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Instructions for contributors

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Manuscripts submitted to Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology (ICHE) should consist of original investigations that will contribute to the fields of healthcare epidemiology and infection prevention with the ultimate goal of improving healthcare safety. ICHE welcomes submissions that address the transmission of pathogens or that involve the use of epidemiological principles and methods to evaluate or improve the delivery of care within healthcare institutions. Examples of appropriate material include studies of infection surveillance, the impact of preventive measures on infection rates; analyses of resource use and costs related to infections or other adverse events in patients; occupational health; or pertinent regulatory issues.

Authors are responsible for ensuring that manuscripts adhere to the formats noted in the Instructions for Authors. Articles should be submitted electronically at the journal's submission website, at


Original Articles should include a title page, a structured abstract of no more than 250 words (see below), a text of no more than 3,000 words, no more than 7 tables and figures, and no more than 40 references.

Concise Communications should include a title page, a narrative abstract of no more than 50 words, a text of no more than 1,200 words, no more than 2 tables or figures, and no more than 10 references.

Research Briefs should include a title page, a text of no more than 900 words, no more than 1 table or figure, and no more than 10 references. This category of article is intended for the presentation of short, focused, and evidence-based experimental observations: substantial preliminary and novel results of importance to the journal readership but not substantial enough in content to warrant a longer presentation. Research Briefs undergo the same peer review as longer article types.

Letters to the Editor should not exceed 900 words and should include no more than 1 table or figure and no more than 10 references.

Invited Reviews, including guidelines and position papers: committees, task forces, and authors under the auspices of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, and all others considering the preparation of a review, should contact the Editorial Office during the very earliest phases of development. The Editor-in-Chief will verify that there are no similar or overlapping documents under development. Anticipated length, format, number of citations, and mechanisms for peer review and publication by ICHE and the involvement of any other organizations will be negotiated with the journal and publisher well in advance of submission.

Commentaries are by invitation only. Please contact the journal office if you are interested in writing a Commentary.


Authors are encouraged to follow the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals; this is the format used in PubMed/MEDLINE. They should strive for a concise article that is unencumbered by excessive detail. Authors who are not fluent in English should have their manuscript checked by a native speaker of English and/or an editing service that provides such assistance. Manuscripts that do not follow the required format or are poorly prepared may be rejected for that reason.

For guidance regarding the reporting of randomized (CONSORT), observational (STROBE), meta-analyses (PRISMA), and other clinical trials, please consult

Double space the entire manuscript, including title page, abstract, body, references, tables, and figure legends. Use left justification only, so that the right margin is ragged. Number pages consecutively, beginning with the title page. Use a standard font (such as Times New Roman or Helvetica) and set the font size to 12 points (for tables as well as text). Each component of the article should begin on a separate page, as follows: title page, abstract, body text, acknowledgments, references, appendices, figure legends, and tables. All these components must be in a single file, except any figures, each of which should be a separate file (see Figures and Figure Legends, below).

Title Page

The title page should include the following information: (1) the title of the manuscript; (2) the names of the author(s), including each author's highest academic degree or professional certification; (3) the departmental and institutional affiliation of each author, including city, state, and country; (4) the name, address, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address of the author responsible for correspondence, and (if different) the name and address to be used for reprint requests; (5) if relevant, a statement about any previous presentation of the data or findings in a preliminary report or abstract; (6) an abbreviated title of not more than 45 characters (including spaces), to be used as a running head in print and for search results online; and (7) a word count for the body of the text (ie, excluding the abstract and the references). Acknowledgment of financial support and potential conflicts of interest must be included and should be placed in the Acknowledgments section (see below).

Abbreviations should conform to those given in the AMA Manual of Style. Symbols for units of measurement (mm, mL) should not be followed by periods. Chemical or generic names of drugs, materials, and equipment are strongly preferred; a proprietary name may be given only after it is preceded by the generic or chemical name the first time it appears and must be followed by the name of the manufacturer or supplier. Terms and abbreviations must be defined at first use, separately for the abstract, the body, and each table and figure. Use only common abbreviations and use as few as possible; and do not abbreviate terms used fewer than 5 times. Abbreviate genus names after first mention.


Original Articles should include a structured abstract of no more than 250 words. The following headings are suggested: Objective, Design, Setting, Patients (or Participants), Methods (or Interventions), Results, and Conclusions. If this list of headings is inappropriate, variations are permitted: for example, a study that involved no intervention would use the heading "Methods" rather than "Intervention"; or an analysis of an existing data set might use the heading "Methods" in place of both "Intervention" and "Setting." For brevity, parts of the abstract can be written in phrases rather than complete sentences, .e.g.,"Design: Retrospective cohort study". The contents of each section should conform to the guidelines below.

Objective. Begin with a clear statement of the precise objective or question addressed in the report. If more than one objective is addressed, indicate the main objective and state only key secondary objectives. If an a priori hypothesis was tested, it should be stated.

Design. Describe the basic design of the study. Include the duration of follow-up, if any. Use as many of the following terms as apply.

        • For intervention studies: randomized controlled trial; nonrandomized controlled trial; double-blind; placebo controlled; crossover trial; before-after trial.
        • For studies of screening and diagnostic tests: indicate the criterion standard against which a new or alternative test is being compared; blinded or masked comparison.
        • For studies of prognosis: inception cohort (subjects assembled at a similar and early time in the course of the disorder and followed thereafter); cohort (subjects followed forward in time, but not necessarily from a common starting point); validation cohort or validation sample, if the study involves the modeling of clinical predictions.
        • For studies of causation: randomized controlled trial; cohort; case-control; survey (preferred to "cross-sectional study").
        • For descriptions of the clinical features of medical disorders: survey; case series.
        • For studies that include a formal economic evaluation: cost-effectiveness analysis; cost-utility analysis; cost-benefit analysis. For new analyses of existing data sets, the data set should be named and the basic study design disclosed.

Setting. To assist readers in determining the applicability of the report to their own clinical circumstances, include a brief description of the study setting(s) such as: primary or tertiary referral center, private or public institution, or an ambulatory or acute care setting.

Patients or participants. Provide information on important eligibility criteria, and key sociodemographic features of patients and how they were selected, including the number of otherwise eligible subjects who were approached but refused to participate. If matching was used for comparison groups, specify the characteristics that were matched. In follow-up studies, the proportion of participants who completed the study must be indicated. In intervention studies, the number of patients withdrawn because of adverse effects should be given.

For selection procedures, these terms should be used, if appropriate: random sample ("random" refers to a formal, randomized selection in which all eligible subjects have a fixed and usually equal chance of selection); population-based sample; referred sample; consecutive sample; volunteer sample; convenience sample.

Intervention(s). Describe the essential features of any interventions, including the method and duration of administration. The intervention should be named by its most common clinical name (eg, the generic term "oseltamivir"), the brand name of a drug, if a specific product was studied, and the name of the manufacturer or supplier for any product(s) mentioned in the manuscript, including software.

Results. Give the main results of the study in narrative form. Define measurements that require explanation for the expected audience of the manuscript. If possible, the results should be accompanied by objective data and the exact level of statistical significance. For comparative studies, confidence intervals should relate to the differences between groups. When risk changes or effect sizes are given, indicate absolute values, so that the reader can determine the absolute, as well as relative, impact of the finding. Approaches such as "number needed to treat" to achieve a unit of benefit are encouraged when appropriate. Studies of screening and diagnostic tests should use the terms sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratio. If predictive values or accuracy are given, prevalence or pretest likelihood should be given as well.

Conclusions. Only those conclusions of the study that are directly supported by the evidence reported should be given, along with the clinical application; indicate whether additional study is required before the information should be used in normal clinical settings. Equal emphasis must be given to positive and negative findings of equal scientific merit.

Clinical trials identifier. If your manuscript is the report of a randomized clinical trial that has been registered in a public trials registry, please provide the trial registry name, the registration identification number, and the URL for the registry at the end of the abstract. This information will be published in the journal if the manuscript is accepted.

Body Text

The main sections and subdivisions of the body text should be indicated by side heads flush with the left margin and two lines above the text.

Keep Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion distinct and separate. The Methods section should provide detail sufficient to allow others to re-create your experiment. Methods may not be described or restated in figure legends or table notes, but must be all together in the Methods section. The Results section contains the previously unpublished data derived by this application of your methods. The Discussion section contains your interpretation of the reported data and comments on its meaning. There should be no separate section labeled "Conclusion." Avoid duplicating in the text data that have been provided in tables or figures. Also avoid duplication within the text; the Discussion section should not restate all the findings that have been presented in Results and/or in tables and figures.

The Editor requests that authors reporting the results of clinical trials describe clearly the following: (1) eligibility criteria; (2) whether subjects were admitted before allocation to one of the study groups; (3) the method of randomization; (4) whether the study was "masked," what specific information was masked, and whether subjects, clinicians, and evaluators were masked; (5) the method used to identify treatment complications; (6) an explanation and analysis of subjects lost to follow-up; (7) statistical methods used; and (8) information that led to the determination of the size of the study groups and the expected differences between groups. For all studies involving human subjects, the Methods section should include a statement that the study was reviewed and approved by the authors' institutional review board.

Footnotes are acceptable in tables but cannot be used in the body of the manuscript; any footnotes in your manuscript will be integrated into the text, perhaps in parentheses.


Financial support. The Acknowledgments section should list all sources of financial support for the work, including any financial arrangement with a company whose product is related to the study. If there was no financial support, that too should be stated. The statement should be consistent with disclosures that would be stated in the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest.


  • Financial support. The GERES Project is supported by the French Ministry of Health. Additional support for this study was provided by Becton-Dickinson and SIMS France.
  • Financial support. H.S.C. received grant support from the Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service Merit Review (C2234-MD and C3-2442MD), D.B.L. received support from the US Public Health Service (grant HC41024), and A.E.T. received salary support from an Emerging Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement. C.U. receives 2% salary support from Aventis Pasteur for work on another study.
  • Financial support. None reported.

Conflict of interest. The Acknowledgments section must contain a statement of potential conflicts of interest. If the manuscript is accepted for publication, the disclosures will be published. The Acknowledgments section of the manuscript must list the name of each contributing author and any potential conflicts of interest for each author for the previous three years; if no potential conflict exists, that too should be stated. The statement should be consistent with disclosures that would be stated in the ICMJE Disclosure Form. There is a potential conflict of interest when anyone involved in the publication process has a financial or other beneficial interest in the products or concepts mentioned in a submitted manuscript, or in competing products, that might bias his or her judgment. Examples of potential conflicts of interest with respect to a company whose product is mentioned in the manuscript include owning stock (except as part of a diversified portfolio), receiving grants, serving as a consultant, or being on the speakers' bureau. (This information is exclusive of the financial support discussed above.)


  • Potential conflicts of interest. S.A. and K.H. report that they are shareholders in Loke Diagnostics (Aarhus, Denmark).
  • Potential conflicts of interest. K.L.H. reports having consulted for and having received grant support from Astellas and reports having received an honorarium from Cubist before starting employment with the New York Department of Public Health in 2009.
  • Potential conflicts of interest. E.F.M. reports that she has been a consultant to Merck, Novartis, and GlaxoSmithKline and is member of the speakers' bureaus for Ortho McNeil and Novartis. J.A.S. reports that he received research funding from Bayer and Ortho McNeil and that he has been a consultant for Bayer and Pfizer. J.D.C. reports that he is an employee of AB Biodisk.
  • Potential conflicts of interest. All authors report no conflicts of interest relevant to this article.

Authorship and manuscript preparation. If the manufacturer of a product discussed in a submitted manuscript had a role, either directly or through a third party, in the gathering or preparation of data or in the writing of the manuscript, that information must be disclosed in the Acknowledgments section. If anyone other than the named authors had a role in the gathering or preparation of data or in the writing of the manuscript, that too should be disclosed.


  • Manuscript preparation. Steris Corporation provided assistance with study design and data acquisition.
  • Manuscript preparation. Statistical and other analyses were done by 3M Medical Division.
  • Manuscript preparation. MedCommunications (Philadelphia) provided assistance in preparing and editing the manuscript.

Disclosure documentation. All authors of Original Articles, Concise Communications, and Research Briefs are required to complete and upload the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest when and if they are asked to submit a revision of their manuscript. All authors of Letters and invited manuscripts (Letters in Reply, Commentaries, Reviews, and Guidelines) are required to complete and upload the ICMJE Disclosure Form when they initially submit their manuscript. Note that this documentation is in addition to the disclosure statements in the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript file.

Thank you notes. Persons should not be thanked in the Acknowledgments section without their knowledge and consent. Authors will be asked during the submission process to confirm they obtained permission from all persons thanked by name in the Acknowledgments section.

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References should be cited consecutively in the text, with superscript numbers placed outside periods and commas and inside colons and semicolons. References cited only in tables or figure legends should be numbered as though all were cited at the point at which the table or figure was first mentioned.

A paper that is "in press" may be included in the reference list if it has been accepted for publication. Citations such as "in preparation," "submitted for publication," "unpublished data," and "personal communication" should be given in parentheses in the text only, including the names of all individuals to whom the information should be attributed, as well as each person's highest academic degree and the month and year of the information's origin. For personal communications, specify whether the communication was written or oral.

At the end of each manuscript, list the references in numerical order, double spaced, according to the order they are cited in the text. If there are 7 or more authors, list the first 3 authors' names, followed by "et al"; otherwise, list all authors. Abbreviations of journal names should conform to Index Medicus or MEDLINE. Unlisted journals should not be abbreviated. Note that issue numbers are not used. Authors are responsible for bibliographic accuracy. Journal titles should be cited as they existed at the time of publication.

Journal article (examples)

  1. 1. Pittet D, Simon A, Hugonnet S, Pessoa-Silva CL, Sauvan V, Perneger TV. Hand hygiene among physicians: performance, beliefs, and perceptions. Ann Intern Med 2004;141:1-8.
  1. 2. Camins BC, Richmond AM, Dyer KL, et al. A crossover intervention trial evaluating the efficacy of a chlorhexidine-impregnated sponge in reducing catheter-related bloodstream infections among patients undergoing hemodialysis.Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2010;31:1118-1123.

Journal article in press (example)

  1. 3. Figueroa P, Johanssen KL, Price FG, et al. Outbreak of Acinetobacter infection in a neonatal intensive care unit.Pediatr Infect Dis J (in press).

Paper presented at a professional meeting (example)

  1. 4. Chen LF, Freeman JT, Sexton DJ, Choi YI, Anderson DJ. NHSN definition of laboratory-detected BSI is overly sensitive for Enterococcus. In: Program and abstracts of the 19th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA); March 18–22, 2009; San Diego, CA. Abstract 359.

Book (example)

  1. 5. Heoprich PD. Infectious Diseases. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Harper & Row; 1977.

Chapter in a book (example)

  1. 6. Schaffner W. Psittacosis: ornithosis, parrot fever. In: Beeson PB, McDermott W, Wyngaarden JB, eds. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 15th ed. Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders; 1979:336-338.

Web page (examples)

  1. 7. Clinical laboratory fee schedule. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. Published 2010. Accessed April 2, 2010.
  1. 8. Rutala WA, Weber DJ, Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee. Guideline for disinfection and sterilization in healthcare facilities, 2008. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Published 2009. Accessed January 13, 2015.

Prepare tables with the MS Word table editor; text formatted to look like a table by use of tabs and hard returns is not acceptable and will be rejected. Include tables in the same file as the rest of the manuscript, not in separate files. Tables should be double spaced. Number tables in the order in which they are cited in the text, and provide a descriptive title for each table.

Every column in a table requires a head that describes the contents of the cells below. The units of measure for all data must be clearly stated in the heads, in the stub (leftmost) column, or in data cells, as appropriate. Do not use vertical lines, and do not use ditto marks for repeated information.

List and define any abbreviations in a note below the table, above the table footnotes (no footnote designator is required for this line), even if the abbreviations have been defined in the text. Use superscript letters for footnote designators.

Tables that are too large to be reproduced in print, if accepted for publication, will appear only in the online version of the article, and information about the online-only table (including a full or partial title) will be included in the print version of the article.

Figures and Figure Legends

Figures. Number figures in the order in which they are mentioned in the text, and provide a brief but descriptive caption (legend) for each figure. The journal does not print color figures. Color figures that can be usefully published in black and white will be published that way in print, and color versions will appear in the online journal if necessary. Figures that are useful only in color will be available only in the online version of the article, and information about the online-only figure (including a full or partial legend) will be included in the print version of the article.

All artwork (figures, photographs, and illustrations) should be submitted as digital files. The required format is TIFF or EPS, with the following resolutions: 1,200 dpi for line figures (eg, graphs), 600 dpi for grayscale figures (eg, photographs), and 300 dpi for color figures. PowerPoint, Word, and JPEG files will not be accepted. Each figure or illustration must be a stand-alone file, separate from the text file, and named to match the number cited in the text (eg, fig1.eps). Do not include titles and legends in illustration files.

Figure legends should be double spaced on a separate page of the manuscript. (This is because a figure is reproduced as an image file, whereas the legend that accompanies the figure is typeset as text.) Place figure titles and explanations in the legend, not on the figure image. On the other hand, graphic elements that require definition, such as symbols, are best placed and defined in available open space within the figure itself.

The text of the figure legend should concisely and accurately label what the figure depicts and define any abbreviations or terms used within it. The figure legend should not describe or restate methods, nor state or restate detailed findings, nor state a claim or conclusion drawn from the data displayed. Such statements belong in the appropriate section of the body text, not in a figure legend.

Supplemental Material (Online-Only Material)

An increasingly appealing option for journal authors is the inclusion of Supplementary Material with the traditional manuscript text. Supplementary Material is defined as any content that supports, but is not key to, the understanding of a print- and / or online-published item's message. Given that Supplementary Material is exclusively published online, it may include file types that are incompatible with a print format, eg., color versions of black and white figures and Excel files containing interactive elements. Designation of content as "online-only" should not be used to shorten the anticipated print version of a submission.

Supplementary Material is subject to the peer review process and copyright requirements as all primary content. Supplementary Material will be available on the Cambridge Website after approval by the Editor-in-Chief.

The author is solely responsible for the content of this material. Supplementary Material will be made available only in its original format and will not be subject to copy editing, or typesetting.

As the submission of Supplementary files becomes more prevalent we would like to offer some guidelines for submission of Supplementary files to Cambridge University Press journals production.

Most common types of Supplementary Material

Common types of Supplementary Material include large datasets or tables. Datasets, tables, and other textual material are commonly submitted as PDF, Excel, or Word files. Our recommendations for the various types of files can be found in Appendix 1 at the end of this document.

APPENDIX: Supplemental file submission requirements

Accepted formats: pdf, doc/docx, xls/xlsx, ppt/pptx, jpeg, tiff, png, and zip


Include a cover letter with your submission; the cover letter should state that all authors have read and approved the submission of the manuscript. The letter also should state that the manuscript has not been published elsewhere and that it is not currently under consideration for publication by another journal. Include the names and contact information for any individuals who are especially qualified to review the manuscript; you may also name any individuals who may not be able to provide an unbiased review.

Any closely related manuscripts that have not yet been published should be included with the manuscript being submitted; ICHE does not publish articles that overlap substantially with work published or in press elsewhere.


Each manuscript is evaluated by two editors; most are sent to two outside reviewers. Authors are notified as soon as possible regarding the acceptability of their manuscripts. Note that acceptability may sometimes hinge on whether the manuscript is within the scope of the journal, the originality and quality of the study, and appropriateness and utility for our readership.

Authors of accepted manuscripts are asked to sign a copyright transfer form, transferring copyright to the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Material published in the journal may not be reproduced or published elsewhere without written consent of the Society and the publisher. Direct requests about licensing and permissions to Cambridge University Press via the ICHE website. Note that an article is in the public domain only if all authors are employees of the US government.

Every manuscript that is accepted for publication, except for Supplemental Appendix material, is edited according to the journal's style and format requirements before it is published online and in print. After the manuscript has been edited and typeset, the author responsible for correspondence will receive an e-mail message from the Cambridge University Press production staff, containing instructions for obtaining page proofs in PDF form from a secure Web site. Authors are asked to respond to all queries from the Press's production editors and to provide any additional corrections within 48 hours after the proof notification. Once page proofs are sent, authors will be able to order reprints or offprints of their article or a printed copy of the issue by visiting the Cambridge University Reprint Order Center online at:

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(Last updated August 27, 2014)