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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.
  • Cover letter addressed to the Executive Editor, briefly describing the article and why it should be published in WPSAR.
  • Title page (.doc or .docx) with:
    – the article title,
    – a short title,
    – full names of all authors and institutions,
    – full contact details of the corresponding author,
    – a brief description of the article of ≤50 words (if your article type does not require an abstract),
    – ≤7 keywords from the MeSH database,
    – names and e-mail addresses of two suggested reviewers (optional but recommended)
  • A Declarations file (.doc or .docx) containing the following statements: Acknowledgements, Conflicts of interest, Ethics statement and Funding. Attach this as a separate file to ensure blind review.
  • Main article file (.doc or .docx), including the following sections in order: Title, Abstract, Main text, References, Figures, Tables
  • Data in an Excel spreadsheet (.xls or .xlsx) for any graphs. Please include both the editable graph(s) and the data used to create the graph(s).
  • WPSAR License to Publish form (linked below), signed by all authors (may be submitted after the manuscript is accepted for publication).

Author Guidelines

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

Allowed file types are: doc, docx, xls, xlsx, pdf, jpg, jpeg, png, tif, tiff, eps, and ai.

Cover letter

The cover letter should be addressed to the Executive Editor and contain the article title, article type, and whether the article is submitted in response to any current Call for Papers. Include a short description of the article and explain how it fits the scope of WPSAR. Affirm that the article has not been previously published and is not under consideration by any other journal. If the article was developed following presentation of some or all of the content at a conference, either in abstract or poster form, please give the conference name, location, and dates. If the abstract or poster was then published by the conference organizers, please provide a link to the publication webpage.

Title page

Submit the title page as a separate Microsoft® Office Word file. Include the full title, a short title, author names, affiliations with city and country names, a brief description of the article of ≤50 words (if your article type does not require an abstract), ≤7 keywords from the MeSH database, and the names and e-mail addresses of at least two suggested reviewers (optional but recommended).

Indicate author affiliations with lowercase letters in superscript format.

WPSAR does not have a limit on the number of authors per article. However, as per the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), all authors should have contributed significantly to the article in at least one aspect of each of the following three categories:

  • 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 authorship will be accepted where two authors have contributed equally to the article.

Article format

Please submit your article in a Microsoft® Office Word file or a compatible file in English (U.K. spelling). Double-spaced, 12-point Arial font should be used to format your article. Margins should be 1" on all sides. Write your chosen article type in the header of each page, and use continuous line numbering throughout the document. Remove all automatic formatting and content control, including automatic reference formatting (EndNote), before submitting.

The main article file should include, in order, the full title, abstract, main text, references, figures and tables. No identifying author information should be included in the file for the purposes of blind review.

The structure of the abstract and main text will depend on the article type. Please see the descriptions of article types below for more information.


Level 1 headings (Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, References) should be in BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS. Level 2 headings should be in Bold sentence case. Level 3 headings should be in Italic sentence case. Headings beyond level 3 should be avoided.


Reference the most recent and relevant publications. Place the reference list after the main text and before the illustrations. Do not use footnotes. Please use the Vancouver referencing style. Sample references can be viewed on the National Institutes of Health website.

Format for journal articles:

  • First 6 authors, et al. Title of article. Journal. Year;Volume(Issue):pages. doi pmid

    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. doi:10.1016/s0006-8993(02)02471-x pmid:12088834

Format for e-references:

Reference personal communications in the text only and include the person's full name and institution. Unpublished sources or those on pre-publication servers may not be included in the reference list.

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


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


Refer to the article type guidelines for the limit on illustrations (figures/tables/diagrams/photos). Please insert all illustrations at the end of the article file with the title above each. Each illustration must be referred to in the text and must be understood on its own without reference to the text. Create graphs in Microsoft® Office Excel and tables in Microsoft® Office Word. Additionally, please provide an editable version of illustrations whenever possible (Excel spreadsheet of graphs including the data used to create them, or PowerPoint for figures/diagrams). Below each illustration in the main file, define all abbreviations used. Footnotes under the illustration should be indicated with lowercase letters in superscript format: a, b, c, etc.


Tables should be cell-based and created in Microsoft® Office Word. Each table should be placed on a new page at the end of the main file. All tables must be cited at least once in the main text. Show all cell borders. Use the minimum of dividing lines in the table, unless it is particularly complex. Merge cells over column headings to clarify hierarchical arrangements. Do not use cell shading. Place the table title and footnotes not within cells, but above and below the table, respectively.

Tables should be self-explanatory, without the need for readers to refer to the main text. Each table should have a unique title. When relevant, include the places and dates covered in the title. Titles and column headings should be as simple and brief as possible. Give units of measurements, multiplication factors, percentage signs, etc. in column headings, rather than repeating them in each cell of the column, and ensure that there is no possibility of misinterpretation. Every column should have a heading, and no column should contain any blanks. Where data are missing, use en dashs "–" or abbreviations (such as NA for "not applicable" or "not available," or ND for "not determined").

All abbreviations in the table and its title should be defined in a footnote below the table (single-spaced, font size 10). Any other footnotes to the table should be marked with superscript lowercase letters. Citations to published material should be given as the same superscript number used in the main text, or written in full if not cited in the main text.


The use of maps is acceptable if an important finding cannot be conveyed without them or if they are needed to give essential context. If included, a map does not count toward the figure/table limit. 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.


If an acknowledgements section is necessary, acknowledge everyone who made a substantial intellectual contribution to the development of the article but do not fulfil the criteria to be authors. Specify the nature of each person's contribution. Do not acknowledge staff who support the publishing process in their normal course of work, including WPSAR staff and peer reviewers. For each person acknowledged, give his/her full name, position held (if appropriate), and name of the institution, city and country, but no personal contact information. Permission from all contributors in the acknowledgement section should be sought. WPSAR will assume that permission has been granted and will not follow up with the authors to confirm.

Conflicts of interest

All authors and reviewers will be required to state any potential conflicts of interest, which will be assessed by the Editorial Team. 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. If there are no conflicts of interest, plase write "The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare."

Ethics statement

It is the responsibility of authors to gain appropriate ethics approval for their work before the work is undertaken. An ethics statement is required for all articles, regardless of whether ethics approval was necessary. If ethics approval was obtained, include the name of the ethics committee/Institutional Review Board and the approval ID. If ethics approval was waived or otherwise deemed to be unnecessary, please give an explanation of why approval was not required.


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. If there was no funding, write "None."

License to Publish

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 ( The editors will ask for this form when your manuscript is accepted for publication, but it may be submitted at any point before then. The form can be found here: WPSAR License to Publish.


WPSAR is committed to deterring plagiarism in scientific publication, including self-plagiarism. WPSAR uses iThenticate to screen all submissions for similarity to published material. Submissions with a significant amount of plagiarized text (>15%, not including quoted text and references) will be subject to additional review. In such cases, authors may be asked to revise the text and resubmit, or a submission may be rejected without further review.

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, revisions required, resubmit 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. 

Article types

Below you will find instructions for each article type. Please note that WPSAR does not publish literature reviews, systematic reviews or meta-analyses, thus article types specific to those study designs are not given.

Brief Report

A short report describing any aspect of health security for public health events and emergencies. These can be unstructured, or structured as per an original research article.

  •  Word limit: ≤ 1000 words
  • ≤ 10 references
  • ≤ 1 figure/graph/picture/table

Case Report / Case Series

An unstructured article describing an unusual case or series of cases with public health significance. Sub-headings may be used to increase the readability of the article.

  • Unstructured abstract of ≤ 250 words
  • Word limit: ≤ 2000 words
  • ≤ 15 references
  • ≤ 3 figures/graphs/pictures/tables

Field Investigation Report

A short article describing an investigation conducted in the field while responding to a disaster or public health event.

  • Structured article with sections for introduction, methods, results and discussion
  • Structured abstract of ≤ 250 words with sections for objective, methods, results and discussion
  • Word limit: ≤ 1500 words
  • ≤ 15 references
  • ≤ 2 figures/graphs/pictures/tables

More comprehensive investigations can be submitted as Original Research.

Lessons from the Field

An article describing an issue faced in field epidemiology and the experience in trying to overcome the issue.

  • Structured article with the headings of problem, context, action, outcome or lessons learned, and discussion
  • Structured abstract of ≤ 250 words with the headings of problem, context, action, outcome or lessons learned, and discussion
  • Word limit: ≤ 2000 words
  • ≤ 15 references
  • ≤ 3 figures/graphs/pictures/tables

Original Research

Original epidemiological studies including outbreak investigations.

  • Structured article with sections for introduction, methods, results and discussion
  • Structured abstract of ≤ 250 words with objective, methods, results and discussion
  • Word limit: ≤ 3000 words
  • ≤ 40 references
  • ≤ 5 figures/graphs/pictures/tables

Outbreak Investigation Report

A short article describing an outbreak investigation including how it was detected, investigated and controlled. Rapid risk assessments undertaken during these investigations are also encouraged.

  • Structured article with sections for introduction, methods, results and discussion
  • Structured abstract of ≤ 250 words with sections for objective, methods, results and discussion
  • Word limit: ≤ 1500 words
  • ≤ 15 references
  • ≤ 2 figures/graphs/pictures/tables

More comprehensive investigations can be submitted as Original Research.


An unstructured article discussing an issue regarding health security for public health events. The scope of the discussion must be clearly defined.

  • Word limit: ≤ 1000 words
  • ≤ 10 references
  • ≤ 1 illustration

Regional Analysis

An article providing an analysis of a topic for the Western Pacific Region, typically authored by WHO staff as part of their routine work on behalf of Member States. Regional Analyses do not undergo peer review.

Risk Assessment

An article detailing a risk assessment of a public health threat or event.

  • Structured article with sections for introduction (including risk question/s), risk assessment methodology, results, discussion and recommendations
  • Structured abstract of ≤ 250 words with objectives, method, results and discussion
  • The results should include an assessment and/or characterization of the hazard, exposure and context, as well as the level of risk or risk characterization. The limitations must also be included. Risk management may be included in the discussion.
  • Word limit: ≤ 3000 words
  • ≤ 30 references
  • ≤ 3 figures/graphs/pictures/tables

Surveillance Report

An article of a summary and interpretation of surveillance data for a given period of time. A description of the surveillance system and the limitations of the data collected must be included.

  • Unstructured abstract of ≤ 250 words
  • Word limit: ≤ 2000 words
  • ≤15 references
  • ≤10 figures/graphs/pictures/tables

Surveillance System Implementation / Evaluation

An article describing the implementation of a new surveillance system or an evaluation of an existing surveillance system used to detect public health events.

  • Unstructured abstract of ≤ 250 words
  • Word limit: ≤ 2000 words
  • ≤ 15 references
  • ≤ 3 figures/graphs/pictures/tables

Letter to the Editor

A letter commenting on a previously published article OR a letter commenting on the theme of the issue.

  • Word limit: ≤ 500 words
  • ≤ 5 references
  • ≤ 1 illustration