Authors' Guidelines

We need you to confirm by email (to [email protected]) that you have read and agree to the terms in these notes before we can publish original articles, and that you have completed the checklist at the end of this document.

Please pay particular attention to guidelines written like this (BOLD).

SSMJ welcomes articles (e.g. primary research, audits, clinical guidance, reviews) and letters, book reviews and news items from health professionals working in South Sudan, or with an interest in the country. Please note:

  • The opinions, information and figures given in signed articles are the responsibility of the author/s and do not necessarily represent the views of the South Sudan Medical Journal. The author, not SSMJ, is responsible for any clinical guidance or statements published.
  • The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License (please read this). This means materials can be freely downloaded and shared for educational and non-commercial purposes. If republished, text and pictures should be fully credited and referenced to SSMJ and a hyperlink made to the SSMJ website. Materials of other copyright holders cannot be republished without their permission.
  • SSMJ is a member of African Journals Online (AJOL), this allows AJOL to publish/display SSMJ materials on its website.
  • For clinical research articles you should get ethical permission to publish. For research carried out in South Sudan, see Guidance for undertaking research in the Republic of South Sudan. In some cases you may need the patient’s/client’s permission.
  • Types of topics published in SSMJ include Research (Reports on any type of research undertaken by the author); Clinical trials, Clinical guidelines, Case studies (see Guidelines on writing case reports), Editorials, Literature reviews, News relevant to South Sudan, and Correspondence.
  • Original articles must not be submitted simultaneously to other publications and must not have been accepted for publication elsewhere.
  • All articles are double-blind peer-reviewed by at least one independent reviewer/ health professional. SSMJ prepares your manuscript for peer review.
  • When both editors and authors have agreed the content of the Word version, the article is converted to a pdf. This is sent to the author to check although only mistakes /typos can be changed at this stage.
  • Send articles you want considered for publication to [email protected]. All submissions will be acknowledged. When replying to our emails keep the same ‘subject line’. When revising a document keep the same document name, just change the date or give your initials are the end of the name.
  • Note that it takes about 8 - 10 weeks or more between the date of submission and the date of publication – depending partly on how much editing is needed, how long it takes to get the article peer reviewed and how quickly authors respond to the comments of reviewers and editors. 
  • The Editorial team reserves the right to decide in which issue of the journal your article is published – although we try to publish as soon as possible after articles are peer reviewed and finalized.
  • Articles must be no longer than a total of 1500-2000 words – this includes references, tables, etc. Items of this length are more likely, than longer ones, to be accepted for publication, partly owing to space constraints, and partly because short items are more likely to be read.
  • We like boxes, tables and images to break up the text. Note: If you are unable, for word count reasons, to include all your useful data in your manuscript give a contact/link from which a reader can access it.
  • The journal is for all levels of health professionals. So make your article ‘reader-friendly’ by using short sentences, avoiding passive verbs, and explaining technical terms or acronyms that some readers may not know.  Use ‘UK-English’ (e.g. 'formalise' not 'formalize', 'programme' not 'program', anaemia not anemia).  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_spelling_differences. To set your language to UK-English: Click Review, Language, Set proofing language, select English (United Kingdom).
  • The Editorial team can help you prepare articles and reserves the right to edit and shorten them. Edited articles are always shown for approval to the original author before publication.
  • Formatting: The manuscript must be in Microsoft Word, Times New Roman font, size 11 (for the main text) and contain no unnecessary formatting. Do not: number your pages, or use Endnotes, or insert Headers or Footers or put text in boxes. Do use SI units. The editorial team will put your article into SSMJ’s own format style.
  • Title: Should be short, attract readers’ interest and contain key words that will identify your paper when people are searching databases.
  • Authors: Give the names (given and family) of all authors but not titles/qualifications or degrees; include affiliations for all authors (e.g. institution/location), and email address for the author to whom correspondence should be sent. All named authors must consent to publication. 
  • Abstract: For full length articles include a short abstract of no more than 300 words. Use the headings: Background, Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusions.  An abstract is often indexed by search engines.
  • Keywords: Give up to 5 keywords to describe the content (i.e. important ideas and concepts) of your article to aid online searches. A keyword should be one word where possible although two- and three- word specialist terms/acronyms are acceptable. Each keyword should appear in your abstract and main text.
  • Abbreviations/Acronyms: Use sparingly. Insert after the full term is used for the first time in the abstract and main article; e.g. World Health Organization (WHO). Then use only the acronym throughout the article.
  • Main article. Most should include: Introduction/Background, Objective, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions.
  • Tables: Each table must have a number and title, and be mentioned in the text. Do not use shading and keep formatting simple. Use ‘n’ not ‘N’, and ‘%’ not ‘percentage’. See Tables for more help. If the table has been published elsewhere you must obtain the consent of the copyright holder to republish it.
  • Images/Charts: We like to include a limited number of photographs, graphs and other images. Please send these as separate files in uncompressed .jpg format (not Word or ppt). Photos should be of as high resolution as possible (so they reproduce nicely in hard copy). Each image must have a number and caption and be mentioned in the text.  The caption must say to whom the image should be credited. If the image is not your property make sure that you have written/email permission from the copyright holder to use it. We may ask to see this permission. If the image shows an identifiable person, that person, or guardian, must give permission (preferable written/email) for publication.
  • Hyperlinks/Websites: Make sure these open correctly.
  • Include as necessary: Declarations of conflict of interest from all authors; sources of funding; ethical permission to publish clinical research (send us a copy of the ethical approval for research on human subjects); acknowledgements.
  • References must be kept to a maximum of 15, and cannot be changed after the manuscript is submitted. When possible, give references that are easy to access/in the public domain. Cited manuscripts that have been accepted but not yet published can be included as references followed by '(in press)' instead of the year.

* Reference lists must be generated manually and not with the use of reference manager software. Do not use ‘endnotes’.
* Insert citations in the text as numbers between square brackets, e.g. [1]. List all references at the end of the article in numerical order of appearance in the Vancouver style (not alphabetical order).
* When writing the reference:

- do not use italics or bold; use upper case (capital) letters only when essential.
- give the names and initials of all authors, e.g. Taye A, Mariam DH.; if there are more than six authors, give the first three names followed by et al. Or the full name of the organization (e.g. World Health Organization).
- use approved abbreviations of journal titles - see Index Medicus. Give the volume and issue number of the journal, and first and last page of the article cited.
- when possible, include the website and/or a digital object identifier (DOI) link and PubMed ID (PMID)/PubMed Central ID (PMCID). You do not need to say the date you accessed the article (in order to minimise the word count).

Examples of how to write references

Journals: 

Books: 

Chapter/section in a book:

  • Timmermann C. A matter of degree: the normalisation of hypertension, c. 1940–2000 in: W Ernst (Ed.) Histories of the normal and the abnormal: social and cultural histories of norm and normativity. Routledge, London; 2006: 245–261.

Internet: 

  • World Health Organization. The World Health Report 2002 - Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life. World Health Organization, Geneva; 2002. http://www.who.int/whr/2002.

Other (e.g. reports): Follow the same format: Author(s). Title. Publisher, publisher location; year: pages.

Useful publications

 

Checklist: Please download and complete this checklist and send to [email protected]    

Item

Yes

Not relevant

Original article not submitted to another journal /publication.

 

 

 

The Creative Commons license has been read

 

 

Agree that African Journals Online (AJOL) can display the article on its website, and that SSMJ can supply the pdf or URL to AJOL if requested.

 

 

Author accepts responsibility for the contents of the article including clinical guidance/drug dosages, and for obtaining permissions for images, quotes, etc.

 

 

Ethical permission obtained for clinical research.

 

 

Patient consent obtained if relevant.

 

 

Word count does not exceed 1500-2000 (unless more has been previously agreed).

 

 

A short title covering key words.

 

 

For each author: given and family names, affiliations/address; email of corresponding author.

 

 

Abstract of ~100-200 words.

 

 

Keyword – up to 5.

 

 

Each table numbered, titled and mentioned in text.

 

 

Each image numbered and mentioned in text, captioned, and credited. Permission obtained if not your property.

Sent as uncompressed jpgs. Photos should be high resolution.

 

 

All hyperlinks open correctly.

 

 

References written in the correct style (and not formatted as ‘endnotes’).