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Instructions for contributors

Primary Health Care Research & Development


Sally Kendall, University of Kent, UK

Rosamund Bryar, City University, London, UK

Primary Health Care Research & Development is available at Cambridge Core:

Submission is exclusively via Editorial Manager:

Print ISSN: 1463-4326 --- Online ISSN: 1477-1128

Instructions for Contributors

The Editors invite papers in one of three categories: Research Papers, Development Papers, and Short Reports.

Research Papers

PHCR&D welcomes papers that present primary research or disseminate evidence, including systematic reviews and meta analysis. All papers should make clear the relevance of their research to an international PHC audience and implications for policy and practice.

All papers are independently peer reviewed by a minimum of two referees.

All material prepared for publication is assumed to be written exclusively for Primary Health Care Research & Development, and not to have been submitted for publication elsewhere. All authors are required to sign a copyright assignment form before publication and return this to

The Editors, who retain the right to edit, if necessary, any material accepted for publication, decide priority and time of publication. UK spelling will be used.

NB: All submissions to the Journal should be exclusively be made via the electronic submission and tracking system, Editorial Manager:

Authors whose first language is not English are requested to have their manuscript checked carefully for linguistic corrections before submission.

Please supply a structured abstract (maximum 300 words) for your article; to include the following 4 headings: aim, background, methods, and findings.

Articles should normally be up to 5000 words long. We will consider linked papers.

Submissions from the Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC) will be highlighted as ‘SAPC Hot Topics:’ in the article title.

Development Papers

Authors less familiar with Development Papers are requested to read the following guidelines:

The Editors are keen to encourage papers from all areas of PHC which address the developmental aspects of work which is informing both practice and the research agenda. This is seen as an area which is often overlooked in peer-reviewed journals, partly because development is not recognised as ‘real research’, and partly because we have been limited by the criteria which are usually used to judge research but are not appropriate for development.

To ensure that we can publish high-quality Development Papers, we have drawn upon notions of validity which have been adopted widely for qualitative research. For example, the concept of trustworthiness of information and the need to provide an ‘audit trail’ may be used rather than the concept of validity. Additionally, the concept of ‘transferability’ needs to be considered rather than 'generalisability'.

Development Papers need to be defined as such by the authors, but the Editors will also make a decision about the status of a paper including criteria such as whether it:

• discusses a local issue;

• discusses the introduction of an innovation;

• discusses matters relating to reflective practice or developing practice;

• relates to issues of learning and dissemination in PHC;

• informs a new area for research;

• addresses issues of evaluation.

Authors should note that when reviewing such a paper we ask reviewers to consider the following questions:

1. How has the author drawn on existing evidence to inform the discussion of the development? It is expected that Development Papers should make sufficient use of the literature and background theory to inform their thinking, as well as evidence from other sources such as expert advice.

2. What was the rationale for the development? Is this clearly argued?

3. How sufficient is the description of the development? The context should be discussed in some detail, including any policy context in which it might be embedded.

4. Where case study examples or scenarios are used, how are these documented? Is there enough information to make a trustworthy judgement of the development work? Are examples appended? In other words, the reader should be convinced that this is not just evangelism.

5. Is the discussion of the development conducted in light of the existing evidence?

6. How are conclusions drawn from the development? What message is the author trying to convey? Is this achieved? Are there key points for further research or practice development to be undertaken?

7. Does the author offer a critical analysis of the development which recognises limitations as well as strengths?

8. Has the development been evaluated? If so, are the methods appropriately discussed? If not, is a rationale provided or plans for future evaluation?

9. Referencing is as important in a Development Paper as in research (see below).

Short Reports

PHCR&D now welcomes Short Reports. These are invited from all areas of primary healthcare research and development. Short Reports will typically report primary research that the authors feel in insufficient in scope for a full paper. For example Short Reports may describe pilot studies, exploratory studies, scoping studies, brief narrative reviews or smaller research projects conducted with fewer resources and in less time than those normally reported in full papers. PHCR&D wish to receive Short Reports from all members of the primary health care community but are particularly keen to attract Short Reports from relatively inexperienced members of the research community, including medical students conducting intercalated degrees, masters students, and professionals conducting research placements.

Brief reports should be between 1500 and 2000 words in length. They need not include a structured abstract, but a summary of the paper in approximately 150 words will facilitate the editorial and review process. Normally, brief reports will comprise an introduction and/or background to the work, a brief explanation of any methods employed, results (tables or figures are preferred) and a discussion of the implications of the work. Prospective contributors are directed to the ‘‘Guidance Applicable to All Papers’’ for details on how to prepare their manuscript. Brief reports will be peer reviewed by at least two reviewers.

Guidance Applicable to All Papers

Please ensure that your files are uploaded in the following order:

For Original Submissions:

1.      Author covering letter (this should be anonymous with no identifying information)

2.      Title Page containing all author contact information and funding information

3.      Manuscript file (anonymised) containing the title of the work, Structured Abstract and Keywords followed by the main body of the paper prepared as per the instructions below

4.      Figure captions (mandatory if figures are included)

5.      Figures (one file per figure)

6.      Tables as a single word document

7.      Any Supplementary Material 

For Revised Submissions

1.      Authors response to reviewers comments (this should be anonymous)

2.      Title Page containing all author contact information and funding information.

3.      Tracked Changes Manuscript file (anonymised) containing the title of the work, Structured Abstract and Keywords followed by the main body of the paper showing all additions and omissions.

4.      Figure captions (mandatory if figures are included)

5.      Figures (one file per figure)

6.      Tables as a single word document

7.      Any Supplementary Material 

8.      A blank separator page which can be downloaded here

9.      Clean Manuscript file (anonymised) where all changes have been incorporated into the file and tracking has been turned off.

All pages must be numbered.

Microsoft Word is the preferred software. No artwork should be included in text files. Any artwork should be in either TIFF or EPS format, and saved as individual files per Figure. When preparing your paper:

• Use the minimum formatting;

• Roman, bold and italic type can be used, but only one typeface and font;

• Capitals should be used only where they are to appear in the finished text;

• The text should be ranged left and unjustified, with hyphenation cancellation;

• Indents, underlining and tabs should be avoided unless absolutely necessary;

• Heading and paragraphs should be separated by two carriage returns;

• There should only be one space between words and only one space after punctuation.

Give the title of the paper and a running title if the main title is longer than 12 words or 50 characters. On a separate page authors should include: their first and family name; their post at the time they did the work; their current appointments and qualifications; the name and address of the author to whom correspondence, proofs and offprints should be sent, together with email, telephone and fax numbers.

Avoid using more than three levels of heading.

Abbreviations should be kept to a minimum and must be clearly defined when used first time. Abbreviations should be typed with no full point.

Avoid excessive capitalization.

Use italics for emphasis sparingly.

Scientific measurements should be given in SI units, but blood pressure should be expressed as mmHg and haemoglobin as g/dl.

For numbers, adopt a rule that all numbers under 10 should be written as words except when attached to a unit of quantity (e.g.1 mm or 3 kg), and that numbers of over 10 should be written as digits except at the beginning of a sentence.

Generic names should be used for drugs. Authors should be aware of different names and availability in the UK, North America and Australia, and give alternative names of drugs in the text.

Tables and Figures should be submitted separately from the text and legendary illustrations should also be separate. Colour figures are subject to a special charge and the author should meet cost the of colour reproduction.

Care should be taken that all statistical methods are relevant and that it is clear which methods were used. Any statistical tests should be reported as well as the p value.

Papers should be prepared in accordance to the Harvard system arranged in alphabetical order by the first letter of the surname of the author. Journal articles and titles should be referred to in full. For example:

Kendall, S. and Bloomfield, L. 2005: Developing and validating a tool to measure parenting self-efficacy. Journal of Advanced Nursing 51, (2), 174-181.

Silverman, D. 1993: Interpreting Qualitative Data. Methods for Analysing Talk, Text and Interaction. London: SAGE Publications.

Slater, J. 1996: Measuring Occupational Stress in Primary Health Care Teams. Ch 20: 192-99. IN: Bryar, R. and Bytheway, B. (Eds) Changing Primary Health Care. The Teamcare Valleys Experience. Oxford: Blackwell Science.

In the text when referring to more than one source please list these in the order of oldest source first e.g. (Silverman, 1993; Slater, 1996; Kendall and Bloomfield, 2005)

When using quotations please include the page number of the quotation e.g. (Silverman, 1993:15)

Authors must obtain permission from the publishers to reproduce all Tables and Figures that have been previously published. As a rule it is also necessary to obtain permission for single passages of prose exceeding 250 words, or scattered passages totalling 400 words from any one work. Please supply the Editor with full information for any cited work, including author name, date published, publisher, and page references. EU copyright extends to 70 years after the death of an author, or 70 years after publication of scholarly edition, whichever is longer. Special considerations apply for clinical photographs of patients. Please contact the Editor if you wish to include them in your paper.

Please include the following sections at the end of your paper, before the References:

Acknowledgements You may acknowledge individuals or organisations that provided advice, support (non- financial). Formal financial support and funding should be listed in the following section.

Financial Support Please provide details of the sources of financial support for all authors, including grant numbers. For example, ‘‘This work was supported by the Medical research Council (grant number XXXXXXX)’’. Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma and space, and where research was funded by more than one agency the different agencies should be separated by a semi-colon, with ‘‘and’’ before the final funder. Grants held by different authors should be identified as belonging to individual authors by the authors’ initials. For example, ‘‘This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (A.B., grant numbers XXXX, YYYY), (C.D., grant number ZZZZ); the Natural Environment Research Council (E.F., grant number FFFF); and the National Institutes of Health (A.B., grant number GGGG), (E.F., grant number HHHH)’’. Where no specific funding has been provided for research, please provide the following statement: ‘‘This research received no specific grant from any funding agency, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.’’

Conflict(s) of Interest Please provide details of all known financial, professional and personal relationships with the potential to bias the work. Where no known conflicts of interest exist, please include the following statement: ‘‘None.’’

Ethical Standards Where research involves human and/or animal experimentation, the following statements should be included (as applicable): ‘‘The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional guidelines on human experimentation (please name) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.’’ and ‘‘The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional guides on the care and use of laboratory animals (please name).’’

For more information on the ethical standards and procedures of Cambridge Core, please visit

Proofs will be supplied in the form of a PDF file. Please remember that:

i. Proof corrections are disproportionately expensive. For example the insertion of three commas on a page will frequently costs as much as, or more than, the original setting cost of the entire page.

ii. If you return proofs even a few days after the date stipulated, it may be not be possible to include your corrections in the final version of the journal.

An offprint order form is supplied with the proofs. Offprints and copies of the Issue can be purchased if ordered at the proof stage.

There are no page charges.

Open Access

Primary Health Care Research and Development also offers authors the option to publish their work under a Gold Open Access model. For details of our policy and pricing, please click here

Cambridge Core Language Editing Service

Cambridge recommends that authors have their manuscripts checked by an English language native speaker before submission; this will ensure that submissions are judged at peer review exclusively on academic merit. We list a number of third-party services specialising in language editing and / or translation, and suggest that authors contact as appropriate. Use of any of these services is voluntary, and at the author’s own expense.

(Last updated 21/03/2014)