Article Structure Systematic Review or Meta-Analysis

The digital edition of JAVMA is the journal of record. Accepted articles may be published in both the print and digital editions or the digital edition alone, as decided by the editorial staff.

Systematic Review or Meta-Analysis: Are a transparently reported synthesis of the scientific literature or data sources concerning a clinically important topic in veterinary medicine, focusing on the etiology, diagnosis, treatment, management, or control of a particular disease. Sufficient literature must exist to warrant such a synthesis. Articles conform with the minimum reporting requirements advocated in the PRISMA checklist.

Word count for main text: ≤ 5,000

  • Includes abstract and any acknowledgments
  • Excludes references

Tables and figures: ≤ 5 in total

Formatting (applies to main text, references, and figure legends)

  • 8.5 x 11-inch page size
  • Double spaced (tables are single spaced)
  • 12-point font
  • 1-inch (2.5-cm) margins
  • Left justification
  • Sequential line numbering

Manuscript text file (in order of inclusion; uploaded as a single document)

  • Title page—Includes the following:
    • Manuscript title—Includes the words systematic review, meta-analysis, or both.
    • First name, middle initial (if applicable), and last name of each author, along with each author’s professional degree and highest earned academic degree (eg, MS or PhD, MPVM) and, for authors who are diplomates of veterinary specialty organizations recognized by the AVMA’s American Board of Veterinary Specialties or similar specialty organizations recognized by other countries, diplomate status (eg, DACVS or DACVIM). List a bachelor’s or associate’s degree only if it is the author’s only degree. Do not list other specialty board designations, certifications, or honorary degrees.
    • List of professional affiliations of the authors at the time of the study.
    • Name of the corresponding author and their email address.
  • Structured abstract (≤ 250 words)—Includes the following subsections, as detailed in the PRISMA checklist for abstracts:
    • Background
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Clinical Relevance
  • Body of manuscript—Includes the following sections:
    • Background: Provides a rationale for the study and a clear statement of the objective(s) or question(s) the study was designed to address. Focuses on identifying the specific problem and knowledge gap the review is meant to address; often 2 or 3 paragraphs are sufficient.
    • Materials and Methods: Specifies the study inclusion and exclusion criteria, data sources, and search strategies. Provides details of the data selection, collection, appraisal, and synthesis process, as well as other elements suggested by PRISMA.
    • Results: Provides a critical, qualitative synthesis of the included literature, including any limitations or remaining unknowns.
    • Discussion: Clearly answers the study question(s). Focuses on the main findings of the study and their implications. Emphasizes how this knowledge should be clinically applied. Acknowledges the strengths and limitations of the study.
  • Acknowledgments: Identifies individuals who made important contributions to the paper but who do not meet the criteria for authorship. Ensure that individuals named in the acknowledgments have given their permission to be listed. Report any funding sources and conflicts of interest.
  • References: Are formatted using the current American Medical Association Manual of Style. Include pivotal papers on the subject. Uses primary references (eg, original studies) rather than secondary references (eg, textbooks and review articles). Please note that authors bear primary responsibility for the accuracy of all references.
  • Figure legends: Provides sufficient information to allow the figures to be understood without reference to the text. When abbreviations from the main text are used in figure legends, they should be redefined in the legends. When using abbreviations unique to the figures, each should be defined in the legend in alphabetical order (eg, ALP = Alkaline phosphatase. CK = Creatine kinase. TP = Total protein.).
  • Tables: Are limited to those that aid reader comprehension. Are created with the table tool in Microsoft Word, with a succinct heading provided for each column, and are included as part of the manuscript text file, not uploaded separately.

Figures (are limited to those that reduce or clarify the text; to be uploaded separately)

  • Are submitted as separate image files at a minimum resolution of 300 dots per inch at the size they will be printed in the journal (ie, usually the width of 1 printed column or 8 cm).
  • To ensure high-quality reproduction:
    • Use sufficiently large text and symbols to be legible when the figure is reduced for publication (ie, usually the width of 1 printed column or 8 cm). Text and symbols should be at least 1.5 mm tall when the figure is reduced to 8 cm in width.
    • Limit symbols in graphs to white and black circles, triangles, and squares.
    • Label graph axes in Helvetica or Arial font.
    • Place keys to data symbols in a small box inserted into the unused portion of graphs.
    • For figures that include multiple panels, label each panel with a capital letter in the same corner of each panel. If a figure contains 2 or more rows of panels, apply the letter labels sequentially from left to right in the first row, then from left to right in the second row, and so on.

Supplementary materials

  • Are used for additional materials that are not essential to the understanding of the article but provide an important expansion of the article contents. Such materials will not appear in the article but will be posted on the journal’s website. Publication of supplementary materials is at the discretion of the scientific editors.
  • Are prepared in compliance with the general guidelines for manuscript style.
  • Are subject to copyright.
  • Clarity and accuracy of content and consistency with the full article is the responsibility of the authors; supplementary materials will be posted as is, without copy editing.

Manuscript submission
Are submitted electronically at

When prompted during manuscript submission, supply keywords from the journal website that describe the topic of the manuscript to facilitate indexing and aid in the selection of reviewers.

Return to JAVMA instructions for authors