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Environmental Health Perspectives

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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.

Research Articles

Research articles report original research results that have direct relevance to the relationship between the environment and human health, and that make a substantial advance in the field.

Suggested length <7,000 words, excluding abstract, references, tables, figure legends, acknowledgments, and Supplemental Material.

Commentaries

Commentaries provide new perspectives on important environmental health topics or problems. Manuscripts on ethical, legal, social, or policy issues may also be included in this category. Commentaries should cite relevant literature to define the problem at hand and support conclusions, and do so in an unbiased and objective fashion. Conclusions, opinions, and recommendations should be clearly attributed to the authors. Commentaries that stem from discussions at workshops and other forums should acknowledge the meeting content and its purpose but should not be presented as narrative summaries of meetings. Commentaries are not used to discuss individual articles published in EHP or elsewhere.

Suggested length <5,000 words, excluding abstract, references, tables, figure legends, acknowledgments, and Supplemental Material.

Reviews

Reviews present, contrast, and (when appropriate) combine data across studies to address a specific question or issue related to environmental health. Reviews must utilize systematic review methodologies to identify the corpus of relevant scientific literature, including clearly defined search strategies and study eligibility criteria as needed to capture the current state of knowledge in an unbiased and comprehensive manner. A variety of review formats may be considered by EHP, such as scoping reviews, evidence maps, state of the science reviews, full systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. However, EHP no longer publishes narrative reviews or reviews based on a meeting (meeting summaries or reports). Regardless of review type, authors should integrate and critically analyze information from previous research, identify information gaps so as to make recommendations for future research and draw conclusions based on the stated purpose of the review.

Note: For all review articles methods for searching and evaluating existing literature must be fully described such as to be replicable by others. Further, reviews should generally include discussion of strengths and weaknesses of individual studies, evaluation of heterogeneity among studies, and potential reasons for discordant findings, and may include consideration of publication bias. For full systematic reviews, the use of PRISMA Reporting Guidelines is recommended.

Suggested length <10,000 words, excluding abstract, references, tables, figure legends, acknowledgments, and Supplemental Material.

Brief Communications

Brief Communications provide new information of broad interest to the environmental health community. They may take a variety of forms, such as descriptions of new and accessible investigative tools, introductions to new programs or emerging issues, or consensus statements from organized groups. The information should be generalizable to a variety of situations or locations, and should be useful to a variety of stakeholders. Brief Communications may include case studies by way of example; however, EHP does not publish isolated case studies as stand-alone articles. Brief Communications are NOT short research articles and should not contain non–peer-reviewed data. Although Brief Communications are not classified as peer-reviewed articles, editors may solicit comments from subject matter experts.

Suggested length <3,000 words, excluding unstructured summary, references, tables, figure legends, and acknowledgments. Supplemental Material is not allowed for Brief Communications. Limited use of tables and figures is allowed, typically not to exceed a total of 3.

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 https://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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