Journals Library

Editorial policies

Editorial policies


The NIHR Journals Library has a commitment to transparency. Within the limitations of our closed review process we try to ensure that reviewers, editors, authors and readers know as much about the background of the research as possible.

Duty of confidentiality to authors

All submitted final reports are treated as confidential documents. This means that, unless we have the authors’ prior permission, we will not disclose information about a final report. However, during the editorial review process, the following people may have access to your final report:

  • Editorial office staff and other colleagues at NETSCC, NIHR or MRC.
  • External reviewers.
  • NIHR Journals Library editors and other members of the editorial board or groups
  • Department of Health staff or other policy making bodies, on completion of a confidentiality agreement
  • The production house.


The NIHR Journals Library has a system of closed review, where authors do not know who has reviewed or edited their final reports. However, all reviewers are expected to declare any competing interests that might relate to the final report we have asked them to review, and these are taken into account by the editors when considering reviewers’ comments. We would expect reviewers to decline a review request should the conflict of interest be significant.

Editorial board and groups 

The editorial board and groups consist of active clinicians and clinical academics (or the equivalent in public health), health policy experts, programme directors and the editor-in-chief of the NIHR Journals Library.

The only occasion when details about a final report might be passed to a third party without the authors’ prior permission is if the editors suspect serious research misconduct (please see Publication Ethics for further information).

Policy for embargoing publication of NIHR Journals Library reports

The NIHR encourages its authors to pursue publication of their work in other peer-reviewed journals that are compliant with the NIHR policy on Open Access and expects that any journal articles are published well in advance of the Journals Library report.

The NIHR values efficient and timely dissemination of its funded research so that it can have the maximum benefit. As signatory to the WHO joint statement on public disclosure of results from clinical trials, all NIHR-funded research should be published in a peer-reviewed journal within 24 months of primary study completion. 

Where you are unable to publish in another journal in advance of your Journals Library report’s publication, we are prepared to delay publication of your Journals Library report to facilitate publication of one article in a peer-reviewed journal; this being your main results paper. This is on the condition that you provide evidence of the journal your paper has been submitted to. We also require that you provide regular and prompt updates on the status of submissions, as and when requested by the editorial office. It is important that your Journals Library report is published as soon as possible, therefore reports will only be held in instances where you have complied with Journals Library editorial and production requirements in a timely manner.

We encourage submission to the most appropriate journal for your research, in order that your research can have the most impact. However, we appreciate that well-regarded journals can have high rejection rates. Therefore, we can accommodate up to two journal submissions of your main results article once your report has been finalised and is therefore being held for publication. After two submissions have been rejected approval will be required from the Journal Editor-in-Chief to continue to hold.

Please note, your Journals Library report will publish after you have attempted two submissions of papers, or two years from completion of the primary study (irrespective of any pending submissions elsewhere), whichever comes first.

We expect the Chief Investigator to take responsibility for adhering to this policy and ensuring that all information provided is accurate and timely.