Instructions for Authors

Updated January 23, 2024

After confirming that your manuscript is a good fit for the JSMCAH aims and scope, use the information below and the submission preparation checklist to ensure you have conformed to the requirements before beginning the submission process. The JSMCAH style guide provides a "cheat sheet" to ensure that your manuscript follows the most important aspects of the AMA Manual of Style. The Editorial Process and Editorial and Publishing Policies guides should also be reviewed before submission.

Table of contents

  1. General information
  2. Manuscript preparation
  3. Submission preparation

General information

Article types accepted by the journal

Article word limits are exclusive of the abstract, specific sections (acknowledgments, conflict of interest, etc), references, and tables. If you have an article type you believe may be of interest but is not listed here, email

Article type


Word limit*

Abstract structure and word limit

Figures and tables

Article Processing Charge (APC)

Original Research

Report the results of original research investigations


300 words, structured

Up to 6

Free through 2024

Short Reports

Brief reports of data from original research that may stimulate further research. Generally these either convey updated results from a previously published study or negative results.


200 words,


Up to 2

Free through 2024


Review articles identify, synthesize, and summarize the available evidence and information about a specific topic and may be either systematic or narrative. Please consult the Editor at before submitting a Review.


250 words, unstructured


Free through 2024

Case Reports or Case Series

Detailed reports of individual cases or groups of cases of relevance and interest to shelter or community veterinary medicine practitioners. These will only be considered if they offer unique information or insights.


125 words, unstructured

Up to 3

Free through 2024

Community Case Study

Similar to a case report, but covers an intervention at a shelter or community level.


200 words, unstructured

Up to 6

Free through 2024

Data paper (template coming soon, email with questions)

The primary purpose of a data paper is to describe data and the circumstances of their collection, rather than to report results and conclusions. Data papers facilitate the sharing of data in a standardized framework that provides value, impact, and recognition for authors.


125 words, unstructured

Up to 3

Free through 2024


Perspective, opinion, and commentary based in evidence that promotes constructive discussion, proposes new hypotheses, or encourages new ways of thinking.



As needed

Free through 2024

Special articles These may include consensus statements, decision-making guides, guidelines, statements from task forces, or recommendations. Please consult the Editor at before submitting. Note that these undergo editorial review rather than peer-review. Free through 2024

*Word limits may be extended when necessary; if you require more, please include a note in your cover letter to the editor with a brief justification.

Article processing charges

Article processing charges (APCs) are covered through 2024 through the generous support of ASV sponsors. However, if you withdraw your manuscript after it has been peer reviewed, copyedited and typeset (but not yet published) you will be charged USD $15/typeset page to cover the costs for the work of our editorial team, copyeditor and typesetter.

Reporting guidelines

We strongly encourage authors to refer to a reporting guidelines checklist appropriate for the research study design. These checklists can be a helpful guide for writing your manuscript and are referred to by our reviewers during the peer review process. During submission, you will have the option to upload a completed checklist which may expedite the review process.

Guides for common study designs include:

Additional reporting guidelines and extensions for specific study designs can be found via the EQUATOR network or National Institutes of Medicine Research Reporting Guidelines site.

Removal of identifying information

To support our double-blind peer review process, be sure to remove identifying information from all documents, both metadata and text. Substitute "masked for review" for identifying text (such as the institution granting institutional approval) during the review process. Learn how to remove identifying metadata from Microsoft Word.

Plagiarism Check

The Journal of Shelter Medicine and Community Animal Health uses Crossref Similarity Check (powered by iThenticate) to screen all submissions for plagiarism before publication. Authors can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission, although this is not free.

Manuscript Preparation

Manuscript file format

Files are accepted in Word format. We recommend editing in Google docs or SciFlow due to the ease of collaboration, integration with several common reference managers, and ease of formatting. Documents edited in SciFlow or Google docs can be downloaded as a Word document.

Organization and basic formatting of the manuscript

Manuscripts should have page numbers and line numbers. Please do not number headings. Use a maximum of three levels of headings made clear by orthographic indicators, i.e. capitals, italics, bold, etc. Click the type of article in the article type table for formatting details.

Preferred writing style

The default language style is American English, and the writing style American Medical Association (AMA). See the JSMCAH style guide for more information on style, including references. The manuscript does not need to be in the preferred writing style until the revision stage.

Specific manuscript sections

Author contributions

The JSMCAH requires authors to use the CRediT Contributor Roles Taxonomy to categorize author and non-author contributions. Author identity should be masked during the review process.


All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an acknowledgments section of the title page, i.e. not listed in the main manuscript. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, writing assistance, or a department chairperson who provided only general support. Financial and material support should also be acknowledged. We strongly encourage acknowledgment of people and organizations who generated data used in the manuscript, as without the hard work on the front lines, there would be nothing for authors to analyze and write about.

Conflict of interest and funding

Authors are responsible for disclosing financial support from the industry or other conflicts of interest that might bias study design, conduct, or the interpretation of results. All submitted manuscripts must include a 'Conflict of interests and funding' section listing all competing interests (financial and non-financial). If no competing interests exist, please state in this section, "The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest".

Author notes

The author notes section should be included when material contained in this manuscript has been covered in a public forum, such as a poster, abstract, preprint, or thesis.

Figures, Tables, and Supplementary material

To facilitate the review process, the submission should include all the tables, figures, captions and supplementary material at the end of the same document as the main text.


Tables should be editable.


Figures should use RGB color space and be accessible for those with visual disabilities. Considerations include: light sensitivity, contrast sensitivity and color perception. We recommend using high contrast, avoiding the use of red and green together and avoid using color as a sole means of communicating information (i.e. use pattern in addition to color). See W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) for further information regarding contrast standards as well as accessibility best practices. Helpful tools include a color blindness simulator and contrast checker.

Supplementary materials

Data that are not of primary importance to the manuscript, or which cannot be included in the article because they are too large or are not in the form of text can be uploaded as Supplementary Material during the submission process. This material, which can include large tables, data files, video, or audio, will be displayed along with the published article. Supplementary Materials are not typeset, so it is the authors' responsibility to ensure that all information is clearly presented in its final form. The Supplementary Material can be uploaded in any file format.

Submission preparation

In addition to your manuscript containing all information with the exception of a title page, you should have the following files and information readily available for the submission process. Please note that the submitting author will be the principal contact for editorial correspondence throughout the peer review and proofreading process, if applicable.

Required or recommended at initial submission


Title page

The title page (uploaded separately, see template) should show the manuscript title, names of all authors (but not their degrees) and the name of the institution or department where the work was done, as well as the name, postal address, telephone number and email address of the author to whom correspondence should be sent. Names of universities and other institutions, departments, laboratories, etc. should be given in English. If there is a strong reason to use the non-English name — for example, a funding agency or employer requires it — the editor should be informed. Omit acronyms in addresses. An e-mail address is included for the corresponding author only. The title of the manuscript should be informative and accurate and trigger the interest of the reader. In addition to the full title, a running title not exceeding 40 characters and spaces should be provided on the title page.

Reporting guideline checklist

Although not required, a completed reporting guideline checklist is likely to expedite the review process.


Cover letter

The cover letter to the editor, submitted via the "Cover Letter to the Editor" section of the submission application, should include the following:

  • The article type
  • Briefly, how the article is a good fit for the aims and scope of the journal 
  • Three suggested reviewers qualified to review the manuscript and without conflicts of interest, including their affiliation and email address
  • Optionally, any reviewers that you would prefer not to be solicited
  • Optionally, whether the submission is time-sensitive (and if so, on what timeline) or related to a publication requirement, such as for graduation from residency


Please be prepared to provide 5-10 keywords. Avoid using the same words as in the title. Medical keywords should be drawn from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), as appropriate. MeSH is a standardized set of medical keywords that makes it easier to find relevant articles. You can automatically identify MeSH keywords by pasting your abstract at MeSH on Demand. Note that you must enter the keywords one at a time followed by a return - they cannot be pasted in as a single row of text separated by commas.


All corresponding authors are required to submit their ORCiD ID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID). The ORCiD ID is a unique digital identifier, and registration is quick and free. You will have the opportunity to solicit ORCiDs from your co-authors during the submission process.

Files required after acceptance (revision stage)

Tables, figures, and supplementary material

Be sure that your main document file contains the tables, figures, and supplementary material at the end of the document for ease of review. These materials should also be uploaded separately, although this is not required until after the manuscript is accepted (revision stage).


Tables may be uploaded as Excel files. Google sheets is able to export spreadsheets in Excel format. Tables should be named by the order that they appear in the manuscript, i.e. Table 1.xlsx.  Table upload is not required on initial submission as long as the tables submitted in the main text are adequate for review.


Figures may be uploaded as an image file in the appropriate format and named according to their order in the manuscript, i.e. Figure 1.eps.  Image upload is not required in the initial submission as long as the images submitted in the main text are adequate for review.


300 dpi plain and unlabeled, 600 dpi labeled. Minimum width 3 inches. File type Tiff preferred.

Line art

Vector format such as EPS is preferred if the image does not include transparency. 600 dpi, minimum 5 inches, and the file type of Tiff preferred for line art with images.

Graphical Abstract

A graphical abstract is required after the manuscript is accepted.  Your acceptance email will contain a request for this document. This should be a Word document that includes an eye-catching graphic and 1-2 sentence(s) of text to summarize the key findings of the article.

The graphic should:

  • Be simple and informative
  • Convey the message of the article
  • Be original, unpublished artwork created by one of the authors or with necessary permissions for use
  • Not contain logos, trademarks or brand names

Learn more about graphical abstracts. Many freelance sites, such as Upwork or Fiverr, offer reasonably priced graphical abstract creation.  Several sites, such as Pictogrammers, the Noun Project, and BioRender, have helpful icons.  Note that no endorsement of these specific sites, nor endorsement by them of us, is implied.