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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Recommendations and Reports / Surveillance Summaries

Instructions for Authors
Instructions for Format, Clearance, and Submission
(Updated September 9, 2014)

Report Text

  • Software: Microsoft Word only.
  • Line spacing: 2.0.
  • Font: Times New Roman.
  • Type size: 11 or 12 point.
  • Headings: Times New Roman, 11 or 12 point; bold and bold/italics may be used, but no other formatting.
  • Note: Because CDC is the corporate author and stands behind every report, use of first person (I, we, our) is not permitted in MMWR  publications.

Summaries and Abstracts

  • A summary (maximum 275 words) is required for Recommendations and Reports and supplements.
  • A structured abstract (i.e., Problem/Condition, Reporting Period, Description of System, Results and Interpretation, and Public Health Actions Taken) is required for Surveillance Summaries.


  • Software: Word table function or Excel.
  • Must not have tabs, extra spaces, or returns within the cells.
  • Must be submitted in a separate file, not embedded in the text.


  • Figures should be created in (not pasted into) Adobe Illustrator, PowerPoint, Excel or (in the case of maps) vector format files (such as .ai, .cgm, .eps, and .wmf).
  • For bar and line graphs, also include data in tabular form.
  • Use of color is acceptable.
  • Photographs (high resolution [300 dpi]) that enhance or clarify the text are encouraged.
  • Numbers, symbols, and lettering should be large enough to remain legible when reduced.
  • Place keys and legends within the figure.
  • Must be submitted in a separate file, not embedded in the text.

Cover Art

  • Art work for the covers of reports is desired but not mandatory. Photographs and line art are acceptable.
  • Photographs should be 300 dpi and should be submitted, preferably, as a .tif file (.jpeg and .cmyk are acceptable). Line art should be submitted as an .eps file or .pdf.


  • Will be done by MMWR  staff.

Method (Recommendations and Reports)

  • All CDC guidelines should provide a methods section that transparently discusses the following:
    • How do the guidelines add to or differ from what was available previously?
    • Who was involved in the production of the guidelines and how?
    • What information base was considered?
      • What was the rationale for considering this evidence base?
      • What potential information bases were not consulted?
  • How does the information considered support or relate to the conclusions or recommendations?



  • The order of footnotes is *, †, §, ¶, **, ††, §§, ¶¶, ***, †††, etc.
  • For footnotes in the text, place the footnote symbol as needed in the text, but place the footnote text in a separate file.
  • For footnotes in tables and figures, place the footnotes in order (including any footnotes in the title) from left to right (i.e., in the order a person reads).

OMB Peer Review

  • If applicable, must be completed before submission for publication.


  • All reports must be cleared through the ADS level of the originating CIO. All Recommendations and Reports and Supplements must be cleared by OADS.
  • Cross-clearances must be submitted also, if applicable.
  • Signed clearance forms (CDC 0.576) must be submitted before the report is assigned for production.

ACIP Statements/Other Task Force or Committee Recommendations

  • Must reflect the names of ACIP members who were active at the time the statement was adopted.
  • Authors/contributors are responsible for obtaining an accurate list from ACIP Coordinating Medical Officer, Jean C. Smith, MD, MPH.
  • Other recommendations (e.g., from a task force, working group, or committee) must include the members' full formal names, their highest academic degrees, and their affiliations, including city and state for non-CDC members.

Continuing Education (CE) Activities

  • Will be coordinated through MMWR  staff in conjunction with OWCD.
  • Planning for continuing education activities should begin while the draft is being prepared.
  • Procedures for including a CE activity are available upon request. Contact Barbara Stallworth (phone: 404-498-2359; email:
  • The report's goal, three to five objectives, 6–10 draft content questions, and the correct answers should be included in the package when the draft is submitted for publication.


  • Attributed only to persons who write Surveillance Summaries.
  • Author attribution is not given in MMWR  Recommendations and Reports. The report lists the CDC persons who prepared the report, but this list does not confer authorship (see previous instructions regarding authorship).
  • A list of authors/contributors must be submitted with each report. The list must include each person's full formal name, highest academic degree, and affiliation, including city and state.


  • Authors/contributors will be allowed to review and comment on their reports only two times during the production cycle:
    • They will be asked to review the edited draft, on which any substantive changes can be made.
    • Authors/contributors will see the report again in the layout proof stage (i.e., galleys). Layout proofs should be used to correct egregious errors in format or layout. Proof stage is not the appropriate time to make extensive content changes. MMWR  assumes that a correctly cleared report will have undergone that level of scrutiny before it is submitted for publication. If reports require substantial content changes in the proof stage, MMWR  might reschedule publication.


  • Production includes editing, entering changes to electronic files, coding for typesetting, typesetting, proofing, review by established list of reviewers, and printing, which usually requires 12–16 weeks from the date of assignment to the project editor. Authors/contributors can help avoid unnecessary delays by meeting deadlines and following the instructions of the project editor.


  • All printing costs are charged to the originating CIO.
  • Serial publications are now published online only and are not automatically printed and sent to the MMWR  mailing list (approximately 4,500 subscribers). However, authors may request that the report be printed and sent to the MMWR  mailing list and/or have copies printed for their own general distribution. Contact MASO for a cost estimate.
  • The project editor prepares the print request and coordinates with the author/contributor to have any additional copies printed and stored at CDC's publication warehouse, if desired.

Scheduling and Submitting Reports

  • The Editor, MMWR, will determine if articles are accepted for publication.
  • Scheduling must be done by contacting the Lead Technical Writer-Editor of MMWR  Recommendations and Reports and Surveillance Summaries.
  • Draft files and clearance documents should be submitted via e-mail (no zipped files). Printouts of the text, tables, and figures are not required.

If you have any questions regarding these instructions, please contact:
David C. Johnson
Lead Technical Writer-Editor
MMWR  Recommendations and Reports and Surveillance Summaries
MS E-90
Phone: 404-498-2376

Author/Contributor Checklist

  • List of authors/contributors reviewed to ensure that each person meets MMWR  authorship criteria.
  • List of authors/contributors with each person's full formal name, highest academic degree, and affiliation (including city and state) included in the text file.
  • Text prepared in Word.
  • Text double-spaced.
  • Summary (Recommendations and Reports) or structured abstract (Surveillance Summaries) included.
  • Tables created with Word table function or Excel and placed in a separate file.
  • Original figures created in (not pasted in) PowerPoint, CorelDraw, or vector format and placed in a separate file.
  • All references cited in order and italicized numbers placed in parentheses in the text.
  • All reference manager or endnote formatting deleted from file.
  • Clearance form (CDC 0.576) signed by all reviewers through the CIO ADS level and initialed by all authors/contributors.
  • ACIP or other committee, task force, or working group membership list prepared, if applicable.
  • Report goal, objectives, content questions, and answers included, if a continuing education activity is planned.
  • Electronic files (unzipped) sent by e-mail to