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Instructions for Authors

The West Indian Medical Journal is international in scope, with author and editorial contributions from across the globe. The focus is on clinical and epidemiological aspects of tropical and infectious diseases, new and re-emerging infections, chronic non-communicable diseases and medical conditions prevalent in the Latin America-Caribbean region, and of significance to global health, especially in developing countries. The Journal covers all medical disciplines, as well as basic and translational research elucidating the pathophysiologic basis of diseases or focussing on new therapeutic approaches. The Journal publishes original scientific research, reviews, case reports, brief communications, letters, commentaries and medical images.  All papers submitted to the Journal are reviewed by an Editorial Committee and at least one referee and may be checked for plagiarism. Unless expressly stated, the Editorial Board does not accept responsibility for authors’ opinions.
In 2013, the Journal transitioned to online-only and hard copies are no longer printed.


Authors’ professional and ethical responsibilities


Only those persons who contributed directly to the intellectual content of the paper should be cited as authors. They should meet all of the following criteria:
(a) conceived and planned the work that led to the paper or interpreted the evidence it presents, or both;
(b) wrote the paper or reviewed successive versions and took part in the revision process;
(c) approved the final version.
Authors submitting papers for publication must confirm and disclose which of the authors meet each or all the above criteria.

Conflict of interest

Disclosure must be made of any financial or personal interests or other dual commitments or competing interests that represent, or are perceived to represent, actual or potential conflicts of interest for any of the authors that might bias or be seen to bias their work. The Journal reserves the right not to publish (or if published, withdraw) an article on the grounds of any actual or potential conflict of interest.


Informed consent

Actual or potentially identifying information or facial/body features should not be included in the manuscript, whether in the form of text, images, figures or photographs, unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and unless the patient (or parent or legal guardian) has provided written informed consent for publication. In case of doubt, informed consent should be obtained. The Journal reserves the right not to publish (or if published, withdraw) an article on the grounds that informed consent has not been obtained.


Ethical responsibilities

The Methods section in the manuscript must include a statement confirming review of the study by the appropriate local Ethics Committee or Institutional Review Board and indicating that material relating to human investigations and animal experiments conforms to standards currently applied in the country where the study is based. (If no formal ethics committee is available, indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the WMA Declaration of Helsinki – Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects.) Where appropriate, this statement should also indicate the procedure used to ensure adherence to ethical guidelines on informed consent and should affirm that such consent was obtained. (See above on Informed Consent.) Evidence of such consent must be submitted with the manuscript. The Journal reserves the right not to publish (or if published, withdraw) an article on the grounds that ethical or experimental standards have not been reached and/or informed consent has not been obtained.


Covering letter

Each manuscript should be accompanied by a covering letter which includes: 

  • statements concerning authorship and informed consents (see above);
  • disclosure of interest (see above);
  • confirmation that the contents of the manuscript have not been published or are not being submitted for publication elsewhere;
  • confirmation that the contents of the manuscript are original and that there is no plagiarism;
  • the full name (surname in capital letters), full mailing address, telephone number, fax number and email address of the author responsible for correspondence on the paper (unless otherwise requested by the corresponding author, his or her fax number and/or email address will be published); and
  • the full names (surnames in capital letters) and signatures of all authors.


All manuscripts reaching the office of the Editor will be acknowledged, and at the conclusion of the review procedure, the author(s) will be notified of acceptance, rejection or the need for revision of the paper. The decision of the editorial board is final with regards to rejected articles. Rejected articles will not be returned to the authors.
The editorial-subcommittee has the right to return sub-standard manuscripts to the authors, rather than passing them on to the reviewers. This implies outright rejection of the manuscript.


Authors of papers accepted for publication in the West Indian Medical Journal must agree to transfer copyright to The University of the West Indies, publishers of the Journal. This signifies transfer of rights for print or electronic publication, production reprints, facsimile, microfilm or microfiche.

Assembling and submitting the manuscript

Manuscript format and style
  • Manuscripts should be arranged as follows: title page, abstract, text, acknowledgements, list of references. Each component should begin on a separate page and all pages should be numbered sequentially starting with the title page. Figures and tables, if included, should be inserted into the manuscript wherever they are first mentioned. Authors are urged to seek guidance on grammar, punctuation and scientific writing.
  • Manuscripts should not exceed 12 typed pages (including abstracts and references) and be double spaced throughout with left and right margins of 2.5 cm.
  • Text should be typed, using Times New Roman at 12 font. The manuscript must be submitted in Microsoft Word via e-mail to the following address:
  • Guidance for the length of articles is as follows: book reviews, 450 words; letters, 450 words; short communication, 800 words; editorials (including references), 1000 words; case reports, 1500 words; special articles, 2000 words; viewpoint, 2000 words; original articles and reviews (including abstract and references), 2500–3000 words.
  • Manuscript title should be centred at the top of the page and in title case (nouns, verbs, adjectives capitalized). Headings should be short, positioned flush with the left margin and in sentence case. First-level headings are boldface; second-level headings, italics and third-level headings, regular type.
  • Use SI units throughout, generic names for all drugs and limit abbreviations to those that are absolutely necessary. The proprietary name for a drug is included if it is better known than the generic name, to differentiate among drug forms or if a specific trade preparation was used in a study or involved in an adverse effect. Abbreviations should be written in full when they are first mentioned in the text and when they begin a sentence, but are not necessary for units of measurements or standard scientific symbols.
  • The name and location of manufacturers of equipment and instruments must be given in parentheses in the text.
All spelling should conform to that in the recent edition of the Oxford Concise English Dictionary.
See sample of properly assembled manuscript.

Title page

The title page should include
- the main title (and subtitle, if any) which should be as brief as possible while conveying the essential features of the article’s contents;
- the authors should be listed (without their qualifications) on a separate line in the order in which they will appear in the published article with the institutional affiliation of each author. Authors' names should be listed as first initial(s) then surname;
- a short title (to be used on the continuing pages of the published article);
- three or four keywords or phrases for indexing purposes;
- a brief synopsis (limit: 40 words) for original articles, reviews, viewpoints, commentaries and special articles, to be used in the contents as an overview of the manuscript.
Click on links below for samples


This should not be more than 250 words and should be structured: objective, methods, results, conclusion; or unstructured.


Papers reporting original specific scientific evidence would usually be divided into the following sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, References. All studies that include numerical data and use statistical inference must include, in the Methods section, detailed descriptions of methods used for statistical analysis, including the statistical software. It is suggested that the Discussion include a brief synopsis of the key findings; consideration of possible mechanisms and explanations, comparison with relevant findings from other published studies and limitations of the present study and methods used to minimize or compensate for these limitations. The paper should conclude with a brief summary of the implications of the work.

Case Report

A Case Report need not be structured with the same formality as a scientific paper. It is advised that case reports should, however, conform to the following format:
Introduction: The introductory paragraph should not exceed 80 words; Case Report: this should include a short relevant history of the patient(s), examination, investigations, differential diagnosis and treatment.
Discussion: lessons to be learnt from the case report on the progress of the case. The discussion must be on the reported case.
See sample of a properly formatted text 


Authors are encouraged to submit commentaries and viewpoints on issues of topical interest, or in response to published articles. Viewpoints are also not structured with the same formality as a scientific paper; however, they should conform to the following format:
Abstract: a general overview of the paper; it needs not be structured; Introduction: varies in length but it introduces the topic, provides background information and states the point of the paper. Authors can insert their additional sub-headings before concluding.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor are short papers that are a response to a published article, highlight a case report, or a review. An abstract or structure is not necessary but letters should include keywords. Photographs and/or figures are also accepted. 
Responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of references rests entirely with the authors. References will not be checked in detail by the Editors but papers in which errors are detected are unlikely to be accepted. References should be numbered in the order in which they are first cited in the text, tables, figures and legend using Arabic numerals in brackets on the line. The list of references should be typed in double spacing and in numerical order on separate pages. The reference style of Index Medicus must be used (see examples below), including the abbreviations of Journal titles (Vancouver style). References to personal communications and to papers in preparation are included in parentheses in the text, and are accompanied by letters of permission from the cited persons. List all authors when six or fewer; when seven or more, list only the first six and add 'et al'. You may wish to use a citation manager software, such as Reference Manager, to compile your references. The order and the punctuation are important and should conform to the following examples:


1. Standard article

Barton EN, Sargeant LA, Samuels D, Smith R, James J, Wilson R et al. A survey of chronic renal failure in Jamaica. West Indian Med J 2004; 53: 81–4.

2. E-pub ahead of print article with DOI

Conliffe C, Frankson M, Smith F, Hanna-Mahase C, Oriakhi M. The prevalence of elevated blood pressure in adolescents in Nassau, The Bahamas. West Indian Med J 2015 Apr 28. doi: 10.7727/wimj.2015.114. [Epub ahead of print]

3. Editorials, abstracts, letters
- Harding S, Maynard M, Cruickshank JK, Gray L. Blood pressure and its determinant in Black Caribbean, Black African, South Asian and Caucasian adolescents in the MRC DASH study in Britain [Abstract]. West Indian Med J 2005; 45 (Suppl 2): 24.
- La Hee F. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [Editorial]. West Indian Med J 2002; 51: 137–8. 


1. Author
Lowe HIC, Morrison EY St A. Marijuana, cannabis, ganja – the Jamaican connection. Kingston, Jamaica: Pelican Publishers Limited; 2001.
2. Editors
Bond GC, Kreniske J, Susser I, Vincent J, eds. AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. Boulder, CO: Westview Press; 1997.
3. Chapter in a book
Reid SD. Substance abuse. In: Hickling FW, Sorel E, eds. Images of psychiatry: the Caribbean. Kingston: University of the West Indies; 2005: 198–231.

Electronic sources

1. Online article
Hooper JF. Psychiatry and the Law: Forensic Psychiatric Resources Page [Internet]. Tuscaloosa (AL): University of Alabama, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology; 1999 Jan 1 [updated 2006 Jul 8; cited 2007 Feb 23]. Available from:
2. Webpage
Medical Library Association. MLANET [Internet]. Chicago, IL: The Association; 1996 [rev. 1 Jan 2008; cited 24 Jan 2008]. Available from:


1. Thaffe N. Diabetes Week to focus on women. Jamaica Gleaner. 2011 Nov 14: News: 5.

More information on the different reference sources can be found at the link below, taking care to adhere to the Journal's format: 
Patrias K. Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers [Internet]. 2nd ed. Wendling DL, technical editor. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2007 [cited 2014 Oct 29]. Available from:



Tables should be labelled and numbered in Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3 etc) followed by a short title giving an overview of the table, and placed in the manuscript in the order in which they are first mentioned. If there is only one table, no numeral is necessary. Tables should be ruled as follows: necessary lines at the top for headings, no vertical or horizontal lines in the body except a line above and below the totals. All tables should be submitted in an editable format using either Microsoft Word or Excel.
Legends should be placed beneath the respective tables if needed. Explain all abbreviations and symbols used in the table, even if they are explained in the text. See sample.


Figures should be clearly labelled, have a minimum DPI of 300 and in the acceptable format of TIF or JPG. If there is only one figure, it does not carry numeracy. Arrows on the figure must point to the relevant details.
1. Legends should be placed beneath the respective figures. Begin each legend with a short title. Explain all abbreviations and symbols used in the figure, even if they are explained in the text.
2. Figures do not carry a title and all text should be legible.
3. Authors must pay the full cost for reproduction of colour figures and prints.


Financial support information, including the name of the granting agency and grant number (if any), persons who have provided technical support and those who have contributed to the scientific content, should be included in this section.
Authors' note

The contribution of all authors, that is, what role they played in the development of the manuscript, should be stated in this section, as well as any statement regarding conflict of interest.


Proofs will be sent to all authors for minor corrections and approval before the manuscript is published in its final form.


If reprints are required, they must be requested in writing on receipt of the letter of acceptance, at which time an estimated cost of the reprints will be furnished. Actual cost can only be provided after publication, as this depends on the length of the article. 

Conference Proceedings

The Journal also produces conference proceedings on request eg Caribbean Public Health Agency/Caribbean Health Research Council (CARPHA/CHRC), University of the West Indies Diabetes Outreach Project (UDOP) and Faculty of Medical Sciences Annual Research Day Conference. Others are welcomed.

Business Information

Copyright: Material printed in the Journal is covered by copyright and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the Editor. Single photocopies may be made by individuals without obtaining prior permission.
Microform: The Journal is available in microform from Bell and Howell Information and Learning.
Abstracting and Indexing: The Journal is currently included in major abstracting and indexing services including MEDLINE, PubMed, MedCarib and Thomson Reuters. The Journal is also available ahead-of-print on our website, found at:
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