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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, or RTF document file format.
  • Where available, URLs for the references have been provided.
  • The text is single-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.
  • I/We agree to pay the Article Publishing Charges as per the Authors' Guidelines.

Author Guidelines

Submitted manuscripts that are not in the correct format and without the required supporting documentation specified in these guidelines will be returned to the author(s) for correction and will delay publication. 


Named authors must consent to publication by signing a covering letter which should be submitted as a supplementary file. Authorship should be based on substantial contribution to:

(i) conception, design, analysis and interpretation of data;

(ii) drafting or critical revision for important intellectual content; and

(iii) approval of the version to be published. These conditions must all be met (uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals; refer to; and

(iv) exact contribution of each author must be stated.


Authors must declare all sources of support for the research and any association with a product or subject that may constitute a conflict of interest. If there is no conflict of interest to declare please include the following: The authors declare no conflict of interest.


All sources of funding should be declared. Also define the involvement of study sponsors in the study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data; the writing of the manuscript; the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. If the study sponsors had no such involvement, this should be stated as follows: No funding source to be declared.


The submitting author must provide written confirmation of Research Ethics Committee approval for all studies including case reports. The ethics committee as well as the approval number should be included. Please provide the Ethics Committee approval letter.


Authors are advised to involve medical statisticians at the protocol stage of their research project: to plan sample size, and the selection of appropriate statistical tests for analysis and presentation.    


Identifying information should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives informed written consent for publication. The patient should be shown the manuscript to be published. Refer to


The rationale for analysis based on racio-ethnic-cultural categorisation should be indicated.


Shorter items are more likely to be accepted for publication, owing to space constraints and reader preferences. 

Original articles

Original articles on research relevant to surgery should not exceed 3 000 words, no more than 30 references, with up to 6 tables or figures. A structured abstract under the following headings, Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions is a requirement and should not exceed 250 words. Five keywords should be included.

Scientific letters/short reports

Short reports should not exceed 1 500 words with a maximum of 10 references. Only one table or illustration is permissible. A structured abstract under the following headings, Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions, is a requirement and should not exceed 250 words. Five keywords should be included.

Case reports

Case reports should not exceed 1 500 words with no more than 10 references. Figures are limited to 2 figures and may include images or photographs. The case report should have three headings: Summary (not exceeding 100 words), Case report (with no introduction) and Discussion. Case reports will be published online only.  The summary and the URL will appear in the printed version. Five keywords should be included.

Video case reports (SAJS-VIDEO)

Video case reports should not exceed 1 500 words with 10 references and 6 figures. Heading should include Summary (not exceeding 100 words) and Case description (with three subheadings: Introduction, Case presentation and Discussion). The video file format must be only MP4 or MOV and should not exceed 300 MB and 8 minutes. Video case reports will be published online only. The summary and the URL will appear in the printed version. Five keywords should be included.

How to do it

How to do it submissions should address a practical aspect of surgical or interventional (endoscopic or radiological) patient management in which a best practice technique or method to advance optimal patient management is presented in a standardised format. The submission should be structured with a short contextual introduction focussing on the indications for the procedure, followed by numbered sequential points that explain and illustrate the procedure and its complications. The total word count should not exceed 1500 words with a maximum of 10 references and 6 figures. Five keywords should be included.


Opinions, etc. should not exceed 1 000 words and are welcome, but unless invited, will be subjected to the SAJS peer review process. 

Review articles

Review articles relevant to surgery should not exceed 5 000 words, with a maximum of 50 references and no more than 6 tables or figures. A summary of 250 words or less is required. Five keywords should be included.

Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be 400 words or less with only one image or table.


Obituaries should be 900 words or less and should be accompanied by a photograph.

Clinical Images

This section accepts static images displaying conditions that surgeons experience in clinical practice. It is important to note that this article type is not intended as a vehicle for case reports.

Requirements for publication

  1. Images must be original and free of content that has been submitted or published elsewhere.
  2. Submitted as perfect focus high resolution images that clearly demonstrate the abnormality.
  3. Up to two (2) authors may be credited with each image submission.
  4. The SAJS reserves rights to edit or abridge submitted images and may opt to publish in print, online only, or both.

Submission of images

  1. Submit images in PDF or JPEG format.
  2. Remove all information that could be used to identify a patient, including name, hospital number and hospital name.
  3. Prepare one version of the image with arrows and labels identifying relevant image structures. If there is more than one panel, label as Panel A, B, etc.
  4. Prepare a second version of the image with no labels or arrows.
  5. Include a title for the submission comprising up to eight (8) words.
  6. In a separate text file (MS Word), create a descriptive legend (up to 150 words in length with no references) that concisely describes:
    1. Relevant clinical information, physical and laboratory findings, clinical course, and condition at last follow-up.
    2. A teaching point that makes clear the clinical importance of the submission.

To submit the image

  1. Register and/or log in to the SAJS online submission system.
  2. Select ‘Submit a New Manuscript’.
  3. Choose ‘Clinical Images’ as the article type and follow instructions appearing at the top of each subsequent screen.
  4. Upload all files described above separately.
  5. For up to two (2) authors, enter names, institutions, and email addresses.

If the SAJS editors deem an image unsuitable for publication, author(s) will receive notification in approximately one (1) week. If potentially suitable for publication, the image will be sent on for peer review for further consideration.


Article processing charges (APCs) will be levied on articles submitted for publication to SAJS as of 1 October 2023 as set out below:

  • Articles
    • Papers from South Africa: R5,000.00
    • Papers from Non-African countries: US$1,050.00
  • Case reports including video case reports
    • From South Africa: R2,500.00
    • From Non-African countries: US$260.00
  • Valid waiver requests will be considered for manuscripts accepted from African countries other than South Africa.
  • APCs will not be charged for
    • Editorials
    • Invited reviews
    • Obituaries
    • Letters to the editor

APCs are usually covered by South Africa Universities.  Authors need to apply through various channels stipulated by their specific institution. These will be invoiced to the first author by Medpharm Publications if the paper is accepted for publication. There will be no discount for authors who are ASSA members as the journal is already subsidised by ASSA, VASSA and SASES.


Refer to articles in recent issues for the presentation of headings and subheadings. If in doubt, refer to 'uniform requirements' - Manuscripts must be provided in UK English

The manuscript should contain the title, abstract, keywords, article text and references.

The title page should be submitted as a supplementary file and should include:

  • Qualification, affiliation and contact details of ALL the authors.
  • Email addresses of all author must be provided.
  • ORCID number of ALL authors must be provided – if authors do not have ORCID, please register at
  • Disclaimers: Acknowledgements, Declaration of conflict of interest, Funding declaration, Ethics declaration and ORCID.
  • A signed copy of the title page including the declarations must be provided in PDF format. An unsigned copy of the title page MUST be submitted in MSWord format.


All abbreviations should be spelt out when first used and thereafter used consistently, e.g. 'intravenous (IV)' or 'Department of Health (DoH)'. 

Scientific measurements

Scientific measurements must be expressed in SI units except blood pressure (mmHg) and haemoglobin (g/dl). Litres is denoted with a lowercase 'l' e.g. 'ml' for millilitres). Units should be preceded by a space (except for %), e.g. '40 kg' and '20 cm' but '50%'. Greater/smaller than signs (> and 40 years of age) should also be preceded by a space e.g. > 20 years. No spaces should precede ± and °, i.e. '35±6' and '19°C'. 

Numbers should be written as grouped per thousand-units, i.e. 4 000, 22 160... 

Quotes should be placed in single quotation marks: i.e. The respondent stated: '...' Round brackets (parentheses) should be used, as opposed to square brackets, which are reserved for denoting concentrations or insertions in direct quotes. 

General formatting

The manuscript must be in Microsoft Word. Please DO NOT provide the manuscript in PDF format. Text must be 1,5-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font, and contain no unnecessary formatting (such as text in boxes, except for Tables). The manuscript must be free of track changes. 


If tables or illustrations submitted have been published elsewhere, the author(s) should provide consent to republication obtained from the copyright holder. 

Tables may be embedded in the manuscript file and provided as 'supplementary files'. They must be numbered in Roman numerals (I, II, III, ...) and referred to consecutively in the text (e.g. 'Table I'). Tables should be constructed carefully and simply for intelligible data representation. Unnecessarily complicated tables are strongly discouraged. Tables must be cell-based (i.e. not constructed with text boxes, tabs or enters) and accompanied by a concise title and column headings. Footnotes must be indicated with consecutive use of the following symbols: * † ‡ § ¶ || then ** †† ‡‡ etc. 

Figures must be numbered in Arabic numerals (1,2,3, …) and referred to in the text e.g. '(Figure 1)'. Figure legends: Figure 1: 'Title...'. All illustrations/figures/graphs must be of high resolution/quality: 300 dpi or more is preferable, but images must not be resized to increase resolution. Unformatted and uncompressed images must be attached as 'supplementary files' upon submission (not embedded in the accompanying manuscript). TIFF and PNG formats are preferable; JPEG and PDF formats are accepted, but authors must be wary of image compression. Illustrations and graphs prepared in Microsoft PowerPoint or Excel must be accompanied by the original workbook. 


Authors must verify references from the original sources. Only complete, correctly formatted reference lists will be accepted. Reference lists may be generated with the use of reference manager software, but the final document must be delinked from the reference database or otherwise generated manually. Citations should be inserted in the text in numerical order as superscript numbers, e.g. These regulations are endorsed by the World Health Organization,2 and others.3,4-6 The superscript reference number should come after the punctuation mark.

All references should be listed at the end of the article in numerical order of appearance in the Vancouver style (not alphabetical order). Approved abbreviations of journal titles must be used; see the List of Journals in Index Medicus. Names and initials of all authors should be given; if there are more than six authors, the first three names should be given followed by et al. First and last page, volume and issue numbers should be given. Wherever possible, references must be accompanied by a digital object identifier (DOI) link. Authors are encouraged to use the DOI lookup service offered by CrossRef. Crossref DOIs should always be displayed as a full URL link in the form

Journal references: Price NC, Jacobs NN, Roberts DA, et al. Importance of asking about glaucoma. Stat Med. 1998;289(1):350-355.

Book references: Jeffcoate N. Principles of Gynaecology. 4th ed. London: Butterworth, 1975:96-101. Chapter/section in a book: Weinstein L, Swartz MN. Pathogenic Properties of Invading Microorganisms. In: Sodeman WA jun, Sodeman WA, eds. Pathologic Physiology: Mechanisms of Disease. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1974:457-472. 

Internet references: World Health Organization. The World Health Report 2002 - Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2002. Accessed 16 January 2010.

Other references (e.g. reports) should follow the same format: Author(s). Title. Publisher place: publisher name, year; pages. Cited manuscripts that have been accepted but not yet published can be included as references followed by '(in press)'. Unpublished observations and personal communications in the text must not appear in the reference list. The full name of the source person must be provided for personal communications e.g. '...(Prof. Michael Jones, personal communication)'. 


A covering letter to the editor is mandatory and must include statements that the manuscript has not been published previously and is not under review elsewhere. It should state details of any prior publication of the research in abstract form or in Congress proceedings. The letter must declare if any of the authors have a conflict of interest and that the requirements for submission, including ethics approval and patient permission for case reports have been fulfilled. All authors must sign the covering letter.

Please provide the names and email addresses of three possible reviewers for this manuscript.


Manuscripts, after vetting by the editorial team, are assigned for peer-review to 3 reviewers, conversant with the particular field of research. The reviewers and the authors are blinded to each other’s identity. The turn-around time for review and initial editorial decision notification aims to be within 6 weeks of submission.  


A PDF proof of an article may be sent to the corresponding author before publication to resolve remaining queries. At that stage, only typographical changes are permitted; the corresponding author is required, having conferred with his/her co-authors, to reply within 2 working days in order for the article to be published in the issue for which it has been scheduled. 


Please notify the editorial department of any contact detail changes, including email, to facilitate communication. 


South African Journal of Surgery (SAJS) Copyright is held by Association of Surgeons of South Africa (ASSA). The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial Works 4.0 South Africa License (CC-NC BY 4.0). Material submitted for publication in the SAJS is accepted provided it has not been published elsewhere. SAJS does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the ASSA or its members.

Authors may use their own work after publication without written permission, provided they acknowledge the original source. Individuals and academic institutions may freely copy and distribute articles published in SAJS for educational and research purposes without obtaining permission.


The SAJS is committed to protecting the privacy of the users of this journal website. The names, personal particulars and email addresses entered in this website will be used only for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available to third parties without the user’s permission or due process. Users consent to receive communication from the SAJS for the stated purposes of the journal. Queries with regard to privacy may be directed to


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