Journals Library

Publication protocol

Publication Protocol Guidance for Authors 

The Publication Protocol will form the basis of your publication strategy and will be developed collaboratively with the NIHR Journals Library Editorial Office. This document will detail the manuscripts you are aiming to publish and act as an aid for planning with the Editorial Office, but also helps to assess whether your funded research will be reported in full across your publications.  


Some questions we would ask you to consider when completing this document: 

  • What papers are planned and what part of the project do they report? 
  • What parts of the project will be reported in external publications and what will be published in the NIHR Journals Library? 
  • With all papers taken into account, will all of the NIHR-funded research have been described in full? 
  • What is the Open Access status of each externally published paper? 
  • What are the expected timescales? 
  • Considering your aims and workstreams, will all the NIHR-funded research you have undertaken be fully reported? 


Project Information tab 

This provides background information on your project to assist the Editors in understanding the workstreams / work packages, aims, and objectives of your funded work.  Additionally, this details your planned component areas and provides information on how these relate to your funded research. It is helpful for us to know how many components there are, the information included in these, and how these reflect your work. Guidance is provided on this tab with further detail below. 

Component title 

When selecting the component areas for your project (‘Project Components in column B of Core work’), it may be easiest to separate these by work package / workstream, country, or a themed area. Some projects have three to five workstreams so it may be suitable for each component to focus on a particular workstream. Although, we appreciate some teams have many more or it may be easier to segregate their research in a different format. 
The Editors' role is to review the Publication Protocol and assess whether the full funded research package will be reported on. To help put each component in context for the Editors, please try to show how these areas cover your funded work. 
Please be aware the component title is what the header will be for the component on the website.  

Summary of component 

Please write one or two short paragraphs summarising each component you are reporting against. This needs to be enough information for the Editors to understand how each component fits into your overall body of work when it comes to them reviewing your Publication Protocol. 
Further details 

If relevant, please highlight how components are related and the relevant aims and objectives for the component area. You can also include additional information that isn’t required to understand the component area but might give background context to help the Editors understand why this is a component, rather than being included within the synopsis. 
As the Editors needs to determine if the Publication Protocol is an accurate representation of the funded research package, and all that was included within this, try to detail how each component area relates to the projects aims, objectives, and planned work packages. Would this cover everything and if not, why not? 

Additional Information 

Please use this space to highlight any known areas of your funded work that aren’t reported on in the Publication Protocol. Examples highlighted by some teams are in-country sensitivities leading to delays in publication. 

Infographic (optional) 

Some teams have a simple infographic that shows how components relate to each other and the overall aim(s) of your research. The most popular approach in the examples below focus on workstreams. If you have something similar it would be a very useful addition to the details presented on the components to support the Editors in their review of the Publication Protocol. 

Some similar examples include these figures used in Programme Grant reports: 


Core Work tab 

Link to abstract 
For external publications, please provide a hyperlink to the relevant abstract or short summary on each article if available. This is so the Editor has detail in addition to the article title to determine coverage. For planned publications, please provide a few short sentences on what you hope this will cover. 

Planned location 

This might be with the NIHR Journals Library or with a third-party journal. While we are eager to publish with you and happy to work on any publications you may have or be planning , we also appreciate an alternative journal may be more suitable. As long as these are Open Access, we will be able to link out to these from the Journals Library and your Funding and Awards website project page. If you do know which journals you are hoping to publish with, this will aid the Editorial Office. 

Estimated Count and Peer Review 

The estimated number of words, figures and tables are only required for those articles for publication with the NIHR Journals Library to aid capacity management within the Editorial Office. Additionally, a few key terms outlining the subject matter, type of expert reviewer required, or research methods used would aid our team in identifying peer/PPI reviewers. 


Related Outputs 

These include any additional publications that are not key within the project component areas. These outputs will be available as a list of publications separate from your component areas on the Funding and Awards website project page associated with your project.

Summary Tab 

This tab will automatically complete as you fill the form out and is for Editorial Office staff.  


Frequently Asked Questions 

How can I add more rows? 
Please feel free to add as many as required. If you start writing on row 31 the table should automatically extend, but these can also be added mid-table where needed. 

What is the difference between Core Work and Related Outputs? 
Publications considered “Core Work” are those which provide key information related to each component area. “Related Outputs” are additional publications related to your NIHR-funded work, although these may not be directly related to the aims and objectives of your commissioned research. Related outputs also provides a space for you to detail the publications that will be listed within your Funding and Awards website project page

Next Steps 

This is an iterative process and after the Editorial Office receives your first draft they may come back with questions and the document may undergo a number of revisions until it is eventually signed off by the Editorial Office. Once signed off this is essentially an agreement on the planned publication approach, however changes can still be made as long as they are not extensive.  

Below is an example of a publication protocol:

Pub protocol example