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Submissions should be made electronically through this website. Once submitted, the author can track the submission and communicate with the editors via the online journal management system.
Please ensure that you consider the following guidelines when preparing your manuscript. Failure to do so may delay processing your submission.
All word limits include referencing and citation.
To ensure blind peer review, please only list the title and abstract on the submitted manuscript file.
The names of all authors, affiliations, contact details, biography (optional) and the corresponding author details must be completed online as part of the submission process. All authors must fit within the journal's definition of an author, available here.
Author names should include a forename and a surname. Forenames cannot include only initials.
The affiliation should ideally include ‘Department, Institution, City, Country’. However only the Institution and Country are mandatory.
Research articles must have the main text prefaced by an abstract of no more than 250 words summarising the main arguments and conclusions of the article. This must have the heading ‘Abstract’ and be easily identified from the start of the main text.
A list of up to six key words is also required below the abstract.
The Abstract and Keywords should also be added to the metadata when making the initial online submission.
The body of the submission should be structured in a logical and easy to follow manner. A clear introduction section should be given that allows non-specialists in the subject an understanding of the publication and a background of the issue(s) involved. Methods, results, discussion and conclusion sections may then follow to clearly detail the information and research presented.
Up to three level headings may be present and must be clearly identifiable using different font sizes, bold or italics. We suggest using Headings 1, 2 and 3 in MS-Word’s ‘Style’ section.
If data, structured methods or code used in the research project have been made openly available, a statement should be added to inform the reader how/where to access these files. This should include the repository location and the DOI linking to it. Read our reproducibility guide for more information on best practice and maximising the impact of your open data.
If it is not possible to use a repository then the journal can host supplementary files. Such files must be listed in the Data Accessibility section, with a corresponding number, title and optional description. Ideally, the supplementary files are also cited in the main text.
e.g. Supplementary file 1: Appendix. Scientific data related to the experiments.
Supplementary files will not be typeset so they must be provided in their final form and must be submitted for review during the original submission process. They will be assigned a DOI and linked to from the publication by the publisher.
NOTE: If data used in the research project has not been made available, a statement confirming this should be added, along with reasoning why.
The journal's data policy is available on the Editorial Policies page.
Ethics and consent (if applicable)
Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Where applicable, studies must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee and the authors should include a statement within the article text detailing this approval, including the name of the ethics committee and reference number of the approval. The identity of the research subject(s) should be anonymised whenever possible. For research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study must be obtained from participants (or their legal guardian) and added to this statement. If a study involving human subjects/tissue/data was exempt from requiring ethical approval, a confirmation statement from the relevant body should be included within the submission.
Experiments using animals must follow national standards of care. For further information, click here.
Please footnote acknowledgements alongside your affiliation in a preliminary ‘*’ footnote.
Funding Information (if applicable)
Should the research have received a funding grant then you should detail the grant provider and grant number.
You must declare any competing interests. A short paragraph should be placed before the references. Guidelines for competing interests can be found here. If there are no competing interests to declare then the following statement should be present: The author(s) has/have no competing interests to declare.
A sentence or a short paragraph detailing the roles that each author held to contribute to the authorship of the submission. Individuals listed must fit within the definition of an author, as per our authorship guidelines.
All references cited must be properly footnoted.
The author is responsible for obtaining all permissions required prior to submission of the manuscript. Permission and owner details should be mentioned for all third-party content included in the submission or used in the research.
If a method or tool is introduced in the study, including software, questionnaires, and scales, you must state the license this is available under and any requirement for permission for use. If an existing method or tool is used in the research, it is the author's responsibility to check the license and obtain the necessary permissions. Statements confirming that permission was granted should be included in the Materials and Methods section.
For the submission title:
Capitalise all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and subordinate conjunctions (i.e. as, because, although). Use lowercase for all articles, coordinate conjunctions and prepositions.
Headings within the main text:
First level headings in the text should follow the same rule as the main title.
For lower-level subheadings, only capitalise first letter and proper nouns.
Headings should be under 75 characters.
Submissions must be made in British English, used consistently throughout the whole of the submission.
When referring to proper nouns and normal institutional titles, the official, original spelling must be used.
American or English grammar rules may be used as long as they are used consistently and match the spelling format (see above). For instance, you may use a serial comma or not.
The font used should be commonly available and in an easily readable size. This may be changed during the typesetting process.
Underlined text should be avoided whenever possible.
Bold or italicised text to emphasise a point are permitted, although should be restricted to minimal occurrences to maximise their efficiency.
Use bullet points to denote a list without hierarchy or order of value. If the list indicates a specific sequence then a numbered list must be used.
Lists should be used sparingly to maximise their impact.
Use single quotation marks except for quotes within another speech, in which case double quotation marks are used.
Quotations that are longer than three lines in length must be in an indented paragraph separate from the main text.
The standard, non-italicised font must be used for all quotes.
It must be clear from the text and/or citation where the quote is sourced.
Acronyms & Abbreviations
With abbreviations, the crucial goal is to ensure that the reader – particularly one who may not be fully familiar with the topic or context being addressed – is able to follow. Spell out almost all acronyms on first use, indicating the acronym in parentheses immediately thereafter. Use the acronym for all subsequent references.
A number of abbreviations are so common that they do not require the full text on the first instance. Examples of these can be found here.
Abbreviations should usually be in capital letters without full stops.
Common examples from Latin origin do not follow this rule and should be lower case and can include full stops.
Use of footnotes/endnotes
Use footnotes rather than endnotes (we refer to these as ‘Notes’ in the online publication).
All notes should be used only where crucial clarifying information needs to be conveyed.
Symbols are permitted within the main text and datasets as long as they are commonly in use or have explanatory definition on their first usage.
Hyphenation, em and en dashes
There is no set rule on the use of hyphenation between words, as long as they are consistently used.
Em dashes should be used sparingly. If they are present, they should denote emphasis, change of thought or interruption to the main sentence and can replace commas, parentheses, colons or semicolons.
En dashes can be used to replace ‘to’ when indicating a range. No space should surround the dash.
For numbers zero to nine please spell the whole words. Please use figures for numbers 10 or higher.
We are happy for authors to use either words or figures to represent large whole figures (i.e. one million or 1,000,000) as long as the usage is consistent throughout the text.
If the sentence includes a series of numbers then figures must be used in each instance.
If the number appears as part of a dataset, in conjunction with a symbol or as part of a table then the figure must be used.
If a sentence starts with a number it must be spelt, or the sentence should be re-written so that it no longer starts with the number.
Do not use a comma for a decimal place.
Numbers that are less than zero must have ‘0’ precede the decimal point.
Units of measurement
Symbols following a figure to denote a unit of measurement must be taken from the latest SI brochure. See http://www.bipm.org/utils/common/pdf/si_brochure_8_en.pdf for the full brochure.
Formulae must be proofed carefully by the author. Editors will not edit formulae. If special software has been used to create formulae, the way it is laid out is the way they will appear in the publication.
Figures, including graphs and diagrams, must be professionally and clearly presented. If a figure is not easy to understand or does not appear to be of a suitable quality, the editor may ask to re-render or omit it.
All figures must be cited within the main text, in consecutive order using Arabic numerals (e.g. Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.).
Each figure must have an accompanying descriptive main title. This should clearly and concisely summarise the content and/or use of the figure image. A short additional figure legend is optional to offer a further description.
Figure titles and legends should be placed within the text document, either after the paragraph of their first citation, or as a list after the references.
The source of the image should be included, along with any relevant copyright information and a statement of authorisation (if needed).
If your figure file includes text then please present the font as Ariel, Helvetica, or Verdana. This will mean that it matches the typeset text.
NOTE: All figures must be uploaded separately as supplementary files during the submission process, if possible in colour and at a resolution of at least 300dpi. Each file should not be more than 20MB. Standard formats accepted are: JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, EPS. For line drawings, please provide the original vector file (e.g. .ai, or .eps).
Tables must be created using a word processor's table function, not tabbed text.
Tables should be included in the manuscript. The final layout will place the tables as close to their first citation as possible.
All tables must be cited within the main text, and numbered with Arabic numerals in consecutive order (e.g. Table 1, Table 2, etc.).
Each table must have an accompanying descriptive title. This should clearly and concisely summarise the content and/or use of the table. A short additional table legend is optional to offer a further description of the table. The table title and legend should be placed above the table.
Tables should not include:
NOTE: If there are more columns than can fit on a single page, then the table will be placed horizontally on the page. If it still can't fit horizontally on a page, the table will be broken into two.
This journal uses the OSCOLA system which is a footnoting system.
As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
This journal does not charge APCs for its publications.
This journal does not charge APCs for its publications.