A. Objectives and Readership
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is an international agency that specializes in public health. It is made up of 35 Member States, three Participating States, one Associate Member, and two Observer States. Its secretariat, the Pan American Sanitary Bureau (PASB), is also the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública/Pan American Journal of Public Health (RPSP/PAJPH) is a multilingual (English, Spanish, Portuguese) publication that in 1997 replaced the Boletín de la Oficina Sanitaria Panamericana and the Bulletin of the Pan American Health Organization. Like its predecessors, the RPSP/PAJPH offers researchers in the Region of the Americas a scientifically validated, peer-reviewed outlet for public health research findings. It also catalogs the conceptual, social, and political trends indicating the general direction of public health in the countries of the Americas and conveys the decisions and initiatives of PAHO relating to its fundamental purposes: to promote and coordinate the efforts of the countries of the Americas directed toward improving health, fighting disease, prolonging life, and stimulating people's physical, mental, and social development. In addition, the RPSP/PAJPH distributes information on the public health activities carried out in PAHO's Member States with the cooperation of the PAHO technical programs.
The RPSP/PAJPH is indexed in Current Contents/Social & Behavioral Sciences, Social Sciences Citation Index, Index Medicus/ MEDLINE/PubMed, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, DIALOG, LILACS, SciELO Salud Pública, and many other bibliographic databases as Rev Panam Salud Publica. Some 7 000 copies per month are distributed to health science professionals, technicians, researchers, professors, and students, both in the Americas and other parts of the world. It is also available in the leading biomedical libraries. The RPSP/PAJPH also has its own interactive website ( http://journal.paho.org/), where its full contents are available for downloading free of cost. The journal's full contents can also be accessed electronically through SciELO Salud Pública (http://www.scielosp.org) at no cost, and through Ingenta ( www.ingentaselect.com) at a cost that will depend on the user's country of residence.
B. Contents of the RPSP/PAJPH
The RPSP/PAJPH contains materials related to public health in the Region that reflect PAHO's main programatic areas: health and human development, health promotion and protection, development of health systems and services, environmental health, and prevention and control of diseases. This content is divided into the following sections:
1. Editoriales/Editorials. They deal with the journal itself, specific articles within the journal, or public health issues. Editorials reflect the personal opinions of the individual writing them, who may be an editorial staff member or an independent author. They should always bear the author's signature.
2. Reflexiones del Director/From the Director. Written by the Director of PAHO, this section is published from time to time to communicate the policy and strategic direction of the Organization and the public health priorities in the Region of the Americas.
3. Artículos/Articles. These are original research reports, literature reviews, or special reports on subjects of interest to the Region. Papers presented at meetings and conferences do not necessarily qualify as scientific articles. Studies of clinical cases and anecdotal accounts of specific interventions are not accepted. In general, articles intended for publication as a series on various aspects of a single study are not acceptable either. In general, pieces that have been published previously, in print or electronically (e.g., the Internet), in the same or similar format, will not be accepted. Any instance of such prior publication must be disclosed when the manuscript is submitted, and authors must provide a copy of the published document.
On occasion, short communications are published that convey innovative or promising techniques or methodologies or preliminary results of special interest.
4. Opinión y análisis/Opinion and Analysis. In this section individual authors present their reflections and opinions on topics of interest in the sphere of public health.
5. Temas de actualidad/Current Topics. This section includes descriptions of national and regional health initiatives, projects, and interventions, and of current epidemiological trends, especially relating to diseases and health problems of major importance. Unlike articles, current topics pieces do not reflect original research. However, the same rules concerning prior publication of articles also apply with current topics pieces.
6. Instantáneas (in Spanish only). This section has summaries of the results of studies recently published in prominent English-language journals, as well as press releases from the WHO and other major international public health organizations.
7. Publicaciones/Publications. This section offers brief summaries of current publications dealing with various aspects of public health. Readers are invited to submit reviews of books on subjects within their area of expertise, with the understanding that the reviews will be edited. Each book review should be no more than 1 500 words in length and should describe the book's contents objectively, while approaching the following essential points: the book's contribution to a specific discipline (if possible, as compared to other books of its kind); the quality of the paper, type, illustrations and general format; the kind of narrative style; and whether it makes for easy or difficult reading. The author's professional background and the type of reader the book is addressed to should also be briefly described.
8. Cartas/Letters. Letters to the editor that clarify, discuss, or comment in a constructive manner on ideas expressed in the RPSP/PAJPH are welcomed. Letters should be signed by the author and specify his or her professional affiliation and mailing address.
Guidelines for manuscript submission
The Pan American Health Organization holds the copyright to material published in the RPSP/PAJPH. Manuscripts are accepted with the understanding that they are original works that have not been published, (in print or electronically, e. g., Internet), or submitted for publication elsewhere, in part or in whole, and that in the future they will not be published or submitted elsewhere without the express authorization of PAHO. Any instance of prior publication in print or electronic format (e.g., the Internet), in the same or similar form, must be disclosed at the time the manuscript is submitted. Authors must provide a copy of the published document.
A. General Criteria for Manuscript Acceptance
The selection of material for publication is based on the following criteria: suitability of the subject for the journal and the importance of the subject matter for the Organization and the Member States; scientific soundness, originality, currency, and timeliness of the information; applicability beyond its place of origin and across the Region; compliance with the standards of medical ethics governing experimentation with human and animal subjects; respect for the Member States and the peoples they represent; a balance of topics and geographic origin of the information; and coherence of the design (a logical statement of the problem and a plan to achieve the objective of the study). Original research should follow the "IMRAD" format (Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion) (see Section II.I). Shortcomings in this regard invalidate all the information and are grounds for rejecting the manuscript. Acceptance or rejection of a manuscript is based on the objective selection process described in Section II.P.
The authors alone are responsible for the views expressed, which may not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of PAHO or its Member States. The mention of specific companies or of certain manufacturers' products does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by PAHO in preference to other ones of a similar nature.
In general, the RPSP/PAJPH follows the "Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals: Writing and editing for biomedical publication" (revision of November, 2003), developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. These guidelines are also known as the "Vancouver Style" (see the Bibliography).
The following paragraphs give practical instructions and illustrative examples to prepare a manuscript.
C. Submitting the Manuscript
Manuscripts should be prepared using Microsoft Word (or Excel, Power Point, or other graphics software for the illustrations) and submitted through Manuscript CentralTM (ScholarOne, Inc.), which is the online manuscript submission and peer review system employed by the RPSP/PAJPH. The site may be accessed via a link provided on the RPSP/PAJPH's webpage (http://journal.paho.org/), or directly through Manuscript Central at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rpsp
Authors who have difficulty using Manuscript Central should phone our office at 202-974-3046 or, if they speak English, contact Manuscript Central's help line at 1-434-817-2040, extension 167 for calls within the United States and at 011-434-817-2040 for international calls.
Authors will be notified by e-mail that their manuscript has been received. Authors can view the status of their manuscripts at any time by entering Manuscript Central's "Author Center".
The RPSP/PAJPH publishes articles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, but manuscripts are accepted in any of the official languages of PAHO (English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish). Authors should write in their native language, since the inadequate command of a foreign language blurs the meaning of the text and is at odds with scientific precision. The RPSP/PAJPH reserves the right to publish the text in a language different from the original and will publish original research articles in only one language.
The titles of references should never be translated. Authors should also refrain from translating the names of institutions unless an official translation exists.
When an article is submitted through Manuscript Central, the submitting author is required to acknowledge a statement specifying that the text, or a similar one, has not been published before in print or electronically and that it will not be submitted to any other journal before the RPSP/PAJPH reaches a decision. Any instance of prior publication in any form must be disclosed at the time the manuscript is submitted. Submitting authors must also acknowledge a statement indicating that if the manuscript is accepted for publication in the RPSP/PAJPH, the copyright will be held by PAHO.
Authors are requested to give full information about any grant or subsidy received from a commercial entity, other private group, or WHO, PAHO, or other agency to cover the costs of the work on which the article is based.
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce any copyrighted material. The manuscript must be accompanied by the original letter granting such permission. This letter should specify the exact table, figure, or text being cited and how it is being used, together with a complete bibliographic reference to the original source (see Section II.K).
F. Length and Form
The entire manuscript, without including tables, figures, and references, must not exceed 15 to 20 double-spaced pages in Microsoft Word using 12-pt. characters in Times New Roman or Arial script. All margins should measure one inch (2,4 cm).
Manuscripts not complying with the specifications outlined above will not be accepted. To be certain they are following the standard format of the RPSP/PAJPH, authors should both read all the materials in these Guidelines and also review one or two current issues of the journal before submitting their manuscripts for consideration. In the case of papers translated in their entirety or containing translations of quoted material, a copy of that text in the original language must be attached.
After peer-review (and possible revision), articles will additionally undergo an editorial process that may include, as needed, condensation of the text and deletion or addition of tables, figures, or annexes. The edited version will be sent to the author for approval and for responses to any additional queries from the editor (see below: II.P and II.Q). The journal may refuse to publish any manuscript whose authors fails to answer editorial queries satisfactorily.
G. Title and Authors
The title should be limited to 10 words, if possible, and should not exceed 15. It should describe the article's contents specifically, clearly, and concisely. Ambiguous words, jargon, and abbreviations should be avoided. A good title makes it easy to grasp what the article is about and helps documentation centers accurately catalog and classify the material.
The online manuscript submission system will register the first and last name, institution, and contact information of every author when a manuscript is submitted. All this information should be omitted from the submitted text entirely in order to safeguard the confidentiality of peer review.
Only those who participated directly in the research or the drafting of the article, and are therefore in a position to assume public responsibility for its contents, may be listed as authors. Inclusion of other persons as authors, out of friendship, acknowledgment, or other nonscientific motivation, is a breach of ethics. For these reasons, an article should have a maximum of eight individual authors. The standards for authorship are extensively explained in the documentation on the Vancouver Style (see Bibliography).
Every original research article or systematic review must be accompanied by a structured abstract of around 250 words that is divided into the following sections: (a) Objectives, (b) Methods, (c) Results, and (d) Conclusions. Authors should refrain from translating their Portuguese and Spanish abstracts into English, since this is done in our editorial office. Special reports, opinion papers, and "Current Topics" pieces must be accompanied by an unstructured abstract.
The abstract should not include any information or conclusions that do not appear in the text. It should be written in the third person and should not contain abbreviations, footnotes, references to the main text, or bibliographic citations.
The abstract must enable readers to determine the relevance of the article and decide whether or not they are interested in reading the entire text. In fact, the abstract is the only part of the article, besides the title, that appears in such bibliographic information systems as Index Medicus.
Short Communications and Current Topics. These pieces should have an abstract that is a maximum of 150 words.
I. Body of the Article
Articles that report on research or studies are usually organized according to the "IMRAD" format: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion. Updates or literature reviews and special reports may require other types of headings, depending on their content.
Short Communications. In the case of short communications the usual IMRAD subdivision headings are omitted, but their sequence is followed within the text.
These clarifications are numbered consecutively and appear in a smaller type size at the bottom of the page on which they are cited. They are used to give the authors' affiliation (institution and department) and address, as well as some unpublished sources of information (see Section II.K.4). They are also used to make clarifications and give marginal explanations that would interrupt the natural flow of the text. Their use should be kept to a minimum.
K. Bibliographic References
Citations are essential to identify the original sources of concepts, methods, and techniques referred to in the text and that come from earlier research, studies, and experiences; to support facts and opinions stated by the author; and to provide the reader with the bibliographic information needed to consult the primary sources.
Research and Review Articles. For a scientific article, the RPSP/ PAJPH requires a minimum of 20 bibliographic references that are both relevant and current. Review articles will generally cite more sources.
Short Communications. These pieces will have a maximum of 15 references.
Citation of References. The RPSP/PAJPH uses the "Vancouver Style" for references, according to which all the references should be cited in the text with consecutive numbers, between parentheses, in the following way:
"It has been observed (3, 4) that..."
The list of references must be numbered consecutively in the order in which the citations appear in the text. The list of references or bibliography should begin on a separate sheet, at the end of the manuscript, and the format must follow the instructions given below.
1. Journal Articles. The following information must be provided: author(s), article title (original, not translated), abbreviated journal title (as it appears in Index Medicus/PubMed), year of publication, volume number (in Arabic numerals), issue number, and beginning and ending page numbers. All this information should be given in the original language of the work cited. The examples below illustrate the "Vancouver Style" of reference construction and punctuation.
a. Individual authors: The surnames and initials of the first six authors should be included; when there are more than six authors, "et al." should follow. Author information should be written using capital and lower case letters, not all capitals (for example, write Ramos AG, not RAMOS AG).Kerschner H, Pegues JA M. Productive aging: a quality of life agenda. J Am Diet Assoc. 1998;98(12):1445-8.
2. Books and Other Monographs. The entry should include the surnames and initials of all the authors (or editors, compilers, etc.), or the full name of an institution, followed by: the title, the edition number, the place of publication, the publisher, and the year of publication. When appropriate, notations may be included indicating the volume and pages consulted, and the series name and publication number.
3. Other Published Materials.
4. Unpublished Materials and Abstracts. The following should not be included as references: abstracts of articles, articles submitted for publication but not yet accepted and unpublished works that are not easily available to the public. Articles that are unpublished but have been accepted for publication are an exception to this rule, as are those documents that, while still unpublished, can be easily found. Included in this category are theses, and some discussion papers from international agencies.
5. Papers Presented at Conferences, Congresses, Symposia, etc. Unpublished papers that have been presented at conferences should be referenced as footnotes within the text. Only those conference papers that have been published in full (not just as abstracts) in official proceedings should be included in the list of references:
6. Personal Communications. These should be included only if they provide essential information that is not available from a public source. Reference to a personal communication should be given inside parentheses in the body of the textnot in a footnotein the following way:
Without exception, obtain from the source written verification of the accuracy of the communication.
Tables present informationusually numericalin an ordered, systematic arrangement of values in rows and columns. The presentation should be easy for the reader to grasp. The data should be self-explanatory and should supplement, not duplicate, the information in the text. Tables with too much statistical information are confusing and hard to understand.
Each table should have a brief but complete title so that the reader can easily determine what the table covers. The place, date, and source of the information should also be indicated clearly. The column heads should be as brief as possible and indicate the unit of measure or the relative base (percentage, rate, index), if any. If information is missing because no observations were made, this should be indicated by ellipsis points (. . .). If the data do not apply, the cell should be marked "NA" (not applicable). If you use either or both of these devices, please indicate their meaning with a footnote to the table. Vertical rules (lines) should not be used in tables. There should only be three horizontal rules: one under the title, a second under the column heads, and a third at the end of the table, above any footnotes. Footnotes to a table should be indicated with superscript lowercase letters, in alphabetical order, in this way a, b, c, etc. The superscript letters in the body of the table should be in sequence from top to bottom and let to right. Prospective authors should consult a current sample issue of the RPSP/PAJPH to make certain that their tables follow the journal's standard format.
Short Communications. These pieces should have a maximum of two tables or figures.
Figures (i.e., graphs, diagrams, line drawings, maps, and photographs) should be sent in their original format (such as Excel or Power Point). They should be used to highlight trends and to illustrate comparisons clearly and exactly. Figures should be easy to understand and should add information, not repeat what has been stated in the text. Captions should be as brief as possible but also clear and precise. Figures should not have footnotes. If the figure is taken from another publication, the source must be identified and permission to reproduce it must be obtained in writing from the copyright holder of the original publication. The legend of a graph or map should be included as part of the figure itself if there is sufficient space. If not, it should be included in the figure's title. Maps and diagrams should have a scale in SI units (see Section II.O).
Having too many tables and/or figures is expensive, reduces the desired effect, and takes up much space. Therefore, these materials should be chosen carefully. Information should not be duplicated in tables and figures.
As much as possible, abbreviations should be avoided. The first time an abbreviation or acronym is mentioned in the text, the full term should be given, followed by the abbreviation or acronym in parentheses, as with: Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI).
In general, abbreviations should reflect the expanded form in the same language as that of the manuscript. Exceptions to this rule include abbreviations of agencies known internationally in another language (e.g., CELADE, ILPES, ISO) or such internationally recognized abbreviations as SI (Système international units of measure). (See also Section II.O.)
O. Units of Measure
Authors must use the International System of Units (SI), which is based on the metric system (see "Bibliography").
It should be noted that in this system the abbreviations of units are not pluralized (for example, use 5 km, not 5 kms), nor are they followed by a period (write 10 mL, not 10mL.) except at the end of a sentence. Numbers should be grouped in sets of three to the left and to the right of the decimal point, with each set separated by a blank space.
P. Selection Process
The manuscript received undergo a selection process through peer review by experts on the subject in question. In a first review, the editorial staff of the RPSP/PAJPH determine whether or not the manuscript meets the general criteria for manuscripts described earlier (see Section II.A).
A second review considers the scientific merit of the document and the usefulness of its publication; the appraisal is performed by a panel of subject experts who review the manuscript independently. Every manuscript is sent to three reviewers.
In a third review, based on the results of the evaluation of general criteria, scientific merit, usefulness of its publication, and the opinion of the peer reviewers, a decision is made to: (a) reject the manuscript, (b) accept in with the condition that the author revise it according to the comments and recommendations of the reviewers, or (c) accept it definitely.
In the case of a conditional acceptance, the revised text undergoes a fourth review to make certain that the author has responded to the reviewers' concerns. If the problems have been dealt with and resolved, the article is then accepted; if not, it is rejected.
When a manuscript is accepted conditionally, the author must send back with the revised manuscript a detailed explanation of the changes that have been made to address the peer reviewers' recommendations. When disagreeing with some of those suggestions, the author should give a detailed justification of the reasons.
All decisions are communicated in writing to the author as quickly as possible. The time needed to process a manuscript varies depending on the complexity of the subject and the availability of expert reviewers.
Q. Editing and Publication of the Accepted Article
Manuscripts are accepted with the understanding that the publisher reserves the right to make revisions necessary for consistency, clarity, and conformity with the style of the RPSP/PAJPH. Manuscripts accepted for publication will be edited and then sent to the corresponding author to respond to the editor's queries and to approve any corrections. If during this stage the author does not satisfactorily respond to the editor's queries, the journal reserves the right to not publish the manuscript. Authors will not receive galleys of the article. To avoid delay in the publication of the corresponding issue, authors are urged to return the edited manuscript, with their approval, by the date indicated in the accompanying message.
R. Author's Copies
As soon as the article is published, 10 copies of the journal issue in which the article appears will be sent to the corresponding author.
Day RA. How to write & publish a scientific paper. 5th ed. Phoenix, Arizona: Oryx Press; 1998.
Huth EJ. How to write and publish papers in the medical sciences. 2nd ed. Baltimore, Maryland: Williams & Wilkin; 1990.
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals: Writing and editing for biomedical publication. (updated November 2003). Available from: www.icmje.org Accessed 27 January 2004.
Iverson C, et al., eds. American Medical Association manual of style: a guide for authors and editors. 9th ed. Baltimore, Maryland: Williams & Wilkin; 1998.
Riegelman RK, Hirsch RP. Studying a study and testing a test: how to read the health science literature. 3rd ed. Boston: Little, Brown and Company; 1996.
Style Manual Committee, Council of Biology Editors. Scientific style and format: the CBE manual for authors, editors, and publishers. 6th ed. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press; 1994.
World Health Organization. The SI for the health professions: prepared at the request of the thirtieth World Health Assembly. Geneva: WHO; 1977.
1 The information is an updated version of the general information for authors that was published in Vol. 13, No. 1 (January), 2003. This section may be downloaded and printed from the RPSP/PAJPHs website at http://journal.paho.org/
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