Editorial Frequently Asked Questions

How do I submit a manuscript to Health Affairs?

How do I inquire about the status of a manuscript I submitted?

Once I have submitted a paper, how long can I expect to wait before I hear from the journal, and how much time passes between acceptance and publication of a manuscript?

What is your acceptance rate?

How can I become a peer reviewer?

How can I provide feedback about something I have read in Health Affairs?

Are Health Affairs' Web First papers peer reviewed?

I'm a member of the media, and I would like to get an article from healthaffairs.org that is not available free. How can I do this?

Do you have an embargo policy?

 

Do the Health Affairs editors offer assistance to authors whose native language is not English or who just need extra help with their writing?

 

Can I use a software program to prepare my references?

 

Does Health Affairs have word limits?

 

Do exhibits (figures, tables, diagrams, etc.) count against the word count?

 

What note style does Health Affairs use?

 

What material is appropriate to include as appendix material?

 

Is appendix material edited?

 

Does appendix material count against the word count?

 

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How do I submit a manuscript to Health Affairs?

Please visit our online manuscript processing system at
http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ha

Before submitting a paper, you must first create a user account. For more details on creating an account and submitting a paper, see Help For Authors and select SUBMIT A NEW (UNSOLICITED) MANUSCRIPT


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How do I inquire about the status of a manuscript I submitted?

You may check on the status of your submitted papers by visiting our online manuscript processing system at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ha and locating your paper in your author center. You may also e-mail Virginia Jackson at vjackson@projecthope.org.


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Once I have submitted a paper, how long can I expect to wait before I hear from the journal, and how much time passes between acceptance and publication of a manuscript?


Submissions are acknowledged promptly by e-mail. About half of the papers submitted to the journal are selected for external review. For papers that are not selected for external review, the journal notifies authors of its decision within two to three weeks of submission. For papers that are selected for external review, authors can expect to wait about two to three months from the date of submission until notification of the journal’s decision. For papers that are selected for revision, the length of time between the revision request and publication will vary widely (from six weeks to several months) depending on various factors, including the extent of revision required, the need for additional review and revision, whether the paper will be published in a bound volume or on our Web site, etc.

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What is your acceptance rate?


Our acceptance rate for unsolicited papers is currently between 10 and 15 percent.

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How can I become a peer reviewer?

If you would like to join our list of peer reviewers, create a user account via our online manuscript processing system at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ha

In step 3 (user ID and password) select the appropriate keywords that characterize your fields of interest. In addition, contact us at editor@healthaffairs.org to express your interest, and include an electronic copy of your CV or a biosketch.

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How can I provide feedback about something I have read in Health Affairs?

Health Affairs now offers a feature called eLetters, which allows you to submit your reaction to specific articles for online posting. ELetters are a moderated forum, which means that all responses are read, edited if necessary, and approved by the editorial staff before they are posted. Information about eLetters is found on the abstract page of every article on the Health Affairs Web site.


Letters can also be submitted for publication in the print edition. Letters should be brief (250-300 words) and sharply focused. You may send your letter as attachment to e-mail, along with your complete contact information (including mailing address, e-mail address, and phone and fax numbers) to letters@healthaffairs.org. Or you may use our online letters submission form. Health Affairs reserves the right to publish submitted letters either online or in the print edition; unsolicited letters to the editor will not be acknowledged.


To report technical problems or comments on the Health Affairs Web site, please use the contact information found in Contact Us.


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Are Health Affairs' Web First papers peer-reviewed?

Yes. All submissions to Health Affairs are subject to the same peer review and editing processes, whether they are published in the print edition or online only as Web Firsts.

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I'm a member of the media, and I would like to get an article from healthaffairs.org that is not available free. How can I do this?

Health Affairs
has long provided free access to members of the media. To request a particular article, send an e-mail message to press@healthaffairs.org. You must include your working affiliation as well as complete contact information (including phone and fax numbers). Members of the Association for Health Care Journalists are eligible for a complimentary online-only subscription as long as they remain active members; direct inquiries to press@healthaffairs.org.

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Do you have an embargo policy?

Yes, we do. After you read this Embargo Policy, please direct inquiries to press@healthaffairs.org.


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Do the Health Affairs editors offer assistance to authors whose native language is not English or who just need extra help with their writing?

The Health Affairs copyeditors work with every accepted paper to apply consistent style, correct grammar, and appropriate length. Also, Health Affairs editors routinely give detailed suggestions for improving a manuscript during the peer-review process. However, they cannot offer direct assistance to authors before a paper is accepted, other than answering routine questions and providing access to the style guide on request. If authors require more assistance with their writing, especially before the submission process begins, editorial services are available to provide this assistance for a fee. One such service is ScienceDocs (details are available at http://www.sciencedocs.com).

Health Affairs is not affiliated with ScienceDocs or any other company offering editorial services. Authors may use these services at their own discretion and risk; use of such services does not directly affect a paper’s chances of acceptance, and all accepted papers are still subject to copyediting as described above.

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Can I use a software program to prepare my references?

Many authors use software packages, such as EndNote, to prepare their lists of references. The Health Affairs editors have learned that several of these packages contain an endnote output style that claims to be the Health Affairs style. This was not prepared with our knowledge or input; it does not produce endnotes that conform to the requirements listed here. At this time, the Health Affairs editors cannot support the use of this style in preparing endnotes. We also cannot offer technical assistance to authors who use this software. We urge authors to contact the software company for assistance, and we advise authors that some manual editing will be required if this software is used to produce references for submission to Health Affairs.

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Does Health Affairs
have word limits?


Yes. The counts listed include abstract, main text, endnotes, and any other material that would go along with the published paper, such as acknowledgments, disclaimers, etc. but exclude exhibits, exhibit lists, and appendix material.

 

Health Affairs papers typically run from 2,500 words to 5,000 words, including an abstract--between 100 and 150 words, and no more than four exhibits (that is, tables and figures).

 

On the shorter end of the spectrum are:

 

Analysis/Commentary: 2,000 to 4,000 words
Data-oriented papers focusing on a specific topic or issue: 2,500 to 4,000 words
GrantWatch: 3,500 words
Narrative Matters: 2,500 words
Innovation Profile:  2,000 to 3,500 words

 

At the longer end of the spectrum are "feature articles," which take up broad issues of general interest to the health policy community. These can take many forms and combinations of these forms, such as essays, review/analysis articles, proposals for reform, and original research focusing on a broad question or issue. The maximum length for these papers is 5,000 words.

 

For research papers, we ask that you limit your data and methods discussion to no more than 750 words, highlighting the major elements of the data and research methods--described clearly for a general audience--but omitting lengthy discussion and detours or technical detail. Your data and methods discussion should also include a summary of the limitations. You may include fuller discussion of methods and additional exhibits in a separate appendix document, submitted as a supplemental file for review. If we publish your paper, we will make this appendix available to readers as an online supplement to the paper, accessible via a link from the electronic version of the paper.

 

Papers should include a brief--usually not more than 1,000 words--introduction that provides the reader with a sense of the topic, its importance (background and context and relation to issues of current concern), and the specific purpose of the paper and how it will contribute to the discussion surrounding the topic. (This requirement is not applicable to Narrative Matters papers, which follow a different format.)

 

Health Affairs papers typically include endnotes (not applicable for Narrative Matters), which present reference material in support of statements made in the paper. The ratio of endnotes to text varies, but typically does not exceed 1 to 4, meaning papers are usually at least 80 percent text and no more than 20 percent endnotes.

 

Health Affairs reserves the right to edit and abridge submissions during the editing process.

 


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Do exhibits (figures, tables, diagrams, etc.) count against the word count?

Yes, but not in a strictly word-for-word fashion. Assessing an exhibit count depends on the size of the exhibits and other factors, but overall length in published pages is the ultimate concern. Health Affairs papers do not typically include more than four exhibits, and a paper that has close to this number of exhibits would need to have offsetting reductions in the word count.

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What note style does Health Affairs use?

"Health Affairs uses the Vancouver style of note formatting. Cited references and explanatory notes should be presented in one section of consecutively numbered endnotes--no footnotes, please. Following Vancouver style, each source gets its own endnote; each endnote is assigned a number; and that number may be repeated throughout the document as many times as the source is cited. Additional information on our note style, along with examples, is available on our author help pages."


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What material is appropriate to include as appendix material?


Detailed or extended discussion of methods or results (including some exhibits), or both, that is aimed primarily at experts and not general readers should not be presented in the paper itself. It may be included in appendix material submitted along with a manuscript (called "supplementary material for review" in the online submission system). Authors are encouraged to submit appendix material if they cannot adequately describe their methods in about 1,000 words or if understanding a full description of the methods requires expertise in a specific academic discipline. Also, if a description relies on formulas or other expressions, these are most appropriately included in the online appendix, not as part of the paper itself.


Appendix material can also consist of extended bibliographies or sources, for either exhibits or text.

For papers that are published, appendix material that was subjected to external review will be presented as online supplemental material to the paper. It will not be published as part of the paper, but it will be made available on the Health Affairs Web site, accessible via links from the published paper. If you plan to include such appendix material with your paper, please make sure that it is mentioned in the text, preferably in the form of an endnote, at the point at which it is relevant. The Health Affairs editors will supply the online link and Web address.

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Is appendix material edited?


No. Therefore, we ask authors to format the material in a way that enhances accessibility and understanding, and to proof/edit the work before submitting it. The Health Affairs editors take submitted material, add a short block of text identifying it with the paper, and create a PDF file for posting online. This PDF file is e-mailed to the contact author approximately two weeks before the article is posted online (in the case of Web Firsts, in approximately one week before online posting). If authors have changes to make, they must submit a new original file. Please note that typeface restrictions and other design elements do not apply to online appendices; their appearance is up to the authors.


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Does appendix material count against the word count?

No, but we do encourage authors to be concise since reviewers and editors have limited time to read this material.


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Still have questions?
Contact us.

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