The journal focuses on such topics as disease surveillance, infectious and chronic diseases, occupational disease and injury, immunization, health disparities, substance use disorders, tobacco use, and many other key and emerging public health concerns. In addition to its 6 regular issues, PHR produces supplemental issues several times per year, focusing on specific topics of interest to its readership. The journal's contributors are on the front lines of public health and present their work in a readable and accessible format.
Visit the Public Health Reports homepage for more information about the journal.
This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
Public Health Reports is dedicated to publishing original research, reviews, and commentaries in the areas of public health practice and methodology, public health law, and teaching at schools and programs of public health. The journal publishes bi-monthly on major topics in public health, such as infectious and chronic diseases, immunization, injuries and violence, substance use disorders, tobacco use, public health methodology, and issues of interest to state and local health departments and schools of public health. Public Health Reports has departments focused on public health law, writing in public health and public health schools and education and features special commentaries by the Surgeon General and the executives within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Supplemental issues are published several times per year, focusing on special topics. Recent supplements have covered HIV care and prevention, syndromic surveillance, and the health of incarcerated populations.
|Hazel D. Dean, ScD, MPH, DrPH (Hon), FACE||Associate Director, Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services, USA|
|Andrey Kuzmichev, PhD||Office of the Surgeon General, USA|
|Tomas A. Lang, MA||Tom Lang Communications and Training International|
|Jenny Reising||Reising Communications|
|Ellen Taratus, MS||Independent Contractor|
|Raymond K. Whalen, MD||Whalen Medical Communications PLLC, USA|
|Irma Arispe, PhD||Associate Director for Analysis and Evaluation, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services, USA|
|Mary Beth Bigley, DrPH, APRN||Chief Executive Officer, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, USA|
|Guthrie S. Birkhead, MD, MPH||Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University at Albany, USA|
|Gretchen Buckler, MD, MPH||CDR, US Public Health Service, Medical Epidemiologist, Office of Refugee Resettlement, Administration for Children and Families|
|James Buehler, MD||Clinical Professor, Health Management and Policy, Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University, USA|
|Kenneth Castro, MD||Professor, Hubert Department of Global Health and Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University|
|Harrell Chesson, PhD||Health Economist, Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services, USA|
|S. Deblina Datta, MD, FIDSA||CAPT, US Public Health Service, Medical Epidemiologist, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention|
|Zygmunt F. Dembek, PhD, MS, MPH||Associate Professor, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Senior Research Scientist, Battelle Memorial Institute, USA|
|Cherie L. Drenzek, DVM, MS||State Epidemiologist, Georgia Department of Public Health, USA|
|Laurie Elam-Evans, PhD||Lead Health Scientist, Immunization Services Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention|
|Eleanor Fleming, PhD, DDS, MPH, FICD||Associate Professor and Director, Center for Educational Development and Support, Meharry Medical College|
|Isaac Chun-Hai Fung, PhD||Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, USA|
|David P. Goldman, MD, MPH||RADM, US Public Health Service, Chief Medical Officer, Office of Food Policy and Response, Food and Drug Administration|
|Derek M. Griffith, PhD||Director of the Center for Research on Men’s Health, Professor of Medicine, Health and Society, Vanderbilt University, USA|
|Ralph J. Groves, MD||CDR, US Public Health Service, Senior Medical Epidemiologist, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, US Department of the Interior|
|David H. Howard, PhD||Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, USA|
|Amy I. Ising, MSIS||Associate Director, Carolina Center for Health Informatics, Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA|
|Harold W. Jaffe, MD||Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Ret.), USA|
|Patricia Jones, DrPH, MS||Director of the Office of Special Populations, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, USA|
|Paul PJ Jung, MD, MPH, FACPM||CAPT, US Public Health Service, Director, Division of Medicine and Dentistry, Health Resources and Services Administration|
|Russell Kirby, PhD, MS||Professor and Marrell Endowed Chair, Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, USA|
|Richard S. Kurz, PhD||Dean Emeritus and Adjunct Professor, University of North Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health, USA|
|Lisa M. Lee, PhD, MA, MS||Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation, Scholarly Integrity and Compliance, and Research Professor, Department of Population Health Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA|
|Boris Lushniak, MD, MPH||Dean and Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Health, USA|
|Rodney Lyn, PhD, MS||Dean and Professor, School of Public Health, Georgia State University, USA|
|Marlynn L. May, PhD||Faculty Emeritus and Director, Academic Operations, McAllen Campus, Texas A&M Health Science Center, School of Public Health, USA|
|Michael Meit, MA, MPH||Director of Research and Programs, Center for Rural Health Research, East Tennessee State University College of Public Health, USA|
|Keshia M. Pollack Porter, PhD, MPH||Professor and Director, Institute for Health and Social Policy, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA|
|Krista Powell, MD, MPH||CDR, US Public Health Service, Attending Physician, US Department of Veterans Affairs|
|Sonja A. Rasmussen, MD, MS||Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Epidemiology, University of Florida College of Medicine and College of Public Health and Health Professions, USA|
|Beth A. Resnick, DrPH, MPH||Associate Scientist, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHBSPH); Director, Office of Public Health Practice and Training and the MSPH Program in Health Policy, JHBSPH, USA|
|Thurka Sangaramoorthy, PhD, MPH||Associate Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland, College Park, USA|
|Carrie Shapiro-Mendoza, PhD, MPH||Branch Chief, Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention|
|Anne C. Spaulding MD, MPH||Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, USA|
|Scott Burris, JD||Professor of Law, Temple Law School, and Director, Center for Public Health Law Research|
|Stephen J. Bertke, PhD||Statistician, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services, USA|
|Amanda J. Cash, DrPH, MPH||Senior Advisor for Evidence & Evaluation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation, US Department of Health and Human Services, USA|
|Robert A. Lordo, PhD||Statistician, Senior Research Scientist, Battelle Memorial Institute, USA|
|Frederic E. Shaw, MD, JD||Former Editor in Chief, Public Health Reports, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services (Ret.)|
|Ross D. Silverman, JD, MPH||Professor of Health Policy and Management, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, and Professor of Public Health and Law, Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indiana University, USA|
|Xavier Becerra||Secretary of Health and Human Services|
|Rachel L. Levine, MD||Assistant Secretary for Health|
|Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA||Vice Admiral, USPHS, US Surgeon General|
|Allison Foster, MBA, CAE||Deputy Director, Chief Financial Officer|
|Lynn R. Goldman, MD, MS, MPH||Chair, Board of Directors|
|Laura Magaña Valladares, PhD, MS||President and Chief Executive Officer|
|Erin K. Williams||Program Manager, Publications|
Public Health Reports
Instructions for Contributors
Table of Contents
- Aims and scope of the journal
- Manuscript types
3.1 Original research
3.1.1 Number of words, tables, and figures
3.1.2 Peer reviewed
3.1.3 Manuscript format
3.1.4 Review criteria
3.2 Public health evaluation
3.2.1 Number of words, tables, and figures
3.2.2 Peer reviewed
3.2.3 Manuscript format
3.2.4 Review criteria
3.3 Public health methodology
3.3.1 Number of words, tables, and figures
3.3.2 Peer reviewed
3.3.3 Manuscript format
3.3.4 Review criteria
3.4 Case study
3.4.1 Number of words, tables, and figures
3.4.2 Peer reviewed
3.4.3 Manuscript format
3.4.4 Review criteria
3.5 Brief report
3.5.1 Number of words, tables, and figures
3.5.2 Peer reviewed
3.5.3 Manuscript format
3.5.4 Review criteria
3.6 Reports and recommendations
3.6.1 Number of words, tables, and figures
3.6.2 Peer reviewed
3.6.3 Manuscript format
3.6.4 Review criteria
3.7 Topical review
3.7.1 Number of words, tables, and figures
3.7.2 Peer reviewed
3.7.3 Manuscript format
3.7.4 Review criteria
3.8.1 Number of words, tables, and figures
3.8.2 Peer reviewed
3.8.3 Manuscript format
3.8.4 Review criteria
3.10 Executive perspective
3.11 Letter to the editor
3.11.1 Number of words, tables, and figures
3.11.2 Peer reviewed
3.11.3 Manuscript format
3.11.4 Review criteria
- Special departments of the journal
4.1 Law and the Public's Health
4.2 From the Schools and Programs of Public Health
4.3 Writing for Public Health
4.4 Public Health Chronicles
- Publishing policies
5.1 Publication ethics
5.3 Prior publication
5.4 Contributor's publishing agreement
5.6 Open access and author archiving
- Editorial policies
6.1 Peer review policy
6.4 Third party submissions
6.6 Declaration of conflicting interests
6.7 Research ethics and patient consent
6.8 Clinical trials
6.9 Reporting guidelines
- Preparing your manuscript for submission
7.1 Submission of manuscripts to supplement issues
7.2 The SAGE Author Gateway
7.3 PHR style
7.4 Components of your manuscript
7.4.1 Title page
7.4.4 Three-question summary box
7.4.6 Tables and figures
7.5 Hypothesis, study design, and methods
7.6 Expression of statistics
7.8 Artwork, figures and other graphics
7.9 Supplemental material
7.10 English language editing services
- Submitting your manuscript
8.1 Cover letter
8.2 Recommendations for peer reviewers
8.4 Information required for completing your submission
8.6 What to expect after submission
- Acceptance and publication
9.1 SAGE Production
9.2 OnlineFirst publication
9.3 Access to your published article
9.4 Promoting your article
- Further information
If you have any questions about publishing with SAGE, please visit the SAGE Journal Solutions Portal.
SAGE Publishing disseminates high-quality research and engaged scholarship globally, and we are committed to diversity and inclusion in publishing. We encourage submissions from a diverse range of authors from across all countries and backgrounds.
These instructions for contributors are intended to assist authors who wish to submit manuscripts to Public Health Reports (PHR). The journal follows 3 main publication standards: 1) these instructions, 2) the AMA Manual of Style, 11th Edition, 2020 (AMA Manual), and 3) the Manuscript Submission Guidelines of SAGE Publishing, the technical publisher of the journal (SAGE Guidelines). When seeking advice on the publication standards used by PHR, you should first consult these instructions. In instances where these instructions are silent on a particular point, consult the AMA Manual. In instances where both these instructions and the AMA Manual are silent, consult the SAGE Guidelines. Manuscripts that substantially deviate from these instructions may be returned to the contributor without review.
You should read these instructions before submitting your manuscript. In addition, you should browse the journal to become familiar with the types of articles we publish and our format. Then, visit the journal’s submission site at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/PHR to submit your manuscript. You should take care to ensure that your manuscript conforms to these instructions.
As part of the submission process you will be required to warrant that: 1) you are submitting your original work, 2) you have the rights to the work, 2) the work is not being considered for publication elsewhere, 3) the work has not been previously published elsewhere, and 4) you have obtained and can supply all necessary permissions for the reproduction of any copyright materials within the work that are not owned by you (eg, a figure from another copyrighted publication).
Please see our guidelines on prior publication and note that PHR may accept submissions of papers that have been posted on pre-print servers; please alert the Editorial Office when submitting (contact details are at the end of these guidelines) and include the DOI for the preprint in the designated field in the manuscript submission system. Authors should not post an updated version of their paper on the preprint server while it is being peer reviewed for possible publication in the journal. If the article is accepted for publication, the author may re-use their work according to the journal's author archiving policy. If your paper is accepted, you must include a link on your preprint to the final version of your paper.
PHR is the official journal of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service and has been published since 1878. It is published bimonthly, plus supplement issues, through an official agreement with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). The journal is editorially independent from the Office of the Surgeon General and ASPPH, and they have no role in selecting or editing content for publication. The journal is peer-reviewed and publishes original research and commentaries in the areas of public health practice and methodology, original research, public health law, public health history, and public health schools and teaching. Issues contain regular commentaries by the US Surgeon General and executives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.
The journal focuses on current and emerging topics in public health, including infectious diseases and their prevention (eg, HIV/AIDS, immunization), non-infectious diseases (eg, chronic diseases, injuries), environmental and occupational disease (eg, lead poisoning), and behavioural and social risk factors (eg, substance use disorders, health disparities). In addition to the 6 regular issues, PHR produces supplemental issues approximately 2 to 5 times per year that cover topics of interest to the readership. Target audiences of PHR include public health professionals working in government or the private sector in the United States or other countries around the world. The journal no longer publishes book reviews.
PHR is a subscription journal. Contributors do not pay a fee to submit or publish in PHR, unless they wish to publish with immediate full open access through SAGE Choice. Because PHR is indexed in PubMed Central, your article will discoverable there after it is published, and the article will be freely available in a full text format after 12 months.
PHR welcomes contributions that fulfill the mission and purpose of the journal: 1) to facilitate the movement of science into public health practice and policy to positively affect the health and wellness of the American public, 2) to publish scholarly manuscripts that describe new and innovative ways to deliver essential services, leading to improved quality, enhanced efficiency, and reduced costs, and 3) to publish evaluations of public health programs that highlight programs’ impacts and describe models of practice that can be replicated by others. The journal welcomes submissions on public health problems or issues outside the United States that are germane to the journal’s mission to facilitate the movement of science into public health practice and policy to positively affect the health and wellness of the American public.
The journal accepts manuscripts of the following types: original research; public health evaluation; public health methodology, case studies, brief reports, reports and recommendations, topical reviews, systematic literature reviews, commentaries, and letters to the editor. The following is a description of each article type and its accompanying requirements.
Original research manuscripts report on research or meta-analyses, conducted to increase knowledge of a particular public health concern, establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, or support previous or develop new theories. You should follow the relevant Equator Network reporting guideline for the study type.
3000-word limit, 250-word structured abstract (objectives, methods, results, and conclusions), no more than 5 tables or figures
Structured abstract, 3-question summary box (see description below), introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusions, references, and tables/figures. For meta-analyses: structured abstract, 3-question summary box, introduction, methods (data sources, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and criteria for assessing data), results, discussion, public health implications, references, and tables/figures.
The editors review original research submissions in accordance with whether the manuscript: 1) facilitates the movement of science into public health practice, 2) presents actionable results derived from original research, 3) uses sound scientific methods, including the appropriate use of statistics, 4) reports on recent data (preferably less than 5 years old) that include a description of entry criteria for clinical studies and response rates for survey data, 5) follows the relevant Equator Network guideline for the study type, and 6) uses plain language and statistical presentation relevant to a broad range of public health professionals.
For meta-analyses, the editors review submissions in accordance with whether the manuscript: 1) states clearly a set of objectives with predefined eligibility criteria, 2) provides an explicit, reproducible methodology, 3) uses a systematic search that attempts to identify all studies that would meet the eligibility criteria, 4) offers an assessment of the validity of the findings of the included studies (eg, through the assessment of risk of bias), 5) provides a systematic presentation and synthesis of the characteristics and findings of the included studies, 6) follows the relevant Equator Network guideline for systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and 7) uses plain language and statistical presentation relevant to a broad range of public health professionals.
Public health evaluation manuscripts report on evaluations conducted to determine whether a public health program or practice has met its goals. You should follow the relevant Equator Network reporting guideline for the study type.
3000-word limit, 250-word structured abstract (objectives, methods, results, and conclusions), no more than 5 tables or figures
Structured abstract, 3-question summary box (see description below), introduction, description of the program being evaluated, purpose of the evaluation (including evaluation criteria), methods, results, lessons learned, references, and tables/figures
The editors will review public health evaluation submissions in accordance with whether the manuscript: 1) presents actionable results derived from original work, 2) offers models of practice that can be replicated by others, 3) uses sound scientific methods of evaluation, including the appropriate use of statistics, 4) reports on recent data (less than 5 years old preferred), 5) follows the relevant Equator Network guideline for the study type, and 6) uses plain language and statistical presentation relevant to a broad range of public health professionals.
Public health methodology manuscripts describe new or proposed applications of epidemiologic or
other scientific methods (eg, surveillance, participatory research) to public health problems. You should follow the relevant Equator Network reporting guideline for the study type.
3000-word limit, 250-word structured abstract (objectives, materials and methods, results, and practice implications), no more than 5 tables or figures
Structured abstract, 3-question summary box (see description below), introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, practice implications, references, and tables/figures
The editors review public health methodology submissions in accordance with whether the manuscript: 1) uses methods relevant to the theory and practice of epidemiology and other public health sciences, 2) includes applications and examples with original data to illustrate methodology, 3) describes how the method can be used in practice and the public health implications of its use, 4) follows the relevant Equator Network guideline for the study type, and 5) uses plain language and statistical presentation relevant to a broad range of public health professionals.
Case studies describe an innovative public health program or initiative, its current status, documented outcomes, and lessons learned.
2,500-word limit, 250-word unstructured abstract, no more than 3 tables or figures
Unstructured abstract, introduction, purpose, methods, outcomes, lessons learned, references, and tables/figures.
The editors will review case study submissions in accordance with whether the manuscript: 1) presents actionable results derived from original work, 2) offers models of practice that can be replicated by others, 3) reports on recent data (less than 5 years old preferred), 4) describes lessons learned clearly, and 5) uses plain language and statistical presentation relevant to a broad range of public health professionals.
The journal occasionally publishes brief reports of preliminary or exploratory research results. Authors who wish to submit a brief report should first contact the PHR Managing Editor.
1,500-word limit, 150-word unstructured abstract, and no more than two tables or figures.
Unstructured Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, References, and Tables/Figures.
The editors review brief reports submissions in accordance with whether the manuscript: 1) uses sound scientific methods, 2) includes appropriate use of statistics, 3) reports on recent data (less than 5 years old preferred), and 4) uses plain language relevant to a broad range of public health professionals.
Reports and recommendations manuscripts are written by standards-setting or recommendation-making entities to present public health expert consensus, formed policy, or recommendations for practice. These manuscripts have been previously vetted by the standards-setting or recommendation-making entity.
The word limit is negotiated with the editors. The report includes a 250-word unstructured abstract, no more than 5 tables or figures.
At the discretion of the editor in chief
Unstructured abstract, introduction, methods, recommendations (if relevant), public health practice implications, references, and tables/figures
The editors will review reports and recommendations submissions in accordance with whether the manuscript: 1) presents actionable scientific opinion, standards, or recommendations based on research (may be research of others) or a defined process of expert consensus, 2) offers evidence of thorough vetting by the standards-setting or recommendation-making entity, 3) provides recommendations (if relevant) supported by published science or expert consensus, and 4) uses plain language and statistical presentation relevant to a broad range of public health professionals.
Topical reviews are narrative summaries of a topic relevant to public health practice, including a comprehensive survey of the topic, often including a review of the existing literature and knowledge base, and an update on the current understanding and state-of-the art of the topic.
3000-word limit, 250-word unstructured abstract, no more than 5 tables or figures
Unstructured abstract, introduction, methods (if relevant), discussion, public health implications, references, and tables/figures
The editors review topical review submissions in accordance with whether the manuscript: 1) provides a comprehensive presentation and synthesis of the topic and, if included, a review of the existing literature and knowledge base, 2) leaves the reader with an update on the current understanding and state-of-the art of the topic, and 3) uses plain language and statistical presentation relevant to a broad range of public health professionals.
Commentaries are opinion essays that initiate or focus discussion on a current or emerging public health issue, important scientific and programmatic development, new technology, policy issue, or current scientific debate. Commentaries may take a personal viewpoint on a topic, if appropriate.
2500-word limit and no more than 2 tables or figures
At the discretion of the editor in chief
Unstructured format including introduction, discussion, public health implications, references, and tables/figures
The editors will review commentary submissions in accordance with whether the manuscript: 1) proposes a viewpoint or argument that is can enlighten or improve public health practice, and 2) uses plain language and statistical presentation relevant to a broad range of public health professionals.
Editorials are submitted by invitation of the editors.
These articles are perspectives on public health issues of the day written by executives of the US Department of Health and Human Services. They are submitted by invitation of the editors.
Letters to the editor are of 2 types: 1) those that comment on manuscripts published in the journal within the past 8 weeks, and 2) those that make a brief observation or comment upon a topic within the scope of the journal.
500-word limit. Tables and figures are allowed if relevant to the comments.
No. The authors of the originally published manuscript will be given an opportunity to reply.
Unstructured. Limit of 5 references, including the article being commented upon.
At the discretion of the editors
Law and the Public’s Health appears regularly in PHR. Articles address issues of high importance to public health law, policy, and practice in a succinct style (approximately 2000 words). PHR encourages submissions by legal scholars and practitioners. Potential authors should consult previously published articles to determine likely topics and proper formatting. Cover letters should indicate that the submission is intended for Law and the Public’s Health. Potential authors with questions about the suitability of a submission should contact the Associate Editor in charge of this department, Scott Burris, JD, Professor of Law at the Beasley School of Law, Temple University, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The journal welcomes contributions to From the Schools and Programs of Public Health, a department of the journal that specializes in articles on schools and programs of public health, the theory and practice of public health education, and all the issues that are faced by schools and programs of public health, their faculties, and their students. Submissions may be of any manuscript type. Submissions are subjected to peer review according to the manuscript type.
The journal has instituted a new department devoted to writing for public health. The journal welcomes contributions on all aspects of expertise in writing for the field of public health, such as observations on writing quality and quantity at public health agencies and schools of public health, approaches to teaching writing, genres of writing for public health (eg, scholarly and non-scholarly, writing for lay audiences, advocacy), lessons learned from other spheres where writing is taught (eg, undergraduate institutions), and related topics, such as the relationship of writing to critical thinking in public health. Submissions may be of any manuscript type. Submissions are subjected to peer review according to the manuscript type.
Public Health Chronicles is devoted to articles on the history of public health. This department appeared in the journal for many years, was reinstated in 2018, and is edited by David Rosner, PhD, Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, and Co-Director, Center for the History & Ethics of Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. The submitted format may be any of the articles types described in these instructions or may be accepted as a special article with a flexible format. PHR encourages submissions by public health and history scholars and practitioners. Potential authors should consult previously published articles to determine likely topics and proper formatting. Cover letters should indicate that the submission is intended for Public Health Chronicles. Potential contributors with questions about the suitability of a submission should contact Professor Rosner at email@example.com.
PHR is committed to upholding the integrity of the academic record. The journal follows the ethical standards contained in: 1) the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, 2) the best practice guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), and 3) the policies and recommendations of the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME). PHR encourages contributors to view the SAGE Publication Ethics page on the SAGE Author Gateway.
PHR and SAGE take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of published articles in accordance with the recommendations or best practice guidelines of the ICMJE, COPE, or WAME. Submitted articles may be checked with duplication-checking software.
If material has been previously published, it is not usually acceptable for publication in PHR. However, under certain circumstances, previously published material may be considered for secondary or simultaneous publication. Potential contributors should contact the Managing Editor.
Before publication, SAGE requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. SAGE’s Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement is an exclusive licence agreement which means that the author retains copyright in the work but grants SAGE the sole and exclusive right and licence to publish for the full legal term of copyright. Exceptions may exist where an assignment of copyright is required or preferred by a proprietor other than SAGE. In this case copyright in the work will be assigned from the author to the society. For more information please visit the SAGE Author Gateway.
It is a condition of publication in the journal that authors, excluding authors employed by the US government, assign copyright to the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). Authors may use their own material in other publications provided PHR is acknowledged as the original place of publication. Material published in the journal may be used, modified, reproduced, and distributed by the US government for government purposes.
PHR offers optional open access publishing via the SAGE Choice program. For more information please visit the SAGE Choice website. For information on funding body compliance, and depositing your article in repositories, please visit SAGE Publishing Policies on our Journal Author Gateway.
After an initial review by the editors, the journal selects promising submissions for external peer review; these manuscripts are sent to 2 or more external reviewers. The journal does not routinely accept recommendations for peer reviewers from authors. After external peer review is completed, the editors select articles for additional consideration, usually after revision. The PHR Editor in Chief makes final decisions on all submissions.
PHR uses a conventional single-blind reviewing policy in which the reviewer’s name is always concealed from the submitting author. The editors may occasionally submit their own manuscripts to the journal. In these cases, the peer review process is managed by alternative members of the staff, and the submitting editor has no involvement in the decision-making process.
Manuscripts should be submitted for consideration only after consent is given in writing by all contributing authors. The list of authors should include all those, and only those, who can legitimately claim authorship in accordance with the authorship policies of ICMJE, COPE, and WAME. Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship, although all contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgments section.
All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an Acknowledgements section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, or a department chair who provided only general support.
Any acknowledgements should appear first at the end of your article prior to your Declaration of Conflicting Interests (if applicable), any notes and your References.
6.3.1 Third party submissions
Where an individual who is not listed as an author submits a manuscript on behalf of the author(s), a statement must be included in the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript and in the accompanying cover letter. The statements must:
- Disclose this type of editorial assistance – including the individual’s name, company and level of input
- Identify any entities that paid for this assistance
- Confirm that the listed authors have authorized the submission of their manuscript via third party and approved any statements or declarations, e.g. conflicting interests, funding, etc.
Where appropriate, SAGE reserves the right to deny consideration to manuscripts submitted by a third party rather than by the authors themselves.
6.3.2 Writing assistance
Individuals who provided writing assistance, e.g. from a specialist communications company, do not qualify as authors and so should be included in the Acknowledgements section. Authors must disclose any writing assistance – including the individual’s name, company and level of input – and identify the entity that paid for this assistance. It is not necessary to disclose use of language polishing services.
PHR requires all authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading. Please visit the Funding Acknowledgements page on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway to confirm the format of the acknowledgment text in the event of funding, or state, “The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.”
PHR requires a declaration of conflicting interests from all authors, and this statement will be included as part of the article. Please ensure that a ‘Declaration of Conflicting Interests’ statement is included at the end of your manuscript, after any acknowledgements and prior to the references. If no conflict exists, please state that, “The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.” For guidance on conflict of interest statements, please see the ICMJE recommendations.
Medical research involving human subjects must be conducted according to the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki. Submitted manuscripts should conform to the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, and all papers reporting animal and/or human studies must state in the methods section that the relevant Ethics Committee or Institutional Review Board provided (or waived) approval. Please ensure that you have provided the full name and institution of the review committee, in addition to the approval number.
For research articles, authors are also required to state in the methods section whether participants provided informed consent and whether the consent was written or verbal. Information on informed consent to report individual cases or case series should be included in the manuscript text. A statement is required regarding whether written informed consent for patient information and images to be published was provided by the patient(s) or a legally authorized representative. Please also refer to the ICMJE Recommendations for the Protection of Research Participants
PHR conforms to the ICMJE requirement that clinical trials are registered in a WHO-approved public trials registry at or before the time of first patient enrollment as a condition of consideration for publication. The trial registry name and URL, and registration number must be included at the end of the abstract.
Contributors should follow the relevant EQUATOR Network reporting guidelines for the type of study. For example, all randomized controlled trials submitted for publication should include a completed CONSORT flow chart as a cited figure and the completed CONSORT checklist should be uploaded with your submission as a supplementary file. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses should include the completed PRISMA flow chart as a cited figure and the completed PRISMA checklist should be uploaded with your submission as a supplementary file. The EQUATOR wizard can help you identify the appropriate guideline. If your research involves animals, you will be asked to confirm that you have carefully read and adhered to the ARRIVE guidelines. Other resources can be found at NLM’s Research Reporting Guidelines and Initiatives
Generally, these instructions apply to procedures for submitting manuscripts to the PHR bimonthly issue. Submission to a PHR supplement issue may follow a separate process. Contributors who wish to submit a manuscript to a supplement issue should first contact the Managing Editor.
The SAGE Author Gateway has some general advice and on how to get published, plus links to further resources.
PHR follows the AMA Manual, available at http://www.amamanualofstyle.com. You should consult the AMA Manual to ensure that all components of your manuscript, and its style, are in accordance with PHR and AMA style. As a federal publication, PHR also strives to comply with the principles of the federal plain language writing guidelines, which promote the use of language that is “clear, concise, and well-organized.”
Four style points that PHR contributors often overlook are: 1) the use of the passive voice, 2) the expression of proportions, 3) the use of abbreviations, and 4) the use of the correct verb tense. With regard to use of the passive voice, Section 7.4.1 of the AMA Manual dictates that “[i]n general, authors should use the active voice, except in instances in which the actor is unknown or the interest focuses on what is acted on.”
With regard to the expression of proportions, Section 18.7.3 of the AMA Manual generally requires presentation of numerators and denominators when showing proportions and percentages: "Whenever possible, proportions and percentages should be accompanied by the actual numerator (n) and denominator (d) from which they were derived.”
Regarding the use of abbreviations, Section 13.0 of the AMA Manual emphasizes that “overuse of abbreviations can be confusing and ambiguous for readers—especially those whose first language is not English or those outside a specific specialty or discipline.” In accordance with that style, PHR prefers to minimize the use of abbreviations.
Regarding correct verb tense, Section 7.4.3 of the AMA Manual provides guidance. Most manuscripts report on analyses and observations made in the past, so the past tense is the proper tense to use.
In addition, PHR: 1) prefers the use of the word, “person” over “individual,” 2) does not use the word, “case,” to refer to a person. A case is not a person, but a case occurs in a person, 3) in accordance with the AMA Manual, PHR prefers that the results section of abstracts contain specific numerical results, and 4) in general, PHR does not use pie charts.
Your manuscript should begin with a title page, which should include the following: 1) a title (short and descriptive), 2) keywords, 3) the full names of all authors, including their graduate degrees (when the number of authors exceeds 10, the cover letter should contain a justification for this), 4) all authors’ institutional affiliations and job titles during the course of the research (and current affiliation and title for corresponding author if different), 5) the name, advanced degrees, affiliation, street address, telephone number, and email address of the corresponding author, and 6) the total word count of the text, exclusive of abstract, tables, and references, and the number of charts, tables, and figures.
Consult the journal’s article types to determine whether an abstract is necessary, how it should be structured, and its length.
Provide 3 to 5 keywords that represent the key topics presented in the article.
PHR is instituting a 3-question summary box to be published in 3 article types: original research, public health evaluation, and public health methodology. The summary box is intended to allow a reader to understand at a glance the essence of the article’s findings and contribution to the literature. Provide 1 or 2 sentences for each of the following 3 questions: 1) What is the current understanding of this subject?, 2) What does this report add to the literature?, and 3) What are the implications for public health practice? The total word count for the summary box, excluding the questions, should be no more than 85 words. The summary box should not merely replicate language in the abstract.
PHR does not limit the number of references. References should follow AMA style. Numerical references should not be embedded in the text (i.e., if you use the “Footnote and Endnote” function in Microsoft Word for references, you should strip out all coding before submission). Citations of personal communications or unpublished material should appear in the text in parentheses, according to the AMA Manual format.
Tables and figures should be placed in the manuscript after the references, each on its own separate page in portrait orientation. Tables and figures in landscape orientation will be returned to the author for revision. See the information above on manuscript types to determine limits on the number of tables and figures.
- Titles: PHR follows the AMA Manual of Style. In addition, all tables and figures should stand on their own. That is, a reader who never sees the text of the article should be able to understand the sense of the material being presented. The title should state the “what, where, and when” of the material fully (e.g., “Demographic characteristics of patients who were offered, accepted, and declined HIV testing at an urban health center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2012-2014”). Footnotes should be added to explain all notations and acronyms used in the table or figure. If the table reports data from a source, the unabbreviated name of the source should be included in the title. The time period covered by the data reported should always be included.
- For tables, “each piece of data needs to be contained in its own cell in the table. Avoid creating tables using spaces or tabs” (AMA Manual, section 4.1.10).
- Format for images: TIFF, JPEG files: Common format for pictures (containing no text or graphs). EPS: Preferred format for graphs and line art (retains quality when enlarging or zooming in). For all graphs and charts created in Excel, please submit the original Excel files. These files should include the actual data used to create the graphs or charts. Please avoid inserting Excel graphs or charts in Word documents, especially when these graphs or charts are no longer linked to the data source.
- Placement: Please add a placeholder note in the running text (i.e., “[insert Figure 1.]")
- Resolution: Rasterized based files (i.e., with .tiff or .jpeg extension) require a resolution of at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). Line art should be supplied with a minimum resolution of 800 dpi.
- Color: Figures can be printed in color for a fee. Otherwise, images supplied in color will be published in color online and black and white in print. Therefore, it is important that you supply images that are comprehensible in black and white or grayscale. Captions should not use words indicating color.
- Dimension: Check that the artworks supplied match or exceed the dimensions of the journal. Images cannot be scaled up after origination.
- Fonts: The lettering used in the artwork should not vary too much in size and type (usually sans serif font as a default).
Contributors should follow the standards of the AMA Manual regarding the presentation of study design, rationale, and statistical analysis. As stated in the AMA Manual, Section 19.1, “Each portion of the manuscript should facilitate the reader’s understanding of why and how the study was done and (1) clearly state a hypothesis or study question, (2) show that the methods adequately answer the research question and that the data were appropriately analyzed, (3) convince the reader that the results are valid and credible, and (4) place the implications of the research in context and show that the study limitations do not preclude interpretation of the results.” Section 19.1.2 states, “In the Introduction, briefly review the literature that documents the nature and importance of the research and rationale for the study. An extended full literature review belongs in the Discussion section. The study hypothesis or research question should be clearly stated in the last sentence(s) of the Introduction before the ‘Methods’ section, preferably including the word hypothesis (or question).”
As stated in the AMA Manual, Section 19.1.3, the Methods section of the manuscript should, “include enough information to enable a knowledgeable reader to replicate the study and, given the original data, verify the reported results.” The Methods section should include certain components listed in Section 19.1.13 that are applicable to the study design.
Contributors should review the standards of the AMA Manual to determine proper presentation of statistics. The PHR editors also have found that many errors can be avoided by consulting: Lang TA, Secic M. How to Report Statistics in Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: ACP; 2006. Another useful reference is the SAMPL Guidelines.
PHR seeks to ensure that general epidemiologists are able to understand the presentation of most statistics in the journal. Contributors should strive to present statistics in a way that can be understood by readers who are general epidemiologists. If more advanced statistical presentations are needed, contributors should explain the method used or refer readers to published references. For example, for many studies, the presentation of simple descriptive results and measures of association (eg, prevalence ratios) should precede the presentation of statistical results intended to control for confounding or test hypotheses.
Authors often have difficulty with the expression of P values. Contributors should take care to avoid the “P value fallacy” and follow the conventions for P values listed in the AMA Manual, Section 19.1 and 19.5. For example, all hypothesis tests should be presented in the text, tables, and figures so as to make clear to the reader what hypothesis is being tested and what groups are being compared. For the presentation of survey data, estimated prevalences generally should be accompanied by a measure of precision, such as the 95% confidence interval.
Contributors should be aware that, according to the AMA Manual, “It is always preferable for results to be presented in terms of point estimates and confidence intervals, which convey more information than do P values alone.” Contributors should be particularly careful to note that a result that fails to meet a criterion for statistical significance (such as P<0.05) does not allow a conclusion that there is “no effect,” “no difference” in outcomes, or “no association” between an exposure or characteristic and an outcome. Inferences should be carefully reasoned and not based solely on statistical hypothesis testing.
The preferred format for your manuscript is Microsoft Word. LaTeX files are also accepted. Your manuscript should use page numbers, continuous line numbering, and 1.5-line spacing. Manuscripts should be formatted with .75-inch margins on all sides and use 12-point Times New Roman font. Word and LaTeX templates are available on the Manuscript Submission Guidelines page of the SAGE Author Gateway.
For guidance on the preparation of illustrations, pictures and graphs in electronic format, please visit SAGE’s Artwork Guidelines.
Figures supplied in color will appear in color online regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in color in the printed version. For specifically requested color reproduction in print, you will receive information about the costs from SAGE after receipt of your accepted article.
PHR prefers not to include appendices and supplemental materials. However, the journal may be able to host additional materials online (e.g. datasets, podcasts, videos, images etc.) alongside the full-text of the article. For more information please refer to SAGE’s guidelines on submitting supplemental files.
The journal strongly recommends that all manuscript authors, especially authors with English as a second language, have their manuscripts reviewed and edited by a professional scientific editor before submitting their manuscript. Many companies offer editing services. Information about SAGE Publishing’s service is located at SAGE Language Services on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway.
Include a cover letter that contains: 1) a description of the article and brief explanation of the findings, 2) brief descriptions of what is already known about the topic or research question, how the findings of the article will add to, or fill a gap in, the literature on the topic, and the implications of the findings for public health practice, 3) a statement on how the research or commentary is relevant to the mission and scope of PHR, 4) a statement that the material has not been published nor is being considered for publication elsewhere, 5) a statement indicating institutional review board determination (approval or waiver) for all studies involving human subjects research, 6) a statement regarding any potential conflicts of interest for each author, 7) a disclosure noting any similar or related work submitted or published elsewhere.
As part of the submission process you will be asked to provide the names of 4 peers who could be called upon to review your manuscript. Recommended reviewers should be experts in their fields and should be able to provide an objective assessment of the manuscript. Please be aware of any conflicts of interest when recommending reviewers. Examples of conflicts of interest include (but are not limited to) the below:
- The reviewer should have no prior knowledge of your submission
- The reviewer should not have recently collaborated with any of the authors
- Reviewer nominees from the same institution as any of the authors are not permitted
Please note that the Editors are not obliged to invite any recommended reviewers to assess your manuscript.
As part of our commitment to ensuring an ethical, transparent and fair peer review process SAGE is a supporting member of ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID. ORCID provides a unique and persistent digital identifier that distinguishes researchers from every other researcher, even those who share the same name, and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between researchers and their professional activities, ensuring that their work is recognized
The collection of ORCID IDs from corresponding authors is now part of the submission process of this journal. If you already have an ORCID ID you will be asked to associate that to your submission during the online submission process. We also strongly encourage all co-authors to link their ORCID ID to their accounts in our online peer review platforms. It takes seconds to do: click the link when prompted, sign into your ORCID account and our systems are automatically updated. Your ORCID ID will become part of your accepted publication’s metadata, making your work attributable to you and only you. Your ORCID ID is published with your article so that fellow researchers reading your work can link to your ORCID profile and from there link to your other publications.
You will be asked to provide contact details and academic affiliations for all co-authors via the submission system and identify who is to be the corresponding author. These details must match what appears on your manuscript. At this stage please ensure you have included all the required statements and declarations and uploaded any additional supplementary files (including reporting guidelines where relevant).
Please ensure that you have obtained any necessary permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please see the Copyright and Permissions page on the SAGE Author Gateway.
Corresponding authors will receive acknowledgment of receipt within 48 hours. Typically, decisions regarding external peer review are provided within 3 weeks after submission. PHR’s submission gateway is located at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/PHR. Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one. If you have reviewed or authored for the journal in the past year it is likely that you will have had an account created.
Your SAGE production editor will keep you informed as to your accepted article’s progress throughout the production process. Proofs will be sent by PDF to the corresponding author and should be returned promptly. Authors are reminded to check their proofs carefully to confirm that all author information, including names, affiliations, sequence and contact details are correct, and that funding and conflict of interest statements are accurate. Please note that if there are any changes to the author list at this stage all authors will be required to complete and sign a form authorizing the change.
Nearly all articles for the PHR bimonthly issue are published online ahead of print, as soon as they have finished the proofing process, through SAGE Publishing’s Online First. This substantially reduces the lead time between submission and publication. Visit the SAGE Journals help page for more details, including how to cite Online First articles.
SAGE provides authors with online access to their final article.
Publication is not the end of the process! You can help disseminate your article and ensure it is as widely read and cited as possible. The SAGE Author Gateway has numerous resources to help you promote your work. Visit the Promote Your Article page on the Gateway for tips and advice.
Correspondence, queries or additional requests for information on the manuscript submission process should be sent to the PHR editorial office as follows:
PHR Managing Editor
Andrey Kuzmichev, PhD