Manuscript Preparation

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Before submitting your manuscript online at Blood Advances Bench>Press, please read and carefully follow the guidelines below. Any deviations could result in significant delay in the submission and review process.

Please note that Blood Advances adheres to the criteria of the International Committee of Medical Journal editors, which has established Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.

Authors employed by or reporting on research funded by a pharmaceutical company may find this MPIP Authors' Toolkit useful: Please note that Blood Advances did not contribute to or edit the content of this document. The Authors' Submission Toolkit has been developed through the Medical Publishing Insights and Practices initiative (MPIP), which is funded by Amgen, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer.

Manuscript length restrictions

Please adhere to the length, figure/table and reference number restrictions described on the previous page for each article type. On the title page, include a text word count, abstract word count, the number of figures and tables, and the number of references. Submissions exceeding these limits will not be considered for review and will be returned to the author.

Manuscript organization

Organize the content of your manuscript file as follows: Title Page, Key Points, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgments, Authorship Contributions, Conflict of Interest Disclosures, References, Tables, Figure Legends, and Figures. Your text document must include page numbers, meaning there must be page numbers inserted into the header or the footer of your document.

Article Title and Title page

The title should succinctly and effectively convey to non-specialists the content of the article with no more than 120 characters, including spaces. Titles should be in active rather than passive voice, without the use of punctuation or abbreviations. If commonly-understood abbreviations are included in the title, they must be defined in the abstract. If the article reports on results utilizing solely non-human model systems, the species must be indicated in the title.

Title page must contain the following:

  • article title
  • short title for the running head (not to exceed 50 characters, including spaces between words)
  • full and accurate names of all authors (as you want them to appear in online searches and citations)
  • affiliations of institutions where the research was done, reflecting the order of authorship by using superscripted numbers
  • corresponding author’s full name, address, e-mail address, and phone and fax numbers
  • word counts for text and abstract, figure/table count and reference count

Key Points

Blood Advances requires research papers, specifically Regular Articles, to include 1 to 2 key points. The purpose of these short, bullet-pointed statements is to identify the most relevant outcomes of the paper and to provide a synopsis encapsulating the significance of the research and its implications for readers.

Key Points should be written clearly and succinctly. Avoid using scientific jargon whenever possible. Each Key Point should be no more than 140 characters, including spaces. Key Points are required upon manuscript submission, immediately preceding the Abstract in both the submission form metadata and the text document, and they will be reviewed by the assigned Editor.

Key Points are published online immediately preceding the Abstract and will be freely available upon publication. They will not be indexed by PubMed, but will be searchable via Google and other search engines.


The abstract should contain 250 words or fewer (check the word count limit in the descriptions for other article types) and succinctly, in a logical progression state the rationale/hypothesis, objectives, findings/results, and conclusions of the study. Abstracts should be a continuous narrative, not broken up into subheadings and not containing references.

Authors need to ensure that abstracts are easily readable and understandable to a broad readership. The abstract should accurately reflect the content of the article, be written in plain and succinct language and, as much as possible, avoid jargon and acronyms.

The abstract of a research paper should preferably contain the following elements (per ICMJE recommendations):

  • The context or background for the study. The authors should consider that a vast majority of readers have either no or limited knowledge of the article context: one or two plain-language sentences should clearly describe this background.
  • The study's purpose, i.e., why the study was done. The objectives of the research should be explicitly provided, rather than in general statements.
  • Methods/procedures (selection of study participants, settings, measurements, analytical methods).
  • Main findings, giving specific effect sizes and their statistical and clinical significance, if possible.
  • Main conclusions and interpretation of findings with emphasis on new and important aspects of the study and/or observations.

Visual Abstract

A Visual Abstract is a single, concise, illustrative summary of the main findings of the article. This could be either the concluding figure from the article or, preferably, a figure that is specially designed for the purpose, which captures the content of the article for readers at a single glance. Blood Advances will provide professional illustrator services, if requested by the author or Editors, for Visual Abstracts of accepted manuscripts.

Visual Abstracts should be included as a supplemental figure with the initial submission of all original research articles (Regular Articles and optional for Exceptional Case Reports and Review Articles). For original research articles that have cascaded from Blood, Visual Abstracts should be included during revision.

Visual Abstracts will be displayed in the online table of contents and the online article, but will not appear in the article PDF file. Please see more detailed instructions for creating your Visual Abstracts below.

Guidelines for Visual Abstracts

What is a visual abstract?

A visual abstract is an illustration that concisely depicts the key findings of a scientific paper. It is intended to attract the attention of readers and make it easier for them to find articles that are of interest to them.

Where will my visual abstract be published?

The visual abstract will appear in the full-text article as well as in the Figures & Data view. A reduced-size “thumbnail” image of the visual abstract will be part of the article’s entry in the table of contents. The visual abstract will not be included in the PDF copy of the article.

Which articles in Blood Advances will feature visual abstracts?

Visual abstracts are mandatory for Regular Articles. They are optional for Stimulus Reports, Drug Advances articles, Exceptional Case Reports and Review Articles. Other article types do not have visual abstracts.

What are the technical specifications for a visual abstract?

The full-size visual abstract should be submitted as a single high-resolution (300-dpi or greater) TIFF image in RGB color. It must be 440 pixels wide by 350 to 365 pixels high. Lettering must be large enough to be legible.

Are there other guidelines for preparing a visual abstract?

A visual abstract should be clear, concise, eye-catching, and comprehensible to a typical Blood Advances reader. It should present the most important finding(s) of your study. Keep the use of text to a minimum, and avoid presenting data in tabular form. If the image depicts a biological or biochemical process, it should clearly flow from left to right or top to bottom. Avoid excessive detail or clutter.

Visual abstracts must be original; material reproduced from other sources may not be used. Do not include trade names, logos, or images of trademarked items in your visual abstract.

Can I get help with preparation of my visual abstract?

On request, Blood Advances will arrange for a professional scientific illustrator to polish or redraw your visual abstract. You will be able to review a proof of the redrawn image. There is no charge to authors for this service.

Can I use a figure from my article as a visual abstract?

We strongly recommend that the visual abstract be a separate illustration, not a figure from your article. However, on occasion it may be acceptable to use a figure from an article as a visual abstract.


The materials and methods section should be detailed enough to provide clear information on what was done experimentally, including all major experimental plans and procedures. The Journal will not consider manuscripts that include significant portions of the methods section as supplemental data.

Methods: clinical trials or human subject research

See policies below regarding reporting of investigations involving human subjects and clinical trial registration.

Include in the Methods section as appropriate:

  • A statement that the research was approved by the relevant institutional review boards or ethics committees and that all human participants gave written informed consent.
  • A statement regarding the identity of those who analyzed the data and confirming access of all authors to primary clinical trial data.
  • The clinical trial registration number and approved registry name for all clinical trials.
  • For phase 3 randomized clinical trials, we request that the authors provide a flow diagram in CONSORT format and include all of the information required by the CONSORT checklist within the body of the manuscript. When restrictions on length prevent the inclusion of some of this information in the manuscript, it may be provided instead as supplemental data. The CONSORT statement, checklist, and flow diagram are available at

For all clinical trials that report on a parenteral or high-intensity treatment regimen, information required for actual administration of the treatment regimen in practice should be included as a separate supplemental file. The following components should be included:

  • Drug name (chemical, generic, and brand name or names)
  • Dose (along with any modifications made for BMI, hematologic parameters, renal function, or other factors)
  • Route (if parenteral, is central venous access required?)
  • Type and volume of diluent if drug is not given IV push direct from vial; rate of administration
  • Cycle length and number of cycles, or criteria for discontinuation
  • Premedications and concurrent medications (including hydration, anti-emetics, growth factors, or any other relevant supportive medications)
  • Patient-monitoring parameters (frequency of visits and blood draws during therapy)

Methods: microarray studies

See below for more detailed Blood Advances policies on providing access to original data.

The Journal requires that authors deposit their high-throughput microarray data, including mRNA, miRNA, and genomic DNA (arrayCGH, ChIP-chip, and SNP) arrays into a public database, such as Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) or Array Express, or provide open access to their own Web-based data repository. An accession number or Web site link, with valid access codes, active at the time of submission for access by Editors and reviewers, must be supplied in the Methods section of the text.

Methods: animal studies

Blood Advances recommends that authors follow the ARRIVE guidelines when reporting in vivo experiments in animal research. (Kilkenny C, Browne WJ, Cuthill IC, et al. Improving bioscience research reporting: the ARRIVE guidelines for reporting animal research.PloS Biol 2010; 8(6): e1000412).


Support received from individuals, organizations, grants, corporations, and/or any other sources must be acknowledged. For work involving a biomedical product or potential product partially or wholly supported by corporate funding, a note must be included stating: This study was supported (in part) by research funding from [company name] to [author’s or authors’ initials]. Grant support, if received, needs to be stated and the specific granting institution(s) name(s) and grant numbers provided when applicable. Any individuals involved in the writing/editing/researching of the paper not named as authors should be identified, their role specified, and their funding source specified; for example, “Joseph Smith, a medical writer supported by funding from [company name], provided drafts and editorial assistance to the authors during preparation of this manuscript.” Prior to submission of the manuscript, we recommend that authors notify all individuals being included in the acknowledgments section to ensure their names and roles are being identified accurately.

Authorship and Conflict-of-Interest Statements

For each author, include in this section his or her category of contribution and list any potential conflicts of interest. These statements will be posted online in the Authorship section.

If the author(s) declare no competing financial interests, this must be explicitly stated and will be included in all versions of the article. Contributions and COI must appear both in the metadata and in the manuscript text.


Include references in numerical order at the end of the article according to the order of citation in the manuscript text. Text citations of reference should consist of superscript numbers. Format references per the instructions of the Blood Advances Style Guide. If you use citation software, check it carefully to ensure that it formats your references according to the current Blood Advances style.

Footnotes and abbreviations

Do not use footnotes; instead, sparingly use parenthetical statements within text. Abbreviations should be defined at first mention and thereafter applied consistently throughout the article. Do not use nonstandard abbreviations or abbreviate terms appearing fewer than three times. Give the chemical name of a compound after the first use of the common name. The common name may be used throughout the article. Abbreviate units of measure only when used with numbers. See the Blood Advances Style Guide for more information.


When submitting a manuscript for review, image file formats accepted for uploading include: JPEG (.jpg), PDF, TIFF, and EPS. PowerPoint (.ppt) files are acceptable but are strongly discouraged due to conversion issues and poor resolution in the published article.

High-resolution image files are not preferred for initial submission as the file sizes may be too large. The total file size of the PDF for peer review should not exceed 10 MB. However, high-resolution figures are required for accepted articles entering into preproduction. To prepare publication-quality figures, see Figure preparation and sizing for the final print publication.

Important guidelines for image preparation

(This set of instructions is adapted with permission from the Journal of Cell Biology instructions to authors.)

Note that no specific feature within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced. If groupings of images from different parts of the same gel or microscopic field, or from different gels, fields, or exposures are used, they must be made explicit by the arrangement of the figure (i.e., by inserting black dividing lines) and in the text of the figure legend, explaining what steps were taken to produce the final image and for what reason. Adjustments of brightness, contrast, or color balance are acceptable if they are applied to the whole image and as long as they do not obscure, eliminate, or misrepresent any information present in the original, including backgrounds. Without background information, it is not possible to evaluate how much of the original gel is actually shown. Nonlinear adjustments (e.g., changes to gamma settings) must be disclosed in the figure legend. The use of special software tools (e.g., erasing, cloning) available in popular image-editing software is strongly discouraged unless absolutely necessary, and any such manipulations must be explained in the figure legend.

All images in Figures and Supplemental information from manuscripts accepted for publication are examined for any indication of improper manipulation or editing. Questions raised by Blood Advances staff will be referred to the Editors, who may then request the original data from the author(s) for comparison with the submitted figures. Such manuscripts will be put on hold and will not be published until the matter is satisfactorily resolved. If the original data cannot be produced, the acceptance of the manuscript may be revoked.

Cases of deliberate misrepresentation of data will result in revocation of acceptance and will be reported to the corresponding author’s home institution or funding agency.

Figures legends

All legends must begin with a short, descriptive sentence that summarizes the intent and content of the figure. This sentence should be in boldfaced font. A more detailed explanation of the data contained in the figure and/or its parts should follow in standard (non-boldfaced) font.

Whenever possible, the following information should be provided in figure legends regarding the acquisition and processing of images:

  • Make and model of microscope
  • Type, magnification, and numerical aperture of the objective lenses
  • Temperature
  • Imaging medium
  • Fluorochromes
  • Camera make and model
  • Acquisition software
  • Any subsequent software used for image processing, with details about types of operations involved (e.g., type of deconvolution, 3D reconstructions, surface or volume rendering, gamma adjustments, etc.).

If some of the information is not available, an explanation must be provided.


Each table should have a brief, specific, descriptive title, giving sufficient explanation to make the data intelligible without reference to the text. Number all tables and cite in numerical order in the text, using Arabic numerals.

Display of sequences

Prepare sequences as figures (images), not tables. This will ensure that proper alignment within a sequence is preserved.

Editing services for non-English speakers

For non-English-speaking authors, a professional editing service may help improve the presentation of the paper. Papers with significant English language deficiencies may be returned without review. Listed below are several organizations offering professional editing services.

Please note that Blood Advances does not endorse, and does not have any direct involvement with, any of the services listed; this information is provided solely for the convenience of Blood Advances authors.