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INSTRUCTIONS TO AUTHORS

Please note that the journal now encourages authors to complete their copyright licence to publish form online

All manuscripts must be submitted online. Once you have prepared your manuscript according to the instructions below please visit the online submission web site. Instructions on submitting your manuscript online can be viewed here.

The International Journal of Epidemiology is produced six times a year and publishes original work, reviews, articles of interest and letters in the fields of research and teaching epidemiology.

All submissions must be in the English language.

It is a condition of publication in the Journal that authors grant an exclusive licence to the International Epidemiological Association. 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 licence agreement, authors may use their own material in other publications provided that the Journal is acknowledged as the original place of publication and Oxford University Press as the Publisher.

Upon receipt of accepted manuscripts at Oxford Journals authors will be invited to complete an online copyright licence to publish form.

Please note that by submitting an article for publication you confirm that you are the corresponding/submitting author and that Oxford University Press ("OUP") may retain your email address for the purpose of communicating with you about the article. You agree to notify OUP immediately if your details change. If your article is accepted for publication OUP will contact you using the email address you have used in the registration process. Please note that OUP does not retain copies of rejected articles

Articles are accepted for publication on condition that they are contributed solely to the International Journal of Epidemiology. The editors cannot enter into correspondence about papers considered unsuitable for publication and their decision is final. Neither the editors nor the publishers accept responsibility for the views and statements of authors expressed in their contributions.

Manuscripts should be prepared in the Vancouver Style (see e.g. Br Med J 1979; 1: 532-35) and submitted online here. They should not normally exceed 3000 words but review articles may be twice this length. Letters intended for publication should be marked 'For Publication'. Books and monographs for review should also be sent to the Editor.

Manuscripts should be double spaced with margins of 2.5cm. All pages should be numbered. Italics should be indicated by single underlining. Numbers followed by a unit should be written as figures as should all numbers above nine. Figures should not be used to start a sentence and those between 999 and 9999 should not be separated by spaces or commas while those over 10 000 should have a space after the thousand. Per cent should be written as % throughout. Full points should not be used after initials or contractions: J Jones, FRCS, 17 g, dl, Dr, etc. All measures should be reported in SI units followed, in the text, by traditional units in parentheses. For general guidance on the International System of Units and some useful conversion factors, see 'The SI for the Health Professions' (WHO, 1977). There are two exceptions: blood pressure should be expressed in mm Hg and haemoglobin as g/dl.

If the data are appropriate, age grouping should be mid-decade to mid-decade or in five-year age groups (e.g. 35-44 or 35-39, 40-44, etc, but not 20-29, 30-39 or other groupings).

TITLES

Titles should be short and specific. Subtitles may be used to amplify the main title.

AFFILIATIONS

The affiliations of each author must be given. If an author's present affiliation is different from that under which the work was done, both should be given.

SUMMARY

The summary should be no more than 250 words and consist of four sections labelled Background, Methods, Results and Conclusions. They should briefly describe the problem being addressed in the study, how the study was performed, the salient results and what conclusions can be made from the results. Three to ten keywords should be added to the end of the Summary.

FUNDING

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. ‘the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health’ or simply 'National Institutes of Health' not ‘NCI' (one of the 27 subinstitutions) or 'NCI at NIH’ - see the full RIN-approved list of UK funding agencies for details
Grant numbers should be complete and accurate and provided in brackets as follows: ‘[grant number ABX CDXXXXXX]’
Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma as follows: ‘[grant numbers ABX CDXXXXXX, EFX GHXXXXXX]’
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 [P50 CA098252 and CA118790 to R.B.S.R.]
and the Alcohol & Education Research Council [HFY GR667789].

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.

REFERENCES

Authors are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of reference lists. References in Vancouver Style should be in the order they appear in the text and numbered accordingly. These numbers should be inserted above the line whenever a reference is cited (...confirmed by other studies 23). Numbered references should appear at the end of the article and should consist of the surnames and initials of all authors when six or less, when seven or more list just three and add et al., title of article, name of journal abbreviated according to Index Medicus style, year, volume, first and last page numbers,

e.g. Bull Q, Doe J. Epidemiology and public health. Int J Epidemiol 1970; 5: 702-10.

Titles of books should be followed by the place of publication, the publisher, and the year. 'Unpublished Observations', 'Personal Communications' and submitted manuscripts may not be used as reference but should appear in the text. Manuscripts in press may be cited in the references and details added on proof if possible.

ABBREVIATIONS

Words to be abbreviated should be spelt out in full the first time they appear in the text with the abbreviations in brackets. Thereafter the abbreviation should be used.

TABLES

Tables should be numbered consecutively in arabic numerals and should be kept separate from the text. Particular care should be taken to make tables self-explanatory with adequate headings and footnotes. The position of each table in the text should be indicated (Table 1 here).

FIGURES

Illustrations should be numbered, given suitable legends. They should be kept separate from the text.
Colour illustrations can be reproduced if there is sufficient scientific merit in doing so. Authors will be expected to pay for the cost of colour origination in the print version of the Journal (£350/figure). Alternatively, black and white figures can appear in the printed version of an article with colour versions appearing online (for which there is no charge). Please state your preferred option (i.e. agreement to pay £350/figure for print and online colour or preference for online-only colour with no charge) upon submission via the online submission system.
Please ensure that the prepared electronic image files print at a legible size and are of a high quality for publication. For useful information on preparing your figures for publication, go to http://cpc.cadmus.com/da. You can also see our figure guidelines.

APPENDICES

As a general rule, material of this nature should be incorporated in the text but separate sections can be published after the main text.

SPECIAL NOTES FOR STATISTICAL PAPERS

The correct preparation of statistical manuscripts is particularly important and the precise nature and position of each symbol must be clear. Complex formulae should be drawn out on a separate sheet and attached to the text at the appropriate place.In general, distinction should be made between:

  1. capitals and small letters;
  2. ordinary and bold-faced letters;
  3. certain greek letters and similar roman letters;
  4. subscripts, superscripts and 'ordinary' symbols.

Bold-faced symbols should be underlined with a wiggly line in pencil. Statistical symbols are automatically set in italics and need not be underlined except to prevent ambiguity, e.g. when an isolated letter, such as a, occurs in the text. Symbols should not be used to start a sentence.

COHORT PROFILES

Purpose: The ultimate aim of the IJE’s cohort profile series is to provide up-to-date details of cohort studies across the world. Each profile should include key information about a particular cohort used in epidemiological studies. Cohort profiles should provide IJE readers with sufficient detail to enable them to; form collaborations, learn from each other and maximise use of existing resources.

Word count: Around 2500-3000 (should be succinct and indicative rather than exhaustive)

Eligibility: To be eligible for publication a cohort profile MUST:

1. Have collected and completed some analyses on at least one, baseline, round of data, so that some results in addition to baseline descriptive statistics can be presented in the profile.
2. Describe a study that has either completed prospective follow-up of participants or has funding and clear plans to do so.

In addition to these requirements, the IJE will give preference to cohorts with over 1000 participants at baseline and to cohorts for which follow-up data have been collected specifically for the cohort rather than just from routine data sources.

The IJE will accept profiles that describe cohort consortia. Such profiles should focus on the added value of the consortium rather than piecemeal descriptions of the constituent cohorts. Updates of cohort profiles already published will be considered in cases where the focus of the research, or the data collected have changed significantly. Please note that updated cohort profiles will ONLY be considered for publication online.

From December 2012 the IJE will have a regular Data Resource Profile series. This series will cover any dataset of use to epidemiologists that falls outside the rubric of a cohort study. Typical examples of data resources include the Indian National Family Health Survey Study; UK General Practice Research Database (GPRD), Indonesian Family Life Survey, and Korean NHANES. However, large randomised controlled trials and clinical case series with long-term follow-up will also generally be considered data resources rather than cohorts.

Format
Each profile is required to follow a similar format, using the subheadings:

Title and Author List: Your title should start with ‘Cohort Profile’ followed by the cohort name in full (acronyms in parenthesis). A maximum of 12 authors will be listed under the title. Additional authors and their affiliations should be included under the sub-heading ‘Author list continued’ at the end of the document.

Summary: A short free form summary (150 – 200 words) should describe why the cohort was set up, cohort participants, data collection phases, main categories of data, and data access. For every cohort profile accepted for publication this will appear in the print version of the IJE. Please note that the Summary should be included in the main text document submitted to Manuscript Central.

Key Messages A ‘Key messages’ box should be included in every cohort profile. It should not reiterate information that is already in the Summary, but in 3-4 short bullet points it should summarise the main contributions of the cohort in terms of scientific findings.

The Summary and Key Messages of every cohort profile accepted for publication will appear in the print version of the IJE. However, as the full version of some profiles will only be published online it is vital that the Summary and Key Messages together should provide a succinct, stand alone mini-profile of the study.

Why was the cohort set up? What was the rationale for setting up the cohort including the original research questions it was set up to address? Where is it located and how is it funded?

Who is in the cohort? Describe the study design; the methods used to recruit participants; numbers invited and numbers who entered the study (give response proportion); and differences between responders and non-responders at baseline (ideally as a table of socio-demographic characteristics comparing responders to non-responders or responders to the general population from which the responders came).

How often have they been followed up? Provide details of how often questionnaires / examinations have been conducted.

In addition to response at baseline, loss to follow-up over time must be described, with summary statistics presented in a table or figure. A description of how those lost to follow-up differ from those remaining in the cohort should be provided as well as the results of any work completed to describe missing data. This section must be sufficiently detailed to provide readers with a clear picture over time of the population represented by the cohort.

Please note that this section should be omitted if no follow-up data have yet been collected.

What has been measured?
Give broad categories for each follow-up phase, e.g.




PhaseMeasurements
Baseline 1935-40Fasting blood samples taken, DNA extracted, fasting glucose, lipids, insulin assayed, serum aliquots stored at –80OC
Self-reported socio-economic position
Anthropometric measures: weight, height, waist & hip circumference
Blood pressure
Self-reported major behavioural CVD risk factors
Follow-up 1950Questionnaire only:
Self-reported major diseases and treatment
Self-reported socio-economic position and behaviours
OngoingAll participants are flagged with routine data sources providing deaths since baseline and cancer registry entries since 1980

Provide descriptions of unusual measurements (e.g. specialised scans; unique assays) and/or measurements that have been undertaken in sub-groups of the cohort.

This section should describe any linkages to morbidity, mortality and other routine data sources.

What has it found? Key findings and publications This should not be an exhaustive list, but an indicative summary of the most important findings generated by the cohort. If there is a web-page with a complete list of publications please note this and supply the web-address. The IJE strongly encourages authors to illustrate one or two of their main findings with a table or figure, in addition to describing the findings in the text. Please note it is expected that descriptions of key findings, albeit brief, will inform the reader what has been found rather what has been examined.

What are the main strengths and weaknesses? Please make sure both strengths and weaknesses are covered. It may be useful to readers setting up new cohorts to state briefly what you would do differently if you could start again and anything you regret leaving out. You may also comment on anything you feel is particularly valuable but might not be possible today because of data protection or other difficulties.

Can I get hold of the data? Where can I find out more? The purpose of cohort profiles is to foster collaboration and maximise use of existing data. If the data are open access a web address must be provided. If an application is required to access the data, indicate where the application form can be found and the process for submitting an application. If access to the data is more limited please describe opportunities for collaboration. In all cases the name and contact details of a researcher to whom enquiries and queries can be submitted must be provided.

Please avoid using jargon and non-standard abbreviations.

Please note that the full version of most cohort profiles submitted after the 1st October 2012 will only be published online. Authors are reminded that both in terms of scientific merit and impact factor attribution, online only publication is regarded as no different from publication in the print version of the journal. Cohort profiles to be published in print as well as online will be selected by the Editors-in-chief.

DATA RESOURCE PROFILE SERIES

Review process: Data Resource Profiles (DRP) of potential interest to the IJE will be sent to the DRP handling editor. S/he will either review the submission or forward to an appropriate Editor who will seek external reviews, if required. Editors and external reviewers will be sent this set of instructions and asked to review the DRP against these.

What are we looking for?: For this IJE section, a DRP is defined as a collection of phenotypic data (with or without genotypic data) relevant to human health obtained from a defined population that is made available to bona fide researchers for the purposes of epidemiological, demographic, social and other related analyses. A DRP may be globally, regionally, nationally or sub-nationally representative and may be a single cross-sectional survey, repeated cross-sectional surveys; or large scale randomized or quasi-randomized evaluation studies with follow up for clinical events or changes in risk factors. Examples of DRPs that would be considered include the Indian National Family Health Survey Study; UK General Practice Research Database (GPRD), Indonesian Family Life Survey, Korean NHANES.

Purpose: The ultimate aim of the IJE’s Data Resource Profile (DRP) series is to provide up-to-date details of data resources across the world. Each profile should include key information about a particular data resource that is currently in use or could be of use to epidemiological studies. Each profile should provide readers with sufficient detail to enable them to understand the scope of the data resource and how to access and make best use of the data.

Word count: around 2500-3000 (should be succinct and indicative rather than exhaustive)

Eligibility: To be eligible for publication in the DRP profile series, a DRP must:
• Describe a data resource to which data access is either open via a website or for which the author(s) or their institution have the right to grant at least collaborative access via a straightforward and transparent application process.
• Have completed collection and have made available at least one wave of data.

Format
Each profile is required to follow a similar format, using the subheadings:

Title and Author List: Your title should start with ‘Data Resource Profile:’ followed by the name in full followed by any acronym in parenthesis. A maximum of 12 authors will be listed under the title. Additional authors and their affiliations should be included under the sub-heading ‘Author list continued’ at the end of the document.

Summary: A short free form summary (150 – 200 words) should outline the area, units or groups and/or individuals covered by the data resource, data collection methods, main categories of data, and data access including either a web address or email address for data access enquiries or applications. Please note that the Summary should be included in the main text document submitted to Manuscript Central.

Key Messages: A ‘Key messages’ box should be included in every DRP. In 3-4 short bullet points it should summarise the unique features of the data resource. Key messages may include scientific findings and should not repeat material already included in the Summary.

Please note that the Summary and Key Messages of every DRP accepted for publication will appear in the print version of the IJE. However, the full version of some DRPs will only be published online. For this reason please ensure that your Summary and Key Messages together provide a comprehensive mini-profile of the data resource.


Data Resource Basics: Brief details of the following information where relevant: Country or area covered by the data resource; Units, groups or individuals covered; Survey Type, (e.g. Demographic & Health Survey, Malaria Indicator Survey); Data collection dates and number of repeat surveys; Topic headings (e.g. diabetes testing, maternal mortality); and Funding sources. Some of this material might be best presented in tabular form.

Data resource area and population coverage: Where relevant, this section should include a map or series of maps that indicate the area covered by the data resource and major centres of data collection, e.g. hospitals. It must describe the units, groups and individuals from whom data are collected and describe how contact at each level was achieved and maintained (if relevant).

Survey frequency: The date of the survey and the number of units, groups and/or individuals surveyed should be provided. If repeat surveys have been carried out, the dates of each survey should be provided together with the numbers surveyed. Where appropriate these details should include numbers invited, the response rate and how well the sample represents the population from which it was taken. This information can be presented in tabular form. For recent or ongoing repeat surveys include the dates when data will be available.

Measures: The measures collected at each of the different levels included in the data resource, e.g. individual, household, group, should be described in as much detail as necessary i.e. methods for commonly used measures will not need to be described. At least partial presentation in tabular form is encouraged. This section should indicate the source (e.g. questionnaire, clinic exam, data linkage), type of data collected (e.g. biomarker, geographical, genetic, demographic), the methods used to collect the data, and the frequency. This section must be sufficiently detailed to provide readers with a clear picture of the data available

Data Resource use: This section should provide one or two brief illustrative examples of how the data resource can be used or examples of published work which has used this database. If you are aware of any ongoing specific data analysis plans please indicate these here to avoid duplication of effort by others interested in the data resource. Please also provide an up-to-date citation list for work published on the data resource.

Strengths and weaknesses: This section should include both the strengths and the limitations of the data. If the data resource is one of a series e.g. a Key Indicators Survey, please describe any features that are unique to the particular data resource or country/area location, if applicable.

Data Resource access: This section should describe how readers can access and download the data. The location and format of the data should be described together with variable lists and data dictionaries, where available. If the data are open access a web address should be provided. If an application is required, please indicate where the application form can be found and the process for submitting an application. Briefly indicate the software required to access the database and/or use the data, if applicable.

Please avoid using jargon and non-standard abbreviations.

LANGUAGE EDITING

Particularly if English is not your first language, 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 fully understood by journal editors and reviewers. Language editing does not guarantee that your manuscript will be accepted for publication. If you would like information about one such service please click here. There are other specialist language editing companies that offer similar services and you can also use any of these. Authors are liable for all costs associated with such services.

COPY EDITING

All accepted manuscripts are subject to copy editing.

PROOFS

The first author will receive a pdf proof of the article. Proof correction must not be used as an opportunity to revise the paper. Any essential changes should take up the same amount of space if possible. Alterations, other than corrections of printer's errors, are expensive and may be charged to authors. Corrections should be returned within in 3 days to guarantee inclusion.

It is particularly important to read reference lists at the proof stage in case any omissions/errors have been found and noted during copy editing.

The Editors reserve the right to make minor grammatical and other changes at any stage before publication. These are sometimes necessary to make the paper conform to the general style of the Journal. Proofs not returned to the Editorial Assistant within two weeks of the date of postmark may be held over to the next issue.

OFFPRINTS

Offprints may be purchased using the Oxford Journals Author Services site. Orders from the UK will be subject to a 20% VAT charge. For orders from elsewhere in the EU you or your institution should account for VAT by way of a reverse charge. Please provide us with your or your institution’s VAT number.

SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

Supporting material that is not essential for inclusion in the full text of the manuscript, but would nevertheless benefit the reader, can be made available by the publisher as online-only content, linked to the online manuscript. The material should not be essential to understanding 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 (including colour). All text and figures must be provided in suitable electronic formats (for instructions for the preparation of Supplementary Data please go to here).

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. Please indicate clearly the material intended as Supplementary Data upon submission. Also ensure that the Supplementary Data is referred to in the main manuscript where necessary.