Skip to Main Content

Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association Guidelines for Authors

No matter what type of manuscript is submitted, all share a few common components. Whenever writing a paper, authors should have a point to be made. The more specific that point, the easier it is to write and the more directed the manuscript becomes. A single important point is much more valuable to the reader than numerous general proclamations.

The following guidelines were developed to help prospective authors properly format their manuscripts. Not only does this guide contain the technical aspects of Journal format, but it also describes each section of a manuscript and what it should contain. It is hoped that these suggestions will benefit both novice and experienced authors in preparing a paper and speeding it though the review process.

The guidelines listed below are in accordance with the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (October 2008 revision) of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (www.icmje.org). The Journal adheres to the principles, policies, and general procedures listed in the Uniform Requirements as well as the American Medical Association Manual of Style, 10th Edition.


Parts of the Manuscript

Abstract

The abstract should be a short summary of the content, no more than 300 words. It should serve to whet the appetite of a potential reader. For reports of research studies, the abstract should be structured with the headings Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. Other types of papers should have an unstructured abstract. The abstract is probably the single most important determinant of whether a paper will be read. It should not be written as an afterthought.


Introduction

The introduction should provide an overview of the topic. State the point: Why is it important to write this paper? This is where the review of the literature should be included. A historical perspective on the particular case, disease, or procedure is appropriate. Where has it been described before, if ever? Is there a related diagnosis, classification, or procedure that has been previously described? It is a common mistake for an author to disregard this section and address the above questions in the discussion. The other extreme is to take an “everything you always wanted to know about…” approach. The author should again ask, “What is the single most important point I am trying to communicate?” Provide only a select review of material directly related to that point.


Discussion

Following the results of the study or the case presentation, a discussion should be included. This section is used to tie together the background discussed in the introduction and the newly presented material. What do the new data or case show? How do the new data or case compare with previous results? If there is variation, why? What do the results or case present that is unique? Why should the reader care? The most common mistake in this section is to use it as a continuation of the introduction. This is not the place to bring up a literature review that should have been addressed in the introduction. It is where the author must ask, “Can I substantiate that single most important point I wish to make with my data or case? If so, how?”


Conclusion

The conclusion is simply a restatement of the point to be made and confirmation that it has, in fact, been made successfully by the material presented.


Tables

Tables should add to the readers’ understanding of the text, not repeat what is in the text. They should be used sparingly. Tables must be numbered sequentially and cited in the text. Each table must have a complete title. Written permission is needed from the copyright holder of any table taken from another source.


Figures

Figures are graphs, line drawings, illustrations, radiographs, and photographs. Figures are used to graphically show a concept that is difficult to put into words. They should be selected carefully. If the unusual aspect of a surgical procedure is the osteotomy, for example, then a series of photographs depicting the initial incision through the cosmetic closure is unnecessary. If you are “posing” the subject for photography, place the subject against a contrasting background (light against dark or dark against light) such as carpeting or a blanket. Avoid placing a white foot or object such as a cast against a white sheet. Figure legends highlight the important point illustrated by that figure; they should be brief and should not include textual descriptions that are better suited for the body of the paper.


Digital figures are preferred and should conform to our digital-figure specifications. (See Technical Guidelines for Figures here. If initially submitted figures are not publication-quality, such figures should be submitted with any revised version of the manuscript. The author will be contacted if publication-quality figures are still needed at the time a paper is accepted. All figures must be numbered and cited sequentially in the text. Figure legends are needed for all figures and should appear at the end of the text. Written permission from the copyright holder is needed to reprint figures taken from another source. In cases where a pathologic diagnosis was made, a photomicrograph must be included.


It is appropriate to acknowledge illustrators and photographers in an acknowledgment paragraph at the end of the paper.


References

Any idea or thought that is not original needs to be referenced. Although this sounds like an unusually broad dictum, it is best to be cautious when dealing with the possibility of plagiarism. Plagiarism takes many forms, from the blatant lifting of entire passages without proper credit to the seemingly innocuous use of secondary references. If an original or classic description was published in the early 1800s in German, and this paper appears in a manuscript reference list, the author should be able to provide that he or she has possession of or has read that paper.


A frequently raised issue is the use of references from the podiatric medical literature. Many manuscripts have been received covering topics described in the podiatric medical literature yet containing few, if any, of these references. The profession should be proud of the broad spectrum of topics covered in its journals and refer to them frequently.


All references must be numbered and listed in the order in which they appear in the text; after a reference has been cited once, it retains its original number. References must be formatted in JAPMA style:


The style for articles is: author(s), title of article, journal name, volume, beginning page number, and year:

Wiles S, Palladino SJ, Stavosky JW: Naviculo-cuneiform coalition. JAPMA 78: 355, 1988.

The style for books is: author(s), chapter title, title of book, volume number, editor(s), opening page number of chapter cited, publisher, location of publisher, and date of publication:

Jahss MH: “The Subtalar Complex,” in Disorders of the Foot, Vol 1, edited by MH Jahss, p 727, WB Saunders, Philadelphia, 1982.

The style for online references is: author(s), title of article, journal name, volume, page number, year, doi, URL, and date accessed:

Jelinek HF, Fox D: Foot health and elevated body mass index. Foot Ankle Online J 2: 1, 2009; doi: 10.3827/faoj.2009.0208.0004. Available at: http://faoj.org/2009/08/01/foot-health-and-elevated-body-mass-index/. Accessed February 17, 2016.

If a reference has more than three authors, “et al” is used after the third name. Unpublished references, such as personal communications, should be cited within the text as written or oral communications; they should not be included in the reference list. In addition to historical material, current sources should be cited. Additional references, those not cited in the text, must appear in alphabetical order following the regular reference list.


Ethical Requirements

For studies involving human subjects, approval by an institutional review board is required and should be stated in the Materials and Methods section. For investigators who do not have formal ethics review committees, the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki should be followed. The manner of obtaining informed consent from participants should also be stated.


Financial Disclosures

All authors are required to indicate any funding or support received for the work presented in their manuscript, as well as describe the role of any sponsors or funders in the design and conduct of the study, in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data, and in the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.


Conflict of Interest

All authors are responsible for recognizing and disclosing any conflict of interest that could be perceived to bias their work, acknowledging all financial support and any other personal connections.


Types of Manuscripts

The Journal publishes many different types of manuscripts. Some of the most common types are described below.


Research Study

The most desirable type of manuscript from a purely “scientific” standpoint is the prospective controlled study. Retrospective studies will be considered for publication if appropriate mention is made in the discussion of any potential flaws inherent in the study design. Along with the standard sections, “Material and Methods” and “Results” must be included.


Materials and Methods

This section is used to spell out exactly how the study was performed. If a commonly recognized technique is used, then the source should be noted and referenced. There should be sufficient detail to allow another investigator to duplicate the study solely on the basis of the written methodology. If human subjects are used, the granting of approval through an institutional review board, or the equivalent, should be mentioned, and the manner of obtaining informed consent from participants should be stated. Authors of retrospective studies should try to explain how all variables were controlled to validate the work.


Results

This section presents all of the collected data. Depending on the study, this may be handled best by the use of tables, graphs, or text. Do not comment on the data in this section; that is reserved for the discussion. Statistical analysis performed should be presented in this section.


Case Reports

Case reports are welcome additions to the Journal. Before writing, determine that the presented case will be of sufficient interest to the readership. Has the condition been reported in the past few years? Is this case unique enough to warrant publication?

The case should be concise. This is not the forum for a “review of the literature.” The introduction should be no more than two to three pages in length, outlining previously published reports of the presented condition. The actual case follows. Include only information pertinent to the point being made. “Op-report” format is inappropriate. In cases where a pathological diagnosis was made, a photomicrograph must be included. The discussion briefly describes how this particular case varied from, or was consistent with, the previous reports outlined in the introduction. The case report is then closed with a short conclusion.


Literature Review

The purpose of a literature review is to comprehensively and critically assess the variety of opinions on a particular subject. This is usually followed by a conclusion drawn from the author’s personal experience on a particular subject. This is not the forum for a “book report” of previous publications. Almost by definition, this type of manuscript must be written by an authority with expert knowledge of the topic. For this reason, most literature reviews are solicited from an acknowledged authority by the editorial staff of the Journal.

Systematic reviews of the literature will also be considered. This kind of review is a critical assessment and evaluation of all research studies that address a particular clinical issue. A systematic review may also include a meta-analysis. More information on this kind of review can be found on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website, www.ahrq.gov.


Clinically Illustrated

New techniques or procedures may be best showcased in this format. Examples include a new variation on a surgical procedure or a new treatment for diabetic foot ulcers or other conditions. The premier features of this type of article are the figures. Detailed text is neither required nor acceptable. The series of figures should be accompanied by a brief introduction explaining the rationale for the article. Figure legends can be slightly more detailed than those normally required. The discussion need only be long enough for the author to justify this new technique in light of other more established procedures. Referencing is important to give the reader background for comparison.


Clinical Correspondence

This type of article allows authors to alert the profession to an important or interesting finding or development. It does not undergo the rigorous peer review of other types of papers. Think of clinical correspondence as if you were writing a letter with the salutation, “Dear Colleagues.”

Examples might include limited experience with a new device or technique, a newly found drug interaction, or an unusual case that would be of interest to others but may not meet the more stringent requirements for a case report. The paper should be only three to four double-spaced manuscript pages. A maximum of three figures can be included, only if necessary. References are included if indicated but should not be extensive. A benefit of this format is that it allows busy clinicians, who may not have ample time or access to medical libraries and residents, a means by which to share their vast experiences.


Required Forms and Statements

Cover Letter

The cover letter should explain how your paper is innovative, provocative, timely, and of interest to a broad audience and should list any papers on related topics by any of the authors that have been published within the past year or that are in review or in press.


Cover Sheet

To help with the double-blind peer-review process, a cover sheet containing the list of author names and affiliations must be uploaded as a file separate from the manuscript text. Note that the first page of the manuscript text should not contain any information that identifies the author. Authors must limit their affiliations to two institutional affiliations. Resident manuscripts must be coauthored by a member of the residency staff, or a letter of approval must be submitted with the manuscript. Student manuscripts must be coauthored by a faculty member.


Copyright Transfer Form

The copyright transfer form includes the copyright transfer statement, statement of author responsibility, and financial disclosure. A signature is required for each author. The completed and signed form(s) should be returned to the Editorial Office.


Author Contributions

The American Medical Association (AMA) lists three conditions for authorship, and all three must be met: (1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and (3) final approval of the version to be published.

Each author must complete an author contributions form as part of the submission process. A signature is required for each author. Completed forms should be returned to the Editorial Office.


Model Release

Authors must obtain permission from patients or participants whose faces are shown in figures. JAPMA no longer publishes images with a black bar over the eyes, per the AMA Manual of Style, 10th Edition. Images in which the patient or participant are identifiable will be cropped if possible. If cropping would hinder understanding the image and the full body is necessary, a model release form must be obtained. Model release forms can be obtained from the editorial office (japma@allentrack.net).


Editorial Style and Other Considerations

JAPMA follows the American Medical Association Manual of Style, 10th Edition, and house style. Authors are not required to follow either style; all accepted manuscripts will undergo a rigorous edit to conform to editorial style. However, a few general items to note will help streamline the editing process.


Trade Names

Please verify the spelling of all trade names used. When possible, use generic names instead of trade names. Products mentioned by trade name must be followed by the name and location of the manufacturer in parentheses. If the product is mentioned again, the manufacturer information does not need to be repeated. Trade names should not be used in the title. Trademark and registration indicators (™ and ®) are not necessary.


Abbreviations and Acronyms

At first mention, spell out the long form of all abbreviations and acronyms, followed by the acronym in parentheses.


Units of Measure

When appropriate, please include units with values.


Author Affiliations

List affiliations of all authors at the time of the study. If affiliations are different at the time of submission, list both the current and the former.


Types of Articles in JAPMA

Type of Manuscript Description Abstract Structure
Original Article A research study or other substantive paper suitable for the "main" section of the journal. Structured if original research
Basic Science Review A review of a basic science area relevant to podiatric medicine Unstructured
Clinical Pharmacology Pharmacology-focused paper Unstructured
Clinically Speaking A brief case report. Unstructured
Clinically Illustrated A demonstration of a new technique or procedure, with a focus on photographs and illustrations. Unstructured
Clinical Pathology A brief paper focusing on histopathologic analysis. Unstructured
Clinical Correspondence A short piece in the style of a "letter to colleagues," designed to alert readers to an important or interesting finding or development. No abstract
Special Communication A paper on a nonclinical or unusual topic, sometimes written by a nonpodiatrist. Unstructured
Letter to the Editor A letter intended for publication, published with response from original paper’s author No abstract

JAPMA ONLINE MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION AND PEER REVIEW

Author Submission Instructions

The system is located at http://japma.allentrack.net (also accessible from the homepage of JAPMA Online, http://www.japmaonline.org). The author submission instructions that appear on the site are reproduced below. For additional help, contact Noelle Boughanmi, Managing Editor (naboughanmi@apma.org).

Before submitting a manuscript, please gather the following information:

  • All Authors
    • First Names, Middle Names/Initials, Last Names
    • Institutions
    • Departments
    • Phone and Fax Numbers
    • Street Addresses
    • E-mail Addresses
  • Title (you may copy and paste this from your manuscript)
  • Abstract (you may copy and paste this from your manuscript; no more than 300 words)
  • Key Words
  • Manuscript Files in Word
  • Figures/Images in TIF, EPS, PDF, or JPG formats
  • Tables in .XLS or .DOC format

Submission Process

The manuscript submission process is broken down into a series of five screens that gather detailed information about your manuscript and allow you to upload the pertinent files. The sequence of screens is as follows:

  1. A form for author information, title, abstract, and file quantities.
  2. A screen asking for the actual file locations on your computer (via an open file dialog). After completing this screen, your files will be uploaded to our server.
  3. A screen requesting the order in which files should appear in the system-generated merged PDF.
  4. A completion screen that will provide you with a specific manuscript number for your manuscript.
  5. An approval screen that will allow you to verify that your manuscript was uploaded and converted correctly. You are allowed to replace and delete files, as well as withdraw the manuscript, on this page.
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal