Writing for the FPM Blog or Journal

The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine (FPM) has some basic guidance and house style to use when writing for the FPM Journal or the FPM blog. Please review the sections below before drafting your article. Please also refer to these guidelines when using abbreviations/acronyms, compiling references and if providing illustrations (figures and tables).

File formats

Please submit articles in a word processor format (for example .doc, .docx, .rtf, .odt).

Use native Title, Heading, Paragraph styles if available as this facilitates migration onto the website content management system. Italicised and bold text transfers well, however superscript and subscript do not (see below for more information on how to include references).

Images should be supplied separately in one of the formats described below.

Use plain english

Please write in a style that is clear, concise and to the point. Keep in mind that your text must be fully accessible to readers both within and outside of pharmaceutical medicine, and to non-medical readers such as chief executives or managers, other healthcare professionals, policy makers and patients. Use plain English and avoid colloquialisms or overly technical language. For some readers, English may not be their first language and the information and data in your text must be presented clearly and with complete transparency. Support your discussion with data where possible.

Content length and ‘chunks’

The accepted optimal length of a blog post changes regularly, however 800 – 2000 words is considered current best practice.

To help the reader scan the page, please aim to split your content into ‘chunks’ of 200 – 500 words.

Summarise the article in the first paragraph

Please include a summarising paragraph or abstract as the first ‘chunk’. This should hook readers into scrolling down the page to find out more. You could briefly outline what readers will discover or learn from the article. If established perceptions will be challenged then mention that in the first paragraph.

Capitalisation

Only capitalise proper nouns e.g. Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, Dr John Smith, Pharmaceutical Medicine (specifically referring to the specialty).

Do not capitalise common nouns e.g. pharmaceutical industry, pharmaceutical physician, pharmaceutical medicine (when not directly referring to the specialty)

Abbreviations

Spell out the abbreviated term in full at the first mention in the text and put the abbreviation in brackets directly after; thereafter use the abbreviation.

Numbers and dates

  • For numbers one to ten, please write as words, for 11 or higher, please use numbers.
  • With regards to 0 vs zero, please use whichever makes the more contextual sense.
  • For dates please use the format Day DD Month YYYY. For example, Thursday 26 October 1989.
  • For times, use the 24hr clock with no ‘am/pm’. E.g. 16:00, 09:00.

Our name - the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine (FPM)

Please note that we are FPM and not the Faculty.

Some use cases:

  • FPM led a project in 2019…
  • Find out about the requirements and benefits of becoming a Member or Fellow of FPM…
  • Delegates had an opportunity to meet the FPM president
  • FPM staff

Promotional content

Unless editorially relevant, please refrain from promoting any products or services that are offered by yourself as an individual, or by an organisation. Any advertorial content, including ‘product placement’ or ‘branded content’, will be returned for revisions.

NB: We have regular opportunities for sponsorship. Please contact Will Strange (w.strange@fpm.org.uk) for our latest opportunities.

References

References should appear in the text in square brackets, set after the punctuation, and numbered in order of appearance. For example:

Several studies illustrate this phenomenon.[5–7,9,15,16]

References should be added as endnotes not footnotes. In the reference list, multi-author references should give the names of up to three authors, followed by initials. Where there are more than three authors, please give the first author and last author, followed by et al. Journal titles should be abbreviated according to Index Medicus and PubMed (available at ww.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/projects/linkout/journals/ jourlists.fcgi?).

References should be set out as follows:

References to journal articles

[1] Rivers E, Smith B, Havstad S et al. Early goal-directed therapy in the treatment of severe sepsis. N Engl J Med 2008;345(suppl 1):1853–8.

[2] Scott A, Rees EG, Long R, Burger R, Speller T. Drug-induced toxic epidermal necrolysis. BMJ 2007;318:1591–4.

References to books, working party reports, government reports

[3] Firth JD. The clinical approach to the patient with acute renal failure. In: Jones C, Davies M (eds), Textbook of diabetes, 2nd edn. Oxford: Blackwell Science, 2007:1557–82.

[4] Royal College of Physicians. Palliative care services: meeting the needs of patients. Report of a working party. London: RCP, 2007.

[5] Department of Health. Pharmacy in England. London: DH, 2008.

Electronic references should be included in the main reference list. They should not be underlined and should start with ‘www’, not http, unless there is no ‘www’, in which case the ‘http://’ should be retained. If the reference is to a webpage within a website, include the date when the page was accessed, in case its location is later changed. e.g.

[6] Health Survey for England, 2009. www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/PublishedSurvey/HealthSurveyForEngland/index.htm [Accessed 5 January 2010]

Illustrations and images

Illustrations may be subject to copyright and it is FPM’s responsibility to ensure that any images are licensed for re-use on our website. If including images, please give a link to source of the image to facilitate licensing. FPM has a limited budget for imagery and reserves the right to decline to include images if their licensing is too costly.

Included images and illustrations such as graphs, charts, maps, diagrams, drawings and photographs should be numbered Fig 1, Fig 2 etc throughout the work.

Please indicate in the typescript where the illustration should appear (eg ‘Fig 1 near here’) and provide a reference to it in the text (e.g. ‘Fig 1 shows …’). Avoid referring to it as ‘the following figure’ as it may not be possible to place it exactly below its first mention. Instead refer to it by number, eg ‘in Fig 2’. Note that ‘Figure’ should only be spelt out in full at the beginning of sentences.

At the end of the typescript, please include a list of all figures and illustrations, along with captions for each. Include a numbered reference to the image source where applicable. References in figure and table captions should be numbered within the sequence in the text, not given numbers at the end of all the other references.

Figure legends should be set out as follows:

Fig 1 Plasma nicotine concentrations from different sources.[3]

Illustration file formats

Illustrations should be supplied in files separate from the main text, rather than being embedded in a Word file in the middle of the text. Any images, e.g. line illustrations, graphs, charts, photographs or logos, should be supplied as JPEG, TIFF or PNG files.

Tables

Tables should be used sparingly as they translate poorly to web, especially for mobile users. If possible, use a bulleted or numbered list instead.

Table content should be as concise as possible. Cells with too many characters will not display well and we would ask for it to be revised.

Tables should be numbered Table 1, Table 2 etc throughout the work. Tables should be supplied separately from the main text, with each table on a separate page.

Each table should be mentioned in the text, but do not refer to it as ‘the following table’ as it may not be possible to place it exactly below its first mention. Instead refer to it by number, eg ‘in Table 3’. If there is any uncertainty about the placing of a table, add an indication on the typescript, eg ‘Table 3 near here’.

• Please use the minimum of horizontal rules to divide table caption, column headings etc.

• Put the table number and caption above the table, and the footnotes below it.

• Footnotes to tables should be superscript lower case letters, ie a,b,c.

• Check that totals add up correctly, and that figures align. All decimal points should be preceded by a digit, zero if necessary.