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Instructions to authors

Please read the information below prior to submitting your article.

Submission guidelines

  • All submissions must be made via ScholarOne.
  • Correspondence and letters to the editor can be submitted through our digital journals platform. You can respond directly to an article by clicking on the "Email the Editor about this article" link on the right of the page, or if you wish to write a general letter to the editor of any of our journals you will find an "Email the editor about this journal" link on the homepages of each journal (Annals, Bulletin, FDJ). This is the only route for submitting correspondence. Do not submit letters via ScholarOne.
  • Manuscript files should be DOC, DOCX, RTF or TXT files. Please use 3cm margins on A4 paper (210 x 297mm).
  • If your manuscript includes graphs or tables please also supply the raw data.
  • The first version of your submission will be sent for review. If you send in other parts at a later date, they will not be considered as part of your paper.
  • Do not submit your paper more than once. If you are asked to make revisions, please upload your revised manuscript to you existing submission record.

Submission preparation checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to comply with all of the following items and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. The submission has not been previously published, nor is it with another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided to the editor).
  2. All authors listed on the paper have reviewed and approved the manuscript in its current form and are aware that it has been submitted to the Annals/Bulletin of The Royal College of Surgeons of England.
  3. A consent form must be signed by the patient or their guardian/relative for any images of the patient used in the manuscript, whether or not the patient is identifiable. The consent form must be produced upon request by The Royal College of Surgeons of England.
  4. If your submission contains any previously published material, statements of permission from the original authors/publishers must be included with your submission.
  5. Any conflict of interest and/or financial support received must be declared upon submission.
  6. The manuscript is a DOC, DOCX, RTF or TXT file. The text is double-spaced; uses a 12-point font; and employs italics rather than underlining (except with URL addresses).
  7. Illustrations, photographs and figures should be available as separate files (not embedded in the document) with appropriate legends at the end of the manuscript.
  8. Where available, URLs for the references have been provided.
  9. The cover page should be an integral part of your manuscript. It should contain the title of your article and complete details of all authors, including accurate contact information and email addresses.

Peer review, publication and copyright

Most submissions are reviewed by two or more referees. For all articles, reviewers pay particular attention to clarity and brevity. (The reviewers’ form can be downloaded from our website.) The corresponding author will then receive an email from the editor informing them that their manuscript is accepted, rejected or needs revision. Once accepted, manuscripts are published in chronological order of acceptance, and the corresponding author will receive page proofs when publication is imminent. However, authors are not sent proofs of articles for the technical or correspondence sections.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England will retain copyright of all published material and reserves the right to re-use any such material in any print and/or electronic format.

Submitting videos

  • The Annals welcomes the submission of videos as supplements to all article types.
  • Videos cannot be uploaded directly to ScholarOne. Please use a video hosting service and include a link in the body of your main text document, with a video title and description in the same was as you would with a normal figure.
  • There are numerous free online file hosting services: filedropper and other similar sites allow you to temporarily host files online with no sign-up, while services such as dropbox allow you to create an account and host files online in perpetuity.
  • Technical Papers are ideally suited to short videos demonstrating the techniques being described and we are keen to publish more Technical Papers with video. For more details on submitting technical videos see the Technical section guidelines below.

Section policies

Research articles

Both the Annals and the Bulletin publish original research articles. Clinical research should be submitted to the Annals, while non-clinical research (about training and education, health service management, medical politics etc) should be submitted to the Bulletin. You will be prompted to indicate which journal you are submitting to at the first stage of the submission process. Both journals have the same requirements for research articles:

1. Title page

  • Include the full title of the article and the names of all authors, together with their main appointment, department, and hospital/university address at the time.
  • Reliable, permanent email addresses are required for all authors.

2. Abstract

  • This should be concise (no more than 250 words) and complete in itself and with the following subheadings: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusion (if appropriate).
  • Randomised controlled trials should be identified as such in both the title and abstract.
  • At the end give three to six key words, using medical subject headings from MeSH.

3. Main text

  • The main text should be no more than 3,000 words long. Ideally you should aim for 2,000 words or fewer; you may be asked to reduce the length of your paper if the Editor feels it could me more concise.
  • This should be divided into Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusion, with additional subheadings where appropriate.
  • Include a word count, exclusive of abstract, reference lists, tables and legends.
  • The ideal position of each table and figure must be indicated in the main text, eg (see table 2). These should be numbered consecutively according to their order of appearance in the text.
  • Use SI units and their recognised abbreviations (eg 10kg) for biochemical and biometric data, with the exception of blood pressure in mmHg and haemoglobin in g/dl.
  • Avoid abbreviations. If they are needed they should be defined on their first appearance by using the word(s) for which they stand followed by the abbreviation in brackets.
  • Use generic names for drugs unless a proprietary product is a key part of the study. Include the names and the source of any new or experimental preparation or instrument.
  • Ensure accurate and unambiguous wording throughout. Avoid inappropriate generalisations and 'sloppy' usage, such as employing ‘pathology’ as a synonym for a disease or condition. Always use specific medical terms to ensure your meaning is clear.
  • Acknowledgements should include all funding bodies. Individuals should not be acknowledged without their consent

4. References

  • Your paper should contain no more than 30 references.
  • These should be given in Vancouver style and numbered consecutively in the order of their appearance in the text.
  • Use the abbreviated journal titles as given in the MEDLINE journals database.
  • Personal communications or unpublished material referred to in the text should not be included in the reference list.

5. Tables

  • These should be designed to present large amounts of numerical data clearly and concisely.
  • They should not duplicate the text and should be given after the reference list.
  • Tables within MS Word or Excel documents are acceptable but please ensure that the table is presented exactly as you would like it to appear in the journal.
  • If the material can be presented clearly in written form, a table may not be necessary. Manuscripts that use tables excessively may be returned for revision.

6. Figures

  • Captions to all figures should be listed at the end of the manuscript with their appropriate number.
  • Do not embed images in the text - they should all be sent separately but ensure that your legend indicates exactly where they should go.
  • Where figures are based on data, eg pie charts, please provide the raw data along with your figures.
  • Figures will be printed in greyscale unless the author is willing to pay for the increased costs of colour printing. Full colour is used for online publication.

7. Photographs

The quality of printed images is dependent on that of those provided. If pictures are taken with a digital camera, or hard copies are scanned in, please set the parameters on your camera/scanner to ensure the highest quality possible and save the image as a TIF file.

  • Images must have a minimum resolution of 300 pixels per inch at their finished size.
  • Low-resolution images may be unusable and could hinder or delay publication of your article.
  • Always submit multipart figures in separate files and make sure your legend explains all parts of the figure.
  • In photo-micrographs add a scale indicating the magnification, together with the staining techniques used.
  • Photographs will be printed in greyscale unless the author is willing to pay for the increased costs of colour printing. Full colour is used for online publication.

8. Line art

These should be prepared by computer graphics software and submitted on disk as EPS, SVG, TIF or PDF files. The IT department in your hospital should be able to help you create and format all kinds of computer-generated images.

  • Please note that the resolution requirements for line art illustrations are the same as for photographs (see above).

Case reports

These should be 750–1,000 words in length. Reviewers will expect ‘rarity’ combined with clarity, precise documentation and informed discussion, with a clearly defined clinical message. There should be a maximum of five references. There should also be a brief abstract, which does not need to be structured.

All case reports that are accepted are published online (fully citable with DOIs).

Colour images enhance a case report. If they add to the message, they are encouraged. There is no limit on the number of images that may be included.

Technical section

Technical notes
These should be no more than 250 words in length and should be presented as background, technique and discussion, with a maximum of five references. Any figures should be relevant and very clear.

Technical tips
These should be 100 words or fewer with an initial sentence about the background followed by a description of the technique (no headings). Two references and one clear figure may be included.

A note from the editor
A simple technical idea usually has one originator (or perhaps two, as a product of discussion) and it is then common to supervise a trainee in writing it up. Consequently, a tip or note might reasonably have two or three authors. The editor may seek an explanation for four or more names appearing on an article and it is recommended that such articles should include details of each author's contribution on the cover sheet.

Submitting videos
We encourage the submission of videos accompanying technical papers. Each video should be no more than 1 minute long, and should include captions or commentary if necessary. Production values do not need to be high - modern smartphone cameras can create excellent video - and the Annals office can assist with production (editing, adding captions, etc) if required.

Videos cannot be submitted in isolation: they should be accompanied by explanatory text which conforms to the normal guidelines for either a technical note or a technical tip.

Review articles

These should be no more than 2,000 words in length with no more than 50 references. Tables and figures may help summarise complex information.

The Annals publishes reviews that meet the following criteria:

  • The review deals with a clinically relevant subject within the practice of any surgical specialty.
  • The review contains a brief introduction, a methods section that describes the search strategy and terms, the databases that have been searched, and how the reviewed papers were selected.
  • The review is accompanied by a structured abstract, containing ‘Introduction’, ‘Methods’, and ‘Findings’.
  • Clear conclusions are reached.


Correspondence and letters to the editor should be posted directly on the readers' pages. This is the only route for submitting correspondence intended for publication in the Annals. Do not submit letters via ScholarOne.

You should state clearly if your letter is in respopnse to an article published in the Annals or Bulletin. The author(s) of the article which has stimulated correspondence can reply to your letter online.

Correspondence intended for publication should not exceed 200 words. Up to five references may be given. The readers' pages are reviewed by the editor and many submissions are selected for print publication.

Hunterian/Arris and Gale lectures

The manuscript should be no longer than 3,000 words, with a maximum of 6 figures and 30 references. It should be written in a style for written publication rather than for verbal presentation, ie it should not be a transcript of the lecture or part of the lecture. The manuscript will be subject to peer review. If accepted it will be given priority to ensure early publication.

Published abstracts

The Annals publishes abstracts of presentations given at regional and national surgical societies. Publication is online only (fully citable with DOIs). Abstracts should be no more than 200 words. No dual publication is permitted. Abstracts must have been peer reviewed for their presentation and evidence of this may be requested.

All presentations at national meetings and prizewinning papers from regional meetings are eligible. Officers of the meeting or society should contact the editor in the first instance. Please provide the following information: name of society, region, specialty, date of meeting and contact number for local officer responsible for the meeting.

Submitting to the Bulletin

In addition to publishing non-clinical peer-reviewed research articles, the Bulletin publishes commissioned content – opinion pieces, commentary and feature articles. If you would like to write an article of this type for the Bulletin, please submit a short proposal to

The Trainees' Forum

The Bulletin publishes a monthly feature called the Trainees' Forum, giving trainees a place to discuss issues that affect them. Most articles are commissioned but authors wishing to submit an unsolicited study, review or editorial should email a short bullet-point outline of the proposed article (of no more than 250 words) to Articles should address one of two key themes:

1) Issues or opportunities relevant to surgical education/ training

2) Recent advances in surgical care or delivery of surgical services

Articles should be evidence based and calling for action on topical issues pertaining to surgical training or delivery of service and its political, ethical and social ramifications. They should road-map a proposed solution rather than simply presenting a snapshot of the problem.

Alternatively commentaries can be personal or historical narratives or conceptual or philosophical arguments of pressing contemporary relevance, told with authority, colour, vivacity and personal voice relating to training opportunities or service delivery.

Articles should not exceed 1500 words excluding tables and figures, with a maximum of 16 references.