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Instructions for authors

Analytic perspectives

See 'About this journal' for descriptions of different article types and information about policies and the refereeing process.


In epidemiology, many scientific and other scholarly analyses are not primarily presentations of field or clinical study results. Such articles include epidemiology-based policy analysis, critical analyses of the field and its practices, various contributions to methodology, philosophy, and other perspectives on the field. Such analytic articles are not commentary or debate, and do not fit in the format of a research article either. The Analytic perspective provides the flexibility needed to present analytic articles of these kinds.

Since the main mission of this journal is to provide an outlet for such articles, it is expected that most submissions will be in this format (though you are encouraged to use any of the other article types if your submission fits it well). Like any scientific analysis, Analytic perspectives will be reviewed on their scientific merit. They can contain original research results, although the specific results should be secondary to other analysis rather than the primary focus.

Teaching articles do not fit well into the standard research article format, so they should be submitted as Analytic perspectives. They should be identified by titling them in the following format, "Teaching: Descriptive title". Teaching articles should contain a proposed teaching method, tools for carrying out the method, a guide for how to use it, and a recounting of the authors' or others' experience using the method.

Submission process

Manuscripts must be submitted by one of the authors of the manuscript, and should not be submitted by anyone on their behalf. The submitting author takes responsibility for the article during submission and peer review.

Please note that Emerging Themes in Epidemiology levies an article-processing charge on all accepted Analytic perspectives; if the submitting author's institution is a BioMed Central member the cost of the article-processing charge may be covered by the membership (see About page for detail). Please note that the membership is only automatically recognised on submission if the submitting author is based at the member institution.

To facilitate rapid publication and to minimize administrative costs, Emerging Themes in Epidemiology prefers online submission.

Files can be submitted as a batch, or one by one. The submission process can be interrupted at any time; when users return to the site, they can carry on where they left off.

See below for examples of word processor and graphics file formats that can be accepted for the main manuscript document by the online submission system. Additional files of any type, such as movies, animations, or original data files, can also be submitted as part of the manuscript.

During submission you will be asked to provide a cover letter. Use this to explain why your manuscript should be published in the journal, to elaborate on any issues relating to our editorial policies in the 'About Emerging Themes in Epidemiology' page, and to declare any potential competing interests. You will be also asked to provide the contact details (including email addresses) of potential peer reviewers for your manuscript. These should be experts in their field, who will be able to provide an objective assessment of the manuscript. Any suggested peer reviewers should not have published with any of the authors of the manuscript within the past five years, should not be current collaborators, and should not be members of the same research institution. Suggested reviewers will be considered alongside potential reviewers recommended by the Editor-in-Chief and/or Editorial Board members.

Assistance with the process of manuscript preparation and submission is available from BioMed Central customer support team.

We also provide a collection of links to useful tools and resources for scientific authors on our Useful Tools page.

File formats

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

  • Microsoft word (DOC, DOCX)
  • Rich text format (RTF)
  • Portable document format (PDF)
  • TeX/LaTeX (use BioMed Central's TeX template)
  • DeVice Independent format (DVI)

TeX/LaTeX users: Please use BioMed Central's TeX template and BibTeX stylefile if you use TeX format. During the TeX submission process, please submit your TeX file as the main manuscript file and your bib/bbl file as a dependent file. Please also convert your TeX file into a PDF and submit this PDF as an additional file with the name 'Reference PDF'. This PDF will be used by internal staff as a reference point to check the layout of the article as the author intended. Please also note that all figures must be coded at the end of the TeX file and not inline.

If you have used another template for your manuscript, or if you do not wish to use BibTeX, then please submit your manuscript as a DVI file. We do not recommend converting to RTF.

For all TeX submissions, all relevant editable source must be submitted during the submission process. Failing to submit these source files will cause unnecessary delays in the publication procedures.

Preparing main manuscript text

General guidelines of the journal's style and language are given below.

Overview of manuscript sections for Analytic perspectives

Manuscripts for Analytic perspectives submitted to Emerging Themes in Epidemiology should be divided into the following sections (in this order):

The Accession Numbers of any nucleic acid sequences, protein sequences or atomic coordinates cited in the manuscript should be provided, in square brackets and include the corresponding database name; for example, [EMBL:AB026295, EMBL:AC137000, DDBJ:AE000812, GenBank:U49845, PDB:1BFM, Swiss-Prot:Q96KQ7, PIR:S66116].

The databases for which we can provide direct links are: EMBL Nucleotide Sequence Database (EMBL), DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ), GenBank at the NCBI (GenBank), Protein Data Bank (PDB), Protein Information Resource (PIR) and the Swiss-Prot Protein Database (Swiss-Prot).

Title page

This should list the title of the article. The full names, institutional addresses, and email addresses for all authors must be included on the title page. The corresponding author should also be indicated.


The abstract of the manuscript should not exceed 350 words. Please minimize the use of abbreviations and do not cite references in the abstract.


Three to ten keywords representing the main content of the article.


The introduction should be written from the standpoint of researchers without specialist knowledge in that area and must clearly state - and, if helpful, illustrate - the background to the research and its aims. This should include a summary of a search of the literature to indicate why this contributes to the topic area. The section should end with a very brief statement of what is being reported in the article.


This should contain the body of the article. It should be broken into subsections with short, informative headings. Authors are free to choose subsections and headings that best present the specifics of their analysis.


This should state clearly the main conclusions of the research and give a clear explanation of their importance and relevance. Summary illustrations may be included.


Substantive endnotes are strongly encouraged where there are important definitions, clarifications, notes for exceptions to the general rule, or other elaborations required that would otherwise break up the flow of the main text. They should be incorporated into the main text of the article in the following style: (see endnote 1).


List of abbreviations

If abbreviations are used in the text they should be defined in the text at first use, and a list of abbreviations can be provided.

Ethics Approval and Consent to participate

Manuscripts reporting studies involving human participants, human data or human tissue must:

  • include a statement on ethics approval and consent;
  • include the name of the ethics committee that approved the study and the committee’s reference number if appropriate.

Studies involving animals must include a statement on ethics approval. See here for more information.

If your manuscript does not report on or involve the use of any animal or human data or tissue, this section is not applicable to your submission. Please state “Not applicable” in this section.

Consent for publication

If your manuscript contains any individual person’s data in any form, consent to publish must be obtained from that person, or in the case of children, their parent or legal guardian. All presentations of case reports must have consent to publish. You can use your institutional consent form or our consent form if you prefer. You do not need to send the form to us on submission, but we may request to see a copy at any stage (including after publication). The consent form is also available in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Chinese, Swahili, Turkish, Russian, Romanian and Korean. If your manuscript does not contain any individual persons data, please state “Not applicable” in this section.

Availability of supporting data

Authors are encouraged to/should make readily reproducible materials described in the manuscript, including new software, databases and all relevant raw data, freely available to any scientist wishing to use them, without breaching participant confidentiality. In any case, authors should make their new software, databases, application/tool described in the manuscript available for testing by reviewers in a way that preserves the reviewers’ anonymity.

For more information see our Editorial Policy page.

If authors wish to share their data, they should include a link and citation to their data in this section.
If authors do not wish to share their data, please state that the data will not be shared with a reason, in this section.

For instruction on how to cite your data and format this section, see here.

Competing interests

All financial and non-financial competing interests must be declared in this section. See here for a full explanation of competing interests. If you are unsure whether you or any of your co-authors, has a competing interest please contact the editorial office.


All sources of funding for the research reported should be declared. The role of the funding body in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript should be declared.

Authors' contributions

The individual contributions of authors to the manuscript should be specified in this section. Guidance and criteria for authorship can be found here.


Please acknowledge anyone who contributed towards the article who does not meet the criteria for authorship including anyone who provided professional writing services or materials. Authors should obtain permission to acknowledge from all those mentioned in the Acknowledgements section. See here for a full explanation of acknowledgements and authorship criteria.

Authors' information

You may choose to use this section to include any relevant information about the author(s) that may aid the reader's interpretation of the article, and understand the standpoint of the author(s). This may include details about the authors' qualifications, current positions they hold at institutions or societies, or any other relevant background information. Please refer to authors using their initials. Note this section should not be used to describe any competing interests.


Endnotes should be designated within the text using a superscript lowercase letter and all notes (along with their corresponding letter) should be included in the Endnotes section. Please format this section in a paragraph rather than a list.


All references, including URLs, must be numbered consecutively, in square brackets, in the order in which they are cited in the text, followed by any in tables or legends. Each reference must have an individual reference number. Please avoid excessive referencing. If automatic numbering systems are used, the reference numbers must be finalized and the bibliography must be fully formatted before submission.

Only articles, datasets 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. Footnotes are not allowed, but endnotes are permitted. Journal abbreviations follow Index Medicus/MEDLINE. Citations in the reference list should include all named authors, up to the first 30 before adding 'et al.'..

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.

Style files are available for use with popular bibliographic management software:

Examples of the Emerging Themes in Epidemiology reference style are shown below. Please ensure that the reference style is followed precisely; if the references are not in the correct style they may have to be retyped and carefully proofread.

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, in the following format: The Mouse Tumor Biology Database []. 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.

Examples of the Emerging Themes in Epidemiology reference style

Article within a journal
Koonin EV, Altschul SF, Bork P: BRCA1 protein products: functional motifs. Nat Genet 1996, 13:266-267.

Article within a journal supplement
Orengo CA, Bray JE, Hubbard T, LoConte L, Sillitoe I: Analysis and assessment of ab initio three-dimensional prediction, secondary structure, and contacts prediction. Proteins 1999, 43(Suppl 3):149-170.

In press article
Kharitonov SA, Barnes PJ: Clinical aspects of exhaled nitric oxide. Eur Respir J, in press.

Published abstract
Zvaifler NJ, Burger JA, Marinova-Mutafchieva L, Taylor P, Maini RN: Mesenchymal cells, stromal derived factor-1 and rheumatoid arthritis [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 1999, 42:s250.

Article within conference proceedings
Jones X: Zeolites and synthetic mechanisms. In Proceedings of the First National Conference on Porous Sieves: 27-30 June 1996; Baltimore. Edited by Smith Y. Stoneham: Butterworth-Heinemann; 1996:16-27.

Book chapter, or article within a book
Schnepf E: From prey via endosymbiont to plastids: comparative studies in dinoflagellates. In Origins of Plastids. Volume 2. 2nd edition. Edited by Lewin RA. New York: Chapman and Hall; 1993:53-76.

Whole issue of journal
Ponder B, Johnston S, Chodosh L (Eds): Innovative oncology. In Breast Cancer Res 1998, 10:1-72.

Whole conference proceedings
Smith Y (Ed): Proceedings of the First National Conference on Porous Sieves: 27-30 June 1996; Baltimore. Stoneham: Butterworth-Heinemann; 1996.

Complete book
Margulis L: Origin of Eukaryotic Cells. New Haven: Yale University Press; 1970.

Monograph or book in a series
Hunninghake GW, Gadek JE: The alveolar macrophage. In Cultured Human Cells and Tissues. Edited by Harris TJR. New York: Academic Press; 1995:54-56. [Stoner G (Series Editor): Methods and Perspectives in Cell Biology, vol 1.]

Book with institutional author
Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification: Annual Report. London; 1999.

PhD thesis
Kohavi R: Wrappers for performance enhancement and oblivious decision graphs. PhD thesis. Stanford University, Computer Science Department; 1995.

Link / URL
The Mouse Tumor Biology Database []

Link / URL with author(s)
Neylon C: Open Research Computation: an ordinary journal with extraordinary aims. []

Dataset with persistent identifier
Zheng, L-Y; Guo, X-S; He, B; Sun, L-J; Peng, Y; Dong, S-S; Liu, T-F; Jiang, S; Ramachandran, S; Liu, C-M; Jing, H-C (2011): Genome data from sweet and grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). GigaScience Database.

Preparing illustrations and figures

Illustrations should be provided as separate files, not embedded in the text file. Each figure should include a single illustration and should fit on a single page in portrait format. If a figure consists of separate parts, it is important that a single composite illustration file be submitted which contains all parts of the figure. There is no charge for the use of color figures.

Please read our figure preparation guidelines for detailed instructions on maximising the quality of your figures.


The following file formats can be accepted:

  • PDF (preferred format for diagrams)
  • DOCX/DOC (single page only)
  • PPTX/PPT (single slide only)
  • EPS
  • PNG (preferred format for photos or images)
  • TIFF
  • JPEG
  • BMP

Figure legends

The legends should be included in the main manuscript text file at the end of the document, rather than being a part of the figure file. For each figure, the following information should be provided: Figure number (in sequence, using Arabic numerals - i.e. Figure 1, 2, 3 etc); short title of figure (maximum 15 words); detailed legend, up to 300 words.

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.

Preparing tables

Each table should be numbered and cited in sequence using Arabic numerals (i.e. Table 1, 2, 3 etc.). Tables should also have a title (above the table) that summarizes the whole table; it should be no longer than 15 words. Detailed legends may then follow, but they should be concise. Tables should always be cited in text in consecutive numerical order.

Smaller tables considered to be integral to the manuscript can be pasted into the end of the document text file, in A4 portrait or landscape format. These will be typeset and displayed in the final published form of the article. Such tables should be formatted using the 'Table object' in a word processing program to ensure that columns of data are kept aligned when the file is sent electronically for review; this will not always be the case if columns are generated by simply using tabs to separate text. Columns and rows of data should be made visibly distinct by ensuring that the borders of each cell display as black lines. Commas should not be used to indicate numerical values. Color and shading may not be used; parts of the table can be highlighted using symbols or bold text, the meaning of which should be explained in a table legend. Tables should not be embedded as figures or spreadsheet files.

Larger datasets or tables too wide for a landscape page can be uploaded separately as additional files. Additional files will not be displayed in the final, laid-out PDF of the article, but a link will be provided to the files as supplied by the author.

Tabular data provided as additional files can be uploaded as an Excel spreadsheet (.xls ) or comma separated values (.csv). As with all files, please use the standard file extensions.

Preparing additional files

Although Emerging Themes in Epidemiology does not restrict the length and quantity of data included in an article, we encourage authors to provide datasets, tables, movies, or other information as additional files.

Please note: All Additional files will be published along with the 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 should be sent by email to, quoting the Manuscript ID number.

Results that would otherwise be indicated as "data not shown" can and should be included as additional files. Since many weblinks and URLs rapidly become broken, Emerging Themes in Epidemiology 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. The maximum file size for additional files is 20 MB each, and files will be virus-scanned on submission.

Additional files can be in any format, and will be downloadable from the final published article as supplied by the author. We recommend CSV rather than PDF for tabular data.

Certain supported files formats are recognized and can be displayed to the user in the browser. These include most movie formats (for users with the Quicktime plugin), mini-websites prepared according to our guidelines, chemical structure files (MOL, PDB), geographic data files (KML).

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]'.

Additional file formats

Ideally, file formats for additional files should not be platform-specific, and should be viewable using free or widely available tools. The following are examples of suitable formats.

  • Additional documentation
    • PDF (Adode Acrobat)
  • Animations
    • SWF (Shockwave Flash)
  • Movies
    • MP4 (MPEG 4)
    • MOV (Quicktime)
  • Tabular data
    • XLS, XLSX (Excel Spreadsheet)
    • CSV (Comma separated values)

As with figure files, files should be given the standard file extensions.


Small self-contained websites can be submitted as additional files, in such a way that they will be browsable from within the full text HTML version of the article. In order to do this, please follow these instructions:

  1. Create a folder containing a starting file called index.html (or index.htm) in the root.
  2. Put all files necessary for viewing the mini-website within the folder, or sub-folders.
  3. Ensure that all links are relative (ie "images/picture.jpg" rather than "/images/picture.jpg" or "" or "C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\mini-website\images\picture.jpg") and no link is longer than 255 characters.
  4. Access the index.html file and browse around the mini-website, to ensure that the most commonly used browsers (Internet Explorer and Firefox) are able to view all parts of the mini-website without problems, it is ideal to check this on a different machine.
  5. Compress the folder into a ZIP, check the file size is under 20 MB, ensure that index.html is in the root of the ZIP, and that the file has .zip extension, then submit as an additional file with your article.

Style and language


Currently, Emerging Themes in Epidemiology can only accept manuscripts written in English. Spelling should be US English or British English, but not a mixture.

There is no explicit limit on the length of articles submitted, but authors are encouraged to be concise.

Emerging Themes in Epidemiology will not edit submitted manuscripts for style or language; reviewers may advise rejection of a manuscript if it is compromised by grammatical errors. Authors are advised to write clearly and simply, and to have their article checked by colleagues before submission. In-house copyediting will be minimal. Non-native speakers of English may choose to make use of a copyediting service.

Help and advice on scientific writing

The abstract is one of the most important parts of a manuscript. For guidance, please visit our page on Writing titles and abstracts for scientific articles.

Tim Albert has produced for BioMed Central a list of tips for writing a scientific manuscript. American Scientist also provides a list of resources for science writing. For more detailed guidance on preparing a manuscript and writing in English, please visit the BioMed Central author academy.


Abbreviations should be used as sparingly as possible. They should be defined when first used and a list of abbreviations can be provided following the main manuscript text.


  • Please use double line spacing.
  • Type the text unjustified, without hyphenating words at line breaks.
  • Use hard returns only to end headings and paragraphs, not to rearrange lines.
  • Capitalize only the first word, and proper nouns, in the title.
  • All pages should be numbered.
  • Use the Emerging Themes in Epidemiology reference format.
  • Footnotes are not allowed, but endnotes are permitted.
  • Please do not format the text in multiple columns.
  • Greek and other special characters may be included. If you are unable to reproduce a particular special character, please type out the name of the symbol in full. Please ensure that all special characters used are embedded in the text, otherwise they will be lost during conversion to PDF.
  • Genes, mutations, genotypes, and alleles should be indicated in italics, and authors are required to use approved gene symbols, names, and formatting. Protein products should be in plain type.


SI units should be used throughout (liter and molar are permitted, however).