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Instructions for Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry authors

General information

Submission process

To facilitate rapid publication and to minimize administrative costs, Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry accepts only online submission. The submission process is compatible with version 3.0 or later of Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, and with most other modern web browsers. It can be used from PC, Mac, or Unix platforms.

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 acceptable word processor and graphics file formats. Additional files of any type, such as movies, animations, or original datafiles, can also be submitted as part of the publication.

Assistance with the process of manuscript preparation and submission is available from the customer support team (info@biomedcentral.com).


Once an article is accepted, it is published in Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry immediately as a provisional PDF file. The paper will subsequently be published in both fully browseable web form, and as a formatted PDF; the article will then be available through Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry, BioMed Central and PubMed Central, and will also be included in PubMed.

Article-processing charges

Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry levies an article-processing charge of US$525 per article accepted for publication. A waiver will be granted if the submitting author's institution is a BioMed Central member. We offer a US$50 discount for manuscripts formatted with EndNote 5 (or later versions) or Reference Manager 10. For further details, see more information about article-processing charges.

Editorial policies

Submission of a manuscript to Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry implies that all authors have read and agreed to its content, and that readily reproducible materials described in the manuscript will be freely available to any scientist wishing to use them for non-commercial purposes.

Authors are required to ensure that no material submitted as part of a manuscript infringes existing copyrights, or the rights of a third party. The manuscript should not already have been published in a journal and should not be under consideration by any other journal, but it can already have been deposited on a preprint server. Authors who publish in Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry retain copyright to their work (more information).

Submission of a manuscript reporting experimental research on humans or animals implies that authors have obtained approval for their research from the appropriate ethics committee, and are in compliance with the Helsinki Declaration. A statement to this effect must be included in the Methods section of your manuscript.

We ask authors of Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry papers to complete a declaration of competing interests, which should be provided as a separate section of the manuscript, to follow the Acknowledgements. Where an author gives no competing interests, the listing will read 'Competing interests: none declared'. The following articles give more information on competing interests:

For all articles that include information or clinical photographs relating to individual patients, written and signed consent from each patient to publish must also be mailed or faxed to the editorial staff. The manuscript should also include a statement to this effect in the Acknowledgements section, as follows: "Written consent was obtained from the patient or their relative for publication of study".

Authors from pharmaceutical companies, or other commercial organizations that sponsor clinical trials, should adhere to the Good Publication Practice guidelines for pharmaceutical companies, which are designed to ensure that publications are produced in a responsible and ethical manner. The guidelines also apply to any companies or individuals that work on industry-sponsored publications, such as freelance writers, contract research organizations and communications companies.

Generic drug names should generally be used. When proprietary brands are used in research, include the brand names in parentheses in the Methods section.

Special requirements for reports of randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses

Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry supports initiatives aimed at improving the reporting of biomedical research. Checklists have been developed for randomized controlled trials (CONSORT), systematic reviews (QUORUM); and meta-analyses of observational studies (MOOSE). Authors are requested to make use of these when drafting their submission. Peer reviewers will also be asked to refer to these checklists when evaluating these studies. For authors of systematic reviews, a supplementary file, linked from the Methods section, should reproduce all details concerning the search strategy. For an example of how a search strategy should be presented, see the Cochrane Reviewers' Handbook.

Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry also supports prospective registration and numbering of randomized controlled trials. Authors submitting trials (whether as protocols or reports of data) are encouraged to apply for an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN), available from Current Controlled Trials. An ISRCTN will be required before publication of accepted trials protocols and reports, and will be included in the title of the article. ISRCTNs can be obtained by completing the online application form. The charge for acquiring an ISRCTN will be covered by the article-processing charge paid on acceptance of the article.

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Preparing main manuscript text

File formats

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

  • Microsoft Word (version 2 and above)
  • WordPerfect (version 5 and above)
  • Rich text format (RTF)
  • Portable document format (PDF)
  • TeX/LaTeX (use BioMed Central's TeX template)
  • DeVice Independent format (DVI)

Users of other word processing packages should save or convert their files to RTF before uploading. Many free tools are available which ease this process.

TeX/LaTeX users: We recommend using BioMed Central's TeX template and BibTeX stylefile. If you use this standard format, you can submit your manuscript in TeX format. 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.

Note that figures must be submitted as separate image files, not as part of the submitted DOC/PDF/TEX/DVI file.

Article types

When submitting your manuscript, you will be asked to assign one of the following types to your article:

Primary research


Please read the descriptions of each of the article types, choose which is appropriate for your article and structure it accordingly. If in doubt, your manuscript should be classified as Primary research, the structure for which is described below.

Manuscript sections for Primary research articles

Manuscripts for Primary research articles submitted to Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry should be divided into the following sections:

You can download a template (Mac and Windows compatible; Microsoft Word 98/2000) for your article. For instructions on use, see below.

Title page

This should list the title of the article. The title should include the study design, for example:

A versus B in the treatment of C: a randomized controlled trial

X is a risk factor for Y: a case control study

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 and must be structured into four separate sections: Background, the context and purpose of the study; Methods, how the study was performed and statistical tests used; Results, the main findings; Conclusions, brief summary and potential implications. Please minimize the use of abbreviations and do not cite references in the abstract.


The background section 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. Reports of clinical research should, where appropriate, include a summary of a search of the literature to indicate why this study was necessary and what it aimed to contribute to the field. The section should end with a very brief statement of what is being reported in the article.


This should include the design of the study, the setting, the type of participants or materials involved, a clear description of all interventions and comparisons, and the type of analysis used, including a power calculation if appropriate.

Results and Discussion

The Results and Discussion may be combined into a single section or presented separately. Results of statistical analysis should include, where appropriate, relative and absolute risks or risk reductions, and confidence intervals. The results and discussion sections may also be broken into subsections with short, informative headings.


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.

List of abbreviations

If abbreviations are used in the text either they should be defined in the text where first used, or a list of abbreviations can be provided, which should precede the competing interests and authors' contributions.

Competing interests

Authors are required to complete a declaration of competing interests. All competing interests that are declared will be listed at the end of published articles. Where the author gives no competing interests, the listing will read: 'Competing interests: none declared'.

The questions that are asked of authors are:

  • Have you received reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of this paper in the past five years, or is such an organization financing the article-processing charge for this article? If so, please specify.
  • Have you held any stocks or shares in an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of this paper? If so, please specify.
  • Do you have any other financial competing interests? If so, please specify.
  • Are there any non-financial competing interests you would like to declare in relation to this paper? If so, please specify.

Authors' contributions

In order to give appropriate credit to each author of a paper, the individual contributions of authors to the manuscript should be specified in this section. We suggest the following kind of format (please use initials to refer to to each author's contribution): AB carried out the molecular genetic studies, participated in the sequence alignment and drafted the manuscript. JY carried out the immunoassays. MT participated in the sequence alignment. ES participated in the design of the study and performed the statistical analysis. FG conceived of the study, and participated in its design and coordination. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


These should be kept to a minimum. Authors should obtain permission to acknowledge from all those mentioned in the Acknowledgements.


All references 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 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. Notes/footnotes are not allowed. Obtaining permission to quote personal communications and unpublished data from the cited author(s) is the responsibility of the author. Journal abbreviations follow Index Medicus/MEDLINE. Citations in the reference list should contain all named authors, regardless of how many there are. There should usually be no more than 50 references per article.

We encourage authors to use a recent version of EndNote (version 5 and above) or Reference Manager (version 10) when formatting their reference list, as this allows references to be automatically extracted. Authors submitting articles in EndNote 5 or higher or Reference Manager 10 format will save $50 on the $525 article processing charge. In order to obtain this discount, you should upload the manuscript file containing your EndNote or Reference Manager-formatted bibliography as a .doc file. Please ensure you do not convert to another format (e.g. RTF or PDF). On upload, the discount will be automatically granted and you will receive a confirmation on-screen and by email. You will also be able to preview an HTML version of the extracted references during submission, and we urge authors to check this. EndNote or Reference Manager users should also make sure that any changes made to the reference list are done within their reference management program, rather than by manually editing the formatted bibliography. This is because manually introduced changes will not be picked up in the automatically extracted list.

Further details about EndNote and Reference Manager are available on the BioMed Central site, including information about how to upgrade.

Style files that conform to the BioMed Central style are available for EndNote and Reference Manager. Users of other reference management programs should be able to select other journal styles that output a numeric list styled similarly to the guide below.

Examples of the Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry reference style are shown below. Please take care to follow the reference style precisely; references not in the correct style may be retyped, necessitating tedious proofreading.


Web links and URLs should be included in the reference list. 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 [http://tumor.informatics.jax.org/cancer_links.html]

Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry reference style

Article within a journal

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

Article within a journal supplement

2. 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, Suppl 3:149-170.

In press article

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

Published abstract

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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

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

Whole conference proceedings

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

Complete book

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

Monograph or book in a series

10. 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

11. Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification: Annual Report. London; 1999.

PhD thesis

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

Link / URL

13. Mouse Tumor Biology Database [http://tumor.informatics.jax.org/cancer_links.html]

Microsoft Word template

Although we can accept manuscripts prepared as Microsoft Word, Word Perfect, RTF or PDF files, we have designed a Microsoft Word template that can be used to generate a standard style and format for your article. It can be used if you have not yet started to write your paper, or if it is already written and needs to be put into Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry style.

Download the template (Mac and Windows compatible Word 1998/2000) from our site, and save it to your hard drive. Double click the template to open it.

How to use the Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry template

The template consists of a standard set of headings that make up a Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry Primary research manuscript, along with dummy fragments of body text. Follow these steps to create your manuscript in the standard format:

  • Replace the dummy text for Title, Author details, Institutional affiliations, and the other sections of the manuscript with your own text (either by entering the text directly or by cutting and pasting from your own manuscript document).
  • If there are sections which you do not need, delete them (but check the rest of the Instructions for Authors to see which sections are compulsory).
  • If you need an additional copy of a heading (e.g. for additional figure legends) just copy and paste.
  • For the references, you may either manually enter the references using the reference style given, or use bibliographic software to insert them automatically. We provide style files for End Note and Reference Manager.

For extra convenience, you can use the template as one of your standard Word templates. To do this, put a copy of the template file in Word's 'Templates' folder, normally C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates on a PC. The next time you create a new document in Word using the File menu, the template will appear as one of the available choices for a new document.

Note - From version 6, EndNote includes a full set of structured article templates for BioMed Central journals. Users of EndNote are encouraged to upgrade if necessary and make use of these templates. More information is available here.

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Preparing illustrations and figures

Illustrations should be provided as separate files, not embedded in the text file. Each figure should include a single illustration, which should be submitted as a separate graphics file. There is no charge for the use of color figures. Each figure should be closely cropped to minimize the amount of white space surrounding the illustration.

If a figure consists of separate parts, it is important that a single composite illustration file should be submitted which contains all parts of the figure.

Photographs should be provided with a scale bar if appropriate, as well as high-resolution component files. If photographs of patients' body parts, X-rays or scans are given as part of the manuscript, written and signed consent of the patient should also be sent or faxed to the editors.


Illustrations should be designed such that all information is legible when scaled to a horizontal width of 600 pixels, since this is the default size for a Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry (and PubMed Central) illustration on the web. High-quality versions of figures will also be generated and stored by Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry, however, so image files should be submitted at a resolution of 300 dpi or greater if possible.

Text within figures should use either Arial or Helvetica fonts, although Courier may also be used if a monospaced font is required. Text too should be designed to be legible when the illustration is scaled to a width of 600 pixels.


The following file formats can be accepted:

  • EPS (preferred format for diagrams)
  • PDF (also especially suitable for diagrams)
  • PNG (preferred format for photos or images)
  • Microsoft Word (version 5 and above; figures must be A4 portrait, single page only)
  • PowerPoint (figures must be a single page)
  • TIFF
  • JPEG
  • BMP

Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry is not able to process figures submitted in GIF format.

If the large size of TIFF or EPS figures is an obstacle to online submission, authors may find that conversion to JPEG format before submission results in significantly reduced file size (and upload time), while retaining acceptable quality. JPEG is a 'lossy' format, however. In order to maintain acceptable image quality, it is recommended that JPEG files are saved at High or Maximum quality.

Files should not be compressed with tools such as Zipit or Stuffit prior to submission. These tools will in any case produce negligible file-size savings for JPEGs and TIFFs, which are already compressed.

Image conversion tools

There are many software packages, many of them freeware or shareware, capable of converting to and from different graphics formats, including PNG.

Good general tools for image conversion include GraphicConverter on the Macintosh, PaintShop Pro, for Windows, and ImageMagick, which is available on Macintosh, Windows and UNIX platforms.

Note that bitmap images (e.g. screenshots) should not be converted to EPS since this will result in a much larger file size than the equivalent JPEG, TIFF, PNG or BMP, with no increase in quality. EPS should only be used for images produced by vector drawing applications such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw. Most vector drawing applications can save in EPS format. If images have been originally prepared in an Office application, such as Word or PowerPoint, then the Office files should be directly uploaded to the site, rather than converted to JPEG or another format that may be of reduced quality.

Figure legends

The figure legends should be included in the main manuscript text, immediately following the references, rather than being a part of the figure file. The following information should be provided, for each figure: 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.

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Preparing tables

Each table should be numbered in sequence using Arabic numerals (i.e. Table 1, 2, 3 etc.). Tables should also have a title that summarizes the whole table, maximum 15 words. Detailed legends may then follow, but should be concise.

Smaller tables considered to be integral to the manuscript can be pasted into the end of the document text file. 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 the borders of each cell display as black lines.

Larger datasets can be uploaded separately as additional files. Additional files will not be displayed in the final, published form 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.

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Preparing additional files

Additional files

If additional files are provided (e.g. movie files, original datafiles), each should be described in this section of the manuscript, providing the following information:

  • file name
  • file format (including name and URL link of appropriate viewer if format is unusual)
  • title of this dataset
  • description of this dataset.

Additional data files may be referenced generically within the body of the article. e.g. "See additional data file 1 for the original data used to perform this analysis". Additional files are considered integral to articles published by Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry. There is no distinction between the main article and 'supplementary material'. Files will be virus-scanned on submission.

File formats

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 (Adobe Acrobat) or TXT (plain text)
  • animations - SWF (Shockwave Flash)
  • movies - MOV (Quicktime) and MPG (MPEG)
  • tabular data - XLS (Excel spreadsheet) and CSV (Comma Separated Values)

File extensions

It is recommended that files be given the appropriate standard three letter file extension for their file type (e.g. spreadsheet.xls or table.csv). This is especially important for Macintosh users, since the Macintosh operating system does not enforce the use of standard extensions.

Although Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry does not restrict the length and quantity of data in a paper, there may still be occasions where an author wishes to provide data sets, tables, movie files, or other information as additional information. These files can be uploaded using the 'Additional Material files' button in the manuscript submission process.

The maximum file size for additional files is 10 MB, and files will be virus-scanned on submission.

Any additional files will be linked into the final published article in the form supplied by the author, but will not be displayed within the paper. They will be made available in exactly the same form as originally provided.

If additional material is provided, please list the following information in a separate section of the manuscript text, immediately following the tables (if any):

  • File name
  • File format (including name and a URL of an appropriate viewer if format is unusual)
  • Title of data
  • Description of data

Additional datafiles should be referenced explicitly by file name within the body of the article, e.g. 'See additional file 1: Movie1 for the original data used to perform this analysis'.

Formats and uploading

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 (Adobe Acrobat)
  • Animations
    • SWF (Shockwave Flash)
  • Movies
    • MOV (QuickTime)
    • MPG (MPEG)
  • Tabular data
    • XLS (Excel spreadsheet)
    • CSV (Comma separated values)

As with figure files, files should be given the standard file extensions. This is especially important for Macintosh users, since the Mac OS does not enforce the use of standard extensions. Please also make sure that each additional file is a single table, figure or movie (please do not upload linked worksheets or PDF files larger than one sheet).

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Style and language


Currently, Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry can only accept manuscripts written in English. Spelling should be US English or British English, but not a mixture.

Gene names should be in italic, but protein products should be in plain type.

There is no explicit limit on the length of articles submitted, but authors are encouraged to be concise. There is also no restriction on the number of figures, tables or additional files that can be included with each article online. Figure and tables should be sequentially referenced. Authors should include all relevant supporting data with each article.

Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry 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 such as that provided by Biology Editors, Manuscript Presentation Service and English Manager Science Editing. BioMed Central has no first-hand experience of these companies and takes no responsibility for the quality of their service.

Help and advice on scientific writing

Tim Albert has produced for BioMed Central a list of tips for writing a scientific manuscript. MedBioWorld also provides a list of resources for science writing.


Abbreviations should be used as sparingly as possible. They can be defined when first used or a list of abbreviations can be provided preceding the acknowledgements and references.


  • 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.
  • All pages should be numbered.
  • Use the Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry reference format.
  • Footnotes to text should not be used.
  • 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.


SI Units should be used throughout (litre and molar are permitted, however).

Last revised: 13 October 2003

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