Author Guidelines

Here you will find information on the following topics: 



What we do and do not publish: Please read the GHA Editorial Policies regarding the aims and scope of articles. Please also consider our criteria for moving manuscripts to peer review when preparing your submission to Global Health Action.

Corresponding Author: Please note that the submitting author will be the principal contact for editorial correspondence throughout the peer review and proofreading process. All authors will receive a notification upon submission, and they are required to notify the editorial office if their contributions to the submitted manuscript cannot be justified

Covering Letter: Corresponding authors should clearly state in their cover letter whether the submitted manuscript – or very similar work - has been previously published, orally presented, or is under consideration elsewhere. As of October 2015, we do not request authors to suggest potential reviewers.

Language: All manuscripts should be written in British or American English. Please observe consistency. SI units should be used. Authors for whom English is a second language are advised to have their manuscripts professionally edited before submission, e.g. Cambridge Language ConsultantWrite Scientific RightEditage or Cambridge Proofreading Ltd. All services must be arranged and paid for by the author. Use of one of these services does not guarantee acceptance or preference for publication. If authors wish to make a translation or summary of their manuscript available alongside the article, this can be included as supplementary material. Any such translation does not constitute a formal element of the published article, and the content is the authors’ sole responsibility.

Plagiarism Detection: iThenticate is used to screen all manuscripts for plagiarism upon submission. Authors and researchers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting


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Global Health Action publishes Editorials, Original Research articles, Review articles, PhD Reviews, Methods Forum articles, Study Design articles, Capacity Building articles, Current Debates, and Short Communications. References are required for all types of articles.

Editorials – up to 3000 words: Editorials are commissioned and submission is based on invitation.

Original Research articles – up to 4000 words: An Original Research article must follow the following structure: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusions. Global Health Action publishes articles based on quantitative and/or qualitative designs, and authors should follow the relevant reporting guidelines.

Review articles – up to 6000 words: Global Health Action welcomes literature reviews as well as systematic reviews. Global Health Action considers literature reviews in the form of narrative reviews, syntheses, etc. The systematic review is defined by The Cochrane Collaboration as a review that has a clearly formulated research question, uses explicit systematic methods to identify, select and critically appraise relevant research, and synthesizes data from studies that are included in the review. Statistical methods in the form of a meta-analysis may complement a systematic review. When submitting a systematic review and/or a meta-analysis, authors are encouraged to complete the PRISMA checklist as supporting information.

PhD Reviews – up to 6000 words: Young or emerging researchers who have recently defended their theses on a global health topic are invited to write a summary article based on their thesis. One rationale for this is that PhD theses are often based on a set of articles synthesized into a ‘cover story’ of about 30-50 pages. Some of these syntheses provide excellent reviews of the research area but they seldom reach beyond the host institution or the close collaborators and examiners. Condensing the articles into a PhD Review may also serve as an incentive for the young or emerging researcher to publish his or her first post-doctoral paper as a sole author and thus ‘kick-start’ their research career. Should the paper be accepted after peer-review, the opponent/examiner will be invited to write a Commentary for publication with the PhD Review. See an example of a PhD review here, and of an Invited Commentary here.

A PhD Review paper should have the same structure as an Original Research article including the Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusions sections. One should be aware of self-plagiarism in writing a PhD review and not copy and paste text from the PhD thesis into the paper. The aim should be to synthesize the thesis, preferably cutting across papers thematically. The author should also provide a link to the full text of the PhD thesis, and secure permission from the University where the thesis was defended, if the thesis is not published in the public domain. In addition, authors are encouraged to submit supplementary files, such as an MS Powerpoint presentation, photos, videos, etc. that are related to the thesis/PhD review to be included as supplementary material. If published, these files will not incur an additional charge.

Methods Forum articles – up to 4000 words: Global Health Action invites papers on innovative tools in global health research that are being evaluated or implemented. These tools can be statistical and quantitative but they can also be based on field-oriented surveys and qualitative interviews.

Study Design articles – up to 6000 words: These articles are intended to be methodological papers presenting the design, rationale and aims, as well as hypotheses and background data of, for example, a longitudinal/cohort study or an intervention study. This type of article sets the scene and could be referenced in forthcoming original research papers arising from the studies.

Capacity Building articles – up to 4000 words: Capacity building articles are published to document how research infrastructure, human resources and capacity, and research design/intervention dealing with major public health issues have been developed, particularly in low-and middle-income countries. It is also appropriate to show how certain designs and intervention have been adapted and translated to fit different contextual settings in low-and middle-income countries. These articles should include a degree of analytical and interpretive material. They should reflect how partnerships and collaborations are established and built over time, and how research capacities are being built and sustained in low-and middle-income countries. The discussion should also refer to other relevant studies and theoretical frameworks. The contribution of these articles to capacity building should be through scientific discussion of the issues rather than simple reporting of activities.

Current Debates – up to 2000 words: This section aims to create a platform for critical reflection about ongoing global/public health issues and policies.

Short Communications – up to 1500 words: A short communication presents important preliminary observations, results and data from pilot studies, or side issues/secondary findings in a larger study that do not warrant publication as full papers. 


Submitted manuscripts should follow the recommendations stated in the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. In addition, please follow the respective guidelines for different study designs:

  • For fields/clinical trials, please follow the CONSORT guidelines
  • For observational studies, please follow the STROBE guidelines
  • For systematic reviews and meta-analysis, please follow the PRISMA guidelines
  • For health economics papers, please follow the CHEERS guidelines
  • For diagnostic tests papers, please follow the STARD guidelines
  • For original qualitative research papers, please follow the COREQ guidelines
  • For synthesis of qualitative research papers, please follow the ENTREQ guidelines
  • For health care quality papers, please follow the SQUIRE guidelines

These and other guidelines are collated on the EQUATOR Network website. Global Health Action asks its authors to follow these reporting guidelines and to complete the respective checklists before submission. Compliance with appropriate guidelines will be considered in the evaluation of the manuscript and will contribute to the final decision on the manuscript.


Please refer to the information provided below, as well as the submission preparation checklist, to ensure your manuscript conforms to the requirements before beginning the submission process. Incomplete submissions will not be considered.

Manuscript length: Global Health Action has no strict upper limit for manuscript lengths but authors are advised to follow the recommendations stated here for different types of articles. The word limits exclude references, tables and figures, though authors should comply with a maximum of six tables and/or figures in their manuscript. Major deviations from the recommended word length must be justified in the covering letter.

Manuscript formatting: Global Health Action suggests authors use double spacing, 11 or 12 pt font. Please provide page numbers, starting with 1 for the title page and also provide continuous line numbering to further facilitate the review process. Manuscripts should be submitted as PDFs.

Title page: Organize the title page in the following way: 1) title of manuscript, 2) short running title, 3) name of author(s), 4) affiliations for all authors, including name of institution(s) and department(s), 5) email addresses of all authors and 5) name and full postal address of the corresponding author who also acts as 'guarantor' for all parts of the manuscript. Please note: the submitting author must also enter the names and contact information for all co-authors during the submission process.

The title should be informative and accurate and at the same time trigger the interest of the reader. The short running title will appear as a header in the published the paper. The title page should include a separate word count of the abstract and manuscript (excluding references, tables and figures) and up to five keywords that do not replicate words in the title. Since Global Health Action do not use double-blind review, the title page is the first page of the manuscript.

Abstract: Articles must include a structured abstract of 200-300 words. The abstract should provide sufficient information for a reader to be able to decide whether or not to proceed to the full text, and should not generally consist of sentences cut and pasted from the manuscript. The abstract should follow the structure: Background, Objective, Methods, Results, and Conclusions.

Manuscript sections: Research articles should, wherever applicable, follow the layout: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussions, and Conclusion. Other types of articles may have different structures.

Section headings: Please do not number section headings. Use a maximum of three levels of headings made clear by orthographic indicators, e.g., capitals, italics, bold, etc. Begin each section, including figure and table legends, on separate sheets. Insert running page numbers in the footer.

Tables: Ensure that all the tables have been formatted correctly. Tables should have titles, column/row headings, and footnote if applicable. Ensure that all parts of the tables fit within the page margins. If necessary, split large tables into two or more, but ensure column/row headings are provided on each page. Very large tables may be better presented as on-line supplementary material. Authors are encouraged to use one decimal point for percentages, and significant figure for p-value (and note p=0.000 is not acceptable).

Figures: If the manuscript is accepted for publication, please supply figures/graphics/images in at least 300 dpi files. All charts (bar, pie, column, etc.) should be two dimensional, unless three dimensions are required to present the data. For further information please see guidelines.

If the figures/graphics/images have been taken from sources not copyrighted by the author, it is the author’s sole responsibility to secure the rights from the copyright holder to reproduce those figures/graphs/images for both worldwide print and web publication. All reproduction costs charged by the copyright holder must be borne by the author. When figures/graphics/images are reproduced, a parenthesis should be added to the figure legend thus: (Reproduced with permission from xxx.)

Paper context: Each published article in Global Health Action carries a short paragraph (maximum 75 words) that helps the reader to understand where you started from (what was already known), what the paper adds to the topic (what’s new), and what the implications of the paper are (e.g., what action needs to be taken). This section will be requested of authors towards the end of the peer review process (it is not necessary to include this section in the initial submission).

Authors’ contribution: Global Health Action requests its authors to comply with authorship criteria as defined by the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. The contributions of each author should be revealed clearly and will be published in the article.

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria:

  1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  2. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  3. Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

See here for further information on the authorship criteria.

Ethics and consent: When reporting experiments on patients please indicate whether the procedures followed were approved by the local ethics committee and/or in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008 ( All other studies with direct involvement of human beings should also have ethical approvals and clear statements on how the ethical issues have been considered and resolved in the study.

Conflict of interest and funding: Authors are responsible for disclosing financial support from industry or other conflicts of interest that might bias the interpretation of results. This does not include salaries paid to authors by institutions to which the authors are affiliated. All authors should complete the ICJME Competing Interests form. All the forms should be compressed as a single file, and uploaded as a supplementary file during the submission process. The ICJME Competing Interests form can be downloaded here.

Acknowledgements: All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an acknowledgments section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, writing assistance, or a department chairperson who provided only general support. Financial and material support should also be acknowledged.

References: Global Health Action follows the Vancouver style of reference. Number the references consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text. Identify references in the text by Arabic numerals and in parentheses [e.g. (14)]. Information from papers in manuscripts that are not yet accepted should be cited in the text as 'unpublished observation(s)' or 'personal communication'. Some sources and documents are available in print, but are also reproduced electronically for wide dissemination—government publications are an obvious example. If the electronic version of such a document is used, please give the URL and date on which you last accessed the electronic file to the citation.

For details on how to present the reference list at the end of the manuscript, please visit

For a key of how to abbreviate journal names, please consult the List of Journals Indexed in Index Medicus, accessible at

Authors are encouraged to use reference management software such as Endnote (, Reference Manager (, or Mendeley ( It is advisable to also make manual checks that all references are correctly formatted.

Books and journals


  1. More than six authors: Parkin DM, Clayton D, Black RJ, Masuyer E, Friedl H, Ivanov E, et al. Childhood leukaemia in Europe after Chernobyl: 5 year follow-up. Br J Cancer 1996;73:1006-12.
  2. Morse SS. Factors in the emergence of infectious diseases. Emerg Infect Dis [serial online] 1995 Jan-Mar [cited 1996 Jun 5]; 1(1): [24 screens]. Available from: URL:


  1. Bandura A. Social foundations of thought and action. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall; 1986.
  2. Norman IJ, Redfern SJ, eds. Mental health care for elderly people. New York: Churchill Livingstone; 1996.
  3. Phillips SJ, Whisnant JP. Hypertension and stroke. In: Laragh JH, Brenner BM, eds. Hypertension: pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management. 2nd ed. New York: Raven Press; 1995. p. 465-78.

File format: To facilitate the review process, please provide the complete manuscript in a single file (preferably PDF). The manuscript should include the title page, abstract, body of the manuscript, description of authors’ contributions, ethics and consent processes, as well as any conflict(s) of interest, funding, and acknowledgements. This information should all come before the reference list. All figures, tables, legends and supplementary material (if applicable) should be placed at the end of the manuscript after the reference list.

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