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Author Guidelines

Instructions to authors for article writing and submission

WPSAR follows the guidelines of the Uniform Requirements for Articles Submitted to Biomedical Journals by the International Committee for Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Formatting guidelines

Please submit your article in a Microsoft® Office Word file or a compatible file in English. Double-spaced, 12-point Arial font should be used to format your article. Please remove all automatic formatting including automatic numbering and referencing before submitting.

The format of the article will depend on the article type. Please see the Section policies for more information on article types.


Refer to the article type for the limit on illustrations (figures/graphs/pictures). Please insert all illustrations at the end of the article with titles. Each illustration must be referred to in the text and must be understood on its own. Use Microsoft® Office Excel for graphs and Microsoft® Office Word for tables and diagrams. Additionally, please provide a Microsoft® Office Excel spreadsheet of the data used to create a graph. Footnotes should be placed under the illustration and should use the following symbols in superscript format: *, †, ‡, §, ║, **, ††, etc.


Reference the most recent and relevant publications. Please use the Vancouver referencing style with in-text citations and a bibliography at the end of the text. Sample references can be viewed on the National Institutes of Health website.


Journals are normally written as:

  • (1st 6 authors, et al. Title of article. Journal. Year;Volume(Issue):pages.)

Rose ME, Huerbin MB, Melick J, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Regulation of interstitial excitatory amino acid concentrations after cortical contusion injury. Brain Res. 2002;935(1-2):40-6.

E-references are normally written as:

  • (Title of article/webpage. Location: Organization; year published (web address, accessed date).

Measles SIAs planning and implementation field guide. Brazzaville: World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa; 2010 (, accessed 28 October 2016).

Place the bibliography at the end of the article text and not as footnotes. Write journal names in full. Use superscript sequential numbering for citing references in the text. Place the number after any punctuation. For example: These results are consistent with the original study.11

Reference personal communication in the text only and include the person's full name and institution.

Caution should be used in referencing websites; it should be done only when their content has been substantially described in the article. 

Peer Review Process

Every article is initially screened by the Editorial Team to ensure it fits the scope of the journal. All articles, with the exception of regional analyses, letters to the editor, news items and meeting and conference reports, then undergo external peer review by at least two reviewers. This blind peer review process ensures that the reviewer does not know the identity of the author(s) and the author(s) do not know the identity of the reviewer. Significant effort is made to make this process timely, but since it relies on the availability and cooperation of persons external to the journal, it can take considerable time.

Upon receipt of the reviews, the Coordinating Editor assesses the comments and recommendations made by the reviewers, and then decides on the outcome of the peer review process. One of four options will be chosen: accept submission, accept with revisions, submit for review, or decline submission. The corresponding author will be advised of this outcome.

If the article has been accepted or accepted with revisions are required, you will be invited to revise your article according to the reviewer comments. A separate MS Word document outlining how you addressed each of the reviewer comments is also required. You must indicate the page and paragraph numbers where the changes were made and should provide reasons for not making a suggested change. Both the changes and reasons will be assessed against the reviewer comments by the Coordinating Editor and may require further clarification from the authors. Once all comments have been adequately addressed, the article will commence the publication process.

If the outcome of the review process is “resubmit for review”, then the same process is followed. However, the resubmitted article and responses to the reviewer comments are sent back to the original reviewers for another round of peer review. You will be asked to respond to a second round of reviewer comments, which will again be assessed by the Coordinating Editor. Once both sets of reviewer comments have been adequately addressed, the article will commence the publication process.

The publication process comprises rigorous editing for content and style by an external technical editor, followed by layout and proofreading. Authors may be asked to provide further information or clarifications during these stages. An article is not formally accepted for publication until these stages have been completed and approval has been granted by the Editorial Team. The authors will also have an opportunity to approve the final proof prior to publication on the WPSAR website. The article will be published online once it has completed the publication and approval processes. 


As per the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), all authors should have contributed significantly to the article through one or more of the following in each category A, B and C:

Study design
Data collection
Data analysis
Data interpretation

Drafting the article
Critically revising the article

Final approval of the article for submission

Any other contributors may be listed in the Acknowledgements section. Co-first authors will be accepted where two authors have contributed equally to the article.


Contributors who do not fulfil the authorship requirements may be acknowledged. Permission from all contributors in the acknowledgement section should be sought. We assume that permission has been granted and will not follow up with the authors to confirm.

Ethics and Permissions

It is the responsibility of authors to gain appropriate ethics approval for their work. A statement of ethics approval obtained or an explanation of why ethics approval was not required should be included for all articles during the submission process.

License for Publication

Prior to publication, all authors are asked to sign a license to publish that grants a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to the World Health Organization under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution IGO License (

Conflicts of Interest

A conflict of interest is defined by ICMJE as “when an author or author's institution, reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence (bias) his or her actions”. Conflicts of interest may be financial, institutional, research or personal. A relationship does not always represent a conflict of interest and does not necessarily preclude publication in WPSAR. All authors and reviewers will be required to state any potential conflicts of interest, which will be assessed by the Editorial Team.


Authors will be required to state the sources of funding for their work. When this is part of routine work, and there is no additional funding source, then a funding statement is not required.


Papers should contain no maps unless an important finding cannot be conveyed without them or unless they are needed to make an essential point. Maps that show international borders, partially or in full, must be created from the following source, approved by the United Nations: following these standard operating procedures:, or prepared based entirely on either the template map of the world prepared by the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) work group or maps downloaded from the internet site of the United Nations Cartographic Section without any modification. A vectorial EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file must be submitted.


Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. A cover letter describing the article and why it should be published.
  2. A title page with:

    • the article title,
    • a short title,
    • a brief description of the article of ≤ 50 words,
    • ≤ 7 keywords,
    • full names of all authors and institutions, 
    • full contact details of the corresponding author,
    • names and email addresses of two suggested reviewers (optional but recommended).
  3. Acknowledgements, conflicts of interest, ethics statement and funding information (attached as a separate file to ensure a blind review).

    Please indicate at the end if the manuscript was developed with the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) and/or during the WPSAR scientific writing workshop.

  4. A Microsoft Office Word file or equivalent of the article.
  5. Editable files of the figures and graphs, if applicable. See guidance for maps here.
  6. Scanned copy of the WPSAR licence for publication signed by all authors. Download here.

Copyright Notice

© World Health Organization (WHO) 2018. Some rights reserved.

WHO Permissions and licensing

The articles in this publication are published by the World Health Organization and contain contributions by individual authors. The articles are available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 IGO license (CC BY 3.0 IGO, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. In any use of these articles, there should be no suggestion that WHO endorses any specific organization, products or services. The use of the WHO logo is not permitted.


Please cite the articles as follows: [Author names]. [Article title]. Western Pac Surveill Response J. [Year]; [Volume] ([Issue]). [doi number] [pmid number]

For example, Hoy D, Saketa ST, Maraka RR, Sio A, Wanyeki I, Frison P, et al. Enhanced syndromic surveillance for mass gatherings in the Pacific: a case study of the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in Solomon Islands, 2012. Western Pac Surveill Response J. 2016;7:3. doi:10.5365/wpsar.2016.7.1.004 pmid:27766181

License: Creative Commons BY 3.0 IGO

The World Health Organization does not necessarily own each component of the content contained within these articles and does not therefore warrant that the use of any third-party-owned individual component or part contained in the articles will not infringe on the rights of those third parties. The risk of claims resulting from such infringement rests solely with you. If you wish to re-use a component of the articles attributed to a third party, it is your responsibility to determine whether permission is needed for that re-use and to obtain permission from the copyright owner. Examples of components can include, but are not limited to, tables, figures or images.

Any mediation relating to disputes arising under this license shall be conducted in accordance with the WIPO Mediation Rules ( Any inquiries should be addressed to

License to publish

Western Pacific Surveillance and Response is an open access journal and requires each author of a contribution to grant the World Health Organization (the Publisher) a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution IGO License ( for the term of copyright and any extensions thereof. This includes to publish, re-publish, transmit, sell, distribute and otherwise use the article in the Journal, in whole or as a part. This is done by signing the WPSAR License to publish form.


The designations employed and the presentation of the information on this website do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the World Health Organization concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

The mention of specific companies or of certain manufacturers' products does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by the World Health Organization in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned. Errors and omissions excepted, the names of proprietary products are distinguished by initial capital letters.

Links to third-party websites

The World Health Organization does not warrant that the information contained on the website is complete and correct and shall not be liable whatsoever for any damages incurred as a result of its use.