MJA instructions for authors - MJA style

The following style is used for articles published by The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA).

Overall style

  • Use abbreviations sparingly (spell out at first use).
  • Use minimal capitalisation.
  • Give all measurements in standard international (SI) units (except blood pressure, which is in mmHg).
  • Provide reference intervals when reporting laboratory findings.
  • Refer to drugs by their generic (not their proprietary) names.
  • Provide absolute numbers (with denominators) in addition to percentages. Do not use percentages if the denominator is < 100, and round up percentages to one decimal place for denominators of 100–1000, or two decimal places for denominators greater than 1000.
  • Report P values to two decimal places unless P < 0.01, in which case use three decimal places. Do not express P values as anything smaller than P < 0.001.


  • The accuracy of references is the responsibility of authors.
  • Compile a reference list at the end of the text.
  • Do NOT submit references in endnote or footnote format as our automated systems cannot currently process these.
  • Use the "Vancouver style" and abbreviate journal names as in PubMed. Give surnames and initials of all authors (or only the first three authors with "et al" if there are more than four) and cite first and last page numbers in full (these two requirements are slightly different from the Vancouver style). If relevant, specify the type of reference (eg, a letter, an editorial, an abstract, a supplement).
  • Cite personal communications and unpublished articles in the text, not in the reference list and obtain written permission from people cited, giving their titles, positions and affiliations.
  • For all non-journal references, including conference publications, newspaper articles and electronic media, please consult the National Library of Medicine's Citing Medicine for the required detail and format.
  • For internet references, URLs alone are unacceptable; please include all conventional details as far as possible (ie, author, title, publishing body, place of publication, year of publication) and the date that you accessed the web page (as web content may change or be updated). Home page URLs are also unacceptable unless the information referenced is contained on that page — the URL of the final destination must be given.
  • Tip for accurate journal references: Typing errors often render references inaccurate. For accurate references to biomedical journals, check the reference in PubMed’s Single Citation Matcher and copy the PubMed citation into your document. The PubMed citation is not in the Vancouver style, but it is acceptable for new submissions to the MJA.
  • See examples of references.


  • Tables should be provided as editable tables constructed using the tables function in your word processor, not as images or as PDFs. Table cells should not contain multiple items of data separated by hard returns.
  • Provide a meaningful title for each table, with enough information for it to stand alone.
  • Simplify the information in tables as much as possible.
  • Keep the number of columns to a minimum and column headings short.
  • Information in tables should not be duplicated in the text.
  • Tables should be designed to fit comfortably onto a Journal page.


  • Preferred image file formats for graphs and diagrams are Microsoft Excel, Adobe Illustrator or editable EPS.
  • As graphs will be redrawn or modified inhouse to comply with MJA style, please provide the original graphs in Excel or Illustrator format or export them as editable EPS files from the software in which they were created, and also provide the data from which the graphs were generated, in a separate table.

Photographs and other illustrations

  • Photographs and other images must be provided as separate image files in their native electronic formats, not as images embedded in a Word or PDF document
  • Provide a letter of permission from the copyright holder for the use of images from other publications.
  • Ensure you provide a title or caption that explains the figure in sufficient detail for it to stand alone.


  • Preferred file formats for photographs are uncompressed JPEG (JPEG images must be saved at their maximum size), TIFF, or Adobe Photoshop.
  • Photographs must be of high resolution. Generally speaking, an acceptable image must be at least 8.75cm across when rendered at 300 dots per inch (dpi).
  • If the photograph is small to begin with, it cannot be turned into a high-resolution image by increasing the resolution in image editing software, as this will produce a blurry or pixelated image when published.
  • Photomicrographs require internal scale markers. State the original magnification and stain.
  • If arrows or other labels are required on your photograph, please supply two copies: one with labels (to indicate position) and one without (for the MJA to apply standard labelling styles for publication).

Other illustrations

  • The preferred file format for illustrations and flowcharts is EPS.
  • Flowcharts may be submitted as PowerPoint or Word documents.


  • Your appendices will be published online only as PDFs and will not be edited, formatted or proofread by us.
  • Please supply each of these as a finalised PDF, exactly as you wish them to appear online.
  • Please name them in the form  “Appendix 1”, “Appendix 2” etc, and ensure that each is referenced at an appropriate place in the text (followed by “online at”), and in correct numerical order.
  • Please note that the MJA will take no responsibility for the content of online appendices.