About This Journal
Frontiers features peer-reviewed articles that offer brief descriptions of preliminary findings from an ongoing or recently completed empirical study or quality improvement project that answers a question of importance regarding the organization, financing, and delivery of public health services; the structure, operation, and management of public health delivery systems; the application of quality improvement methods in public health settings; and/or the impact of these endeavors on population health. Findings must have the potential to guide future public health practice, health policy, and research.
Frontiers features research reports from a wide range of sources, including studies conducted through the Public Health Practice-Based Research Networks Program, and studies sponsored through the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research, the National Network of Public Health Institutes, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, state and local health departments, and others.
Each research article appearing in Frontiers is accompanied by an independently-developed editorial note that highlights the implications of the research for public health practice and/or health policy.
Frontiers will be produced on an approximately monthly basis. The journal’s goal is to maintain a rapid-cycle dissemination vehicle that publishes successful peer-reviewed articles within 8-10 weeks of submission.
To enhance dissemination, the abstracts of Frontiersresearch articleswill be published in the online version of the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) and will be linked to the articles’ full text. The titles and authors of Frontiers articles will also be prominently featured in both the printed and online versions of AJPH’s Table of Contents under the title “Online Frontiers in PHSSR Abstracts.” With AJPH’s total readership of over 50,000, peer-reviewed articles published through Frontiers will now be disseminated much more broadly, bringing increased visibility to the important work that we conduct in PHSSR. Selected articles in Frontiers will be enhanced with audio and/or video links including Research-to-Action (RE•ACT) Podcasts produced by the Public Health Practice-Based Research Networks Program.
Submissions must offer a report of preliminary findings from an ongoing or recently completed empirical study that answers a question of importance regarding the organization, financing, and delivery of public health services; the structure, operation, and management of public health delivery systems; the application of quality improvement methods in public health settings; and/or the impact of these endeavors on population health. Ideally, the answer should be one that can guide future public health practice, health policy, and research. Full Reports are limited to 1,200 words at submission, 5 references, and a total of 2 tables, figures, and/or boxes. Brief Reports are limited to 750 words, 3 references, and one table. (TIPS: A hallmark of Frontiers reports is simplicity. These reports are intended only to summarize the key findings and implications of the research, not to provide every detail. The strict 5-reference rule is intended to limit the scope of the report. A good test for simplicity is whether, in a sentence or two, you can tell a casual reader what the report is about and what should be done.)
Author as typesetter: You will never again scour copyedited manuscripts or galleys in search of error introduced by copyeditors and typesetters. What you write is exactly what the readers will see.
1. Introductory paragraph: The first paragraph of a Full Report is similar to both a newspaper lead paragraph (i.e., who, what, when, where, why, and how?) and the abstract of a report in a typical medical journal and is limited to 150–200 words. The introductory paragraph should contain the following components: 1) background (what is the problem? why is this worth writing about?), 2) method of analysis (who did what, using what data, and why?), 3) key findings (summarize 1 or 2 main results and any actions that resulted), and 4) public health implications (what should be done by public health practitioners policy makers or researchers?). All information regarding methods, data sources and results in the introductory paragraph is repeated elsewhere in the report. Additional background (if needed). Each Full Report should be understandable by an informed public health professional or policy analyst without special knowledge of the subject. If all essential background information will not fit in the Introductory paragraph, that background should be placed in a second introductory paragraph, before Methods.
2. Methods: For most reports, the second section should be a concise summary (1 or 2 paragraphs) of the methods used to conduct the analysis. Important components of this section might include the sources of data, a statement of how the data were collected, case definitions or participant selection criteria, the period of study, and statistical methods used. For survey and surveillance data, response rates should be specified.
3. Results: The results section is a concise highlighting of the major results of the analysis. Minor results from tables or figures should not be highlighted in results. Case reports on quality improvement applications should include details on public health practice setting(s), initial diagnosis of process failure modes and effects, QI methods used, and outcomes observed. Generally, data highlighted in the text also are presented in a table or figure.
4. Implications: This concluding paragraph should succinctly state the decisions and actions that public health professionals, policy-makers, and/or researchers should take in response to the results of this study. Specificity is required in this section. Study limitations should be noted along with their implications for how results should be used by decision-makers.
5. Editorial Note: For accepted submissions, an Editorial Note will be written by one or more editors and outside reviewers and published along with the manuscript. The Editorial Note will restate the main conclusions of the report and interpret the results, conveying their public health meaning, and placing the results into context by citing comparative or corroborative studies. The Editorial Note will conclude by stating the implications of the findings to public health practice and any recommendations for prevention and control.
6. Summary Box: In 1 or 2 sentences for each, contributors should answer the following: What is already known on this topic? What is added by this report? and What are the implications for public health practice/policy/research? Because these answers contain the key public health message as well as the justification for the publication, contributors should consider drafting the summary box before writing the text of the report.
Frontiers may also include editorials and announcements of relevance to PHSSR, policy notes on changes in policies that influence PHSSR, meeting notices, and periodic reports from major organizations or agencies with PHSSR as a major emphasis, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or AcademyHealth.
Text: Submit in Microsoft Word. Maximum length does not include title, authors, footnotes, references, and acknowledgments.
References: References should follow the Vancouver Style and should be identified by number in the order in which they are mentioned in the text (citation-order system) with a superscript Arabic numeral, not a number in parentheses. If subsequent reference is made to a citation, the original reference number should be used again. All reference numbers must be outside of punctuation. References that apply only to tables and figures should be numbered in sequence where the text first refers to the table or figure. Titles of journals must be abbreviated according to Index Medicus.
Tables and Figures: Tables should be created in Word table function or in Excel. Contributors should study tables in previous reports for style. Tables cannot have tabs or extra spaces within the cells. Tables should be sent in separate files and not embedded in text. Figures should be created in (not pasted into) Corel Draw, PowerPoint, Excel or (in the case of maps) vector format files (such as .cdr, .cgm, .eps, and .wmf). Bar graphs or line graphs should have underlying data tables. Figures should be sent in separate files and not embedded in text. Place keys/legends within the Figure.
Footnotes: For footnotes, do not submit with the endnotes function of MS Word engaged. Use the following footnote symbols in order of appearance: *, †, §, ¶, **,††, §§, ¶¶, etc. The * symbol is not superscripted. All others are superscripted.
For more information about Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research please contact Marylou Wallace, Managing Editor: marylou.wallace [at] uky [dot] edu