Abbreviations and symbols

Use only standard abbreviations; the use of non-standard abbreviations can be extremely confusing to readers. Avoid abbreviations in the title. The full term for which an abbreviation stands should precede its first use in the text unless it is a standard unit of measurement.

IV. B. Sending the manuscript to the journal

An increasing number of journals now accept electronic submission of manuscripts, whether on disk, as attachments to electronic mail, or by downloading directly onto the journal website. Electronic submission saves time as well as postage costs, and allows the manuscript to be handled in electronic form throughout the editorial process (for example, when it is sent out for review). When submitting a manuscript electronically, authors should consult with the instructions for authors of the journal they have chosen for their manuscript.

If a paper version of the manuscript is submitted, send the required number of copies of the manuscript and figures; they are all needed for peer review and editing, and editorial office staff cannot be expected to make the required copies.

Manuscripts must be accompanied by a cover letter, which should include the following information.

• A full statement to the editor about all submissions and previous reports that might be regarded as redundant publication of the same or very similar work. Any such work should be referred to specifically, and referenced in the new paper. Copies of such material should be included with the submitted paper, to help the editor decide how to handle the matter.

• A statement of financial or other relationships that might lead to a conflict of interest, if that information is not included in the manuscript itself or in an authors' form.

• A statement that the manuscript has been read and approved by all the authors, that the requirements for authorship as stated earlier in this document have been met, and that each author believes that the manuscript represents honest work, if that information is not provided in another form (see below); and

• The name, address, and telephone number of the corresponding author, who is responsible for communicating with the other authors about revisions and final approval of the proofs, if that information is not included on the manuscript itself.

The letter should give any additional information that may be helpful to the editor, such as the type or format of article in the particular journal that the manuscript represents. If the manuscript has been submitted previously to another journal, it is helpful to include the previous editor's and reviewers' comments with the submitted manuscript, along with the authors' responses to those comments. Editors encourage authors to submit these previous communications and doing so may expedite the review process.

Many journals now provide a pre-submission checklist that assures that all the components of the submission have been included. Some journals now also require that authors complete checklists for reports of certain study types (e.g., the CONSORT checklist for reports of randomized controlled trials). Authors should look to see if the journal uses such checklists, and send them with the manuscript if they are requested.

Copies of any permission to reproduce published material, to use illustrations or report information about identifiable people, or to name people for their contributions must accompany the manuscript.

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