Journals Library

The NIHR funds world-leading research and we operate to the highest standards. As a publisher, we are also committed to publishing a transparent and accessible record of the research carried out. Therefore, it is important that you understand and follow our policies when producing accounts of your research for the NIHR Journals Library. 

Our 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.

Ensuring that our published research is open access is an important part of our commitment to transparency. We are also transparent about what our editorial process entails and are responsible in our approach to editorial review. This ensures that the research published in our journals is trustworthy and of high-quality. Our information for authors includes comprehensive information about the editorial process and we provide full details of the requirements for our peer reviewers.

We ask our authors to follow our guidance on publication ethics and support the use of a declaration of transparency (for further information please see the Equator website).

Readers of our journals are able to respond to published research through electronic letters to the editor.

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 the NIHR Coordinating Centre, NIHR or MRC (including the NIHR Centre for Engagement and Dissemination, who are signatories to a confidentiality agreement)
  • External reviewers
  • NIHR Journals Library editors and other members of the editorial board or groups
  • Department of Health and Social Care 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.

Find out more about the editorial review process.

Information for Reviewers


All persons designated as authors must qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify must be listed. Acquisition of funding, the collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, by themselves, do not justify authorship. As well as being accountable for the parts of the work he or she has done, an author should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific other parts of the work. In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their co-authors. Authorship credit should only be based on:

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content
  • Final approval of the version to be published
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved

All of these conditions must be met to qualify for authorship. When an individual has made a contribution to the manuscript but does not meet these criteria, their contribution should be recognised in the acknowledgements. Written permission to be acknowledged should have been obtained from such individuals, since readers may infer their endorsement of the data and conclusions.

This policy follows the ICMJE guidelines on Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors.

For more information on how to list Authors in the final report please see Author List – Title Page section.

Data sharing

Why share data?

Making clinical trial data sets available to investigators beyond the original research team can improve patient care, advance medical knowledge and provide better value for money from health research.

Data generated through participation of patients and the public should be put to maximum use by the research community and, whenever possible, translated to deliver patient benefit. Data sharing benefits numerous research-related activities: reproducing analyses; testing secondary hypotheses; developing and evaluating novel statistical methods; teaching; aiding design of future trials; meta-analyses; and helping to prevent error, fraud and selective reporting.

Data sharing achieves many important goals for the scientific community, such as:

  • Reinforcing open scientific inquiry
  • Encouraging diversity of analysis and opinion
  • Promoting new research, testing of new or alternative hypotheses and methods of analysis
  • Supporting studies on data collection methods and measurement
  • Facilitating education of new researchers

Data sharing and the NIHR Journals Library

Your final report must include a statement about your data sharing and accessibility. The statement should provide a clear and positive indication of where and when the data will be shared. Possible responses might state that all available data:

  • Can be obtained from the corresponding author
  • Is included as an appendix to the report
  • Can be obtained from the corresponding author via the (name of) repository

The statement should be positioned within the acknowledgements section of your report.

Find out more information on NIHR's position on the sharing of research data.

If you have deposited (or intend to deposit) data from your study into a data repository or archive, please supply the DOI or URL so that the link to the data archive can be displayed on the NIHR Journals Library website alongside your published report. Please see issue 17:10 of Health Technology Assessment “The CRASH-2 trial: a randomised controlled trial and economic evaluation of the effects of tranexamic acid on death, vascular occlusive events and transfusion requirement in bleeding trauma patients” as an example of this activity.

Open access

Total and complete publication of research findings is part of the NIHR’s commitment to the principles of open access and adding value to all stages of research, ensuring best use of public money to benefit the health and wealth of the nation.

All journals in the NIHR Journals Library are open access and are free to view and download online. See the individual journal about pages for index information.

The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC), in association with a number of other UK biomedical funders, is a partner in an initiative to establish Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC).

Led by the Wellcome Trust, the aim of this initiative is to create a stable, permanent and free-to-digital archive of the full text, peer reviewed research publications (and datasets) that arise from research funded through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and other members of the Europe PMC Funders Group.

Please see the NIHR Policy on Open Access for its funded research.


An increasing number of universities, both in the UK and globally, are developing electronic institutional repositories (EPrints) in which they encourage their researchers to deposit their research material. This practice is part of a move towards an open access publication approach to research activities, aimed at improving dissemination, access and citations to research.

The NIHR actively encourages researchers, whose own universities have developed an institutional repository, to deposit any research articles relating to their funded project, including the final published NIHR journal issue, into this facility. The Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) is available from the EPrints website.

Please note that each institutional repository is likely to have its own system requirements for data entry. However, for consistency, the journal name must be entered correctly (as it appears on the NIHR Journals Library website) and the publisher stated as the "NIHR Journals Library".

If you have any queries about entering details of your research into your institutional repository please contact the editorial office. 

NIHR dual publication policy

Publication of your funded research in the NIHR Journals Library fulfils two purposes:

  • To ensure that a full account of the research is available in the public domain in perpetuity; and
  • To contribute to dissemination of the research findings.

Dual or redundant publication occurs when two or more papers, without full cross-reference, share the same hypothesis, data, discussion points or conclusions.

The NIHR considers that publication of its research, necessarily in briefer format, in specialist and general journals is important for the dissemination and uptake of research findings and therefore expects grant holders to seek such publication.

Although the possibility that this may constitute dual publication may cause concerns, it is considered that the NIHR Journals Library, which contains comprehensive accounts of whole funded projects, is different from other, smaller, journal articles and therefore publication in both formats is acceptable. We ask authors to give an original account of their work within their reports, and therefore that they avoid including lengthy passages of material that is (or will be) published elsewhere. However, if reasonable justification is provided and the Editors agree, we would instead require authors to acknowledge the source within the report in line with The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines.

COPE defines redundant publication as:

'When a published work (or substantial sections from a published work) is/are published more than once (in the same or another language) without adequate acknowledgment of the source/cross-referencing/justification,'


'When the same data is presented in more than one publication without adequate cross-referencing/justification, particularly when this is done in such a way that reviewers/readers are unlikely to realise that most or all the findings have been published before'

Further guidance can be found in the ICMJE Guidelines relating to Overlapping Publications.


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 until 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 placed on hold once the editorial and production processes have been completed and 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.

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. After two submissions have been rejected, approval will be required from the Journal Editor-in-Chief to continue to hold.

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


Applies to all contracts for all programmes from February 2021 standard contract.

Assuming that your report is accepted for publication, it will be published in the relevant programme journal and will bear the following statement:

'Copyright © 2021 author et al. This work was produced by author et al. under the terms of a commissioning contract issued by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. This is an Open Access publication distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY 4.0 licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaption in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed.
The text and layout of all journals published under the NIHR Journals Library are published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.'

Under this license, authors agree that anyone can reuse part or all of your article under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) terms. This licence permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaption in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. The proper attribution to NIHR Journals Library journals must include the title, original author(s), the publication source – NIHR Journals Library, and the DOI of the publication.

For all reports published before 1st February 2021 permission to reproduce material from the published report is covered by the UK government’s non-commercial licence for public sector information.

Publishing elsewhere

If you submit papers arising from your report to other journals, where possible, any copyright agreement you sign should be in the form of a non-exclusive licence agreement as, your contract grants DHSC an irrevocable non-exclusive licence in respect of any information, Intellectual Property, Results, Materials and conclusions arising from the research project.

Should the publisher of another journal insist on receiving an assignment of copyright, or an exclusive licence, this is possible only if:

  • The publisher requires the assignment or exclusive licence to relate only to the published article;
  • The published article is different to the Journals Library report (please see the Dual publication guidance for further information);
  • You are able to secure the relevant permissions to reproduce any required material from the article in your Journals Library report (for example, tables and figures). Please see the Permissions guidance for further information.

If you require any assistance in this matter, please email 

Publication ethics

We take an active role in the prevention of plagiarism, falsification of data, fabrication of results and other areas of ethical misconduct. All journals in the NIHR Journals Library are members of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). This is a UK-based charity, with over 7000 members worldwide from all academic fields. COPE advises editors and publishers on how to handle cases of research and publication misconduct.

Plagiarism detection software will be used to check reports submitted to the NIHR Journals Library.

We support the use of a declaration of transparency. For further information please see the Equator website.

When preparing your report please ensure that you follow the guidance on AuthorshipData sharing and Dual Publication.

Research Practice

The research NIHR funds is world-leading and we operate to the highest standards. Consistent with this, we are signatories of both the Concordat to Support Research Integrity and the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

At NIHR, we expect our staff and the researchers we fund to abide by all regulatory and legislative frameworks in relation to research practice, transparency and governance.

All NIHR-funded researchers are required to follow NIHR policies and guidelines relating to research practiceresearch culture and integrity and Privacy and FOI. This includes policies around study registration, the use of animals in research, research integrity and patient consent.

Research misconduct

Should there be concerns that a project suffered misconduct in research, publication, or professional behaviour, the case may be discussed in confidence with the editorial board, or referred to COPE or any other relevant authorities. Concerns about research misconduct will be investigated by the relevant NIHR programme and publication of the Journals Library report may be delayed until the matter is resolved.

Correction and retraction

The NIHR Journals Library follows the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers' (STM) guidelines regarding the Preservation of the Objective Record of Science:

"Articles that have been published should remain extant, exact and unaltered to the maximum extent possible"

(STM Guidelines on Preservation of the Objective Record of Science).

Therefore amendments will only be made to the published version of record in exceptional circumstances.

Corrections will be made if there is a serious error in the report or if the error impairs understanding of the report (corrections will not be made for minor errors such as spelling mistakes). The corrected report will replace the original and a correction notice will be published explaining the amendments that have been made.

We follow the COPE Guidelines for Retracting Articles.


CrossMark is a multi-publisher initiative to provide a standard way for readers to locate the current version of a piece of content. By applying the CrossMark logo the NIHR Journals Library is committing to maintaining the content it publishes and to alerting readers to changes if and when they occur.

Clicking on the CrossMark logo will tell you the current status of a document and may also give you additional publication record information about the document.