Information for authors
The Swiss Society for Medical Informatics SSMI publishes the online and print journal Swiss Medical Informatics (Proceedings for the Annual Congress), which presents the Swiss medical informatics landscape.
Contributions of the following types are published:
- Research articles on important topics in clinical informatics or bioinformatics
- Non-commercial case reports related to clinical informatics
- Accepted contributions to the annual congress of the Society
- Announcements and reports about medical informatics events
Furthermore, the SSMI publishes selected reports on activities related to the society and its members.
Submission of a paper to "Swiss Medical Informatics" is understood to imply that the data contained there in has not previously been published (except in abstract form) or is being considered for publication elsewhere.
The contributions are preferably scientific in nature. They can also be purely descriptive as long as they are objective. In all cases, the article structure should be based on the common classification – summary, introduction, methods, results, discussion and bibliographical references. A critical examination of the conclusions presented is expected. If the deadlines for publishing the proceedings are not met, a contribution cannot be considered for the print issue, and will be published electronically only. Purely commercial publications are not considered.
The guidelines for authors are based on the guidelines published by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors («Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals»).
Swiss Medical Informatics accepts the article types listed below, in either English, German or French. In all cases, an abstract in English is mandatory. Please state in the comments to the editor if your submission should be considered as a contribution for the upcoming annual congress of SSMI. Only papers submitted online are accepted.
In principle, original papers have an investigative character and include the following elements:
- Title page: title, date, author, institution, address for correspondence
- Abstract: 250 words in length at most, with four subsections – research question, methods, results, conclusion; 3–10 keywords
- Introduction to the topic, including an explanation of the examined question
- Methods, containing the explanation of the research methodology
- Discussion, including a critical appraisal of the presented results
References are to be numbered in the order of appearance in the text. The corresponding numbering is placed in the text within square brackets [ ]. The full reference (the first three authors fully listed, others with "et al.") follows at the end of the main text.
The maximum number of words should not exceed 2500 for an original article (title page, abstract and references excluded).
An extended abstract essentially provides a possibility to publish a short version of an original work. The article should be subdivided according to the rules for the abstracts of original articles. The maximum number of words in the entire extended abstract should not exceed 1200.
Case studies can be submitted on any subject in the field of clinical informatics and bioinformatics, unless it is a purely commercial presentation. A case study is generally divided into the following sections:
- Summary with a maximum of 150 words
- Background of the case study including description of local settings with specific details on the software used
- Examinations / measurements and investigations, if relevant
- Discussion, including information on the transposition of experiences into other local conditions
- References (the same conditions apply here as with original articles)
The maximum length for a case report (title page and references excluded) is 3000 words.
This category is not limited to, but primarily intended for, poster presentations submitted to the annual meeting of the Swiss Society of Medical Informatics SGMI. However, posters are accepted only as Word files (or equivalent), not formatted as PDF or a presentation file such as Powerpoint. In general, it should not exceed a single A4 page in length. If your poster submission is accepted for presentation during the annual congress, you are kindly invited to present your poster in A0 (up-sized).
An editorial can be submitted only at the request of the Editorial Board of the SMI. The design is largely free, the maximum number of words is 1500.
Authorship / financial support
Authorshipcredit should be based only on (1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and (3) final approval of the version to be published. Conditions 1, 2, and 3 must all be met.
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.
All authors must sign the author form. 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.
Outside financial support or other financial or personal relationships in connection with the submitted manuscript must be indicated in the author’s form and in the Conflict of interest section of the manuscript. SMW expects authors to disclose any perceived financial conflict, if, for example, any of the authors may stand to gain financially, directly or indirectly (e.g. through stock option arrangements), from the publication of the manuscript.
EMH Swiss Medical Publishers Ltd. is a member of CrossCheck, a service offered by CrossRef and powered by iThenticate software. iThenticate is a plagiarism-screening service that verifies the originality of content submitted before publication. iThenticate checks submissions against millions of published research papers, and billions of web content. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting www.ithenticate.com.
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 encourage the registration of clinical trials in any primary register of the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) or in ClinicalTrials.gov.
The ICMJE defines a clinical trial as any research project that prospectively assigns people or a group of people to an intervention, with or without concurrent comparison or control groups, to study the cause-and-effect relationship between a health-related intervention and a health outcome. Health-related interventions are those used to modify a biomedical or health-related outcome; examples include drugs, surgical procedures, devices, behavioural treatments, educational programmes, dietary interventions, quality improvement interventions and process-of-care changes. Health outcomes are any biomedical or health-related measures obtained in patients or participants, including pharmacokinetic measures and adverse events. The ICMJE does not define the time of first patient enrollment, but best practice dictates registration by the time of consent of the first patient.
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. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity.
Patient consent should be written and 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. A standard informed consent form may be obtained from the publisher.
Prior to publication, all manuscripts, with the exception of Editorials, undergo a single blind peer review, conducted by independent experts in the field. During the review process, authors can check the status of their submitted manuscript via the online manuscript submission and review system.
The Editorial Board may decline a paper on the basis of internal review. They will then rapidly return the manuscript, usually within two weeks.
Preparation of manuscript
Prepare the manuscript according to the above mentioned guidelines according to article type.
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.
Tables should be provided with captions, numbered consecutively and each reproduced on a separate page of the manuscript. The editor, on accepting a paper, may recommend that additional tables containing important backup data too extensive to publish be published on the SMI website. In that event an appropriate statement will be added to the text. Submit such tables for consideration with the paper. Lengthy tables should be included only if absolutely necessary; extensive tables and datasets (e.g. sequencing results) may be archived by SMI 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).
If you have included in your article figures or tables from other publications, you must obtain permission from the publisher to use them before submission of the manuscript: an image that has been published before can be used in "Swiss Medical Informatics" only if the copyright holder has given permission. 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 should follow the standards summarised in the NLM’s International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals: Sample References webpage.
The open access publication of the articles requires that the copyright in the accepted article is transferred to Swiss Medical Publishers Ltd., Basel, for the duration of the statutory copyright term. The Publishers thereby acquire the right to use the article an unlimited number of times, to adapt it (e.g. for the purpose of abstracts), to translate it, duplicate it, communicate it, make further use of it, publish or distribute it, in any form and via any medium (including the Internet) and to grant free of charge to the author himself, to third parties and to the general public the corresponding rights of use, adaptation etc.
Submit your manuscript online
During the review process, authors can check the status of their submitted manuscript via the online manuscript submission and review system.