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Author Guidelines

CommonHealth, the journal of the College of Public Health at Temple University, is a peer-reviewed, online-only, open access journal for rapid dissemination of high quality research and scholarship related to all aspects of public health. The journal publishes papers of interest to public health scholars in academic, clinical, government and industry roles working on all aspects of major public health issues.

All articles published in CommonHealth are immediately freely available to read, download and share. Accepted papers are published under a Creative Commons license. With Creative Commons licenses, the author retains copyright and the public is allowed to reuse the content.

As part of the submission process, authors are required to ensure their submission complies with the Author Guidelines. Submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines. Access a PDF of the below guidelines. It is recommended that authors utilize the Manuscript Submission Checklist to ensure that all guidelines are followed and that all required elements are included in the submission. Download the checklist.

Steps to Publication

  1. Generate your submission via the CommonHealth web portal. (Note that the information you provide when creating your submission will be used to populate the issue on the website, so please be sure that all authors are included and that author information (e.g., author names, degrees, affiliations, etc.) is complete and accurate.)
  2. The paper will undergo review by the journal’s Editorial Board and/or external reviewers with relevant content expertise invited by Editorial Board members to review the work.
    • Submissions are reviewed on a rolling basis.
    • You will be notified of the editorial decision via email.
    • If requested to revise your manuscript based on the feedback from the peer reviewers, you will be encouraged to revise and resubmit your paper within two weeks; this allows for timely publication of the journal.
  3. If your paper is accepted for publication, it will be formatted for publishing.
    • You will receive notification when the proofs of your paper are ready for review. 
  4. Once the proofs have been finalized, the article will be scheduled for publication.

Editorial Policies and Procedures
Acceptance of submissions is based on the originality of the observation or investigation, the quality of the work described, the clarity of presentation, and the relevance to our readership. Submissions (or their essential elements) cannot have been or be published or simultaneously submitted elsewhere for print or electronic publication consideration. All authors are required to have read and approved the content. Authors also are required to have declared all competing interests as well as articulate that the work has been conducted under the approval of a local institutional review board (in studies reporting on human subjects research). Authors are required to include a statement of disclosure of each authors’ contribution to the work.

The journal operates on a single-blind peer review process. All submissions will be reviewed by at least one of the Editors-in-Chief, members of the Editorial Board, or other expert reviewers. At the discretion of the Editors-in-Chief, the submission may be returned immediately without full review, if deemed not competitive or outside the realm of interests of the majority of the readership of the Journal. The decision (reject, invite revision, accept) letter will be conveyed through the CommonHealth webportal, coming directly from the Editor-in-Chief who has assumed responsibility for the submission’s review. Editorial decisions are based not just on technical merit of the work, but also on other factors such as the priority for publication and the relevance to the Journal's general readership. All submissions are judged in relation to other submissions currently under consideration. Rebuttals to rejected submissions are strongly discouraged and requests for resubmission of rejected manuscripts are generally not granted.

ORCID ID Requirement
CommonHealth encourages all authors to provide an ORCID ID upon submission of their work. By supplying unique and persistent identifiers, ORCID ensures that researchers can be easily and correctly connected to their research activities, outputs and affiliations. Learn more about what an ORCID ID is and how to obtain one.

Data Sharing
CommonHealth encourages authors to share the data and other artifacts supporting the results in the paper by archiving it in an appropriate public repository, when appropriate. Authors should include a data accessibility statement, including a link to the repository they have used, in order that this statement can be published alongside their paper.

Publication Ethics
CommonHealth supports the recommendation of the UK Committee on Publication Ethics. No paper will be published in the journal unless it meets all of these requirements.

Submission Types
CommonHealth publishes content related to all aspects of public health. In addition to original research, we invite reviews and critical discussions of clinical practice, teaching innovation, and community engagement.

Submissions may take one of the forms listed below. A table describing the requirements for each submission type is provided in the Submission Format section of this page. 

  • Original Research: Reports of original scientific data collected by the author(s)
    1. Research Article: Full-length report of original scientific data collected by the author(s), including experimental research on teaching.
    2. Research Letter: Concise report of original research.
  • Reviews
    1. Systematic Review: Critical literature review using systematic methods, with or without meta-analysis.
    2. Narrative Review: Up-to-date review for practitioners on a topic of general common interest.
  • Reports
    1. Case Report: Describes a specific case study, including a concise literature review and discussion of the implications of the innovation for practice; this can including clinical case, teaching case or community partnerships that improve public health education, prevention, or intervention effort.
    2. Teaching/Supervisory Practice Report: Details an innovation in pedagogy or clinical supervision.
  • Opinion
    1. Op-ed: Offers a unique perspective on a timely public health issue.
    2. Letter to the Editors: Discussion of a recent article in this journal submitted within six months of publication of the article.
  • Multimedia/Creative and Visual Works
    1. Multimedia: Reports in any of the above categories in the form of video/audio submissions.
    2. Creative and Visual Works: The journal also welcomes submissions that address public health issues in creative or visual formats. Examples of this type of work include: artwork, photovoice projects, and research animations/infographics.

Submission Format
Authors must provide their entire submission in English in electronic format. Student authors are encouraged to utilize the Writing Center at the Student Success Center when drafting manuscripts. Authors for whom English is a second language are advised to consider having their manuscript professionally edited before submission to improve the English, and to ensure the paper is clearly written in standard, scientific English language appropriate to the discipline.

Manuscripts should be typed double-spaced in 12 point font. In general, the body of the manuscript should not exceed twenty manuscript pages.

General advice about the presentation of manuscripts:

  • Provide a clear, concise and interesting title and abstract; this helps readers quickly see the value of your work.
  • All pages should be numbered.
  • Avoid the use of abbreviations as much as possible.
  • All scientific units should be expressed in SI units.
  • Authors should use person-first language: e.g., "patients with obesity" rather than "obese patients."

Title Page
The title page should contain:

  1. The title of the article
  2. The name of each author (first name and surname preferred)
  3. The name of the department(s) and institution(s) to which the authors belong
  4. Three to six keywords
  5. A running title
  6. Acknowledgements
  7. Statement of each authors’ contribution to the work
  8. Full address including e-mail of the corresponding author
  9. Potential conflicts of interest
  10. Sources of funding (if appropriate)

Lay Abstracts
Original Research Papers and Reports should include a lay abstract of approximately 100 words. The abstract will be reviewed and then used by the journal to promote the work via social media. Authors will be encouraged to use the lay abstract to promote their work via social media as well.

Main Text

Original Research Papers
Original research papers should report novel research projects that yield valuable insights into topics within the scope of the journal. These papers should be divided into:

  1. A structured abstract (about 250 words)
  2. Introduction
  3. Materials and Methods
  4. Results
  5. Discussion
  6. References

For guidance on the content and style of these sections, see the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME) Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.

Systematic reviews provide a critical review of the literature review using systematic methods, with or without meta-analysis. The method for conducting the literature should be provided as part of the submission. While there is no required format for this type of review, a PRISMA-style flow diagram should be included. This type of submission should also include a table with ratings of the quality of the studies/evidence. Narrative reviews include a review of the literature for practitioners on a topic of general common interest. 

These papers will provide a summary and discussion of the relevant literature about any topic covered within the aims and scope of the journal. They should be divided into the following sections:

  1. Abstract (about 250 words)
  2. Introduction
  3. Text divided into relevant subsections and paragraphs
  4. Discussion
  5. References

Authors are particularly encouraged to use tables, diagrams, pictures and figures as well as non-copyrighted materials from other sources. Personal conclusions and practical applications are welcome. 

The strongest papers in these categories will describe new points of view, clinical developments, classroom advances or successful community partnerships. Some will highlight relevant public health issues that are in the public’s eye at the time. Such manuscripts can be speculative and provocative, as a means of encouraging debate. They can include discussions of new directions and/or resolutions to old questions.

This submission type provides a timely discussion of public health issues of relevance to the audience. Letters to the editor that discuss a recent article in the journal should be submitted within six months of publication of the article.

Multimedia Submissions

Submissions in any of the above categories in the form of video/audio submissions, artwork, etc. are acceptable. The same level of rigor in the research, including review of the literature and study methodology, is required to support the multimedia piece. For example, a photovoice essay on the social determinants of health within a particular neighborhood should be first introduced with a background on the issue, a discussion of the methods used and then focus on the multimedia component within the results section. The need for using the specific medium to present the findings should be made clear within the narrative component; images and illustrations should be limited to no more than five. In addition, authors must demonstrate copyright permissions for any materials used that are not their own property or creative design.

Submitting Supplementary Materials

Recommended file formats for supplementary materials include:

  • Text: TXT, DOC, DOCX, or PDF
  • Image: JPG, TIF, PNG, GIF, PDF, EPS, or BMP
  • Video: MP4, MOV, WMV, or AVI
  • Audio: MP3, AIFF, MOV (Quicktime Audio), RA (Real Audio), or WAV (Windows Audio)

Developing a Graphical Abstract

A graphical abstract is a concise illustration of the main points of your article. The image must include a caption describing the image. The graphical abstract can be an image, a video, an audio file, or a PowerPoint file.

Image specifications

  • Image resolution for photos: 300 dpi
  • Image resolution for line art: 600 dpi

Video specifications

  • Resolution: 16:9 screen aspect ratio
  • File types: MP4 preferred; MOV, WMV, and AVI may be provided for conversion to MP4
  • Recommended file size: <100 MB

Audio specifications

  • File types: MP3, AIFF, MOV (Quicktime Audio), RA (Real Audio), and WAV (Windows Audio)
  • Recommended file size: <3 MB

Specific Requirements for Each Submission Type

Submission Type Word Limit Abstract Requirements (word limit) Reference Limit Maximum Tables and Figures
Original Research Original Research 3500 Structured (250 words) 25 5
Research Letter 1200 N/A 10 3
Reviews Systematic Review 4000 Structured (250 words) 50-75 5
Narrative Review 2000-3500 Unstructured (250 words)
Reports Case Report 3500 Unstructured (250 words) 25 5
Teaching/Supervisory Practice Report
Opinion Op-ed 600 N/A 5 N/A
Letter to the Editors 5 (including the recent article)

References should be cited numerically in the order they appear in the text. Identify references in text, tables and legends by Arabic numerals in parentheses or as superscripts. References should follow AMA 10th Edition style.

Examples of journal references:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jul 25;347(4):284-7.
Rose ME, Huerbin MB, Melick J, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Regulation of interstitial excitatory amino acid concentrations after cortical contusion injury. Brain Res. 2002;935(1-2):40-6.

Examples of book references:
Murray PR, Rosenthal KS, Kobayashi GS, Pfaller MA. Medical microbiology. 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2002.
Gilstrap LC 3rd, Cunningham FG, VanDorsten JP, editors. Operative obstetrics. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2002.

Example of a web reference:
Abood S. Quality improvement initiative in nursing homes: the ANA acts in an advisory role. Am J Nurs [Internet]. 2002 Jun [cited 2002 Aug 12];102(6):[about 1 p.]. Available from: Subscription required.

We recommend the use of a tool such as EndNote, Reference Manager or Mendeley for reference management and formatting. Style files for EndNote, Reference Manager and Mendeley are also available.

Tables and Figures
Type each table on a separate page following on from the main text; number tables consecutively and supply a brief title and legend for each. Cite each table in the text in consecutive order, using Arabic numbers. Please use the provided table template.

Figures or artwork must be supplied in electronic form, as separate files per figure. Please save image files in .EPS or .PNG format. Letters, numbers and symbols should be clear and even throughout, and of sufficient size so that when reduced for publication the item will still be legible; titles and detailed explanations should be included in the legends, not in the illustrations themselves. Cite each figure in the text in consecutive order. Figures should not be embedded in the manuscript text file.

If you wish to use a figure or other multimedia that has been previously published, you must acknowledge the original source and submit written permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the material.  

Table and Figure Legends
Legends for tables and figures should be typed on a separate page following on from the main text, with Arabic numbers corresponding to the numbers assigned to the matching figure or table (Table 1: …, Table 2: …, Figure 1: … etc.). When symbols, arrows, numbers or letters are used to identify parts of the illustrations, explain each one in the legend. Explain the internal scale and identify the method of staining in photomicrographs. Tables and figures will be published in full color in the online journal.

Online Production Tracking via Author Services
Author Services enables authors to track their accepted article through the production process to publication online and in print. Authors can check the status of their articles online and choose to receive automated e-mails at key stages of production. The author will receive an e-mail with a unique link that enables them to register and have their article automatically added to the system. Please ensure that a complete e-mail address is provided when submitting the manuscript.

The corresponding author will receive an email alert containing a link to the online proofs. A working e-mail address must therefore be provided for the corresponding author. The proof can be downloaded as a PDF file from the site. Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded for free, is needed to read the file. This will enable the file to be opened, read on-screen and printed out in order for any corrections to be added. Further instructions will be sent with the proof email.