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Instructions for Authors

A. Appropriateness: The MSMR publishes reports of evidence-based estimates regarding the incidence, distribution, impact, or trends of illness and injuries among members of the United States Armed Forces and other beneficiaries of the Military Health System (MHS) (e.g., family members, retirees, civilian employees). All reports are based on data or public health information that is directly relevant to the health, safety, and well-being of MHS beneficiaries or the operational fitness of military members.

B. Quality: Reports are typically based on data analyzed using scientific methods. Results should yield actionable public health information or recommendations.

C. Originality: Updates of surveillance summaries previously published in the MSMR will be considered if they add significant new information.

D. Timeliness: Reports should contain the most currently available data from surveillance systems or studies.

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A. Full Reports: These are summaries of data or the findings of original epidemiologic studies of military health importance. Authors should refer to previously published reports as a guideline for style and format.

1. Title: Brief and descriptive. A title page is not necessary.

2. Authors: Authors are individuals who make substantive contributions to the report and qualify for authorship credit according to ICMJE guidelines. For each author, list first name, middle initial, last name, highest academic degree(s), military rank and service. Examples: John Snow, MD, MPH (COL, USA, Ret.); Mary L. Archer, MD (LCDR, USN). If an author holds two doctoral degrees (e.g., MD and PhD), either or both may be used, in the order preferred by the author. List academic degrees below the highest degree held only when they represent a specialized field or a field different from that represented by the highest degree held (e.g., MPH, BSN).

3. Abstract: Provide an unstructured abstract (no labeled sections) summarizing the report, with a focus on the main findings. Maximum 175 words.

4. Background: Introductory paragraphs should set the context (e.g., brief relevant literature review) and describe the relevance to U.S. military populations or operations. The last sentence(s) of the background section should state the objective or specific question(s) the report aims to answer.

5. Methods: As appropriate, specify the target population, time period, definitions, exposures, outcomes or endpoints, other characteristics of interest, the sources and methods of data collection, and approaches to data summarization and statistical analyses.

6. Results: Summarize the findings and results of analyses. Tables and graphs that clarify the results are encouraged. The Results narrative need not repeat numerical data already presented in tables and graphs except to emphasize important observations.

7. Editorial Comment:  All authors must include editorial comments for consideration for publication. Editorial comments should put the main findings of the report into broader military/general public health contexts; specify limitations (e.g., shortcomings of data sources, sources of bias); and state ramifications of findings in terms of current or desirable future policies and practices.

8. Author Affiliations: List current assignment/affiliation of each author. Example: U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Cairo, Egypt (LCDR Archer); Department of Surgery, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Dr. Snow, Dr. Smith, Dr. Jones).

9. Acknowledgements (optional): Recognize contributors who do not qualify as authors.

10. References: List references using AMA style (see examples). When listing articles with more than six authors, include three author names followed by "et al." Use journal title abbreviations as shown in PubMed and italicize them. Do not include URLs for references that are indexed in PubMed.

B. Brief Reports: These are similar to full reports but are less than 1,000 words in length. Brief reports should be structured in the same manner as full reports. An abstract is not required.

C. Outbreak Reports should include all of the sections listed above under "full reports." They may also include additional sections such as: Setting (follows the background and describes of the outbreak setting), Countermeasures (follows the results and describes actions taken to prevent continuation or spread of the outbreak). Example

D. Case Reports are brief descriptions of a case with an Editorial comment. Example

E. Surveillance Snapshots typically consist of a single chart with a caption or legend. They may also include 1-2 paragraphs of text. Example

F. Historical Snapshots describe events or persons that have shaped the history of military public health. They should include photographs or other images. Example

G. Historical Perspectives summarize the historical impact of a disease or condition on a specific military operation or the military overall. Example

H. Notice to Readers: Scientific notices to readers describe changes in recommended public health practices (e.g., vaccine recommendations) or the availability of clinical or surveillance resources (e.g., laboratory testing). The MSMR does not publish meeting announcements or summaries of past meetings. Example

I. Images in Health Surveillance are photographs, drawings or other images that depict militarily relevant public health information. Example

J. Editorials are usually invited, but may be proposed. Example

K. Other article types may be proposed in an email to the editor.

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III. Submission Formats

A. Suggested Length (excluding title, authors, abstract, author affiliations, acknowledgements and references): Full Reports: 2,000 words. Brief Reports: <1,000 words. Outbreak Reports: 1,500 words. Case Reports: 1,000 words. Surveillance Snapshots and Images in Health Surveillance: 500 words of text or captions (accompanying one or more figures). Notices to Readers: 500 words. Submissions that are longer than suggested in these guidelines will be considered on a case-by-case basis; longer articles should be justified by the authors in their e-mails of transmittal of the manuscripts.

B. Text: Submit in Microsoft Word. Do not embed tables or charts in the Word text.

C. Tables and Figures: Tables and figures must be submitted in Microsoft Excel and not embedded in text. The data used to create a figure must be included in tabular form and link to the figure. Place titles and legends within the figure. Format all tables and figures to Arial font, size 8. Use lowercase superscripted letters (e.g., a,b,c) for footnotes in tables and figures.

D. Photographs: Photographs that illustrate a prevention intervention, risk factor, or outbreak setting are encouraged. Only submit photographs that are in the public domain; if a photo credit is required, submit the name with the photo.

IV. Clearance and Consent

A. Prior to submission, authors must initiate clearance processes from their Services/agencies and from human subjects review boards, as appropriate. Manuscripts pending clearance may be submitted for consideration.

B. Prior to submission, corresponding authors must obtain from all of the co-authors written approval and consent to publish the report with their names listed as an author. Written consent may be obtained in the form of e-mail messages from each author saying that they approve publication of the report.

V. Submission and Acceptance

A. Submit to the editor via email. Submit text, tables/figures and photographs as separate attachments.

B. MSMR staff will confirm receipt of the report by email.

C. MSMR staff will review, with assistance of subject matter experts, each submitted report and do one of the following:

– Accept it and enter it into the editing and production cycle

– Tentatively accept it pending revision

– Return it for revision and subsequent consideration

– Reject the submission

D. Accepted reports are typically published within 60 days of the date of acceptance.

E. Authors who wish to discuss a proposal or concept with the MSMR Editor prior to writing a report are encouraged (but not required) to do so. Submit proposals via email.

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