Information for Authors

Authors are encouraged to submit their manuscripts electronically via Manuscript Central. Click HERE for more information.

The Journal of Forensic Sciences publishes original material in the following categories:

Paper* – full-length research report.

Technical Note* – description of a technical aspect of a field or issue, report on a procedure or method, or work on validation of techniques or methodologies. Usually shorter than Papers.

Case Report* – usually brief description or analysis of an unusual case or a small series of cases.

Letter – usually a discussion of a previously published item, or commentary on the Journal of Forensic Sciences (JFS) or an issue of interest to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). Publication of letters is at the sole discretion of the Editor. Letters commenting on previously published items are ordinarily shared with the original authors to afford them an opportunity to respond to the commentary.

Response to Letter – usually author(s) response to a Letter commenting on their published work.

Editorial or Invited Commentary – commentary, invited by the Editor.

Book Review – review of a book or other publication of interest to the forensic sciences or closely related fields.

*Papers, Technical Notes and Case Reports are subjected to full peer-review.


Previously published material is not acceptable. Material from previously published work must be quoted exactly and adequately referenced. Use of previously published figures, tables, etc., require the written permission of the copyright owner of the prior work. Manuscripts submitted as Papers, Technical Notes or Case Reports are accepted for consideration with the understanding that their essential contents, including text, tables and figures, have neither been previously published nor concurrently submitted to another journal. Work must not be submitted to another journal unless and until the JFS formally declines to publish it. The above-discussed prohibitions do not apply to abstracts or summaries published in connection with professional meetings, or press reports resulting from formal or oral presentation.

JFS reserves the right of first consideration for publication of any work accepted for presentation at an annual meeting of the AAFS, and authors must not submit their work elsewhere for a period of six months following the annual meeting at which the work was presented. If a manuscript has not been accepted for publication, or is not under active consideration by JFS, at the end of the six-month period, the interest of JFS in the manuscript automatically terminates.

Upon acceptance for publication, manuscripts become the copyright property of AAFS. Author(s) of manuscripts accepted for publication must complete a Copyright Assignment Form. This is available under the Instructions and Form Tab in Manuscript Central. This form must be signed by all authors, indicating complete understanding of the work and concurrence in it. Signature(s) of authors also serve to transfer copyright in the work to AAFS. It is understood that for certain work by employees of U.S. or foreign governments, whose manuscripts have been prepared as part of their official duties, copyright is not available in the United States.

Acceptance of manuscripts submitted for publication is the responsibility of the Publications Committee of AAFS, the Editorial Board of JFS, and the Editor, and occurs only after review of the manuscript in accordance with current operating rules. Review of submitted manuscripts may be expected to be completed within 90 days.

Authors, members of the JFS Editorial Board, invited guest reviewers, the Editor, and others involved in the publication process are expected to conform to established policies concerning confidentiality, conflicts of interest, release of accepted manuscripts prior to actual publication, and the protection of anonymity of patients and victims [J Forensic Sci 1995;40(3-6), 1996;41(1-6), 1997;42(1-6), 1998;43(1-6), and in selected issues thereafter; and see below].

JFS requires that authors submitting manuscripts for peer-review (Papers, Technical Notes and Case Reports) have obtained required approval(s) for submission from authorized principals and/or internal reviews in their laboratories and/or organizations.

Submission of Manuscripts

JFS requirements for manuscripts are generally in accordance with the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. These requirements may be found published in one of the following: 1) J Forensic Sci 1995 Mar-Nov;40(2-6), 1996;41, 1997;42, 1998;43 and selected issues thereafter; 2) JAMA 1993 May 5;269:2282-6; 3) N Engl J Med 1991 Feb 7;324(6):424-8; 4) Can Med Assoc J 1991;144(6):673-80; 5) BMJ 1991 Feb 9;302(6772):338-41; or 6) Med J Aust 1991;155(3):197-200.

The following integrates the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals as they apply to the JFS with the specific requirements of JFS.

Manuscripts must be written in English and submitted via the Journal of Forensic Science Manuscript Central site: Figures can be saved in a neutral data format such as TIFF or EPS with a resolution of at least 300 dpi. Please do not use PowerPoint, Harvard Graphics, or PC Paint and do not import graphics into Word. Scanned figures (only in TIFF format) should have a resolution of 300 dpi (halftone) or 600 to 1200 dpi (line drawings) in relation to the reproduction size. More detailed information on the submission of electronic artwork can be found at

Manuscript pages should be double-spaced, and include the text, acknowledgments, and references. Tables, figures and figure legends are uploaded as separate files on the Manuscript Central site. Figure legends should be included on a page separate from the figures themselves. If the Abstract is not typed directly into Manuscript Central please submit that as a separate upload.

The submitted manuscript should be accompanied by a cover letter, as described below, and permissions to reproduce previously published material or to use illustrations that may identify human subjects. Authors should keep copies of everything submitted. Please note that the Editor reserves the right to publish the manuscript in a category different from that specified by the authors upon submission of the original manuscript.

The cover letter should also specify, if applicable, information about possible duplicate publication problems, financial or other relationships that could give rise to conflicts of interest, and any other information the Editor may need to make an informed decision in accordance with established policies and practices. The manuscript must be accompanied by copies of any permissions to reproduce published material, to reproduce illustrations or report sensitive personal information about identifiable persons, or to name persons for their contributions.

If color artwork is submitted, and if the authors believe color art is necessary to the presentation of their work, the cover letter should indicate that one or more authors or their institutions are prepared to pay the substantial costs associated with color art reproduction.

A signed Copyright Assignment From is required for manuscript publication and needs to be signed by all authors. These signatures signifythat all required approvals and/or reviews have been obtained.

The Editor reserves the right to request explicit, written clarification of individual author’s roles, their concurrence in the manuscript content, or any other issue that must be resolved prior to accepting the manuscript for peer-review.

JFS does not accept submissions of manuscripts from third parties without the explicit, written permission of the author(s).

Prior and Duplicate Publication

As noted, JFS does not consider for publication a paper on work that has already been reported in a published paper or that is described in a paper submitted or accepted for publication elsewhere in print or in electronic media. This policy does not preclude consideration of a paper that has been rejected by another journal or of a complete report that follows publication of a preliminary report, usually in the form of an abstract. Nor does it prevent consideration of a paper that has been presented at a scientific meeting if not published in full in a proceedings or similar publication.

Press reports of the meeting will not usually be considered as breaches of this rule, but such reports should not be amplified by additional data or copies of tables and illustrations.

When submitting a paper, an author should always make a full statement to the Editor about all submissions and previous reports that might be regarded as prior or duplicate publication of the same or very similar work. Copies of such material should be included with the submitted paper to help the Editor decide how to deal with the matter.

Multiple publication – that is, the publication more than once of the same study, irrespective of whether the wording is the same – is rarely justified. Secondary publication in another language is one possible justification, providing the following conditions are met: (1) the editors of both journals concerned are fully informed; the editor concerned with secondary publication should have a photocopy, reprint or manuscript of the primary version, (2) the priority of the primary publication is by a publication interval of at least two weeks, (3) the paper for secondary publication is written for a different group of readers and is not simply a translated version of the primary paper; an abbreviated version will often be sufficient, (4) the secondary version reflects faithfully the data and interpretations of the primary version, and (5) a footnote on the title page of the secondary version informs readers, peers, and documenting agencies that the paper was edited, and is being published, for a national audience in parallel with a primary version based on the same data and interpretations. A suitable footnote might read as follows: “This article is based on a study first reported in the [title of journal, with full reference].”

Multiple publication other than as defined above is unacceptable. If authors violate this rule, they may expect appropriate editorial action to be taken.

Preparation of Manuscript

Use double-spacing throughout the manuscript, including title page, abstract, text, acknowledgments, references, individual tables and legends. Number pages consecutively, beginning with the title page. Put the page number in the upper right-hand corner of each page.

The cover letter should give statements about where the work has been presented at professional meetings, and should identify any sources of support.


All persons designated as authors should 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 interpretation of data, to b) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, and on 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 who are 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 Uniform Requirements. Group members who do not meet these criteria should be listed, with their permission, under Acknowledgments or in an appendix (see Acknowledgments).

Abstract and Keywords

Abstracts should be no more than 150 words. This journal 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. The word ABSTRACT should be in capitals and bolded.

Authors should provide a minimum of six keywords that will assist indexers in cross-indexing the article and that may be published with the abstract. The first keyword must be Forensic Science; the second and subsequent words should assist abstracters in properly categorizing the work so that it will be found in journal article data bases by interested researchers. Use terms from the medical subject headings (MeSH) list of Index Medicus; if suitable MeSH terms are not yet available for recently introduced terms, present terms may be used. Frequently, the second keyword represents a subfield of forensic science, e.g. forensic anthropology, forensic pathology, or DNA typing. In manuscripts on DNA typing, every locus involved in the study should be listed as a separate keyword. Do not use abbreviations for keywords, e.g., polymerase chain reaction, not PCR; gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, not GCMS.


The text of observational and experimental articles is usually – but not necessarily – divided into sections with headings. JFS does not use 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 bolded and subheadings italicized.


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


Describe your selection of the observational or experimental subjects (patients or laboratory animals, including controls) clearly. Identify the methods, apparatus (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.


When reporting experiments on human subjects, indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional or regional) or with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 1983. Do not use patient’s names, initials, or hospital numbers, especially in illustrative material. When reporting experiments on animals, indicate whether the institution’s or the National Research Council’s guide for, or any national law on, the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.


Describe statistical 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). 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. Report losses to observation (such as dropouts from a clinical trial). 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. Specify any general-use computer programs used.

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 non-technical uses of technical 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 illustrations. 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 Acknowledgements section immediately precedes the Reference list. 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 Acknowledgements header should be italicized.

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.

Acknowledgements of financial support should appear as footnotes to the title of the paper on the Title Page.


The heading of the reference list should be “References,” and it should contain only published or in-press references cited by number in the text. Published abstracts (duly noted as being abstracts), printed manufacturers’ protocols or instructions, and world wide web site URLs 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 or figures, cite references by Arabic numeral in parentheses. Within the reference list, number the references 1., 2., 3., etc.

References in the reference list should be in accordance with Uniform Requirements – style of the examples given below. This style is based with slight modifications on the formats used by the U.S. National Library of Medicine in Index Medicus. The titles of journals should be abbreviated according to the style used in Index Medicus. Consult List of Journals Indexed in Index Medicus, published annually as a separate publication by the library and as a list in the January issue of Index Medicus.

The references must be verified by the author(s) against the original documents. Examples of correct forms of references are given below.

Articles in Journals

1. Standard journal article

(List all authors, but if the number exceeds six, give six followed by et al.) You CH, Lee KY, Chey RY, Menguy R. Electrogastrographic study of patients with unexplained nausea, bloating and vomiting. Gastroenterology 1980 Aug;79(2):311-4.

As an option, if a journal carries continuous pagination throughout a volume, the month and issue number may be omitted.

You CH, Lee KY, Chey RY, Menguy R. Electrogastrographic study of patients with unexplained nausea, bloating and vomiting. Gastroenterology 1980;79:311-4.

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;1:352-5.

2. Organization as author

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.

3. No author given

Coffee drinking and cancer of the pancreas [editorial]. BMJ 1981;283:628.

4. Article not in English

Massone L, Borghi S, Pestarino A, Piccini R, Gambini G. Localisations palmaires purpuriques de la dermatite herpetiforme. Ann Dermatol Venereol 1987;114:1545-7.

5. Volume with supplement

Magni F, Rossoni G, Berti F. BN-52021 protects guinea-pig from heart anaphylaxis. Pharmacol Res Commun 1988;20 Suppl 5:75-8.

6. Issue with supplement

Gardos G, Cole JO, Haskell D, Marby D, Paine SS, Moore R. The natural history of tardive dyskinesia. J Clin Psychopharmacol 1988;8(4 Suppl):31S-37S.

7. Volume with part

Hanly C. Metaphysics and innateness: a psychoanalytic perspective. Int J Psychoanal 1988;69(Pt 3):389-99.

8. Issue with part

Edwards L, Meyskens F, Levine N. Effect of oral isotretinoin on dysplastic nevi. J Am Acad Dermatol 1989;20(2 Pt 1):257-60.

9. Issue with no volume

Baumeister AA. Origins and control of stereotyped movements. Monogr Am Assoc Ment Defic 1978;(3):353-84.

10. No issue or volume

Danoek K. Skiing in and through the history of medicine. Nord Medicinhist Arsb 1982;86-100.

11. Pagination in roman numerals

Ronne Y. Ansvarsfallen Blodtransfusion till fel patient. Vardfacket 1989;13:XXXVI-XXVII.

12. Type of article indicated as needed

Spargo PM, Manners JM. DDAVP and open heart surgery [letter]. Anaesthesia 1989;44:363-4.

13. Article containing retraction

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.

14. Article retracted

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.

15. Article containing comment

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.

16. Article commented on

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.

17. Article with published erratum

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

18. Personal author(s)

Colson JH, Armour WJ. Sports injuries and their treatment. 2nd rev. ed. London: S. Paul, 1986.

19. Editor(s), compiler as author

Diener HC, Wilkinson M, editors. Drug-induced headache. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1988.

20. Organization as author and publisher

Virginia Law Foundation. The medical and legal implications of AIDS. Charlottesville: The Foundation, 1987.

21. Chapters in a book

Weinstein L, Swartz MN. Pathologic properties of invading microorganisms. In: Sodeman WA Jr, Sodeman WA, editors. Pathologic physiology: mechanisms of disease. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1974;457-72.

22. Conference proceedings

Vivian VL, editor. Child abuse and neglect: a medical community response. Proceedings of the First AMA National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect; 1984 Mar 30-31; Chicago. Chicago: American Medical Association, 1985.

23. Conference paper

Harley NH. Comparing radon daughter dosimetric and risk models. In: Gammage RB, Kaye SV, editors. Indoor air and human health. Proceedings of the Seventh Life Sciences Symposium; 1984 Oct 29-31; Knoxville (TN). Chelsea (Ml): Lewis, 1985;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): Univ. 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.

Other Published Material

27. Newspaper article

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

28. Audiovisual

AIDS epidemic: the physician’s role [videorecording]. Cleveland (OH): Academy of Medicine of Cleveland, 1987.

29. Computer file

Renal system [computer program]. MS-DOS version. Edwardsville (KS): MediSim, 1988.

30. World Wide Web address or URL

31. Legal material

Toxic Substances Control Act: Hearing on S. 776 Before the Subcomm. on the Environment of the Senate Comm. on Commerce. 94th Cong., 1st Sess. 343 (1975).

32. Map

Scotland [topographic map]. Washington: National Geographic Society (US), 1981.

33. Book of the Bible

Ruth 3:1-18. The Holy Bible. Authorized King James version. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1972.

34. Dictionary and similar references

Ectasia. Dorland’s illustrated medical dictionary. 27th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1988;527.

35. Classical material

The Winter’s Tale: act 5, scene 1, lines 13-16. The complete works of William Shakespeare. London: Rex, 1973.

Unpublished Material

36. In press

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

Additional Information and Reprint Requests

A section of the manuscript, immediately following the reference list, entitled “Additional information and reprint requests:”, should include the full name, title and mailing address of the corresponding author. If reprints will not be available from the author(s), entitle this section: “Additional Information – Reprints Not Available from Author.”


Tables should be submitted as separate files. Do not submit tables as photographs. Number tables with Arabic numerals consecutively in the order of their first citation in the text and supply a brief title for each. 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. For footnotes use the following symbols, 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. 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 Editor, 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 deposited with an archival service, such as the National Auxiliary Publication Service in the United States, or be made available by the authors, or be available at a web site. In that event an appropriate statement will be added to the text. Submit such tables for consideration with the paper.

Illustrations (Figures)

Figures should be saved in a neutral data format such as TIFF or EPS with a resolution of 300 dpi. Please do not use Power Point, Harvard Graphics, or PC Paint and do not import graphics into Word. Scanned figures (only in TIFF format) should have a resolution of 300 dpi (halftone) or 600 to 1200 dpi (line drawings) in relation to the reproduction size. More detailed information on the submission of electronic artwork can be found at

Figures should be numbered consecutively (in Arabic numerals) according to the order in which they have been 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.

JFS does not routinely publish color photographs or other color artwork. If a color photograph (or other color artwork) is considered absolutely essential to the published presentation of the work, authors must be prepared to pay the substantial costs associated with color art reproduction and printing. JFScan provide authors with estimates of these costs in advance upon request.

As a general rule, JFS will keep original figures and photographs in the manuscript file during revision(s). If figures are added or deleted during the review / revision cycle(s), authors should clearly indicate to the Editor what changes were made, and any changes to the figure numbering scheme. It is never a good idea to supply JFS with only one publication-quality set of figures and/or photographs. There is always a chance that these items can be lost in the mail.

Legends for Illustrations

Figure legends should be supplied as a separate file, double-spaced, with Arabic numerals corresponding to the illustrations. When symbols, arrows, numbers or letters are used to identify parts of the illustrations, identify and explain each one clearly in the legend. Explain the internal scale and identify the method of staining in photomicrographs.

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. Generally, avoid abbreviations in the title, abstract and keywords. 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

Letters concerning a previously published item should be entitled “Commentary On … full title of published item … J Forensic Sci … citation …”The citation should follow Uniform Requirements … style. Letters concerning other matters should begin with a brief descriptive title. The salutation “Sir or Madam:” should follow the title and precede the body of the letter.

Responses to Letters should be entitled “Author’s Response. ”The salutation “Sir or Madam:” 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 and Replies.


Authors will have the opportunity to order reprints of their published work. The order form is included with the final page proofs that are sent to authors for approval prior to actual publication. Corresponding authors should attend to this matter during the publication process if they want reprints. It is generally difficult to supply reprints at a later time.

Policies of the Journal of Forensic Sciences

Confidentiality (adapted from the ICMJE Statement on Confidentiality)

Manuscripts should be reviewed with due respect for authors’ confidentiality. In submitting their manuscripts for review, authors entrust editors with the results of their scientific labor and creative effort, upon which their reputation and career may depend. Authors’ rights may be violated by disclosure or by revelation of the confidential details of the review of their manuscript.

Reviewers also have rights to confidentiality, which must be respected by the editor. Confidentiality may have to be breached if there are allegations of fraud or dishonesty but otherwise must be honored.

The editor should not disclose information about manuscripts, including their receipt, their content, their status in the review process, their criticism by reviewers, or their ultimate fate. Such information should be provided only to authors themselves and reviewers.

The editor makes clear to reviewers that manuscripts sent for review are privileged communications and are the private property of the authors. Therefore, reviewers and other people involved in the editorial process should respect the authors’ rights by not publicly discussing the authors’ work or appropriating their ideas before the manuscript is published. Reviewers are not allowed to make copies of the manuscript for their files and are prohibited from sharing it with others, except with the permission of the editor. Reviewers’ identities are confidential, and will not be revealed to authors or to others. Reviewers’ comments may be shared with other reviewers of the same manuscript.

Conflicts of Interest (adapted from the ICMJE Statement on Conflict of Interest)

A conflict of interest for a given manuscript exists when a participant in the peer-review and publication process – author, reviewer or Editor – has ties to activities that could inappropriately influence his/her judgment, whether or not judgment is in fact affected. Financial relationships with industry (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria or expert testimony), either directly or through immediate family, are generally considered the most important conflicts of interest. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic or research competition, and intellectual passion.

Public trust in the peer-review process and the credibility of published work depend in part on how well conflict of interest is handled during writing, peer-review and editorial decision making. Bias can often be identified and eliminated by careful attention to the scientific methods and conclusions of the work.

Financial relationships and their effects are less easily detected than other types of conflicts of interest. Participants in peer-review should disclose their conflicting interests, and the information should be made available so that others can judge their effects for themselves.

Authors are responsible for recognizing and disclosing financial or other conflicts of interest that might bias their work when they submit a manuscript or letter. They should acknowledge in the manuscript all financial support for the work and other financial or personal connections to the work.

Submission of manuscripts or commentary primarily for the purpose of bolstering an author’s position as an expert witness in legal proceedings is not acceptable.

Reviewers should disclose to the editor any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should disqualify themselves from specific manuscripts if they believe it to be appropriate. The editor must be made aware of conflicts of interest to interpret the reviews and judge whether the reviewer should be disqualified. Reviewers must not use knowledge of the work gained during the review process, before publication of the work, to further their own interests.

The editor should have no personal financial involvement in any of the issues that he/she may be called upon to judge. Published manuscripts and letters should include a description of all financial support and any conflict of interest that, in the editor’s judgment, readers should know about.

Protection of the Anonymity of Patients / Victims

Detailed descriptions or photographs of individual patients or victims are sometimes central to documentation in a published item. Every effort must be made to protect the anonymity of such patients or victims and their families. Masking of the eyes in photographs may not be adequate protection. Changing data about a patient or victim is never an acceptable method of protecting anonymity.

It is recognized that cases or situations forming the basis of items submitted to JFS may be matters of public record as a result of public court proceedings, news reports, etc. For purposes of publication in JFS, however, emphasis should be placed on medical and/or scientific aspects and information that should form the basis for publication. No information that might violate the privacy of people should be included unless it can be justified as absolutely necessary to the medical and/or scientific presentation.

Release of Full Text of Accepted Manuscripts Prior to Publication

Requests for the release of accepted Papers, Technical Notes or Case Reports prior to their actual publication are occasionally made by the media or by attorneys involved in courtroom proceedings. The full release of accepted, but as yet unpublished, peer-reviewed items by authors is not permitted, except by permission of the editor and the publisher. “Full release” means a complete copy of the manuscript, or any other type of reproduction of the complete work including all data. This prohibition does not, and is not intended to, apply to short summaries (even in the form or brief news releases), or brief abstracts for or from meeting presentations.

Requests for the pre-publication release of accepted items will be carefully considered, and generally honored for legitimate reasons in accordance with the procedure specified below. Authors must obtain the permission of JFS and of Blackwell Publishing, and must provide JFS with a legitimate reason for early release.

Requests should be made in writing to JFS, and provide the reasons for the request. If the approvals of JFS and of Blackwell Publishing are forthcoming, Blackwell Publishing will produce, for a one-time fee (approximately the same as the cost of reprints), the copies that are to be released. Because many manuscripts go through several iterations of modification, correction and revision, this procedure helps insure that the actually accepted version of the work, as it will appear in print, is released.