The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

Preparing the Manuscript

For guidance on preparing a scientific manuscript, the Journal recommends 2 manuals:

For further study, please see the special issue devoted to Research and Publication in Respiratory Care (Respir Care 2004;49(10):1121-1272).

Required Sections of Manuscript

Title Page

Title page should include the following:

Full title
For all authors:

Full first and last name (including middle initials)

Highest academic or professional degrees (but not including honorific designations other than FAARC)

Institutional affiliation and location (division, department, hospital, school, university, city, state)

The name and location of the institution where the study was performed

Name, date, location of any meeting or forum in which research data have been previously presented in poster or other sessions, and the name of the author presenting such data

Sources of financial support (grant funding sources, etc)

Conflict-of-interest statement for each author: Disclosures of potential conflicts of interest should be for the previous 2-year period. Authors should provide full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest (whether or not related to the content of the paper). Type of relationship (eg, consultant, speaker, employee, etc) and monetary amount need not be specified. For each author, if no financial or other potential conflicts of interest exist, a statement to this effect should be included.


For Original Research articles, provide a structured abstract that includes the following 4 sections: Background (the issue addressed in the study), Methods (how the study was performed, including the number of patients), Results (brief summary of the data), and Conclusions (the take-home message). Abstracts for Special Articles, Review Articles, Case Reports, and Conference Proceedings should be in the form of a narrative paragraph. Please limit the abstract to less than 300 words (150 words for Case Reports). The abstract must not contain any facts or conclusions that do not also appear in the body text.

Please include the abstract in the manuscript file that you upload into Manuscript Central; you will also be asked to paste the abstract into the abstract window during the submission process.

Key Words

Include with the abstract a list of 6 to 10 key words or phrases that best reflect the content of your manuscript. Key words can be selected from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH terms) used by MEDLINE. [Note: You will also be asked to provide 3 categories in RESPIRATORY CARE Manuscript Central. These are more general terms that are used in the selection of reviewers and do not have to match the terms used in your manuscript.]


Double-space the text and number the pages. Center and bold the 1st level headings; flush-left and bold any 2nd level headings. Indent and bold any 3rd level headings.


References must be listed and numbered in the sequence in which each referenced document is first cited in the text, tables, and figures. Authors are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the citations. Regarding the use of citation management software in your word processing files, The EndNote Styles collection contains the style for RESPIRATORY CARE. Authors can download this style and designate it as the Output Style from within Endnote, which allows formatting of the manuscripts using EndNote. Because EndNote always adds the references to the very end of the document, it may be necessary to cut and paste them to the correct place in the manuscript. EndNote formats the references single-spaced, so it is also necessary to double space the references using your word processing software.

The following examples show the Journal’s style for the most common types of references.

Manuscript accepted but not yet published:
Hess DR. New therapies for asthma. Respir Care (2008, in press).
(One copy of manuscripts cited as “in press” should be uploaded onto Manuscript Central as supplementary material.)

Article in a journal carrying pagination throughout the volume; for citations with multiple authors, list the first 6 authors, and then “et al”: (Exception: in the case of a paper with a total of 7 authors, list all seven.)
Stoller JK, Kester L, Roberts VT, Orens DK, Babic MD, Lemin ME, et al. An analysis of features of respiratory therapy departments that are avid for change. Respir Care 2008;53(7):871-884.

Corporate author journal article:
Pérez-Padilla R, Vázquez-Garcia JC, Márquez MN, Menez AMB on behalf of the PLATINO Group. Spirometry quality-control strategies in a multinational study of the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Respir Care 2008;53(8):1054-1080.

Article in journal supplement (journals differ in numbering and identifying supplements. Supply information sufficient to allow retrieval):
Shields MD, Bush A, Everard ML, McKenzie S, Primhak R; British Thoracic Society Cough Guideline Group.
BTS guidelines: Recommendations for the assessment and management of cough in children. Thorax 2008;63(Suppl 3):iii1-iii15.

Abstract (citing abstracts is discouraged, but permissible; those more than 3 years old should not be cited):
Brown MK, Willms DC. A comparison of heliox consumption in three ventilators (abstract). Respir Care 2007;52(11):1610.

Editorial in a journal:
Doherty DE. Documentation of airflow obstruction is essential to confirm the diagnosis of COPD: are handheld spirometers in an office setting valid? (editorial). Respir Care 2008;53(4):429-430.

Editorial with no author given:
Allergic rhinitis: common, costly, and neglected (editorial). Lancet 2008;371(9630):2057.

Letter in journal:
Labeau SO, Vandijck DM, Vandewoude KH, Blot SI. Obstacles to implementing evidence-based guidelines (letter). Respir Care 2008;53(4):505-506; author reply 506.

Book (specific pages should be cited whenever reference is made to specific statements or other content):
White GC. Respiratory notes: respiratory therapist’s pocket guide. Philadelphia: FA Davis; 2008: 230.

Corporate author book:
Committee on Implementation of Antiviral Medication Strategies for an Influenza Pandemic, Institute of Medicine. Antivirals for pandemic influenza: guidance on developing a distribution and dispensing program. Washington DC: National Academies Press; 2008.

Chapter in book with editor(s):
Clini EM, Trianni L, Ambrosino N. Nutrition in the ICU. In: Goldstein N, Goldstein RS, editors.  Ventilatory support for chronic respiratory failure. Lung Biology in Health and Diseases, Vol 225. New York: Informa; 2008:401-413. 

Internet Material:

Static Internet material should be listed in the references and used only when a printed citation is not available (such as when citing an online journal; always include the digital object identifier [DOI]; if available). Because the citation is static, there is no need to include the access date.

Ehrenstein BP. Pandemic influenza: are we prepared to face our obligations? Critical Care 2008;12:165. doi:10.1186/cc6938. 

Published articles ahead of print should be cited in the same manner, including the DOI, or if that is lacking, add “[epub ahead of print]”.  Update the pagination data when available upon final publication of the cited paper.

Frequently changing Internet material used only as a background source can be cited in the text, using only the URL and access date, and does not need to be added to the reference list, eg, “….as recommended by the American Lung Association (, Accessed July 16, 2008) …”

General news sources can be cited as a URL within the text, with the date last accessed. 

(Aisen CF. Taking action against hospital acquired infection. Medical News Today: July 2, 2008. Available at Accessed July 16, 2008.)

Unpublished Work:

If research has not yet been accepted for publication, it should not be cited in the reference list but may be cited in full parenthetically within the text as a personal communication, Example: “Recently, Jones et al found this treatment effective in 45 of 83 patients (Jones HI, personal communication, 2008).” You must obtain written permission from the author to cite his or her unpublished data. Permission to cite unpublished work as a personal communication ensures that this information is not misrepresented, either in error or intentionally, or included without the knowledge and approval of the individuals providing the information.  Reference to your own unpublished work that has not been accepted for publication should not be included in the reference list but must be mentioned as follows: “Recently, we found that this type of aerosol is no more effective than placebo (unpublished data).”

Optional Sections of Manuscript

Original Figures

Use only illustrations that clarify and augment the text. All the figures must be called-out in the text. Number figures consecutively as Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.

Figures must be uploaded to Manuscript Central as separate digital files and NOT embedded in the manuscript file. Each figure should be prepared as a separate digital file. Figures with multiple parts should be submitted as a single file. See Tips for Uploading Files and Images, Manuscript Central, Resources: Instructions and Forms.

Figures must be submitted in the proper file format and with the necessary resolution, preferably at the submission stage, but definitely on submission of the revised manuscript.

Acceptable file formats are .TIF and .EPS. (.JPG files will upload into the system, but are not acceptable for production.) .PPT files can be uploaded but might not convert to HTML and PDF proof, as required. It is advisable to convert Excel (.XLS) charts and graphs into a .TIF image before you upload. Please do not submit compressed (.ZIP) files to Manuscript Central. They will not properly convert.

Acceptable resolutions are:

Radiographs should show only the areas of interest, clearly show the point being made, contain no patient identifiers, and should all be sized the same.

A signed letter of consent must accompany any photograph whose subject could be identified. An example Use of Photo Consent Form is available from Manuscript Central, Resources: Instructions and Forms.

Identify stains and magnifications for all photomicrographs.

Arrows, numbers, or letters to identify parts of the figure must be explained in the figure legend.

Figure Legends

Every figure must have a legend (a title and/or description explaining every component of the figure).  The legend should be self-sufficient and allow the reader to understand the figure without reference to the text.

The legend should be in the text file, at the very end of the file, after the references. Do not include the legend as part of the figure file. When you upload figures into Manuscript Central, you are asked to also insert (copy/paste) the figure legends into the program to enhance the reviewers’ examination of your paper.

Borrowed Figures

To include previously published figures, you must obtain permission from the original copyright holder. Figures must be of professional quality, and a copy of the article from which the figure came should be available. Borrowed figures should be scanned at 1200 dpi and saved in .TIF format.


To include borrowed (previously published) figures and tables, the author is responsible for obtaining written permission from the original copyright holder. The author must also provide reference citation so that appropriate credit can be acknowledged in accordance with copyright law.

Copyright is most often held by the journal or book in which the figure or table originally appeared.  The creativity, style, and format in which the facts/data are presented to the reader are protected by copyright; the facts themselves are in the public domain. Therefore, permission is required to reproduce a table or figure directly, or with minor adaptations, from a journal or book, but permission is not required if data are extracted and presented in a new format. In that case, cite the source of the data as in the following example: “Adapted from Reference 23.”

An example Request for Permission to Republish Previously Published Material is available from Manuscript Central, Resources: Instructions and Forms. It is the author’s responsibility to complete this form and submit it to the original publisher to secure permission. Permission may involve a fee payable to the original publisher. A few publishers also require the borrower to obtain permission from the original author. Payment of any fees required for borrowed material included in unsolicited manuscripts is the responsibility of the author.

Fax permissions granted to 206-223-0563, upload them with your manuscript files, or e-mail them to Copies of all applicable permissions must be on file at RESPIRATORY CARE before a manuscript goes to press.


Tables must be uploaded to Manuscript Central as a separate file and not embedded in the manuscript file. Tables should be created and inserted into a Word document using the “Insert Table” function in your word processing software. (To be sure that your table captions will be included in the PDF view of Manuscript Central, add your captions to the actual Word document. The converter will not add a caption to a Word file [.DOC, .RTF], but only to .TIF, .EPS, and .JPG files.)

A table should be self-explanatory and should not duplicate information in the text. Tables should be numbered and cited consecutively in the text. All abbreviations and symbols should be explained in notes at the bottom of the table. For footnotes use the following symbols, superscripted, in the table body, in the following order: *, †, ‡, §, ||, ¶, **, ††.

With “±” values, indicate whether the value is a standard deviation or standard error of the mean. Note: It is rarely correct to report standard error values when describing a study’s findings. Consult a statistician if this is in doubt.


The names of persons helping the authors, but not eligible for author status, along with their contribution and institutional affiliation, may be mentioned in the Acknowledgments section. You must obtain written permission from all individuals before they are named in the Acknowledgments section, because inclusion of names can be taken as signifying the individuals’ approval of the paper’s contents. You must notify the editorial office that you have obtained such permission.


Create equations as normal text. Do not use Microsoft Word’s equation creation function or other mathematics software.

Statistical Analysis

For manuscripts that report complex statistics, the Editor recommends statistical consultation (or at least expertise); a biostatistician may review such manuscripts during the review process.

In the Methods section:

Identify the statistical tests used to analyze the data.
Indicate the prospectively determined P value that was taken to indicate a significant difference.
Cite only textbook and published article references to support your choices of tests.
Identify any statistics software used.

In the Results section:

Note that following the AMA manual of style: a guide for authors and editors, 10th edition. New York: Oxford University Press; 2007, page 889, the Journal does not use a zero to the left of the decimal point, because “…statistically it is not possible to prove or disprove the null hypothesis completely when only a sample of the population is tested (P cannot equal 0 or 1, except by rounding).”

Report actual P values rather than thresholds: not just whether the P value was above or below the significant-difference threshold. Example: write “P = .18”, not “P > .05” or “P = NS.”

P should be expressed to 2 digits for P ≥ .01, because expressing P to more than 3 digits does not add useful information. If P < .001, it should be expressed as P < .001, rather than P < .0001 or P = .00001 for example. 

If P > .99, P = .999 for example, it should be expressed as P > .99.

Units of Measurement

Always report the units of measurement according to current scientific usage. Standard units of measurement and scientific terms can be abbreviated without explanation (eg, L/min, mm Hg, pH, O2). Use the units and conversion factors.

Abbreviations and Symbols

Use sparingly; refer to the standard abbreviations and symbols. Do not invent new abbreviations for terms that have long had standard abbreviations. Use an abbreviation only if the term occurs 4 or more times in the manuscript. Abbreviate the term parenthetically at first mention in the text; thereafter use only the abbreviation. Example: arterial blood gas (ABG).

Pulmonary terms and symbols

Refer to a report of the ACCP-STS Joint Committee on Pulmonary Nomenclature which is adapted from the document Pulmonary terms and symbols (originally published in Chest 1975;67[5]:583–93).

Drugs and Commercial Products

Precisely identify all drugs and chemicals, doses, and methods of administration.

Use generic names instead of trade (proprietary) names for both drugs and equipment.

At first mention, trade names may be given parenthetically after generic names, including the name and location (city, state, country) of the manufacturer. For equipment, provide model numbers (if available) and the manufacturer’s suggested price if the study has cost implications. Example: “Pleural pressure was measured using 2 balloon-tipped catheter systems connected to 2 differential pressure transducers (143PC03D; Micro Switch, Honeywell, Freeport, IL).”

Ventilator Modes

The Journal endorses adoption of standard terminology to describe ventilator modes. The preferred nomenclature and a glossary of terms is available.

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