Skip Navigation

Manuscript Preparation

Back to main page

The presentation of original work should conform to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.

Article type

Manuscript format
Figures and Tables
Technical details
Supplementary Data
Data deposition
Language editing

All manuscripts must be submitted online through Manuscript Central and include:

  • a disclosure statement from all authors declaring any potential conflicts of interest or stating that the authors have no conflicts of interest;
  • a funding statement acknowledging any funding support received.

All papers under consideration by Rheumatology may not be offered or be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Articles must not have been published elsewhere (in part or in full).

If the work or an abstract of it has been previously published, for instance, in another language, then this fact should be made clear in the covering letter. Authors must declare, and submit copies of, any manuscripts in preparation or submitted elsewhere that are closely related to the manuscript to be considered. See publishing misconduct for more details. All authors must be aware of Journal policies and agree to the submission of the manuscript to Rheumatology. The Journal allows authors to deposit their papers on preprint servers and their data in public databases.


Back to top of page

Title page
Author names and affiliations
Key words
Clinical trials
Key messages
Conflict of interest statement
Funding statement

We strongly recommend that authors read the guidance on formatting papers and follow them as far as possible. Incorrect formatting could delay the processing of your paper. If you have any queries about the type of article or formatting questions, please contact the Editorial Office.


Please refer to a recent issue of Rheumatology for guidance on style and layout of articles. Also refer to the Article type section for guidance on relevant information for each article type.

All papers must be written in English, single column using double spacing. Prepare your manuscript, including tables, using a word processing program and save it as a .doc or .rtf file. All files in these formats will be converted to PDF format on submission.

Back to top of section

Title page

The title page should contain:

  • title of the article,
  • authors' names and affiliations,
  • name, postal address and e-mail address of the corresponding author,
  • a short title that is no more than 45 characters for each page (a running header, which does not apply to letters).

The title is a concise description of the article, covering the main aspects of the work.

For all original articles, please mention the type of study design when relevant.
For example, ‘Systemic lupus erythematosus with neuropsychiatric manifestation incurs high disease costs: a cost-of-illness study in Hong Kong’

We advise authors to avoid the use of abbreviations that are not part of the standard list.

Back to top of section

Author names and affiliations

Every author listed in the manuscript should qualify for authorship. Anyone who has contributed to the manuscript but does not qualify for authorship should be listed in the acknowledgement section with their permission.

Author names should reflect the author’s institution where the work was carried out and include department, institute, town and country information. Affiliations should be indicated by superscript numbers next to each authors’ name in numerical order starting from 1. For example, Wolfgang A. Schmidt1, Andreas Krause1, Bernd Schicke2, Jörn Kuchenbecker3 and Erika Gromnica-Ihle1.

Every article must have a corresponding author providing a complete postal and e-mail address for them. Only one author for correspondence can be listed for a paper. If required, the corresponding author will be expected to answer queries regarding the paper.

Authors whose present address is different from their affiliation address should provide their present address as a separate address (not as part of their affiliation information).

For authors who have contributed equally to a paper, please place an asterisk (*) next to their names and include an explanatory note, e.g. *K Smith and J Blogs equally contributed to this study.

If an author is deceased include them in the authorship list and include an explanatory footnote.

For trials involving large numbers of investigators, refer to the authorship section for information on how to format the authorship list.

Back to top of section


A structured abstract is no more than 250 words organized into the headings: Objectives, Methods, Results and Conclusions.

Format Guide:

  • Do not include citations.
  • Avoid beginning the abstract by repeating the title.
  • Ensure that data in the abstract is exactly the same as that in the main body of the text.
  • Mention if there are any adverse events.

For clinical trials a trial registration heading should also be included (see the clinical trial section for more information). If your study has received funding please include the heading ‘Funding:’ after conclusion and indicate the main funding source of the study/project, e.g. Funding: ARC.

Do keep in mind some readers will only have access to abstracts from which they might have to base their decisions. Refer to the CONSORT checklist for abstracts of clinical trials.

Reviews have an unstructured abstract; Letters do not have an abstract.

Back to top of section

Key words

Provide up to 10 key words that reflect the content of the article to aid Internet searches.

Back to top of section


The introduction should be concise and clear, and give relevant details and background, providing a context to the study. The objective of the study should be clearly stated and the nature of the main question(s) to be answered.

Back to top of section


This section should contain details relevant to the procedures of the study, with sufficient information regarding methods and materials so that the experiments can be easily replicated.

All manuscripts in which experiments on patients or healthy volunteers, patients' case histories or use genetic material are reported should contain an appropriate statement confirming that ethical approval (providing the name of the authorizing body) and informed consent (according to the Declaration of Helsinki) was obtained. When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether the institutional and national guide for the care and use of laboratory animals was followed. For more information refer to the Journal ethical guidelines and mandatory requirements.

If you provide any equipment or specific reagent used, provide the name of the manufacturer, city and country.

Back to top of section

Clinical trials

When submitting a paper on a clinical trial, the trial registration number should be stated at the end of the abstract in the following format:

Trial registration: [name of the trial registry, the registry URL and the trial registration number].

Click here for more information on clinical trial registration.

To ensure the highest quality of research reporting, Rheumatology follows the EQUATOR network resource centre ( for good research reporting.

Rheumatology requires the submission of the CONSORT checklist with the submission of randomized controlled trials.

Back to top of section


These should be concise. A general guideline is that there should be sufficient information to justify the conclusions. Data in tables or figures should not be repeated in the text.

Only International System (SI) units should be used. For more information, refer to the measurements section.

Back to top of section


This section should provide details of the significance of the findings without repetition of the introduction and results. It is a critical examination of the study and should end with a clear and brief conclusion. Any limitations of the study should be discussed within this section.

Back to top of section

Key messages

A key message is a concise sentence that highlights the main conclusion(s) of the paper, indicating its importance and/or interest. It must be a complete sentence by itself and not part of a supporting sentence.

Include up to 3 key messages. Each key message should be a maximum of 15 words.

Note: For Case Reports and Letters to the Editor (other) only one key message (not more than 15 words) should be provided. Editorials and clinical vignettes do not have key messages.

Back to top of section


Contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be included in this section. People acknowledged in this section must be informed and agreed to their inclusion in the paper.

If authors have received any writing assistance this must be disclosed in this section, naming the funding source(s) for such assistance.

Back to top of section

Conflict of interest statement

All papers submitted to the Journal must contain a disclosure statement indicating any potential financial conflicts of interest that any of the authors may have (according to the Journal’s conflict of interest policy).

If none of the authors have any conflicts, insert a statement that the authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For additional information on the different types of conflict of interest, see the World Association of Medical Editors’ (WAME) policy statement on conflicts of interest.

Back to top of section

Funding statement

Details of all funding sources for the work in question should be given in a separate section entitled 'Funding'. This should appear after the 'Acknowledgements' section.

The following rules should be followed:

  • The sentence should begin: ‘This work was supported by …’
  • The full official funding agency name should be given, i.e. ‘National Institutes of Health’, not ‘NIH’ (full RIN-approved list of UK funding agencies) Grant numbers should be given in brackets as follows: ‘[grant number xxxx]’.
  • Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma as follows: ‘[grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]’.
  • Agencies should be separated by a semi-colon (plus ‘and’ before the last funding agency).
  • Where individuals need to be specified for certain sources of funding the following text should be added after the relevant agency or grant number 'to [author initials]'.

Any role a sponsor played should be detailed in the acknowledgements section. For example, if they were involved with the writing, study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of data. For more information on funding click here.

For example, ‘Funding statement: This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [AA123456 to C.S., BB765432 to M.H.]; and the Alcohol & Education Research Council [hfygr667789].’

If funding has been provided for your study a ‘Funding:’ heading should be added to the end of the abstract listing the companies/institutes who have funded the work, e.g. Funding: ARC.

Crossref Funding Data Registry

In order to meet your funding requirements authors are required to name their funding sources, or state if there are none, during the submission process. For further information on this process or to find out more about the CHORUS initiative please click here.

Back to top of section


References in the text should be given as numbers within square brackets, placed in line with the text and in order of appearance (Vancouver style). They should be listed in numerical order at the end of the paper.

All authors should be included in a reference when there are fewer than 6 but only the first three followed by et al. when there are 6 or more.

Authors' names should be followed by the title of article, abbreviated name of the Journal (as per PubMed abbreviations), year, volume and first and last page numbers.

References to books should state the author, followed by chapter title, Editors' names, book title, place of publication, publisher, year, and appropriate page numbers.

Example of a journal article:
1. Hirayama T, Danks L, Sabokbar A, Athanasou N A. Osteoclast formation and activity in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis in rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology 2002;41:1232-9.

When an article has been published online but is not yet assigned to an issue the digital object identifier (DOI) number should be used as in the following example:

2. Bastin S, Bird H, Gamble G, Cundy T. Paget's disease of bone—becoming a rarity?
Rheumatology 2009 published on 16 July 2009. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kep212

Example of a book:
3. Mitchell SC, Waring RH. S-Oxygenase III human harmacogenetics. In: Damani LA, ed. Sulphur-containing drugs and related organic compounds, Vol. 2B. New York: Ellis Horwood, 1989:101-19.

Unpublished communications/personal communications should be cited in the main text in parentheses (after obtaining appropriate permission) along with the name of the person, institution.

The accuracy and completeness of the references is the responsibility of the authors.

Back to top of section


Back to top of page

Figures and tables should be included at the end of the main document or uploaded as separate files.

All figures and tables must be referenced in the text and numbered consecutively in the order they appear in the text. Avoid repeating data presented in the table in the text, but only infer from the data in the table.

Each figure/table must have a legend beginning with a brief title (no more than 10-15 words) that reflects its content. Titles should be included as part of the legend, not as part of the figure/table. Legends should be a concise description of the data in the figure/table avoiding any repetition of information already present in the manuscript and should not be more than 100 words each. All symbols, error bars and abbreviations used in the figure/table should be defined. Common abbreviations or those that have been defined in the text need not be defined in the figure/table legend.

Data should only be presented in one form, either a table or figure.


Prepare your figures at print quality resolution .tif files:

  • 1200 dpi [dots per inch] for line drawings
  • 300 dpi for colour and half-tone artwork.

For useful information on preparing your figures for publication, go to Cadmus or the OUP guide for authors here.

For online submission, please also prepare a second version of your figures at low-resolution (72 dpi) for use in the review process only; these figures can be saved as .jpg, .gif, .tif or .eps format.

Please also see the Journal’s policy on image manipulation for detailed information.

Any lettering should be in proportion with the overall dimensions of the drawing and should be of approximately equal size. It should be in lower-case type with the first letter capitalised.

Parts of a figure should be labelled with upper case A, B, C, etc.

Figures should not contain more than one section unless the parts are logically connected.

Scale bars should be used instead of magnification factors.

Graphs: 3D graphs should not be used unless necessary. If using hatching, please keep it simple

Forest plots: We prefer the tabular information as a word document table and the plot as a separate file as a figure.

Colour figures: Colour illustrations are accepted, but authors will be required to pay the cost of reproduction (£100/$190/€150 per figure). Alternatively, if the colour is not crucial for the image's scientific understanding, colour can be published online only, with a black and white version in the print Journal.

Line drawings: No additional artwork, redrawing or typesetting will be done. Faint or fine-grained stippling or shading or continuous-tone shading will be lost or may appear black on reproduction. Please use a coarse stippling or hatching.

Any previously published material should have relevant written permission of the author and copyright holder for its reproduction for both print and electronic perpetuity. Please include a statement in the figure legend acknowledging the original source. Refer to the Permissions section for detailed information.

Back to top of section


Each table should be typed on a separate sheet with an appropriate legend and footnotes explaining any abbreviations (footnotes should be indicated with an alphabetical letter a, b, c, etc.).

Tables must be numbered in consecutive order in order of appearance in the text and must be in an editable format, preferably in Microsoft Word®.

Each table should have a brief, descriptive title that is self-explanatory. Data provided in the table must be fully defined including units and a description of how the data is represented (e.g. mean (S.D.); n, %). All P values must be defined. Please click here for an example of a table. If a cell is blank, please indicate as NR (not reported) or NS (not stated).

Bold text can be used to highlight particular information along if an explanation is given in the footnote. Shading in tables is not allowed.

Back to top of section


Back to top of page


Measurements of length, height, weight and volume should be reported in metric units (metre [m], kilogram [kg], litre [l]) or their decimal multiples. Temperatures should be given in degrees Celsius and blood pressure in mmHg. All other measurements including laboratory measurements should be reported in the metric system in terms of the International System of Units (SI).

For a list of abbreviations of SI units, please refer to Baron DN (ed.): Units Symbols and Abbreviations: A Guide for Biological and Medical Editors and Authors, 4th edn. London: Royal Society of Medicine.


When quoting specific materials or proprietary drugs, authors must state in parentheses the name, town/city and state/country of the manufacturer.

Drug names should only be referred to by their generic non-proprietary names.


Statistical methods must be detailed and should conform to the statistical guidelines published in Rheumatology 2009; 48: 462-3.

Statistical checklist:

  • Name and version of the statistical sofrtware
  • Test of tests used in the methodology
  • Provide exact P values with CIs
  • Do not use statistical significance when you mean clinical significance


Juvenile idiopathic arthritis should be used instead of juvenile chronic arthritis.

Reactive arthritis should be used instead of Reiter’s syndrome.

We prefer authors to use the terminology child, young person or adolescent instead of paediatric patient as this term may be ambiguous.


A standard list of abbreviations was approved by the editors of the journals in the rheumatology field.

Abbreviations should be unambiguous; if they do not appear in the standard list, their meaning should be clearly explained when they are first introduced.

Back to top of section


Back to top of page

Definition: Material that cannot be included in the print version for reasons of space or practicality, but would nevertheless benefit the reader. It should not be essential to understand the conclusions of the paper, but should contain data that is additional or complementary and directly relevant to the article content.

Such information might include more detailed methods, extended data sets/data analysis, or additional figures.

All text and figures must be provided in suitable electronic formats (instructions for the preparation of Supplementary Data are available below). All material to be considered as Supplementary Data must be submitted at the same time as the main manuscript for peer review. It cannot be altered or replaced after the paper has been accepted for publication. A reference to the supplementary material must be placed within the main text for example:

See supplementary figure (see supplementary data available at Rheumatology online).

Supplementary Data should be submitted in a separate file, in its final form. The file should be clearly marked as Supplementary Data, with the file names, author's surname and manuscript title.

Please note that Supplementary Data is not copyedited or typeset, so please ensure that it is clearly and succinctly presented, and that the style conforms to the rest of the paper. Also ensure that the presentation will work on any Internet browser.


More detailed methods, extended data sets/data analysis, tables, or additional figures.

Back to top of section

Acceptable formats

A maximum of 10 files is acceptable as Supplementary Data for one article. The maximum size per file should not exceed 1.5 MBytes, and files must be as small as possible, so that they can be downloaded quickly. An HTML index page is created to link in the Supplementary data file(s). Please provide short (2-4 word) titles for each individual file; these will be used to create links to the files from the index page.

Back to top of section


  • Pick a common cross-platform (PC, Mac, Linux/UNIX, Amiga etc.) format for your supplementary data to allow the greatest access.
  • Provide text files in PDF (.pdf), MS Word (.doc), HTML files (.html) or RTF (.rtf) format. Files supplied in Word or RTF may be used to create a PDF file.
  • Provide spreadsheet files in MS Excel (.xls) or CSV format.
  • Provide image files in tif, gif or jpg format. Images should be a maximum size of 640 x 480 pixels (9 x 6.8 inches at 72 pixels per inch).
  • Provide audio files in mp3 format.
  • Provide movie clips in mpeg format.

Back to top of section


Back to top of page

If any figures/tables in your paper have already been published we will require a copy of the permission of the author and the copyright holder. Permission must be obtained for reproduction in both print and electronic media in perpetuity. An appropriate statement will also need to be added to the legend and a copy of the original published material must be provided to the Editorial Office. It is the author’s responsibility to obtain permission.

Figures/tables adapted from previously published sources and deemed to be sufficiently different from the original source do not require permission but a reference must be included acknowledging the original source e.g. Adapted from Smith et al [13]. A copy of the original published figures/tables will need to be provided.

Back to top of section


Back to top of page

Databases that aggregate published data for the use of the scientific community are supported by Rheumatology. Before publication, large data sets (including atomic coordinates or electron microscopy maps for macromolecular structures, DNA or protein sequences, and microarray data) must be deposited in an approved database and an accession number provided for inclusion in the published article.

DNA and protein sequence data

DNA and protein sequences must be deposited in one of the following approved databases: Genbank or other members of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (EMBL or DDBJ) and SWISS-PROT.

Macromolecular structure data

Atomic coordinates and structure factor files from X-ray structural studies or an ensemble of atomic coordinates from NMR structural studies must be deposited and released at the time of publication. Three-dimensional maps derived by electron microscopy and coordinate data derived from these maps must also be deposited. Approved databases are the Worldwide Protein Data Bank, BioMag Res Bank, and Electron Microscopy Data Bank (MSD-EBI).

Microarray data

Microarray data should be presented in MIAME-compliant standard format as proposed by the Microarray Gene Expression Data Society. ArrayExpress and Gene Expression Omnibus are approved databases for the deposition of microarray data.

Useful links

Genbank (
International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (
Worldwide Protein Data Bank (
BioMag Res Bank (
Electron Microscopy Data Bank (
ArrayExpress (
Gene names (

Back to top of section


Back to top of page

Before submitting your manuscript you may wish to have it edited for language. This is not a mandatory step, but may help to ensure that the academic content of your paper is understood by journal Editors and reviewers.

Some tips on language are given below:

  • Use active voice rather than passive voice.
  • For randomized controlled trials, mention if the patients were randomly assigned to a drug or were randomly selected, rather than patients were randomized to a drug.
  • Avoid starting sentences with ‘this’ unless it is clear what the ‘this’ refers to in the previous sentence or is used as a pronoun.
  • Always write in simple and clear English that can be understood by an international audience.
  • Avoid single sentences as paragraphs and long complex sentences.
  • Aim to start a sentence with a main idea and then discuss it within the paragraph, (in some cases this may not be necessary).

Back to top of section