INSTRUCTIONS TO AUTHORS

MANUSCRIPT FORMATTING

Manuscript format must be in accordance with the ICMJE-Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (updated in December 2015 - http://www.icmje.org/icmje-recommendations.pdf). Papers that do not comply with the format of the Journal will be returned to the author for correction without further review. Therefore, to avoid loss of time and work, authors must carefully review the submission rules.

General Format
The manuscript should be typed in a Microsoft Word™ file, single-column format, double-spaced with 2.5 cm margins on each side, and 11-point type in Times New Roman font. 

All abbreviations in the text must be defined the first time they are used (both in the abstract and the main text), and the abbreviations should be displayed in parentheses after the definition. Abbreviations should be limited to those defined in the AMA Manual of Style, current edition. Authors should avoid abbreviations in the title and abstract and limit their use in the main text. 

Decimal points should be used in decimals throughout the manuscript. Measurements should be reported using the metric system according to the International System of Units (SI). Consult the SI Unit Conversion Guide, New England Journal of Medicine Books, 1992. An extensive list of conversion factors can be found at  http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/ For more detail, see http://www.amamanualofstyle.com/oso/public/jama/si_conversion_table.html
When a drug, product, hardware, or software mentioned within the main text product information, including the name of the product, producer of the product, city of the company and the country of the company should be provided in parenthesis in the following format: “Discovery St PET/CT scanner (General Electric, Milwaukee, WI, USA)”

Article Type
Identification of article type is the first step of manuscript submission because article type dictates the guidelines that should be used (see below, Using Guidelines), including formatting and word limits of the manuscript. The main categories of article type are outlined below:

Original Article: Original contributions are manuscripts containing substantial novel research. These articles can include randomized controlled trials, observational (cohort, case-control or cross-sectional) studies, destructive studies, diagnostic accuracy studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, nonrandomized behavioral and public health intervention trials, experimental animal trials, or any other clinical or experimental studies. Abstracts should not exceed 400 words and should be structured with the following subheadings: Background, Aims, Study Design (case control study, cross sectional study, cohort study, randomized controlled trial, diagnostic accuracy study, meta-analysis and systemic review, animal experimentation, non-randomized study in behavioral sciences and public health, etc.), Methods, Results, and Conclusion. The main text should be structured with the following subheadings: Introduction, Material and Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgments, References, Tables, and Figure Legends. The main text should not exceed 3000 words, excluding the abstract, references, tables, and figure legends. There should be a maximum of 30 references.

Brief Reports: Brief reports are short and peer-reviewed articles including small case series, negative trials, the preliminary results and others that are not to be published as a full text paper. The main text should be less than 2000 words with a maximum 20 references and have no more than 3 display items (Tables or figures). Abstracts should not exceed 250 words and should be structured with the following subheadings: Aims, Methods, Results, and Conclusion. All papers require ethical approval.

Invited Review Article: Invited review articles are comprehensive analyses of specific topics in medicine, which are written upon invitation due to extensive experience and publications of authors on the review subjects. All invited review articles will also undergo peer review prior to acceptance. Review articles must not exceed 5000 words for the main text (excluding references, tables, and figure legends) and 400 words for the abstract. A review article can be signed by no more than 5 authors and can have no more than 80 references.

Case Report: Interesting rare cases containing a substantial novel finding can be reported. Cases should be unique, representing a diagnostic or therapeutic challenge and having a learning point for the readers. Abstracts of case reports should mainly include information about the case and should be limited to a maximum of 250 words. The abstract must begin on a separate page and should be structured with the following subheadings: Background, Case Report and Conclusion. The main text of case reports should be structured with the following subheadings: Introduction, Case Report, Discussion, and References. Case reports must not exceed 1200 words (excluding references, tables, and figure legends). Case reports can be signed by no more than 5 authors and can have no more than 10 references and 5 figures or tables.

Clinical Image: For educational purposes, the journal publishes original, interesting, and high quality clinical images having a brief explanation (maximum 500 words excluding references but including figure legends) and of educational significance. The figure legend should contain no more than 100 words. It can be signed by no more than 5 authors and can have no more than 5 references and 1 figure or table. Any information that might identify the patient or hospital, including the date, should be removed from the image. An abstract is not required with this type of manuscripts. The main text of clinical images should be structured with the following subheadings: Case, and References.

Letter to the Editor: Letters in reference to a journal article must not exceed 500 words (excluding references). Letters not related to a journal article must also not exceed 500 words (excluding references). An abstract is not required with this type of manuscripts. A letter can be signed by no more than 4 authors and can have no more than 5 references and 1 figure or table.

Other: Editorials, reviewer commentaries, book reviews, and reports on publication and research ethics are requested by the Editorial Board.

Type of Manuscript Word Limit Abstract Word Limit Reference Limit Author Limit
Original Article 30001 4004 30 None
Brief Reports 20001 250 20 None
Invited Review 50001 400 80 5
Case Report 12001 2505 10 5
Clinical Image 5002 N/A 5 5
Letter 5003 N/A 5 4

1This should not include the abstract, references, tables or figure legends.;
2This should include the figure legends.
3This should not include the references.
4Should be structured with the following subheadings: Background, Aims, Study Design, Methods, Results, and Conclusion.
5Should be structured with the following subheadings: Background, Case Report and Conclusion.
6If a reasonable explanation exists, the Editorial Board may accept not to limit the number of authors.

Clinical Trials and Reporting Guidelines

The Balkan Medical Journal encourages the registration of all clinical trials via ClinicalTrials.gov (www.clinicaltrials.gov) or one of the registries of the WHO’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP: http://www.who.int/ictrp/network/primary/en/index.html). Especially the phase 3 clinical trials must be registered at or before the time of first patient enrollment. The name of the registry and the registration number together with the information of funding source should be provided at the end of the abstract.

Authors should also refer to the guidelines below when preparing their manuscript:

Randomized controlled trials
CONSORT (http://www.consort-statement.org/home/)
CONSORT translations (www.consort-statement.org/consort-statement/translations/)
Standard protocol items for randomized trials
SPRIT (http://www.spirit-statement.org/)
Observational research: cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies
STROBE (www.strobe-statement.org/)
Diagnostic accuracy studies
STARD (www.stard-statement.org/)
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses
PRISMA (www.prisma-statement.org/)
Non-randomized behavioral and public health intervention trials
TREND (www.cdc.gov/trendstatement/)
Experimental animal trials
ARRIVE (www.nc3rs.org.uk/arrive/)
For further information on the reporting guidelines for health research, authors are suggested to refer to the EQUATOR network website (http://www.equator-network.org/)

PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION OF A MANUSCRIPT

The entire submission process for a manuscript is completed online through the self-explanatory online submission system through the following website: http://mc04.manuscriptcentral.com/balkanmedj. The submission should be divided into SEPARATE files in the following order:

1. Cover Letter

2. Title Page 

3. Main Document (Main text, references, tables, and figure legends. Abstract of the manuscript should be submitted through the submission system)

4. Figures

5. Authorship Contributions Form

6. Copyright Transfer Form

7. The ICMJE Conflict of Interest form

Cover Letter
The cover letter should include the article title, article type, and the full name of the corresponding author. The corresponding author should briefly summarize why his/her paper is a valuable addition to the scientific literature and specify the type of article he/she is submitting (for example, original article, case report, review article, clinical image). The cover letter should also include a statement declaring the absence or presence of a conflict of interest (please refer to the ICMJE Conflict of Interest formpage for details). Furthermore, there should be a statement that the manuscript has not already been published, accepted or under simultaneous review for publication elsewhere. Balkan Medical Journal does not accept multiple submission and duplicate submission even though the previous one was published in a different language. Please refer to the editorial (Balkan Med J 2013;30:1-2) ICMJE recommendations (http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/publishing-and-editorial-issues/overlapping-publications.html) on this subject for more details. For manuscripts that have been presented orally or as a poster, this must be stated on the title page with the date and the place of the presentation. An example of a cover letter can be found on the journal’s webpage."

Title Page

This should include:

The complete manuscript title (no more than 150 characters)
The running head (no more than 50 characters)
Word counts for the abstract and text (the text word count does not include references, tables, and figure legends)
The number of references, and the number of figures and tables
All authors' full names, affiliations and e-mail addresses (all authors should meet the ICMJE’s requirements for authorship – see details at “author contribution form
The name, address, telephone and fax numbers and email address of the corresponding author
Keywords (3-6 key words from the list provided in Index Medicus under “Medical Subject Heading (MeSH)”
Information about where and when the study has previously been presented.
Acknowledgements: All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship (ICMJE: authorship and contributorship) and the statement of conflict of interest and funding should be declared under this subheading.

Abstracts
Original articles, invited review articles and case reports should include an abstract. Abstracts for original articles should be structured with the following subheadings: Background, Aims, Study design (Types of Study Design), Methods, Results, and Conclusion. Abstracts for case reports should be structured with the following subheadings: Background, Case Report, and Conclusion. Abstracts for review articles should not be structured. Clinical images, Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and Commentaries should not contain an abstract. Please find the guidelines for abstracts of specific types of manuscripts under the Main Text section below.

Main Document
The main document should include the main text, the reference list, tables, and figure legends, respectively.

Any information that may indicate an individual or institution should be excluded from the main document to ensure a blinded review process.

Please note, the abstract should be submitted through the submission system and should not be included in the main document. The formats of the abstract and the main text depend on the type of the submitted manuscript. The types of manuscripts are described in the Article Type section above.

References
Authors are encouraged to cite primary literature rather than review articles in order to give credit to those who have performed the original work. Reference listings must be in accordance with ICMJE standards and numbered consecutively at the end of the manuscript in the order in which they are mentioned in the text. While citing publications, preference should be given to the latest, most up to date publications. If an ahead of print publication is being cited the DOI number should be provided. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of references. Journal titles should be abbreviated in accordance with the journal abbreviations in Index Medicus/ Medline/PubMed (for journal abbreviations consult the List of Journals indexed for MEDLINE, published annually by NLM). When there are 6 or less authors, all authors should be listed. If there are 7 or more authors the first 6 authors should be listed followed by “et al”. In the main text of the manuscript, references should be cited using Arabic numbers in parentheses. The reference styles for different types of publications are presented in the following examples:

Journal article: Korytina G, Kochetova O, Akhmadishina L, Viktorova E, Victorova T. Polymorphisms of cytochrome P450 genes in three ethnic groups from Russia. Balkan Med J 2012;29:252-60.

Book: Tos M. Cartilage tympanoplasty. 1st ed. Stuttgart-New York: Georg Thieme Verlag; 2009.

Book chapter: Tos M, Stangerup SE. The relationship between secretory otitis and cholesteatoma. In: Tos M, Thomsen J, Peitersen E, editors. Cholesteatoma and mastoid surgery. Amsterdam: Kugler & Ghedini; 1989:325-30.

Abstract: Gurakar A, Elsahwi K, Akdogan M, Wright H, Nour, B, Sebastian T, et al. Asplenia and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC): A mere coincidence? Hepatology 2002;36:673a (abstract).

Article in electronic format: Morse SS. Factors in the emergence of infectious diseases. Emerg Infect Dis (serial online) 1995 Jan-Mar (cited 1996 June 5): 1(1): (24 screens). Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2626828/pdf/8903148.pdf.

For other reference style, please refer to “ICMJE Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Sample References

Tables 
Tables should be presented within the main document after the reference list. All tables should be referred to within the main text and they should be numbered consecutively in the order they are referred to within the main text. A descriptive title should be provided for all tables and the titles should be placed above the tables. Abbreviations used in the tables should be defined below the tables (even if they are defined within the main text). Tables should be created using the “insert table” command of the word processing software and they should be arranged clearly to provide an easy reading.

Figures and Figure Legends
Figures, graphics and photographs should be submitted as separate files (in TIFF or JPEG format) through the submission system. They should not be embedded in a Word document. When there are figure subunits, the subunits should not be merged to form a single image. Each subunit should be submitted separately through the submission system. Images should not be labelled (a, b, c, etc.) to indicate figure subunits. Thick and thin arrows, arrowheads, stars, asterisks and similar marks can be used on the images to support figure legends. Like the rest of the submission, the figures too should be blind. Any information within the images that may indicate an individual or institution should be blinded. The minimum resolution of each submitted figure should be 300DPI. To prevent delays in the evaluation process all submitted figures should be clear in resolution and large in size (minimum dimensions 100x100 mm)

Figure legends should be listed at the end of the main document. When there are figure subunits, the figure legends should be structured in the following format. 

Example: Figure 1. a-c. Primary culture of choroid plexuses on day 2 after seeding of dissociated cells (×400). Nestin staining in green (a). GFAP staining in red (b). Nuclear labelling in blue and merged images (c)

Authorship Contributions Form
This is a statement of scientific contributions and responsibilities of all authors. The form is available for download at the journal’s webpage here.

The ICMJE recommends that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria:

Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
Final approval of the version to be published; AND
Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.”

A contributor should meet all four criteria to be identified as an author. If a contributor does not meet all four criteria he/she should be acknowledged in the acknowledgements section of the manuscript.

For more details please refer to the ICMJE’s definition of the role of authors and contributors at http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/defining-the-role-of-authors-and-contributors.html

CONFLICT OF INTEREST STATEMENT AND COPYRIGHT FORM

All contributing authors must sign the Copyright Transfer Agreement Form and submit it through the submission system during submission. Please see the Copyright Transfer Agreement Form for detailed information regarding “Acknowledgement of Authorship, Exclusive Publication Statement, Conflict of Interest Statement, and Transfer of Copyright Agreement”.

In addition, the ICMJE Conflict of Interest form should be filled, saved to your computer and submitted to the Balkan Medical Journal together with your manuscript.
Please refer to “conflict of interest policy” for more information.

CHECKLIST

To finalize submission, the corresponding author should ensure that all files mentioned below have been uploaded:

♦ A cover letter containing
   the article title and type and the full name of the corresponding author
   a brief statement describing the novelty and importance of the work
   a statement declaring the absence or presence of a conflict of interest
   a statement that the manuscript has not been previously published or accepted for publication and is not submitted or under simultaneous review for publication elsewhere

♦ A title page including
   Authors’ affiliations and e-mail addresses, including the name of the corresponding author
   A statement of the date and place of the meeting where the manuscript was presented orally or as a poster, if necessary
   Acknowledgements,

Structured Abstract
Structured Text
Ethical approval and/or informed consent has/have been obtained and mentioned in the text
References are in the correct format and cited sequentially in the text.
All Figures have been uploaded and appear correctly
The author contribution form is included
Permission for reprinted figures, tables, materials or photographs has been obtained
Transfer of Copyright Agreement Form is included.
Conflict of Interest Statement Form
The ICMJE Conflict of Interest Form

When submitting a revised version of a paper, the author must submit a detailed “Response to reviewers” that states point by point how each issue raised by the reviewers has been covered and where it can be found (each reviewer's comment followed by the author’s reply and line numbers where the changes have been made) as well as an annotated copy of the main document.

Revised manuscripts must be submitted within 45 days from the date of the decision letter. If the revised version of the manuscript is not submitted within the allocated time, the revision option will be automatically cancelled by the submission system. If the submitting author(s) believe that additional time is required, they should request this extension before the initial 45 day period is over.

CHANGE OF AUTHORSHIP AND WITHDRAWAL REQUEST

Any request to change the author list after submission, such as a change in the order of the authors or the deletion or addition of author names, is subject to the Editorial Board’s approval. To obtain this approval, please find and complete the change of authorship form on the Journal’s website and send it to the Journal’s office. This form should include the following information:

The reason for the change of authorship
Signatures of all authors (including the new and/or removed author)

Please note, if you are adding or removing author/authors, a new copyright transfer form signed by all authors should also be sent to the editorial office after the Editorial Board approves the change of authorship.

All withdrawal requests at any stage after submission are evaluated by the Editorial Board. The Balkan Medical Journal has the right not to accept a withdrawal request. The authors should explain their reason to withdraw the paper by a detailed letter. If the reason of withdrawal is not justified by the Editorial Board, the authors of the paper can be banned for up to 1 (one) year from submitting a new paper to the Journal.

ETHICAL GUIDELINES

The Balkan Medical Journal is committed to the highest standards of research and publication ethics. If ethical misconduct is suspected, the Editorial Board will act in accordance with the relevant international rules of publication ethics (i.e., COPE guidelines, ICMJE Recommendations, CSE White Paper on Publication Ethics, WAME resources, WMA policies and ORI).

An approval of research protocols by an ethics committee in accordance with international agreements (“WMA Declaration of Helsinki - Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects, October 2013, Fortaleza, Brazil”, "Guide for the care and use of laboratory animals, 8th edition, 2011" and/or “International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals, 2012”) is required for all research studies. If the submitted manuscript does not include ethics committee approval, it will be reviewed according to COPE's guideline (Guidance for Editors: Research, Audit and Service Evaluations). If the study should have ethical approval, authors will be asked to provide ethicalapproval in order to proceed the review process. If they cannot provide ethical approval, their manuscript will be rejected and also their institutions and when needed, the related bodies in their country will be informed that such studies must have ethics committee approval. If they provide approval, review of the manuscript will continue.

If the study does not need ethics committee approval after the editorial board’s review, the authors will be asked to provide an ethics committee approval or a document given by a related independent committee that indicates the study does not need ethics committee approval according to the research integrity rules in their country. If the authors provide either an approval or a document showing that ethics approval is not needed, the review process will continue. If the authors cannot provide either documents, the manuscript will be rejected.

For articles concerning experimental research on humans, a statement should be included that shows informed consent of patients and volunteers was obtained following a detailed explanation of the procedures that they may undergo. Informed consent must also be obtained for case reports. All recognizable photographs of a patient must be accompanied by written permission from the patient for reproduction. Procedures that were performed to eliminate any pain, harm and distress in subjects/animals should clearly be stated. The authors should clearly state their compliance with internationally accepted guidelines and the guidelines issued by the relevant authority of their country. The journal requests a copy of the Ethics Committee Approval received from the relevant authority.

All authors should meet the ICMJE’s authorship criteria outlined at the “authorship contribution form” section. Balkan Medical Journal does not accept gift, guest, or ghost authorship, and will act according to the COPE guidelines and flowcharts when faced with cases of suspected misconduct.

Plagiarism Detection

Plagiarism is a serious problem and the most common ethical issue afflicting medical writing. The Balkan Medical Journal does not allow any form of plagiarism. In accordance with our journal policy, submitted manuscripts are screened with plagiarism software to detect instances of overlapping and similar text (iThenticate and others) at least two times (during the evaluation process and after acceptance).

APPEALS AND COMPLAINTS

Appeal and complaint cases are handled within the scope of COPE guidelines by the Editorial Board of the journal. Appeals should be based on the scientific content of the manuscript. The final decision on the appeal and complaint is made by Editor in Chief. An Ombudsperson or the Ethical Editor is assigned to resolve cases that cannot be resolved internally. Authors should get in contact with the Editor in Chief regarding their appeals and complaints via e-mail at info@balkanmedicaljournal.org.

PROOFS AND DOI NUMBER

Manuscripts accepted for publication are provided with a DOI number immediately after acceptance. Accepted manuscripts are copy-edited for grammar, punctuation, and format. Once the publication process of a manuscript is completed it is published online on the journal’s webpage as an ahead of print publication before it is included in its scheduled issue. A PDF proof of the accepted manuscript is sent to the corresponding author and their publication approval is requested within 2 days of their receipt of the proof.

PRESUBMISSION INQUIRES AND RAPID EVALUATION REQUESTS

Presubmission inquires and rapid evaluation requests can be sent to the Balkan Medical Journal

Presubmission inquiries are usually sent by the authors to determine if a possible submission of their current work to Balkan Medical Journal would receive a high enough priority for publication. These inquiries are handled by the Editor in Chief and the Editorial Board, and a positive feedback from the Editor in Chief does not guarantee the publication of the work in question as all manuscripts submitted to Balkan Medical Journal must be peer reviewed. Presubmission inquiries should be sent to editor@balkanmedicaljournal.org via e-mail and should include a shorter version of the cover letter accompanied by the title and the abstract of the manuscript.

Rapid evaluation requests are usually sent by the authors to state a particular importance of their current work which requires the manuscript to be evaluated as quickly as possible. This requests are handled by the Editor in Chief of the journal should be sent to editor@balkanmedicaljournal.org and should include a shorter version of the cover letter explaining the importance of the manuscript accompanied by the title and the abstract of the manuscript.

Non-scientific reasons, such as academic career needs, will not be considered and may result immediate reject of a manuscript. Authors are not allowed to contact section editors for their manuscripts. This is an unacceptable behavior and may lead rejection of the manuscript and the author/s may be banned for further submissions to the journal. Any question related to the editorial process should be forwarded to the secretariat, managing editor or the editor-in-chief.

DOCUMENTS TO DOWNLOAD

Cover Letter

Authorship Contributions Form

Copyright Transfer Form

Change of Authorship Form

Conflict of Interest Statement Form

The ICMJE Conflict of Interest form

Editor in Chief
Zafer Kocak, MD
Department of Radiation Oncology, Trakya University Faculty of Medicine, Edirne, Turkey.
Phone: +90 284 235 76 41/1074  (internal)
E-mail: editor@balkanmedicaljournal.org

Managing Editor
Okan Çalıyurt, MD
Department of Psychiatry, Trakya University Faculty of Medicine, Edirne, Turkey
Phone: +90 284 235 76 41
E-mail: info@balkanmedicaljournal.org

Editorial Office
Address: Balkan Medical Journal, Balkan Campus of Trakya University, Medical Faculty, 22030 Edirne, Turkey. 
Phone: +90 284 235 76 41/1430 (internal)
Fax: +90 284 235 76 52
E-mail: info@balkanmedicaljournal.org

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