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Submitting supplementary data


Supporting material that cannot be included, and which is not essential for inclusion, in the full text of the manuscript, but would nevertheless benefit the reader. It should not be essential to understanding the conclusions of the paper, but it should contain data that are additional or complementary and directly relevant to the article content. Authors are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to submit Supplementary data whenever appropriate; for example, when the amount of material is too great to warrant inclusion in the main body of the paper, or when the material is in a format that cannot be represented in print (i.e. video clips or animated graphics).


All material to be considered as Supplementary data must be submitted at the same time as the main manuscript for peer review. Please indicate clearly the material intended as Supplementary data upon submission and place it in a separate file(s). Also ensure that the Supplementary data is referred to in the main manuscript at an appropriate point in the text. It cannot be altered or replaced after the paper has been accepted for publication. [Supporting material that has not been peer reviewed will not be published as Supplementary data (so will not be designated 'S' in the Table of Contents), but can be made available through a link to the author's home page, at the discretion of the Editor handling the paper. The word 'Supplementary' must not be used to describe such material. Please use words such as 'Supporting material' or 'Additional material'.]

Supplementary data should be submitted in a separate file(s), in its final form. Please note that Supplementary data will not be edited, so ensure that it is clearly and succinctly presented, and that the style of terms conforms to the rest of the paper. Also ensure that the presentation will work on any internet browser.

Acceptable formats

The supplementary data should preferably be saved as one single PDF file, including all text, figures, tables and legends. If this is not possible, a maximum of 10 files is acceptable to make up the supplementary data unit for the article (see Recommendations below). 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 usually 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.


  1. Pick a common cross-platform (PC, Mac, Linux/UNIX, Amiga, etc.) format for your Supplementary data to allow the greatest access.
  2. If you cannot convert all your files to PDF (.pdf), please provide the following:
    • text files in MS Word (.doc, .docx), HTML (.html) or RTF (.rtf) format.
    • spreadsheet files in MS Excel (.xls, .xlsx) or CSV format. Where possible, combine all tables into a single Excel workbook, saving individual tables on separate clearly labeled worksheets (tabs).
    • 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).
    • sound clips in mp3 format.
    • movie clips in mpeg format.

Getting help

If you require further help or information regarding submission or preparation of Supplementary data, please contact:


Stephen C. Stearns

For Authors

This journal enables compliance with the Wellcome and NIH Public Access Policies.

All content is open access under the terms of the CC-BY licence.

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