Journals Library

News from the Journals Library

Q&As from Journals Library webinars for authors

Date: 07 December 2016

The Journals Library team hosts regular webinars for authors. These support researchers who are in the final stage of preparing their report for submission and aim to help with navigating the editorial requirements and to provide useful guidance on the publication process. The latest webinar took place in September 2016 and focused specifically on changes to the Journals Library and how these affect authors, including guidance on new final report submission requirements.

The webinars conclude with a short Q&A session. Some of the key questions and answers that have been raised are listed below. All webinars are still accessible and can be viewed here.

If you have any additional questions or would like to find out more about those listed below, please contact us.

Writing your report

When do you recommend starting to write the report?

As soon as possible! Your NIHR report is an extensive and comprehensive piece of work so we would advise that you do not wait until the last minute. We expect you to submit a complete report. We advise you to allow plenty of time ahead of your submission deadline. Incomplete reports will not be accepted into the editorial process.

Top tip: It’s worth bearing in mind that once the research phase is complete often members of the project team will move on to new projects so you might need to consider the challenges involved in writing the report once the team has been reduced.

How many chapters would you usually expect to see in the report?

This entirely depends on your project. For example, if you have a health economics component you may wish to include a chapter on this. The Information for Authors details the report contents that we would expect to see in your report, including mandatory chapters such as the scientific summary, abstract and plain English summary.

If our report is due to be submitted soon after the 1st January 2017 will we need to meet the new submission requirements?

Yes, all reports submitted from the 1st January will need to meet our new report requirements. These include:

  • 50,000 word limit for the main body of reports
  • A suggested limit of 25 tables and 25 figures in the main body of reports.
  • 300 word limit for plain English summaries

More information about these requirements can be found in the September 2016 update to the Information for Authors

If our report is below the 50,000 word limit, will we be asked to extend it?

The 50,000 word limit is a maximum and there is no minimum length for your report. However, you are expected to provide a comprehensive account of the research carried out and the Editors may ask you to extend the report during the editorial review process should they feel that anything is missing.

Does the 50,000 word limit and suggested maximum number of tables and figures apply to reports submitted for Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR)?

No, this applies to reports submitted for Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation, Health Technology Assessment, Health Services and Delivery Research and Public Health Research. Authors of PGfAR reports should follow our specific Programme Grants for Applied Research guidance in conjunction with the Information for Authors. If you have any queries please do contact the NIHR Journals Library team.

Should I include a particular piece of data or document with my report submission?

If you feel that the material is relevant for providing a full account of your research you should include this when you submit your report. See our guidance which explains where we would normally expect you to place common documents, tables and figures within your report

When your report is reviewed by the editors and the peer reviewers they will assess the material you have included and may ask for some of it to be removed, amended or moved.

I need to include more than 25 tables and 25 figures in my report and I don’t think I can cut anything. What should I do?

If you feel that it is necessary to include more tables or figures you should do so. We have a suggested limit of 25 tables and 25 figures in order to keep your report concise and improve readability. However, we appreciate different types of research will have different requirements. The editors and peer reviewers will assess your report and may ask you to remove or amend tables and figures if they feel there are too many.


Disseminating your research

How long will you delay publication of my report if I want to publish in another journal?

The NIHR encourages and expects you to seek publication of your research in high impact journals to enhance the dissemination and uptake of the key research findings. Sometimes these journals will wish to publish your article ahead of the NIHR report and we are usually able to hold publication to accommodate that.

However, please keep in mind that our main aim is to ensure that your research is disseminated as soon as possible. Please get in touch with us as soon as possible and we will be able to advise on a case-by-case basis.

Top tip: To avoid complications, submit your articles to other journals as early as possible, ideally at the same time as you write your NIHR report.

Further guidance on publishing elsewhere can be found in the Information for Authors

If we wish to use material that is covered by a CC-BY license, is there a need for us to get copyright permissions?

You will not need to apply for permission to use material covered by a CC-BY license, however, you should check the terms of the license (there are different types of CC-BY license) and should always ensure that you give appropriate credit to the copyright holder in your report. If you are in doubt, always check with the publisher or copyright holder of the material.

Can we submit outputs for the project webpage before we submit our report? What about after it has published?

Yes, you should submit outputs using the Management Information System, ensuring that you follow our notification procedure. Links to these outputs will be added to your project webpage on the Journals Library website, which will be accessible soon after your project has been contracted. We would encourage you to submit your outputs throughout the duration of your research so that a thread of publication can build over time on your project webpage.

We would also like to continue to receive information about your outputs once you have completed your research, In fact, we track project outputs for three years (for those projects with contracts issued prior to April 2012) to 5 years (for those projects with contracts issued after April 2012) after publication of the final report.

Can we include material in our report that we have already published elsewhere?

You may reproduce small sections of text providing that you include suitable acknowledgement to the material. You should not include large items of identical material as there may be copyright implications and this could also constitute redundant publication. We understand that certain sections of the report, such as the methods, may need to be included in both publications. Therefore, if you need to include large sections of similar information you should ensure that the text is sufficiently different and seek permissions where appropriate. If you wish to include a related article as part of your report you should not reproduce this verbatim but instead should provide a link. Please see the Information for Authors for further guidance about copyright and permissions or contact the Journals Library team.

How do we cover open access fees for publications in other journals?

If you submit an article based on your research to an Open Access publication you may be subject to an article processing charge (APC). We expect that APCs will be covered by the funding award.

If you have insufficient funds to cover an APC you should contact the Monitoring Research Manager during monitoring phase or a member of the Journals Library team ( post submission of your final report to request additional funding. This will be considered on an individual case basis in line with the DH/NIHR policy on Open Access publishing:

Can I share my report with others before it is published?

We sometimes receive requests from policy customers or other interested parties to view NIHR reports ahead of publication. We consider requests on a case-by-case basis but will only share reports if they have already undergone the full editorial and peer review process. We also require permission from you as the author and the editors. We have a strict confidentiality policy (requiring the signing of a confidentiality agreement).