Double-spacing should be used throughout the manuscript, including the abstract, keywords, highlights, text, references, table legends and figure legends.

In addition to the information requested above, the cover letter should indicate where the work has been presented at professional meetings (including meeting dates and location) and should identify any sources of financial support and/or potential conflicts of interest.

Back to Author Information


All persons designated as authors must qualify for authorship. The order of authorship should be a joint decision of the coauthors. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content.

Authorship credit should be based only on substantial contributions to: a) conception and design or analysis and interpretation of data, b) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, and c) final approval of the version to be published. Conditions a), b), and c) must all be met. Participation solely in the acquisition of funding or the collection of data does not justify authorship. General supervision of the research group is not sufficient for authorship. Any part of an article critical to its main conclusions must be the responsibility of at least one author.

JFS may require authors to justify the assignment of authorship. Increasingly, multi-center trials or work are attributed to a corporate author. All members of the group named as authors, either in the authorship position below the title or in a footnote, should fully meet the criteria for authorship as defined in the ICMJE Recommendations. Group members who do not meet these criteria should be listed, with their permission, under Acknowledgments (see Acknowledgments).

To designate equal first co-authorship contributions, use the † symbol with the following notation: †Authors contributed equally. Equal first co-authorship must be agreed to by the other authors of the article. First co-authors must include in their cover letter details of their contributions to the paper.

Title Page

JFS assigns manuscripts for review without identifying the authors; therefore, the title page must be uploaded as a separate file (Note: The title page should NOT be included in the manuscript file itself). The title page should contain the manuscript's title, a list of authors, each author's highest academic degree(s), affiliation(s) including full address(es), any source of funding, any disclaimers, any conflicts of interest, whether the information has been presented; if so, at what meeting, where and when (month/dates/year) and any acknowledgments.    


To facilitate the double-blind peer review process, the acknowledgments section should be included on the title page. Here, specify contributions that need acknowledging but do not justify authorship, such as general support by a department chair or acknowledgments of technical help. Persons who have contributed intellectually to the paper but whose contributions do not justify authorship may be named and their function or contribution described, for example, "scientific adviser," "critical review of study proposal," "data collection," or "participation in clinical trial." Such persons must have given their permission to be named. The Acknowledgments header should be bolded, i.e., Acknowledgments.

Authors are responsible for obtaining written permission from persons acknowledged by name, because readers may infer their endorsement of the data and conclusions. Technical help should be acknowledged in a paragraph separate from those acknowledging other contributions.

Acknowledgments of financial support should appear as footnotes to the title of the paper on the title page.

Search Engine Optimization    

Search Engine Optimization can help drive usage, readership and citations of your article to raise the visibility of your research. Whether an article is being indexed by the academic search engines is crucial; however, it is also important where an article lands in the ranked search results list as that ranking will greatly impact the visibility of your research. 

Various search engines, e.g., Google Scholar and PubMed, are the principal ways that others will locate your published article. Optimizing your abstract and keywords for the search engines will allow your article to be discovered, read, used and cited in others' work. Search engines also use the abstract and keywords to rank your article; therefore, it is important to give extra attention to these two components when preparing a submission. Try to include and repeat the key descriptive phrases that are relevant to your article and if you can, imagine phrases that a researcher might search for in your paper. It is recommended to include three to four key phrases in your abstract.

To ensure your article is discoverable and to increase its visibility, it is equally important to have the correct title – ensure that the key phrases are included within the first 65 characters of the title, if possible, and that the title is unambiguous. For example in a paper on "women's health" include women's health and not health. 

More details on search engine optimization can be found at Search Engine Optimization Guidelines.


The abstract should be no more than 250 words. JFS uses unstructured abstracts; however, the abstract should include the following – background, brief description of methods and results (give specific data and their statistical significance, if possible), and conclusions. Emphasize new and important aspects of the study or observations. References should be avoided, but if essential, then cite the author(s) and year(s). Please also avoid the use of uncommon initials. The word Abstract should be in upper/lowercase letters and bolded.


Authors should provide a minimum of six keywords or key phrases that will allow your article to be found by the commonly used search engines. Please include the three to four key phrases from the abstract. The keywords should include the most important words that are relevant to your article as well as the forensic specialty, for example forensic anthropology, facial recognition, DNA analysis/testing, interpretation of DNA mixtures, forensic entomology, forensic pathology, forensic toxicology, novel psychoactive substances, fire debris analysis, shoeprint identification, etc. If an abbreviation is commonly used, please include both the word(s) and the abbreviation, e.g., polymerase chain reaction and PCR, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-mass spectrometry and LCMSMS.

The word KEYWORDS should be in all capitals and bolded.


Highlights are important. They have been proven to broaden an article's readership and significance, by helping to increase the discoverability of the article via search engines.

Highlights should concisely convey how your manuscript impacts forensic science, now or in the future. They should describe the essence of the research and include the important methodological insights (especially if novel) and/or results and conclusions. It is vital to keep both your readers and your research firmly in mind as you write your highlights. Do not directly restate the abstract or summarize the main findings.  

Highlights are mandatory for the JFS manuscript categories bulleted below and must be provided at the time of original manuscript submission:

  • Commentaries
  • Critical Reviews
  • Papers
  • Technical Notes
  • Case Reports     

Highlights should be included in your main document after the Abstract and Keywords. Please include 3 to 5 bullet points (maximum 100 characters per bullet point, including spaces). Each bullet point should be a full sentence and should outline the key contributions of your manuscript and how it impacts forensic science. The Highlights header should be in upper/lowercase letters and bolded, i.e., Highlights.


The text of observational and experimental articles is usually – but not necessarily – divided into sections with headings. JFS uses an "Introduction" heading. The introductory text begins on the first text page. Other typical headings include Methods (or Materials and Methods), Results, and Discussion. Long articles may need subheadings within the sections to clarify their content, especially the Results and Discussion sections. Other types of articles, such as Case Reports, are likely to need different headings and subheadings. Generally, avoid overuse of subheadings, especially in the Methods section. Headings should be in all caps and bolded, subheadings should be in upper and lowercase and un-bolded and italicized, and sub-sub-headings should be in upper and lowercase and normal text (no bold or italicize).


In JFS, the text component of the manuscript begins with an introduction and an "Introduction" heading. State the purpose of the article and summarize the rationale for the study or observation. Give only strictly pertinent references, and do not review referenced articles extensively or include data or conclusions from the work being reported.

Materials and Methods

Describe your selection of the observational or experimental subjects (human subjects, patients or laboratory animals, including controls) clearly. Identify the methods, equipment (manufacturer's name and address in parentheses), and procedures in sufficient detail to allow other workers to reproduce the results. Give references to established methods, including statistical methods (see below); provide references and brief descriptions for methods that have been published but are not well known; 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. Generally, avoid the overuse of subheadings in the Methods section. Describe the methods and materials in narrative style, not in the style of a laboratory procedure handout.

Describe the data analysis methods with enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to verify the reported results. When possible, quantify findings and present them with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals).  Methods should be validated, and figures of merit provided as appropriate to the study.

Avoid sole reliance on statistical hypothesis testing, such as the use of p values, which fails to convey important quantitative information. Discuss eligibility of experimental subjects. Give details about randomization. Describe the methods for and success of any blinding of observations. Report treatment complications. Give numbers of observations. References for study design and statistical methods should be to standard works (with pages stated) when possible, rather than to papers in which the designs or methods were originally reported.

Put a general description of methods in the Methods section. When data are summarized in the Results section, specify the statistical methods used to analyze them. Restrict tables and figures to those needed to explain the argument of the paper and to assess its support. Use graphs as an alternative to tables with many entries; do not duplicate data in graphs and tables.

Avoid improperly or informally defined terms in statistics, such as "random" (which implies a randomizing device), "normal," "significant," "correlations," and "sample." Define statistical terms, abbreviations and most symbols.


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


Emphasize the new and important aspects of the study and the conclusions that follow from them. Do not repeat in detail data or other material given in the Introduction or the Results section. Include in the Discussion section the implications of the findings and their limitations, including implications for future research. Relate the observations to other relevant studies. Link the conclusions with the goals of the study, but avoid unqualified statements and conclusions not completely supported by your data. Avoid claiming priority and alluding to work that has not been completed. State new hypotheses when warranted, but clearly label them as such. Recommendations, when appropriate, may be included.

In shorter manuscripts, such as those intended to be Technical Notes or Case Reports, the Results and Discussion sections should be combined.


The heading of the reference list should be "References," and it should contain only published or forthcoming references cited by number in the text. Published abstracts (duly noted as being published in a Proceedings), printed manufacturers' protocols or instructions, and internet documents may be validly cited as references. Personal communications and submitted manuscripts are not valid references.  Personal communications should be cited in the text, in parentheses, at the appropriate location. The References header should be bolded.

Number references consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text. Identify references in tables and legends by Arabic numerals. References cited only in tables or legends should be numbered in accordance with a sequence established by the first identification in the text of the particular table or figure. Within the text, tables and figures, cite references by Arabic numeral in square brackets [  ]. Within the Reference list, number the references 1., 2., 3., etc.  

References in the Reference list should be cited in Vancouver style, in accordance with ICMJE Recommendations. This style is based with slight modifications on the formats used by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). The titles of journals should be abbreviated according to the NLM Catalog ( Author(s) must verify the references against the original documents. Examples of correct citation format for various types of references are given below.   

Articles in Journals 

1. Standard Journal Article(List all authors; however, IF the number of authors exceeds six, list six authors followed by et al.). NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). 

Blakey LS, Sharples GP, Chana K, Birkett JW. Fate and behavior of gunshot residue – A review. J Forensic Sci. 2018;63(1):9–19. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.13555.

Goate AM, Haynes AR, Owen MJ, Farrall M, James LA, Lai LY, et al. Predisposing locus for Alzheimer's disease on chromosome 21. Lancet. 1989;11(4):352–5.

2. Standard Journal Article Available Online; However, Not Yet Published in an Issue. (List all authors; however, if the number of authors exceeds six, list six authors followed by et al. Topoleski JJ, Christensen AM. Use of a gelatin-based consolidant to preserve thermally-altered skeletal remains. J Forensic Sci. doi: 10.1111/1556-402.14019. Epub 2019 Feb 08.

3. Open Access Journal Article. Author Name, Article Title, Journal Name, Year of Publication, Volume Number and Last Six Digits of the DOI. (List all authors; however, if the number of authors exceeds six, list six authors followed by et al.) NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Trafimow D. The sufficiency assumption of the reasoned approach to action. Cogent Psychol. 2015;2:1014239. doi: 10.1080/23311908.2015.1014239.   

4. Organization as Author. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). The Royal Marsden Hospital Bone-Marrow Transplantation Team. Failure of syngeneic bone-marrow graft without preconditioning in post-hepatitis marrow aplasia. Lancet. 1977;2:742–4.

5. No Author Given. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Coffee drinking and cancer of the pancreas [editorial]. Br Med J. 1981;283:628.

6. Article not in English. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Revenstorf V. Der nachweis der aspirierten ertränkungsflüssigkeit als kriterium des todes durch ertrinken [The proof of aspirated drowning fluid as a criterion of death by drowning]. Vierteljahresschr Gerichtl Med. 1904;27:274–9.

7. Volume with Supplement. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Magni F, Rossoni G, Berti F. BN-52021 protects guinea-pig from heart anaphylaxis. Pharmacol Res Commun. 1988;20(Suppl 5):S75–8.

8. Issue with Supplement. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Gardos G, Cole JO, Haskell D, Marby D, Paine SS, Moore R. The natural history of tardive dyskinesia. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1988;8(Suppl 4):31S–37S.

9. Issue with Part. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Edwards L, Meyskens F, Levine N. Effect of oral isotretinoin on dysplastic nevi. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1989;20(Pt 1):257–60.

10. Issue with No Volume. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Joyal CC, Carpentier J, Martin C. Discriminant factors for adolescent sexual offending: On the usefulness of considering both victim age and sibling incest. Child Abuse Negl. 2016 Apr;54:10–22. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2016.01.006.

11. No Issue or Volume. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Danoek K. Skiing in and through the history of medicine. Nord Medicinhist Arsb. 1982;86–100.

12. Pagination in Roman Numerals. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Renier D. Syndrome du bébé secoué [Shaken baby syndrome]. Journal de Pédiatrie et de Puériculture. 1989;13(2):XXVI–XXVII.

13. Type of Article Indicated as Needed. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Spargo PM, Manners JM. DDAVP and open-heart surgery [letter]. Anaesthesia. 1989;44:363–4.

14. Article Containing Retraction. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Shishido A. Retraction notice. Effect of platinum compounds on murine lymphocyte mitogenesis [Retraction of Alsabti EA, Ghalib ON, Salem MN. In: Jpn J Med Sci Biol. 1979;32:53–65]. Jpn J Med Sci Biol. 1980;33:235–7.

15. Article Retracted. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Alsabti EA, Ghalib ON, Sale MN. Effect of platinum compounds on murine lymphocyte mitogenesis [Retracted by Shishido A. In: Jpn J Med Sci Biol. 1980;33:235–7]. Jpn J Med Sci Biol. 1979;32:53–65.

16. Article Containing Comment. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Piccoli A, Bossatti A. Early steroid therapy in IgA neuropathy: Still an open question [comment]. Nephron. 1989;51:289–91. Comment on: Nephron. 1988;48:12–7.

17. Article Commented On. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Kobayashi Y, Fujii K, Hiki Y, Tateno S, Kurokawa A, Kamiyama M. Steroid therapy in IgA neuropathy: A retrospective study in heavy proteinuric cases [see comments]. Nephron. 1988;48:12–7. Comment in: Nephron. 1989;51:289–91.

18. Article with Published Erratum. NOTE: Provide the Full Citation and the DOI (if available). Schofield A. The CAGE questionnaire and psychological health [published erratum appears in Br J Addict. 1989;84:701]. Br J Addict. 1988;83;761–4.

Books and Other Monographs

19. Personal Author(s). Include the Page Numbers of Your Citation. Colson JH, Armour WJ. Sports injuries and their treatment, 2nd edn. London, U.K.: Saul Publishers; 1986. p. 45–6.

20. Editor(s), Compiler as Author. Include the Page Numbers of Your Citation. Diener HC, Wilkinson M, editors. Drug-induced headache. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag; 1988. p. 35–44.

21. Organization as Author and Publisher. Include the Page Numbers of Your Citation. Virginia Law Foundation. The medical and legal implications of AIDS. Charlottesville, VA: The Foundation; 1987. p. 45–9.

22. Chapters in a Book. Include the Page Numbers of Your Citation. Weinstein L, Swartz MN. Pathologic properties of invading microorganisms. In: Sodeman WA Jr, Sodeman WA, editors. Pathologic physiology: Mechanisms of disease. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 1974. p. 45–54.

23. Conference Proceedings. Include the Page Numbers of Your Citation. Harley NH. Comparing radon daughter dosimetric and risk models. In: Gammage RB, Kaye SV, editors. Proceedings of the Seventh Life Sciences Symposium; 1984 Oct 29-31; Knoxville, TN. Chelsea, Ml: Lewis Publications; 1985. p. 69–78.

24. Scientific or Technical Report Akutsu T. Total heart replacement device. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, National Heart and Lung Institute; 1974 Apr. Report No.: NIH-NHLI-691 218514.

25. Dissertation Youssef NM. School adjustment of children with congenital heart disease [dissertation]. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh; 1988.

26. Patent Harred JF, Knight AR, McIntyre JS, inventors. Dow Chemical Company, assignee. Epoxidation process. US patent 3,654,317. 972 Apr 4.


27. Internet Document. Include Title, as Well as URL and Date Accessed. American Cancer Society. Cancer facts and figures – 2010. Accessed 10 Jan 2021.

Other Published Material

28. Newspaper Article Rensberger B, Specter B. CFCs may be destroyed by natural process. The Washington Post. 1989 Aug 7; Sect. A:2 (col. 5).

29. Audiovisual AIDS epidemic: The physician's role [videorecording]. Cleveland, OH: Academy of Medicine of Cleveland; 1987.

30. Computer File Renal system [computer program]. MS-DOS version. Edwardsville, KS: MediSim; 1988.

31. Legal Material Toxic Substances Control Act: Hearing on S. 776 Before the Subcommittee on the Environment of the Senate Committee on Commerce. 94th Cong., 1st Sess. 343 (1975).

32. Map Scotland [topographic map]. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society; 1981.

33. Book of the Bible Ruth 3:1–18. The Holy Bible. Authorized King James version. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 1972.

34. Dictionary and Similar References Ectasia. Dorland's illustrated medical dictionary, 27th edn. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 1988. p. 527.

35. Classical Material The Winter's Tale: act 5, scene 1, lines 13-16. The complete works of William Shakespeare. London, U.K.: Rex; 1973.

Unpublished Material

36. In Press Lillywhite HD, Donald JA. Pulmonary blood flow regulation aquatic snake. Science. In press. 

Personal Communication

37. Personal communications and submitted manuscripts are not valid references. Personal communications should be cited in the text, in parentheses, at the appropriate location. (J. Smith, personal communication, May 17, 2018).


Tables should be numbered consecutively (in Arabic numerals) in the order in which they are first cited in the manuscript text. Tables should be included after the References in the manuscript file, with a brief table legend provided for each table (e.g., TABLE 1   Table legend text.; TABLE 2   Table legend text); however, if the table(s) include complex information as Excel spreadsheets they should be uploaded as a separate file(s). Do not submit tables as TIFF, PNG or PDF files. Give each column a short or abbreviated heading. Place explanatory matter in footnotes, not in the heading. Explain in footnotes all nonstandard abbreviations that are used in each table. Use the following symbols for footnotes, in this sequence: *,†,‡,§,((,¶,**,††,‡‡.

Identify statistical measures of variations such as standard deviation and standard error of the mean. Do not use internal horizontal and vertical rules. Shading of table columns and rows should be avoided. Be sure each table is cited in the text.

If you use data from another published or unpublished source, obtain permission and acknowledge fully. The use of too many tables in relation to the length of the text may produce difficulties in the layout of pages.

The EIC and/or Associate Editors, upon accepting a paper, may recommend or even require as a condition of acceptance, that additional tables containing important backup data too extensive to publish be included as Supplemental Information (see below). In that event, an appropriate statement will be added to the manuscript text. Submit such tables for consideration with the paper as separate files.


Color figures are included at no cost. Figures should be numbered consecutively (in Arabic numerals) according to the order in which they are first cited in the text. If a figure has been published, acknowledge the original source and submit written permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the material. Permission is required irrespective of authorship or publisher, except for documents in the public domain. Submission of colored figures, if available, is strongly encouraged.

More detailed information on the submission of electronic artwork can be found at:

Figure Legends

Figure legends should be provided on the last page of the manuscript file, double-spaced, with Arabic numerals corresponding to the respective figure, e.g., FIGURE 1   Figure legend text.;FIGURE 2   Figure legend text. When symbols, arrows, numbers or letters are used to identify parts of the figure, identify and explain each one clearly in the legend. In addition, explain the internal scale and identify the method of staining in photomicrographs.

Figure Legends should be self-explanatory and the reader should be able to review the figure without having to read the manuscript text. One sentence legends are rarely complete or informative.

Supplemental Information

This information may include tables, figures and appendices that include data supporting the results included in the manuscript. They should be designated as such by the authors and should be uploaded as separate files. Please note that the EIC and/or Associate Editors reserve the right to request such information before acceptance and to designate submitted data as Supplemental Information based on reviewers' comments. 

Units of Measurement 

Measurements of length, height, weight and volume should be reported in metric units (meter, kilogram, or liter or their decimal multiples). Temperatures should be given in degrees Celsius. Blood pressures should be given in millimeters of mercury. All hematologic and clinical chemistry measurements should be reported in the metric system in terms of the International System of Units (SI). In some types of manuscripts (e.g., engineering), the use of non-metric units is permitted if they are the norm in that field or professional area.

Abbreviations and Symbols

Terms and nomenclature in all disciplines should be in accordance with the current standards and lists approved or adopted by appropriate national or international committees or organizations, such as the International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee, I.U.P.A.C., I.U.B., the Enzyme Commission, the Committee on International Standardization of Gene Nomenclature (ISGN), etc. Use only standard abbreviations. The full term for which an abbreviation stands should precede its first use in text unless it is a standard unit of measurement. Liter(s) is abbreviated L, not l. Micro should be abbreviated with µ, not u.

Letters to the Editor-in-Chief

Letters concerning a previously published item should be entitled "Commentary on: Full title of published article. J Forensic Sci citation." The citation should follow the ICMJE Recommendationsstyle. Letters concerning other matters should begin with a brief descriptive title. The salutation "Editor:" should follow the title and precede the body of the letter.

Responses to Letters should be entitled "Author's Response." The salutation "Editor:" should follow the title and precede the body of the letter.

The name(s) and affiliation(s) of the writer(s) should appear at the end of Letters, as well as the Responses to Letters.


Authors will have the opportunity to order reprints of their published work. Currently Wiley Publications is responsible for responding to reprint requests.

Revision Submissions     

Should a paper be returned to the author(s) for revisions, the edits must be made clear in the revised document (either by using a different color text or by highlighting the changes in yellow), and the cover letter should explain where changes have been made or provide suitable justification for why changes have not been made. This approach will assist the EIC, Associate Editors and peer-reviewers in assessing revised manuscripts. Authors must prepare a list of detailed responses to the reviewers' comments and include these as a separately uploaded file with their revision in Manuscript Central.

When responding to a set of referee reports, we ask that authors go through them point-by-point in a letter written specifically for the referees. Authors should list the referees' individual points and then explain the changes made to answer each issue and why they think they have satisfied the referees' concerns. Clearly show the revisions in the text, either by using a different color text or by highlighting the changes in yellow. This is in addition to describing the changes in your point-by-point cover letter.

Back to Author Information


Dr. Michael A. Peat, JFS Editor-in-Chief

Brenda K. Peat, JFS Managing Editor