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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • Named authors’ consent to publication and meet the requirements of authorship as set out by the journal.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration.
  • Any conflict of interest (or competing interests) as indicated by the author(s).
  • A covering letter signed by ALL authors as a supplementary file.
  • Written confirmation of Research Ethics Committee approval must be submitted as a supplementary file.
  • Authors' details, including full names, current position, department and place of work, email addresses as well as ORCID as a supplementary file.
  • The text complies with the stylistic and bibliographic requirements as per the Authors' Guidelines:

    • A style template is available under the Author Guidelines. The manuscript is in Microsoft Word format. The text is 1,5-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font, and contains no unnecessary formatting.
    • Illustrations/figures are high resolution/quality (not compressed) and in an acceptable format (preferably TIFF or PNG) and submitted as supplementary files.
    • Tables must be submitted as supplementary files (not included in the manuscript).
  • Where possible, references are accompanied by a digital object identifier (DOI) and PubMed ID (PMID)/PubMed Central ID (PMCID)
  • An structured abstract or summary has been included where applicable.

Author Guidelines

Submitted manuscripts that are not in the correct format and without the required supporting documentation specified in these guidelines will be returned to the author(s) for correction, and will delay publication. A title page template is available here.


Named authors must consent to publication by signing a covering letter which should be submitted as a supplementary file. Authorship should be based on substantial contribution to:

(i) conception, design, analysis and interpretation of data;

(ii) drafting or critical revision for important intellectual content; and

(iii) approval of the version to be published. These conditions must all be met (uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals; refer to www.icmje.org); and

(iv) exact contribution of each author must be stated.


Authors must declare all sources of support for the research and any association with a product or subject that may constitute conflict of interest. 


The submitting author must provide written confirmation of Research Ethics Committee approval for all studies including case reports.


Authors are advised to involve medical statisticians at the protocol stage of their research project: to plan sample size, and the selection of appropriate statistical tests for analysis and presentation.    


Identifying information should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives informed written consent for publication. The patient should be shown the manuscript to be published. Refer to www.icmje.org

The rationale for analysis based on racio-ethnic-cultural categorisation should be indicated.


References to ethnic classification must indicate the rationale for this. 


Shorter items are more likely to be accepted for publication, owing to space constraints and reader preferences. 

Original articles

Original articles on research relevant to surgery should not exceed 3 000 words, references no more than 30, with up to 6 tables or figures. A structured abstract under the following headings: Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions is a requirement and should not exceed 250 words.

Scientific letters/short reports

Short reports should not exceed 1500 words with a maximum of 10 references.  Only one table or illustration is permissible. A structured abstract under the following headings, Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions, is a requirement and should not exceed 250 words.

Case reports

Case reports should not exceed 1500 words with no more than 10 references. Figures are limited to 2 figures and may include images or photographs. The case report should have three headings: Summary (not exceeding 100 words), Case report (with no introduction) and Discussion. Case reports will be published online only.  The summary and the URL will appear in the printed version.

 Video Case reports (SAJS-VIDEO)

Video Case Reports should not exceed 1500 words with 10 references and 6 figures. Heading should include Summary (not exceeding 100 words) and Case Description (with three subheadings: Introduction, Case Presentation and Discussion). The video file format must be only MP4 or MOV and should not exceed 300 MB and 8 minutes. Use the Video Case Report Template to format your submission, which can be found at Video Case reports will be published online only. The summary and the URL will appear in the printed version.


Opinions, etc. should be about 1000 words and are welcome, but unless invited, will be subjected to the SAJS peer review process. 

Review articles

Review articles relevant to surgery should not exceed 5 000 words, with a maximum of 50 references and no more than 6 tables or figures. A summary of 250 words or less is required.

Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be 400 words or less with only one image or table.


Obituaries should be 900 words or less and should be accompanied by a photograph.


Refer to articles in recent issues for the presentation of headings and subheadings. If in doubt, refer to 'uniform requirements' - www.icmje.org. Manuscripts must be provided in UK English

Qualification, affiliation and contact details

This information must be provided for ALL authors and must be submitted as a supplementary file. 


All abbreviations should be spelt out when first used and thereafter used consistently, e.g. 'intravenous (IV)' or 'Department of Health (DoH)'. 

Scientific measurements

Scientific measurements must be expressed in SI units except: blood pressure (mmHg) and haemoglobin (g/dl). Litres is denoted with a lowercase 'l' e.g. 'ml' for millilitres). Units should be preceded by a space (except for %), e.g. '40 kg' and '20 cm' but '50%'. Greater/smaller than signs (> and 40 years of age'. The same applies to ± and º, i.e. '35±6' and '19ºC'. 

Numbers should be written as grouped per thousand-units, i.e. 4 000, 22 160... 

Quotes should be placed in single quotation marks: i.e. The respondent stated: '...' Round brackets (parentheses) should be used, as opposed to square brackets, which are reserved for denoting concentrations or insertions in direct quotes. 

General formatting

The manuscript must be in Microsoft Word or RTF document format. Text must be 1,5-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font, and contain no unnecessary formatting (such as text in boxes, with the exception of Tables). The manuscript must be free of track changes. A style template is available here.


If tables or illustrations submitted have been published elsewhere, the author(s) should provide consent to republication obtained from the copyright holder. 

Tables may be embedded in the manuscript file and provided as 'supplementary files'. They must be numbered in Arabic numerals (1,2,3...) and referred to consecutively in the text (e.g. 'Table 1'). Tables should be constructed carefully and simply for intelligible data representation. Unnecessarily complicated tables are strongly discouraged. Tables must be cell-based (i.e. not constructed with text boxes or tabs), and accompanied by a concise title and column headings. Footnotes must be indicated with consecutive use of the following symbols: * † ‡ § ¶ || then ** †† ‡‡ etc. 

Figures must be numbered in Arabic numerals and referred to in the text e.g. '(Fig. 1)'. Figure legends: Fig. 1. 'Title...' All illustrations/figures/graphs must be of high resolution/quality: 300 dpi or more is preferable but images must not be resized to increase resolution. Unformatted and uncompressed images must be attached as 'supplementary files' upon submission (not embedded in the accompanying manuscript). TIFF and PNG formats are preferable; JPEG and PDF formats are accepted, but authors must be wary of image compression. Illustrations and graphs prepared in Microsoft Powerpoint or Excel must be accompanied by the original workbook. 


Authors must verify references from the original sources. Only complete, correctly formatted reference lists will be accepted. Reference lists may be generated with the use of reference manager software but the final document must be delinked from the reference database or otherwise generated manually. Citations should be inserted in the text as superscript numbers between square brackets, e.g. These regulations are endorsed by the World Health Organization,[2] and others.[3,4-6] All references should be listed at the end of the article in numerical order of appearance in the Vancouver style (not alphabetical order). Approved abbreviations of journal titles must be used; see the List of Journals in Index Medicus. Names and initials of all authors should be given; if there are more than six authors, the first three names should be given followed by et al. First and last page, volume and issue numbers should be given. Wherever possible, references must be accompanied by a digital object identifier (DOI) link and PubMed ID (PMID)/PubMed Central ID (PMCID). Authors are encouraged to use the DOI lookup service offered by CrossRef

Journal references: Price NC, Jacobs NN, Roberts DA, et al. Importance of asking about glaucoma. Stat Med 1998;289(1):350-355. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1000/hgjr.182] [PMID: 2764753] 

Book references: Jeffcoate N. Principles of Gynaecology. 4th ed. London: Butterworth, 1975:96-101. Chapter/section in a book: Weinstein L, Swartz MN. Pathogenic Properties of Invading Microorganisms. In: Sodeman WA jun, Sodeman WA, eds. Pathologic Physiology: Mechanisms of Disease. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1974:457-472. 

Internet references: World Health Organization. The World Health Report 2002 - Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2002. http://www.who.int/whr/2002 (accessed 16 January 2010). 

Other references (e.g. reports) should follow the same format: Author(s). Title. Publisher place: publisher name, year; pages. Cited manuscripts that have been accepted but not yet published can be included as references followed by '(in press)'. Unpublished observations and personal communications in the text must not appear in the reference list. The full name of the source person must be provided for personal communications e.g. '...(Prof. Michael Jones, personal communication)'. 


A covering letter to the editor is mandatory and must include statements that the manuscript has not been published previously and is not under review elsewhere. It should state details of any prior publication of the research in abstract form or in Congress proceedings. The letter must declare if any of the authors has a conflict of interest and that the requirements for submission, including ethics approval and patient permission for case reports have been fulfilled. All authors must sign the covering letter.


Manuscripts, after vetting by the editorial team, are assigned for peer-reviewed to 3 reviewers, conversant with the particular field of research. The reviewers and the authors are blinded to each others identity. The turn-around time for review and initial editorial decision notification aims to be within 6 weeks of submission.  


A PDF proof of an article may be sent to the corresponding author before publication to resolve remaining queries. At that stage, only typographical changes are permitted; the corresponding author is required, having conferred with his/her co-authors, to reply within 2 working days in order for the article to be published in the issue for which it has been scheduled. 


Please notify the Editorial Department of any contact detail changes, including email, to facilitate communication. 


There is no charge for the publication of manuscripts.


The South African Journal of Surgery (SAJS) reserves copyright of the material published. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial Works 4.0 South Africa License. Material submitted for publication in the SAJS is accepted provided it has not been published elsewhere. The SAJS does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors.

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