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Instructions to Authors

On this page:

Aims and Scope of the Journal
Types of Manuscripts Considered
Components of the Manuscript
Additional Policies and Considerations
How to Submit Online Using ScholarOne
Review Process
Paper Acceptance Information
Author Rights and Benefits
Authors Self-Archiving/Public Access Policy
Open Access
Opportunities for New Reviewers/Mentors
Editorial Correspondence


The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the publisher of The Gerontologist, was founded in 1945 to promote the scientific study of aging, to encourage exchanges among researchers and practitioners from the various disciplines related to gerontology, and to foster the use of gerontological research in forming public policy. The organization fosters collaboration between physicians, nurses, biologists, behavioral and social scientists, psychologists, social workers, economists, policy experts, those who study the humanities and arts, and many other scholars and researchers in aging. Through networking and mentorship opportunities, GSA provides a professional "home" for 5,500 career gerontologists and students at all levels. For more information about GSA, visit geron.org.


The Gerontologist is a bimonthly journal of The Gerontological Society of America that provides a multidisciplinary perspective on human aging primarily through the publication of research that is relevant to social policy, program development, and service delivery. It reflects and informs the broad community of disciplines and professions involved in understanding the aging process and providing service to older people. Articles, including those in applied research, should include a conceptual framework and testable hypotheses, and report research finding with implications for policy or practice. Contributions from social and psychological sciences, biomedical and health sciences, political science and public policy, economics, education, law, and the arts and humanities are welcome. Brief descriptions of innovative practices and programs are appropriate in the Intervention Research section. Please refer below to the Types of Manuscripts Considered for additional information about all types of manuscripts.

Due to the high volume of submissions, we are unable to offer pre-screening advice. Instead, please refer to the aims and scope of the journal to determine if The Gerontologist is a suitable journal for your work.


All manuscripts submitted to The Gerontologist should address practice and/or policy implications.

*The word limits listed below include abstract, text, and references.

  • Tables and figures must not exceed an additional 5 pages (Literature Review submissions must not exceed an additional 10 pagesof tables and figures).
  • To manage the word and page counts, authors are encouraged to submit detailed methodology, tables, and/or figures as appendixes. If your manuscript is accepted, appendixes are available to readers online only.

a. Research Articles present the results of original research. These manuscripts may be no longer than 6,000* (7,000* for qualitative studies) words. The word count includes; abstract, text and references. Tables and figures must not exceed an additional 5 pages. The text is usually divided into sections with the headings: Introduction, Design and Methods, Results, and Discussion and Implications. Subheads may also be needed to clarify content. Research design and analysis procedures as well as implications for practice or policy must be clearly described.

Qualitative Manuscripts: Qualitative manuscripts should avoid the subheading "A Qualitative Study." See Schoenberg, N., & McAuley, W. J. (2007). Promoting qualitative research. The Gerontologist, 47(5), 576–577 and Schoenberg, N.E., Miller, E.A., and Pruchno, R., The Qualitative Portfolio at The Gerontologist: Strong and Getting Stronger. The Gerontologist (2011) 51(3): 281–284.

Humanities and Arts: Please refer to the following editorial for additional detail with these types of submission: Kivnick, H.Q. & Pruchno, R. (2011). Bridges and Boundaries: Humanities and Arts Enhance Gerontology, The Gerontologist, 51(2), 142-144.

b. Literature Review or Measurement Online Only Articles The Gerontologist welcomes submissions using sophisticated scale development procedures (6,000* words; all scales must be freely available for use by researchers) and/or literature reviews (8,000* words) for consideration for publication. These articles will be published online only (title would appear in a print issue Table of Contents for the journal, but the article would appear online only). Articles will go through our usual peer review and editing processes. They will receive a DOI, be searchable, and will be available electronically.

c. Brief Reports Brief reports are encouraged for significant and innovative papers that are not as long as full research articles, but are equivalent in quality. Manuscripts should be no more than 2,500* words. The word count includes the abstract, text and references.

d. The Forum Timely scholarly review articles or well-documented arguments presenting a viewpoint on a topical issue are published in this section. Total length should be no more than 5,000* words. The word count includes the abstract, text and references.

e. Intervention Research An Intervention Research submission describes research that spans the trajectory from intervention development to implementation. Appropriate articles include rigorous early stage development, feasibility, or pilot studies of innovative practices, RCTs, studies of the transportability of efficacious interventions, community testing or trials, and tests of dissemination and implementation strategies. Submissions may be research article length (maximum of 6000 words for quantitative, 7000 words for qualitative or mixed methods), or brief reports (maximum of 2500 words; may be most appropriate for pilot studies). Successful submissions will have the following attributes: (a) a clear theoretical or conceptual framework supporting the intervention and/or the treatment development and implementation process, (b) for implementation research, a description of evidence from rigorous research that the intervention has efficacy, (c) methodological rigor, including clear articulation of the design and analyses, and (d) integration of implementation considerations regardless of research stage. For more information, please refer to the following editorial: Meeks, S. & Pruchno R. (2017). Practice Concepts Will Become Intervention Research Effective January 2017. The Gerontologist. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnw213

f. On Film and Digital Media Please refer to the editorial "Launching 'On Film and Digital Media."

g. Book Reviews Book reviews are published in essay form. Reviews are prepared at the request of the Book Review Editor and are not guaranteed for acceptance prior to submission. Unsolicited book review essays are not accepted. Books for review should be sent to Judith G. Gonyea, PhD, Book Review Editor, Social Research Department, School of Social Work, Boston University, 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02115.

h. Guest Editorials Upon occasion, the Editor-in-Chief will invite guest editorials. Unsolicited editorials are not accepted.

The Gerontologist does not publish obituaries, speeches, announcements of programs, or new product information.

Supplement issues of The Gerontologist are additional and externally funded issues. Please contact the editorial office at tg@geron.org for further information. The Gerontologist also publishes special issues, developed by the editors of The Gerontologist, within our regularly scheduled bimonthly issues.


Manuscripts are to be submitted in Microsoft Word or a Word-compatible program at ScholarOne. Manuscripts submitted in other formats will be unsubmitted and returned to the corresponding author for correction prior to editor review. Please DO NOT submit PDF versions of your manuscript submission materials. A peer-review title page will be created by the system and will be combined with the main document file into a single PDF document. This document will be used for the peer review process.

The Gerontologist uses APA style. General guidelines follow; for more detailed information, consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Please see section TYPES OF MANUSCRIPTS CONSIDERED BY THE GERONTOLOGIST above for additional information about the types of submissions and word counts. Please read “Editorial: Science or Fishing?” for valuable information about manuscript preparation.

This journal has a double-blind review policy. Therefore, we require authors to submit TWO versions of the article file, anonymous and non-anonymous (see below for additional information). Please upload ONLY these two files, the anonymous and non-anonymous manuscript files. Include your tables and figures in these documents, following APA guidelines.

Abbreviations: Ensure that the use of abbreviations is clear and that each one is defined in the text at its first mention only.

In-text References and Citations Refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) for style and see the FORMATTING section above. References in text are shown by citing in parentheses the author’s surname and the year of publication. Example: ‘‘. . . a recent study (Jones, 1987) has shown. . . .’’ If a reference has two authors, the citation includes the surnames of both authors each time the citation appears in the text. When a reference has more than two authors and fewer than six authors, cite all authors the first time the reference occurs. In subsequent citations, and for all citations having six or more authors, include only the surname of the first author followed by ‘‘et al.’’ Multiple references cited at the same point in the text are in alphabetical order by author’s surname.

Instructions for Anonymous Files Upload one anonymous version of your manuscript with no author names or contact information on the title page, blinded acknowledgment details, and removed other self-identifying author information. Be sure to check there are no self-references in the text itself that would reveal the identity of the authors. Please remove those instances and insert the term "blinded for review" in its place. This includes self-references to your name and University/Institute. This version may be seen by peer-reviewers.

Instructions for Non-Anonymous Files Upload a complete version of the manuscript with all of the author and acknowledgment details. This version will be seen by the editors and will be the version published, IF accepted.

Cover Letter (Optional). A cover letter is not required and is optional. It should explain how the manuscript is innovative, provocative, timely, and of interest to a broad audience, and other information authors wish to share with editors. Note: The cover letter for manuscripts will NOT be shared with reviewers.

Title page. A title page should be a completely separate page that includes the following:
(1) Title of the manuscript, APA recommends that a title be no more than 12 words.
(2) All authors' full name(s), affiliations, and email addresses.
(3) The corresponding author should be clearly designated.

Abstract and Keywords. On a separate page, each manuscript must include a brief abstract. Structured abstracts for Research Articles, Brief Reports, and Intervention Research submissions should be approximately 250 words (the web-based system will not accept an abstract of more than 250 words), and must include the following headings: Background and Objectives, Research Design and Methods, Results, and Discussion and Implications. Forum and Policy Studies manuscripts must also include an abstract of about 200 words, but may be without structured headings.

Below the abstract, authors should supply three to five key words that are NOT in the title. (Please avoid elders, older adults, or other words that would apply to all manuscripts submitted to The Gerontologist.) Please note three key words must be entered to move forward in the online submission process.

Text. The text of Research Articles, Brief Reports, and Intervention Research submissions should follow the headings included in the structured abstract (see above Abstract and Keywords). Forum and Policy Studies manuscript should also be divided into headings, as appropriate for the submission. Articles may need subheadings within some sections to clarify their content. The Implications should not merely restate the results but should interpret the results and specify the policy and/or practice implications.

(1) The word counts for the different kinds of publications considered by the Journal are presented above and are inclusive of the abstract, text and references.

(2) If manuscripts greatly exceed these word count limits, your manuscript may be returned to you for correction BEFORE the peer review process can begin. If you would like to appeal the word count limit for the text of the manuscript, permission must be granted by the Editor in Chief prior to submission. When submitting, please indicate in your cover letter that permission has been granted.

Acknowledgment (Optional). If the authors choose to include acknowledgments recognizing funders or other individuals, they should be placed on a separate page immediately following the title page. The self-identifying acknowledgments should be removed from the anonymous version of the manuscript.

Conflict of Interest
At the point of submission, each author should reveal any financial interests or connections, direct or indirect, or other situations that might raise the question of bias in the work reported or the conclusions, implications, or opinions stated - including pertinent commercial or other sources of funding for the individual author(s) or for the associated department(s) or organization(s), personal relationships, or direct academic competition. When considering whether you should declare a conflicting interest or connection please consider the conflict of interest test: Is there any arrangement that would embarrass you or any of your co-authors if it was to emerge after publication and you had not declared it?

As part of the online submission process, corresponding authors are required to confirm whether they or their co-authors have any conflicts of interest to declare, and to provide details of these. It is the corresponding author's responsibility to ensure that all authors adhere to this policy.

Details of all funding sources for the work in question should be given in a separate section entitled Funding. This should appear before the Acknowledgements section.

The following rules should be followed:
• The sentence should begin: ‘This work was supported by …’

• The full official funding agency name should be given, i.e. ‘National Institutes of Health’, not ‘NIH’ (full RIN-approved list of UK funding agencies) Grant numbers should be given in brackets as follows: ‘[grant number xxxx]’

• Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma as follows: ‘[grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]’

• Agencies should be separated by a semi-colon (plus ‘and’ before the last funding agency)

• Where individuals need to be specified for certain sources of funding the following text should be added after the relevant agency or grant number 'to [author initials]'.

An example is given here: ‘This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [AA123456 to C.S., BB765432 to M.H.]; and the Alcohol & Education Research Council [hfygr667789].’

Oxford Journals will deposit all NIH-funded articles in PubMed Central. See http://www.oxfordjournals.org/for_authors/repositories.html for details. Authors must ensure that manuscripts are clearly indicated as NIH-funded using the guidelines above.

Crossref Funding Data Registry
To meet their funding requirements authors are required to name their funding sources, or state if there are none, during the submission process. For further information on this process or to find out more about the CHORUS initiative please click here.

Reference List
Arrange alphabetically by author’s surname; do not number. The reference list includes only references cited in the text. Do not include references to private communications or submitted work. Consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) for correct form.

Journals: Kaskie, B., Imhof, S., Cavanaugh, J., & Culp, K. (2008). Civic engagement as a retirement role for aging Americans. The Gerontologist, 48, 368–377. doi:10.1093/geront/48.3.368
Books: Quadagno, J. S. (1982). Aging in early industrial societies. New York: Academic Press.

Tables are to be numbered consecutively with Arabic numbers and have a brief title for each. Place table footnotes immediately below the table, using superscript letters (a, b, c) as reference marks. Asterisks are used only for probability levels of tests of significance (*p<.05). Tables should be placed at the end of the anonymous and non-anonymous manuscripts, following the references.

Please include your figures at the end of the anonymous and non-anonymous word processing file.The journal reserves the right to reduce the size of illustrative material. Each figure should be at sufficient resolution (i.e., 300 dpi at 5 in.) to be clear, sharp images when reduced to print size. Figures must be professionally lettered in a sans-serif type (e.g., Arial or Helvetica). All labels used in figures should be in upper case in both the figure and the caption.

Color figures
Figures may appear in color online, but will only appear in color in print when deemed necessary. Please contact the editorial office for further information about color figures at tg@geron.org.

Captions for Tables and Illustrations
Type table titles and figure captions on a separate page following the references in the main document with numbers corresponding to the tables and illustrations. Table titles and figure captions should provide sufficient information so that the reader can understand the tables and figures with minimal reference to the text. Explain symbols, arrows, numbers, or letters used in illustrations. Explain internal scale and identify staining method in photomicrographs.

Supplementary Material
Supplementary material can be made available by the publisher online only and linked to the published article. This material includes supporting material that is not essential for inclusion in the full text to understand the conclusions of the paper but contains data that is additional or complementary and directly relevant to the article content and therefore may benefit the reader. Such information might include more detailed methods, extended data sets/data analysis, or additional figures.

It is standard practice for appendixes to be made available online only as supplementary material. All text and figures must be provided in suitable electronic formats. All material to be considered as supplementary material must be submitted for peer review at the same time as the manuscript and included in the anonymous and nonanonymous versions of the manuscript (do not upload the material as separate files) and indicated clearly as supplementary material. Also ensure that the supplementary material is cited in the main manuscript where necessary, for example, “(see Supplementary Material)” or “(see Supplementary Figure 1).” The material cannot be altered or replaced after the paper has been accepted for publication, and it will not be edited.

All appendixes will be published online only as supplementary material (please
see FORMATTING and Supplementary Material instructions above).


Permissions for Illustrations and Figures
Permission to reproduce copyright material, for print and online publication in perpetuity, must be cleared and if necessary paid for by the author; this includes applications and payments to DACS, ARS and similar licensing agencies where appropriate. Evidence in writing that such permissions have been secured from the rights-holder must be made available to the editors; submit this evidence by uploading the letter as a "Permission for Previously Published Material" file in the File Upload section of the journal submission site. It is also the author's responsibility to include acknowledgments as stipulated by the particular institutions. Oxford Journals can offer information and documentation to assist authors in securing print and online permissions: please see Sections 2.3 and 2.6 when you click on Guidelines for Author Permissions in "Rights and Permissions Guidelines for Authors" at http://www.oxfordjournals.org/access_purchase/rights_permissions.html. Information on permissions contacts for a number of main galleries and museums can also be provided. If you require copies of the Permissions Guidelines for Authors, please contact the editorial office of the journal in question or the Oxford Journals Rights department.

The Gerontologist  expects that authors will observe high standards with respect to publication ethics. For example, the following practices are unacceptable: (1) falsification or fabrication of data, (2) plagiarism, including duplicate publication of the authors' own work, in whole or in part without proper citation, (3) misappropriation of the work of others such as omission of qualified authors or of information regarding financial support. Allegations of unethical conduct will be discussed initially with the corresponding author. In the event of continued dispute, the matter will be referred to the author's institution and funding agencies for investigation and adjudication.

Oxford Journals, publisher of The Gerontologist, is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), and the journal strives to adhere to the COPE code of conduct and guidelines. For further information see http://publicationethics.org/.

Any study using human subjects or materials needs to state the Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval and number, and any study using animals needs to state the Institutional Animal Care approval and number. Any other ethics approvals should also be listed. If no ethical approvals were required, please state this. 

Statement of Informed Consent
Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent.Identifying information, including patients' names, initials, or hospital numbers, 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 written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should identify individuals who provide writing assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance. Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, however, and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning and editors should so note.

Conditions for submission
Submission of a manuscript to The Gerontologist implies that it has not been published or is not under consideration elsewhere. If accepted for this journal, it is not to be published elsewhere without permission. As a further condition of publication, the corresponding author will be responsible, where appropriate, for certifying that permission has been received to use copyrighted instruments or software employed in the research and that human or animal subjects approval has been obtained. 

In the case of coauthored manuscripts, the corresponding author will also be responsible for signing a license to publish form on behalf of his or her co-authors indicating that the manuscript is original work, has not been previously published, will not be submitted for publication to any other journal following acceptance in The Gerontologist, and all necessary permissions have been received. 

Post Production Corrections
The publisher will make no correction to a paper already published without an erratum (i.e., for publisher-caused errors) or a corrigendum (i.e., for author-caused errors; as applicable); this policy applies to papers on Advance Access and published within an issue. This policy mean that any change made to a paper already published online will have a corresponding erratum or corrigendum published with its own separate DOI. Whether on Advance Access or in an issue, if an erratum or corrigendum is published, the online version of the original paper will also be corrected online, and the correction will be noted in the erratum or corrigendum. Corrections will only be made if the publication record is seriously affected by the scholarly accuracy of the published information.

Authors' corrections to Supplementary Data are made only in exception circumstances (e.g., major errors that compromise the conclusion of the study). Because the Supplementary Data is part of the original paper and therefore the published record, the information cannot be updated if new data have become available or interpretations have changed.


Manuscripts must be submitted online at The Gerontologist's online submission site. Instructions on submitting your manuscript online can be viewed here. After reading the instructions, if you still have questions on how to submit your manuscript online, contact the Managing Editor, Megan McCutcheon, at tg@geron.org.


All papers published in The Gerontologist are subject to peer review. Papers that are outside the scope of the journal, that do not comply with the guidelines below or are otherwise judged to be unsuitable by the editor will be rejected without peer review. Peer-reviewed manuscripts are sent to at least two independent referees for evaluation. Authors are encouraged to suggest reviewers of international standing. Reviewers advise on the originality and scientific merit of the paper; the editors make all final decisions on publication. The corresponding author will be notified via email with a decision and revision requirements, if applicable. Please ensure that email addresses are current for notification purposes.


Licenses and Copyright
It is a condition of publication in The Gerontologist that authors grant an exclusive license to The Gerontological Society of America. This ensures that requests from third parties to reproduce articles are handled efficiently and consistently and will also allow the article to be as widely disseminated as possible. As part of the license agreement, authors may use their own material in other publications provided that The Gerontologist is acknowledged as the original place of publication and Oxford University Press as the Publisher.

Upon receipt of accepted papers at Oxford Journals, authors will be required to complete an online copyright license to publish form. This form will be sent to the corresponding author via email.

Please note that by submitting a manuscript for consideration for publication, you confirm that you are the corresponding/submitting author and that Oxford University Press ("OUP") may retain your email address for the purpose of communicating with you about the submission. You agree to notify OUP immediately if your details change. If your article is accepted for publication OUP will contact you using the email address you designated in the submission process. Please note that OUP does not retain copies of rejected articles.

Information about the Creative Commons licensee can be found at http://creativecommons.org/.


Advance Access
Advance Access allows for papers to be published online soon after they have been accepted for publication--reducing the time between submission and publication. Articles posted for Advance Access have been copyedited and typeset but not yet paginated for inclusion in a specific issue of the journal. Appearance in Advance Access constitutes official publication, with full-text functionality, and the Advance Access version can be cited by a unique DOI (Digital Object Identifier). The final manuscript is then paginated into an issue, at which point it is removed from the Advance Access page. Both versions of the paper continue to be accessible and citable.

Authors Self-Archiving/Advance Access Policy
For information about this journal's policy, please visit our Author Self-Archiving policy page.

Open Access
The Gerontologist authors have the option to publish their paper under the Oxford Open initiative; whereby, for a charge, their paper will be made freely available online immediately upon publication. After your manuscript is accepted the corresponding author will be required to accept a mandatory license to publish agreement.

As part of the licensing process you will be asked to indicate whether or not you wish to pay for open access.

If you do not select the open access option, your paper will be published with standard subscription-based access and you will not be charged.
Oxford Open articles are published under Creative Commons licenses.

RCUK/Wellcome Trust funded authors publishing in The Gerontologist can use the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY) for their articles.

All other authors may use the following Creative Commons licenses:
•Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license (CC-BY-NC)
•Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives license (CC-BY-NC-ND)
Please click here for more information about the Creative Commons licenses.
You can pay Open Access charges using our Author Services site. This will enable you to pay online with a credit/debit card, or request an invoice by email or post. The applicable open access charges vary according to which Creative Commons license you select. The open access charges are as follows.

Charges for CC-BY:
•Regular charge: £2125/ $3400 / €2763
•List B Developing country charge*: £1063/ $1700 / €1382
•List A Developing country charge*: £0 /$0 / €0

Charges for CC-BY-NC/CC-BY-NC-ND:
•Regular charge: £1875/ $3000 / €2438
•List B Developing country charge*: £938/ $1500 / €1219
•List A Developing country charge*: £0 /$0 / €0

*Visit our developing countries page (click here for a list of qualifying countries).
Please note that these charges are in addition to any color charges that may apply.

Orders from the UK will be subject to the current UK VAT charge. For orders from the rest of the European Union, OUP will assume that the service is provided for business purposes. Please provide a VAT number for yourself or your institution, and ensure you account for your own local VAT correctly.

Authors will receive electronic access to their paper free of charge. Printed offprints may be purchased in multiples of 50. Authors may purchase offprints through the author services site where they sign their online license forms.

You can pay Open Access charges using our Author Services site. This will enable you to pay online with a credit/debit card, or request an invoice by email or post. The applicable open access charges vary according to which Creative Commons license you select. The open access charges are as follows.

Charges for CC-BY:
•Regular charge: £2125/ $3400 / €2763
•List B Developing country charge*: £1063/ $1700 / €1382
•List A Developing country charge*: £0 /$0 / €0

Charges for CC-BY-NC/CC-BY-NC-ND:
•Regular charge: £1875/ $3000 / €2438
•List B Developing country charge*: £938/ $1500 / €1219
•List A Developing country charge*: £0 /$0 / €0
*Visit our developing countries page (click here for a list of qualifying countries).

Please note that these charges are in addition to any color charges that may apply.

Orders from the UK will be subject to the current UK VAT charge. For orders from the rest of the European Union, OUP will assume that the service is provided for business purposes. Please provide a VAT number for yourself or your institution, and ensure you account for your own local VAT correctly.


For students or emerging scholars interested in participating in the review process for The Gerontologist, we provide an opportunity for novice reviewers. Novice reviewers are added as a third reviewer to manuscripts that we send out for peer review. These reviews are given full consideration in the editorial decision. This process gives new professionals an opportunity not only to review a manuscript, but also to experience the review process, editorial decisions, and manuscript revision process. This also helps the novice reviewer learn how to publish in The Gerontologist. After individuals successfully complete two or more reviews, novice reviewers will become regular reviewers. All reviewers are asked to return their reviews within two weeks.

We also encourage individuals to serve as a mentor to new professionals who are interested in the review process for The Gerontologist. The current review form allows for this designation so that all invited reviews can be completed with a reviewer-in-training, if interested.

Editorial Correspondence
Questions? Contact the Editorial Office at tg@geron.org.
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