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Instructions for Authors

Scope of the Journal

Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM) is an international rigorously peer-reviewed journal, devoted to the advancement of science in the field of complementary and alternative medicine by providing an international forum for collaboration and debate. As the title states, our aim is to evaluate non-conventional or non-modern Western medicine and therapies by modern scientific methods to establish standards in this emerging, chaotic field. Only manuscripts of the highest scientific quality, that are concisely written and that comply with these Instructions for Authors will be accepted.

The journal Evidence-based CAM publishes articles on basic and clinical research, methodology, and history and philosophy of medicine in relevant areas. It will include the following areas in biomedical sciences: phytotherapy (herbal medicine), Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Kampo medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture/acupressure, hydrotherapy (balneology), relevant animal molecules (RAMS), and neuroimmune mechanisms (NIMS). New sources of natural plant and animal molecules will also be considered.

Publication Policies

Evidence-based CAM will focus on the evidence basis of CAM. In basic research, the Journal will publish articles that shed new light on interesting biological mechanisms by which those non-conventional remedies exert their effects. Research on immunological and neuropsychological aspects will be given high priority. The Journal welcomes studies on herbal and animal products, identification of the active ingredients, their mechanisms of action, combinatorial studies, and quality control and quality assurance. In clinical research, Evidence-based CAM will give priority to articles that have been designed and that have used standard methodology of evidence-based medicine. These will include retrospective and prospective studies with matched controls, placebos, randomized trials, comparisons with existing protocols and pharmaceuticals for treatment, and different phases of clinical trials.

At the same time, the Journal is open to any novel ideas and unorthodox approaches, as long as they provide evidence that can be critically evaluated. Especially welcomed is research from the viewpoint of complex systems, where new methodology is yet to be established.

Contributions should be prepared as original articles or reviews according to these Instructions for Authors. Editorials, Commentaries and lecture series will be commissioned. Material offered for publication must be original, unpublished and not under simultaneous consideration by another journal. Any previous publication of the material (including conference proceedings, letters to journals and brief communications) must be declared. The posting of essentially raw data on a Web site without significant analysis is not considered to represent prior publication.


In reports of investigations using humans or animals, authors should indicate their adherence to ethical standards and may note the approval of an ethics or animal research committee when this is relevant. Patients must not be referred to by their own initials or hospital numbers. Work offered for publication in the Journal must conform to the standards for experimentation and care set down in the Declaration of Helsinki, Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects by the World Medical Association (

Animal experiments should refer to the European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes and its appendix and/or the National Research Council Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals ( as guidelines. If experimental methodology raises particular ethical or welfare concerns, they will be judged by the Editorial Office using current UK legislation Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 for additional guidance.

Reports on herbal and animal products will follow the ICH (International Conference on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for human use) guidelines, preclinical evaluations encompassing animal models, in vitro studies, toxicity and safety evaluations, dosimetry, efficacy assessments, and clinical investigations.

Authors in doubt about complying with these provisions should contact the Editorial Office.

Conflict of Interest

At the point of submission, eCAMl’s policy requires that each author reveal any financial interests or connections, direct or indirect, or other situations that might raise the question of bias in the work reported or the conclusions, implications, or opinions stated - including pertinent commercial or other sources of funding for the individual author(s) or for the associated department(s) or organization(s), personal relationships, or direct academic competition. When considering whether you should declare a conflicting interest or connection please consider the conflict of interest test: Is there any arrangement that would embarrass you or any of your co-authors if it was to emerge after publication and you had not declared it?

As an integral part of the online submission process, Corresponding authors are required to confirm whether they or their co-authors have any conflicts of interest to declare, and to provide details of these. If the Corresponding author is unable to confirm this information on behalf of all co-authors, the authors in question will then be required to submit a completed Conflict of Interest form to the Editorial Office. It is the Corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure that all authors adhere to this policy.

If the manuscript is published, Conflict of Interest information will be communicated in a statement in the published paper.

Peer review

OUP Journals has a strict policy regarding conflicts of interest arising in the course of the peer review process. Editors and reviewers who discover that they have a conflict of interest in relation to any submitted article must absolve themselves from any commitments and may not be involved in any part of the peer review process for that article.

Conflicts of interest can occur through the existence of personal, professional or financial relationships between the Editor or reviewer and the author, the author's institution or sponsor. Involvement in competing projects can also produce conflicts of interest.

Reviewers are required to report any potential conflict of interest to the Editor and Editors are required to report regularly to OUP about potential conflicts of interest involving the journal staff. Both Editors and reviewers agree to keep the contents of any articles confidential and not to make any use of information or material which they become aware of during the peer review process.

If the article is published, such information may be communicated in a note following the text and references.


As the representative of the authors, the corresponding author must ensure that all authors are given access to submitted and revised versions of manuscripts. The corresponding author is responsible for the collation of the authors signatures on submission letters and also the collation and communication of proof corrections to the Journal. The corresponding author should be the signatory of the license to publish form. As the authors' nominated representative, the corresponding author will be held primarily accountable for any failure to comply with these Instructions for Authors or generally accepted standards of good practice. This does not absolve other authors of responsibility, however.

The corresponding author will act as the primary contact for correspondence regarding the manuscript, and as such, authors should take care not to appoint a corresponding author likely to be absent for extended periods (such as on a sabbatical) while the manuscript is being reviewed and prepared for publication as this is likely to cause unacceptable delays.


It is a condition of publication in Evidence-based CAM that authors grant an exclusive license to Oxford University Press. This ensures that requests from third parties to reproduce articles are handled efficiently and consistently, and will also allow the article to be as widely disseminated as possible. As part of the license agreement, authors may use their own material in other publications provided that Evidence-based CAM is acknowledged as the original place of publication and that Oxford University Press is notified in advance in writing.

Types of Articles Published

Original Articles: Original articles should include new findings in the areas covered by the Journal. Methods and data used should be clarified, and evidence must be critically evaluated. An original article should not much exceed 5000 words, and should include an Abstract, Introduction, Subjects and Methods, Results, Discussion and References, in that order.

Reviews: The Journal accepts reviews that deal with a particular theme or area of study in a thoughtful and exhaustive manner. A review should not much exceed 8000 words.

Hypotheses, Conjectures, Comments: Evidence-based CAM will publish in the section Hypotheses-Conjectures-Comments papers proposing hypotheses that are interesting but still lack certain evidence. The paper can be purely speculative, but authors are requested to thoroughly discuss existing data related to the hypothesis and also to propose a methodology (experimental, epidemiological or statistical) as to how the hypothesis can be tested. Authors can include figures and illustrative models that enhance the paper and that are considered essential. For any paper accepted in this section, the Journal will publish 'Comments' at the same time. An Editorial Board member will usually write the 'Comments'. A paper submitted for this section should not exceed 5000 words.

Commentaries and Lecture Series: The journal publishes Commentaries and Lecture Series on a commission basis. Their content and format are discussed and decided between the author and Editor-in-Chief. Prospective authors who wish to contribute to these sections are welcomed to contact the Editor-in-Chief, the Editorial Office, or any Board members

Case Reports: Only case reports with high importance and quality will be published.

Online Submission and Refereeing System

Evidence-based CAM will receive submissions through its online submission and reviewing system. Prospective authors should access to submit manuscripts.

The Submission Instructions should be reviewed before submitting a manuscript to eCAM.

Processing of manuscripts

After preliminary examination of a submitted manuscript by the Editorial Office staff to check that all the necessary elements are present, the manuscript is passed to the Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor. Submitted manuscripts will be assigned to at least two reviewers for evaluation. The Editor-in-Chief or Managing Editor may ask authors for revisions. Revised manuscripts should be resubmitted within three months. A final decision on publication made by the Editor-in-Chief will be transmitted by the Managing Editor to the author through the Editorial Office.

Article format Manuscripts should be written in clear and concise, grammatical English. A contributor whose native language is not English is recommended to have the manuscript checked by a native speaker of English. The Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor will not assume the responsibility of making extensive revisions so that manuscripts are clear for referees.

All documents should be double-spaced. A clear, legible single font (Times/Times New Roman, Helvetica/Arial preferred) and point size of 11 should be used throughout. All submitted manuscripts should be page numbered.

In original articles and reviews, authors should submit three to five keywords that do not occur in the title of the article. Very general terms like "bacteria" and terms already present in the title should be avoided, as should nonstandard abbreviations.

Title page The title page should carry a) the title of the article; b) authors names with institutional affiliations; c) corresponding authors name with phone and fax numbers and E-mail address; e) a running head of no more than 50 characters including spaces.

Abstract The second page should carry an abstract of no more than 250 words.

References Number references consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text. The titles of journals should be abbreviated according to the style used in Index Medicus.

List all authors, but if the number exceeds six, give names of six followed by "et al." All references should be available in English and must be current. When citation of articles written in languages other than English is unavoidable, enter the language in parenthesis at the end of the reference.

Article: 1. White A, Hayhoe S, Hart A, Ernst E. Adverse events following acupuncture: prospective survey of 32 000 consultations with doctors and physiotherapists. Br Med J 2001;323:485-486.

Book: 2. Butler K, Barrett S. Consumer's Guide to Alternative Medicine: A Close Look at Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Faith Healing, and Other Unconventional Treatments. Buffalo: Prometheus Books 1992.

Chapter within a book: 3. Filshie J, Cummings TM. Western medical acupuncture. In: Ernst E, White A, editors. Acupuncture: A Scientific Appraisal. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann: 1999, 31-59.

Tables Number tables consecutively in the order of their first citation in the text and supply a brief title for each. Place explanatory matters in footnotes, not in the heading. Explain in footnotes all nonstandard abbreviations that are used in each table.

Figures Figures should be professionally drawn and photographed. For publication in the Journal, authors will be required to supply high-resolution .eps or .tif files (600 d.p.i. for line drawings and 300 d.p.i. for colour and half-tone artwork). Authors are advised to create high-resolution images at the very start of manuscript preparation. If necessary, these can be easily converted into low-resolution images for online submission.

For detailed information on preparing your figures for publication, go to Figures will not be re-lettered by the publisher. The Journal reserves the right to reduce the size of illustrative material. All photomicrographs must include a scale bar.

Any photomicrographs or back-scattered electron images must be of high resolution with respect to detail, contrast and fineness of grain. If the scale is not already obvious on the photograph, indicate the scale by using a bar.

Faint or fine-grained stippling/shading or continuous-tone shading might not reproduce well. Use coarse stippling or an appropriately patterned fill. Grey lines and lettering should be avoided because they lack legibility. Use black lines no finer than 1 pt.

Line weights and lettering size must be suitable for reduction to the type area of the Journal. The maximum width of a double column figure is 165 mm and the maximum depth is 214 mm. After reduction, the smallest lettering should not be less than 2 mm high.

Where figures are comprised of several parts, each part must be labelled with a lower case letter , in parenthesis e.g. (a), (b) etc.

Attach a legend in which all symbols and abbreviations used in the figure are defined. Common abbreviations or those that have been defined in the text need not be redefined in the figure legend.

A list of all figure captions should be included as the last pages in the main text file.

Color photographs will principally be published with the full cost borne by the authors (350 GBP per figure). Manuscripts submitted with color photographs will be reviewed on the assumption that the authors will cover the publication cost if accepted.

Supplementary data Files containing supplementary data (for example large tables or a questionnaire) will be linked with the article published online as an extra resource for readers. Please contact the Editorial Office for further details.

Abbreviations (and nomenclature) Nonstandard nomenclature and abbreviations should be defined at the first occurrence. Introduce abbreviations only where multiple use is made.

Statistics The methods of statistical analysis should be described in sufficient detail. The word "significant" should be used only if a result is statistically significant and where exact P values are given. In clinical articles, outcome variables should be given as point estimates, with 95% confidence intervals rather than standard deviations or standard errors.

Assignment of copyright Manuscripts are considered on the understanding that after acceptance and before publication the authors will grant an exclusive license to publish to Oxford University Press.


Proofs are sent to the corresponding author by e-mail as a PDF. These should be read carefully, paying particular attention to any tables, figures and references, and then corrected and returned to the Production Editor by fax (+44 1865 353 798) or email within three business days of receipt. Authors should pay particular attention that they check any dosage directions, owing to the seriousness of any error entering the printed record. Extensive changes at the proof stage are not permitted. Authors may be charged for correction of their non-typographical errors. In the event of important developments in a field that affect the manuscript arising after the final revision, a 'Note added in proof' may be permitted.


The corresponding author will be sent free electronic access to their article.

Offprints may be purchased at the rates indicated on the order form which must be returned with the proofs

Submitting Your Manuscript

If you are ready to submit your manuscript, please follow the the eCAM Submission Instructions.

Clinical Papers

1. Brief case reports;
2. Developed case reports with detailed, illustrative documentation;
3. Case reports expanded into hypotheses;
4. Clinical studies with as strong an evidence base as possible.

1. Brief Case Reports
The brief case reports describe, in 600 words, a single interesting case. The main criterion for selection of a case is that it should address a significant question in the CAM community or enable readers to learn something. Case reports can be but do not have to be reports of rare conditions. They can report unusual presentations of more common conditions, challenging differential diagnoses, mistaken diagnoses, novel or uncommon methods of treatment or unexpected outcomes. Preferably the case should have a good illustration. Consent for publication in print and electronically must be obtained from the patient or, if this is not possible, the next of kin. (See Patients' consent and permission to publish).

2. Developed case reports with detailed, illustrative documentation;
These detailed case reports are from 1,500 to 2,000 words. They may be longer, up to 5,000 words, if a series of cases is reported or if there is a demonstrable need for a long introduction to review the literature. These reports should be accompanied by illustrative figures. eCAM’s preference is for brief case reports and the longer ones will go through a strict review by the editorial office before deemed worthy to enter the review system.

3. Case reports expanded into hypotheses;
These case reports are from 1,500 to 2,000 words or up to 5,000 words if describing a series of cases. The case or cases should be strictly analyzed and a hypothesis developed.

4. Clinical studies with as strong an evidence base as possible.
Clinical studies should be submitted in the form of Original Articles. Authors should note that the journal place importance on evidence. It is preferred that rondomized-controled studies with double-blinded procedures are performed. If the nature of the study does not allow such study design, authors should give thorough explanation as to why this is not possible, and how they have handled the problem to minimize bias.

Special Instructions for Clinical Paper Submission:
The title can be up to 20 words and should include the name of the condition reported. If it is appropriate, the title can signal the message conveyed by the report, for example, ‘Mistaken diagnosis of ...’ or ‘An unusual presentation of ...’ or ‘Piggy-back contact lenses can work in correcting ...’. Please refrain from the use of the word “Effects”. Rather, express what the effect is.

The abstract should be fewer than 275 words and have a structured format with the following subheadings: Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion. A further section, Conclusions, can be added.

The introduction should set the scene by describing some of what is known about the condition reported to provide the basis for understanding the aspects of the case reported that are different or interesting. The introduction does not need to be a major and comprehensive review of the condition. Authors must refer to recent literature to enable readers of their case report to understand the special aspects of the case.

We expect authors to refer to literature of the topic of the study. They should be recent (in the past 10 or 15 years), and preferably should be written in English. Liberature can be found at:
Entrez PubMed
eCAM papers are found at

The Case
A description of the case follows the introduction. This should include all the clinical information that is relevant to understanding the case reported. Do not report clinical information that is not relevant to the story. The description usually will be an unfolding chronological account of the clinical findings and management, beginning with the author’s findings at the first visit. For example, ‘A white male patient aged 49 years came because of difficulty reading over the previous six months. He also complained of On examination it was found …’.

Discussion and Conclusions
The discussion will consider the special aspects of the case. It may discuss how the case is similar to or differs from typical cases described in recent literature. It may comment on whether similar findings have been reported by others. It may discuss other diagnoses that were possible and the reasons for the diagnosis that was reached. It may warn about the risks of misdiagnosis. It may draw attention to the value of the management strategies followed in this case and how they differ from the usual strategies. Statements of facts or of the opinions of others will be supported by references. The discussion will make the learning message clear. For example, ‘This case shows how important it is to ...’ or ‘This case shows that in selected cases it is possible to provide considerable improvement of vision by …’. If there are several conclusions or if the conclusion needs a lengthy explanation, there can be a separate conclusions section after the discussion.

Case reports usually have one or more illustrations. These can be clinical photographs, radiographs or visual field charts or whatever is necessary to make the points of the case report clear. Include only those illustrations that add information and are necessary to tell your story. Clinical photographs can be submitted as prints in color or black and white, or in electronic form. Illustrations submitted in electronic form must have a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. They must be supplied as separate files. Use a separate file for each electronic image. Do NOT embed illustrations in the Word document carrying your text. Electronic files can be supplied in any of the following formats: Encapsulated Post Script (eps), Tagged Image File Format (tif or tiff) or JPEG (jpg). Label electronic files clearly, showing author name, figure number and format. For example: BrownFigure2.tif.

References should be listed at the end of the text in the format described in the ‘Instructions for authors’ published on the journal’s internet site:

Patent Confidentiality and Consent
The identity of patients who are subjects of case reports must be protected. Any identifying names or initials on photographs or visual field charts must be removed or obscured and nothing in the text should enable the patient to be identified. Written patient consent must be obtained if a photograph of the face or any part of the face of the patient is in any photograph. Authors must certify in writing that they hold written patient consent to publish if the patient is in any way able to be identified through the photographs or otherwise.


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

An example is given here: ‘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].’

Oxford Journals will deposit all NIH-funded articles in PubMed Central. See Depositing articles in repositories – information for authors for details. Authors must ensure that manuscripts are clearly indicated as NIH-funded using the guidelines above.