Preparing your manuscript
Crime Science publishes a wide range of articles from different disciplines that broaden the scientific base for the understanding, analysis and control of crime and disorder. The journal is aimed at researchers, practitioners, and policymakers, so please make sure that your article is accessible to a wide range of readers.
1. Before you submit
Before you submit, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the following.
- Make sure you are submitting to the most suitable journal - Aims and scope
- Understand the costs and funding options - Fees and funding
- Make sure your manuscript is accurate and readable - Language editing
- Understand the copyright agreement - Copyright
2. Ready to submit
To give your manuscript the best chance of publication, follow these editorial policies and formatting guidelines.
Crime Science publishes the following article types:
Click the relevant link to find style and formatting information for the article you are going to submit.
Crime Science operates format-free initial submission, meaning we can focus on the quality of the research. Your initial submission can be a single PDF, Microsoft Word or rich text format (RTF) file, with tables and figures included in the manuscript file (you do not need to move your figures or tables to the end of the manuscript). We do not require a separate title page. If you article is accepted for publication, we will ask you to format your article according to our standards for referencing, punctuation, file formats etc.
For initial submission, your manuscript must:
- be blinded so that the authors cannot be identified by our reviewers,
- use a consistent referencing style with all sources fully referenced according to the BioMed Central Citations Policy (although the choice of referencing style at this point is up to you),
- include the abstract and reference list, but not any acknowledgements or funding statements, in the main manuscript file
- include all the tables and figures in the main manuscript file,
- include figures at high-enough resolution for reviewers to interpret,
- include any supplementary material in separate files.
We do not require a particular manuscript structure, but you can get advice on manuscript structure at the BMC Writing Resources site.
Your abstract should be structured into four sections:
- Background setting out the context and purpose of the article.
- Methods explaining the data and methods used, including (where relevant) sample sizes and mention of the the time and place to which the data relate.
- Results summarising the main findings.
- Conclusions outlining the potential implications of the research for academia, policy or practice.
Please minimise the use of abbreviations and do not cite references in the abstract.
Systematic reviews must include a clear description of all stages of the review process and results – see below for more detail.
We strongly encourage all datasets and materials (survey questionnaires, experimental procedures etc.) used in your research to be either deposited in publicly available repositories or presented in the main paper or additional supporting files, in machine-readable format (such as spreadsheets rather than PDFs. Springer Nature maintains a list of recommended data and materials repositories. We use Open Science Badges to recognise authors who make data and materials available.
All manuscripts should include a ‘Availability of data and materials’ section at the end of the manuscript, either describing where data and/or materials can be found or explaining why the data and materials cannot be shared (for suggestions on how to format this section, see below). Note that even in cases where confidential data cannot be shared, it may be possible to share materials such as analytical code.
We also encourage authors to post the submitted version of their article on a pre-print server or your own website to broaden access to the latest research. You can choose any licence for your pre-print, and post it to your choice of pre-print server such as those run by the Open Science Framework.
We encourage authors to pre-register their studies, and will take this into account during peer review.
Preparing your manuscript
If your manuscript is accepted or we ask you to resubmit with revisions, the manuscript must meet all of the following requirements.
- Your main manuscript document should be in Microsoft Word, rich text or TeX/LaTeX format. If you are submitting your manuscript in TeX format please use the BioMed Central TeX template and include a PDF version named ‘Reference PDF’ for our production team to use as a reference point. If your manuscript contains any other non-editable files (such as PDFs) you will be required to re-submit an editable file. The Editorial Manager system checks for any errors in the Tex files. If an error is present then the system PDF will display LaTex code and highlight and explain the error in a section beginning with an exclamation mark (!).
- Citations should be provided as explained in the BioMed Central Citations Policy. Your references should follow the style of the American Psychological Association.
Figures should meet the following requirements.
- Figures should be numbered in the order they are first mentioned in the text, and uploaded in this order. Multi-panel figures (those with parts a, b, c, d etc.) should be submitted as a single composite file that contains all parts of the figure.
- Figures should be in PDF, EPS, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, BMP or CDX formats, or as single-page Microsoft Word or PowerPoint files. Vector graphics should be submitted as PDF files if possible, since these are usually more compact than EPS files. JPEG files should be saved at maximum quality. TIFF files should be saved with LZW compression.
- Figures should be uploaded in the correct orientation.
- Figure keys should be incorporated into the graphic, not into the legend of the figure.
- Figure titles (max 15 words) and legends (max 300 words) should be provided in the main manuscript, not in the graphic file.
- Each figure should be closely cropped to minimize the amount of white space surrounding the illustration. Cropping figures improves accuracy when placing the figure in combination with other elements when the accepted manuscript is prepared for publication on our site.
- Individual figure files should not exceed 10 MB. If a suitable format is chosen, this file size is adequate for extremely high quality figures.
- You must obtain permission from the copyright holder to reproduce figures (or tables) that have previously been published elsewhere. In order for all figures to be open access, authors must have permission from the rights holder if they wish to include images that have been published elsewhere in non open-access journals. Permission should be indicated in the figure legend, and the original source included in the reference list.
Figures in the final web (HTML) version of articles will be 600 pixels wide by up to 1,200 pixels high. Figures in the final PDF version will be 85 mm (half page) or 170 mm (full page) wide and have a maximum height of 225 mm (including the title and legend). Images in PDF files will have a final resolution of approximately 300 dots per inch (dpi). Figures should be designed such that all information, including text, is legible at these dimensions. All lines should be wider than 0.25 pt when constrained to standard figure widths. All fonts must be embedded.
If you have any questions or are experiencing a problem with figures, please contact the customer service team at email@example.com.
When preparing tables, please follow the formatting instructions below.
- Tables should be numbered and cited in the text in sequence using Arabic numerals (i.e. Table 1, Table 2 etc.).
- Tables less than one A4 or Letter page in length can be placed in the appropriate location within the manuscript.
- Tables larger than one A4 or Letter page in length can be placed at the end of the document text file. Please cite and indicate where the table should appear at the relevant location in the text file so that the table can be added in the correct place during production.
- Larger datasets, or tables too wide for A4 or Letter landscape page can be uploaded as additional files in Excel spreadsheet (.xls/.xlsx) or comma separated values (.csv) files using the standard file extensions.
- Table titles (max 15 words) should be included above the table, and legends (max 300 words) should be included underneath the table.
- Tables should not be embedded as figures or spreadsheet files, but should be formatted using ‘Table object’ function in your word processing program.
- Color and shading may not be used. Parts of the table can be highlighted using superscript, numbering, lettering, symbols or bold text, the meaning of which should be explained in a table legend.
- Commas should not be used to indicate numerical values.
If you have any questions or are experiencing a problem with tables, please contact the customer service team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporting statistical tests
If your article reports the results of statistical tests, sufficient detail should be provided to allow results to be used in a meta-analysis or similar work. Please report degrees of freedom for statistical tests that require them, as well as effect sizes wherever possible. Report actual p-values to three decimal places (e.g. p = 0.041) rather than categorising values (e.g. p < 0.05), unless p < 0.001. If reporting odds ratios, also provide confidence intervals.
Preparing additional files
As the length and quantity of data is not restricted for many article types, authors can provide datasets, tables, movies, or other information as additional files.
All additional files will be published along with the accepted article. Do not include files such as consent forms, certificates of language editing, or revised versions of the main manuscript document with tracked changes. Such files, if requested, should be sent by email to the journal’s editorial email address, quoting the manuscript reference number. Please do not send completed consent forms unless requested.
Results that would otherwise be indicated as “data not shown” should be included as additional files. Since many web links and URLs rapidly become broken, BioMed Central requires that supporting data are included as additional files, or deposited in a recognized repository. Please do not link to data on a personal/departmental website. Do not include any individual participant details. The maximum file size for additional files is 20 MB each, and files will be virus-scanned on submission. Each additional file should be cited in sequence within the main body of text.
If additional material is provided, please list the following information in a separate section of the manuscript text:
- File name (e.g. Additional file 1)
- File format including the correct file extension for example .pdf, .xls, .txt, .pptx (including name and a URL of an appropriate viewer if format is unusual)
- Title of data
- Description of data
- Additional files should be named “Additional file 1” and so on and should be referenced explicitly by file name within the body of the article, e.g. ‘An additional movie file shows this in more detail [see Additional file 1]’.
- For further guidance on how to use additional files or recommendations on how to present particular types of data or information, please see How to use additional files.
Style and language
All manuscripts must be in English, but any variety of Standard English spelling and grammar is acceptable. For editors and reviewers to accurately assess the work presented in your manuscript you need to ensure the English language is of sufficient quality to be understood. If you need help with writing in English you should consider:
- Visiting the English language tutorial which covers the common mistakes when writing in English.
- Asking a colleague who is a native English speaker to review your manuscript for clarity.
- Using a professional language editing service where editors will improve the English to ensure that your meaning is clear and identify problems that require your review. Two such services are provided by our affiliates Nature Research Editing Service (10% off) and American Journal Experts (10% off). BMC authors are entitled to a 10% discount on their first submission to either of these services.
Using of a language editing service is not a requirement for publication in the journal and does not imply or guarantee that the article will be selected for peer review or accepted.
Formatting the ‘Availability of data and materials’ section of your manuscript
BioMed Central endorses the Force 11 Data Citation Principles, which state that:
“Sound, reproducible scholarship rests upon a foundation of robust, accessible data. For this to be so in practice as well as theory, data must be accorded due importance in the practice of scholarship and in the enduring scholarly record. In other words, data should be considered legitimate, citable products of research. Data citation, like the citation of other evidence and sources, is good research practice and is part of the scholarly ecosystem supporting data reuse.”
All data used in your article should be cited as with any other source, where possible including a digital object identifier (DOI) or other unique identifier. Databases and software citations should include a web/FTP address at which the database/software are available.
The contents of this section will depend on the data and materials you are making available, but examples of data availability statements are available on the Springer Nature website.
Formatting the ‘Methods’ and ‘Results’ sections of your systematic review
The methods section of a systematic review should include a clear description of all stages of the review process and design, the setting, the type of participants or materials involved, and the type of analysis, including:
- Searches: search terms and languages, comprehensiveness and effectiveness of the search, search strings and/or combinations of searches, databases, searches for grey literature i.e. contacts, searches on internet, use of specific search terms or strings, filtering or limitations and literature provided directly by stakeholders. Tables and lists of bibliographies, search terms and databases or other information can be provided as additional files.
- Study inclusion and exclusion criteria: provide explanation about the rationale followed to include/exclude articles, including specific study characteristics (PICO, length of follow-up, etc), specific report characteristics (year of publication, language, etc) and study selection procedures (screening).
- Potential effect modifiers and reasons for heterogeneity: potential effect modifiers and reasons for heterogeneity should be discussed here and should be identified by discussions with stakeholders and experts as early as possible.
- Study quality assessment: how you are planning to or have assessed the study quality. Describe the methods used for assessing risk of bias of individual studies, including specification of whether this was done at the study or outcome level, and how this information was used in any data synthesis. Discussions with experts and stakeholders at early stages should help identify the methodological standards for the topic of interest.
- Data extraction strategy: what sort of data do you expect to find or have finally extracted and how you computed effect sizes and their variability.
- Data synthesis and presentation: report the qualitative and quantitative methods you used to synthesize and present the data, as well as elements you anticipate or have identified such as effect modifiers, type of methodologies and their current appraisal, biases etc. Describe any additional analyses (sensitivity, sub-group analysis, meta-analysis) done and indicate which were pre-specified.
For an example of how a search strategy should be presented, see the Cochrane Reviewer’s Handbook.
If existing, make reference to an accessible review protocol. Authors are additionally asked to provide registration information about the systematic review, including a registration number, if available.
The results and discussion should be presented separately. The results and discussion sections may also be broken into subsections with short, informative headings. Results of each stage of the review should be clearly reported, including:
- Review statistics: i.e. the number of articles found in the search and included at each inclusion/exclusion level, along with any relevant information on the distribution of the studies found (e.g. geographical location and source of study). A flow diagram (conforming to relevant reporting guidelines e.g. PRISMA) reporting the inclusion/exclusion process should be presented.
- Study quality assessment: a summary of what the different studies found, the confidence in the results of the different studies, what biases were present in each of the studies, and quality of the different studies needs to be included.
- Quantitative synthesis/meta-analysis (when possible): if effect sizes can be calculated for the included studies which measure similar outcomes then a quantitative assessment of these effect sizes should be carried out, including summary statistics of the mean effect, confidence in the mean, the range of effects and sources of heterogeneity in the effect. Please note, if there are a large number of confounding variables or outcome measures such that effect sizes which measure the same outcome cannot be calculated then a summary statistic should not be calculated.
- Evidence of effectiveness: a detailed evaluation of the information on the impact of the intervention that the papers give, what evidence of an effect is there and what is the strength of the evidence including the critical appraisal of the articles. In addition, there needs to be an unbiased assessment of what level of evidence the studies provide.
Speculation within the discussion section should be limited only to suggestions for further enquiry or analysis e.g. potential reasons for heterogeneity in outcome, including the possible effect modifiers and impact of variation in the study variables such as experimental design. A section on review limitations should normally be included, including limitations due to the search strategy and bias in articles found, as well as limitations due to underlying bias within studies found such as baseline bias and confounding variables. Gaps in the information provided by the studies should also be highlighted.
3. Submit and promote
After acceptance, we provide support so your article gains maximum impact in the scientific community and beyond.
Who decides whether my work will be accepted? - Peer-review policy
Spreading the word - Promoting your publication