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Instructions for authors


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The Revista Internacional de Acupuntura (International Journal of Acupuncture) is a scientific journal dedicated to acupuncture and its associated techniques, as well as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in all its aspects. It has as its aim to stimulate interest among Spanish speaking acupuncturists, as well as to provide them with the opportunity of divulging the results of their clinical or research experiences. The Revista Internacional de Acupuntura considers for publication works associated with TCM in general, and in particular acupuncture and its techniques, its clinical applications as a therapeutic method, their scientific foundations in light of current knowledge, as well as clinical and basic research on its diagnostic or therapeutic basis. The journal accepts submissions of articles in English and in Spanish.

Cover Letter

Each manuscript will be accompanied by a cover letter in which it declares that the work has not been published previously nor presented simultaneously to another journal.

Furthermore, the contents of the version presented must have the explicit acceptance of all others, as well an e-mail address and a contact telephone number.

First page

The first page of the text must include:

  • Section and title of the work
  • Authors: name and surnames of the authors in the order in which they wish to appear in the article.
  • Work centre of all the authors.
  • E-mail of the author for correspondence.
  • Key words: from 3 to 6.
  • Funding source of the work, if applicable.
  • Declaration of conflicts of interests

Tables and Figures

The Figures will be submitted separately from the text of the article, each one in a separate electronic file, preferably JPG or TIFF.

It is important that the copy is of the best possible definition (300 dpi).

The numbering of the Tables and Figures must be done separately and in Arabic numbers. They must always be mentioned in the body of the text.

The Tables must appear at the end of the text, after the literature references, and must be as simple as possible and not duplicate the information presented in the text. They must be self-explanatory, with a short title that describes their contents. The rows and columns must be preceded by a short or abbreviated heading of what they contain. There must be consistency in the punctuation or abbreviations of words, as well as in the measurement units or decimals of numeric data. It is recommended to only present the significant digits and to only one decimal.

When abbreviations or symbols are used, they must be explained using Table footnotes. If data that are not from the study are included, it must be clearly mentioned with a Table footnote that identifies the source.

Figures must only be used when the information cannot be presented clearly in another form. Data already presented in Tables or in the text must not be repeated in graphs.

Special care must be taken in the preparation of graphs, so as not to distort what they are trying to show, since visual presentation could lead to an erroneous interpretation by the reader. The measurement scales must be clear and consistent.

Photographs, data graphs, and diagrams will be considered as Figures.

Figure footnotes will be on a separate page, at the end of the manuscript, after the literature references, or after the Tables (if there are any), with Arabic numbering that corresponds to the Figure.

If photographs or patient details are reproduced, these must not be able to identify the subject.

Nomenclature of aspects relative to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)

The names referring to internal organs (Zangfu), when they are mentioned on the basis of TCM, should be written with the first letter in upper case (Capital), as well as the basic substances or other terms that may lead to confusion (e.g., Liver, Liver Wind, Xue, Jing, Essence, etc.).  The terms in ¿pinyin¿ will be written in Italics.

Primary channels:

L: Lung
LI: large Intestine
S: Stomach
Sp: Spleen
H: Heart
SI: Small Intestine
B: Bladder
K: Kidney
PC: Pericardium or Master Heart
SJ: San Jiao or Triple Energiser
GB: Gall Bladder
Li: Liver

Extraordinary vessels

Du Dumai or Governor Vessel

Ren Renmai or Conception Vessel

The acupuncture points are designated by first indicating the site of the meridian and then the corresponding number separated by a space, and should be followed by the name in pinyin, in italics. Example: LI 4 Hegu.


The literature references will be identified in the text using Arabic numerals in superscript, and numbered consecutively in the order in which they appear for the first time in the text.

The references must be checked with the original articles, and will be in the style according to the Vancouver guidelines (http://www.icmje.org).

Article Types



Studies of basic, clinical and/or epidemiological research will be published in this section. Works on organisational aspects and quality control could also be included in the section. The Abstract should be able to be understood without the need to read the article. It must be written in exact terms and the essential points developed, without including information that does not appear in the text. Tables or Figures will be permitted that enable the work to better understood.

The structure of the works that are requested to be published in this section depends on the type of investigation presented:

  1. Quantitative research.
    b. Systematic review (meta-analysis).
    c. Qualitative research.

All these will include: A structured Abstract (250 words maximum) and Key words; text (a maximum of 4,000 words, not counting Tables, literature references or the Abstract), literature references (a maximum of 30 references that should be relevant and as recent as possible), Tables and/or Figures (up to 12 Tables and /or Figures), and a diagram of the study.

  1. Quantitative studies: They are studies of basic, clinical, and epidemiological research that have used quantitative methodology in their design and analysis (e.g.: prevalence studies, follow-up of a cohort, case and control study, randomised clinical trial, etc.).

The Abstract will be structured into the following sections:

Objective: clear identification of the main purpose of the study.
Design: description of the basic design of the study (randomised clinical trial, case and control study, etc.), and its basic characteristics, if they are relevant (double blind, multicentre, etc.). If the design does not correspond to a clear design, its main characteristics must be indicated (cross-sectional or longitudinal, prospective or retrospective, observational or interventional, controlled or not controlled, etc.).
Setting: place where the study was performed and the type and level of health care (Primary Care, Hospital, Community, etc.).
Participants: the patient characteristics, inclusion and exclusion criteria, number of enrolled subjects, and number of non-responders and abandonments that have occurred.
Interventions (in intervention studies): the main characteristics, including the administration criteria and duration of the interventions performed in the study groups, as well as in the comparison groups.
Main measurements: primary variables of the study, especially the response variable used and its evaluation method.
Results: primary quantitative results, identifying the type of measurement used and its corresponding confidence intervals. Where applicable, it should include the level of statistical significance.
Conclusions: the main conclusions arising from the results of the study, including its practical application.

The text of the manuscript should follow the following structure:

  1. Introduction. It must present the current situation on the knowledge of the topic and the context in which the study is framed. The introduction must be as brief as possible and be supported in a limited number of key literature references.
    2. Material and methods. It must include the design of the study, the site where the research has been carried out, the inclusion and exclusion criteria, and the screening mechanism of the participants, the interventions carried out (if applicable), the definitions and measurement techniques of the variables, the follow-up of the subjects, and the analysis strategy and statistics tests used. It must be written with sufficient detail so that the study may be repeated. Headings are recommended to organise the information (study population, interventions, follow-up, statistical analysis, etc.). It is desirable to follow the Standards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA recommendations) for reporting results of studies carried out with acupuncture, studies carried with herbal products, or the references for reporting results performed with complex, non-pharmacological interventions.
    3. Results. The principle findings associated with the aims of the study, should be presented, not interpreted. It is advised to use Headings, Tables, and Figures without the unnecessary repetition of the data in the text. The primary results must include (where applicable) the confidence intervals, and clearly indicate the type of measurement and the statistics tests used.
    4. Discussion. It is advised to structure it into the following headings: limitations of the design used; comparison with the scientific literature (trying to explain the differences observed); practical applicability of the results (performing an assessment of their clinical relevance), and guideline for future studies on the subject.
    5. Acknowledgements. To individuals or institutions that, without fulfilling the requirements of authorship, have collaborated in the carrying out of the work, provided material, technical, or financial help. The type of contribution should be mentioned.
    6. Literature References. As up-to-date as possible.
    7. Study Outline. A Figure will also be included with an outline of the study in which it indicates the number of subjects in each of the stages of the study and the reasons of the non-responders, losses, and abandonments that have occurred. The Figure legend must summarise the main characteristics of the study design. If the study is a randomised clinical trial, this Figure must follow the outline of the most up to date CONSORT statement ((http://www.consortstatement.org).
  2. Systematic reviews: They are works that present systematic reviews of the literature and other sources of evidence, critically evaluated in order to attempt to answer a particular question. They do not include narrative type reviews or knowledge update articles. A maximum of 6 authors will be allowed.

The Abstract must be structured into the following sections:
Objective: Clear identification of its primary aim (if there is more than one, it should mention the primary and/or the secondary ones).
Design: The study must be identified as a systematic review.
Data sources: Data bases consulted, period covered, and main characteristics of the search strategy used in the individual studies.
Selection of studies: Selection criteria of the studies, number of studies included and the number excluded, as well as the main characteristics of the studies included.
Data extraction: Method for assessing the validity of the studies and data collection, as well as the main variables collected.
Results: Main quantitative results, identifying the type of measurement used and its corresponding confidence intervals. Where appropriate, it should include the level of statistical significance. Where applicable, the results of the sensitivity analysis should be included.
Conclusions: The main conclusions arising from the results of the study (including their practical application).

The text of the manuscript should be adapted to the following structure:

  1. Introduction. It must present the current situation on the knowledge of the topic and the context in which the study is framed. The question that the review seeks to answer must be clearly defined. The introduction must be as brief as possible and be supported in a limited number of key literature references.  
    2. Methods. The strategy for identifying the relevant studies must be described, and include: data bases consulted and descriptor terms used; inclusion and exclusion criteria of the studies; procedure for assessing their validity; data extraction method and analysis strategy, and statistics test used for the analysis of the data. It must be written with sufficient detail so that the study may be repeated. The use of headings is recommended in order to organise the information (identification of studies, selection of studies, data extraction, analysis, etc.).
    3. Results. The principle findings associated with the aims of the review must be presented (not interpreted). Headings may be used to make the presentation clearer. It is advised to use Tables and Figures without the unnecessary repetition of the data in the text. It is recommended to include a Table with a breakdown of the main characteristics and results of the studies included in the review. The primary results must include the corresponding confidence intervals, and clearly indicate the type of measurement and the statistics tests used, where applicable. It is recommended to graphically present the confidence intervals in a Figure.
    4. Discussion. It is advised to structure it with the following headings (where relevant): limitations of the review (including suggestions on the effect of any publication bias, and comments on the homogeneity of the individual studies, and the likely influence of the variability on the final results); comparison with the scientific literature (attempting to explain any disagreements that may be observed); practical applicability of the results (making an assessment of their clinical relevance), and guidelines for future studies on the topic.
    5. Acknowledgements. To individuals or institutions that, without fulfilling the requirements of authorship, have collaborated in the carrying out of the work or provided material, technical, or financial help. The type of contribution should be mentioned.
    6. Literature References. The studies included in the review must be included in the literature references.
    7. Study Outline. A Figure should also be included with a diagram that indicates the number of studies selected in each of the stages of the review and the reasons for the exclusions. It is recommended that the outline follows the most up to date PRISMA statement (available at:http://www.prisma¿statement.org/).
  2. Qualitative studies: They present studies that have used qualitative methodologies for the approach to the topic of the research.

The Abstract must be structured into the following sections:

Objective: Clear identification of the main purpose of the study. Should there be more than one, it is advised to point out the primary aim and any secondary ones.
Design: a description of the qualitative method and the methodological strategies used, as well as its temporal contextualization.
Setting: place where the study was performed and the type and level of health care (Primary Care, Hospital, Community, etc.).
Participants and / or contexts: Selection criteria and acquisition process.
Method: sample design, description of the technique or techniques for collecting the information, guarantee mechanisms of information saturation, strategy and theoretical framework of the analysis.
Results: main findings, interpretations, topics and concepts identified, structure of the segmentation, and categories constructed, and relationship with the conceptual framework.
Conclusions: the main conclusions arising from the study and their use for the understanding of the problem and for action and change.

Text of the manuscript. Given the difficulty in adapting manuscripts on qualitative studies to a rigid format (introduction, methodology, results, and discussion), it is advised that the text uses the following structure:

  1. Introduction. The current state of the knowledge on the topic must be presented, as well as the relevance and contexts in which the study is framed, and include (if considered necessary) the formal and informal source documents, opinions, intuitions and general theoretical and interpretative frameworks; all of this in a concise form and as brief as possible, being supported in a reduced number of key literature references. The objective of the study must be clearly defined.
    2. Participants and methods. It is recommended to structure it into the following headings: Design (projected design and methodology strategies, justification for their use, temporal contextualisation, information collection techniques, changes in design or emerging design, if applicable, etc.) Sample and participants and/or contexts. Sample design, number and description of the participants and/or contexts, selection criteria of the informants and/or contexts, data acquisition process, mechanisms for ensuring saturation of the information, etc.
    3. Analysis. Strategy and theoretic framework of the analysis, description and validation, strategies for ensuring reliability of the results, etc.
    4. Results and Discussion. In qualitative studies it is difficult to separate the results from the discussion. The results must be presented in a form that makes it clear as regards the analysis method and the structure of the segmentation, as well as the categories constructed, relating them with the previous conceptual framework. An exhaustive presentation of the results should be avoided, and show only the most relevant and significant: those that make real contributions to the knowledge of that examined. It is advisable to use narrative fragments or observations to support the analytical synthesis. Likewise, it is advised to use illustrative matrices and Tables to facilitate the reading and comprehension of the results.
    5. Conclusions, usefulness and limitations. The key findings and interpretations of the research must be highlighted, along with their use in the knowledge of the problem and for the action and the change. The limitations of the study must be included, as well as proposals for new questions or research lines.
    6. Acknowledgements. To individuals or institutions that, without fulfilling the requirements of authorship, have collaborated in the carrying out of the work, provided material, technical, or financial help. The type of contribution should be mentioned.
    7. Literature References.

Clinical cases. Their aim is to contribute to medical knowledge, presenting new aspects or experiences of the treatment with acupuncture and techniques related to a specific disease. They could be signed by a maximum of 6 authors and cases that fulfil any or several of these conditions will be suitable for publication:

  • They illustrate a new principle or support or refute a common theory that may stimulate investigation.
  • They show some important clinical application of acupuncture and its related techniques.
  • Help to clarify the pathophysiology of the disease from the point of view of the theories of TCM.
  • Describe any type of complication of the treatment with acupuncture or any of its related techniques.
  • Present a practical and novel approach for the diagnosis or management of a disease from the point of view of TCM.
  • They serve to teach. The maximum length will be 1,000 words from the title page to the end(not counting the Tables), and a maximum of 2 Tables and / or Figures will be allowed.


The manuscript should follow the following order:

  1. Non-structured Abstract with a maximum of 150 words.
    2. Key words (from 2 to 5).
    3. Presentation of the case.
    4. Discussion.
    5. Literature References.
    6. Tables and Figures (with their corresponding foot notes and legends).

For further details consult: Vas J. How to write a report of a clinical case. Instructions for Authors. Rev Int Acupuntura. 2011;5:105¿7.

Comments on the latest article published. This section includes comments on any original articles, selected for their relevance or interest for professionals of acupuncture and related techniques, as well as other aspects of TCM, and are published along with the Abstracts of these articles.

The comments will focus on the current state of the knowledge of the subject, framing the study in this context and highlighting the value and usefulness of the work carried out by the professionals of acupuncture and related techniques, or other aspects of TCM, and include, where required, indications about new lines of research or new questions to answer. The text will contain approximately 850 words (Tables, literature references and Abstracts aside), with a maximum of 10 literature references, and will be able to include one Table or Figure.

1.Abstract of the original article.
2. Text.
3. Literature References.

Continuing education. This section has as its aim the continuing education of the professionals in specific areas (such as acupuncture, diet therapy, and pharmacopoeia, among others), as well as approaching practical topics on research methodology in the area of non-conventional medicines. The maximum length of the text will be 3,500 words (not counting the Abstract, Tables and literature references). Tables and Figures that are deemed necessary will be allowed.

1. Abstract (non-structured) with a maximum of 150 words.
2. Key words: from 2 to 5.
3. Introduction.
4. Text.
5. Literature References.

How to do it. The aim of this section is to circulate practical concepts on the therapeutic, exploratory or diagnostic procedures appropriate to acupuncture and related techniques, as well as to present the ¿modus operandi¿ of the different professionals in their different fields in order to enrich the knowledge of Spanish speaking Acupuncturists. The maximum length of text will be 2,000 words, without counting the Tables or Figures that are considered necessary.

1. Abstract (non-structured) with a maximum of 150 words.
2. Key words: from 2 to 5.
3. Introduction.
4. Description of the procedure.
5. Literature References.


Contact details for submission

You can send your manuscript at https://www.editorialmanager.com/acu/.

Ethics in publishing

Please see our information pages on Ethics in publishing and Ethical guidelines for journal publication.

Studies in humans and animals

If the work involves the use of human subjects, the author should ensure that the work described has been carried out in accordance with The Code of Ethics of the World Medical Association (Declaration of Helsinki) for experiments involving humans. The manuscript should be in line with the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals and aim for the inclusion of representative human populations (sex, age and ethnicity) as per those recommendations. The terms sex and gender should be used correctly.

Authors should include a statement in the manuscript that informed consent was obtained for experimentation with human subjects. The privacy rights of human subjects must always be observed.

All animal experiments should comply with the ARRIVE guidelines and should be carried out in accordance with the U.K. Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 and associated guidelines, EU Directive 2010/63/EU for animal experiments, or the National Institutes of Health guide for the care and use of Laboratory animals (NIH Publications No. 8023, revised 1978) and the authors should clearly indicate in the manuscript that such guidelines have been followed. The sex of animals must be indicated, and where appropriate, the influence (or association) of sex on the results of the study.

Informed consent and patient details

Studies on patients or volunteers require ethics committee approval and informed consent, which should be documented in the paper. Appropriate consents, permissions and releases must be obtained where an author wishes to include case details or other personal information or images of patients and any other individuals in an Elsevier publication. Written consents must be retained by the author but copies should not be provided to the journal. Only if specifically requested by the journal in exceptional circumstances (for example if a legal issue arises) the author must provide copies of the consents or evidence that such consents have been obtained. For more information, please review the Elsevier Policy on the Use of Images or Personal Information of Patients or other Individuals. Unless you have written permission from the patient (or, where applicable, the next of kin), the personal details of any patient included in any part of the article and in any supplementary materials (including all illustrations and videos) must be removed before submission.

Declaration of interest

All authors must disclose any financial and personal relationships with other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence (bias) their work. Examples of potential competing interests include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations, and grants or other funding. Authors must disclose any interests in two places: 1. A summary declaration of interest statement in the title page file (if double-blind) or the manuscript file (if single-blind). If there are no interests to declare then please state this: 'Declarations of interest: none'. This summary statement will be ultimately published if the article is accepted. 2. Detailed disclosures as part of a separate Declaration of Interest form, which forms part of the journal's official records. It is important for potential interests to be declared in both places and that the information matches. More information.

Submission declaration

Submission of an article implies that the work described has not been published previously (except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis, see 'Multiple, redundant or concurrent publication' section of our ethics policy for more information), that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere including electronically in the same form, in English or in any other language, without the written consent of the copyright-holder.


All authors should have made substantial contributions to all of the following: (1) the conception and design of the study, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data, (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, (3) final approval of the version to be submitted.

Changes to authorship

Authors are expected to consider carefully the list and order of authors before submitting their manuscript and provide the definitive list of authors at the time of the original submission. Any addition, deletion or rearrangement of author names in the authorship list should be made only before the manuscript has been accepted and only if approved by the journal Editor. To request such a change, the Editor must receive the following from the corresponding author: (a) the reason for the change in author list and (b) written confirmation (e-mail, letter) from all authors that they agree with the addition, removal or rearrangement. In the case of addition or removal of authors, this includes confirmation from the author being added or removed.
Only in exceptional circumstances will the Editor consider the addition, deletion or rearrangement of authors after the manuscript has been accepted. While the Editor considers the request, publication of the manuscript will be suspended. If the manuscript has already been published in an online issue, any requests approved by the Editor will result in a corrigendum.


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Author rights
As an author you (or your employer or institution) have certain rights to reuse your work. More information.

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Find out how you can share your research published in Elsevier journals.

Role of the funding source

You are requested to identify who provided financial support for the conduct of the research and/or preparation of the article and to briefly describe the role of the sponsor(s), if any, in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication. If the funding source(s) had no such involvement then this should be stated.

Elsevier Researcher Academy

Researcher Academy is a free e-learning platform designed to support early and mid-career researchers throughout their research journey. The "Learn" environment at Researcher Academy offers several interactive modules, webinars, downloadable guides and resources to guide you through the process of writing for research and going through peer review. Feel free to use these free resources to improve your submission and navigate the publication process with ease.

Peer review

This journal operates a double anonymized review process. All contributions will be initially assessed by the editor for suitability for the journal. Papers deemed suitable are then typically sent to a minimum of one independent expert reviewer to assess the scientific quality of the paper. The Editor is responsible for the final decision regarding acceptance or rejection of articles. The Editor's decision is final. Editors are not involved in decisions about papers which they have written themselves or have been written by family members or colleagues or which relate to products or services in which the editor has an interest. Any such submission is subject to all of the journal's usual procedures, with peer review handled independently of the relevant editor and their research groups. More information on types of peer review.

Double-blind review

This journal uses double-blind review, which means the identities of the authors are concealed from the reviewers, and vice versa. More information is available on our website. To facilitate this, please include the following separately:
Title page (with author details): This should include the title, authors' names affiliations, acknowledgements and any Declaration of Interest statement, and a complete address for the corresponding author including an e-mail address.
Blinded manuscript (no author details): The main body of the paper (including the references, figures, tables and any acknowledgements) should not include any identifying information, such as the authors' names or affiliations.

Use of word processing software

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To avoid unnecessary errors you are strongly advised to use the 'spell-check' and 'grammar-check' functions of your word processor.

Image manipulation

Whilst it is accepted that authors sometimes need to manipulate images for clarity, manipulation for purposes of deception or fraud will be seen as scientific ethical abuse and will be dealt with accordingly. For graphical images, this journal is applying the following policy: no specific feature within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced. Adjustments of brightness, contrast, or color balance are acceptable if and as long as they do not obscure or eliminate any information present in the original. Nonlinear adjustments (e.g. changes to gamma settings) must be disclosed in the figure legend.

Electronic artwork

General points
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• Aim to use the following fonts in your illustrations: Arial, Courier, Times New Roman, Symbol, or use fonts that look similar.
• Number the illustrations according to their sequence in the text.
• Use a logical naming convention for your artwork files.
• Provide captions to illustrations separately.
• Size the illustrations close to the desired dimensions of the published version.
• Submit each illustration as a separate file.
• Ensure that color images are accessible to all, including those with impaired color vision.

A detailed guide on electronic artwork is available.
You are urged to visit this site; some excerpts from the detailed information are given here.

If your electronic artwork is created in a Microsoft Office application (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) then please supply 'as is' in the native document format.
Regardless of the application used other than Microsoft Office, when your electronic artwork is finalized, please 'Save as' or convert the images to one of the following formats (note the resolution requirements for line drawings, halftones, and line/halftone combinations given below):
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Please do not:
• Supply files that are optimized for screen use (e.g., GIF, BMP, PICT, WPG); these typically have a low number of pixels and limited set of colors;
• Supply files that are too low in resolution;
• Submit graphics that are disproportionately large for the content.

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Figure captions

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Data references

This journal encourages you to cite underlying or relevant datasets in your manuscript by citing them in your text and including a data reference in your Reference List. Data references should include the following elements: author name(s), dataset title, data repository, version (where available), year, and global persistent identifier. Add [dataset] immediately before the reference so we can properly identify it as a data reference. This identifier will not appear in your published article.

Reference management software

Most Elsevier journals have their reference template available in many of the most popular reference management software products. These include all products that support Citation Style Language styles, such as Mendeley. Using citation plug-ins from these products, authors only need to select the appropriate journal template when preparing their article, after which citations and bibliographies will be automatically formatted in the journal's style. If no template is yet available for this journal, please follow the format of the sample references and citations as shown in this Guide. If you use reference management software, please ensure that you remove all field codes before submitting the electronic manuscript. More information on how to remove field codes from different reference management software.

Journal abbreviations source

Journal names should be abbreviated according to the List of Title Word Abbreviations.


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