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General information

Editorial policies

Article types

Preparation of manuscript

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General information

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"Swiss Medical Weekly" is a Diamond open access publication published in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons license Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

A sponsoring association, the “Trägerverein Swiss Medical Weekly”, is in charge of the journal. It ensures the editorial independence of the Swiss Medical Weekly, following the Fair OA principles, and covers the editorial and publishing costs. 

The Swiss Medical Weekly accepts for consideration original and review articles from all fields of medicine. Contributions must be written in English.

Submission of a paper to Swiss Medical Weekly is understood to imply that the data contained there in has not previously been published (except in abstract/preprint form) or is being considered for publication elsewhere.

All submissions to Swiss Medical Weekly should conform to the «Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals».

There are no "article processing charges" (APCs) or "page charges"associated with this journal.

Prior to publication, all manuscripts, with the exception of Editorials and Technical comments, undergo a single blind peer review, conducted by independent experts in the field. 

When articles suitable for publication in Swiss Medical Weekly are sent for external review, the authors will receive an offer to post them in parallel on the preprint server SwissMedPreprints.

Authors are requested to grant the sponsoring association a non-exclusive licence to publish. We do not ask authors to transfer copyright to us.

Editorial policies

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Authorship and contributorship

Authorship credit should be based only on (1) substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work; (2) drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; (3) final approval of the version to be published; 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.

All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors.

Acquisition of funding, the collection of data, or general supervision of the research group do not, by themselves, justify authorship, nor does the fact of being in sole charge of the clinic or organisational unit in which the article was prepared. Such contributions should be listed as acknowledgements, as well as those of colleagues who provided reagents, discussions and critical input, editorial help, technical services, etc.

Disclosure of financial and non-financial relationships and activities, and conflicts of Interest

When authors submit a manuscript of any type or format they are responsible for disclosing all relationships and activities that might bias or be seen to bias their work. All authors are requested to sign the ICMJE Conflict of Interest form. Disclosure information for each author needs to be part of a disclosure section in the manuscript.

Duplicate submissions

By their signature, the authors also certify that neither this manuscript, nor any other with substantially similar content by one or more of the same authors, has been published or accepted, or is currently being assessed by another journal with a view to publication. Previously published data can be reproduced in exceptional cases, provided that a full disclosure is made and a plausible reason for republication is given.

Plagiarism detection / scientific misconduct

The SMW supporting association is a member of CrossCheck, a service offered by CrossRef and powered by iThenticate software. In our online editorial system, all newly submitted manuscripts are automatically compared with the CrossCheck database. Submissions with overlaps to already published articles are carefully checked for plagiarism by the editorial team.

Scientific misconduct includes but is not necessarily limited to data fabrication, data falsification, purposeful failure to disclose relationships and activities, and plagiarism. We take allegations of misconduct very seriously. Problems concerning scientific misconduct are dealed following the guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Obligation to register clinical trials

We require publicly accessible registration of interventional trials in any registry that is a primary register of the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) or in at or before the time of first patient enrollment as a condition of consideration for publication, in accord with ICMJE recommendations.

Ethics approval of research

We require every article reporting results of prospective research using human subjects or samples, or results of animal research, to include a statement that the study obtained ethical approval, including the name of the ethics committee(s) or institutional review board(s) and the number/ID of the approval(s). Where ethical approval is not required, the manuscript should include a clear statement of this and the reason why.

When reporting research involving human data, authors should indicate in the methods section whether the procedures followed were assessed and approved by a legally qualified ethics review committee (institutional or national) or, if no formal ethics committee is available, were in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration as revised in 2013. If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the study. Approval by a responsible review committee does not preclude editors from forming their own judgement whether the conduct of the research was appropriate.

When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate in the methods section whether the institutional and national guides for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.

Protection of patients’ rights to privacy

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information, including patients’ names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should disclose to these patients that the material will be available via the Internet after publication. Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, however, and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt.  

Patient consent should be archived by the authors and not submitted to the journal. The authors should provide the journal with a written statement that they have received and archived written patient consent. The informed consent form may be downloaded here.

Data sharing

All submitted research articles must contain a data sharing statement as described here.

Review process

Prior to publication, all manuscripts, with the exception of Editorials and Technical comments, undergo a single blind peer review, conducted by independent experts in the field and, if applicable, by a professional statistician.

The Editorial Board may decline a paper on the basis of internal review. They will then rapidly return the manuscript, usually within two weeks.

Authors who believe that their article has been rejected unfairly may submit an appeal via our online submission system or by sending an e-mail to the editorial office.

Editors and reviewers are explicitly requested to report conflicts of interest that could influence their opinion of the manuscript in question, in which case they will be excluded from the reviewing process of this manuscript. When an editor is author or co-author of a manuscript, she or he is excluded from publication decisions and has no insight into the reviewing process of the article in the manuscript management system.

Post-publication discussions

We welcome debate post publication either through letters to the editor (technical comments) or the comment functions.

If a correction of a published article is needed it is dealed following the ICMJE guidelines.

Article types

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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

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).  

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. If a case report cannot be accepted for publication in the SMW because it does not meet these criteria, the editorial board will decide whether it is suitable for publication online as an SMW preprint on

Informed consent and sufficient anonymisation is mandatory for all submitted case reports. The informed consent form may be downloaded here.

Case report and review
"Case report and review" is a special format for review articles that are introduced with a particularly interesting case report. For the review part of the article, an expert experienced and acknowledged in the relevant field must be involved as a co-author.


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. 


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.

Preparation of manuscript

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Please submit your article online as a PDF containing a title page wih the names and affiliations of all authors. Figures and tables can be inserted in the running text or at the end of the text, but they should always be included in the article PDF, as this is the file that is forwarded to the external reviewers. Accompanying letters to the editor or other documents should be submitted as separate files.

Use only standard abbreviations. Avoid abbreviations in the title of the manuscript. The spelled-out abbreviation followed by the abbreviation in parentheses should be used on first mention unless the abbreviation is a standard unit of measurement. Use abbreviations only for items that are used repeatedly in your manuscript.

Always use SI units. Results in other units may be added in parentheses.

Tables and figures should be commented upon in the text and their position marked at the appropriate point.

Lengthy tables should be included only if absolutely necessary; extensive tables and datasets (e.g. sequencing results) may be archived by SMW as supplementary materials and will be linked to the respective article.

Figures should each be submitted with a legend. Captions should be formulated so as to allow the figure to be understood without reference to the text. All abbreviations employed should be explained in the caption if not already included in the list of abbreviations.

Please group logically related panels into multipanel figures, and adjust the size of each panel such that all graphs are approximately the same size within the same figure. For labels, use sans-serif fonts (e.g. Arial) of a uniform and easily readable size. A resolution of at least 300 dpi at publication size is required. Figures exported from screen presentation files (e.g. Powerpoint) are not of sufficient quality. Figures should be prepared in a graphics program (e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator). Gimp and Inkscape are acceptable, royalty-free alternatives to commercial graphics programs.

If you have included in your article figures or tables from other publications, you must obtain permission from the rights holder to use them before submission of the manuscript. If you are including figures or tables that have been adapted from published papers, then you are also responsible for obtaining the publisher’s permission to adapt them. Please submit a copy of this permission with your article.

References must be numbered sequentially and inserted in the text with numbers in square brackets (inserted before punctuation). Where more than one reference is cited, they should be separated by a comma. For sequences of consecutive numbers, the first and last number of the sequence should be separated by a hyphen.

References should follow the standards summarized in the NLM's Sample References webpage.

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During the review process, authors can check the status of their submitted manuscript via the online manuscript submission and review system.

Submit online