Submission Guidelines

Prepare manuscript

  • Overview
  • General guidelines

Types of articles published

Overview

The following types of articles are accepted by the journal:

  • Original research: An original article provides an overview of innovative research in a particular field within or related to the focus and scope of the journal, presented according to a clear and well-structured format with between 5000-6000 words (which include an abstract of 250 words, 5-7 keywords and a complete reference list). Read more.
  • Review articles: The review article presents a critical review of the literature on a topic that has both social and scientific value, and which is within the focus and scope of the journal (between 2500–4000 words with a maximum of 40 references). Read more.
  • Editorials: Editorials are by invitation only and are intended to provide expert comment on relevant topics within the focus and scope of the journal. (Less than 800 words with a maximum of 10 references).

General guidelines

When presenting your article in English. Please use British English, that is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Avoid Americanisms (e.g. use ‘s’ and not ‘z’ spellings). Consult the Oxford English Dictionary when in doubt and remember to set your version of Microsoft Word to UK English.

  • Language: Manuscripts must be written in British English.
  • Line numbers: Insert continuous line numbers.
  • Font type: Palatino 
  • Symbols font type: Times New Roman 
  • General font size: 12pt 
  • Line spacing: 1.5
  • Headings: Ensure that formatting for headings is consistent in the manuscript.
    • First headings: normal case, bold and 14pt
    • Second headings: normal case, underlined and 14pt
    • Third headings: normal case, bold and 12pt
    • Fourth headings: normal case, bold, running-in text and separated by a colon.

Our publication system supports a limited range of formats for text and graphics. Text files can be submitted in the following formats only:

  • Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx): We can accept Word 2003 DOC files and Word 2007 DOCX files.
  • Rich Text Format (RTF) documents uploaded during Step 2 of the submission process. Users of other word processing packages should save or convert their files to RTF before uploading. Many free tools are available that will make this process easier.

Your manuscript must adhere to the AOSIS house style. Refer to the prepare manuscript page.

Original research requirements

An original article provides an overview of innovative research in a particular field within or related to the focus and scope of the journal, presented according to a clear and well-structured format with between 5000-6000 words (which include an abstract of 250 words, 5-7 keywords and a complete reference list).

Page 1

The format of the compulsory cover letter forms part of your submission and is on the first page of your manuscript and should always be in English. Refer to the supporting documentation page.

Page 2 and onwards

Title

The article’s full title should contain a maximum of 95 characters (including spaces).

Abstract

The abstract, written in English, should be no longer than 250 words and must be written in the past tense. The abstract should give a succinct account of the objectives, methods, results and significance of the matter. The structured abstract for an Original Research article should consist of six paragraphs labelled Background, Aim, Setting, Methods, Results and Conclusion.

  • Background: Summarise the social value (importance, relevance) and scientific value (knowledge gap) that your study addresses.
  • Aim: State the overall aim of the study.
  • Setting: State the setting for the study.
  • Methods: Clearly express the basic design of the study, and name or briefly describe the methods used without going into excessive detail.
  • Results: State the main findings.
  • Conclusion: State your conclusion and any key implications or recommendations.

Do not cite references and do not use abbreviations excessively in the abstract.

The following headings serve as a guide for presenting your research in a well-structured original article. As an author you should include all first-level headings, but subsequent headings (second- and third-level headings) can be changed.

Introduction (first-level heading)

The introduction must contain your argument for the social and scientific value of the study, as well as the aim and objectives:

  • Social value: The first part of the introduction should make a clear and logical argument for the importance or relevance of the study. Your argument should be supported by use of evidence from the literature.
  • Scientific value: The second part of the introduction should make a clear and logical argument for the originality of the study. This should include a summary of what is already known about the research question or specific topic, and should clarify the knowledge gap that this study will address. Your argument should be supported by use of evidence from the literature.
  • Conceptual framework: In some research articles it will also be important to describe the underlying theoretical basis for the research and how these theories are linked together in a conceptual framework. The theoretical evidence used to construct the conceptual framework should be referenced from the literature. 
  • Aim and objectives: The introduction should conclude with a clear summary of the aim and objectives of this study.

Research methods and design (first-level heading)

The methods should include:

  • Study design (second-level heading): An outline of the type of study design.
  • Setting (second-level heading): A description of the setting for the study; for example, the type of community from which the participants came or the nature of the health system and services in which the study is conducted.
  • Study population and sampling strategy (second-level heading): Describe the study population and any inclusion or exclusion criteria. Describe the intended sample size and your sample size calculation or justification. Describe the sampling strategy used. Describe in practical terms how this was implemented.
  • Intervention (if appropriate) (second-level heading): If there were intervention and comparison groups, describe the intervention in detail and what happened to the comparison groups. 
  • Data collection (second-level heading): Define the data collection tools that were used and their validity. Describe in practical terms how data were collected and any key issues involved, e.g. language barriers.
  • Data analysis (second-level heading): Describe how data were captured, checked and cleaned. Describe the analysis process, for example, the statistical tests used or steps followed in qualitative data analysis.
  • Ethical considerations (second-level heading): Approval must have been obtained for all studies from the author's institution or other relevant ethics committee and the institution’s name and permit numbers should be stated here.

Results (first-level heading)

Present the results of your study in a logical sequence that addresses the aim and objectives of your study. Use tables and figures as required to present your findings. Use quotations as required to establish your interpretation of qualitative data.

All units should conform to the SI convention and be abbreviated accordingly. Metric units and their international symbols are used throughout, as is the decimal point (not the decimal comma).

Discussion (first-level heading)

The discussion section should address the following four elements:

  • Key findings: Summarise the key findings without reiterating details of the results.
  • Discussion of key findings: Explain how the key findings relate to previous research or to existing knowledge, practice or policy.
  • Strengths and limitations: Describe the strengths and limitations of your methods and what the reader should take into account when interpreting your results.
  • Implications or recommendations: State the implications of your study or recommendations for future research (questions that remain unanswered), policy or practice. Make sure that the recommendations flow directly from your findings.

Conclusion (first-level heading) 

Provide a brief conclusion that summarises the results and their meaning or significance in relation to each objective of the study.

Acknowledgements (first-level heading) 

If, through your study, you received any significant help in conceiving, designing or carrying out the work, or received materials from someone who did you a favour by supplying them, you must acknowledge their assistance and the service or material provided. Authors should always acknowledge outside reviewers of their drafts and any sources of funding that supported the research.

Competing interests (second-level heading)

A competing interest exists when your interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by your personal or financial relationship with other people or organisations that can potentially prevent you from executing and publishing unbiased research. Authors should disclose any financial competing interests but also any non-financial competing interests that may cause them embarrassment were they to become public after the publication of the manuscript. 

Where an author has no such competing interests, the listing will read as follows: ‘The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationship(s) that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors' contributions (second-level heading)

This section is necessary to give appropriate credit to each author, and to the authors' applicable institution. The individual contributions of authors should be specified with their affiliation at the time of the study and completion of the work. An ‘author’ is generally considered to be someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study. Contributions made by each of the authors listed can follow the example below (please note the use of authors’ initials):

J.K. (University of Pretoria) was the project leader, L.M.N. (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and A.B. (Stellenbosch University) were responsible for experimental and project design. L.M.N. performed most of the experiments. P.R. (Cape Peninsula University of Technology) made conceptual contributions and S.T. (University of Cape Town), U.V. (University of Cape Town) and C.D. (University of Cape Town) performed some of the experiments. S.M. (Cape Peninsula University of Technology) and V.C. (Cape Peninsula University of Technology) prepared the samples and calculations were performed by C.S. (Cape Peninsula University of Technology).

References (first-level heading) 

Begin the reference list on a separate page, and give no more than 60 references in all. The journal uses the Harvard referencing style. Note: No other style will be permitted. Refer to the prepare manuscript page.

Review article requirements

The review article presents a critical review of the literature on a topic that has both social and scientific value, and which is within the focus and scope of the journal (between 2500–4000 words with a maximum of 40 references).

Page 1

The format of the compulsory cover letter forms part of your submission and is on the first page of your manuscript and should always be in English. Refer to the supporting documentation page.

Page 2 and onwards

Title

The article’s full title should contain a maximum of 95 characters (including spaces).

Abstract

The abstract, written in English, should be no longer than 250 words and must be written in the past tense. The abstract should give a concise account of the objectives, methods, results and significance of the matter. The abstract can be structured and should consist of five paragraphs labelled Background, Aim, Method, Results and Conclusion.

  • Background: Why is the topic important to us? State the context of the review
  • Aim: What is the purpose of your review ? Describe the aim or purpose of your review.
  • Method: How did you go about performing the review? Describe the methods used for searching, selecting and appraising your evidence.
  • Results: What are the findings? What are the main findings of your literature review.
  • Conclusion: What are the implications of your answer? Briefly summarise any potential implications.

Introduction (first-level heading)

Present an argument for the social and scientific value of your review that is itself supported by the literature. Present the aim and objectives of your literature review.

Methods (first-level heading)

Although this is not a systematic review (see instructions on original research for this type of article) it is still necessary to outline how you searched for, selected and appraised the literature that you used. Discuss any methodological limitations.

Review findings (first-level heading)

Present your review of the literature and make use of appropriate sub-headings. Your review should be a critical synthesis of the literature.

Implications and recommendations (first-level heading)

Discuss the findings of your review in terms of the implications for policy makers and clinicians or recommendations for future research.

Conclusion (first-level heading)

This should clearly state the main conclusions of the review in terms of addressing the original aim and objectives.

Acknowledgements (first-level heading) 

If, through your study, you received any significant help in conceiving, designing or carrying out the work, or received materials from someone who did you a favour by supplying them, you must acknowledge their assistance and the service or material provided. Authors should always acknowledge outside reviewers of their drafts and any sources of funding that supported the research.

Competing interests (second-level heading)

A competing interest exists when your interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by your personal or financial relationship with other people or organisations that can potentially prevent you from executing and publishing unbiased research. Authors should disclose any financial competing interests but also any non-financial competing interests that may cause them embarrassment were they to become public after the publication of the manuscript. 

Where an author has no such competing interests, the listing will read as follows: ‘The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationship(s) that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.’

Authors' contributions (second-level heading)

This section is necessary to give appropriate credit to each author, and to the authors' applicable institution. The individual contributions of authors should be specified with their affiliation at the time of the study and completion of the work. An ‘author’ is generally considered to be someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study. Contributions made by each of the authors listed can follow the example below (please note the use of authors’ initials):

J.K. (University of Pretoria) was the project leader, L.M.N. (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and A.B. (Stellenbosch University) were responsible for experimental and project design. L.M.N. performed most of the experiments. P.R. (Cape Peninsula University of Technology) made conceptual contributions and S.T. (University of Cape Town), U.V. (University of Cape Town) and C.D. (University of Cape Town) performed some of the experiments. S.M. (Cape Peninsula University of Technology) and V.C. (Cape Peninsula University of Technology) prepared the samples and calculations were performed by C.S. (Cape Peninsula University of Technology).

References (first-level heading) 

Begin the reference list on a separate page, and give no more than 40 references in all. The journal uses the Harvard referencing style. Note: No other style will be permitted. Refer to the prepare manuscript page

Supporting documentation

New submission

Re-submission