Read below for all the information you need on Staff applications, Submission guidelines and Essay contests.

Applications for the 2023-2024 RCSIsmj staff are now open!

Read in detail about the roles and responsibilities about each of the positions available below.
Click on a title to download an application form:

Job Descriptions
Senior Editor
Senior Staff Writer
Executive Secretary
Education Officer
Peer Reviewer
Assistant Peer Review Director
Public Relations Officer
Graphic Designer
Staff Writer
Assistant Webmaster

Please complete an application form for each position to which you wish to apply and send to submissionssmj@rcsi.ie.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: Saturday, May 27th, 2022 at 12pm Irish Time.

We look forward to welcoming you to our team!

  1. Decide what type of article you want to write. Click here (Tony suggests putting this line in instead of the previous link: To see what types of submissions we accept, please read Types of submissions accepted.
  2. Review the submission criteria below carefully before you begin writing.
  3. Choose a topic and write the article!
  4. Proofread your work.
  5. Fill out the author information document completely. Click here to download it. (Note: we will not accept your submission if this is incomplete).
  6. Submit your article along with the author information document to submissionssmj@rcsi.ie before the deadline (Friday, October 28th, 2022).
  7. You are done! We will send you an email to confirm receipt of your submission. Relax and wait to hear back from us!
  8. If you have any further queries, you can always contact the editor at editorsmj@rcsi.ie.

Original Articles: An original article describes the findings of research that you conducted or participated in. For this submission type you will compile and analyse data from an experiment or an audit of medical charts that you conducted. Then you will discuss the implications of these findings and their potential impact on your field of interest. Original articles should be no longer than 2300 words, not including the abstract (additional 200 words). Click here for the full guidelines for original articles. Tony suggests this line of text instead: For full guidelines for original articles, please click on the relevant guideline heading below.

Abstracts: An abstract describes the findings of research that you conducted or participated in, but in an abbreviated form. For this submission type you will compile and analyse data from an experiment or an audit of medical charts that you conducted. Then you will discuss the implications of these findings and their potential impact on your field of interest. Standalone abstracts should be no longer than 350 words. Click here for the full guidelines for standalone abstracts. Tony suggests this line of text instead: For full guidelines for standalone abstracts, please click on the relevant guideline heading below.

Standard Reviews: A standard review is an in-depth discussion on the topic of your choice. To create this article type you will decide on a topic of interest, and research the current state of the surrounding literature. Integrate, describe, and interpret your findings in the form of a structured essay. Standard reviews should be no longer than 2000 words, not including the abstract (additional 200 words). There are no restrictions on the topic, but keep in mind that the topic should be reasonably student friendly. Click here for the full guidelines for standard reviews. Tony suggests this line of text instead: For full guidelines for standard reviews, please click on the relevant guideline heading below.

Case Reports: A case report is a description of an interesting or unusual medical or surgical case that you have encountered. You will give the details of the case itself, then provide a discussion of previous similar or related cases in the literature and background information on the condition or presentation. Case reports should be no longer than 1500 words. Click here for the full guidelines for case reports. Tony suggests this line of text instead: For full guidelines for case reports, please click on the relevant guideline heading below.

Perspectives: A perspective is your chance to offer commentary on a topic of your choosing. Pick a topic that is applicable to medicine and the RCSI community, decide on your argument (or thesis statement), then do research to support your claim. Click here for the full guidelines for perspectives. Tony suggests this line of text instead: For full guidelines for perspectives, please click on the relevant guideline heading below.

Narrative medicine: form of storytelling in medicine.  It is an outlet for those in the healthcare field to reflect on patient experiences, and the dynamics of the patient-physician relationship. These are articles that reflect on a patient encounter that has impacted your perspective on the patient experience, on healthcare delivery, or on the student-patient relationship. Click here for the full guidelines for narrative reviews. Tony suggests this line of text instead: For full guidelines for narrative reviews, please click on the relevant guideline heading below.

Travel Briefs: A travel brief is a summary of a recent medically related travel experience. This can include an elective you did abroad, an overseas research experience, or volunteer work. Click here for the full guidelines for elective reviews. Tony suggests this line of text instead: For full guidelines for travel briefs, please click on the relevant guideline heading below.

Research News: The research news section covers recent developments in any medical field. Choose a development that is of interest to you, and discuss its implications for clinical practice. Click here for the full guidelines for research news. Tony suggests this line of text instead: For full guidelines for research news, please click on the relevant guideline heading below.

Careers: For a careers in medicine piece you will present an interesting insight into careers related to the medical field. Click here for the full guidelines for careers. Tony suggests this line of text instead: For full guidelines for careers, please click on the relevant guideline heading below.

Ethics Challenge: In each issue of the RCSIsmj we publish a new Ethics Challenge. You are invited to read the details of this year’s case and submit a critical essay on the topic. You should identify the ethical issues at hand, take a position on these issues, and provide evidenced arguments for your position. Please see the ethics challenge page of the most recent RCSIsmj for the case and for the full guidelines for submissions. Tony suggests this line of text instead: For full guidelines for travel briefs, please click on the ethics challenge heading below.

If you are not sure which category your work falls under, please don’t hesitate to contact us at editorsmj@rcsi.ie.

Original Articles

An original article describes the findings of research that you conducted or participated in. For this submission type you will compile and analyse data from an experiment or an audit of medical charts that you conducted. Then you will discuss the implications of these findings and their potential impact on your field of interest. Original articles should be no longer than 2300 words, not including the abstract (additional 200 words).

Original articles must follow a specific format:

  • Title page
  • Abstract and key words
  • Article text
    • Introduction
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
  • Tables, illustrations and image details

ABSTRACT AND KEYWORDS

The abstract should briefly summarize the following: the aim of your study, basic description of procedures, main findings, and principal conclusions. The abstract must be self-contained. Underneath the abstract please provide 3 to 10 key words related to the theme of your article.

INTRODUCTION

The introduction should state clearly the purpose of your article and summarize the rationale for the study or observation. Begin by briefly discussing the relevant background, then address what gap in the field your work intends to address. Include relevant references. Avoid including data or conclusions from the work being reported.

METHODS

Begin by describing your selection of the observational or experimental subjects by delineating inclusion and exclusion criteria. Describe the design of your research, the methods, apparatus where appropriate (manufacturer’s name and address in parentheses), and procedures in sufficient detail to allow other workers to reproduce the study. Give references to established methods, including statistical methods; describe new or substantially modified methods, give reasons for using them, and evaluate their limitations. Identify precisely all drugs and chemicals used, including generic name(s), dose(s), and route(s) of administration.
Studies using human subjects must be conducted in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki of 1975. In all experiments, it should be documented that informed consent was obtained from the subjects. Do not use patients’ names, initials, or hospital numbers. All studies involving the use of animals must be conducted in accordance with the highest standards of humane animal care, and in accordance with the institution’s internal regulations.

RESULTS

Present your results in a logical sequence in the text, tables, and illustrations. Do not repeat in the text all the data in the tables or illustrations. Emphasize or summarize only important observations.

DISCUSSION

Use the discussion to offer interpretation of your findings and explain their significance. This includes both the implications of your research and the potential limitations of the study. Include your thoughts on possibilities for future research. Relate the observations to other relevant background studies discussed in your introduction.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

One or more statements should acknowledge (i) contributions that do not justify authorship (ii) technical help (iii) financial (e.g. RCSI Summer Student grant) and material support.

Abstracts

An abstract describes the findings of research that you conducted or participated in, but in an abbreviated form. For this submission type you will compile and analyse data from an experiment or an audit of medical charts that you conducted. Then you will discuss the implications of these findings and their potential impact on your field of interest. Standalone abstracts should be no longer than 350 words.

Begin by briefly stating the purpose of your research, giving one or two key pieces of background for context. Then state your hypothesis and describe your methods. Summarize your principle findings and outline your major conclusions. Finish by stating how this research contributes to the field or what research question should follow.

Case Reports

A case report is a description of an interesting or unusual medical or surgical case that you have encountered. You will give the details of the case itself, then provide a discussion of previous similar or related cases in the literature and background information on the condition or presentation. Case reports should be no longer than 1500 words.

Start with an introduction, which should include a description of the important features of the disease you will address (for example, epidemiology, unique signs and symptoms). Then give the details of the case in the standard format you use in your hospital presentations (chief complaint, history of presenting illness, past medical and surgical history, social and family history, medications, review of systems, clinical examinations, laboratory tests, and other investigations performed). Explain how the details of the case unfolded, and briefly state the course of treatment and outcome. Finish with a discussion section that enlightens the reader about approaches to the problem you have presented. Highlight recent advances in the field of diagnosis and treatment, and include points of clinical learning.

You MUST obtain consent for publication of a case report in print or electronically, either from the patient, or, where appropriate, from their next of kin or surrogate decision maker. We request that you also obtain permission from your supervising physician, who can help you obtain supplementary imaging or photographs.

Standard Reviews

A standard review is an in-depth discussion on the topic of your choice. To create this article type you will decide on a topic of interest, and research the current state of the surrounding literature. Integrate, describe, and interpret your findings in the form of a structured essay. Standard reviews should be no longer than 2000 words.

There is no required format for standard reviews, but successful pieces generally consist of an introduction, a discussion/conclusion, and two to four subsections. The introduction gives the reader a general idea of what the paper will address and why the topic is relevant or of interest to medicine/pharmacy/physiology. The body of the work should be divided into subsections, each of which covers a different aspect of or idea within the main subject. Finally, conclude with a recap and offer an interpretation of future directions for the field.

Students who have worked on SSC projects where no raw data were gathered should consider submitting their work as a standard review. Your article should not exceed 2000 words.

Perspectives

A perspective is your chance to offer commentary on a topic of your choosing. Pick a topic that is applicable to medicine and the RCSI community, decide on your argument (or thesis statement), then do research to support your claim.

Generally perspectives describe issues in medicine from an outside perspective – for example in the context of social welfare, ethics, education, or the humanities (visual arts, literature, history, or philosophy).

The structure of your article is to your discretion, but generally successful pieces include an introduction, a conclusion, and a body separated into subheadings. The length of the piece should not exceed 1500 words.

The following are examples of successful perspective pieces we have published in the past:

  • The Politics of Stem Cell Research
  • The History of Analgesia in Labour
  • What to wear today? The Effect of Doctor’s Attire on Patients’ Trust and Confidence
  • The Public Appeal of Medical Dramas

Word count: 1000-1400

Narrative medicine is a form of storytelling in medicine. It is an outlet for those in the healthcare field to reflect on patient experiences, and the dynamics of the patient-physician relationship.

This year, SMJ is inviting students to submit narrative medicine articles that reflect on a patient encounter that has impacted your perspective on the patient experience, on healthcare delivery, or on the student-patient relationship.

In developing your narrative medicine article, we would encourage you to ask: “How has my experience changed my perspective of medicine, changed my perspective as a student doctor, or changed my perspective of the patient experience?”

We will assess submissions based on: 1) quality of writing 2) evidence of self-reflection and 3) evidence of insights elicited from engaging in the practice of narrative medicine.  Please keep all patient names anonymous.

For examples of how to write a narrative medicine article, we suggest reviewing the JAMA submissions, such as A Piece of My Mind by Jessi Humphreys, MD. Link here: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2778108

Travel Briefs

A travel brief is a summary of a recent medically related travel experience. This can include an elective you did abroad, an overseas research experience, or volunteer work.

The travel briefs section provides a forum for exchanging anecdotes from the travel experiences of RCSI students. Each brief should be 500-600 words long. They may describe an amusing incident or process of getting to know other cultures, or offer insight and advice gained from the experience. Students should include where and when the travel occurred.

The submission of one or two high quality photographs along with your elective piece is strongly encouraged.

Research News

The research news section covers recent developments in any medical field. Choose a development that is of interest to you, and discuss its implications for clinical practice.

Within the body of the article be sure to include a brief description of the research itself. The piece should not exceed 750 words.

Careers

For a careers article you will provide an interesting insight into a particular career within medicine or any profession in the context of healthcare. This should include commentary on the current state of the field and effects of recent developments on the future of the profession.

The structure of the article is left to your discretion, but your work should not exceed 750 words.

Ethics Challenge: In each issue of the RCSIsmj we publish a new Ethics Challenge. You are invited to read the details of this year’s case and submit a critical essay on the topic. You should identify the ethical issues at hand, take a position on these issues, and provide evidenced arguments for your position. Please see the ethics challenge page of the most recent RCSIsmj for the case and for the full guidelines for submissions.

If you are not sure which category your work falls under, please don’t hesitate to contact us at editorsmj@rcsi.ie.

Submission Criteria Word Limit Reference Limit Expert Co-Author Needed?
Original Articles 2,300 50 No
Standard Reviews 2,000 75 No
Abstracts 350 5 No
Case Reports 1,500 10 No
Perspectives 1,500 20 No
Elective Reviews 750 5 No
Research News 750 5 No
Careers 750 5 No
Ethics Challenge 2,000 75 No

Manuscripts must:
• Be in English
• Be in Microsoft Word format
• Be typed in 12-point font with double-spacing in an A4 size document
• Have 1 inch margins surrounding the document.

Images, figures and illustrations
Your article can contain no more than four figures. Each should contain sufficient information so that the figure is intelligible without reference to the text. Figures and images should be:
• In colour
• In a common electronic format such as .jpg, .tif, .gif, etc.
• Each in a separate file (named figure 1, figure 2 etc.)
Each figure should have a corresponding legend which gives the title and number. List these on a new page after your references, then attach the corresponding figures/images as separate files. Label them clearly so we can match the legend to the figure. In the body of your text, indicate where the image should appear.
NB: Images should be of sufficiently high resolution. This is very important as low resolution images will not look good in print. Minimum file size for photographic images is 500kb. We would strongly recommend providing images which are several Mb in size as we can always shrink images that are too big, but we cannot enlarge images that are too small.

Tables
You may submit up to four tables. Try to construct your tables as simply as possible. Number them consecutively with Arabic numerals in the order of their first citation in the text, and supply a brief title for each. Explain in footnotes all non-standard abbreviations. Please include appropriate table legends with table number and title on a new page after your references. If you have image/figure legends too, please put the image and table legends on separate pages.

Media files
If you would like to reference a video or other media file in your manuscript, the RCSIsmj is happy to host the file on our website so that our readers can view it. Please do not ask us to host copyrighted material. If any video involves a real patient, you will have to demonstrate to us that you have received their express permission to use the material. Contact editorsmj@rcsi.ie for more details.

References
Reference citations should appear as numerical superscript throughout the text and listed in their order of appearance. The RCSIsmj will follow the citation style of the British Medical Journal (Vancouver style). If using a Bibliography manager like Endnote, use the British Medical Journal style. Papers accepted but not yet published may appear with the name of the journal followed by the words “In Press”.
Journal citations should follow the following order. List all authors when six or less, otherwise list only first three and add et al.
• First author’s last name, initials
• Second author’s last name, initials, etc.
• Title of article in italics
• Name of Journal abbreviated according to the style of Index Medicus
• The year of publication
• The volume number in parenthesis ( )
• First and last page numbers
Example: 1. Schwimmer JB, Burwinkle TM, Varni JW. Health-related quality of life of severely obese children and adolescents. Jama 2003;289(14):1813-9.
References to books should give the names of any editors, place of publication, editor, and year.
Example: 2. Whittaker R. Complement: mechanisms and functions. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1989.
Information from manuscripts not yet in press, papers reported at meetings, or personal communications should be cited only in the text, not as a formal reference.
 Authors should get permission from the source to cite personal communications.

Authorship
You, the student, must be first author. Other authors you list should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content. If in doubt, RCSIsmj editors may require contributors to justify the assignment of authorship. All manuscripts submitted to the RCSIsmj must contain original work not previously published elsewhere. All authors are required to provide their details with their submission in the author information document.

Double Publication
Articles submitted to the RCSIsmj cannot be subsequently re-published in a separate peer-reviewed journal. Students undertaking research must submit work that is significantly different from the final manuscript intended to be sent to a later journal. For example, you may write an article based on subsets of data with different analyses or interpretations, similar to RCSI research day.
If you have any doubt as to what constitutes double publication, contact either RCSIsmj or the principal investigator involved in the research. In all cases, you must ensure that your principal investigator is aware and approves of their submission to RCSIsmj.

Peer Review
All submissions to the RCSIsmj undergo review by our peer review team. Two or three members of the team will review your submission, as will the editorial staff. During the review process all papers will be subjected to fact-checking as well as edits for content and style. This process helps us to maintain a high standard of work published in the RCSIsmj. Authors of peer-reviewed articles will receive constructive feedback from the reviewers as an aid to perfecting their writing technique.

Essay contests are a great way to write about something you are interested, win a monetary prize (sometimes) and add to your CV. Please find below a list of essay prizes that are available:

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