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Instructions for contributors

Instructions for contributors

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Manuscript Submission

Manuscript Preparation

Peer Review and Revision Process

Post-Acceptance and Production

Journal Policies

Open Access

Publication Ethics

Aims and scope

CNS Spectrums covers all aspects of the clinical neurosciences, neurotherapeutics and neuropsychopharmacology, particularly those pertinent to the clinician and clinician investigator. The journal features focused, in-depth reviews, perspectives, and original research articles. New therapeutics of all types in psychiatry, mental health, and neurology are emphasized, especially first in human studies, proof of concept studies, and translational basic neuroscience studies. Subject coverage spans the full spectrum of neuropsychiatry, focusing on those crossing traditional boundaries between neurology and psychiatry.

Manuscript Submission


Please submit your manuscript directly to CNS Spectrums via the ScholarOne Manuscripts website.

Set up or login to your account, enter your Author Center, follow the instructions carefully, and upload your manuscript for submission. A chapter on manuscript submission is also available in the online interactive guide.

Once you submit your manuscript you will receive an automated e-mail confirmation stating that your manuscript was submitted successfully. In addition, a manuscript reference number will be generated for your submission automatically. If we decide to consider your manuscript for publication, our Editor-in-Chief will assign it to a Field Editor and peer reviewers. The unique reference number of the manuscript should be quoted in all correspondence with the CNS Spectrums Office and Publisher.

Manuscript Preparation

Article Types The following manuscript types are accepted:

Original Research: Articles in this category should present methodologically sound, new original study data. Suitable topics include mood disorders, schizophrenia and related disorders, personality disorders, substance-use disorders, anxiety disorders, neuroscience, psychosocial aspects of psychiatry, child psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, and other topics of interest to clinicians in psychiatry, psychology, mental health disciplines, and neurology, and/or to clinical investigators in the neurosciences.

Reviews: Review articles should be concise, accessible, accurate and precise reviews of recent research and emergent areas. These may include speculation and debate, but this should be clearly indicated. Reviews should focus on published authoritative and recent data from the past 2–3 years. The introduction should be aimed at non-specialists and indicate the timeliness and rationale for the article. Inclusion of didactic and explanatory illustrations is strongly encouraged, especially those that provide a visual summary of the most important points of the article. A summary section at the end of the article is also strongly encouraged with a short collection of statements that convent the recent advances in the field that motivate the review.

Perspectives: A perspective article is a type of review that is a short, focused summary of a single recent advance, a sort of spotlight on the topic, which could be for example a single point hypothesis or a novel model. It can to stimulate debate and new research.

Guidelines: A guideline can include outputs from professional organizations, or groups of professionals who have worked together to develop direction in a given field.  

This can also include meta-guidelines, which are "guidelines of guidelines" put together by several leading figures in a field in which there are multiple competing guidelines that require synthesis and updating. This can also include “guidance” if the authors prefer this designation, or “expert consensus” with those experts involved being listed as coauthors if that is deemed more appropriate by the authors.  All of these outline diagnostic and treatment options and medications; includes an abstract, introduction, optional additional text, and 15-25 tables and/or figures.

Letters to the Editor: Letters to the Editor will be published at the Editor's discretion. Letters may discuss previously published papers in the journal but should not be used to communicate new research. A maximum word count of 1,000 is requested, along with a maximum of 5 references.

Brainstorms (by invitation only): Brainstorms are editorials or comments, not directed towards content in the current issue, which provide a short background and overview of a current topic in the field, ongoing controversy, or evolving point of view. These often provide illustrations in order to inform readers and set a context for them for the editorial opinion and commentary also included.

Editorials (by invitation only): Editorials, when submitted by an invited contributor, may be used to introduce the subject being brought into focus in a special issue or thematic section. Generally discursive in nature, an editorial will most likely form a short opinion piece or reflection upon the field but not constitute a full article.  

Formatting your Article

Please include article type should be included in the upper right hand corner (Original Research, Review, Perspective, etc.).

Original Research: Articles should be separated into the following sections:

  • Title page
  • Acknowledgements
  • Structured Abstract (Objective, Methods, Results, Conclusion; no more than 250 words)
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Funding
  • Disclosures
  • References
  • Tables and/or Figures (minimum of two)
  • Tables and/or Figures (minimum of two)
    • Preferred formats: mpg/mpeg, mp4 or mov

Reviews and Perspectives should be arranged in the following order:

  • Title page
  • Acknowledgements
  • Abstract (unstructured; no more than 250 words)
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion
  • Funding+
  • Disclosures
  • References

Author list All authors' names must be listed along with each person's department (Department of Psychiatry, etc.), and professional affiliation (Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts General Hospital, Pfizer, etc.). Please list names as they should appear in the published version.

Corresponding Author The author to whom correspondence should be sent must be clearly indicated in your submission. Please include the corresponding author's email address in the way that it should appear in the published version.

CNS Spectrums now requires that all corresponding authors identify themselves using ORCID when submitting a manuscript to the journal. ORCID provides a unique identifier for researchers and, through integration in key research workflows such as publication and grant applications, provides the following benefits:

  • Discoverability: ORCID increases the discoverability of your publications, by enabling smarter publisher systems and by helping readers to reliably find work that you’ve authored.
  • Convenience: As more organisations use ORCID, providing your ID or using it to register for services will automatically link activities to your ORCID profile, and will save you re-keying information multiple times.
  • Keeping track: Your ORCID profile can record and display (if you choose) validated information about your research activities.

If you don’t already have an ID, you’ll need to create one if you decide to submit a manuscript to CNS Spectrums. You can register for one directly from your user account on ScholarOne or via If you already have an ID, please use this when submitting by linking it to your ScholarOne user account. Simply log in to your account using your normal username and password. Edit your account by clicking on your name at the top right of the screen and from the dropdown menu, select 'E-Mail / Name'. Follow the instructions at the top of the screen to update your account.

A list of FAQ about Cambridge University Press's use of ORCID can be found here.

Figures To ensure that your figures are reproduced to the highest possible standards and your article is published quickly and efficiently, please ensure that your figures are saved at final publication size and are in our recommended file formats. Following these guidelines will result in high quality images being reproduced in the published document. Please note that submitting low-quality tables and/or figures may result in a delay in publishing your manuscript. For further information, please refer to the Artwork Guide for instructions on how to prepare your figures appropriately.

Please indicate whether figures should be printed in color. There will be a charge of $320 for each color figure printed in the journal. If you select this option, you will be contacted by CCC-Rightslink who are acting on our behalf to collect Author Charges. If usable color figures are supplied, these figures will appear in color online regardless of whether or not they are reproduced in color in the printed version.

Tables All tables must be submitted in Microsoft Word or Excel, not in figure format.

Reuse of materials Authors must obtain written permission to reprint previously published figures and/or tables. Permission to reproduce material must be obtained from the publisher. Please include a reference for each previously published figure and/or table so that the journal editor and/or guest editor can easily verify that you have obtained the necessary reprint permissions.

Funding Please list sources of financial support (including grant numbers) for all authors. Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma and a space. Where research was funded by more than one agency, the different agencies should be separated by a semi-colon, with 'and' before the final funder. Grants held by different authors should be identified as belonging to individual authors by the authors' initials. For example, 'This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (A.B., grant numbers XXXX, YYYY), (C.D., grant number ZZZZ); the Natural Environment Research Council (E.F., grant number FFFF); and the National Institutes of Health (A.B., grant number GGGG), (E.F., grant number HHHH).'

Disclosures Your manuscript must include a statement reporting any conflicts of interest. This statement should be placed at the end of the text of the manuscript before the References are listed.  Please review the disclosure form of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) in order to determine all appropriate disclosures. Where no known conflicts of interest exist, please include the following statement: “[Author] has nothing to disclose.” All co-authors for each submission must separately list all of their disclosure information within the text. If manuscripts are processed through a revision stage, ICMJE forms for all authors will be a required submission and may, at the Editor's discretion, be shared with reviewers. Forms must be collected by the lead author and submitted in ScholarOne.

We are aware that authors sometimes receive assistance from technical writers, language editors and/or writing agencies in preparing manuscripts for publication. Such assistance must be noted in the cover letter and in the Acknowledgements section along with a declaration that the author(s) are entirely responsible for the scientific content of the paper. Failure to acknowledge assistance from technical writers, language editors and/or writing agencies in preparing manuscripts for publication in the cover letter and in the Acknowledgements section may lead to disqualification of the paper.

References Please use American Medical Association (AMA) style. References should be superscripted in text, then numbered, and comprehensive in list. Please number these references in the order that they appear in the text. These superscript numbers in the text should match the numbers and order of the references in the reference list (you should not list the references by alphabetical order). Note that for multiauthored publications, three author names should be listed before abbreviating the remainder as "et al." Abbreviations of journals' names should conform to the style used in Index Medicus; journals that are not indexed there should not be abbreviated. When following this format, please do not list any reference in your reference list more than once. See the following examples:


Goodkin K, Antoni MH, Helder L, et al. Psychoneuroimmunological aspects of disease progression among women and human papillomavirus-associated cervical dysplasia and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 coinfection. Int J Psychiatry Med. 1993;23(2):119–148.


Raine A. The Psychopathology of Crime: Criminal Behavior as a Clinical Disorder. San Diego, Calif: Academic Press; 1993.

Parts of Books: Thase ME, Rush AJ. Treatment-resistant depression. In: Bloom FK, Kupfer DJ, eds. Psychopharmacology: The Fourth Generation of Progress. Baltimore, MD: Raven Press Ltd; 1995:1081–1097.

Unpublished Materials:

Eisenberg J. Market forces and physician workforce reform: why they may not work. Paper presented at: Annual Meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges; October 28, 1995; Washington, DC.

Jones JL, Hanson DL, Ward JW, et al. Incidence and trends in AIDS-related opportunistic illnesses in injecting drug users and men who have sex with men. In: Program and abstracts of the XI International Conference on AIDS; July 7–12, 1996; Vancouver, British Columbia. Abstract We.C.3418.

Klassen TP, Watters LK, Feldman ME, et al. The efficacy of nebulized budesonide in dexamethasone-treated outpatients with croup. Pediatrics. In press.

Summary of Article Types and Requirements


Article type






Figures/ Tables


Purpose/ features

Original research

6,000 words  

Up to

100 references


≤ 250


No citations

Minimum 2 tables

and/or figures

Original Research: Reports the results of a formal study based on original research.

Structured abstract


No limit


≤ 250


No citations

Minimum 2 tables and/or figures

Maximum 6 tables and/or figures

Review: Written as a literature review of an established topic, as suggested by its name.

Clinical implication points


3,000 words




≤ 150


No citations

Minimum 2 tables

and/or figures

Maximum 6 tables and/or figures

Perspective: A type of review that is a short, focused summary of a single recent advance, a sort of spotlight on the topic, which could be for example a single point hypothesis or a novel model.  It can stimulate debate and new research.


6,000 words  



≤ 250


No citations

15-25 tables and/or figures

Guidelines: A guideline can include outputs from professional organizations, or groups of professionals who have worked together to develop direction in a given field.  This can also include meta-guidelines, which are "guidelines of guidelines" put together by several leading figures in a field in which there are multiple competing guidelines that require synthesis and updating. This can also include “guidance” if the authors prefer this designation, or “expert consensus” with those experts involved being listed as coauthors if that is deemed more appropriate by the authors.  All of these outline diagnostic and treatment options and medications; includes an abstract, introduction, optional additional text, and 15-25 tables and/or figures.


900 – 1,500 words

Unstructured  150


1 table or 1 figure

(excluding invited guest editorials for thematic issues)

Editorial: Introduces a new idea or a particular theme, usually written by the editor-in-chief and occasionally submitted by a guest editor. A luminary in the field might also be approached to provide a guest editorial.

Letter to the Editor

1,000 words, max 5 references

No abstract


Letters may discuss previously published papers in the journal but should not be used to communicate new research.

Clinical Implications

Where appropriate, authors of Reviews, Perspectives, and Meta-Guidelines may elect to also include a number of Clinical Implication points to be presented in addition to the Abstract and Conclusion. These will be most appropriate for articles that discuss material from preclinical studies and will be used to explain the findings and comment on their possible clinical applications. Authors may include 3 to 5 points that are constructed as full sentences. They should be clear, unambiguous, and aid the comprehension of the material being discussed. Clinical Implications will be assessed as part of the peer review process and authors may be asked to alter and update the points, or to remove them if they are not felt to add to the article.

Neuroscience-based Nomenclature (NbN-2) Terminology

CNS Spectrums encourages the use of Neuroscience-based Nomenclature (NbN-2) terminology for psychotropic medications, as it reflects contemporary pharmacological knowledge, rather than arbitrary descriptors based on indications or chemical structure. Please download the free app for NbN-2 ( and the NbN-2 Instructions for Authors (

While you are welcome to use NbN-2 throughout the manuscript, as a minimum requirement we ask that on first mention in the paper, substances are referred to by their NbN-2 classification. In addition, we ask that all substances studied in the paper receive NbN-2 compliant keywords (e.g. eleven pharmacological domains and nine mode of action). 

Peer Review and Revision Process

CNS Spectrums employs a single blind peer review process.

Peer Reviewer suggestions Authors must provide a minimum of three (3) names of qualified potential reviewers with the necessary contact information (affiliation and institutional e-mail address). Reviewers should be specialists in the topic of the submitted paper, who have no conflict of interest and who are not affiliated with a company, organization, or institution that employs any of the co-authors of the manuscript. We may contact one or more of your suggested reviewers once we receive your manuscript, but we reserve the right to not do so.

Revision process The Field Editor and/or Editor-in-Chief will check the reviewers' overall assessment of the article. Peer review comments are then forwarded to the corresponding author for Major and Minor Revision decisions. Authors are expected to incorporate all revisions to the best of their ability, unless otherwise noted. Authors must submit revised manuscripts, with tracked changes, by the designated due date(s). If there are any questions about the reviewers' comments and/or suggested revisions, please contact the Field Editor and/or Content Editor directly, who will follow-up with the reviewer(s) for further clarification.

Failure to meet deadlines during the revision process It is critical that authors meet all deadlines for submitted material. For possible extensions, please contact the Field Editors of CNS Spectrums or Lisa Arrington, Managing Editor.

For reviewers Please visit the Cambridge University Press Peer Review Hub for general information on how to peer review journal articles, a peer review FAQ, ethics in peer review, and more information

Post-Acceptance and Production

Upon final acceptance, manuscripts are passed on to our production department for copyediting and typesetting. The copyeditor may be in contact with the corresponding author directly regarding article. Please respond to any queries in a timely manner to ensure the prompt and efficient processing of your article. Typeset proofs shall be issued to the corresponding author as a final check – no substantive change shall be introduced at this stage. Once approved and published online, please note that your article cannot be altered further. CNS Spectrums follows a FirstView publication workflow, with articles posted ahead of issue assignment.

The corresponding author will receive a pdf file of the article when it is published.

Journal Policies

NIH Open Access Archiving Mandate In compliance with the National Institutes of Health Open Access Policy, under the Publisher's standard transfer of copyright agreement, the publisher shall autodeposit the manuscript to PubMed Central upon acceptance, as long as the author has indicated the NIH funding and the grant number upon submission. A final version of an article may be made publicly available no sooner than 12 months after the official date of publication.

Open Access Cambridge allows authors to make their articles Open Access through our hybrid journal initiative, Cambridge Open. Upon acceptance of your article for publication in the journal you will receive an email in which you will be provided with the option to proceed under the default Green Open Access publishing model or to publish your article under the Gold Open Access model, which will require payment of the APC.

Further information on Cambridge Open can be found here.

Co-Author Approval Papers with multiple authors are reviewed with the assumption that all authors have contributed materially to the research re- ported, have approved the submitted manuscript, and concur with its submission to CNS Spectrums. A Copyright Assignment Form, with certain specified rights reserved by the author, must be signed and returned to the Publisher by the corresponding author during the revision stage. This is necessary for the wide distribution of research findings and the protection of both author and Cambridge University Press under copyright law.

Originality and Copyright To be considered for publication in CNS Spectrums, a manuscript cannot have been published previously, nor can it be under review for publication elsewhere.

If you have an article currently under review and decide to submit your article to a different publication, you must officially withdraw it from CNS Spectrums. You can withdraw your paper through the Author Center on the ScholarOne Manuscripts site.

Clinical Trials As a condition of consideration for publication, registration of clinical trials in a public trials registry is required. A clinical trial is defined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (in accordance with the definition of the World Health Organisation) as any research project that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health- related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes. Trials must be registered before the start of patient enrollment. The registry must be accessible to the public at no charge. It must be open to all prospective registrants and managed by a not-for-profit organization. There must be a mechanism to ensure the validity of the registration data, and the registry should be electronically searchable. An acceptable registry must include at minimum a unique trial number, trial registration date, secondary identification information if assigned by sponsors or others, funding source(s), primary and secondary sponsor(s), responsible contact person, research contact person, official scientific title of the study, research ethics review, the medical condition being studied, intervention(s), key inclusion and exclusion criteria, study type, anticipated trial start date, target sample size, recruitment status, primary outcome, and key secondary outcomes. Registration information must be provided at the time of submission. Trial registry name, registration identification number, and the URL for the registry should be included at the end of the abstract.

Manuscripts reporting the results of randomized controlled trials should include a "CONSORT" flow diagram as a figure in the manuscript to illustrate the progress of all patients in the study (See: Schulz KF, Altman D, for the CONSORT Group. The CON- SORT statement: revised recommendations for improving the quality of reports of parallel-group randomized trials. JAMA. 2001;285(15):1987–1991.)

Ethical considerations Papers reporting experiments involving human subjects must contain the statement that the research was approved by an Internal Review Board, Helsinki Committee or similar body and that subjects gave informed consent. Papers describing animal experiments must indicate that the research was approved by a Review Committee or clearly state that the experiments were performed in accordance with accepted guidelines such as 'Guid- ing principles in the care and use of animals (DHEW Publications, NIH, 80-23). Papers that do not contain an Ethics Statement will not be reviewed.

Supplemental data files Authors have the ability to upload media files of various kinds along with their articles. These are hosted and made available to end-users as Supplementary Materials. Please note that supplementary materials appear outside of the manuscript. Authors should ensure that an in-text citation to each Supplementary file has been made in the article. Preferably, in-text cites will appear in a separate section at the end of the article, following the text and preceding the traditional "References" or "Notes" section. They will include a URL address to be assigned by Cambridge.

Cambridge will not edit or typeset Supplementary Material, or modify audio or video files in any substantive way. It will be posted online exactly as supplied. Cambridge will notify the author/editorial office if a submitted file does not meet our quality and size requirements. If deemed unacceptable, in most cases, the author will be responsible for rectifying the problem and supplying an acceptable file. In some rare instances, we can, by arrangement, convert audio and movie files to FLV format for streaming on the understanding that this may affect the resolution.

CNS Spectrums accepts the following type of Supplementary Materials:

  • Pdf, doc/docx, xls/xlsx, ppt/pptx, jpeg, tiff, png, and zip
  • Audio files
    • Preferred formats: mp3 or mp4
    • Accepted formats: AAC, AIFF or WAV
    • Maximum file size 15Mb
  • Video files
    • Acceptable formats: wmv or avi
    • Maximum file size: 15Mb
    • Minimum dimensions: 320 pixels wide by 240 pixels deep
    • Verify that the videos are viewable in QuickTime or
    • Windows Media Player

Supplementary file naming Supplementary files should be named in such a way that it is clear what they are, which article they belong to, and what they contain. For instance, if John Smith includes a series of Supplementary Material tables to be published with his article, the file should be labeled <<Smith_supp.pdf>>.



For each video, please provide a citation in the appropriate place in the manuscript text and include a title and pertinent copy, preferably limited to 20 words. This citation will appear in print as a boxed text and also specify the video file format. In the case of multiple video files, number them in the order in which they should be viewed. If associated with a figure, please include a citation at the end of the figure caption explaining the video's function, its file format, and that it is accessible at

The video will be posted at the site of the appropriate journal title, volume, issue number, and article. At the article's title, the video can be accessed via a link which states "Supplemental Materials," or a more specific label such as "Movies."

Copyright requirements for supplementary material All Supplementary Material is subject to the same copyright requirements as primary material; this is clearly specified in the copyright form that will be sent to the author with first proofs:

"I/we hereby assign to Cambridge University Press, full copyright in all formats and media in the said contribution, including in any supplementary materials that I/we may author in support of the online version."

Language Editing Services

Contributions written in English are welcomed from all countries. Authors, particularly those whose first language is not English, may wish to have their English-language manuscripts checked by a native speaker before submission. This is optional, but may help to ensure that the academic content of the paper is fully understood by the editor and any reviewers. Cambridge offers a service which authors can learn about here. Please note that the use of any of these services is voluntary, and at the author's own expense. Use of these services does not guarantee that the manuscript will be accepted for publication, nor does it restrict the author to submitting to a Cambridge published journal.

Publication Ethics

Please visit for information on our ethical guidelines.