Please view the Author Tutorial for guidance on how to submit on Editorial Manager. 

To submit a manuscript, please proceed to the SAMJ Editorial Manager website:

To access and submit an article already in production, please see the guidelines here.

Author Guidelines

Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the policies and processes below. If you still have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask our editorial staff (tel.: +27 (0)21 532 1281, email:

SAMJ policies

Manuscript preparation

From submission to acceptance



SAMJ Policies


Type of articles considered by the SAMJ

The SAMJ will no longer limit the articles accepted to those that have ‘general medical content’, but is intending to capture the spectrum of medical and health sciences, grouped by relevance to the country’s burdens of disease. This content will include research in the social sciences and economics that is relevant to the medical issues around our burden of disease. Please see ‘A new vision for the SAMJ – and a call for papers’ for a full discussion of the new directions for the SAMJ.

We accept the following types of articles:


 The following articles are by invitation only:

  • Guest editorial
  • Continuing Medical Education (CME)

*Contact for information on submitting ad hoc/commissioned supplements, including guidelines, conference/congress abstracts, Festschrifts, etc.

Article Processing Charges

All articles published in the South African Medical Journal are open access and freely available online upon publication. This is made possible by applying a business model to offset the costs of peer review management, copyediting, design and production, by charging an article-processing charge (APC) of R5 000 for each research article published. The charge applies only to Research articles submitted after 1 March 2017. The APC is standard and does not vary based on length, colour, figures, or other elements.

When submitting a Research article to the SAMJ, the submitting author must agree to pay the APC should the article be accepted for publication. The APC is payable when your manuscript is editorially accepted and before production commences for publication. The submitting author will be notified that payment is due and given details on the available methods of payment. Prompt payment is advised; the article will not enter into production until payment is received.
Queries can be directed to

Please refer to the section on ‘Sponsored Supplements’ regarding the publication of supplements, where a charge is applicable. Queries can be directed to or


Named authors must consent to publication. Authorship should be based on: (i) substantial contribution to conceptualisation, design, analysis and interpretation of data; (ii) drafting or critical revision of important scientific content; or (iii) approval of the version to be published. These conditions must all be met (uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals; refer to

If authors’ names are added or deleted after submission of an article, or the order of the names is changed, all authors must agree to this in writing.

Please note that co-authors will be requested to verify their contribution upon submission. Non-verification may lead to delays in the processing of submissions.

Conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest can derive from any kind of relationship or association that may influence authors’ or reviewers’ opinions about the subject matter of a paper. The existence of a conflict – whether actual, perceived or potential – does not preclude publication of an article. However, we aim to ensure that, in such cases, readers have all the information they need to enable them to make an informed assessment about a publication’s message and conclusions. We require that both authors and reviewers declare all sources of support for their research, any personal or financial relationships (including honoraria, speaking fees, gifts received, etc) with relevant individuals or organisations connected to the topic of the paper, and any association with a product or subject that may constitute a real, perceived or potential conflict of interest. If you are unsure whether a specific relationship constitutes a conflict, please contact the editorial team for advice. If a conflict remains undisclosed and is later brought to the attention of the editorial team, it will be considered a serious issue prompting an investigation with the possibility of retraction.

Research ethics committee approval

Authors must provide evidence of Research Ethics Committee approval of the research where relevant. Ensure the correct, full ethics committee name and reference number is included in the manuscript.

If the study was carried out using data from provincial healthcare facilities, or required active data collection through facility visits or staff interviews, approval should be sought from the relevant provincial authorities. For South African authors, please refer to the guidelines for submission to the National Health Research Database. Research involving human subjects must be conducted according to the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki. Please refer to the National Department of Health’s guideline on Ethics in Health research: principles, processes and structuresto ensure that the appropriate requirements for conducting research have been met, and that the HPCSA’s General Ethical Guidelines for Health Researchershave been adhered to.

Clinical trials

As per the recommendations published by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), clinical trial research is any research that assigns individuals to an intervention, with or without a concurrent comparison/control group to study the cause-and-effect relationship between the intervention and health outcomes. All clinical trials should be registered with the appropriate national clinical trial registry (or any international primary register, if relevant), and the trial registration number should be cited at the end of the abstract. All clinical trial reports must also contain a data sharing statement as per the recommendations of the ICMJE. Statements are to indicate:

  • whether individual deidentified participant data will be shared;
  • what data in particular will be shared; whether additional, related documents will be available;
  • when the data will become available and for how long; by what access criteria data will be shared.

Please see the ICJME announcement for further details and illustrative examples of data sharing statements: ICMJE Data Sharing Statements for Clinical Trials

Since 1st December 2005, all clinical trials conducted in South Africa have been required to be registered in the South African National Clinical Trials Register. The SAMJ therefore requires that clinical trials be registered in the relevant public trials registry at or before the time of first patient enrollment as a condition for publication. The trial registry name and registration number must be included in the manuscript.

Please refer to the general guidelines for all papers at the top of this article for additional requirements with respect to ethics approval, funding, author contributions, etc. The format of original research articles should be followed for reporting of clinical trial results.

Protection of rights to privacy


Information that would enable identification of individual patients 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) has given informed written consent for publication and distribution. We further recommend that the published article is disseminated not only to the involved researchers but also to the patients/participants from whom the data was drawn. Refer to Protection of Research Participants. The signed consent form should be submitted with the manuscript to enable verification by the editorial team.

Other individuals

Any individual who is identifiable in an image must provide written agreement that the image may be used in that context in the SAMJ.

Privacy statement

The SAMJ is committed to protecting the privacy of its website and submission system users. The names, personal particulars and email addresses entered in the website or submission system will not be made available to third parties without the user’s permission or due process. By registering to use the website or submission system, users consent to receive communication from the SAMJ or its publisher HMPG on matters relating to the journal or associated publications. Queries with regard to privacy may be directed to

Ethnic/race classification

Use of racial or ethnicity classifications in research is fraught with problems. If you choose to use a research design that involves classification of participants based on race or ethnicity, or discuss issues with reference to such classifications, please ensure that you include a detailed rationale for doing so, ensure that the categories you describe are carefully defined, and that socioeconomic, cultural and lifestyle variables that may underlie perceived racial disparities are appropriately controlled for. Please also clearly specify whether race or ethnicity is classified as reported by the patient (self-identifying) or as perceived by the investigators. Please note that is not appropriate to use self-reported or investigator-assigned racial or ethnic categories for genetic studies.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

SAMJ is an HPCSA-accredited service provider of CPD materials. Principal authors can earn up to 15 CPD continuing education units (CEUs) for publishing an article; co-authors are eligible to earn up to 5 CEUs; and reviewers of articles can earn 3 CEUs. Each month, SAMJ also publishes a CPD-accredited questionnaire relating to the academic content of the journal. Successful completion of the questionnaire with a pass rate of 70% will earn the reader 3 CEUs. Administration of our CPD programme is managed by Medical Practice Consulting. To complete questionnaires and obtain certificates, please visit MRP Consulting


Manuscript preparation


Preparing an article for anonymous review

To ensure a fair and unbiased review process, all submissions are to include an anonymised version of the manuscript. The exceptions to this are Correspondence, Book reviews and Obituary submissions.

Submitting a manuscript that needs additional blinding can slow down your review process, so please be sure to follow these simple guidelines as much as possible:

  • An anonymous version should not contain any author, affiliation or particular institutional details that will enable identification.
  • Please remove title page, acknowledgements, contact details, funding grants to a named person, and any running headers of author names.
  • Mask self-citations by referring to your own work in third person.

General article format/layout

Accepted manuscripts that are not in the correct format specified in these guidelines will be returned to the author(s) for correction, which will delay publication.


  • Manuscripts must be written in UK English.
  • The manuscript must be in Microsoft Word document format. Text must be single-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font, and contain no unnecessary formatting (such as text in boxes).
  • Please make your article concise, even if it is below the word limit.
  • Qualifications, full affiliation (department, school/faculty, institution, city, country) and contact details of ALL authors must be provided in the manuscript and in the online submission process.
  • Abbreviations should be spelt out when first used and thereafter used consistently, e.g. 'intravenous (IV)' or 'Department of Health (DoH)'.
  • Include sections on Acknowledgements, Conflict of Interest, Author Contributions and Funding sources. If none is applicable, please state ‘none’.
  • Scientific measurements must be expressed in SI units except: blood pressure (mmHg) and haemoglobin (g/dL).
  • Litres is denoted with an uppercase L e.g. 'mL' for millilitres).
  • Units should be preceded by a space (except for % and ºC), e.g. '40 kg' and '20 cm' but '50%' and '19ºC'.
  • Please be sure to insert proper symbols e.g. µ not u for micro, a not a for alpha, b not B for beta, etc.
  • 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.
  • If you wish material to be in a box, simply indicate this in the text. You may use the table format –this is the only exception. Please DO NOT use fill, format lines and so on.

SAMJ is a generalist medical journal, therefore for articles covering genetics, it is the responsibility of authors to apply the following:

-              Please ensure that all genes are in italics, and proteins/enzymes/hormones are not.

-              Ensure that all genes are presented in the correct case e.g. TP53 not Tp53.

**           NB: Copyeditors cannot be expected to pick up and correct errors wrt the above, although they will raise queries where concerned.

-              Define all genes, proteins and related shorthand terms at first mention, e.g. ‘188del11’ can be glossed as ‘an 11 bp deletion at nucleotide 188.’

-              Use the latest approved gene or protein symbol as appropriate:

  • Human Gene Mapping Workshop (HGMW): genetic notations and symbols
  • HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee: approved gene symbols and nomenclature
  • OMIM: Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (MIM) nomenclature and instructions
  • Bennet et al. Standardized human pedigree nomenclature: Update and assessment of the recommendations of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. J Genet Counsel 2008;17:424-433: standard human pedigree nomenclature.

Preparation notes by article type


Guideline word limit: 4 000 words

Research articles describe the background, methods, results and conclusions of an original research study. The article should contain the following sections: introduction, methods, results, discussion and conclusion, and should include a structured abstract (see below). The introduction should be concise – no more than three paragraphs – on the background to the research question, and must include references to other relevant published studies that clearly lay out the rationale for conducting the study. Some common reasons for conducting a study are: to fill a gap in the literature, a logical extension of previous work, or to answer an important clinical question. If other papers related to the same study have been published previously, please make sure to refer to them specifically. Describe the study methods in as much detail as possible so that others would be able to replicate the study should they need to. Results should describe the study sample as well as the findings from the study itself, but all interpretation of findings must be kept in the discussion section, which should consider primary outcomes first before any secondary or tertiary findings or post-hoc analyses. The conclusion should briefly summarise the main message of the paper and provide recommendations for further study.

Select figures and tables for your paper carefully and sparingly. Use only those figures that provided added value to the paper, over and above what is written in the text.

Do not replicate data in tables and in text.

Structured abstract

  • This should be 250-400 words, with the following recommended headings:
    • Background: why the study is being done and how it relates to other published work.
    • Objectives: what the study intends to find out
    • Methods: must include study design, number of participants, description of the intervention, primary and secondary outcomes, any specific analyses that were done on the data.
    • Results: first sentence must be brief population and sample description; outline the results according to the methods described. Primary outcomes must be described first, even if they are not the most significant findings of the study.
    • Conclusion: must be supported by the data, include recommendations for further study/actions.
    • Please ensure that the structured abstract is complete, accurate and clear and has been approved by all authors.
    • Do not include any references in the abstracts.

Here is an example of a good abstract.

Main article

All articles are to include the following main sections: Introduction/Background, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions.

The following are additional heading or section options that may appear within these:

  • Objectives (within Introduction/Background): a clear statement of the main aim of the study and the major hypothesis tested or research question posed
  • Design (within Methods): including factors such as prospective, randomisation, blinding, placebo control, case control, crossover, criterion standards for diagnostic tests, etc.
  • Setting (within Methods): level of care, e.g. primary, secondary, number of participating centres.
  • Participants (instead of patients or subjects; within Methods): numbers entering and completing the study, sex, age and any other biological, behavioural, social or cultural factors (e.g. smoking status, socioeconomic group, educational attainment, co-existing disease indicators, etc)that may have an impact on the study results. Clearly define how participants were enrolled, and describe selection and exclusion criteria.
  • Interventions (within Methods): what, how, when and for how long. Typically for randomised controlled trials, crossover trials, and before and after studies.
  • Main outcome measures (within Methods): those as planned in the protocol, and those ultimately measured. Explain differences, if any.


  • Start with description of the population and sample. Include key characteristics of comparison groups.
  • Main results with (for quantitative studies) 95% confidence intervals and, where appropriate, the exact level of statistical significance and the number need to treat/harm. Whenever possible, state absolute rather than relative risks.
  • Do not replicate data in tables and in text.
  • If presenting mean and standard deviations, specify this clearly. Our house style is to present this as follows:
  • E.g.: The mean (SD) birth weight was 2 500 (1 210) g. Do not use the ± symbol for mean (SD).
  • Leave interpretation to the Discussion section. The Results section should just report the findings as per the Methods section.


Please ensure that the discussion is concise and follows this overall structure – sub-headings are not needed:

  • Statement of principal findings
  • Strengths and weaknesses of the study
  • Contribution to the body of knowledge
  • Strengths and weaknesses in relation to other studies
  • The meaning of the study – e.g. what this study means to clinicians and policymakers
  • Unanswered questions and recommendations for future research


This may be the only section readers look at, therefore write it carefully. Include primary conclusions and their implications, suggesting areas for further research if appropriate. Do not go beyond the data in the article.


Guideline word limit: 1 000 words

These opinion or comment articles are usually commissioned but we are happy to consider and peer review unsolicited editorials. Editorials should be accessible and interesting to readers without specialist knowledge of the subject under discussion and should have an element of topicality (why is a comment on this issue relevant now?) There should be a clear message to the piece, supported by evidence.

Please make clear the type of evidence that supports each key statement, e.g.:

  • expert opinion
  • personal clinical experience
  • observational studies
  • trials
  • systematic reviews.


CME is intended to provide readers with practical, up-to-date information on medical and related matters. It is aimed at those who are not specialists in the field.

From January 2016, all CME articles will be printed in full in the SAMJ. Please try to adhere strictly to the guidelines on word count as we have a page limit for the print issue of the SAMJ. We reserve the right to place some tables and reference lists online if this is necessary for space.

In practice, this means that each CME topic usually covers two issues of the print issue of the SAMJ.

The guest editor, in consultation with the editor, is responsible for convening a team of authors, deciding on the subjects to be covered and for reviewing the manuscripts submitted. The suggestion is for 4 - 5 articles, although there is some room for flexibility contingent on discussions with the editor.

For queries about these guidelines please feel free to contact the CME editor, Dr Bridget Farham, by email ( or telephone (+27 (0)21 789 2331).

Review process

The guest editor reviews the articles and returns them to the CME editor for review and final approval.

Guest editorials

Guideline word limit: 1 000 words

  • Include the guest editor’s personal details (qualifications, positions, affiliation, e-mail address, and a short personal profile (50words)).
  • If possible, include a photograph of the author(s) at high enough resolution for print. It is preferable to provide two guest editorials, one for each issue, so that the content of the articles in each issue is covered.


Guideline word limit: 2 000 - 3 000 words

  • Each article requires an abstract of ±200 words.
  • The editor reserves the right to shorten articles but will send a substantially shortened article back for author approval. 

Personal details

Please supply: Your qualifications, position and affiliations and MP number (used for CPD points); Address, telephone number and fax number, and your e-mail address; and a short personal profile (50words)and a few words about your current fields of interest.

In Practice

Guideline word limit: 2 000 - 3 000words

This section includes articles that would previously have been accepted into the Forum section, and case reports.

In practice articles are those that draw attention to specific issues of clinical, economic or political interest regarding medicine and healthcare in southern Africa. They are assigned to a topic:

  • Case report
  • Clinical practice
  • Clinical alert
  • Issues in medicine
  • Issues in public health
  • Healthcare delivery
  • Consensus/Position statement
  • Medicine and the environment
  • Medicine and the law
  • Cochrane corner

An In Practice article should follow the following format – sub-headings are not necessary, but may be used for clarity:

  • Author affiliations and qualifications: to be the same as for Research. Provide all authors’ names and initials, qualifications and full affiliations, and corresponding author.
  • Short abstract: does not need to be structured, but should capture the essential features of the article
  • Introduction: the reason for the article and the issue being addressed
  • Recent research, discussion, local policy around the issue – include your own research where appropriate
  • All statements should be referenced and, if opinion only, this should be stated
  • Discussion: how this article adds to the discussion around a particular topic
  • If a clinical practice or policy point is at issue, this needs to be emphasised, using a box with highlights if appropriate.

Essentially In practice is an opportunity for a more discursive approach to topics of clinical, economic or political importance in southern African health systems. It is not an opportunity to put forward unsubstantiated opinions!

Case reports

The SAMJ has recently started to accept case reports. The cases must come from Africa, preferably southern Africa unless the condition is common to all African countries, and must be either a completely new description of a clinical condition or result (use Google!) or a case that highlights important practice or management issues.

Please use the following format for case reports:

  • Title of case: do not include the words ‘a case report’ in the title
  • Summary/abstract:  up to 150 words summarising the case presentation and outcome
  • Background: why is this case important and why did you write it up?
  • Case presentation: presenting features, medical, social, family history as appropriate
  • Case management: should be according to best practice, and if not, please explain why
  • Investigations, if relevant: save space by simply saying ‘normal’ if, for example, renal function was completely normal, rather than listing normal results, highlight the abnormal – or indeed the normal if this is clinically significant
  • Differential diagnosis, if relevant
  • Treatment, if relevant
  • Outcome and follow-up
  • Discussion – a VERY BRIEF review of similar published cases
  • Teaching points: 3 - 5 bullet points
  • References: as per the SAMJ house style
  • Tables and figures: keep to a minimum. Use clinical images where relevant – we need hi-res versions for print, and identifiable persons must have a consent form
  • Patient consent: please include a statement about patient consent to a written case report. This should be uploaded as a supplementary file.

Clinical trials

Guideline word limit: 4000 words

As per the recommendations published by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), clinical trial research is any research that assigns individuals to an intervention, with or without a concurrent comparison/control group to study the cause-and-effect relationship between the intervention and health outcomes. All clinical trials should be registered with the appropriate national clinical trial registry (or any international primary register, if relevant), and the trial registration number should be cited at the end of the abstract. Since 1st December 2005, all clinical trials conducted in South Africa have been required to be registered in the South African National Clinical Trials Register. The SAMJ therefore requires that clinical trials be registered in the relevant public trials registry at or before the time of first patient enrollment as a condition for publication. The trial registry name and registration number must be included in the manuscript.

Please refer to the general guidelines for all papers at the top of this article for additional requirements with respect to ethics approval, funding, author contributions, etc. The format of original research articles should be followed for reporting of clinical trial results.

Review articles

Guideline word limit: 4 000 words

These are welcome, but should be either commissioned or discussed with the Editor before submission. A review article should provide a clear, up-to-date account of the topic and be aimed at non-specialist hospital doctors and general practitioners. 

Please ensure that your article includes:

  • Abstract: unstructured, of about 100-150 words, explaining the review and why it is important
  • Methods: Outline the sources and selection methods, including search strategy and keywords used for identifying references from online bibliographic databases. Discuss the quality of evidence.
  • When writing: clarify the evidence you used for key statements and the strength of the evidence. Do not present statements or opinions without such evidence, or if you have to, say that there is little or no evidence and that this is opinion. Avoid specialist jargon and abbreviations, and provide advice specific to southern Africa.
  • Personal details: Please supply your qualifications, position and affiliations and MP number (used for CPD points); address, telephone number and fax number, and your e-mail address; and a short personal profile (50 words) and a few words about your current fields of interest.

Correspondence (Letters to the Editor)

Guideline word limit: 500 words

Letters to the editor should relate either to a paper or article published by the SAMJ or to a topical issue of particular relevance to the journal’s readership

  • May include only one illustration or table
  • Must include a correspondence address.

Book reviews

Guideline word limit: 400 words

Should be about 400 words and must be accompanied by the publication details of the book. Provide a hi-res image of the cover if possible (with permission from the copyright holder).


Guideline word limit: 400 words

Should be offered within the first year of the practitioner’s death, and may be accompanied by a photograph.


Guidelines should always be discussed with the Editor prior to submission.

Because of the intensive review process required to ensure Guidelines are independent, evidence-based and free from commercial bias, they are usually published as a supplement to the SAMJ, the costs of which must be covered by sponsorship, advertising or payment by the guideline authors/association. We will provide a quote based on the expected length of the guideline and whether it is to appear online only, or in print, which must be accepted by the body putting the guidelines together before submitting the work to the SAMJ.

The Editor reserves the right to determine the scheduling of supplements. Understandably, a delay in publication must be anticipated dependent upon editorial workflow.

All guidelines should include a clear, transparent statement about all sources of funding and an explicit, clear statement of conflicts of interest of any of the participants in the guidelines about industry funding for lectures, research, conference participation etc.

All guidelines should be structured according to Agree II.

Please access this website before putting the guidelines together, download the Agree 11 instrument and use this to put the guidelines together.

All submitted guidelines will be sent to the local Agree II appraisal committee for review and must be endorsed by an appropriate body prior to consideration and all conflicts of interest expressed.

A structured abstract not exceeding 400 words (recommended sub-headings: Background, Recommendations, Conclusion) is required. Sections and sub-sections must be numbered consecutively (e.g. 1. Introduction; 1.1 Definitions; 2.etc.) and summarised in a Table of Contents.


  • If illustrations submitted have been published elsewhere, the author(s) should provide consent to republication obtained from the copyright holder.
  • Figures must be numbered in Arabic numerals and referred to in the text e.g. '(Fig. 1)'.
  • Each figure must have a caption/legend: Fig. 1. Description (any abbreviations in full).
  • All images must be of high enough resolution/quality for print.
  • All illustrations (graphs, diagrams, charts, etc.) must be in PDF or jpeg form.
  • Ensure all graph axes are labelled appropriately, with a heading/description and units (as necessary) indicated. Do not include decimal places if not necessary e.g. 0; 1.0; 2.0; 3.0; 4.0 etc.
  • Scans/photos showing a specific feature e.g. Intermediate magnification micrograph of a low malignant potential (LMP) mucinous ovarian tumour. (H&E stain). –include an arrow to show the tumour.
  • Each image must be attached individually as a 'supplementary file' upon submission (not solely embedded in the accompanying manuscript) and named Fig. 1, Fig. 2, etc.


  • Tables should be constructed carefully and simply for intelligible data representation. Unnecessarily complicated tables are strongly discouraged.
  • Embed/include each table in the manuscript Word file - do not provide separately as supplementary files.
  • Number each table in Arabic numerals (Table 1, Table 2, etc.) and refer to consecutively in the text.
  • Tables must be cell-based (i.e. not constructed with text boxes or tabs) and editable.
  • Ensure each table has a concise title and column headings, and include units where necessary.
  • Footnotes must be indicated with consecutive use of the following symbols: * † ‡ § ¶ || then ** †† ‡‡ etc.

Do not: Use [Enter] within a row to make ‘new rows’, rather each row of data must have its own proper row.

Do not: use separate columns for and %. Combine into one column, n (%).

Do not:have overlapping categories. Ratheruse <> symbols or numbers that don’t overlap.


NB: Only complete, correctly formatted reference lists in Vancouver style will be accepted. Reference lists must be generated manually and not with the use of reference manager software. Endnotes must not be used.

  • Authors must verify references from original sources.
  • 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.
  • Volume and issue numbers should be given.
  • First and last page, in full, should be given e.g.: 1215-1217 not 1215-17.
  • Wherever possible, references must be accompanied by a digital object identifier (DOI) link). Authors are encouraged to use the DOI lookup service offered by CrossRef:
    • On the Crossref homepage, paste the article title into the ‘Metadata search’ box.
    • Look for the correct, matching article in the list of results.
    • Click Actions > Cite
    • Alongside 'url =' copy the URL between { }.
    • Provide as follows, e.g.:

Some examples:

  • Journal references: Price NC, Jacobs NN, Roberts DA, et al. Importance of asking about glaucoma. Stat Med 1998;289(1):350-355. DOI:10.1000/hgjr.182
  • 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, 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: WHO, 2002. (accessed 16 January 2010).
  • Legal references
  • Government Gazettes:

National Department of Health, South Africa. National Policy for Health Act, 1990 (Act No. 116 of 1990). Free primary health care services. Government Gazette No. 17507:1514. 1996.

In this example, 17507 is the Gazette Number. This is followed by :1514 - this is the notice number in this Gazette.

  • Provincial Gazettes:

Gauteng Province, South Africa; Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs. Publication of the Gauteng health care waste management draft regulations. Gauteng Provincial Gazette No. 373:3003, 2003.

  • Acts:

South Africa. National Health Act No. 61 of 2003.

  • Regulations to an Act:

South Africa. National Health Act of 2003. Regulations: Rendering of clinical forensic medicine services. Government Gazette No. 35099, 2012. (Published under Government Notice R176).

  • Bills:

South Africa. Traditional Health Practitioners Bill, No. B66B-2003, 2006.

  • Green/white papers:

South Africa. Department of Health Green Paper: National Health Insurance in South Africa. 2011.

  • Case law:

Rex v Jopp and Another 1949 (4) SA 11 (N)

Rex v Jopp and Another:  Name of the parties concerned

1949: Date of decision (or when the case was heard)

(4): Volume number

SA: SA Law Reports

11: Page or section number

(N): In this case Natal - where the case was heard. Similarly, (C) woud indicate Cape, (G) Gauteng, and so on.

NOTE: no . after the v

  • 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)'.


From submission to acceptance


Submission and peer-review

To submit an article:

  • Please ensure that you have prepared your manuscript in line with the SAMJ requirements.
  • All submissions should be submitted via Editorial Manager
  • The following are required for your submission to be complete:
    • Anonymous manuscript (unless otherwise stated)
    • Author Agreement form [forthcoming]
    • Manuscript
    • Any supplementary files: figures, datasets, patient consent form, permissions for published images, etc.
    • Once the submission has been successfully processed on Editorial Manager, it will undergo a technical check by the Editorial Office before it will be assigned to an editor who will handle the review process. If the author guidelines have not been appropriately followed, the manuscript may be sent back to the author for correcting. 

Production process

The following process should usually take between 4 - 6 weeks:

  1. An accepted manuscript is passed to a Managing Editor to assign to a copyeditor (CE).
  2. The CE copyedits in Word, working on house style, format, spelling/grammar/punctuation, sense and consistency, and preparation for typesetting.
  3. If the CE has an author queries, he/she will contact the corresponding author and send them the copyedited Word doc, asking them to solve the queries by means of track changes or comment boxes.
  4. The authors are typically asked to respond within 1-3 days. Any comments/changes must be clearly indicated e.g. by means of track changes. Do not work in the original manuscript - work in the copyedited file sent to you and make your changes clear.
  5. The CE will finalise the article and then it will be typeset.
  6. Once typeset, the CE will send a PDF of the file to the authors to complete their final check, while simultaneously sending to the 2nd-eye proofreader.
  7. The authors are typically asked to complete their final check and sign-off within 1-2 days. No major additional changes can be accommodated at this point.
  8. The CE implements the authors’ and proofreader’s mark-ups, finalises the file, and prepares it for the upcoming issue.

Changing contact details or authorship

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




Online v. print

The SAMJ is an online journal. The online version of the journal is the one that has the widest circulation, is indexed by bibliographic databases including PubMed and SciELO, and is accessible in academic libraries. A printed edition , containing material selected by the Editor is also published each month and distributed to the membership of the South African Medical Association.


  • The full text of all accepted articles is published in full online, open access, within 4 - 6 weeks of acceptance.
  • Citation information of each article is based on its online publication.
  • You may want to make use of the advantages of online publication e.g. specify web links to other sources, images, data or even a short video.


  • Not all articles will be selected for print.
  • An article may be selected for print in a different month from that in which it was published online.
  • Research articles will appear in abstract form only, if selected for a print edition.

Errata and retractions


Should you become aware of an error or inaccuracy in yours or someone else’s contribution after it has been published, please inform us as soon as possible via an email to,including the following details:

  • Journal, volume and issue in which published
  • Article title and authors
  • Description of error and details of where it appears in the published article
  • Full detail of proposed correction and rationale

We will investigate the issue and provide feedback. If appropriate, we will correct the web version immediately, and will publish anerratum  in the next issue. The correction will be indexed, as PubMed has a function for linking errata back to the original article. All investigations will be conducted in accordance with guidelines provided by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).


Retraction of an article is the prerogative of either the original authors or the editorial team of HMPG. Should you wish to withdraw your article before publication, we need a signed statement from all the authors.

Should you wish to retract your published article, all authors have to agree in writing before publication of the retraction.

Send an email to, including the following details:

  • Journal, volume and issue to which article was submitted/in which article was published
  • Article title and authors
  • Description of reason for withdrawal/retraction.

We will make a decision on a case-by-case basis upon review by the editorial committee in line with international best practices. Comprehensive feedback will be communicated with the authors with regard to the process. In case where there is any suspected fraud or professional misconduct, we will follow due process as recommended by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), and in liaison with any relevant institutions.

When a retraction is published, it will be linked to the original article.


The SAMJ has an impact factor of 1.712.

Published articles are covered by the following major indexing services. As such articles published in the SAMJ are immediately available to all users of these databases, guaranteed a global and African audience:

  • Index Medicus (Medline/PubMed)

  • ExcerptaMedica (EMBASE)
  • Biological Abstracts (BIOSIS)
  • Science Citation Index (SciSearch)
  • Current Contents/Clinical Medicine
  • Scopus
  • AIM
  • AJOL
  • Crossref
  • Sabinet
  • Scielo.

Sponsored supplements

Contact for information on submitting ad hoc/commissioned supplements, including guidelines, conference/congress abstracts, Festschrifts, etc.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2078-5135
print ISSN: 0256-9574