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Editorial Policies

Public Health Research & Practice takes its publishing responsibilities seriously and is committed to the highest standards of editorial integrity. The journal abides by the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing issued by the Committee on Publication Ethics and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.


Authors submitting work to Public Health Research & Practice should meet all four authorship criteria established by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE):

  1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work
  2. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content
  3. Final approval of the version to be published
  4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

A short statement outlining each author’s contribution must be submitted with each manuscript and can be uploaded via our online journal management system ScholarOne. An example is below:

AB was responsible for the design, drafting, analysis of data, and editing of the manuscript.
CD was responsible for the design, drafting and editing of the manuscript
EF was responsible for reviewing and editing the manuscript and overseeing the data analysis.
GH was responsible for the reviewing and editing the manuscript.
IJ was responsible for providing analytical advice, reviewing and editing the manuscript.
KL was responsible for the reviewing and editing the manuscript and contributing to the design of the manuscript.

Decisions on authorship and the order of authorship are the responsibility of the authors and should be resolved prior to manuscript submission. Those who have contributed to the manuscript (either individuals or organisations) but who do not meet all of the authorship criteria should be listed in the paper’s Acknowledgements and the authors should seek their permission to do so.

Ideally, there should be an upper limit of six authors per manuscript.

The Corresponding Author takes sole responsibility for all communications with the journal. This includes managing communications between authors and ensuring the accuracy of all content provided to the journal, such as article proofs, journal forms, submitting the authorship statement and each author’s Conflict of Interests Declaration (see below).

Requests to remove or add authors after manuscript submission or publication must be accompanied by signed agreement from all authors before Public Health Research & Practice will act.

Deceased persons who meet the criteria for inclusion as co-authors should be included in the list of authors, with a note indicating the date of death. Their contribution should be outlined in the ‘Author contributions’, alongside those of the other authors. Authors also can provide a dedication in the paper’s Acknowledgements.

Each author should limit their listed affiliations to a maximum of three organisations/institutions unless an alternative arrangement is agreed to by negotiation with the Editor.

Artificial intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools cannot meet the requirements for authorship as they cannot take responsibility for the submitted work. As non-legal entities, they cannot assert the presence or absence of conflicts of interest nor manage copyright and licence agreements.

Authors are required to disclose in the manuscript if any content, including text, images or figures, has been created by artificial intelligence, language models, machine learning or similar technologies, or if they have used such tools in their research. A clear description of the name of the model or tool, version, manufacturer, and how it was used should be included in the manuscript methods or acknowledgements section.

Authors must take responsibility for the integrity of the content created by artificial intelligence, language models, machine learning, or similar technologies, and are liable for any resulting breach of publication ethics.

Authors should be familiar with:

Peer Review

The journal uses a system of single-blind peer review, where reviewers’ details are kept confidential and authors’ details are attached to their manuscript.

We engage the services of peer reviewers to assess all original research, systematic reviews and research methods articles, Perspectives pieces, In Practice articles and Brief reports.

In each case, two reviewer opinions are sought, however in some cases, a third reviewer may be consulted. The editorial team may also consider a paper could benefit from the insights of a statistical reviewer, in which case we will seek this advice. In each case the journal Associate Editor responsible for the manuscript will make a recommendation on publication to the Editor-in-Chief based on the content of the reviews and their own input. The Editor-in-Chief then makes the final decision on whether to publish.

The Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editors have no part in the peer review process of papers they have authored. Likewise, themed issue Guest Editors who have commissioned their own papers have no part in the peer review process relating to papers that they have authored.

Public Health Research & Practice asks reviewers to abide by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. For more detailed information on the peer review process, visit For peer reviewers and download our Peer review guidelines.

Conflicts of interest

In the interests of transparency, each author is required to sign the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Conflicts of Interest Declaration. Conflicts may be financial or non-financial. The corresponding author should also include a summary statement on conflicts of interest. This will be published with the article. If there are no conflicts to declare, this will be stated on the article. Articles will not be published unless conflict of interest forms have been received. These can be downloaded from the Submit a paper section or via ScholarOne when you log in to submit your manuscript.

As part of the peer review process we also ask reviewers to declare any competing interests. In doing so we would ask them to consider the following:

  • The potential for your personal financial gain or loss from the paper’s publication
  • Your association (financial or otherwise) with an organisation that could financially gain or lose from the paper’s publication
  • A strong positive or negative relationship with the paper’s author that could impair your judgement
  • A personal position or association with an issue that is in conflict with the content of the paper or its author.

Guest Editors

Guest Editors of a special edition of Public Health Research & Practice provide a vital role in sourcing and accepting papers that are of high quality and fit firmly within the purpose of the journal. Guest Editors are involved with:

  • Making recommendations for topics and authors for the special edition
  • Briefly reviewing submitted manuscripts prior to peer review to ensure they are of reasonable quality and fit the scope of the special edition and the journal
  • Recommending appropriate, independent reviewers
  • Reading reviewer feedback and making publication recommendations to the Editor-in-Chief for manuscripts
  • Providing authors with any additional feedback that may improve their manuscript
  • Writing the editorial for the issue, providing a lens through which the readers will see the commissioned papers.

The journal is committed to the highest standards of editorial integrity and supports a rigorous and independent peer-review process. To ensure we maintain our high-quality peer-review process:

  • The journal may draw on the expertise of its Associate Editors to recommend reviewers for manuscripts
  • The journal’s Editor and Deputy Editor manage the peer-review process for all manuscripts, including deciding on inviting reviewers, including from those nominated by Guest Editors and Associate Editors, with input from the Editor-in-Chief
  • In some cases, the journal may nominate an additional Guest Editor to work with the Guest Editor team on the special edition
  • Guest Editors have no part in the peer-review or decision process relating to papers that they have authored or co-authored
  • The Editor-in-Chief retains final editorial control over the published papers and in relation to any decision whether to proceed with or to publish individual papers.


Editors and reviewers will treat all manuscripts submitted to Public Health Research & Practice as confidential and no manuscripts will be shared with third parties except in cases of suspected misconduct. Manuscripts may be shared internally with Editorial Board members, Associate Editors and other editors at the journal as part of our editorial and production processes. Rejected manuscripts will not be kept on file and will be deleted after rejection.

The journal will not disclose the identity of peer reviewers. An exception may be made in cases of suspected misconduct. Reviewers should not disclose their identity without first consulting the journal and should refer to the Guidelines for reviewers for more detailed requirements on manuscript confidentiality.


Public Health Research & Practice does not accept manuscripts that have been simultaneously sent to other journals or previously published elsewhere. There are two exceptions to this:

  • Published research abstracts that have been presented at conferences. Media reports of conference presentations will therefore not impede consideration – as long as they do not include further data not presented at the conference. However, authors should notify the journal Editor of any dissemination, including media coverage, which has taken place in relation to the paper
  • The Journal supports the archiving of preprints in any recognised, not-for-profit, preprint server, such as medRxiv. At the time of submission, authors should inform the journal that their manuscript has been published as a preprint and provide a link to the preprint version. The authors can make use of open peer review of the preprint version to improve their manuscript, however the submitted manuscript must still undergo the journal’s usual single-blind peer review process. Acceptance is at the discretion of the journal’s Editor-in-Chief. Upon publication, authors need to update the archived preprint with a DOI and link to the published version of the manuscript.

Published or in-press articles based on the same research data as a manuscript submitted to the journal must be disclosed and a copy supplied as a supplementary file with the manuscript.

Embargoes and media releases

Manuscripts accepted for publication are embargoed until they are uploaded to the Public Health Research & Practice website. Authors will be notified in advance about the publication date and time, to allow them to discuss their work with journalists who agree to abide by the journal embargo policy. Authors might also prepare blogs and comment pieces for other sites/publications about their work ahead of time, as long as these are not published before the journal embargo is lifted.

The journal’s Editor will select manuscripts from each issue considered suitable for highlighting to the media, will work with authors on media release content and send them a final version for approval. Authors whose papers are released to the media are obliged to make themselves or a suitable representative available for interview. Media releases will be sent to journalists under embargo one week before publication. Authors may choose to send out their own release about the paper, though they should acknowledge Public Health Research & Practice as the source and notify the journal Editor to enable coordination of media activity. As part of our promotional strategy for articles, we may send embargoed copies of articles to key staff of organisations that are directly impacted. The authors will be informed if this occurs.

For more information on dealing with media around your paper, refer to our Media guidelines for authors, available in the For authors section of our site.

Data availability

When submitting a manuscript, the corresponding author must fill out the Data availability form detailing where the data that supports the findings of their research is located.

The journal encourages authors, where possible and applicable, to deposit data that support the findings of their research in a public repository such as an institutional repository (e.g., with the authors’ affiliated university) or a general repository such as figshare.

Authors may be requested by the editorial team to provide data and/or to verify findings.

Reporting of sex and gender

With respect to the reporting of sex and gender, Public Health Research & Practice follows the guidance of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals:

Ensure correct use of the terms sex (when reporting biological factors) and gender (identity, psychosocial or cultural factors), and, unless inappropriate, report the sex and/or gender of study participants, and describe the methods used to determine sex and gender. If the study was done involving an exclusive population, for example in only one sex, authors should justify why, except in obvious cases (e.g., prostate cancer).

Discuss the influence or association of variables, such as sex and/or gender, on your findings, where appropriate, and the limitations of the data.

For further guidance, please see:

Ethics approval and quality assurance and evaluation activities

Where there are questions about the need for ethics approval – for example work that is undertaken for quality assurance purposes – authors need to provide a statement from an ethics committee agreeing that ethics approval is not required.

Alternatively, the study may meet criteria for exemption from ethics review according to a relevant institutional (or local or national) policy. The authors will need to include a statement in the text of the manuscript explicitly stating how the study meets the criteria in this policy for exemption from ethics review. Authors may be asked to provide documentation for such a policy.

Further reading: BMJ Quality & Safety: Policy on ethics review for quality improvement reports

Corrections and retractions

Errors of fact will be corrected, though if an error is serious, Public Health Research & Practice will consider whether retraction is warranted. Authors should notify the journal if they become aware of an error that needs to be corrected. Before corrections resulting from author error can be published, a signed statement from all authors (scanned and sent via email) is required. The journal will notify the corresponding author of any journal-initiated errors and will correct the record. A new version of the corrected article will be posted to the website and the previous versions will be archived, with a note that a more recent version is available. Corrections to Online Early articles will appear as a note in the article stating the corrected version will appear in the next quarterly issue.

Reader disagreement with a published manuscript will be handled as a letter to the editor unless there is a clear error of fact in the paper that warrants a correction or retraction.

Retractions will be considered if: evidence comes to light showing research findings are invalid or unreliable; it becomes apparent the findings have been published elsewhere; a case of plagiarism occurs; the research is subsequently revealed as unethical. Retraction notices will be clearly identified and linked to the article. Public Health Research & Practice adheres to Retraction Guidelines issued by the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE). The journal uses the CrossCheck system to screen for plagiarism. See Journal information for more detail.

Appeals, complaints and misconduct

All final decisions on manuscripts, including the decision to publish, are made by the Editor-in-Chief.

Authors who wish to appeal a publication rejection should send a detailed letter outlining the reasons for their appeal and the arguments for reconsideration by the Public Health Research & Practice editorial team. The written appeal should address all comments made by peer reviewers on the original manuscript. This will be considered and, if appropriate, an invitation to resubmit may be offered. If resubmission occurs, the second manuscript will also undergo peer review.

Readers who wish to make a complaint of another nature should do so by phone or in writing to the journal’s Editor. If the complaint cannot be satisfactorily resolved by the Editor it may be escalated to the Editor-in-Chief. The journal will attempt to resolve complaints in a timely manner, responding within 1 week to the initial complaint and addressing the nature of the complaint within 3 weeks. If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved at this stage, the issue will be referred to the Editorial Board for discussion.

Allegations of possible misconduct (including plagiarism, self-plagiarism and falsification of data) will be investigated by members of the Editorial Board and the in-house editorial team. In consultation with the Editor-in-Chief, any member of the Editorial Board can be drawn on for advice in relation to detecting, investigating and preventing publication misconduct, depending on the nature of the issue and the editorial board member’s experience. Depending on the outcome, the journal may retract a published paper, reject a submitted paper, or publish an expression of concern and notify the author’s institution.

Public Health Research & Practice will observe the Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and Flowcharts issued by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) in relation to suspected cases of research misconduct. For more information on how we screen for plagiarism, please see our Journal information page in the About us section.

Copyright and open access

Public Health Research & Practice is an open access journal that makes its content freely accessible to users.

The journal operates under a Creative Commons License Deed – Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). This allows non-commercial users to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format as well as remix, transform, and build upon the material. This is done on the condition that appropriate credit is given to the journal, a link to the license is provided, and an indication given if changes to the article were made. Any reuse should not suggest Public Health Research & Practice endorses the individual/organisation reusing the material or the actual reuse of the material. Those who reuse the work must licence their derivative works on the same terms. This Licence is denoted by the following symbol:

Commercial users must seek permission from the Editor to re-use Public Health Research & Practice material. Permission must be sought via email. Our default position is not to grant reproduction or adaptation permission for commercial use however, there may be occasions where commercial use is appropriate and we will consider each application on its merits.

Authors submitting manuscripts to the journal will be asked to sign a Licence to Publish form. This confers on us, a licence to publish the work for any purpose and make content freely accessible to users under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, and allows authors to use their own articles for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from us.

Any material covered by copyright restrictions that forms part of the submitted work (for example, tables, graphs and images) must be identified and attributed. Appropriate copyright permissions must be obtained by the authors.


We welcome other websites linking to our material under the following conditions:

  • You acknowledge Public Health Research & Practice as the source of the link
  • You do not imply that Public Health Research & Practice endorses or has created any part of your website and its content
  • It is clear that the content comes from an external source, i.e. Public Health Research & Practice, and has not been created by you
  • Links should open in a new window
  • We will ask you to remove links we feel are inappropriate.

Where we link to other websites, we do not endorse or take responsibility for the content on linked sites or their availability.