Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Manuscript preparation

Read our general instructions for authors below.


Double-space and number every page, including the title page. Arrange the manuscript in the following order: title page, abstract, key words, body of review, acknowledgments, disclosures, and references.

Title page

The title page includes:

  • An article title of no more than 15 words
  • A byline listing all author names
  • A separate affiliation section that lists department, university or organizational affiliation, and location (city and state) for each author
  • The corresponding author's contact information

Abstract (200 to 400 words recommended)

Each review must include a structured abstract with the following headings: Purpose; Search Methods; Search Results; and Discussion and Conclusions. Headings are bolded and followed by a colon.

  • Purpose: Clearly articulate the purpose of the review and provide context or background information for understanding why the review is important. Describe the topics to be covered and be specific about how the review will benefit science, prevention, treatment, and/or health outcomes.
  • Search Methods: Describe the search strategy employed (e.g., search terms used, inclusion/exclusion criteria, databases that were searched). 
  • Search Results: Report the number of articles captured by the search, the number of articles excluded, and the number of articles included.
  • Discussion and Conclusions: Emphasize the included studies’ most salient results, especially new and important aspects that could move the field forward, and the review’s principal conclusions. Note any major limitations pertaining to the review and the included studies and avoid overinterpretation of findings.  

Key words

Immediately after the abstract, provide a maximum of eight key words—with one being “alcohol” —to be used for indexing. Authors are encouraged to use the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) search feature to identify key words that correspond with MeSH terminology when possible:

Body of review (6,000 words or fewer recommended)

Articles begin with an introduction that describes the purpose (i.e., rationale, objectives) of the review. Subsequent sections describe the following:

  • The search methods employed. This description includes a list of databases that were searched (a minimum of three), all search terms used, the date(s) of the search(es), and all inclusion/exclusion criteria.
  • The results of the literature search (e.g., number of articles captured by the search, number of articles excluded, number of articles included).
  • Results of the studies reviewed, especially new and salient findings. Note any apparent limitations of the studies reviewed or gaps in the literature.
  • A summary of the conclusions of the review. 

Begin each major section with a first-level heading of up to 50 characters. Second-and third-level headings, which are also limited to 50 characters, can be used to divide main sections into subtopics. 


The acknowledgments section includes funding sources, including relevant grant numbers. Do not include names of principal investigators. If there are no funding sources, this section will be deleted.


Each author must disclose any financial and non-financial interests that might appear to bias results presented in ARCR. Competing financial and non-financial interests may include, but are not limited to:

  • Grant support not already included in acknowledgments
  • Employment (past, present, or future)
  • Payment for expert testimony, lectures, or presentations
  • Personal financial or non-financial interests by the authors, immediate family members, or other affiliations (institutional or otherwise) that may gain or lose financially or non-financially through publication of these results

Interests that may conflict also may include compensation such as travel, consultancies, advisory board positions, patent and royalty arrangements, stock shares, personal or professional relationships, and so forth. When in doubt, we encourage authors to err on the side of caution and report all interests.

If none of the authors have competing financial or non-financial interests to disclose, use this statement: “The authors declare no competing financial or non-financial interests.” 


  • ARCR uses a numbered citation system based on the AMA Manual of Style and Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (  
  • Every reference cited in the text also must appear in the reference list—and vice versa. Unpublished results and personal communications are not to be included in the reference list; however, they may be mentioned in the text. References to websites that do not mention a specific document also may be mentioned in the text. 
  • References are listed in numerical order at the end of the document. 
  • Provide a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for each reference, if at all possible. (This primarily applies to journal articles.) 
  • Each reference is a separate entry. Do not combine multiple references under one number. Do not repeat a reference using a different number. 
  • Citation of a reference as “in press” implies the item has been accepted for publication. 
  • Citation numbers are typically placed at the end of a sentence. If all information in a paragraph pertains to a single source, place the citation number at the end of the first sentence in the paragraph that contains the cited material.  
  • In the body of a document, always place citation numbers after punctuation. 
  • When more than one reference is cited in one place, use commas without spaces to separate the citation numbers. If more than two numbers are sequential, use a hyphen between the first and last numbers in the sequence. 
  • Avoid placing a citation number immediately after a number or a unit of measure to avoid confusing the citation number with an exponent. 
  • For reference citations in text that include page numbers (e.g., for a direct quote), close up all space and do not use periods. 
  • References are listed in numerical order at the end of the document.  
  • Use hyphens, not en dashes, for page number ranges in the References list. 

For examples, please view the

Last Date Updated