Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine

2015 Impact Factor: 1.784
2015 Ranking: 51/151 in Medicine, General & Internal
2016 Release of Journal Citation Reports, Source: 2015 Web of Science Data
Published in Association with Royal Society of Medicine


Other Titles in:
Clinical Medicine

eISSN: 17581095 | ISSN: 01410768 | Current volume: 109 | Current issue: 10 Frequency: Monthly

Leading the debate in clinical medicine

Published since 1809, JRSM articles range from evidence-based reviews and original research papers to editorials and personal views. JRSM is an independent scientific and educational publication, which features well-argued debate and dissent on important clinical topics and, although UK-based, has articles of interest and relevance to clinicians internationally.

JRSM offers many attractive features for authors, including free online access to all research articles, online publication ahead of print, and online responses to articles published as Quick Comments. In addition, as befitting a publication of the Royal Society of Medicine, JRSM implements best practice in scientific publishing with an open peer review process, declarations of competing interests and funding, full requirements for patient consent and ethical review, and statements of guarantorship, contributorship, and provenance.

JRSM has a fast-track decision service for high quality research articles with peer review comments from other top journals.

Members of the Royal Society of Medicine receive JRSM online as one of the benefits of membership.

This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)


The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine is the leading UK multispecialty medical journal for peer reviewed clinical research, reviews, opinion, and continuing professional development. JRSM also has an international outlook and by leading the debate in the specialties of medicine and surgery, JRSM sets the agenda for clinical practice and health policy making across the medical world. Contributions to the JRSM reflect its international and multispecialty readership, as well as its tradition of being an enjoyable and entertaining medical journal.

The journal has full editorial independence from the Royal Society of Medicine. 

Members of the Royal Society of Medicine receive JRSM online as one of the benefits of membership.

Statistical Advisor
Editorial Advisory Board
Felipe Basto Portugal
Nick Black UK
Imogen Evans UK
Majid Ezzati Imperial College, UK
Chang-Qing Gao The Third Xiang Ya Hospital, China
Irene Higginson UK
Christopher Martyn UK
Alan Maynard University of York, UK
Josef Milerad Karolinska University, Sweden
Samiran Nundy Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, India
Vernon Oh Singapore
William Phillips University of Washington, USA
Gretchen Purcell USA
Manoj Ramachandran Barts Health NHS Trust, UK
John Scadding UK
Saad Shafqat The Aga Khan University Hospital, Pakistan
Jan Vandenbroucke Netherlands
RSM Editorial Representatives
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  • Protozoological Abstracts
  • PubMed
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  • RILM: Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale
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    1. Article types
    2. Editorial Policies
      2.1 Peer review policy
      2.2 Authorship
      2.3 Acknowledgments
      2.4 Funding
      2.5 Declaration of conflicting interests
      2.6 Research ethics and patient consent
      2.7 Clinical Trials
      2.8 Reporting Guidelines
      2.9 Data
    3. Publishing Policies
      3.1 Publication Ethics
      3.2 Contributor's publishing agreement
      3.3 Open Access and author archiving
      3.4 Permissions
    4. Preparing your manuscript
      4.1 Word processing formats
      4.2 Artwork, figures and other graphics
      4.3 Supplementary material
      4.4 Journal layout
      4.5 Reference style
      4.6 English language editing services
    5. Submitting your manuscript
      5.1 How to submit your manuscript
      5.2 Title, keywords and abstracts
      5.3 Corresponding author contact details
    6. On acceptance and publication
      6.1 SAGE Production
      6.2 Access to your published article
      6.3 Online First publication
    7. Further Information

    This Journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics
    This Journal recommends that authors follow the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals formulated by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)

    There are no fees payable to submit or publish in this journal.

    Please read the guidelines below then visit the Journal’s submission site to upload your manuscript. Please note that manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned.

    Only manuscripts of sufficient quality that meet the aims and scope of Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine will be reviewed.

    As part of the submission process you will be required to warrant that you are submitting your original work, that you have the rights in the work, that you are submitting the work for first publication in the Journal and that it is not being considered for publication elsewhere and has not already been published elsewhere, and that you have obtained and can supply all necessary permissions for the reproduction of any copyright works not owned by you.

    The JRSM is a forum for debate, education, and entertainment for clinicians interested in UK medicine and relevant international developments and research. The aim of publication in JRSM is to influence clinical practice and policy making across the whole range of medicine. Authors should remember that the JRSM has an international and multispecialty readership that includes primary care and public health professionals, and that the JRSM’s prime responsibility is to readers. The

    JRSM supports open access to research articles.

    JRSM is a benefit of membership of the Royal Society of Medicine but it has full editorial independence. If your article arises from a meeting of one of the Society’s Sections please indicate on the title page the name of the Section and the date of the meeting.
    All enquiries should be sent to the Editor, Dr Kamran Abbasi:

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    1. Article types

    Short pieces on topical subjects, usually commissioned by the Editor. 1000 words plus up to 10 references.


    Communication in response to articles previously published in the JRSM. 300 words plus up to 5 references.

    Informative articles on any subject relating to medicine, not usually including original research. 2000 words plus up to two tables or figures and up to 20 references.

    Linked articles on a given topic published in sequential issues of the JRSM. Frequently guest-edited. For discussion with editor, but generally 2000 words plus up to two tables or figures and up to 20 references.

    Authoritative reviews of medical issues, gathering together disparate information sources into a single coherent article. 3500 words plus up to five tables or figures and up to 30 references.

    Original research into medical issues. 3500 words plus up to five tables or figures and up to 30 references.

    Grand Round:
    Case reports. Should be either a novel presentation of a common condition, or a common presentation of a rare condition. 1000 words plus two tables or figures and up to 10 references.

    Short articles on medicine in culture, including visual arts and literature. For discussion with editor, but generally 1000 words plus two tables or figures and up to 10 references.

    From the James Lind Library:
    Articles on the history of evidence-based medicine, reproduced with the permission of the James Lind Library. No word limits.

    Personal 'soapbox' articles. 1000 words, generally no references.

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    2. Editorial policies

    2.1 Peer review policy

    After a preliminary triage to eliminate submissions that are unsuitable for the JRSM, the remaining science-based articles, either original or review, are sent for open peer review, as explained in ‘JRSM introduces open peer review’ (JRSM 2006;99:379). Some material is published without external review. The JRSM welcomes appeals against decisions, although the editor may decide that a decision is final and disallow further appeals.

    2.2 Authorship

    Papers should only be submitted for consideration once consent is given by all contributing authors. Those submitting papers should carefully check that all those whose work contributed to the paper are acknowledged as contributing authors.
    The list of authors should include all those who can legitimately claim authorship. This is all those who:

    1. Made a substantial contribution to the concept and design, acquisition of data or analysis and interpretation of data,
    2. Drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content,
    3. Approved the version to be published.

    Authors should meet the conditions of all of the points above. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.
    When a large, multicentre group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship.

    Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship, although all contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgments section. Please refer to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship guidelines for more information on authorship.

    2.3 Acknowledgements

    All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an Acknowledgements section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, or a department chair who provided only general support.

    2.3.1 Writing Assistance

    Individuals who provided writing assistance, e.g. from a specialist communciations company, do not qualify as authors and so should be included in the Acknowledgements section. Authors must disclose any writing assistance – including the individual’s name, company and level of input – and identify the entity that paid for this assistance.
    It is not necessary to disclose use of language polishing services.

    Any acknowledgements should appear first at the end of your article prior to your Declaration of Conflicting Interests (if applicable), any notes and your References.]

    2.4 Funding

    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine requires all authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading.  Please visit the Funding Acknowledgements page on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway to confirm the format of the acknowledgment text in the event of funding, or state that: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. 

    2.5 Declaration of conflicting interests

    It is the policy of Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine to require a declaration of conflicting interests from all authors enabling a statement to be carried within the paginated pages of all published articles.
    Please ensure that a ‘Declaration of Conflicting Interests’ statement is included at the end of your manuscript, after any acknowledgements and prior to the references. If no conflict exists, please state that ‘The Author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest’.

    For guidance on conflict of interest statements, please see the ICMJE recommendations here

    2.6 Research ethics and patient consent

    Medical research involving human subjects must be conducted according to the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki

    Submitted manuscripts should conform to the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, and all papers reporting animal and/or human studies must state in the methods section that the relevant Ethics Committee or Institutional Review Board provided (or waived) approval. Please ensure that you have provided the full name and institution of the review committee, in addition to the approval number.

    For research articles, authors are also required to state in the methods section whether participants provided informed consent and whether the consent was written or verbal.

    Information on informed consent to report individual cases or case series should be included in the manuscript text. A statement is required regarding whether written informed consent for patient information and images to be published was provided by the patient(s) or a legally authorized representative.

    Please also refer to the ICMJE Recommendations for the Protection of Research Participants

    All research involving animals submitted for publication must be approved by an ethics committee with oversight of the facility in which the studies were conducted.

    2.7 Clinical trials

    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine conforms to the ICMJE requirement that clinical trials are registered in a WHO-approved public trials registry at or before the time of first patient enrolment as a condition of consideration for publication. The trial registry name and URL, and registration number must be included at the end of the abstract.

    2.8 Reporting guidelines

    The relevant EQUATOR Network reporting guidelines should be followed depending on the type of study. For example, all randomized controlled trials submitted for publication should include a completed Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) flow chart as a cited figure, and a completed CONSORT checklist as a supplementary file.

    Other resources can be found at NLM’s Research Reporting Guidelines and Initiatives

    2.9 Data

    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine requests all authors submitting any primary data used in their research articles alongside their article submissions to be published in the online version of the journal, or provide detailed information in their articles on how the data can be obtained. This information should include links to third-party data repositories or detailed contact information for third-party data sources. Data available only on an author-maintained website will need to be loaded onto either the journal’s platform or a third-party platform to ensure continuing accessibility. Examples of data types include but are not limited to statistical data files, replication code, text files, audio files, images, videos, appendices, and additional charts and graphs necessary to understand the original research. The editor may consider limited embargoes on proprietary data. The editor can also grant exceptions for data that cannot legally or ethically be released. All data submitted should comply with Institutional or Ethical Review Board requirements and applicable government regulations. For further information, please contact the editorial office at

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    3. Publishing policies

    3.1 Publication ethics

    SAGE is committed to upholding the integrity of the academic record. We encourage authors to refer to the Committee on Publication Ethics’ International Standards for Authors and view the Publication Ethics page on the SAGE Author Gateway

    3.1.1 Plagiarism

    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and SAGE take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of published articles. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the journal against malpractice. Submitted articles may be checked using duplication-checking software. Where an article, for an example, is found to have plagiarised other work or included third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article; taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author’s institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; or taking appropriate legal action.

    3.2 Contributor's publishing agreement

    Before publication, SAGE requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. SAGE’s Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement is an exclusive licence agreement which means that the author retains copyright in the work but grants SAGE the sole and exclusive right and licence to publish for the full legal term of copyright. Exceptions may exist where an assignment of copyright is required or preferred by a proprietor other than SAGE. In this case copyright in the work will be assigned from the author to the society. For more information please visit our Frequently Asked Questions on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway.

    3.3 Open Access and author archiving

    Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway

    3.4 Permissions

    Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway

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    4. Preparing your manuscript

    4.1 Word processing formats

    Preferred formats for the text and tables of your manuscript are Word DOC, RTF, XLS. LaTeX files are also accepted. The text should be double-spaced throughout and with a minimum of 3cm for left and right hand margins and 5cm at head and foot. Text should be standard 10 or 12 point. Word and (La)Tex templates are available on the Manuscript Submission Guidelines page of our Author Gateway.

    4.2 Artwork, figures and other graphics

    For guidance on the preparation of illustrations, pictures and graphs in electronic format, please visit SAGE’s Manuscript Submission Guidelines  

    All figures should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text. All figures must be accompanied by a figure legend. If figures are supplied in separate files, the figure legends must all be listed at the end of the main text file.
    Figures supplied in colour will appear in colour online regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in colour in the printed version. For specifically requested colour reproduction in print, you will receive information regarding the costs from SAGE after receipt of your accepted article.

    Line drawings should be produced electronically and clearly labelled using a sans serif font such as Arial. Graphs may be supplied as Excel spreadsheets (one per sheet). Other line drawings should be supplied in a suitable vector graphic file format (e.g. .eps)

    Photographic illustrations:
    Photographic illustrations should be rendered with at least 300 dpi; please use CMYK color conversion if possible. Graphs made with Office software such as Microsoft Excel, can be provided in their original format to facilitate conversion into printable format with preserved quality. Any other line graphs/illustrations should preferably be provided in EPS format with a resolution of at least 600 dpi to prevent ragged lines when printed. A figure image should be at least 160 mm in width at the appropriate resolution. For further guidance on how to prepare your digital image see

    Abbreviations should be avoided. Authors should not create new abbreviations and acronyms. Only widely accepted abbreviations, for example, NHS, WHO, and ECG are permitted.

    All measurements should be expressed in SI units.

    4.2.1 Statistical Guidelines

    These guidelines are designed to help authors prepare statistical data for publication and are not a substitute for the detailed guidance required to design a study or perform a statistical analysis. Each section of a scientific paper is addressed separately.

    The number and source of data must be stated and conclusions which have a statistical basis must be substantiated by inclusion of pertinent descriptive statistics (mean or median, standard deviation [SD] or interquartile range, percentage coefficient of variation [%CV], 95% confidence limits, regression equations, etc.).

    Experimental design, subject selection and randomization procedures should be described and analytical precision quoted when appropriate. The hypotheses to be tested by a statistical procedure must be stated and where appropriate power calculations for the sample size used should be given (it is recommended that the power is X80%). In case-control studies clearly define how cases and controls were selected and what matching has taken place. 
    We would advise authors to consider the STARD,1 CONSORT2 and STROBE3 statements for studies reporting diagnostic or clinical trials. They offer guidance on writing reports with complete clarity.

    Unnecessary precision, particularly in tables, should be avoided. Rounded figures are easier to compare and extra decimal places are rarely important. Descriptive statistics require an additional digit to those used for the raw data. Percentages should not be expressed to more than one decimal place and not be used at all for small samples. 
    Normally distributed data should be described using a mean, SD and/or %CV and expressed as ‘mean (SD)’ not ‘mean ± SD’. When data are not normally distributed, following demonstration by tests such as the Shapiro-Wilk test,4 then medians and interquartile ranges should be used in place of mean and SD. Skewed data can often be normalized by logarithmic transformation or a power transformation. The statistical analysis and calculation of summary statistics should be carried out on the transformed data and the summary statistics transformed back to the original scale for presentation. If a logarithmic scale is used then graphs should display non-transformed data on a logarithmic scale.

    Graphs showing data of comparable magnitude should be of a similar size and design. All individual points should be displayed where possible by displacing overlapping points. Error bars showing the standard error of the mean (SEM) or interquartile range, as appropriate, can be used to aid interpretation of the data.

    The results of significance tests such as Student’s and chi-squared should be presented with descriptive statistics, degrees of freedom (if appropriate) and probability P. The validity of any assumptions should be checked (e.g. conventional t-tests assume a normal distribution and equal variance for each set of data). For 2 x 2 contingency table analysis by the chi-squared test the continuity correction must be applied and for small expected frequencies Fisher’s Exact Test used. P values should be reported in fullto1or 2 significant figures, describing P values as 40.05 or NS (not significant) should be avoided. If the results are highly significant and the calculated P value from the computer is e.g. 0.000, then the use of P <_0.0005 is="is" acceptable.="acceptable." confidence="confidence" intervals="intervals" should="should" be="be" stated="stated" particularly="particularly" for="for" non-significant="non-significant" results.="results." br="br">The conventional use of statistical significance is P≤0.05. If a different significance level needs to be used then the reasons why must be clearly stated in the statistical method section.

    Statistical significance should not be equated to importance and P values should not be compared between different data sets or different statistical tests. Association should not be interpreted as causation without additional evidence.

    Problem areas:

    Multiple comparisons
    Multiple comparisons can produce spurious and misleading significance values. The primary hypothesis should always be clearly stated, and associations detected by retrospective analysis should be interpreted with caution. Whenever possible a single overall statistical test should be applied first e.g. ANOVA. If this is not significant then multiple comparisons must not be applied. If it is significant then some form of multiple range test can be applied. If a single overall test is not possible then multiple comparisons must use a Bonferroni type significance level.

    Paired data
    With paired data the differences between individual pairs of data and the variability of the differences are more important than the individual values. Graphical representation should also show the difference between individual pairs, e.g. by plotted lines joining the paired data points.

    Standard regression analysis Standard regression analysis requires data points to be independent (repeated measurements are not independent). The independent variable should be measured without significant error, e.g. age or time, and the points should be evenly distributed over the range and have no outliers (this can be easily examined with a scatterplot). These requirements are rarely satisfied with biological data.

    Method comparison
    Method comparison using regression and correlation coefficients is inappropriate and should be performed using Altman and Bland difference plots.5 If a standard scatter plot and regression line are thought to be useful they can be given along with the Altman–Bland plot. Remember if two methods are supposed to be measuring the same thing then it is extremely likely they will be correlated so as a statistical tool correlation is not going to tell you anything new.
    If you are carrying out complicated statistical analyses e.g. multivariate analysis, ROC analysis etc., then it is recommended that you seek advice from a statistician.

    1. Bossuyt PM, Reitsma JB, Bruns DE, et al. for the STARD Group. Towards complete and accurate reporting of studies of diagnostic accuracy: the STARD initiative. Ann Clin Biochem 2003;40:357–63
    2. Moher D, Schultz KF, Altman DG for the CONSORT Group. The CONSORT statement: revised recommendations for improving the quality of reports of parallel-group randomization trials. Lancet 2001;357:1191–4
    3. von Elm E, Altman DG, Egger M, Pocock SJ, Gøtzsche PC, Vandenbroucke JP for the STROBE Initiative. Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology (STROBE) statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies. BMJ 2007;335:806–8
    4. Altman DG. Practical Statistics for Medical Research. London: Chapman & Hall, 1991:132–12
    5. Bland JM, Altman DG. Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement. Lancet 1986;1:307–10

    4.3 Supplementary material

    This journal is able to host additional materials online (e.g. datasets, podcasts, videos, images etc) alongside the full-text of the article. These will be subjected to peer-review alongside the article.  For more information please refer to our guidelines on submitting supplementary files, which can be found within our Manuscript Submission Guidelines page.

    4.4 Journal layout

    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicineconforms to the SAGE house style.  Click here to review guidelines on SAGE UK House Style.

    4.5 Reference style

    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicineadheres to the SAGE Vancouver reference style. Click here to review the guidelines on SAGE Vancouver to ensure your manuscript conforms to this reference style.

    If you use EndNote to manage references, you can download the SAGE Vancouver output file here

    4.6 English language editing services

    Authors seeking assistance with English language editing, translation, or figure and manuscript formatting to fit the journal’s specifications should consider using SAGE Language Services. Visit SAGE Language Services on our Journal Author Gateway for further information.

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    5. Submitting your manuscript

    5.1 How to submit your manuscript

    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine is hosted on SAGE Track, a web based online submission and peer review system powered by ScholarOne™ Manuscripts. Visit to login and submit your article online.

    IMPORTANT: Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one. If you have reviewed or authored for the journal in the past year it is likely that you will have had an account created.  For further guidance on submitting your manuscript online please visit ScholarOne Online Help.

    Each manuscript should contain a title page and abstract.

    Title page:
    The first page should contain the full title of the manuscript, a short title, the author(s) name(s) and affiliation(s), and the name, postal and email addresses of the author for correspondence, as well as a full list of declarations:
    The title should be concise and informative, accurately indicating the content of the article. The short title should be no more than six words long.
    The correct order for declarations is: competing interests, funding, ethical approval, guarantor, contributorship, acknowledgements.

    An abstract of no more than 300 words must accompany all Review, Research and Grand Round articles. For Reviews and Grand Round this abstract should be a single, unstructured paragraph. Research articles require structured abstracts with the following subheadings: Objectives, Design, Setting, Participants, Main outcome measures, Results, Conclusions.

    5.2 Title, keywords and abstracts

    Please supply a title, short title, an abstract and keywords to accompany your article. The title, keywords and abstract are key to ensuring readers find your article online through online search engines such as Google. Please refer to the information and guidance on how best to title your article, write your abstract and select your keywords by visiting the SAGE Journal Author Gateway for guidelines on How to Help Readers Find Your Article Online

    5.3 Corresponding author contact details

    Provide full contact details for the corresponding author including email, mailing address and telephone numbers. Academic affiliations are required for all co-authors. These details should be presented separately to the main text of the article to facilitate anonymous peer review.

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    6. On acceptance and publication

    6.1 SAGE Production

    Your SAGE Production Editor will keep you informed as to your article’s progress throughout the production process. Proofs will be sent by PDF to the corresponding author and should be returned promptly.

    6.2 Access to your published article

    SAGE provides authors with online access to their final article.

    6.3 Online First publication

    Online First allows final revision articles (completed articles in queue for assignment to an upcoming issue) to be published online prior to their inclusion in a final journal issue which significantly reduces the lead time between submission and publication. For more information please visit our Online First Fact Sheet

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    7. Further Information

    Any correspondence, queries or additional requests for information on the manuscript submission process should be sent to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Editor: Kamran Abbasi:

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