Systematic reviews are reviews of the literature with a focus on the effectiveness of technologies and policies that aim to prevent specific forms of crime and disorder. Contributions should be fewer than 8,000 words, not including references, endnotes, figures or tables.
Key aims of review articles are to provide systematic and substantial coverage of mature subjects, evaluations of progress in specified areas, and/or critical assessments of emerging technologies.
Preparing your manuscript
The title page should:
- present a title that includes, if appropriate, the study design
- list the full names, institutional addresses and email addresses for all authors
- if a collaboration group should be listed as an author, please list the Group name as an author. If you would like the names of the individual members of the Group to be searchable through their individual PubMed records, please include this information in the “Acknowledgements” section in accordance with the instructions below
- indicate the corresponding author
The abstract of the manuscript should not exceed 350 words and must be structured into separate sections:
- Background: the context and purpose of the review, including the review question.
- Methods: how the review was performed, including data sources, study eligibility criteria, participants and interventions; study appraisal and statistical tests used.
- Results: the main findings, including results of search and assessment of evidence base.
- Conclusions: brief summary and potential implications for policy/management and research.
- Registration: authors are asked to provide registration information about the systematic review, including a registration number, if available.
- Trial registration: if your systematic review reports the results of a controlled health care intervention, please list your trial registry, along with the unique identifying number (e.g. Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN73824458). Please note that there should be no space between the letters and numbers of your trial registration number. See our editorial policies for more information on trial registration.
Three to ten keywords representing the main content of the article.
This section should be written in a way that is accessible to researchers without specialist knowledge in that area and must clearly explain why a systematic review on this topic was needed and what it aimed to contribute to the field. The section should end with the main question(s) of the review and a brief statement of what is being reported with reference to participants, interventions, outcomes and study design (PICO).
You may also wish to use this section to mention discussions that have been organized with stakeholders and the role of stakeholders in the formulation of the question should be described and explained.
This should include a clear description of all stages of the review process and the design of the review, the setting, the type of participants or materials involved, and the type of analysis, including:
- Searches: search terms and languages, comprehensiveness and effectiveness of the search, search strings and/or combinations of searches, databases, searches for grey literature i.e. contacts, searches on internet, use of specific search terms or strings, filtering or limitations and literature provided directly by stakeholders. Tables and lists of bibliographies, search terms and databases or other information can be provided as additional files.
- Study inclusion and exclusion criteria: provide explanation about the rationale followed to include/exclude articles, including specific study characteristics (PICO, length of follow-up, etc), specific report characteristics (year of publication, language, etc) and study selection procedures (screening).
- Potential effect modifiers and reasons for heterogeneity: potential effect modifiers and reasons for heterogeneity should be discussed here and should be identified by discussions with stakeholders and experts as early as possible.
- Study quality assessment: how you are planning to or have assessed the study quality. Describe the methods used for assessing risk of bias of individual studies, including specification of whether this was done at the study or outcome level, and how this information was used in any data synthesis. Discussions with experts and stakeholders at early stages should help identify the methodological standards for the topic of interest.
- Data extraction strategy: what sort of data do you expect to find or have finally extracted and how you computed effect sizes and their variability.
- Data synthesis and presentation: report the qualitative and quantitative methods you used to synthesize and present the data, as well as elements you anticipate or have identified such as effect modifiers, type of methodologies and their current appraisal, biases etc. Describe any additional analyses (sensitivity, sub-group analysis, meta-analysis) done and indicate which were pre-specified.
For an example of how a search strategy should be presented, see the Cochrane Reviewer's Handbook.
If existing, make reference to an accessible review protocol. Authors are additionally asked to provide registration information about the systematic review, including a registration number, if available.
Results and discussion
The results and discussion should be presented separately. The results and discussion sections may also be broken into subsections with short, informative headings. Results of each stage of the review should be clearly reported, including:
- Review statistics: i.e. the number of articles found in the search and included at each inclusion/exclusion level, along with any relevant information on the distribution of the studies found (e.g. geographical location and source of study). A flow diagram (conforming to relevant reporting guidelines e.g. PRISMA) reporting the inclusion/exclusion process should be presented.
- Study quality assessment: a summary of what the different studies found, the confidence in the results of the different studies, what biases were present in each of the studies, and quality of the different studies needs to be included.
- Quantitative synthesis/Meta-analysis (when possible): if effect sizes can be calculated for the included studies which measure similar outcomes then a quantitative assessment of these effect sizes should be carried out, including summary statistics of the mean effect, confidence in the mean, the range of effects and sources of heterogeneity in the effect. Please note, if there are a large number of confounding variables or outcome measures such that effect sizes which measure the same outcome cannot be calculated then a summary statistic should not be calculated.
- Evidence of effectiveness: a detailed evaluation of the information on the impact of the intervention that the papers give, what evidence of an effect is there and what is the strength of the evidence including the critical appraisal of the articles. In addition, there needs to be an unbiased assessment of what level of evidence the studies provide.
Speculation within the discussion section should be limited only to suggestions for further enquiry or analysis e.g. potential reasons for heterogeneity in outcome, including the possible effect modifiers and impact of variation in the study variables such as experimental design. A section on review limitations should normally be included, including limitations due to the search strategy and bias in articles found, as well as limitations due to underlying bias within studies found such as baseline bias and confounding variables. Gaps in the information provided by the studies should also be highlighted.
This should state clearly the main conclusions of the article and give a clear explanation of the implication for policy/management summarizing the state of the evidence base and the extent to which this informs decision making in relation to the review question and any measure of uncertainty surrounding the outcome. In addition, it should also provide a clear explanation on the implication for research summarizing the shortcomings of the current evidence base in terms of knowledge gaps and the need for primary research.
List of abbreviations
If abbreviations are used in the text they should be defined in the text at first use, and a list of abbreviations should be provided.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
Manuscripts reporting studies involving human participants, human data or human tissue must:
- include a statement on ethics approval and consent (even where the need for approval was waived)
- include the name of the ethics committee that approved the study and the committee’s reference number if appropriate
Studies involving animals must include a statement on ethics approval.
See our editorial policies for more information.
If your manuscript does not report on or involve the use of any animal or human data or tissue, this section is not applicable to your submission. Please state “Not applicable” in this section.
Consent for publication
If your manuscript contains any individual person’s data in any form, consent to publish must be obtained from that person, or in the case of children, their parent or legal guardian. All presentations of case reports must have consent to publish.
If your manuscript does not contain any individual persons data, please state “Not applicable” in this section.
Availability of data and materials
For all journals, SpringerOpen strongly encourages all datasets on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely to be either deposited in publicly available repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main paper or additional supporting files, in machine-readable format (such as spreadsheets rather than PDFs) whenever possible. Please see the list of recommended repositories in our editorial policies.
For some journals, deposition of the data on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely is an absolute requirement. Please check the Criteria section for this article type (located at the top of this page) for journal specific policies.
For all journals, authors must include an “Availability of data and materials” section in their article detailing where the data supporting their findings can be found. If you do not wish to share your data, please state that data will not be shared, and state the reason.
For instructions on how to cite your data and format this section see preparation/style and formatting.
All financial and non-financial competing interests must be declared in this section. See our editorial policies for a full explanation of competing interests. If you are unsure whether you or any of your co-authors have a competing interest please contact the editorial office.
All sources of funding for the research reported should be declared. The role of the funding body in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript should be declared.
The individual contributions of authors to the manuscript should be specified in this section.
Please acknowledge anyone who contributed towards the article who does not meet the criteria for authorship including anyone who provided professional writing services or materials.
Authors should obtain permission to acknowledge from all those mentioned in the Acknowledgements section.
See our editorial policies for a full explanation of acknowledgements and authorship criteria.
Group authorship: if you would like the names of the individual members of a collaboration Group to be searchable through their individual PubMed records, please ensure that the title of the collaboration Group is included on the title page and in the submission system and also include collaborating author names as the last paragraph of the “Acknowledgements” section. Please add authors in the format First Name, Middle initial(s) (optional), Last Name. You can add institution or country information for each author if you wish, but this should be consistent across all authors.
Please note that individual names may not be present in the PubMed record at the time a published article is initially included in PubMed as it takes PubMed additional time to code this information.
You may choose to use this section to include any relevant information about the author(s) that may aid the reader's interpretation of the article, and understand the standpoint of the author(s). This may include details about the authors' qualifications, current positions they hold at institutions or societies, or any other relevant background information. Please refer to authors using their initials. Note this section should not be used to describe any competing interests.
Endnotes should be designated within the text using a superscript lowercase letter and all notes (along with their corresponding letter) should be included in the Endnotes section. Please format this section in a paragraph rather than a list.
How to format your references
Examples of the American Psychological Association (APA) reference style are shown below. For further guidance, see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and the respective web site of the Association (http://www.apastyle.org/).Please ensure that the reference style is followed precisely; if the references are not in the correct style, they may need to be retyped and carefully proofread.
Web links and URLs: All web links and URLs, including links to the authors' own websites, should be given a reference number and included in the reference list rather than within the text of the manuscript. They should be provided in full, including both the title of the site and the URL, as well as the date the site was accessed, in the following format: The Mouse Tumor Biology Database. http://tumor.informatics.jax.org/mtbwi/index.do. Accessed 20 May 2013. If an author or group of authors can clearly be associated with a web link, such as for weblogs, then they should be included in the reference.
Authors may wish to make use of reference management software to ensure that reference lists are correctly formatted. An example of such software is Papers, which is part of Springer Science+Business Media.
Example reference style:
Article within a journal
Harris, M., Karper, E., Stacks, G., Hoffman, D., DeNiro, & R., Cruz, P. (2001). Writing labs and the Hollywood connection. Journal of Film Writing, 44(3), 213-245.
Article by DOI (with page numbers)
Slifka, M.K., & Whitton, J.L. (2000). Clinical implications of dysregulated cytokine production. Journal of Molecular Medicine, 78, 74-80 (2000). doi:10.1007/s001090000086.
Article by DOI (before issue publication and without page numbers)
Kreger, M., Brindis, C.D., Manuel, D.M., & Sassoubre, L. (2007). Lessons learned in systems change initiatives: benchmarks and indicators. American Journal of Community Psychology. doi: 10.1007/s10464-007-9108-14.
Article in electronic journal by DOI (no paginated version)
Kruger, M., Brandis, C.D., Mandel, D.M., & Sassoure, J. (2007). Lessons to be learned in systems change initiatives: benchmarks and indicators. American Journal of Digital Psychology. doi: 10.1007/s10469-007-5108-14.
Calfee, R.C., & Valencia, R.R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Book chapter, or an article within a book
O'Neil, J.M., & Egan, J. (1992). Men's and women's gender role journeys: Metaphor for healing, transition, and transformation. In B.R. Wainrib (Ed.), Gender issues across the life cycle (pp. 107-123). New York: Springer.
Online First chapter in a series (without a volume designation but with a DOI)
Saito, Y., & Hyuga, H. (2007). Rate equation approaches to amplification of enantiomeric excess and chiral symmetry breaking. Topics in Current Chemistry. doi:10.1007/128_2006_108.
Complete book, also showing a translated edition [Either edition may be listed first.]
Adorno, T.W. (1966). Negative Dialektik. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. English edition: Adorno, TW (1973). Negative Dialectics (trans: Ashton, E.B.). London: Routledge.
Abou-Allaban, Y., Dell, M.L., Greenberg, W., Lomax, J., Peteet, J., Torres, M., & Cowell, V. (2006). Religious/spiritual commitments and psychiatric practice. Resource document. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.psych.org/edu/other_res/lib_archives/archives/200604.pdf. Accessed 25 June 2007.
German emigrants database (1998). Historisches Museum Bremerhaven. http://www.deutsche-auswanderer-datenbank.de. Accessed 21 June 2007.
Supplementary material/private homepage
Doe, J. (2006). Title of supplementary material. http://www.privatehomepage.com. Accessed 22 Feb 2007.
Doe, J. (1999). Trivial HTTP, RFC2169. ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc2169.txt. Accessed 12 Feb 2006.
ISSN International Centre (2006). The ISSN register. http://www.issn.org. Accessed 20 Feb 2007.
General formatting information
Manuscripts must be written in concise English. For help on scientific writing, or preparing your manuscript in English, please see Springer's Author Academy.
- Use double line spacing
- Include line and page numbering
- Use SI units: Please ensure that all special characters used are embedded in the text, otherwise they will be lost during conversion to PDF
- Do not use page breaks in your manuscript
The following word processor file formats are acceptable for the main manuscript document:
- Microsoft word (DOC, DOCX)
- Rich text format (RTF)
- TeX/LaTeX (use BioMed Central's TeX template)
Please note: editable files are required for processing in production. If your manuscript contains any non-editable files (such as PDFs) you will be required to re-submit an editable file if your manuscript is accepted.
Note that figures must be submitted as separate image files, not as part of the submitted manuscript file. For more information, see 'Preparing figures' below.
Additional information for TeX/LaTeX users
Please use BioMed Central's TeX template and BibTeX stylefile if you use TeX format. Submit your references using either a bib or bbl file. When submitting TeX submissions, please submit both your TeX file and your bib/bbl file as manuscript files. Please also convert your TeX file into a PDF (please do not use a DIV file) and submit this PDF as a supplementary file with the name 'Reference PDF'. This PDF will be used by our production team as a reference point to check the layout of the article as the author intended. Please also note that all figures must be coded at the end of the TeX file and not inline.
The Editorial Manager system checks for any errors in the Tex files. If an error is present then the system PDF will display LaTex code and highlight and explain the error in a section beginning with an exclamation mark (!).
All relevant editable source files must be uploaded during the submission process. Failing to submit these source files will cause unnecessary delays in the production process.
- BioMedCentral_article (ZIP format) - preferred template
- Springer article svjour3 (ZIP format) - preferred template
- birkjour (Birkhäuser, ZIP format)
- article (part of the standard TeX distribution)
- amsart (part of the standard TeX distribution)
Style and language
For editors and reviewers to accurately assess the work presented in your manuscript you need to ensure the English language is of sufficient quality to be understood. If you need help with writing in English you should consider:
- Visiting the English language tutorial which covers the common mistakes when writing in English.
- Asking a colleague who is a native English speaker to review your manuscript for clarity.
- Using a professional language editing service where editors will improve the English to ensure that your meaning is clear and identify problems that require your review. Two such services are provided by our affiliates Nature Research Editing Service and American Journal Experts. SpringerOpen authors are entitled to a 10% discount on their first submission to either of these services. To claim 10% off English editing from Nature Research Editing Service, click here. To claim 10% off American Journal Experts, click here.
Please note that the use of a language editing service is not a requirement for publication in Crime Science and does not imply or guarantee that the article will be selected for peer review or accepted.
- 使用专业语言编辑服务，编辑人员会对英语进行润色，以确保您的意思表达清晰，并提出需要您复核的问题。例如我们的附属机构 Nature Research Editing Service 以及合作伙伴 American Journal Experts 都可以提供此类专业服务。SpringerOpen作者享受首次订单10%优惠，该优惠同时适用于两家公司。您只需点击以下链接即可开始。使用 Nature Research Editing Service的编辑润色10%的优惠服务，请点击这里。使用 American Journal Experts的10%优惠服务，请点击这里。
- プロの英文校正サービスを利用する。校正者が原稿の意味を明確にしたり、問題点を指摘し、英語を向上させます。Nature Research Editing Service とAmerican Journal Experts の2つは弊社と提携しているサービスです。SpringerOpenのジャーナルの著者は、いずれかのサービスを初めて利用する際に、10%の割引を受けることができます。Nature Research Editing Serviceの10%割引を受けるには、こちらをクリックしてください。. American Journal Expertsの10%割引を受けるには、こちらをクリックしてください。
영어 원고의 경우, 에디터 및 리뷰어들이 귀하의 원고에 실린 결과물을 정확하게 평가할 수 있도록, 그들이 충분히 이해할 수 있을 만한 수준으로 작성되어야 합니다. 만약 영작문과 관련하여 도움을 받기를 원하신다면 다음의 사항들을 고려하여 주십시오:
- 영어 튜토리얼 페이지에 방문하여 영어로 글을 쓸 때 자주하는 실수들을 확인합니다.
- 귀하의 원고의 표현을 명확히 해줄 영어 원어민 동료를 찾아서 리뷰를 의뢰합니다
- 리뷰에 대비하여, 원고의 의미를 명확하게 해주고 리뷰에서 요구하는 문제점들을 식별해서 영문 수준을 향상시켜주는 전문 영문 교정 서비스를 이용합니다. Nature Research Editing Service와 American Journal Experts에서 저희와 협약을 통해 서비스를 제공하고 있습니다. SpringerOpen에서는 위의 두 가지의 서비스를 첫 논문 투고를 위해 사용하시는 경우, 10%의 할인을 제공하고 있습니다. Nature Research Editing Service이용시 10% 할인을 요청하기 위해서는 여기를 클릭해 주시고, American Journal Experts 이용시 10% 할인을 요청하기 위해서는 여기를 클릭해 주십시오.
영문 교정 서비스는 게재를 위한 요구사항은 아니며, 해당 서비스의 이용이 피어 리뷰에 논문이 선택되거나 게재가 수락되는 것을 의미하거나 보장하지 않습니다.
Data and materials
For all journals, BioMed Central strongly encourages all datasets on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely to be either deposited in publicly available repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main paper or additional supporting files, in machine-readable format (such as spread sheets rather than PDFs) whenever possible. Please see the list of recommended repositories in our editorial policies.
For some journals, deposition of the data on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely is an absolute requirement. Please check the Instructions for Authors for the relevant journal and article type for journal specific policies.
For all manuscripts, information about data availability should be detailed in an ‘Availability of data and materials’ section. For more information on the content of this section, please see the Declarations section of the relevant journal’s Instruction for Authors. For more information on BioMed Central's policies on data availability, please see our editorial policies.
Formatting the 'Availability of data and materials' section of your manuscript
The following format for the 'Availability of data and materials section of your manuscript should be used:
"The dataset(s) supporting the conclusions of this article is(are) available in the [repository name] repository, [unique persistent identifier and hyperlink to dataset(s) in http:// format]."
The following format is required when data are included as additional files:
"The dataset(s) supporting the conclusions of this article is(are) included within the article (and its additional file(s))."
For databases, this section should state the web/ftp address at which the database is available and any restrictions to its use by non-academics.
For software, this section should include:
- Project name: e.g. My bioinformatics project
- Project home page: e.g. http://sourceforge.net/projects/mged
- Archived version: DOI or unique identifier of archived software or code in repository (e.g. enodo)
- Operating system(s): e.g. Platform independent
- Programming language: e.g. Java
- Other requirements: e.g. Java 1.3.1 or higher, Tomcat 4.0 or higher
- License: e.g. GNU GPL, FreeBSD etc.
- Any restrictions to use by non-academics: e.g. licence needed
Information on available repositories for other types of scientific data, including clinical data, can be found in our editorial policies.
See our editorial policies for author guidance on good citation practice.
What should be cited?
Only articles, clinical trial registration records and abstracts that have been published or are in press, or are available through public e-print/preprint servers, may be cited.
Unpublished abstracts, unpublished data and personal communications should not be included in the reference list, but may be included in the text and referred to as "unpublished observations" or "personal communications" giving the names of the involved researchers. Obtaining permission to quote personal communications and unpublished data from the cited colleagues is the responsibility of the author. Footnotes are not allowed, but endnotes are permitted. Journal abbreviations follow Index Medicus/MEDLINE.
Any in press articles cited within the references and necessary for the reviewers' assessment of the manuscript should be made available if requested by the editorial office.
When preparing figures, please follow the formatting instructions below.
- Figures should be provided as separate files, not embedded in the main manuscript file.
- Figure titles (max 15 words) and legends (max 300 words) should be provided in the main manuscript, not in the graphic file.
- Each figure of a manuscript should be submitted as a single file that fits on a single page in portrait format.
- Tables should NOT be submitted as figures but should be included in the main manuscript file.
- Multi-panel figures (those with parts a, b, c, d etc.) should be submitted as a single composite file that contains all parts of the figure.
- Figures should be numbered in the order they are first mentioned in the text, and uploaded in this order.
- Figures should be uploaded in the correct orientation.
- Figure keys should be incorporated into the graphic, not into the legend of the figure.
- Each figure should be closely cropped to minimize the amount of white space surrounding the illustration. Cropping figures improves accuracy when placing the figure in combination with other elements when the accepted manuscript is prepared for publication on our site. For more information on individual figure file formats, see our detailed instructions.
- Individual figure files should not exceed 10 MB. If a suitable format is chosen, this file size is adequate for extremely high quality figures.
- Please note that it is the responsibility of the author(s) to obtain permission from the copyright holder to reproduce figures (or tables) that have previously been published elsewhere. In order for all figures to be open access, authors must have permission from the rights holder if they wish to include images that have been published elsewhere in non open access journals. Permission should be indicated in the figure legend, and the original source included in the reference list.
Figure file types
We accept the following file formats for figures:
- EPS (suitable for diagrams and/or images)
- PDF (suitable for diagrams and/or images)
- Microsoft Word (suitable for diagrams and/or images, figures must be a single page)
- PowerPoint (suitable for diagrams and/or images, figures must be a single page)
- TIFF (suitable for images)
- JPEG (suitable for photographic images, less suitable for graphical images)
- PNG (suitable for images)
- BMP (suitable for images)
- CDX (ChemDraw - suitable for molecular structures)
Figure size and resolution
Figures are resized during publication of the final full text and PDF versions to conform to the BioMed Central standard dimensions, which are detailed below.
Figures on the web:
- width of 600 pixels (standard), 1200 pixels (high resolution).
Figures in the final PDF version:
- width of 85 mm for half page width figure
- width of 170 mm for full page width figure
- maximum height of 225 mm for figure and legend
- image resolution of approximately 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the final size
Figures should be designed such that all information, including text, is legible at these dimensions. All lines should be wider than 0.25 pt when constrained to standard figure widths. All fonts must be embedded.
Figure file compression
Vector figures should if possible be submitted as PDF files, which are usually more compact than EPS files.
- TIFF files should be saved with LZW compression, which is lossless (decreases file size without decreasing quality) in order to minimize upload time.
- JPEG files should be saved at maximum quality.
- Conversion of images between file types (especially lossy formats such as JPEG) should be kept to a minimum to avoid degradation of quality.
If you have any questions or are experiencing a problem with figures, please contact the customer service team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When preparing tables, please follow the formatting instructions below.
- Tables should be numbered and cited in the text in sequence using Arabic numerals (i.e. Table 1, Table 2 etc.).
- Tables less than one A4 or Letter page in length can be placed in the appropriate location within the manuscript.
- Tables larger than one A4 or Letter page in length can be placed at the end of the document text file. Please cite and indicate where the table should appear at the relevant location in the text file so that the table can be added in the correct place during production.
- Larger datasets, or tables too wide for A4 or Letter landscape page can be uploaded as additional files. Please see [below] for more information.
- Tabular data provided as additional files can be uploaded as an Excel spreadsheet (.xls ) or comma separated values (.csv). Please use the standard file extensions.
- Table titles (max 15 words) should be included above the table, and legends (max 300 words) should be included underneath the table.
- Tables should not be embedded as figures or spreadsheet files, but should be formatted using ‘Table object’ function in your word processing program.
- Color and shading may not be used. Parts of the table can be highlighted using superscript, numbering, lettering, symbols or bold text, the meaning of which should be explained in a table legend.
- Commas should not be used to indicate numerical values.
If you have any questions or are experiencing a problem with tables, please contact the customer service team at email@example.com.
Preparing additional files
As the length and quantity of data is not restricted for many article types, authors can provide datasets, tables, movies, or other information as additional files.
All Additional files will be published along with the accepted article. Do not include files such as patient consent forms, certificates of language editing, or revised versions of the main manuscript document with tracked changes. Such files, if requested, should be sent by email to the journal’s editorial email address, quoting the manuscript reference number.
Results that would otherwise be indicated as "data not shown" should be included as additional files. Since many web links and URLs rapidly become broken, SpringerOpen requires that supporting data are included as additional files, or deposited in a recognized repository. Please do not link to data on a personal/departmental website. Do not include any individual participant details. The maximum file size for additional files is 20 MB each, and files will be virus-scanned on submission. Each additional file should be cited in sequence within the main body of text.