager system checks for any errors in the Tex files. If an error is present then the system PDF will display LaTex code and highlight and explain the error in a section beginning with an exclamation mark (!).

All relevant editable source files must be uploaded during the submission process. Failing to submit these source files will cause unnecessary delays in the production process.

TeX templates

BioMedCentral_article (ZIP format) - preferred template

article (part of the standard TeX distribution)

amsart (part of the standard TeX distribution)

Style and language

English 

How can you help improve your manuscript for publication?

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Data and materials

For all journals, BioMed Central strongly encourages all datasets on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely to be either deposited in publicly available repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main paper or additional supporting files, in machine-readable format (such as spread sheets rather than PDFs) whenever possible. Please see the list of recommended repositories in our editorial policies.

For some journals, deposition of the data on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely is an absolute requirement. Please check the Instructions for Authors for the relevant journal and article type for journal specific policies.

For all manuscripts, information about data availability should be detailed in an ‘Availability of data and materials’ section. For more information on the content of this section, please see the Declarations section of the relevant journal’s Instruction for Authors. For more information on BioMed Centrals policies on data availability, please see our [editorial policies].


Formatting the 'Availability of data and materials' section of your manuscript

The following format for the 'Availability of data and materials section of your manuscript should be used:

"The dataset(s) supporting the conclusions of this article is(are) available in the [repository name] repository, [unique persistent identifier and hyperlink to dataset(s) in http:// format]."

The following format is required when data are included as additional files:

"The dataset(s) supporting the conclusions of this article is(are) included within the article (and its additional file(s))."

BioMed Central endorses the Force 11 Data Citation Principles and requires that all publicly available datasets be fully referenced in the reference list with an accession number or unique identifier such as a DOI.

For databases, this section should state the web/ftp address at which the database is available and any restrictions to its use by non-academics.

For software, this section should include:

  • Project name: e.g. My bioinformatics project
  • Project home page: e.g. http://sourceforge.net/projects/mged
  • Archived version: DOI or unique identifier of archived software or code in repository (e.g. enodo)
  • Operating system(s): e.g. Platform independent
  • Programming language: e.g. Java
  • Other requirements: e.g. Java 1.3.1 or higher, Tomcat 4.0 or higher
  • License: e.g. GNU GPL, FreeBSD etc.
  • Any restrictions to use by non-academics: e.g. licence needed

Information on available repositories for other types of scientific data, including clinical data, can be found in our editorial policies.

References

See our editorial policies for author guidance on good citation practice.

Please check the submission guidelines for the relevant journal and article type. 

What should be cited?

Only articles, clinical trial registration records and abstracts that have been published or are in press, or are available through public e-print/preprint servers, may be cited.

Unpublished abstracts, unpublished data and personal communications should not be included in the reference list, but may be included in the text and referred to as "unpublished observations" or "personal communications" giving the names of the involved researchers. Obtaining permission to quote personal communications and unpublished data from the cited colleagues is the responsibility of the author. Only footnotes are permitted. Journal abbreviations follow Index Medicus/MEDLINE.

Any in press articles cited within the references and necessary for the reviewers' assessment of the manuscript should be made available if requested by the editorial office.

How to format your references

Please check the Instructions for Authors for the relevant journal and article type for examples of the relevant reference style.

Web links and URLs: All web links and URLs, including links to the authors' own websites, should be given a reference number and included in the reference list rather than within the text of the manuscript. They should be provided in full, including both the title of the site and the URL, as well as the date the site was accessed, in the following format: The Mouse Tumor Biology Database. http://tumor.informatics.jax.org/mtbwi/index.do. Accessed 20 May 2013. If an author or group of authors can clearly be associated with a web link, such as for weblogs, then they should be included in the reference.

Authors may wish to make use of reference management software to ensure that reference lists are correctly formatted.

Preparing tables

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When preparing tables, please follow the formatting instructions below.

  • Tables should be numbered and cited in the text in sequence using Arabic numerals (i.e. Table 1, Table 2 etc.).
  • Tables less than one A4 or Letter page in length can be placed in the appropriate location within the manuscript.
  • Tables larger than one A4 or Letter page in length can be placed at the end of the document text file. Please cite and indicate where the table should appear at the relevant location in the text file so that the table can be added in the correct place during production.
  • Larger datasets, or tables too wide for A4 or Letter landscape page can be uploaded as additional files. Please see [below] for more information.
  • Tabular data provided as additional files can be uploaded as an Excel spreadsheet (.xls ) or comma separated values (.csv). Please use the standard file extensions.
  • Table titles (max 15 words) should be included above the table, and legends (max 300 words) should be included underneath the table.
  • Tables should not be embedded as figures or spreadsheet files, but should be formatted using ‘Table object’ function in your word processing program.
  • Color and shading may not be used. Parts of the table can be highlighted using superscript, numbering, lettering, symbols or bold text, the meaning of which should be explained in a table legend.
  • Commas should not be used to indicate numerical values.

If you have any questions or are experiencing a problem with tables, please contact the customer service team at info@biomedcentral.com.

Preparing additional files

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As the length and quantity of data is not restricted for many article types, authors can provide datasets, tables, movies, or other information as additional files.

All Additional files will be published along with the accepted article. Do not include files such as patient consent forms, certificates of language editing, or revised versions of the main manuscript document with tracked changes. Such files, if requested, should be sent by email to the journal’s editorial email address, quoting the manuscript reference number. Please do not send completed patient consent forms unless requested.

Results that would otherwise be indicated as "data not shown" should be included as additional files. Since many web links and URLs rapidly become broken, BioMed Central requires that supporting data are included as additional files, or deposited in a recognized repository. Please do not link to data on a personal/departmental website. Do not include any individual participant details. The maximum file size for additional files is 20 MB each, and files will be virus-scanned on submission. Each additional file should be cited in sequence within the main body of text.

If additional material is provided, please list the following information in a separate section of the manuscript text:

  • File name (e.g. Additional file 1)
  • File format including the correct file extension for example .pdf, .xls, .txt, .pptx (including name and a URL of an appropriate viewer if format is unusual)
  • Title of data
  • Description of data

Additional files should be named "Additional file 1" and so on and should be referenced explicitly by file name within the body of the article, e.g. 'An additional movie file shows this in more detail [see Additional file 1]'.

For further guidance on how to use Additional files or recommendations on how to present particular types of data or information, please see How to use additional files.

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