Author Guidelines

Editorial Policies


The mission of the PCHP is to facilitate dissemination of effective programs that use community partnerships to improve public health, to promote progress in the methods of research and education involving community health partnerships, and to stimulate action that will improve the health of people in North America and throughout the world. Communities may be based on geography, shared interests, or social networks. PCHP is dedicated to supporting the broad range of work of community health partnerships that involve ongoing collaboration of community representatives, and academic, public, or private organizations. This includes but is not limited to the area of research referred to as community-based participatory research (CBPR) (Israel et al., 1998; Viswanathan et al., 2004). The W. K. Kellogg Foundation (2001) defines CBPR as “a collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. CBPR begins with a research topic of importance to the community and has the aim of combining knowledge with action and achieving social change to improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities”. Although the majority of articles published by PCHP will feature work conducted by community health partnerships, PCHP will also consider publication of articles that discuss implications of community health partnership research.

Duplicate/Prior/Overlapping Publication or Submission

Manuscripts will be considered if they have not been previously published and are not under review by another publication. If the submitted manuscript contains data that have been previously published, are in press, or are currently under review by another publication in any format, the authors are required to submit a copy of the published article at the time of submission with a clarification of the overlap and justification for consideration of the current submitted manuscript.

Authorship Criteria

Authorship is a way of assigning responsibility and giving credit for intellectual work. As a condition of authorship, all listed authors must have (a) made a substantial and direct contribution to one or more aspects of study design, implementation, and/or analysis and (b) contributed to the preparation of the submitted manuscript, including approving the final version.

In keeping with principles of good partnership research, it is strongly recommended that community stakeholders are included as authors. There may be instances when some members of the partnership do not meet the requirements of authorship stated above, despite having an integral role in the work described. For example, if a community organization/representative contributed to the study project but did not contribute to the preparation of the manuscript, that organization or representative should not be listed as an author. In this instance, the community organization/representative should be named/listed in an acknowledgement.

Institutional Review Board Approval

For all research projects involving research participants, the Methods section of the manuscript should describe approval or exemption by the appropriate institutional review board(s).

Conflict of Interest/Disclosure Policy

The corresponding author must complete, sign, and upload a conflict of interest disclosure form at the time of manuscript submission (

The Editorial Process

Peer Review and Decision

PCHP strives to send an initial decision letter within 90 days of manuscript date of submission. All manuscripts undergo peer review. In addition to external peer review, members of the PCHP editorial team discuss all submitted manuscripts. PCHP uses a single-blind review process, which means that the authors are not aware of the reviewers’ identities, but reviewers are provided with the names and affiliations of authors. Peer reviewers are asked to confirm they do not have a conflict of interest with conducting their review.

At the time of submission, authors are required to provide the names and contact information of at least three individuals who could serve as reviewers of their manuscript. These individuals should be able to provide an objective critique of the submitted manuscript. Suggested reviewers, therefore, should not be associated with the research partnership submitting the manuscript or have a conflict of interest with any submitting authors. Suggested reviewers should not be from the same academic institution or community organization as any of the authors. Do not recommend members of the PCHP Editorial Team.

Manuscripts will either be declined for publication based on reviewer and editorial team comments or returned back to the authors for revision and resubmission. Authors are asked to complete revisions within 30 days of receiving a decision letter. Extensions can be granted by contacting the editorial office (

Once the editorial office receives a revision it is returned to the assigned Associate Editor who will determine if the revised manuscript satisfactorily incorporated the external reviewer and editorial team recommendations. The Editor-in-Chief will also review the revised manuscript. Subsequent requests for revision may be given to authors.

Acceptance for Publication

In the acceptance letter, authors are asked to submit the names and contact information for 10-20 individuals who the authors would like to receive a copy of the manuscript. The PCHP editorial office will send these individuals a PDF of the manuscript at no cost to the authors.

Authors will receive typeset galley proofs via email from the PCHP Managing Editor. These proofs should be returned to the Managing Editor within 2-3 business days to facilitate adherence to the Journal’s production timeline.

PCHP publishes articles online ahead of print publication in the Articles Online section of the Journal website. Articles are published online approximately 1 to 2 weeks following the galley proofs.

All authors will be required to sign a Johns Hopkins University Press Publication Agreement at the time of manuscript acceptance ( This Publication Agreement will be attached at the time a manuscript is accepted and should be returned to the Managing Editor via email at

Beyond the Manuscript

For each published issue, PCHP invites authors for one manuscript to take part in our Beyond the Manuscript podcast series. Beyond the Manuscript will feature a member of the editorial team interviewing at least one academic and one community partner. Each podcast lasts between 20-30 minutes and is intended to provide more detailed exploration of issues related to one or more aspects of the study described in the accepted manuscript (e.g., project initiation, implementation, or translation into practice) that may not ordinarily appear in print. A transcript of the podcast will be published alongside the accepted manuscript in the print version of PCHP. The podcast itself will be available via open access on the Journal’s website.

Manuscript Preparation

General Information

To submit a manuscript, authors should use the Journal’s web-based system at Authors will be guided through the creation and uploading of the various files necessary for submission. If an author has trouble accessing or using the site, or if electronic submission is not possible, please contact the editorial office (

The Journal welcomes submissions of manuscripts that deal with any health-related application of participatory research and evaluation, along the continuum of research from work-in-progress through translation into policy and practice. Health-related applications may include articles on health determinants, health outcomes, health services, health promotion, and diagnosis or treatment of disease. The Journal is particularly interested in studies that seek to improve health or healthcare delivery in underserved communities nationally and internationally. Manuscripts describing conceptual and theoretical issues related to participatory research are appropriate.

Manuscript documents must comply with layout and length requirements outlined below. The editorial office may decide that figures, tables, appendices, and other materials be published online only and referenced in the print edition of the Journal. All online only materials are publicly available.

Cover Letter

A Cover Letter must accompany all submissions. The Cover Letter should provide the following information:

  • Full title of article
  • A statement indicating that the content of the manuscript has not been published elsewhere nor is the work under consideration or will be submitted for consideration to any other journal while under consideration by PCHP.
  • A statement of potential conflict of interest, real or perceived, for any of the study authors.
  • A statement indicating that the study has received Institutional Review Board approvals, as appropriate.

Authors may also include a statement in the cover letter indicating why they chose to submit to a certain section of the Journal if they feel this explanation will help the external reviewers and editorial team.

Title Page

The title page should include: (a) title not exceeding 15 words; (b) all authors and their organizational affiliations; (c) word count for abstract; (d) word count for body of paper (excluding abstract, acknowledgements, references, tables and figures).


Unless specified otherwise for a specific section of the Journal, all manuscripts should contain a structured abstract with headings for Background, Objectives, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. Please see the guidelines for each section below for the appropriate length of abstracts.


Authors should number references consecutively in the text and list them at the end of the article in the order in which they are cited. Identify all references in the text using superscript Arabic numerals. Authors are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of references.

All references (e.g., journal articles, books, electronic material) should be formatted using the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (

Abbreviations for journal titles should conform to those used in MEDLINE. Proper abbreviations for journal titles can be found using the following site (


Number tables consecutively in the text and print each table on a separate page. Include a brief but appropriately descriptive title for each table, and define all abbreviations and units of measure used in the table. Be sure to label all column and row headings clearly.


Number figures consecutively in the text, and print each figure on a separate page. Include a brief yet descriptive title for each figure. Illustrations and photographs should be professionally rendered, and all letters, numbers, and symbols must be clear and large enough to remain legible when reduced for publication. For photographs of people, provide written permission from the individuals. Print legends on a separate page at the end of the manuscript. Legends should enable readers to understand the figure without referring to the text. Include an appropriate credit line for all previously published figures and provide written permission.

Journal Style

Manuscripts should follow the guidelines in the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals ( All manuscripts should be double-spaced and include at least .5-inch margins. For more information on proper style, please consult Citing Medicine the NLM Style Guide for Authors

Emphasis on Partnerships

All articles submitted to PCHP should clearly describe their partnership. Manuscripts that do not sufficiently describe their partnership run the risk of an unfavorable review. Successful manuscripts should clearly identify how the project involved collaboration among academic/institutional and community partners. The partnership description need not be lengthy, but must provide sufficient detail for reviewers and the editorial team that the project reflects collaboration among academic/institutional and community partners. In describing a partnership, it is recommended that the following areas be discussed:

  • Formation (how, when, why) and history (how long in existence, has focus changed?) of the partnership
  • Description of partners and who they represent
  • Roles and contributions of partners in the work described in the manuscript, including manuscript preparation

The minimum expectation is that community stakeholders were involved in at least one important phase of the work, such as study design, implementation, or evaluation, in addition to participating in the preparation of the manuscript.

Authors should avoid describing research participants as “subjects.” Instead, authors should provide a specific and appropriate description of the study participants.

Article Types

The Journal encourages submission of work that fits any of the types of articles described below. If authors feel that more than one area is appropriate for a particular article (e.g., a rigorous evaluation of an education or training initiative that could be appropriate for Original Research or Education & Training), they are encouraged to select the article type they feel will provide the most unique insights into the nature of their work. The editorial team reserves the right to suggest revision of a manuscript for a different section of the Journal.

1. Original Research

PCHP seeks to publish original research conducted using a participatory approach. The Journal is interested in a variety of research designs (experimental and observational) and methods (qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method).

All manuscripts submitted as original research are limited to a maximum of 4000 words. Authors must submit a structured abstract of no more than 250 words, with the following headings: Background, Objectives, Methods, Results, and Conclusions.

The body of original research manuscripts should include four sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion.

The Introduction should address the following types of questions:

  • What is the problem being studied?
  • Why are the methods of CBPR needed to address the problem?

The Methods section should address the following questions in addition to other aspects of the methods:

  • How was the target community defined?
  • How was the community partnership established?
  • What role did the community members have in each stage of the project?
  • How was Institutional Review Board approval obtained?

The Results section should consider the following questions:

  • What were the results of addressing the stated objectives?
  • Were there any other community-level effects (process or outcome)?

The Discussion section should consider whether any of the following questions apply:

  • What are the new contributions of this research?
  • What challenges were encountered when conducting the study and what lessons were learned?
  • What were the limitations of the study?
  • How were the results shared with the community?
  • How do the results apply to other communities? (see Green & Glasgow (2006) for questions to consider when addressing applicability of the study)
  • What are the implications for clinical practice, health education, public health policy, or future research?

Authors submitting reports of randomized control trials (RCT) must follow the CONSORT guidelines ( Authors reporting results of a study using a non-randomized design should use the Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with Nonrandomized Designs (TREND) checklist ( For reports of studies of the accuracy and use of diagnostic tests, authors should follow the recommendations of the Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy (STARD) statement (

All original research submissions must have an accompanying Community/Policy brief. The brief should be a summary of the manuscript written in non-technical language. The Community Policy Brief is intended to inform community-based organizations, public health policy makers, and other individuals whose primary interest is not research, but who would be interested in the application and translation of research findings for practical purposes. All Community/Policy Briefs are publicly available on the PCHP website.

Community Policy Briefs should include short bulleted text to answer the questions under each of the following required headings:

  • What is the Purpose of this Study/Review?
  • What is the Problem?
  • What are the Findings?
  • Who Should Care Most?
  • Recommendations for Action

Sample policy briefs can be found on the PCHP website at

2. Work-in-Progress and Lessons Learned

Work-in-Progress/Lessons Learned manuscripts may describe findings from early stages of a research project or preliminary/pilot work that may not be appropriate for an original research submission. Examples include quantitative and/or qualitative data collected to shape services or interventions or preliminary or pilot intervention data. The Journal also seeks manuscripts that describe lessons learned from a participatory research, education, or evaluation project. Lessons Learned manuscripts should describe “process” issues and challenges related to one or more aspects of a participatory research or evaluation project. For example, lessons learned may relate to power sharing, funding allocation, monetary control, community organizing, or collaboration between partners.

Manuscripts submitted to the Work-in-Progress/Lessons Learned section, despite its most limited word count, must provide sufficient detail on study design and methods to allow reviewers and readers to understand the preliminary results and/or lessons learned that are described. Manuscripts submitted to Work-in-Progress/Lessons Learned must also include sufficient description of the project’s partnership.

Manuscripts submitted to Work-in-Progress and Lessons Learned should be no more than 3000 words with a structured abstract of no more than 150 words. The abstract should have headings for Background, Objectives, Methods, Results (or Lessons Learned), and Conclusions.

3. Community Perspective

PCHP seeks manuscripts that reflect the perspectives and insights of community partners involved in any aspect of partnership research, training, or evaluation. Most community perspective articles will be written by community partners. For example, community partners may write an article that provides their reflections on topics such as, but not limited to: power dynamics, communication methods, study development, ideas for education/training, or study impact/outcomes. The Journal will also review manuscripts written by academic partners, which clearly highlight the viewpoints or reflections of community partners. For example, manuscripts that summarize focus group data on community partners’ perceptions of partnership research or survey data collected solely from community partners about dimensions of equitable partnerships would be appropriate for the community perspective section.

Community partners are encouraged to be creative in their submissions to this section. Articles submitted to the community perspective section need not follow a traditional journal article format. Community Perspective articles should be no more than 2000 words, and should have an unstructured abstract of no more than 150 words. If describing a particular health partnership in the article, authors should provide sufficient detail on the partnership.

4. Policy and Practice

The Journal seeks manuscripts that cover a wide range of current or emerging issues in public health policy and practice that are relevant to community health partnerships. PCHP will consider a broad spectrum of topics including articles about: conducting health policy analysis and advocacy; informing public, institutional, or organizational policy on health, disease prevention and ethical issues; describing implementation of policies at local, state, and federal levels; addressing regulatory issues; developing new perspectives in policy formation, implementation, and modification; translation of research findings to clinical practice; and research findings that are ready to be used by healthcare decision makers.

Policy and Practice manuscripts must contain an introduction that identifies the problem and clearly explains the purpose of the paper. Authors should not merely review evidence but offer new policy and/or practice recommendations, and clearly identify them in the article. Authors must also clearly demonstrate how they came to those recommendations, and how a partnership approach contributed. Authors should consider including tables (e.g., to highlight key principles or recommendations) and figures (e.g., to show a conceptual model of the topic).

Policy and Practice manuscripts should be no longer than 3000 words, with a structured abstract of no more than 150 words. Policy and Practice abstracts should have the following headings: The Problem, Purpose of Article, Key Points, and Conclusion(s).

5. Theory and Methods

This section of the Journal seeks submissions describing theoretical, methodological, and/or analytic techniques and approaches useful in the conduct of research involving community health partnerships. For example, topics may include: studies on how to measure outcomes and processes of participatory research; development or analyses of current and emerging theoretical, behavioral, and conceptual models used in participatory research; testing the application of these models in the field; innovative methods or sampling strategies for collecting data; innovative models and approaches for data dissemination; and strategies for engaging community partners in the development and implementation of innovative theoretical or methodological approaches.

  • Manuscripts submitted for this section should address the following questions:
  • What is the theoretical, methodological, or analytic technique/approach?
  • How is this technique/approach relevant to community health partnerships?
  • How was the technique/approach used in an existing partnership (if applicable) and is there any data related to its use in the field?
  • What are recommendations regarding use of the technique/approach?

Theory and Methods manuscripts must be no longer than 3000 words with a structured abstract of no more than 250 words. The abstract should include headings for Background, Objectives, Methods, and Conclusions.

6. Education and Training

PCHP seeks to publish articles that describe and evaluate training and education involving community health partnerships. Manuscripts submitted to this section should specify the audience for the education/training activities. Appropriate audiences include, but are not limited to, community partners working on a partnership project, community residents, students (undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral), faculty and staff, communitybased organization staff, or health and human service professionals. Examples of submissions for this section are: assessing the quality and impact of training for researchers or community partners on CBPR; discussing strategies for training community members in research methods; examining research training and skill development among community partners on community-based clinical care, quality assessment and performance improvement; and developing innovative curricula for courses, conferences and seminars on CBPR for academicians or community agencies.

Manuscripts submitted for this section should address the following questions that are relevant to the design, implementation and evaluation of an educational program:

  • What is the health problem and why is education needed to address the problem?
  • Who are the targeted learners and what are their specific needs?
  • What are the specific objectives of the education/training?
  • How was the educational activity implemented?
  • How was the educational activity evaluated, and what were the results of the evaluation?
  • What are the recommendations for future use of the educational activity?

Evaluation of the educational activity, while not a requirement for Education and Training articles, is stronglyencouraged. Evaluation activities could be quantitative and/or qualitative and should provide information on the feasibility, acceptability, and/or outcomes associated with the educational activity.

Education and Training manuscripts should be no longer than 3000 words with a structured abstract of no more than 250 words. The abstract should include headings for Background, Objectives, Methods, and Conclusions.

Liberal use of appendices that provide education/training materials (e.g., course outlines, curricula) is encouraged; appendices will not count toward the word limit for the manuscript. Longer appendices (e.g., entire curricula) will be published online only.

7. Practical Tools

The Journal seeks manuscripts that describe practical tools and resources that facilitate the work of community health partnerships. Examples include: a resource manual on developing relationships between academic and community partners, such as use of a memorandum of understanding (MOU); instructions on the use of academic/community advisory boards; guides on how to collaboratively decide upon study methods and methodologies; books on research methods for conducting participatory research and evaluation; and websites and online resources.

Submitted manuscripts should consider the following questions:

  • What is the tool and what is its purpose?
  • Why was the tool needed?
  • How was the tool developed?
  • Who are the intended users of the tool?
  • How should the tool be used?
  • Has the tool been evaluated or tested in the field? If yes, what are findings or lessons learned?

Practical Tools manuscripts must be no longer than 2500 words with an unstructured abstract of no more than 150 words.

8. Systematic Reviews

PCHP will consider systematic reviews using evidence-based methods. Examples of manuscripts appropriate for this section include, but are not limited to: meta-analyses that examine effect sizes of health outcomes achieved by participatory research; reviews of the effectiveness of community health workers in participatory research and evaluation; and reviews of approaches for facilitating the translation of participatory research into practice.

Systematic reviews of observational studies should follow the recommendations of the Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) group. See the article by Stroup et. al (2000) for the current MOOSE guidelines. Reviews of randomized controlled trials should follow the PRISMA Statement recommendations ( All
systematic review submissions should include a flow diagram of study inclusion and exclusion.

Systematic Reviews manuscripts should be no more than 3000 words with a structured abstract of no more than 250 words. The abstract headings should include Objectives, Data Sources, Review Methods, Results, and Conclusions. Liberal use of appendices is encouraged; appendices will not count toward the word limit for the manuscript if they are to be published only in the electronic version of the Journal. Systematic Reviews should include a Community/Policy Brief (see previous instructions about the Community/Policy Brief).

9. Invited Editorials

The PCHP Editorial Office will solicit editorials of no more than 1000 words for selected issues of the Journal. Editorials may also be suggested to the Editor-in-Chief via email.

Resources for Manuscript Preparation

For guidance on how to write about CBPR, please see the article by Bordeaux et al. (2007) entitled Guidelines for Writing Manuscripts About Community-Based Participatory Research for Peer-Reviewed Journals. This article is available at

For guidance on reporting methods and results from qualitative research studies, please see Blignault & Ritchie (2009). Careful attention should be given to providing sufficient detail on qualitative methods, analytic techniques, and results (e.g., quotations, themes).

For general resources and guidance on writing for publication, please consult Practical Guides for Writing About Community-Based Participatory Research available at


Blignaut I, Ritchie J. Revealing the wood and the trees: Reporting qualitative research. Health Promot J Aust. 2009;20:140-145.

Bordeaux B, Wiley C, Tandon SD, Horowitz C, Brown P, Bass E. Guidelines for writing manuscripts about community-based participatory research for peer-reviewed journals. Prog Community Health Partnersh. 2007;1(3):281-288.

Green LW, Glasgow RE. Evaluating the relevance, generalization, and applicability of research: Issues in external validation and translation methodology. Eval Health Prof. 2006;29:126-153.

Israel, BA, Schulz, AJ, Becker AB. Review of community-based research: Assessing partnership approaches to improve public health. Annu Rev Public Health. 1998;19:173–202.

Stroup DF, Berlin JA, Morton, SC. Meta-analysis of observational studies in epidemiology: A proposal for reporting. JAMA. 2000;283:2008–2012.

Viswanathan M, Ammerman A, Eng E, Gartlehner G, Lorh KN, Griffith D, Rhodes S, Samuel-Hodge C, Maty S, Lux L, Webb L, Sutton SF, Swinson T, Jackman A, Whitener L. Community-Based Participatory Research: Assessing the Evidence. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 99 (Prepared by RTI-University of North Carolina Evidence-Based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-02-0016. AHRQ Publication 04-E022-2. Rockville, MC. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. July 2004.

W.K.Kellogg Health Scholars. Community track: goals and competencies. Ann Arbor (MI): University of Michigan. Available from: