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Article Types

PHR welcomes the following article types: Systematic Review, Mini Review, Review (all other formats), Policy Brief, Editorials and Commentaries. PHR does not publish original research and opinion articles.

Before submitting a manuscript, please read the article type descriptions below and the author guidelines.

Please ensure that any manuscript you submit to PHR fully conforms with the author guidelines. We encourage authors to refer to the minimum reporting guidelines for health research hosted by the EQUATOR network when preparing their manuscript. Checklists are available for a number of study designs.

Your manuscript should also comply with the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommendations for ethics. All submitted manuscripts will be checked by plagiarism detection software.

All articles receive a DOI, are citable, published in PDF and HTML format, and submitted for indexing in relevant digital archives.

Peer reviewed

Policy Brief

Policy Briefs are short reports to support decision-makers in understanding and addressing a relevant public health issue. Policy Briefs begin with an outline of the specific issue and should highlight the importance of policy action (Background). They further provide an examination and summary of the available (local and global) evidence related to the issue, and current policy approaches (Analysis). The central section of a Policy Brief is a critical assessment of potential policy options to address the issue, their likely impacts, potential barriers, and facilitators to their implementation (Policy Options). Finally, Policy Briefs end by summarizing primary insights and presented options (Conclusion).    

Policy Briefs have the following format: 

Title: Short and concise.  

Abstract: 180 words max, structured: Background, Analysis, Policy Options, Conclusion. 

Article Structure: Background: Introduction to the public health issue and the importance for policy action. Analysis: Examination and summary of evidence, and current policy approaches. Policy Options: Critical assessment of potential policy options, expected outcomes, and factors influencing their implementation. Conclusion: Summary of primary insights and policy options.

Main text: 2’500 words max (abstract, reference list excluded). 

References: up to 30 references.

Figures and Tables: A maximum of 4 figures and tables are allowed. The captions of figures and tables should contain the source and date of the presented data. Figures and tables and their captions should be fully self-explanatory. 

Systematic Review

Systematic Reviews present a synthesis of previous research on a given topic that uses systematic and clearly defined methods to identify, categorize, analyse and report aggregated evidence on a specific topic. Included in this article type are meta-synthesis, meta-analysis, systematic review, and systematic review with a meta-analysis. Systematic reviews should clearly define the research question in terms of population, interventions, comparators, outcomes and study designs (PICOS). They should state which reporting guidelines were used in the study for design and reporting (e.g., PRISMA, Cochrane, Campbell), include the PRISMA flow diagram (, include funding information (if no specific funding to carry out the research, please state so). Systematic Reviews should have the following format:

Title: should include the words systematic review/meta-synthesis/meta-analysis, as appropriate. No abbreviations.

Abstract: 180 words max, structure: Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusions.

Main Text: 4’500 words max (abstract, reference list and figure and table captions excluded).  Structure: Introduction, Methods (including systematic review protocol; search strategy; data sources; studies sections and data extraction; analysis), Results (including a flow diagram of the studies retrieved for the review; study selection and characteristics; synthesized findings; assessment of risk of bias), Discussion (including summary of main findings; limitations; conclusions).

Figures and tables: up to 6 total.

Review (all formats except for Systematic Review and Mini-Review)

Research Reviews should concentrate on the most recent developments in the field. Authors should confirm during submission in the “Contribution to the Field” section (appearing during online submission process) that the topic was not covered in a recently published review in PHR or other journals. Literature searches for all Reviews should follow a defined systematic protocol and should be comprehensive. Review articles should adopt the following format:

Abstract: 180 words max, structure: Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusions.

Text body: 4’500 words max (abstract, reference list, figure and table captions excluded); structure: Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion (including limitations and conclusions). Reviews should reference all included studies.

Figures and table: up to 6 (total).

Narrative Review

PHR considers well-constructed Narrative Reviews that provide an up-to date overview and interpretation of a specific topic or field. Narrative reviews do not necessarily include a methods section but should identify the theoretical framework or model used as starting point. Additionally, the authors must clearly describe why they chose a narrative review approach over a reproducible review type. The title of the manuscript should contain the term “Narrative Review” (or the specific type of Narrative Review used). The authors should confirm during submission in the “Contribution to the Field” section (appearing during the online submission process) that the topic was not covered in a recently published review in PHR or other journals. Narrative Review articles should adopt the following format:  

Abstract: usually unstructured;180 words max.  

Text body: 4’500 words max (abstract, reference list, figure and table captions excluded); Structure: Introduction; Main Text Body (broken into subsections with short descriptive headings); Discussion (including Conclusions).  

All included studies should be referenced. 

Figures and tables: up to 6 (total). 

Mini Review

Mini Review articles cover focused aspects of a current area of investigation and its recent developments. They offer a succinct and clear summary of the topic, allowing readers to get up-to-date on new developments and/or emerging concepts, as well as discuss the following: 1) Differences between studies ( methods), schools of thought or controversies, 2) Current research gaps, 3) Potential future developments in the field. Mini Review articles must not include unpublished material (unpublished/original data, submitted manuscripts, or personal communications) and may be rejected or reclassified, at a significant delay, if found to include such content. Mini Reviews have the following format:

Abstract: 120 words max.

Main text: 2’500 words max (abstract, reference list and captions excluded); structure: Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusions.

Figures and tables: up to 2 (total).


This new article type provides guidance to public-health scientists and practitioners on best practices, techniques, and methodologies that enhance the quality of synthesis research as reported in systematic reviews, scoping reviews, meta-analyses and policy briefs. Topics can encompass (but are not limited to) outlining and critically discussing the following:

  • Systematic Reviews: Steps and practices for conducting comprehensive and unbiased reviews.

  • Scoping Reviews: Methods to map out existing literature or evidence in a specific field.

  • Meta-Analysis: Statistical techniques and best practices for contrasting and combining results from different studies.

  • Policy Briefs: Methods or guidelines on distilling research findings for concise summaries to inform or validate policy decisions and policy recommendations.

Guidance has the following format:

Abstract: 180 words max.

Main text: 4'500 words max (abstract, reference list, and figure & table captions excluded). 

Structure: Manuscripts should begin with a Background section and conclude with a Discussion section that contains a Conclusions subsection. Apart from these mandatory sections, the authors are free to structure the text to best fit their needs.

Figures and tables: A maximum of 5 combined figures and tables are allowed. The captions of figures and tables should contain the source and date of the presented data.

Not peer reviewed


Editorials are invited short essays that express the author’s viewpoint or explain journal policies. The length is 800 words max (reference list excluded) and they have up to 10 references. The title should be short and attractive.


Commentary articles are invited more in-depth opinion pieces. Commentary articles have a maximum word count of 1'200 words and 10 references. They should not contain unpublished or original data.

Letter to the Editor

Letters are reactions relating to recently published articles in PHR. Letters should be submitted no later than 3 months after publication of the article. Usually, we invite the authors of the article to respond to the Letter.

Society Statement

Society Statements are produced or commissioned by Presidents and Executive Boards of Schools of Public Health or Public Health Associations. They are 1’200 words long (max., reference list excluded) and present up to 10 references. The submitting author must ensure that the main manuscript file presents the following line after the author affiliations: "Statement of the 'FULL NAME OF SOCIETY (abbreviated)".


Correction of Errors in published articles


Should authors notice errors that affect the scholarly record or the integrity of the paper, they should submit the correction online. The correction must detail the reason(s) for the error(s) and include only the elements (e.g. sections, sentence, figure) of the manuscript being revised or corrected. All authors of the original paper need to agree to the request for changes. The contribution to the field statement should be used to clearly state the reason for the correction. Depending on the extent of the correction required, corrections may require peer review. Authors are informed that requests for changes beyond that described here may not be accepted for publication. The title of the submitted correction should read: Corrigendum: Title of original publication.


Should authors notice differences between their approved galley proofs and the final published article, thus leading to errors that affect the scholarly record or the integrity of the paper, they should contact the Production Office (, clearly specifying the error and the correct information. The Production Office will handle this further. If published, the title would read: Erratum: Title of original publication.