Clinical Medicine instructions for authors

Manuscript types for Clinical Medicine

Research

Quality Improvement

Clinical Lesson

CME

Concise Guidance

Opinion

Review

Lectures (by invitation only)

Conference reports

Acute medical care (AMC)

Lessons of the month

Image of the month

Letters to the editor

 

How should I prepare my article?

 

Research

  • ClinMed publishes research of interest to a general medical audience (albeit it may be specialty related) that addresses a defined question. This includes only human research (patients, diseases, populations and health services), not research on animals or healthy volunteers.
  • Research articles should not exceed 3,000 words (excluding tables, figure legends and references) and 30 references.
  • Subheadings must be used to divide the text, and should include an introduction, a brief methods section, results, discussion and concluding remarks.
  • Any methodology appropriate to the research question must be described, including quantitative, qualitative and modelling methods.
  • Notification of approval from the local research ethics committee and a statement on informed consent must be included in the methods section for all clinical research. 
  • Limitations of the study need to be explicitly included.
  • Please include a summary box with text under four headings: what is known – what is the question – what was found – what is the implication for practice now?

 

Quality Improvement

  • Quality improvement (QI) studies should be 1,500–2,500 words in length, with up to 15 references.
  • This section can include service or educational QI projects. The project may be an audit showing measurement, improvement and then re-measurement.
  • Describe and evaluate the intervention that aims to improve a process or system of healthcare.
  • Outline how QI programmes were set up, measurable benefits and lessons learnt; follow SQUIRE 2.0 guidelines if appropriate.
  • Limitations of the study need to be explicitly included.

 

Clinical Lesson

  • Clinical lessons should be 1,000–1,500 words long, with no more than 15 references.
  • Subheadings should be questions, followed by exam-style multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and the answers.
  • The discussion section should be a brief summary of the lesson(s).
  • Visual elements are strongly encouraged (images, resources, videos and scopes via QR code).

 

CME

  • The CME section is designed to keep physicians up to date with advances in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of conditions they may encounter in general medicine. Most articles will emphasise current views, while some will examine recent advances in knowledge. The evidence for recommendations should be presented. The target readership is physicians and higher trainees, particularly those who have acute medical duties, as well as MRCP(UK) candidates.
  • CME submissions should be 1,200–1,500 words long, with no more than 20 references and up to four figures/tables where necessary
  • In addition, five takehome messages should also be submitted as a series of bullet points in a box marked ‘key points’, as well as 5–8 keywords.
  • Self‐assessment questionnaire (SAQ): at the end of the CME section, an SAQ of ten questions is published. Please submit three questions for inclusion at the end of the CME section. Questions must follow a bestoffive format in a similar style to that of the MRCP(UK) Part 1 exam. Questions must be written in the past tense, with reference ranges and thresholds provided where necessary, and the five answers must be listed in alphabetical order. The correct answer should be indicated in the document with a brief explanation of why the answer is correct, and why the alternative answers are not.

 

Concise guidance

  • Concise guidance should be 2,000–3,000 words in length, with no limit on number of references.
  • Please include an explicit link to the guideline, including scope of the work as it relates to general medical practice, location of the disease burden (epidemiology, costs). Include what is not in scope (where relevant).
  • The guidance should be in the form of a sequence of subheadings related to clinical questions addressed (whether it is related to diagnosis, pathway or treatment, etc).
  • The conclusion should focus on what is new, and should include health economics (where relevant) and what research recommendations were highlighted.
  • Please include a box to summarise key practice implications from the guideline.

 

Opinion

  • Papers in which a topic of interest is discussed from a particular viewpoint, or in which avenues for future research are suggested.
  • The article should debate issues with an emphasis on the health economic balance and practicality of delivery, not just clinical justification.
  • Opinion articles should be 1,000–1,500 words in length, with 15 references maximum.
  • Ideally they should be supported by original data from the authors, but can be an expert overview.

 

Review

  • ClinMed publishes critical reviews of the literature in a particular subject area.
  • Reviews should be 2,500–3,000 words long, with no limit on the number of references.
  • The review needs to answer a focused question and adhere to PRISMA methods.
  • The question must be relevant to a general medical audience, albeit it may be specialty related.
  • Please include a box to summarise key practice implications from the review.

 

Lectures (by invitation only)

  • Transcripts must not exceed 2,500 words (excluding tables, figure legends and references) and 30 references.
  • Figures/tables may be included where necessary.
  • Subheadings should be used to divide the text.

 

Conference reports

  • Less than 1,500 words (excluding tables, figure legends and references) and 20 references.
  • Figures/tables may be included where necessary.
  • Subheadings should be used to divide the text.
  • Focus on the main themes emerging from the conference, and be written for practising clinicians. The report should not be a blow‐by‐blow account of the contents of each talk; a copy of the full programme will be published separately.

 

Acute medical care (AMC)

  • Less than 1,000 words (excluding tables, figure legends and references), 5 key references and 1 figure/table.
  • Focus on management of acute medical patients in the emergency department and beyond, using a ‘case‐based discussion’ format. Submissions should be based on real cases and should have some degree of complexity, perhaps due to diagnostic uncertainty, multiple comorbidities or ethical dilemmas.
  • Must include:
    • Case presentation: outline the case history of the patient presenting acutely (to the emergency department or on the ward), including any history available from the patient, witnesses and paramedics, initial observations, examination findings, immediate blood investigations, ECG and radiology findings.
    • Diagnosis: outline the problem list, differential diagnosis and likelihood of each.
    • Initial management and prognosis: outline the evidence‐based initial management plan for the patient, with reference to the literature or guidelines if relevant. Include plans for relevant investigations, and discuss any problems or comorbidities which may affect presentation and impact treatment. A likely prognosis should be suggested.
    • Case progression and outcome: outline case progression and describe results of subsequent investigations and how they altered management. The outcome of the case should be discussed.
    • Discussion: include previous cases, current guidelines for management of such patients and lack of knowledge or evidence in the field. Discuss how ethical dilemmas may have added to the complexity of the case.
    • Summary of 4–6 key learning points from the case.

Written consent must be obtained by the author from patients if there is any risk, however minimal, of identification. You may use the ClinMed patient consent form (or a hospital consent form). A statement explaining whether or not consent to publish was obtained must appear at the end of the main text.

 

Lessons of the month

  • Less than 1,000 words (excluding tables, figure legends and references) and 10 references, with up to 4 figures/tables where necessary.
  • Subheadings should be used to divide the text.

Written consent must be obtained by the author from patients if there is any risk, however minimal, of identification. You may use the ClinMed patient consent form (or a hospital consent form). A statement explaining whether or not consent to publish was obtained must appear at the end of the main text.

 

Image of the month (may be published online on the journal website)

  • The clinical image (photograph, scan or histological image) or group of images needs to noteworthy and can be available as an image or video via QR code
  • Accompanied by a maximum of 500 words of explanatory text (excluding tables, figure legends and references). A maximum of 2–5 references may be included where necessary.
  • An abstract and keywords are not required.

Written consent must be obtained by the author from patients if there is any risk, however minimal, of identification. You may use the ClinMed patient consent form (or a hospital consent form). A statement explaining whether or not consent to publish was obtained must appear at the end of the main text.

Lessons and images of the month are considered as a group by the editorial panel every 2 months.

 

Letters to the editor

  • Letters must be submitted to clinicalmedicine@rcplondon.ac.uk within 3 weeks of receipt of ClinMed
  • Maximum 350 words in length. Receipt of letters will be acknowledged, but they will only published at the editor‐in‐chief’s discretion.
  • A rebuttal from the original author may be sought.

 

How should I prepare my article?

 

How to structure your article

 
Please refer to the following standard reporting guidelines for different types of study design:
  • Randomised controlled trials: CONSORT
  • Observational studies (cohort/case control): STROBE
  • Qualitative research: COREQ
  • Quality improvement papers: SQUIRE 2.0
  • Economic evaluations: CHEERS
  • Systematic reviews and meta-analysis: PRISMA
 
Cover sheet 
 
A cover sheet should be submitted with the main document in a separate file and must include: 
  • all author information (title, full name, job title and affiliations) 
  • corresponding author details (address and email)
  • a word count (excluding the references, tables and figure legends)
  • conflicts of interests
  • author contributions
  • acknowledgements (if any).
 
Main text
 
The main manuscript file should be anonymised and contain no author information.
 
Abstract 
 
An abstract of no more than 150 words must be submitted for all submissions unless otherwise stated.
 
Keywords
 
5–8 keywords must be submitted for all submissions unless otherwise stated.
 

How to format your article

 
General points
 
All submissions must be written in English (using British English spelling), submitted as MS Word files (.doc or .docx). All main manuscript files should be anonymised and contain no author information as ClinMed operates double-blind peer review.
 
Jargon should be avoided where possible and all abbreviations (apart from universally recognised terms such as GP or NHS) should be defined at first instance.
 
Figures 
 
  • The author is responsible for obtaining written permission to reproduce figures previously published elsewhere; please contact the editorial office (clinicalmedicine@rcplondon.ac.uk) if you require assistance with this process.
  • Figures should be supplied in a separate file and not embedded in a Word file. 
  • The following formats are accepted: TIFF, PNG, EPS, JPEG. 
  • Figures saved in PowerPoint files will not be accepted.
  • Where necessary, figures should be labelled clearly using lower-case letters, ie a, b, c, and separately described in the figure legend.
  • All figures must be referred to in the text and legends should be brief and listed at the bottom of the main text.
 
Tables/boxes
  • The author is responsible for obtaining written permission to reproduce tables and/or boxes previously published elsewhere; please contact the editorial office (clinicalmedicine@rcplondon.ac.uk) if you require assistance with this process.
  • Tables should each be presented on a separate page and include a short, one-line title in bold text.
  • Essential descriptive material should be briefly listed below the table/box, followed by the definition of all abbreviations used in the table in alphabetical order in the following format: 
CK = creatine kinase; CTPA = computed tomography pulmonary angiography; FBC = full blood count; Hb = haemoglobin; PE = pulmonary embolism; WBC = white blood cells.
 
References
 
  • The formatting and accuracy of the references is the responsibility of the author.
  • References should appear in the text as superscript numbers, set after the punctuation, and numbered in order of appearance.
  • Do not use linked fields such as those produced by EndNote. EndNote codes should be removed prior to submission.
  • Do not duplicate references; if the same reference is used multiple times, the same reference number should be utilised.
  • Refer to article-specific instructions below for restrictions on the number of references.
  • Only articles published or submitted to a named journal should be included; communications or papers in preparation should be referred to in the text only.
  • Authors should be listed surname first followed by the initials of given names.
  • List the names of up to five authors; where there are more than five authors, list the first three only, followed by et al. 
  • Journal titles should be abbreviated to the style of Index Medicus (www.nlm.nih.gov).
  • Follow the style of the examples below:
 
  1. Health Select Committee. The influence of the pharmaceutical industry. Fourth report. London: Stationery Office, 2005. www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmhealth/42/4202.htm [Accessed 02 April 2013].
  2. Abbasi K, Smith R. No more free lunches. BMJ 2003;326:1155–6.
  3. Talwalkar JA, Souto E, Jorgensen RA et al. Natural history of pruritus in primary biliary cirrhosis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2003;1:297–302.
  4. McBride M. Inflammatory disease of the heart. In: Wheeler D, Wong H, Shaley T (eds), Paediatric critical care medicine, 2nd edn. London: Springer, 2014:467–81.
 
Online appendices
 
Appendices (such as lengthy tables and full datasets) should be published as online‐only supplementary material. The main printed article should still have coherence without the supplementary material.