Published for the Institute of Biomedical Science and the Academy of Medical Laboratory Science by Step Publishing Ltd

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Concise Instructions to authors

Manuscripts (three copies) plus an electronic version on disk (PC compatible) sent by first-class or air mail should be addressed to the Editor, British Journal of Biomedical Science, IBMS, 12 Coldbath Square, London EC1R 5HL, England together with a letter stating the position and qualifications of all authors, signed by each of them, and stating (i) that the work is original and is not concurrently under consideration for publication elsewhere without the permission of the Institute of Biomedical Science and Step Publishing Ltd., and (ii) in the case of multi-author papers that all the authors have contributed directly to the planning, execution or analysis of the work reported or to the writing of the paper. Alternatively, email your paper to


Papers should conform to the uniform Vancouver style of presentation (JAMA 1997; 277: 927-34) and should be typewritten, in double spacing throughout, including reference lists, on one side of A4 paper with a margin of 40mm all round. Spelling should conform to that of The Shorter Oxford Dictionary.

Immediately following the ‘Abstract’, authors should provide up to four ‘key words’ which must be taken from the Medical Subject Headings of Index Medicus.


Literature references should follow the style adopted by the US National Library of Medicine and used in Index Medicus. References in the text should be presented as follows:

It has been shown1 that the work of Jones and Smith2 with the 'Autosquirt' (T. Shandy Ltd, South Ham, Surrey SU1 2UK, England, UK) was based upon faulty sample preparation.3

A complete list of references, typed in double spacing, should be included separately from the main body of the text in the following form:
1 Falstaff J. Measurement of serum enzymes: an update. J Med Prog 2004; 20: 124–9.
2 Jones AB, Smith CD. Liquid measurement Vol. 1, 4th edn. London: Interprint, 2002: 259–60.
3 Regina V. Sample collection and preparation. In: Disraeli B, Maughan WS, eds. Laboratory procedures. London: Gladstone, 2001: 291–311.

References cited only, or at their first mention, in tables, or in legends to figures should be numbered in sequence according to the first mention of that table or figure in the text. Authors are responsible for checking the accuracy of all references.

Tables and illustrations

Data must not be presented in both tabular and graphic form, and should not duplicate information given in the text. Three sets of tables and illustrations should be submitted: they should be separate from the text, and be numbered in two separate sequences in the order in which they are mentioned in the text.

Tables should each be typed in double-spacing on a separate sheet and include a title. Each column of the table should have a short heading, and footnotes should be used for explanatory matter (e.g. abbreviations). Vertical and horizontal rules should not be used to separate items within the table.

Illustrations (figures) must be provided in camera-ready form, with redundant areas trimmed: the figure number, author’s name and the top/bottom should be marked on the back. Line drawings should be professionally drawn and labelled. Other illustrations should be provided as photographic prints, normally in black and white. Where essential, colour reproduction will be considered; however this should be discussed with the Editor. The legends for illustrations should identify the subject matter and be typed in double-spacing on a separate sheet; staining techniques and the magnification of micrographs should be stated, and arrows/abbreviations explained.


Bacterial nomenclature should conform to the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names in J System Bacteriol 1980; 30: 255-420. In the title, abstract, key words and first mention in the text, each microorganism should be given its full binomial Latin name, underlined. Subsequently the genus should be abbreviated, but the species name should be given in full. Trivial names should be typed in lower case throughout (e.g. staphylococci, etc).

Chemical nomenclature and physical units. Where appropriate, authors should adhere to the system formulated by the IUPAC-IUB Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature (see Biochem J 1972; 126: 1-91). It is editorial policy to use SI (Système Internationale) symbols for physical units (see Baron DN, ed. Units, symbols, and abbreviations: a guide for medical and scientific editors and authors. 5th edn. London: Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd., 1994). The units mL is used rather than cm3, and the symbol used for litre is an uppercase L. The abbreviation for molar is mol/L rather than M.

Isotopically labelled compounds. For simple molecules, labelling is indicated in the chemical formula (e.g. 125I). For specific chemicals the symbol for the isotope is placed in square brackets directly preceding the name of the labelled material (e.g. [14C] urea). Brackets are not employed when the isotopic symbol is attached to a word that is not a specific chemical name (e.g. 131I-labelled protein).

Blood group nomenclature. This should follow the conventions and style given in Daniels G. Human blood groups, 2nd edn. London: Blackwell Science, 2002: 1-6.

Human leucocyte differentiation antigens. The nomenclature used should be that currently recommended by the Committee of the IUIS-WHO Nomenclature Sub-Committee (see Immunol Today 1994; 15: 98-9).

Statistics. See Good analytical practice: statistics and handling data in biomedical science. A primer and directions for authors. Blann AD, Nation BR. Br J Biomed Sci 2008; 65: 209-17(Part 1), 2009; 66: 42-6 (Part 2).

Proofs, printable pdfs and assignment of copyright

A copyright assignment form is sent with the proofs. Authors submitting a manuscript do so on the understanding that if it is accepted for publication exclusive copyright in the paper shall be assigned to the Institute of Biomedical Science. This assignment does not put any limitation on the personal freedom of authors to use material contained in their paper in any other works which they may wish to publish. In consideration for the assignment of the copyright, the Institute will supply a printable pdf file of each paper to the corresponding author.

Full Instructions to AuthorsA PDF file containing a detailed statement of editorial policy and full instructions to authors is available for download.

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