Before you start writing your manuscript, decide on which journal you would like to submit your work to. This will help you format your manuscript properly and include all the necessary pieces of information to increase the chances that your manuscript will get accepted. Many researchers actually leave this step until the end of their project, but we recommend that you should start this process as early as possible. In this article, we’ll go over some of the tips and tricks to guide you on how to format your manuscript for some of the common ophthalmology journals.

Select the Right Journals for you

The first step is to list about 3 to 4 different journals where you want to submit your manuscript. If you have a difficult time identifying which journals are appropriate, refer to our previous article on selecting the right journals for your publication. The reason you want at least 3-4 journals is that there is always a chance that the first journal you submit to might not accept your work, in which case, you have a few others to fall back on.

Since each journal has its own requirement, the earlier you do this process, the better you are prepared to gather all the necessary information for publication. It will also dictate your overall experimental design, the content of your work, manuscript structure, and the number of figures and references that are required. For ophthalmology journals, we recommend the following journals for publications:

  1. JCRS – Journal of Catract & Refractive Surgery – Impact Factor 2.689
  2. JRS – Journal of Refractive Surgery – 2.711
  3. BJO – British Journal of Opthalmology – 3.611
  4. Ophthalmology – 8.470

Decide what Type of Article you are Submitting

After you’ve selected your top choices for journals, decide on which type of article you will be writing. In most cases, especially after completing an investigator initiated trial, you’ll be writing an original research article where the manuscript is structured to answer a hypothesis. Another common type of article is a review, which provides a comprehensive summary of the most up-to-date research on a particular topic. Other types of articles eligible for publication include short reports and letters, editorials, and case studies. The type of article that you plan to submit will ultimately determine the type of formatting structure that you’ll be required to follow.

Download the Author Page

All of the information that is required for submission can be found on the journal’s website under “Guide for Authors” or “Author Instructions.” We highly recommend that you read this information very thoroughly, as some journals have very stringent requirements on the type of images they’ll accept, the number of references they’ll allow, and the type of disclosures they’ll need from the authors. If you fail to meet the requirements outlined in the guidelines, then there is a very high chance your manuscript will get rejected based on formatting, which doesn’t reflect well on your ability to follow rules.

While most journals have different formatting requirements, here are some of the common elements that you need to pay attention to:

  • The number of words, images, and references you’re allowed to include in the manuscript
  • Ensure that the financial support information is listed on the title page of the manuscript
  • Conflict of interest must be declared
  • If it’s a clinical study, the information for clinical trial registration is included
  • In the manuscript, omit the use of patient names or any other sensitive information that could be an identifier
  • Avoid the use of trade or brand names within the manuscript; use generic names instead
  • Include information regarding the Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for both animal and human studies
  • Use formatting specified by the journal, in particular, reference styles, line numbers, and figures
  • Include a cover letter

Use Actual Papers as Templates

Whenever we’re writing research papers, we find that it’s much easier to follow a template, or better yet, an actual example from the journal. For this reason, we recommend that you download some of the latest publications from the journal (where you’ll be submitting to) and use them as a guide on how to format your own manuscript. It will also give you a good idea of what is required in order for the work to be accepted. For instance, take note of the length of the introduction and discussion, what’s included in the methods section, the types of statistical analysis, and the formatting of the figures and tables.

Use our Templates

We know that formatting a manuscript can be a lot of work, so contact us using the form below and we’ll provide some free word templates for some of the common ophthalmology journals to make your writing easier:

1.         JCRS – Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery

2.         JRS – Journal of Refractive Surgery

3.         BJO – British Journal of Opthalmology

4.         Ophthalmology

If you still need more help with formatting your manuscript or any help regarding the manuscript writing process, please contact Sengi. Good luck with your writing!  

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The Sengi team is led by Dr. Brad Hall, a vision scientist and expert medical writer. A regular peer reviewer for several medical and ophthalmology journals, Dr. Hall has authored a multitude of articles personally, is a successful grant writer, medical writer, and master of the art of simplifying data and statistical analysis. Since launching in 2015, Sengi has provided medical writing and biostatistics analysis expertise to SMBs and researchers around the world that lacked the necessary means to share their scientific breakthroughs outside of the lab. Sengi’s work has enabled these companies to put advanced technology into the hands of those who need them most.