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Manuscript Guidelines

All papers submitted to EHP are evaluated by the editors to determine whether the topic is within the scope of the journal. Papers also are assessed for originality, scien­tific quality, environ­mental health significance, clarity of presentation, and conciseness. Before papers are sent for peer review, they are screened for possible plagiarism (see Scientific Integrity below), and authors must submit a Competing Financial Interests Declaration form on behalf of all authors (see Competing Financial Interests below). Papers selected for review are assigned to an Associate Editor, who identifies reviewers and makes recom­mendations to the Editor-in-Chief. Members of the Editorial Review Board serve as a pool of potential reviewers of papers. Both the Board of Associate Editors and the Editorial Review Board are composed of leading scientists from all segments of the environmental health sciences. The overall acceptance rate of papers submitted to the journal is approximately 15%.

Types of Manuscripts

Manuscripts in the categories below are considered for publication. All manu­scripts are peer reviewed except Brief Communications.

Commentaries (recommend length ≤ 5,000 words, excluding references and tables) present information and personal insight on a particular topic. Commentaries should not be extended critiques of single articles appearing in EHP or elsewhere. Factual data should be included to substantiate arguments. EHP reserves the right to reject Commentaries without review if they are perceived as being too polemic or personal in nature. EHP also reserves the right to propose that Commentaries be reviewed as one side of a point/counterpoint debate. Assuming the original author agrees, EHP will ask another author to address the opposite side of an argument. If both papers are accepted, EHP will publish them together. Manuscripts on ethical, legal, social, or policy issues may also be accepted in this category.

Research Articles (suggested length ≤ 7,000 words, excluding references, tables, figure legends, acknowledgments, and supplementary material) report origi­nal scientific research and discovery. Research Articles may come from any field of scien­tific research with direct relevance to the study of human health and the environment.

Substantive Reviews (suggested length ≤ 10,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures) provide an overview, integration of information, and critical analysis of a particular field of research or theme related to environmental health sciences. Previous research should be comprehensively reviewed regardless of whether the findings are consistent with expectations or the review authors’ hypotheses. It is appropriate for authors to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of individual studies, focus on high-quality studies that add to the weight of the evidence on the topic under review, identify information gaps, and make recom­mendations for future research. Lengthy historical perspectives generally are not appropriate.

Quantitative Reviews and Meta-Analyses (recommended length ≤ 10,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures) present, contrast, and (when appropriate) combine data across studies to address a specific study question related to environ­mental health. Inclusion criteria and strate­gies used to search the literature systematically should be explicitly described, along with analytic methods used to evaluate or combine data. The potential for publication bias and heterogeneity among studies should be investigated, and graphical displays of data contributed by individual studies are encouraged. The strengths and weaknesses of individual studies and potential causes of discordant findings among studies also should be discussed. As with Substantive Reviews, authors should integrate and critically analyze information from previous research, identify information gaps, and make recommendations for future research.

Reviews Based on Meetings or Conferences (suggested length ≤ 7,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures) should review the state of the science for a particular area, identify research gaps and needs, and explain how the outcome of the meeting or conference addresses those gaps and needs. These reviews should focus on the science or theme but not on the conference or meeting itself. De novo data, participant lists, dialogue of workgroups or committees, and discussion of the internal organization of the meeting are not allowed. These papers should be submitted to EHP no more than 1 year after the meeting or conference takes place. Prospective authors should consult with the Editor-in-Chief before submitting a review based on a meeting or conference.

Brief Communications (≤ 3,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures) are short scholarly reports that provide timely information of interest to the broad environmental health community. They may be used to highlight the importance of new environmental health programs or agencies or the advantages of new research approaches in the context of knowledge gaps; or to raise awareness of and make recommendations for addressing contemporary or emerging environmental health problems. A Brief Communication may take the form of a statement from an organization or group concerning the need for action on an environmental health issue (typically with recommendations). Authors should contact the Editor-in-Chief in advance for permission to submit. Brief Communications are reviewed internally for relevance, importance, and clarity, and are published in the Perspectives section of EHP. They are assigned a DOI number and indexed in PubMed/MEDLINE. Formatting requirements, including references and any tables or figures, are consistent with those for EHP Research Articles, with the exception of the abstract, which must be unstructured (without subheadings) and ≤ 200 words. In addition, Supplemental Material is not allowed.

Originality of Submission

Contributions submitted to EHP must be origi­nal works of the author(s) and must not have been previously published in print or online or simultaneously submitted to another publication. Previously published material (e.g., figures, tables) may be included in Commentaries and Reviews, assuming the original authors have given permission to reproduce the material and all copyright issues have been resolved. For original Research Articles, previously published schemata or illustrative figures are acceptable with the proper attribution and permission. Text or narrative from guidance docu­ments, technical reports, and position papers by various government and non­governmental organizations may be considered if they include new information. EHP will consider papers from dissertations that have been published in their entirety by a university in partial fulfillment of a degree. Manuscripts presented at a scientific meeting but not published in full or under review for publication elsewhere also will be considered. As indicated in Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication [International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (http://www.icmje.org/urm_full.pdf)], it is the responsibility of the author to make a full statement to the editor concerning materials in a manuscript that might be considered redundant or duplicative. For additional clarification, please contact the Editor-in-Chief.

Scientific Integrity

EHP requires assurances (both in submission comments and in the methods section of the manuscript) that animals used in a study have been treated humanely and with regard for the alleviation of suffering, and that the protocol was approved by an institutional animal care and use committee. Research involving humans must have been conducted according to the Common Rule (http://ori.dhhs.gov/education/products/ucla/chapter2/page04b.htm). Research involving humans also must be approved by an appropriate institutional review board and comply with all relevant national, state, and local regulations. For research conducted outside the United States and thus exempt from U.S. federal regulations, authors must perform the research in accordance with principles of the Declaration of Helsinki (http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/). Approval and compliance with research requirements regarding human subjects must be noted, and information regarding informed consent procedures must be described in the “Methods” section of manuscripts concerning human subjects research.

EHP is sometimes confronted with issues regarding potential research misconduct, such as plagiarism or data fabrication. Authors should be aware that all papers submitted to EHP are screened routinely for plagiarism, defined as “the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit” (American Medical Association. 2007. AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors, 10th edition. New York:Oxford University Press). Instances of documented plagiarism and allegations of data fabrication will be brought to the attention of the authors’ host institutions. Documented cases of plagiarism or data fabrication could lead to a 3-year ban on future publication in EHP by the authors, a published Expression of Concern, and/or retraction of the paper.

Dual-Use Research

EHP anticipates receiving submissions on research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, products, or technologies that could be directly mis­applied by others to pose a threat to public health and safety, agriculture, plants, animals, or the environment (also known as dual-use research). Papers flagged for dual-use issues by EHP editors will undergo an additional level of review concerning the implications to society of publishing such a paper, and EHP reserves the right to seek expert advice in such cases. Authors should be aware that EHP could determine that the risks to public health and safety of publishing the paper outweigh the bene­fits of publishing, even if the paper has otherwise been deemed acceptable for publication.

Suggested Guidelines

EHP endorses the ARRIVE guidelines for reporting results from animal studies (http://www.nc3rs.org.uk/ARRIVE). We encourage authors to review these guidelines when designing their studies and to use them in writing papers for submission to EHP, and we encourage our Associate Editors and peer reviewers to keep in mind the principles articu­lated in the ARRIVE guidelines when evaluating papers involving animal research. EHP encourages authors of Review articles to follow recom­menda­tions for transparent reporting of systematic reviews as described in the PRISMA Statement (http://www.prisma-statement.org). Authors performing micro­array experiments should follow the Minimum Information About a Microarray Experiment (MIAME) guidelines developed by the Microarray Gene Expression Data (MGED) Society (http://www.mged.org/miame).

Competing Financial Interests

EHP has a policy of full disclosure. Authors must declare all actual or potential competing financial interests involving people or organizations that might reasonably be perceived as relevant. Disclosure of competing interests does not imply that the information in the article is questionable or that conclusions are biased. Decisions to publish or reject an article will not be based solely on a declara­tion of a competing interest.

For each manuscript, authors must submit a Competing Financial Interests Declaration (CFID) form (available at http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/EHP-CFI-form-blank.pdf). Papers will not be processed unless a CFID form has been submitted.

Authors must disclose all actual or potential competing financial interests occurring within the last 3 years, including but not limited to

  • Grant support
  • Employment (past, present, or firm offer of future)
  • Patents (pending or applied)
  • Payment for expert witness or testimony
  • Personal financial interests by the authors, immediate family members, or institutional affiliations that may gain or lose financially through publication of the article
  • Forms of compensation, including travel funding, consultancies, board positions, patent and royalty arrangements, stock shares, or bonds. Diversified mutual funds or investment trusts do not constitute a competing financial interest. Authors should carefully examine the wording of documents such as grants and contracts to determine whether there might be an actual or potential competing interest.

Employment of any author by a for-profit or nonprofit foundation or advocacy group or work as a consultant also must be indicated on the CFID form.

As a condition of review and publication, authors must further certify that their freedom to design, conduct, interpret, and publish research is not compromised by any controlling sponsor.

A statement of disclosure consistent with the information contained in the CFID form must be included in the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript submitted to the journal. If there are no actual or potential competing financial interests, this must be indicated: for example, “The authors declare they have no actual or potential competing financial interests.”

Editors and reviewers also must disclose to the Editor-in-Chief any actual or potential competing interests, both financial and non­financial, that have occurred within the last 3 years and could reasonably be perceived as relevant. Competing non­financial interests include former or current mentor–student relationships, faculty appointments in the same department or organi­za­tion, familial relationships, service on advisory boards that oversee the research under review, collaborations, or membership in organizations that hold ideological views that are contradictory to the theme or topic under review.

EHP relies on the integrity of all authors to provide accurate disclosure statements. However, authors can expect scrutiny of their statements by the editors, reviewers, and readership. Alleged inaccuracies of declared competing interests should be addressed to the Editor-in-Chief. EHP will impose a 3-year ban on publication in EHP by any authors found to have willfully failed to disclose a competing financial interest. A paper may also be retracted or an Expression of Concern published and appended to the article.

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