Help for Authors


Use these instructions if you are submitting a new manuscript that was not solicited by the editors. If you are submitting a revised paper, an interview, an invited Perspective, a paper invited for a theme issue of the journal, or a letter to the editor, you must follow different instructions; return to the Help for Authors main page and click on the appropriate link.

All manuscripts must be submitted via Health Affairsonline manuscript processing system.

Log In

You must have a user account before you can submit a paper. If you have a user account, log in using your user ID and password at the login screen. If you have an account but have forgotten your user ID or password, go to the login screen, enter your e-mail address in the "Password Help" field, then click on "Go." You will receive e-mail with instructions on how to obtain a user ID and password. If you do not have a user account, you can establish one by going to the login screen and clicking on "Create Account" in the upper right-hand corner of the page. To create an account, you will need to supply your first and last name, e-mail address, job title and institution, mailing address, phone number, a password, and a list of your areas of expertise.

Submitting A Paper

Once you have logged in, you will be at your main menu. Click on "Author Center," then click on the link to submit a new manuscript. If you are returning to complete a submission that you started previously, scroll down to "Unsubmitted Manuscripts," find the appropriate manuscript title, then click on "Continue Submission." Please follow all instructions.

Required Information

To complete the submission process, you will need the following information and documents:

1. Manuscript type: There are several manuscript types to choose from; select the one that most accurately describes your paper. If you are unsure of the manuscript type, select "other." If you are submitting a Narrative Matters paper, it is very important that you select "Narrative Matters" in the "manuscript type" field, in order for the paper to be routed properly. The specifications outlined below for abstract, length, and number of exhibits vary somewhat for DataWatch submissions. See our announcement for more details.

2. Title, keywords, and abstract of 100 to 150 words (abstract not required for Narrative Matters submissions).

3. Keywords: You must enter at least one keyword for the paper, but you may enter more. You must select from the dropdown list provided. We would encourage you to enter as many keywords as needed to accurately characterize the paper, because this aids in assigning appropriate reviewers.

4. Coauthors: If you have coauthors, you must enter their names and contact information. You can find out if your coauthors already have user accounts by entering their e-mail addresses in the indicated field. If user accounts exist, the appropriate information will be entered automatically. The submitting author will be selected as the corresponding author by default, but you may change this by checking the "corresponding author" box for the appropriate author. Authors will be listed in the order entered, but the order can be changed by using the "order" dropdown boxes.

5. Reviewers: You may request that we consider particular individuals to review your paper, and also may request that we avoid particular individuals (make sure to use the correct checkbox—"preferred" or "nonpreferred"). Preferred reviewers should be knowledgeable in your field but should have no knowledge of your current submission. If you offer any nonpreferred reviewers, you should explain your reasons in your cover letter. Any individuals whom you have asked to review your paper prior to submission should be listed as "nonpreferred" reviewers. Editors will consider these requests but cannot guarantee that they will be honored.

6. Cover letter: You may submit a cover letter by entering it into the "cover letter" field or attaching an already composed document.

7. Information pertaining to your manuscript: You will need to indicate the following

a. The number of exhibits (figures, graphs, charts, tables).

b. The number of words in the manuscript. The count that you report must include the abstract, main text, and endnotes, but not exhibits or supplemental materials. NOTE: most Health Affairs papers are between 2,500 and 5,000 words; our maximum length is 5,000 words (that total includes abstract, main text, and references/endnotes).

c. Whether the submission includes any supplemental material.

d. Whether the manuscript has been previously submitted to the journal.

e. Whether the paper is being submitted for consideration for a theme issue of the journal.

f. Whether the paper has been presented at a meeting (this information will be included with the paper if it is published, so please word it just as you would like it to appear).

g. You will need to supply information on all employers for each author, all sources of external support for the work, other sources of income related to the subject of the work for each author, and other associations with organizations that have a direct interest in the work for each author.


h. Relevant acknowledgments, disclaimers, or disclosures of conflicts of interest.


i. Information on employers, sources of support, acknowledgments, disclaimers, and disclosures will be included with published paper or in online appendix material.


j. You will also be asked to confirm that the paper has been submitted exclusively to Health Affairs, that it has not been previously published, that the work behind the paper meets applicable ethical standards, and that all authors are willing to take public responsibility for the work and satisfy the requirements of authorship.

8. Manuscript files: The initial submission of your manuscript may include several kinds of files to be uploaded, all of which will be converted by the system into documents in PDF and HTML format for ease of use throughout the review process. The different kinds of files and requirements for each are described below.

a. Manuscript text, abstract, and endnotes: Submit one document in a standard word-processing format (such as MS Word) that includes your 100 to 150 word abstract (not required for Narrative Matters submissions), the main text of the manuscript, endnotes, tables (but not graphs, maps, or diagrams), and an exhibit list (more detail is provided below on tables and the exhibit list); all text should be double-spaced and prepared in 12-point Courier New font or its equivalent (tables do not need to conform to these font requirements, but they must be legible while fitting within the margins of the document in portrait mode). All pages should be numbered. This file MUST NOT include a cover page or any other pages that identify the authors of the manuscript. It must also not include any running headers or footers that identify the authors. All of the material in this file except for the tables and the exhibit list will be counted against your word count. Do not include supplemental material as part of this file.

b. Exhibits: You may include exhibits -- tables, graphs, charts, or maps -- as part of your manuscript submission. All exhibits are considered to be either tables or figures. Tables must be included as editable components of the manuscript file and placed at the end of the manuscript, following a listing of the exhibits (detail below). Figures (graphs, maps, diagrams) must be submitted as files that are separate from the manuscript text files and must be submitted in their native format (PowerPoint, Excel), rather than pasted-in images.

All exhibits must be editable; that is, they must not be simply graphic renditions of your exhibits.

Figures generated using numerical data must be submitted in a file that presents the plotting data needed to produce the figure; the data must be editable. The data in Excel or PowerPoint files must include clear titles and labels so it is obvious how the data elements map to a particular image and to elements within a particular image. Only the data needed to reproduce the image should be included in the files with the plotting data (no extraneous data). Any graphs or maps that are not numerically generated must be supplied in high-resolution Adobe Illustrator or EPS format. 

Exhibits should have clear and simple titles and labels, and the source(s) for the information presented should always be mentioned in a footnote to each exhibit, along with any explanatory notes.

Exhibits must be numbered consecutively (not separately as "table" and "figure") in the order in which they are mentioned, and they must be referred to in the text by their appropriate number (with approximate location indicated by a "callout" in the text).

There must be a complete list of exhibits at the end of the manuscript, listing the exhibits in order, with the following information: the exhibit number, whether the exhibit is a table or a figure, the title (“caption”) of the exhibit, and any notes accompanying the exhibit, including the sources. Sources must be provided, even if the source is the authors’ analysis. If this is the case, please also specify what data the authors are analyzing (for example, “Authors’ analysis of data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2014”).

For example:
EXHIBIT 1 (table)
Caption: [Caption here (Required)]
Source/Notes: SOURCE [Source text here (Required).] NOTES [Notes text here, if any].

EXHIBIT 2 (figure)
Caption: [Caption here (Required)]
Source/Notes: SOURCE [Source text here (Required).] NOTES [Notes text here, if any].

For tables, the information provided in this list must match exactly the information provided with the tables themselves where they appear, as instructed, as part of the manuscript. For figures, this information also must match exactly what is provided with the figures, separately, as instructed.

There is no strict limit on how many exhibits can be included in a published paper, but we discourage authors from submitting more than four exhibits with one paper. The exhibit files must not include any information that identifies the authors of the paper. The material in these files does not count in the document word count.

Use the “Exhibits” file designation in Scholar One when uploading figures and plotting points.

Caveat: When submitting Excel spreadsheets, please be aware that multiple tabs per file and links within a document or to other documents may cause a failure during the uploading procedure, so multiple tabs and links in Excel should be avoided. Also, note that after the uploading procedure, all submitted files will be combined into a single PDF file for review purposes. It is the responsibility of authors to ensure that all components of a submission render properly, completely, and clearly so that editors and reviewers can see the submission in its entirety.

c. Supplemental materials:You may include supplemental materials with the manuscript. These could include detailed discussion of data/methods or technical discussion of results, large tables or graphics too complicated to include in the published version of a paper, survey instruments, extended bibliographies, etc. You may submit these materials in any format that is suitable to the material (for example, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, etc.). They will be supplied to reviewers but typically will not be published with the manuscript (although they could be made available in the form of an online supplement to a published paper).

PLEASE NOTE: If your analysis is based on regressions, please include with your manuscript a technical appendix showing the full specification of each regression--number of observations, dependent and independent variables (including any transformations from the variables discussed in the text), coefficients, either standard errors or t-statistics, R-squared and F statistics. You may decide how much if any of the regression results to display in exhibits in the paper, but the presentation should be concise, and presented in a form that would be suitable for nonexperts.

The files for supplementary material should not include any information that identifies the authors of the paper. The contents of these files do not count in the document word count; nonetheless, if you do include supplemental materials, we encourage you to present them in a concise, clear, and well-organized fashion. You should make explicit references to these items in appropriate locations in the text of the manuscript.

When appendix material is fist referred to in the text, please introduce a new endnote callout in the text and include the following verbiage in the endnote: "To access the Appendix, click on the Appendix link in the box to the right of the article online." Reuse this same endnote callout number for all subsequent references in the text to appendix material.

Appendix exhibits do not require plotting points and should not be listed in the exhibit list.

Appendix exhibits should be referred to in the text by number using a numbering system that is distinct from the numbering system used for exhibits that are part of the paper (e.g., Appendix Exhibit A1, Appendix Exhibit A2, etc.). All appendix material should be presented in a single file; use the Scholar One file designation, "supplemental material."

Additional Information

For additional information on manuscript preparation and the review process, Health Affairs’ editorial policies and philosophy, or other matters, go to the Help for Authors main page and select the appropriate link.

If you have any questions about the submission process, please contact Health Affairs’ executive editor, Don Metz, at or 301-347-3907.