Online Submission and Review System


Instructions for Authors (this page)
Copyright Transfer (PDF)
Reprint Ordering
Permissions Requests

Spine is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal directed to an audience of spine physicians and scientists. The journal publishes original articles in the form of clinical and basic research. Spine will only publish studies that have institutional review board (IRB) or similar ethics committee approval for human and animal studies and have strictly observed a sufficient follow-up period. With the exception of reference presentation, Spine requires that all manuscripts be prepared in accordance with the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.

Spine periodically publishes the following special sections: Controversy, Historical Perspective, Journal Club, Legal Forum, and Spine Update.

Manuscript Submission

Authors are to submit their manuscripts through the Web-based tracking system at http://spine.edmgr.com/. The site contains instructions and advice on how to submit manuscripts, guidance on the creation/scanning and saving of electronic art, and supporting documentation. In addition to allowing authors to submit manuscripts on the Web, the site allows authors to follow the progression of their manuscript through the peer review process. Authors who submit their manuscripts through the Web-based tracking system are asked not to send hard copies of the manuscript to the editorial office. Address all inquiries regarding manuscripts not yet accepted or published to the Journal's editorial office. The editorial office will acknowledge receipt of your manuscript and will give you a manuscript number for reference. Authors are instructed to select the Level of Evidence of their study using the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine Table (http://www.cebm.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/CEBM-Levels-of-Evidence-2.1.pdf). Basic Science, Biomechanics, and Case Report papers do not require levels of evidence.

Revised Submission

Author's comments to the reviewers are required for revised submissions. Authors must address the reviewer's concerns/suggestions, whether the change is made or not. Authors must also highlight the changes made within the text. Do not track the additions or deletions to the manuscript.

Patient anonymity and informed consent. It is the author's responsibility to ensure that a patient's anonymity be carefully protected and to verify that any experimental investigation with human subjects reported in the manuscript was performed with informed consent and followed all the guidelines for experimental investigation with human subjects required by the institution(s) with which all the authors are affiliated. Authors should mask patients' eyes, private parts and remove patients' names from all figures. Photographs of patients should have bars placed over the eyes. In addition, permission from the patient is required and must be submitted with the manuscript.

Copyright. All authors must sign a copy of the journal's "Authorship Responsibility, Financial Disclosure, and Copyright Transfer" and submit it with the original manuscript.

Conflicts of Interest. Authors must state all possible conflicts of interest in the manuscript, including financial, consultant, institutional and other relationships that might lead to bias or a conflict of interest. If there is no conflict of interest, this should also be explicitly stated as none declared. All sources of funding should be acknowledged in the manuscript. All relevant conflicts of interest and sources of funding should be included on the title page of the manuscript with the heading “Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding:”. For example: Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: A has received honoraria from Company Z. B is currently receiving a grant (#12345) from Organization Y, and is on the speaker’s bureau for Organization X – the CME organizers for Company A. For the remaining authors none were declared.

In addition, each author must complete and submit the journal’s copyright transfer agreement, which includes a section on the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest based on the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals” (www.icmje.org/update.html). The form is readily available on the manuscript submission page (http://spine.edmgr.com/) and can be completed and submitted electronically. Please note that authors may sign the copyright transfer agreement form electronically. For additional information about electronically signing this form, go to http://links.lww.com/ZUAT/A106.

Compliance with NIH and Other Research Funding Agency Accessibility Requirements
A number of research funding agencies now require or request authors to submit the post-print (the article after peer review and acceptance but not the final published article) to a repository that is accessible online by all without charge. As a service to our authors, LWW will identify to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) articles that require deposit and will transmit the post-print of an article based on research funded in whole or in part by the National Institutes of Health, Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, or other funding agencies to PubMed Central. The revised Copyright Transfer Agreement provides the mechanism.

Permissions. Authors must submit written permission from the copyright owner (usually the publisher) to use direct quotations, tables, or illustrations that have appeared in copyrighted form elsewhere, along with complete details about the source. Any permissions fees that might be required by the copyright owner are the responsibility of the authors requesting use of the borrowed material, not the responsibility of Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Please direct permission requests to: http://www.lww.com/resources/permissions/index.html. Photos depicting a recognizable individual must be accompanied by a signed release from that person, explicitly granting permission to publish the illustration. Permission documentation must be submitted with the manuscript or soon thereafter.

For permission and/or rights to use content for which the copyright holder is LWW or the society, please go to the journal's website and after clicking on the relevant article, click on the "Request Permissions" link under the "Article Tools" box that appears on the right side of the page. Alternatively, send an e-mail to customercare@copyright.com.

For Translation Rights & Licensing queries, contact Silvia Serra, Translations Rights, Licensing & Permissions Manager, Wolters Kluwer Health (Medical Research) Ltd, 250 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8RD, UK. Phone: +44 (0) 207 981 0600. E-mail: silvia.serra@wolterskluwer.com

For Special Projects (U.S./Canada), contact Alan Moore, Director of Sales, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Two Commerce Square, 2001 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Phone: 215-521-8638. E-mail: alan.moore@wolterskluwer.com

For Special Projects (non-U.S./Canada), contact Silvia Serra, Translations Rights, Licensing & Permissions Manager, Wolters Kluwer Health (Medical Research) Ltd, 250 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8RD, UK. Phone: +44 (0) 207 981 0600. E-mail: silvia.serra@wolterskluwer.com.

Preparation of Manuscript

Manuscripts that do not adhere to the following instructions WILL BE RETURNED to the corresponding author for technical revision before undergoing peer review.

General format. All manuscripts should be submitted in English, and formatted for standard 81/2 x 11-inch (21 x 28-cm) paper with at least a 1-inch (2.5 cm) margin on all sides and double spaced. Manuscripts should be no longer than 2700 words of text, excluding the abstract and references. Case Reports should be no more than 750 words of text. All Case Reports must have a Structured Abstract and will be published online only. All papers published online only will be completely referenced and indexed.

Style. Pattern manuscript style after the American Medical Association Manual of Style (10th edition). Stedman's Medical Dictionary (27th edition) and Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (10th edition) should be used as standard references. Refer to drugs and therapeutic agents by their accepted generic or chemical names, and do not abbreviate them. Use code numbers only when a generic name is not yet available. In that case, supply the chemical name and a figure giving the chemical structure of the drug. Capitalize the trade names of drugs and place them in parentheses after the generic names. To comply with trademark law, include the name and location (city and state in USA; city and country outside USA) of the manufacturer of any drug, supply, or equipment mentioned in the manuscript. Use the metric system to express the units of measure and degrees Celsius to express temperatures, and SI units rather than conventional units.

Submit manuscript electronically via Editorial Manager: http://spine.edmgr.com/ in the following order:

1) Title page. Include on the title page (a) complete manuscript title; (b) authors' full names, highest academic degrees, and affiliations; (c) name and address for correspondence, including fax number, telephone number, and e-mail address; (d) address for reprints if different from that of corresponding author; (e) sources of support that require acknowledgment; (f) any other acknowledgment the authors wish to include. Please verify that the spelling, order, and affiliation of each author is correct. The Journal is not responsible for published misspelled names due to author error.

The title page must also include disclosure of funding received for this work from any of the following organizations: National Institutes of Health (NIH); Wellcome Trust; Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI); and other(s).

2) Structured Abstract and Key Words. The following subheads must be included in the Structured Abstract: Study Design, Objective, Summary of Background Data, Methods, Results, Conclusions. Do not cite references in the abstract, and limit the use of abbreviations and acronyms. The structured abstract must be no more than 300 words. List ten to fifteen Key Words. Authors are instructed to select the Level of Evidence of their study using the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine Table (http://www.cebm.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/CEBM-Levels-of-Evidence-2.1.pdf)

3) Key Points. Please provide 3-5 Key Points of the main points of the article, in full sentences.

4) Mini Abstract/Précis. Submit a short description of the manuscript to appear in the Table of Contents, consisting of approximately three sentences and of no more that 50 words. Place on a separate page, following the structured abstract and key points/ words.

5) Text. Organize the manuscript into four main headings: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion. For Clinical Trials and similar study designs, please adhere to the CONSORT statement (www.consort-statement.org/). For manuscripts describing quality improvement studies, please follow the Standards for QUality Improvement Reporting Excellence (SQUIRE) guidelines at http://www.squire-statement.org/guidelines. Define abbreviations at first mention in text and in each table and figure. If a brand name is cited, supply the manufacturer's name and address (city and state/country).

A Running Head should appear in the top right hand corner of every page. The running head should be no more than three to five words from the title, and should NOT include the authors' names.

Terms. Do not use the term hardware. Acceptable substitutions include implants and instrumentation. Constructs or montage may be used if the reference is to a particular pattern of fixation points for the instrumentation.

Abbreviations. For a list of standard abbreviations, consult the Council of Biology Editors Style Guide (available from the Council of Science Editors, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814) or other standard sources. Write out the full term for each abbreviation at its first use unless it is a standard unit of measure.

6) References. The authors are responsible for the accuracy of the references. Key the references (double-spaced) at the end of the manuscript. Cite references in text in the order of appearance. Do not link the references to the text. Cite unpublished data, such as papers submitted but not yet accepted for publication or personal communications, in parentheses in the text. If there are more than three authors, name only the first three authors and then use et al. Refer to the List of Journals Indexed in Index Medicus for abbreviations of journal names, or access the list at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/tsd/serials/lji.html. Sample references are given below:

Journal article

1. Guiot BH, Khoo LT, Fessler RG. A minimally invasive technique for decompression of the lumber spine. Spine 2002;27:432-8.

Book chapter

2. Sweitzer S, Arruda J, DeLeo J. The cytokine challenge: Methods for the detection of central cytokines in rodent models of persistent pain. In: Kruger L, ed. Methods in Pain Research. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2001:109-32.

Entire book

3. Atlas SW. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain and Spine. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2001.


4. Epi Info [computer program]. Version 6. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 1994.

Online journals

5. Friedman SA. Preeclampsia: A review of the role of prostaglandins. Obstet Gynecol [serial online]. January 1988;71:22-37. Available from: BRS Information Technologies; McLean, VA. Accessed December 15, 1990.


6. CANCERNET-PDQ [database online]. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute; 1996. Updated March 29, 1996.

World Wide Web

7. Gostin LO. Drug use and HIV/AIDS [JAMA HIV/AIDS web site]. June 1, 1996. Available at: http://www.ama-assn.org/special/hiv/ethics. Accessed June 26, 1997.

7) Tables and Figures:

Tables. Create tables using the table creating and editing feature of your word processing software (e.g., Word, WordPerfect). Do not use Excel or comparable spreadsheet programs. Tables should not exceed page width of 41 picas or 17.5 cm. Supply tables together in a separate file. Cite tables consecutively in the text, and number them in that order. Key each on a separate sheet, include the table title, appropriate column heads, and explanatory legends (including definitions of any abbreviations used). Do not embed tables within the body of the manuscript. They should be self-explanatory and should supplement, rather than duplicate, the material in the text. No more than five tables are acceptable. Additional tables and tables that exceed 2 pages in length are subject to publication on Article Plus. (See below for more information.)

Digital Figures. All electronic art can be submitted through the Web-based tracking system http://spine.edmgr.com/

A) Creating Digital Artwork

  1. Learn about the publication requirements for Digital Artwork: http://links.lww.com/ES/A42
  2. Create, Scan and Save your artwork and compare your final figure to the Digital Artwork Guideline Checklist (below).
  3. Upload each figure to Editorial Manager in conjunction with your manuscript text and tables.

B) Digital Artwork Guideline Checklist
Here are the basics to have in place before submitting your digital artwork:


Supplemental PowerPoint Slides
Authors are now able to submit two to three summary slides with their articles. These slides must be created in PowerPoint and should summarize the article’s key points regarding the study findings. One or two images, tables or key graphics can also be included. The PowerPoint slides should be uploaded as Supplemental Digital Content (SDC). The technical specifications and instructions for uploading SDC are described below.

Supplemental Digital Content

Supplemental Digital Content (SDC): Authors may submit SDC via Editorial Manager to LWW journals that enhance their article's text to be considered for online posting. SDC may include standard media such as text documents, graphs, audio, video, etc. On the Attach Files page of the submission process, please select Supplemental Audio, Video, or Data for your uploaded file as the Submission Item. If an article with SDC is accepted, our production staff will create a URL with the SDC file. The URL will be placed in the call-out within the article. SDC files are not copy-edited by LWW staff, they will be presented digitally as submitted. For a list of all available file types and detailed instructions, please visit http://links.lww.com/A142.

SDC Call-outs
Supplemental Digital Content must be cited consecutively in the text of the submitted manuscript. Citations should include the type of material submitted (Audio, Figure, Table, etc.), be clearly labeled as "Supplemental Digital Content," include the sequential list number, and provide a description of the supplemental content. All descriptive text should be included in the call-out as it will not appear elsewhere in the article.
We performed many tests on the degrees of flexibility in the elbow (see Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, which demonstrates elbow flexibility) and found our results inconclusive.

List of Supplemental Digital Content
A listing of Supplemental Digital Content must be submitted at the end of the manuscript file. Include the SDC number and file type of the Supplemental Digital Content. This text will be removed by our production staff and not be published.
Supplemental Digital Content 1.wmv

SDC File Requirements
All acceptable file types are permissible up to 10 MBs. For audio or video files greater than 10 MBs, authors should first query the journal office for approval. For a list of all available file types and detailed instructions, please visit http://links.lww.com/A142.

No more than eight (8) figures are acceptable (e.g. Fig 1A and Fig 1B are considered two (2) figures). Please make sure the figure does not have the patient name or institution name on it so it is blinded for peer review.

1. Format: Electronic art should be created/scanned and saved and submitted either as a TIFF (tagged image file format), an EPS (encapsulated postscript) file, or a PPT (Power Point) file. Please note that artwork generated from office suite programs such as Corel Draw and MS Word and artwork downloaded from the Internet (JPEG or GIFF files) cannot be used.

2. Sizing and Resolution: Line art must have a resolution of at least 1200 dpi (dots per inch), and electronic photographs, radiographs, CT scans, and scanned images must have a resolution of at least 300 dpi. Figures should be sized to fit either 1 column (20 picas/8.4 cm), 1 1/2 columns (30 picas/12.65 cm OR 2 columns (41 picas/17.5cm) on a page. Sizing and Resolution can be checked through the free Sheridan Digital art checker at http://dx.sheridan.com/onl

3. Fonts: If fonts are used in the artwork, they must be converted to paths or outlines or they must be embedded in the files. Fonts must be 8 pt and be sized consistently throughout the artwork. The best font to use is Helvetica.

Figure legends. Legends must be submitted for all figures. They should be brief and specific less than 150 characters or approximately 50 words. List figure legends on a separate page at the end of the manuscript text.

Color figures. The journal accepts for publication color figures that will enhance an article. Authors who submit color figures will receive an estimate of the cost for color reproduction. If they decide not to pay for color reproduction, they can request that the figures be converted to black and white at no charge. The authors may also request that their color figures be posted online only.

Manuscript Checklist
(before submission for author reference only)

     To top of page

1. Title page

2. Structured Abstract (300 words)

3. 3-5 Key Points

4. Mini Abstracts (50 words)

5. Manuscript text with line and page numbers (2700 words for regular submissions; 750 words for Case Reports)

6. References double-spaced and cited in the order of appearance

7. Tables (word, word perfect)

8. Figure legends

9. Figures (eps, tiff, ppt)

10. Copyright Form fully completed and signed by each author

Letter to the Editor: Letters to the Editor also can be submitted through Editorial Manager. Letters should reference the title and authors of the article the letter is about and should be no longer than 200 words with no more than 3 references. Letters to the Editor are sent to the article author's for response. A copyright transfer form must be signed by the Letter to the Editor author. If a response to the letter to the editor is submitted, then all the authors of the article must sign the copyright transfer form as well. It is the Editor-in-Chief's final decision on whether letters to the editor and the responses are published.

Special Sections of Spine

Manuscripts submitted to these sections of Spine should adhere to the same basic guidelines as for regular manuscript submission except where it is otherwise noted. A structured abstract is optional but should be kept with the journal's format. A mini abstract or précis is required to be included in the table of contents. Please include 3 to 5 key points in bulletin form and 10 to 15 key words.

Controversy. Two authors write on opposing sides of an issue related to spine care. Each weighs the relative advantages and disadvantages of their approach. Each author should be limited to 1000 words. A brief introductory paragraph should be included, which explains what the controversial issue is and what the two arguable sides are.
Coordinating Editor: Robert F. McLain, MD

Historical Perspective. Includes papers on specific milestones and pioneers who were instrumental in the development of spine research and the understanding of spinal disorders. All contributions should be thoughtful, well-reviewed, and documented by the proper citation of original works or secondary sources. It is recommended that authors get in contact with the university or institution where the subject of the paper worked or made noteworthy achievements. The departments of medical history at the various universities are very helpful in providing information, documentation, and original pictures. (limit to 750 words)
Coordinating Editor: Jiri Dvorak, MD

Imagery. This is a regular section of Spine, featured at the beginning of every issue and devoted to the artistic and imaginative qualities of the readers. Spine invites drawings, illustrations, and photographs with a brief explanation by the contributor. Please send two copies of the artwork to Spine. These contributions will not be returned.
Coordinating Editor: William A. Abdu, MD

Spine Journal Club. Includes critical examinations of the literature that forms the basis for medical practice. A related goal is to increase the sensitivity of the readership to research methodology. Invited are critiques on any topic related to spinal disorders. Critiques may be on one or more thematically related papers that have influenced thinking and/or practice in the care of patients with spinal disorders. The reviews should briefly summarize the articles in question and then critique their strengths and limitations. This should be followed by a discussion of whether current practice patterns reflect appropriate interpretation of the findings. Directions for future research or questions posed by the paper(s) may also be suggested. Great opportunity to work with junior colleagues, residents, and trainees! (limit to 750 words)
Coordinating Editor: Jeffrey N. Katz, MD

Legal Forum. Offers a neutral forum for addressing issues involving back and spine impairments in light of developments in law and public policy. These articles include comments from various lawyers from around the world in areas that relate to pain, disability, and psychosocial issues related to the spine. (limit to 750 words)
Coordinating Editor: Peter D. Blanck, PhD, JD

Spine Update. The aim is to provide the readership with a balanced view of a topic, highlighting recent trends or new information. The Update should be clear and concise, using headings and illustrations (if appropriate) and including only those references that are pertinent to the text, preferably no more than 10. (limit to 500 words)
Coordinating Editor: Robert D. Fraser, MD

Young Investigator Research Award. This award is open to all scientists in all disciplines who are within 8 years of completion of their MD, DO, DC, or PhD. Required is a statement and a description, signed by all the authors, of what specific portions the Young Investigator worked on. The statement should highlight that the Young Investigator did most of the work and was involved in all aspects of the study, including planning, data collection, and writing. All submissions will undergo a formal peer review process by a pre-selected committee. The manuscript must comply with submissions to Spine <http://spine.edmgr.com/>. It is preferred that the independently performed research is of an original idea by the investigator as opposed to the execution of an idea from a senior mentor.
Coordinating Editor: Scott D. Boden, MD

After Acceptance

Open access
LWW’s hybrid open access option is offered to authors whose articles have been accepted for publication. With this choice, articles are made freely available online immediately upon publication. Authors may take advantage of the open access option at the point of acceptance to ensure that this choice has no influence on the peer review and acceptance process. These articles are subject to the journal’s standard peer-review process and will be accepted or rejected based on their own merit.

Authors of accepted peer-reviewed articles have the choice to pay a fee to allow perpetual unrestricted online access to their published article to readers globally, immediately upon publication. The article processing charge for Spine is $3,100. The article processing charge for authors funded by the Research Councils UK (RCUK) is $3,900. The publication fee is charged on acceptance of the article and should be paid within 30 days by credit card by the author, funding agency or institution. Payment must be received in full for the article to be published open access.

Authors retain copyright
Authors retain their copyright for all articles they opt to publish open access. Authors grant LWW a license to publish the article and identify itself as the original publisher.

Creative Commons license
Articles opting for open access will be freely available to read, download and share from the time of publication. Articles are published under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommerical No Derivative 3.0 which allows readers to disseminate and reuse the article, as well as share and reuse of the scientific material. It does not permit commercial exploitation or the creation of derivative works without specific permission. To view a copy of this license visit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0.

Compliance with NIH, RCUK and other research funding agency accessibility requirements
A number of research funding agencies now require or request authors to submit the post-print (the article after peer review and acceptance but not the final published article) to a repository that is accessible online by all without charge. As a service to our authors, LWW identifies to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) articles that require deposit and transmits the post-print of an article based on research funded in whole or in part by the National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, or other funding agencies to PubMed Central. The revised Copyright Transfer Agreement provides the mechanism. LWW ensures that authors can fully comply with the public access requirements of major funding bodies worldwide. Additionally, all authors who choose the open access option will have their final published article deposited into PubMed Central.

RCUK funded authors can choose to publish their paper as open access with the payment of an article process charge, or opt for their accepted manuscript to be deposited (green route) into PMC with an embargo.

With both the gold and green open access options, the author will continue to sign the Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA) as it provides the mechanism for LWW to ensure that the author is fully compliant with the requirements. After signature of the CTA, the author will then sign a License to Publish where they will then own the copyright.

It is the responsibility of the author to inform the Editorial Office and/or LWW that they have RCUK funding. LWW will not be held responsible for retroactive deposits to PMC if the author has not completed the proper forms.

FAQ for open access

Page proofs and corrections. Corresponding authors will receive electronic page proofs to check the copyedited and typeset article before publication. Portable document format (PDF) files of the typeset pages and support documents (e.g., reprint order form) will be sent to the corresponding author via e-mail. Complete instructions will be provided with the e-mail for downloading and printing the files and for faxing the corrected pages to the publisher. Those authors without an e-mail address will receive traditional page proofs. It is the author's responsibility to ensure that there are no errors in the proofs. Changes that have been made to conform to journal style will stand if they do not alter the author's meaning. Only the most critical changes of the accuracy of the content will be made. Changes that are stylistic or are a reworking of previously accepted material will be disallowed. The publisher reserves the right to deny any changes that do not affect the accuracy of the content. Authors may be charged for alterations to the proofs beyond those required to correct errors or to answer queries. Proofs must be checked carefully and corrections faxed within 24 to 48 hours of receipt, as requested in the cover letter accompanying the page proofs.

Publisher's contact. Fax corrected page proofs, reprint order forms, and any other related materials to Journal Production Editor, Spine, 703-204-2736.

Reprints. Authors will receive a reprint order form and a price list with the page proofs. Reprint requests should be faxed to the publisher with the corrected proofs, if possible. Reprints are normally shipped 6 to 8 weeks after publication of the issue in which the item appears. Contact the Reprint Department, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 351 West Camden Street, Baltimore, MD 21201 with any questions.