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Article types

General note

Reporting guidelines have been developed for most research contributions (including for case reports, diagnostic studies and research protocols). Articles submitted to the SMW should adhere to the respective guidelines and reporting items, which are endorsed by the EQUATOR Network. Otherwise, articles may be rejected during the initial technical check.

For the main study designs, there is a user-friendly checklist tool, which was made by the EQUATOR Network.

Original articles

These manuscripts report on a significant advance in clinical or experimental medical sciences.

Original papers can be of variable length, from single well-documented observations (1 figure/table and 1000 words of text) to comprehensive studies (4 or more display items; up to 5000 words of text).

Original articles should be organised according to the conventional pattern (for details, see the ICMJE recommendations):

  • Title page (title; authors; place of origin, hospital or institute
  • 3–10 keywords
  • Summary: this section should typically contain 250‒400 words (under no circumstances >600 words). The summary should contain a statement delineating what is known on the subject of the study, and what the current study adds to the body of knowledge. Summaries of clinical papers should be divided into the following headings: aims of the study; methods; results; and conclusions. The clinical trial registration number should be added at the end of the abstract. Summaries of reports of experimental science can be organised as indicated above, or else can be written as free unstructured text at the authors’ discretion.
  • Introduction
  • Materials and methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Statement on funding sources and conflicts of interest
  • Acknowledgments
  • Address for correspondence including e-mail address
  • References
  • Figure legends
  • Tables
  • Figures


Case reports

SMW will handle case reports similarly to original articles and will publish them as such provided that they fulfill strict criteria of quality and novelty. Specifically, publishable case reports will report fundamentally novel aspects of disease, or report a novel disease entity altogether. “Didactical” case reports will not be published.


SMW publishes cross-sectional surveys only exceptionally. To be eligible for publication, these surveys must either be population-based, multicentric (at least three centres), or have a longitudinal component (e.g., interventional or as part of a before-after study or randomised-controlled trial).  In all cases, the surveys must be of relevance for an international readership. 

Review articles

These articles will report on the state of the art in medical science and/or medical technologies. In most cases, prominent clinical and experimental scientists are invited by SMW to provide contributions. However, author-initiated submissions of review articles are also welcome.

We expect authors of reviews to be experienced and acknowledged in the relevant field. They should have actively participated in research of the topic of a review article and have specific personal experience. Rather than spontaneously submitting reviews, authors are encouraged to contact the editors’ office by e-mail [office] at an early stage of manuscript preparation.

Review articles can be submitted as:

  • Biomedical intelligence. These manuscripts provide an overview on the current state-of-the-art in a specific field.
  • Medical guidelines. Guidelines are to be embedded in a review article; the introduction should explain why this new guideline is necessary; the discussion should spell out how the new guideline differs from existing guidelines and why.

Reviews should include a summary covering all essential points (250-400 words, structured abstract for systematic reviews) and a list of references. The article text should typically not exceed 5000 words.

Please consider that, for a review article to be maximally useful, the quality and clarity of the illustrations is of great importance; figures should be self-explanatory and poignant. Also well-designed tables are important and will be gratefully welcomed by your readers.

Review articles should not include any primary data that were not previously published in original articles. Reviews, however, should include most of the sections detailed for original articles including statements on conflict of interests, acknowledgments and funding sources where appropriate, as well as figures and figure legends.

Systematic reviews

Systematic reviews with or without meta-analyses can be submitted to SMW provided that they are comprehensive and fulfil the minimal set of PRISMA reporting criteria. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses need to be comprehensive (i.e., based on a systematic and broad search of at least 2-3 original research databases) and incorporate a valid risk of bias assessment. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses should not duplicate other reviewing efforts. Pre-registration of systematic review protocols is highly recommended (e.g. via PROSPERO).  


These are typically invited short review articles which discuss original papers published in SMW or elsewhere.

Viewpoints should not exceed 1300 words. Summaries are not necessary; a list of up to 10 references should be included.


These are short news articles, interviews or op-ed pieces on current issues at the interface between medical science and ethics, politics, education or other topics. They are to be considered as journalistic pieces and will not be registered in Medline or other major science indexes.

Summaries are not necessary. References will be inserted into the text as hyperlinks.

Technical comments

These are comments on articles published in SMW.

Technical comments should not exceed two pages, including illustrations, references and tables. Technical comments provide a forum for respectful debates on the conclusions (and occasionally the methodology) of papers published in SMW.