Fortunately, the desirable way to prepare and submit a manuscript to a publisher is no more difficult, time consuming, or expensive for an author than a haphazard or undesirable way. The margin of difference is enormous, however, when observed from the opposite point of view. The poorly organized and badly prepared manuscript submitted for a new book or journal article may well become a source of considerable extra work, worry, and expense to its author as well as to its publisher. In addition, the time lost in an exchange of correspondence necessary for clarification and for any retyping of the manuscript that must be done to prepare it properly for the printer frequently results in a delay in the publishing schedule All this tends to create an atmosphere of annoyance and anxiety for the author which serves no useful purpose and leaves much to be desired in his continuing sense of accomplishment and satisfaction on completion of the project.
While it is true that not all publishers subscribe to the same set of rules regarding the proper preparation of a manuscript, there are certain rules basic to the industry which all writers should know and observe in submitting a manuscript for publication. Since we are primarily concerned with the journal article in this publication, it would seem well to consider some of these rules in connection with the preparation of a manuscript that is to be submitted to a professional journal for publishing consideration.
Typing, Physical Preparation, Organization
1. All text, including quotations, case reports, legends for illustrations, and bibliographic references should be typed in double space and on one side of the paper only. Margins of 1-1/2 inches on either side, and at least 1 inch at the top and bottom of the page, should be allowed for editor's and printer's markings. The paper used should be 8-1/2 x 11 inches in size and of a quality that will take ink or ink eradicator.
2. It is preferable that manuscripts for a journal article be prepared in triplicate. The original and one copy should be submitted to the publisher. The third copy should be held in the author's own file, and any handwritten corrections made on the original should be noted on the copies as well.
3. Handwritten corrections in manuscript copy are acceptable if they are limited to a few words on a page and if they are legibly made in ink. Corrections in typed manuscript copy should be made within the line of text rather than in the margins or on a supplemental page. When it is necessary to insert additional material, the page on which the insertion is to be made may be cut apart and remounted with rubber cement so that all copy will read consecutively.
4. Manuscript pages should be numbered consecutively throughout the article in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
5. When an illustration, a chart, or a graph is to be used in the article, indicate clearly in the text where it is to be inserted. Illustrations are prepared for reproduction apart from the text and should be kept separate from the text in submitting the manuscript.
Spelling and Capitalization:
1. Follow a reliable medical dictionary for the correct spelling of medical terms.
2. Spell out words for which symbols are frequently substituted. For example: percent (%), pounds (#), inches ("), and (&).
3. Capitalize any trade names that must be used. ( It is preferable to use generic or chemical names rather than trade names whenever this is possible.) Common derivatives of proper nouns are usually not capitalized. For example: cesarean section, eustachian tube. Capitalize only the proper name in terms like Boyle's law and Sims' position.
4. All bibliographic and reference listings should be checked carefully for the correct spelling of authors' names, titles, and source data.
Tables, Extracts, References, Formulas
1. Tabular material should be prepared on a separate sheet of paper and typed in double space if possible. Tables should appear in the manuscript close to their points of reference, and when more than one table is to be used, each table should be numbered in sequence and referred to in the text by its number since tabular material may not always fall exactly at the point shown in the manuscript when set in print and broken down into pages. A credit line should appear below any table borrowed from a published source. Standard symbols for footnotes in tables should be used unless there are more than five. In such cases, superior letters are preferred as substitutes.
2. Extracts and case histories are often set in small type. They should be marked in the manuscript by a vertical line in the left-hand margin indicating clearly the beginning and end of each. When such material is a verbatim quotation from a published source and should, therefore, not be edited, indicate this by a note in the margin and give any necessary credit and/or permission forms.
3. Reference and bibliographic listings should include the following data in the order indicated below:
a. Book references: the name of the author(s), the title and edition, if other than the first, the publisher, the place of publication, and the date.
b. Article references: the name of the author(s), the title of the article, the name of the periodical in which it appeared, the volume and number of the periodical, the pages, and the date of publication.
If references are to be listed in alphabetical order -not keyed by number to the text - invert the name of the first author for each item listed. In a reference list keyed by number to the text, the natural order should be followed in listing the author's name and sequence for each item listed, and a corresponding superior number (typed above the line) should be clearly indicated in the text. Abbreviations of the names of periodicals should follow the standards set by the Quarterly Cumulative Index Medicus. When uncertain about an abbreviation, it is best to spell out the name of the periodical in full.
4. Formulas for chemical structure should be drawn with precision and care since the printer must necessarily follow the copy exactly as it appears in the manuscript.
Illustrations require special handling in the reproduction process. Sharp blackand-white glossy prints of original photographs should be submitted, and any labels, arrows, or other markings to be added to them should be indicated on a transparent overlay rather than on the print itself. The surface of a photograph is easily damaged and rendered useless for reproduction purposes. Care should be taken to write lightly on the overlay when additional instructions or markings are required. Paperclips may leave a pressure imprint on the surface of a photograph and should never be used directly over the photograph. Drawings, charts, and graphs to be used should be prepared with black ink on a white background for best results, and large drawings, to be reduced for reproduction, should be rolled rather than folded for transmittal.
Captions, or legends for illustrations (including credits), should be typed in double space and submitted in duplicate with the illustrations. Descriptive material, whenever possible, should be included in the legend rather than on the illustration. Legend copy should follow the style of the text in spelling, abbreviations, and capitalization rather than the various forms that may have been used for illustrations obtained from other published sources.
1. Permission to use a photograph to illustrate a medical condition or treatment in disease must specifically cover its use for publication, and a copy of the permission must accompany the manuscript. It usually is best to avoid the use of such photographs, but when they must be used, it is safest to disguise the identity of the person or persons involved. Instructions for blocking out the eyes or otherwise masking the features should, however, be indicated on a transparent overlay rather than on the photograph itself.
2. Permission to use and reproduce any material from published sources (direct quotations, illustrations, graphs, charts, tables) must be obtained from the original author and publisher. Full credit for such material must be given in whatever form the publisher or copyright holder specifies. If the permission form obtained must be quoted verbatim, this should be noted in the margin.
A title page, although often omitted, is eminently desirable in submitting a manuscript. The title page should be a separate page to precede the first page of the manuscript and should include the title for the article, the author's full name in the form in which it is to appear in the journal, his professional title, and his affiliation(s). In the event that there is a coauthor and/or multiple authors each name, title, and affiliation should be listed in the order and form in which they are to appear. If a mailing address other than that of the affiliation is to be used for the convenience of the author, this should be indicated in the transmittal letter rather than on the title page.
Much of the foregoing information is, of course, very elementary to the seasoned writer. Experience teaches us, however, that it is not so readily apparent to the new writer. New writers, quite properly, are more concerned with communicating their ideas effectively than they are with the mechanics of preparing and submitting a manuscript in the prescribed manner, and it is hoped that by listing this information here, the best interests of the writer as well as his publisher may be served to the advantage of both.
-Elizabeth E. Kinzer