Before submission

Before proceeding to submission check that your manuscript includes the following:

Manuscript title
The manuscript title should include the research question and study design. The titles may be informative or indicative.

Structured abstract
A structured abstract (up to 300 words), including all the following where appropriate (please note that for RCTs there is a specific CONSORT extension for abstracts):
Objectives: Clear statement of main study aim and major hypothesis/research question.
Design: Study design (examples: prospective, randomized, blinded, case control).
Setting: Level of care e.g. primary, secondary; number of participating centers. No need to state the name of a specific center, but give geographical location if important.
Participants: Numbers entering and completing the study; sex and ethnic group if appropriate. Provide clear definitions of selection, entry and exclusion criteria.
Interventions: What was tested in the study, how, when and how long (this can be deleted if there were no interventions).
Primary and secondary outcome measures: What was planned to be measured (i.e. in the protocol) and what was finally measured (if different, explain why) – for quantitative studies only.
Results: Main results with appropriate presentation of major results and, where appropriate, the exact level of statistical significance. Whenever possible, state absolute rather than relative risks.
Conclusions: Primary conclusions and their implications, suggest areas for further research if appropriate. Do not go beyond the data in the article.
Trial registration information: Only for trials – registry and number (for clinical trials and, if available, for observational studies and systematic reviews).

Funding statement, preferably worded as follows. Either: ‘This work was supported by [name of funder] grant number [xxx]’ or ‘This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors’. You must ensure that the full, correct details of your funder(s) and any relevant grant numbers are included.
Competing interests statement. See ST-OPEN policy on competing interests.
Articles should list each author’s contribution individually at the end; this section may also include contributors who do not qualify as authors. Please visit the ICMJE website for more information on authorship.
Any checklist and flow diagram for the appropriate reporting statement, e.g. STROBE (see below).
Ethical approval: Any work with human subjects needs approval by institutional Ethics committee.
A statement on the patient consent: Any article that contains personal medical information about an identifiable living individual requires the patient’s explicit consent before we can publish it.
A data sharing statement: Include this statement if relevant, such as: “Technical appendix, statistical code, and dataset available from the Dryad repository, DOI: [include DOI for dataset here].
Authors are encouraged to submit figures and images in color – there are no color charges. We require that you upload your figures as separate files rather than embedding them in the manuscript.
Supplementary and raw data can be placed online alongside the article although we prefer raw data to be made publicly available and linked to in DABAR. We may request that you separate out some material into supplementary data files to make the main manuscript clearer for readers.

Subject categories
At upload you will be asked to choose one general subject area that applies to your article – it will be published under this banner on the main table of contents. You will also be asked to select further subject headings to be used for the ‘Browse by topic’ section, and specific keywords for help with identifying reviewers.

Author contacts
E-mail addresses and affiliations of all co-authors should be provided by the corresponding; they will be contacted to confirm their authorship on the submitted manuscript.

ST-OPEN request authors to submit a pre-submission enquiry about their manuscript to

ST-OPEN recommends ORCID iD for at least one author at the time of article submission; co-authors and reviewers are strongly encouraged to state their ORCID iD. The use and integration of ORCID iDs will be beneficial for the authors as well as for the research community.