Example TOC images on the JMIR homepage:
*Note that the center and right images appear in black and white because our homepage is built so that any image you wave your mouse over will appear in color; for this exact reason, we do not permit the use of black and white images for TOCs.
A Table of Contents (TOC) image describes your paper in a visual format. It will show up in all TOCs, but also in our newsletters, press releases, and tweets about the paper.
New since 12/2020: We now offer in-house design services to create a Visual Abstract (with text) that can replace the traditional plain TOC image (no text allowed). For these, none of the design guidelines below apply.
Design Guidelines for non-text TOC images
For the traditional TOC images, we prefer images from the actual paper (a figure from the paper, if it shows people using devices etc), the public domain, those created by authors, or those with a creative commons license (cc-by). We also prefer images that are not text-based (eg, no flow charts or bar diagrams). The TOC image is ideally with a person in it. It makes the image more relatable to the reader and a little more appealing on the JMIR homepage.
If the image is not created by the authors, it is very important to include the copyright and source URL in its caption. If the authors have purchased an image online, we would require a proof of purchase. Alternatively, the authors can themselves create an image related to their manuscript.
Upload the file into the supplementary file / TOC image section, see What is a TOC image and where/how do I upload it?.
- preferably, show people doing something
- do not use logos or words etc (except for JMIR Research Protocol and JMIR Formative Research where, for example, the logo of a study may be allowed, but only for "nice" logos that are in line with the article content, i.e. not a university logo etc)
- only use color, no black and white or monochromatic images
- no cartoon-style graphics or illustrations (exception: screenshots of app/video simulations)
- no collages (multiple photos arranged in a group)
- no diagrams
- stockphotos are ok (if you purchased a license), but avoid overly generic stockphotos such as "man sitting at a computer", a keyboard, or a stethoscope on a computer etc...(we have seen too many of those)
- screenshots are ok for sister journals (should be avoided for JMIR), but if the screenshot is too busy, crop the picture and upload as new figure showing only a part of the screenshot
- no investigator/author headshots etc (exception: group pictures of a research team are ok for JMIR Res Protoc)
- do not re-use a TOC image even if it is the same author(s)/topic
Any file being prepared for use as an article’s TOC image must adhere to the following rules and guidelines:
- Authors must own the copyright, or the image needs to be licensed from the copyright holder. If the image was previously published under a Creative Commons license (e.g. CC-BY, CC-BY-NC etc) or is in the public domain (CC0), then this constitutes a valid license. Source and license need to be indicated in the TOC upload form. Stockphotos are ok as well (but not preferred) as long as the author also uploads a confirmation that it was purchased. We prefer original work over stockphots.
- We only accept PNG format. Because JPG is a compressed format, there are often quality issues (compression artifacts), so we only permit PNG format to avoid low-quality images.
- The file must be in a size ratio of 4:3 with the smallest acceptable file being 200px by 150px but preferably at least 800px by 600px (the ideal size is 1200px by 900px).
- To make sure your image is good, please refrain from choosing anything in a portrait ratio as use of whitespace around the image is prohibited.
- In addition to not using a portrait aspect ratio, please also avoid using an ultra-wide ratio such as 4:2 (800px by 400px).
- Low quality and often used clip art is discouraged.
- Logos (e.g. of a research project or university) are only allowed for JMIR Res Protoc articles. Unless the article is to be published in Research Protocols, logos can not be used as a TOC image.
- Screenshots of websites with too much text are prohibited as text in images renders poorly especially at smaller sizes. JMIR's art department can create a collage using any screenshots, showing for example a mobile phone or desktop computer with the screenshot. If you wish this to be created, please contact the production editor with instructions.
- Graphs or charts if used as a TOC need to contain no text, or in the case of a small amount of text, it must be in a very large font-size.
- If an author-created image featuring a person shows identifiable features of the model (ie, the model's face, tattoos, etc), then we require the authors to obtain and provide permission from the model for their image to be published. If the model is under 18, then permission should be given by their legal guardian.