Journals Library


Synopsis Report

Key principles

  • The purpose of the synopsis is to provide a complete high-level summary of the research, providing all the data and evidence to support its conclusions against the overarching research questions and objectives.
  • This format pulls together the different research articles either published through the NIHR Journals Library or another publisher, that cover all aspects of the funded work set out in the Publication Protocol, whilst being an academic publication in its own right.
  • The main body of the synopsis report should not be more than 15,000 words.
  • There should be enough detail in the synopsis report to support the reader's understanding of the main conclusion(s) as a standalone publication, without the need to look at the other reported components.
  • Within the main body of the synopsis report, authors have the flexibility to include a narrative that captures a critical and reflective discussion of any work that would not have been reported within the standalone research articles.
  • There are some mandatory headings to ensure that quality metadata can be applied to the report to aid search and discoverability.
  • Once all articles for a project have been published, they will be collected, as a single issue of the journal, when the synopsis report is published.

Although we are changing our publication model, much of our existing guidance on particular elements or requirements of a report remains relevant. In the sections that follow, we have provided hyperlinks to our existing Information for Authors where this might be helpful.  Where relevant, reporting guidelines should be followed.

All Synopses should include:

Proposed themes for the discussion narrative, but recognise this may change depending on target audiences of the research and what is agreed following discussions with the Editorial Office:

    • Principal findings and analysis
    • Project achievements per project outcome 
    • Drawing together the findings of the different studies.
    • What these studies add and the take-home message(s). 
    • Strengths and weakness of the study/in relation to other studies. 
    • Reflections on the project and what could have been done differently / major / significant changes 
    • Challenges faced and Lessons learnt for future research / Limitations.
    • Engagement with Partners and Stakeholders 
    • Individual training and capacity-strengthening activities  
    • Institutional Capacity Strengthening 
    • Related work  e.g., things not directly funded by NIHR, but arising from the work we funded?
    • Real-world impact
    • What difference has been made already
    • What longer term impact might there be? E.g. Economy, Efficiency, Effectiveness, Equity and Environmental impact 
    • Collaborations /further funding/future work 
    • Drawing together the findings of the different studies.
    • What these studies add and the take-home message(s).
    • Study/trial registration details.

Mandatory headings:

The Funding and Awards website project pages are an opportunity to host additional material that has been used and or created during the lifetime of the research project. Hosting these documents on the project webpage to form part of a thread of the research enables transparency and reproducibility. (see