SMJ welcomes quality manuscript submissions from both Singapore and overseas authors. To facilitate a smooth publication process, authors who are considering submitting their manuscripts to SMJ are strongly encouraged to read the following guidelines.
To submit a manuscript, please go to www.editorialmanager.com/singaporemedj
If you do not have an SMJ author account on the Editorial Manager, create an account and log in with your username and password. Before uploading your manuscript onto the Editorial Manager, ensure you have all the documents described in the manuscript preparation section.
A one-time, non-refundable Article Processing Charge (APC) of SGD 100 is required upon submission. Waiver of the APC applies only to Singapore Medical Association members in good standing, members of the editorial board, and authors whose articles are invited by the editor. In addition, recipients of the SMJ Reviewer Recognition Award from the previous year will enjoy waiver of the APC for the next calendar year (e.g. recipients of SMJ Reviewer Recognition Award 2016 will enjoy waiver of APC for articles submitted between January and December 2017).
Note: The APC is a non-refundable administrative fee; payment of the APC does not guarantee acceptance of the manuscript.
When the APC has been successfully processed and the submission meets the initial screening, a tracking number will be emailed to the authors, who will be able to track the status of their manuscript online.
All material submitted for publication is assumed to be submitted exclusively to the SMJ unless stated otherwise.
Editorial Review Process
All submitted manuscripts must go through rigorous Editorial checks before they are sent for peer review. The manuscripts are checked for grammar & language, plagiarism and format. Manuscripts that do not pass the initial checks will be promptly rejected without peer review.
Manuscripts that are submitted to the SMJ undergo a double-blinded peer review and are managed online. Please suggest 3-4 individuals who are especially qualified to review this work. Suggested reviewers must not be affiliated with the same institution(s) as any of the authors, or have any potential conflicts of interests in reviewing the manuscript.
Decisions on manuscripts are made in accordance with the 'Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals' (www.icmje.org/index.html).
A request for revision does not guarantee that the paper will be accepted. Reviewers may feel that the paper meets most criteria for publication, but needs clarification on certain areas. Authors are given approximately 12 weeks to return their revised manuscript. Note that if the revision is not received after 6 months, the Editorial Office will consider the paper as ‘withdrawn’.
Two copies of a revised paper should be submitted: an anonymised, tracked copy and a clean copy. A point-by-point reply to reviewers’ and editorial comments should exclude any identification of the authors or institutions, as this letter may be sent to the reviewers for consideration during the second round of peer review.
The journal policy is generally to publish the articles chronologically according to the acceptance dates. Each accepted manuscript will be formatted in accordance with the journal style. The Editor retains the right to determine the style, and if necessary, edit and shorten any material accepted for publication.
When the galley proof is ready, the Editorial Office will send the proof to authors to check for its completeness. Confirmation or comments from the authors must be given within 48 hours of receipt of the proof, in order to avoid delays in publication of the manuscript. Authors should note that major alterations to the text will not be entertained at this stage and they are responsible for all statements made in their work, including changes made by the Editorial team and authorised by the corresponding author.
Do note that the Journal does not publish manuscripts without the author's approval of the galley proof and a completed Copyright Form. For this reason, it is vital that a working email address and fax number are provided to the Journal office. Once the author gives approval for publication, the Editorial Office will not be held responsible for any mistakes thereafter.
Note that with effect from June 2012, the editorial office has stopped sending a complimentary copy of the journal to overseas authors in view of the rising cost of international postage. Instead the corresponding authors of all manuscripts published in the SMJ will receive a high-resolution soft copy of the article upon publication.
The SMJ Supplement is a compilation of articles that deal with a related issue or topic, and is published as a separate issue of the Journal and funded by sources other than the Journal's publisher. The SMJ Supplement is an effective means of disseminating scientific findings and conference material to the relevant target audience and providing translation of research findings. For more information on publishing a supplement, please contact Ms Li Li Loy at lilisma.org.sg or +65 9634 9506.
For all submissions, begin each section on a new page and number the pages consecutively, beginning with the title page. Use Times New Roman 12-point font, double-spaced throughout. Do not insert any headers, footers or footnotes
The following documents are required for each submission, in this order:
- Title Page
- Manuscript (anonymised version)
- Manuscript (non-anonymised version)
- Tables (if any)
- Figures (or illustrations) (if any)
- Copyright Assignment Form (signed by all the authors)
To preserve the anonymity of patients and other participants, all potentially identifying information must be removed from images, charts, graphs, tables and text before the manuscript is submitted to the Editorial Office.
In the manuscript, each of the following sections should begin on a new page:
The title page should be an individual document, uploaded separately, that provides:
- the title of the article, which should be concise and informative;
- the full name of all authors; indicate in parenthesis the family/last name and initials, e.g. James Taylor SMITH [Smith JT]. Romanize names in Cyrillic (Russian, Bulgarian, etc.), Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, or character-based languages, such as Chinese and Japanese.
- the designations/appointments (e.g. Registrar, Consultant, Professor) of all authors;
- a maximum of two academic degrees (e.g. MBBS, PhD) of each author;
- the full address of all authors’ institutions, including postal/zip code;
- the departments of all the authors;
- a working telephone number (preferably of the corresponding author’s institution/clinic), including the country code;
- a working fax number (preferably of the corresponding author’s institution/clinic), including the country code;
- an email address that the author checks regularly, so that all correspondences will be received.
All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to justify authorship. Kindly refer to the section on authorship in the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, available at: www.icmje.org. The Editor may require authors to justify the assignment of authorship.
Your submission should consist of 2 versions of your manuscript – 1 anonymised and 1 non-anonymised.
Anonymised version–this version should not contain any information that may identify the authors and their respective institutions. This includes the explicit mention of persons and institutions. The Title page and Acknowledgement section should not be included in this version.
Non-anonymised version– this version should include the title page. Explicit mention of information that may identify the authors and their respective institutions is permitted. This version of the manuscript will be the one used in preparation for print, if it is accepted for publication.
The Abstract should be an informative synopsis/summary of your manuscript. There are 2 kinds of abstracts: Unstructured and Structured.
Structured – Organise the abstract according to the following headings:
(1) Introduction – states the purposes/aims of the study/investigation
(2) Methods – describes the selection of study subjects/experimental animals, observational and analytical methods
(3) Results – provides specific data and its statistical significance, if possible
(4) Conclusion – succinct emphasis of new and important aspects of the study or observations
No additional subheadings are required. The word count should not exceed 250 words.
Unstructured – There is no need to divide the abstract into different sections, unlike the Structured abstract. The word count should not exceed 150 words.
Below the abstract, provide a maximum of 5 keywords (or short phrases) that will assist in the cross-indexing of the article. These will be published with the abstract.
Tip: check and confirm that the keywords are the most relevant terms found in the title or the Abstract, and are preferably also listed in the medical subject headings (MeSH) list of Index Medicus found in https://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/.
- Text should be set in font Times New Roman, size 12 with double-line spacing.
- Add line numbers in the margin alongside each line of the document.
- Abbreviate "Figure" as "Fig.", e.g. Fig. 1, Fig. 2.
- Number the figures consecutively in Arabic numerals (e.g. Fig. 1, Fig. 2) in the order of their first citation in the text.
- Submit the images as TIFF/JPEG files with a minimum resolution of 300 DPI and minimum dimension of 1,000 x 1,000 pixels. Colour images should be submitted in CYMK format, instead of RGB format.
- For drawings and graphs, state the most important points leading to the desired conclusion.
- A separate file should be submitted for each Figure or Figure part (Authors are advised to keep backup files of all images).
- For Line Figures – freehand and type-written lettering are not acceptable.
- Letters, numbers and symbols should be clear and even throughout, and of sufficient size so that when they are reduced in size for publication, each item will still be clearly identifiable.
- If a Figure has been previously published, acknowledge the original source and submit written permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the material.
- Authors’ names and affiliations should not appear on the images.
- All Figures/Figure-parts relating to one patient should have the same Figure number.
- Symbols, arrows or letters used in photomicrographs should contrast with the background.
Provide appropriate descriptions for every figure/figure-part provided. Include the type of image (e.g. Axial CT image, contrast-enhanced sagittal T1-W MR image) and succinctly point out what the reader should note from each image. Identify the method of staining and original magnification. (e.g. Haemotoxylin & eosin, × 100), where appropriate.
Submit all tables either in (a) Microsoft word or (b) Microsoft excel format only. Tables should be:
- Number the tables consecutively in Roman numerals (e.g. Table I, Table II, Table III) in the order of their first citation in the text
- Provide a brief title, which should be shown at the top of each table
- Place table explanations in the footnotes of the table
- Explain all non-standard abbreviations in the footnotes to the tables
- Identify statistical measures of variations such as Standard Deviation (SD) and Standard Error of the Mean (SED)
- Obtain permission for publication before submission of the manuscript and acknowledge fully if data from another published source is used
- Use internal horizontal and vertical rules
- Use too many tables in relation to the length of the text
Abbreviations and Symbols
- The full term for which an abbreviation or acronym stands should precede its first use unless it is a standard unit of measurement
- In general, symbols and abbreviations should be those used by British Chemical and Physiological Abstracts
- Weights, volumes, etc. should be denoted in metric units
- The use of S.I. Units (International System of Units) is encouraged
The Vancouver style of referencing is adopted by the Journal. The detailed style of the different types of citations can be found here.
It is the authors’ responsibility to check all references very carefully for accuracy and completeness. Authors should avoid using abstracts as references. “Unpublished observations” and “personal communications” may not be used as references; if cited, a letter (from the person quoted) granting permission must be submitted. Subject to editorial approval, the person quoted will be cited in parentheses in the text and not in the reference section.
State contributions that need to be acknowledged, but do not justify authorship. Acknowledgeable contributions include (not in exhaustive order) general support by a Department Head or Chairman, technical help, and financial and/or material support (including grants). Mention conflicts of interest, if any.
The format for the text varies depending on the type of article. The list of article types and their respective formats are as follows:
Original Article, Review Article, Editorial, Commentary, Pictorial Essay, Medical Education, Short Communication, and Letter to the Editor. Medical Education and Pictorial Essay are typically Continuing Medical Education (CME) articles.
An original research is a report on the clinical objectives and analytical process, as well as discussion on the implications of the results of a study. It should consist of a Structured Abstract (≤ 250 words) and Keywords (≤ 5), and text organised according to the IMRaD format:
There should be no more than 8 authors.
A systematic review or meta-analysis should be no more than 4,000 words. References should comprise all studies included in the analysis, as well as others that are relevant to support the discussion. The article title should accurately reflect the topic under review (e.g. Corticosteroid injection for adhesive capsulitis in primary care: a systematic review). The article should consist of a Structured Abstract (≤ 250 words) and Keywords (≤ 5), and text organised according to the IMRaD format:
Authors are strongly encouraged to use the following checklists (where applicable):
- PRISMA Statement checklist and flowchart for a systematic review or meta-analysis of randomised trials and other evaluation studies
- MOOSE (Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) checklist for a meta-analysis of observational studies
A narrative review is usually an invited article written by an expert, providing a critical analysis and recent information on a given specialty. Unsolicited reviews should be discussed with the editor (email: smjsma.org.sg) before submission.
A narrative review should be no more than 4,000 words, with an adequate number of references to support the discussion. It should consist of an Unstructured Abstract (≤ 150 words) and Keywords (≤ 5), and text organised according to the following headings:
- Relevant section headings of the author’s choosing
This is a teaching exercise with the message in the figures and their legends. The emphasis is on the quality of imaging features and the utility of the message. It should consist of an Unstructured Abstract (≤ 150 words) and Keywords (≤ 5), and text organised according to the following headings:
- Section headers of the author’s choosing
Pictorial essays should not exceed 2,000 words, with 20 figures or 30 figure-parts, and should contain no more than 15 references.
An editorial is an authoritative commentary on topics of current interest or that relate to articles published in the same issue. Editorials may be about any important topic related to medicine, health or health policy. An editorial is usually commissioned; unsolicited editorials should be discussed with the editor (email: smjsma.org.sg) before submission. Editorials should be about 800 words long with references limited to only those that support the discussion.
A commentary is a short article describing an author’s personal experience of a specific topic, or accompanying an original article in the same issue. It should outline the various viewpoints that exist. A commentary is usually commissioned; unsolicited commentaries should be discussed with the editor (email: smjsma.org.sg) before submission. The text should be organised according to the following headings:
- Relevant section headings of the author's choice
Commentaries should be about 1,000-1,500 words, with no more than 2 figures/tables. References should be limited to only those that support the argument. Commentaries should not have an Abstract.
Clinics in Diagnostic Imaging
These are short case studies reporting relatively rare but well-recognised radiological abnormalities, or having radiological images of educational value. The illustrative material should be of interest to general clinicians and trainees in various specialties. It should consist of an Unstructured Abstract (≤ 150 words) and Keywords (≤ 5) appended at the end of the article. There should be a maximum of 4 authors. The text should be organised according to the following headings:
- Case Presentation
- Image Interpretation
- Clinical Course
The first page should contain no more than 1,000 words, deducting 250 words for each figure included. The Case Presentation, comprising the relevant history, physical findings and/or laboratory data, together with one to three figures and questions relating to the clinical problem, will appear on the right-hand page in print. The initial figures should be radiological images, although a clinical photograph may be substituted for a radiological image, where relevant. [Click here for sample of first page.]
The consecutive pages will contain the description and interpretation of the initial figures under the headings of Imaging Interpretation, Diagnosis and Clinical Course. The patient’s Clinical Course and final outcome should be described briefly and, where appropriate, illustrated with supplementary radiological images, surgical photographs or histological photomicrographs. The Discussion should be concise and provide an up-to-date review of the subject, with emphasis placed on the role of imaging, with additional radiological illustrations. There should not be more than 15 References.
Electrocardiography Case (ECG Case)
These are short, instructive case studies reporting on the ECGs of patients presenting with symptoms relating to the heart. The illustrative material should help general clinicians and trainees in the various specialties to interpret the ECG diagrams and to know what to look out for in order to make an accurate diagnosis. It should consist of an Unstructured Abstract (≤ 150 words) and Keywords (≤ 5) appended at the end of the article, and text organised according to the following headings:
- Clinical Presentation
- ECG Interpretation
- Clinical Course
There should be no more than 15 references and a maximum of 4 authors.
Practice Integration & Lifelong Learning Series (PILL Series)
These are short, instructive case studies reporting on a typical primary care clinic consultation in the form of a case vignette. The article includes a short introduction of the disease entity, key pointers on patient management, important updates, and a condensed explanation on the rationale and supporting evidence behind the practices. It should consist of an Unstructured Abstract (≤ 150 words) and Keywords (≤ 5) appended at the end of the article, and text organised according to the following headings:
- Case Vignette
- Section headers of the author’s choosing
- Take Home Messages
- Closing Vignette
There should be no more than 15 references and a maximum of 4 authors.
For more information on writing and formatting PILL articles, please see this guide.
Note: The PILL Series is currently an invited article. To propose a topic and a writing team (typically comprising at least 1 family physician and relevant specialists/nurse practitioners/allied health professionals), email the editor at smjsma.org.sg. PILL articles are submitted under the Medical Education category.
Short Communications present brief observations or original research that do not warrant a full-length paper. They are submitted the same way and undergo the same review process as full-length papers, and do not receive prioritised or rapid publication.
- Total length should not exceed 2,500 words, including illustrative material (in total no more than 3 figures and tables).
- References should be limited to only those that support the discussion.
- Articles focusing on original research are formatted with the following headers in the body of the text: Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion.
- Supplementary information (e.g. additional figures, questionnaires, datasets) may be published online at the discretion of the Editor.
Note: The Short Communication article category is not for open submission. Decision to publish a submitted manuscript as a short communication is at the sole discretion of the Editor.
Letters to the Editor should either offer objective and constructive criticism of published articles, or discuss matters of general scientific or medical interest to readers of SMJ. This is also a forum for authors to publish concise articles such as reports of novel cases.
Note: No abstract is required. Standard formal letter format is recommended.
Comments on SMJ published articles/authors' reply
- 250 words (main text only)
- 1 small table or figure (optional)
- Up to 5 references
- Comments may be submitted via email to smjsma.org.sg
Discussion on new topics/novel cases
- 450 words (main text only)
- 1–2 small tables or figures (optional)
- Up to 5 references
- Letters reporting novel cases may exceed these limits at the discretion of the editor
Accepted articles that are deemed to be especially educational will be chosen by the Editor to participate in the CME programme organised by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC). Upon acceptance of selected articles, the authors will be requested to provide 5 four-stem multiple-choice questions (MCQs) with true/false answers based solely on the contents of the article. The format of the MCQs may vary for some articles, subject to the Editor's approval.
SMJ is an English language journal. The use of British English is strongly encouraged. The Editorial Office does not offer major copyediting services; therefore, it is the author's responsibility to ensure that the English language is thoroughly revised before submitting the work for publication. Note that the Editorial Office reserves the right to reject a manuscript if the use of language is deemed too poor.
Authors whose native language is not English are strongly encouraged to seek assistance from a competent linguist who is familiar with medical terminology in order to ensure that the words used convey the intended meaning both accurately and clearly.
Recommended English editing service
You may use the coupon code ‘SMJ’ to get a 10% discount for manuscript editing.
Please be advised that all manuscripts submitted to the Journal will be screened for plagiarism using CrossCheck powered by iThenticate.
The Editorial Office has encountered cases where authors have copied entire paragraphs from previously published articles. Although these passages were duly cited and credited with reference sources derived from the articles, this has been found to be unacceptable by Journal standards. Authors are required to paraphrase all reference citations in their own words. This is necessary to prevent any future misunderstandings regarding plagiarism.
In the rare case where a certain citation would lose its original meaning and essence if paraphrasing is attempted, the Journal requires authors to enclose the citation in quotation marks (“ ”) to indicate that it is a direct quote from the source. However, excessive usage of such quotation marks is discouraged and should be utilised only when absolutely necessary.
In order to stem out this unethical practice of plagiarism, the Journal adopts a zero-tolerance stance toward wholesale copying of published works. Failure to comply with these instructions will result in the outright rejection of manuscripts without peer review.
This is meant to be a platform/starting point from which the readers will delve into the work being presented in the text.
- State the purpose of the article.
- Summarise the rationale for the study or observation.
- Provide only strictly pertinent information and references.
- Review the subject extensively.
- Include data or conclusions from the work being reported.
Describe precisely your selection of the observational/experimental subjects (patients, participants or laboratory animals, including controls). Identify the following in sufficient detail, so that there is enough information to reproduce the method presented in the study:
- Apparatus. Please list the manufacturer, city, state and country of all generic drugs, equipment and software used in parenthesis. e.g. KnifeLight® instrument (Stryker Iinstruments, Kalamazoo, MI, USA).
- All drugs and chemicals used. Please list their generic names, manufacturer’s name, city and country in parenthesis, e.g. (Zoloft, Pfizer Inc, New York, NY, USA), and their exact doses and routes of administration.
- Statistical methods should also be described in this section. There should be enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader to verify the reported results.
- Where possible, quantify findings and present them with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals [CI]).
- Avoid relying only on statistical hypothetical testing, such as the use of p-values, which fail to communicate important quantitative information.
- Discuss the eligibility of experimental subjects.
- Provide details about randomisation.
- Describe the methods for, and success by, blinding of observations.
- Report treatment complications.
- Report losses to observation (e.g. dropouts from a clinical trial).
Please cite the standard source (this could be a manual, textbook, or the like), with page numbers stated in the References section, for the study design and statistical methods, instead of citing it directly from the article.
Specify any general-use computer programmes used (e.g. SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL, USA). Avoid the non-technical use of technical terms in statistics; words like "random", "significant", "correlations" and "sample" should not be used unintentionally. Define statistical terms, abbreviations and symbols.
- Present your results in a logical sequence in the text, Figures (if available) and Tables (if available).
- Use Graphs as an alternative to Tables, if the Tables require too many columns/rows.
- Present the results of your statistical study/analysis.
- Emphasise or summarise only the important observations.
- Repeat all the data found in the Figures and Tables in this section.
In this section, emphasise the new and important aspects of the study, and the conclusions that follow from them.
- Include the implications of the findings and their limitations, including the implications for future research.
- For new or substantially modified methods, please also adequately evaluate their limitations.
- Relate the observations to other relevant studies, and cite their reference sources. [e.g. A study in 2000 done by Lin et al also supports this conclusion.(1)]
- Link the conclusions with the goals of the study.
- State new hypotheses when warranted, but clearly label them as such.
- Include recommendations when appropriate.
- Repeat in detail, the data or other material given in the Introduction or the Results section.
- Make statements or draw conclusions that are not completely supported by your data.
- Claim priority and allude to work that has not been completed.
For enquires on submission and peer-review, please contact the Editorial Office:
Singapore Medical Journal
Singapore Medical Association
2985 Jalan Bukit Merah
#02-02C, SMF Building
Tel: +65 6223 1264
Fax: +65 6252 9693