Annals of Community Health (ISSN 2347-5455, eISSN 2347-5714), Peer Reviewed, Indexed Journal focusing exclusively on Community Medicine and Public Health

Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

Preamble

Dear Community Health Professional,

Greetings from the editorial team of Annals of Community Health!!!

From the time of Hanlon who emphasized on renaming of Community Medicine to Public Health Medicine which essentially focusses on communicable diseases and environmental control of diseases, the discipline has expanded to address concerns including non-communicable diseases, public health administration and management. In this regard the emphasis on evidence based research is more acute than ever before.

Community Medicine, a specialty of medicine concerned with disease prevention and health promotion among individuals, families, & communities is a young and dynamic discipline still finding its roots in the broad spectrum of Modern medicine.

The confusion on role and scope of the discipline in the broad scientific horizon continues. This is reflected by the lack of appropriate forums on national and International levels for dissemination of information relevant for the practice of Community Health.

In this context, a peer reviewed indexed medical journal focusing on dissemination of updates in the diverse field of community health was conceptualised. We aim to provide a platform for publishing your research work, sharing your experiences and disseminating recent advances along with providing a forum for expressing your viewpoints on various aspects of Community Health.

The first issue was released by Justice Nagamohandas, High Court of Karnataka at the 25th Annual Conference of Karnataka Association of Community Health held at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Bangalore on 1-12-2013.

The journal has been assigned ISSN 2347-5455, eISSN 2347-5714 and is currently indexed in various agencies and is under consideration by more.

Focus and Scope

Annals of Community Health (AoCH) aims to publish papers that advance the understanding of Community Medicine and its allied topics, to disseminate recent updates, stimulate debate, educate and entertain. Remember that AoCH is not a general medical journal; articles must be comprehensible, interesting and relevant to the experts in Community Medicine and Public Health.

Annals of Community Health (AoCH) is a peer-reviewed publication. The issues are published Quarterly. The journal publishes articles on different sections including but not limited to its focus on family health care, epidemiology, biostatistics, public health administration, health care delivery, national health problems, medical anthropology, social medicine and all the topics under the faculty of Community Medicine. The journal also publishes invited annotations and comments, invited papers on recent advances, clinical and epidemiological diagnosis and management; editorial correspondence, book reviews, news updates, updates on national health programmes, debates, discussion.

Annals of Community Health (AoCH) aims to be the go-to reference for Post-Graduates as a source of recent updates and a place for all academicians to contribute to the dissemination of information relevant to the advancement of the field of Community Medicine.

Journal currently Indexed/Listed in:

Annals of Community Health - Google ScholarAnnals of Community Health - Index Medicus for South-East Asia Region - WHOAnnals of Community Health - UlrichswebAnnals of Community Health - Directory of Open Access JournalsAnnals of Community Health - SafetyLitAnnals of Community Health - International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)Annals of Community Health - JournalIndex.net
 Annals of Community Health - Impact Factor Service Annals of Community Health - Directory of Science Annals of Community Health - ScipioAnnals of Community Health - getCited Annals of Community Health - Library Resource Directory Annals of Community Health - Research Bible DRJI Indexed Journal

 

Section Policies

General Article

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Editorial

  1. Viewpoints expressed by the editors or recognised experts in the field contacted by the editors addressing a specific issue
  2. 1200 words (including references)

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Blast from the past

Reprints of articles published elsewhere which the editorial team feels a need to provide wider circulation to benefit academicians and practicing public health professionals and adding a commentary on their significance from a modern-day perspective if required.

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NEWS Update

Annals of Community Health feels that in its pursuit to deliver recent updates, contributions to this section will be immensely important. Another highlight of this section is that it is unsolicited, thus giving a chance for you to contribute. In addition, this ensures that the section covers a broad area than the restricted focus of solicited "Happenings".

Our take on this section: By news, we do not mean conference watch. Neither do we mean copying of news articles from newspapers, nor your daily musings or your take on things (that's what perspectives is for).

Word limit for this section is 300 words (maximum 600 if you can justify the need) (Excluding References).

The following are examples of articles that are considered for this section:

  1.  A news article relevant to public health reported in a newspaper or a magazine is a very important source of information to public health specialists who try to keep up with governmental policies and happenings around in this world. If you find such a worthy article, report it in your own words. Research the take of other news reporting agencies about it. Then it can be critically analysed, summarised, or analysed with expert opinion.
  2. A report published by a reputed agency/organisation (NFHS, RNTCP, WHO, UNAIDS, UNICEF etc.) can be critically analysed, summarised, or analysed with expert opinion. (Click for example 1, example 2).

Do not consider this section as an invitation to Plagiarism. Except quotes, no part of the submitted article should be copied “as is” from the original. (See the example above).

We require you to upload all your references as "supplementary files" (step 4 of manuscript submission form). They can be pdf/scanned jpg/mp3/doc etc. Articles without references attached will not be considered for publication.

Please check out author guidelines to know how to upload your article for submission. It differs significantly from submission of other sections.

Also check "What happens when news article is submitted?" in the review section.

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Happenings

An extension of news updates but solicited from experts in the field.

This follows the same guidelines as "News updates" above but differs from it by the fact that sub headings in this section are permanently repeated in all the issues. The headings currently under consideration currently are NPSP, RNTCP, NRHM, NVBDCP, Immunisation, and Nutrition.

This section is thought off with an objective that when a reader glances at past issues of “Annals of Community Health”, a timeline of events is formed in front of him about the topic. "Happenings" is expected to serve as the place to get the most important recent updates under these headings.

"Happenings" gains importance by the fact that it is written by on field experts. This section along with its reader gains a lot from their experience. The editorial team realises that 600 words may be too less for each topic but justifies the limit saying that the final objective is to sensitise the reader about the recent update so that they can find more information on their own. This is not a place for in detail analysis and critical review. This is not a textbook chapter. If the contributors or readers feel the need for critical analysis or in detail analysis, the section of perspectives welcomes you.

So, what do we expect in happenings? (In the order of preference :)

  • Recent policy updates,
  • Status of the "programme",
  • Something new in consideration,
  • Little known trial phases started in the country and their objectives.

Highlighting little known aspects of working of the current programme.

Please provide reference when possible for the reader to read more about that topic and limit the article to 600 words (excluding references). The submission process follows the same guidelines as news articles. Only editorial review and copyediting will be done on submission of these updates.

 

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Original Research Article

Annals of Community Health is looking for research articles that have been conducted using scientific research methodology, and presented unambiguously. We do not delude ourselves expecting ground breaking research to be published in AoCH this early in its life (although you are welcome to surprise us).

Studies generalizable to the community are given a higher leverage by our editorial staff and have a higher chance of crossing the initial review detailed below than the ones generalizable to specific schools, colleges, hospitals. (Please do not argue about the definition of community saying it includes the above-mentioned groups, we too know that it does, but if you are a specialist of community medicine / public health / or a doctor who studied community medicine, you know what we mean).

AoCH also understands the reality that "originality of concept" is a rare possibility and welcomes articles that have a new take on things, do not hesitate to send them. However, we feel that compromise on originality of the idea seems essential when we look to publish research articles that increase the knowledge of our surroundings. This gives us baseline data for different parts of the country in particular and the world in general thus benefiting a range of academicians ranging from governmental agencies (for effective planning) to students looking for references for their thesis.

AoCH does not share the discrimination against KAP or cross sectional studies seen around us; we feel these studies are of particular importance in our country (though if you just cook up a questionnaire and ask a bunch of people not representative of anything, do not expect it to pass the initial step of review).

We also want to be clear when we tell you that studies showing no significant findings are also relevant and may actually be more important depending on the research question. Please do not try to "torture" your data till it gives you "significance.”

According to us, a bad article is one that:

  • has not been conducted scientifically and/or
  • not presented properly and/or
  • has been shamelessly plagiarised and/or
  • is fabricated.

So, what do you need to submit to be considered?

  1. IMRAD format.
  2. Should follow Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals by ICMJE 
  3. Standard reporting guidelines should be followed (CONSORT, STROBE, PRISMA, STARD, COREQ, ENTREQ, SQUIRE, CHEERS, CARE, SAMPL). Available at The EQUATOR Network
  4. 2,400 words.
The following are instructions of certain headings in brief:
  • Abstract (250 Words)

A clearly written abstract is crucial for the purpose of peer and editorial review of the manuscript as well as maximizing visibility from electronic databases like PubMed once the manuscript is published. The abstract should contain the following sections: Background (the rationale for the study), Methods (how the study was done), Results (the principal findings), and Interpretation (a discussion of the results).

  • Introduction

This section should inform the reader of the topic being studied and provide the context for the research question. The objective of the study should be clearly stated. We recommend that this section be no more than two paragraphs.

  • Methods

We advise that authors use a narrative style avoiding jargon to describe the protocol used in their study. Authors are encouraged to include complete study protocols with their manuscripts that would appear as online appendices to their manuscripts if accepted for publication.

  • Results

Wherever possible, results should be summarized in tabular format. Authors should avoid any redundant presentation of data in tables and in the text of the manuscript.

  • Interpretation

This section should include four parts:

      1. Brief summary of the main results of the study (1 paragraph)
      2. Explanation for the findings; comparison and contrast of findings with other related studies in the literature (1 or 2 paragraphs)
      3. Limitations of the study (1 paragraph)
      4. Conclusions and future directions in the field of study (1 paragraph).

Randomized trials

We will automatically fast track all randomized controlled trials for review; accepted manuscripts will be published within 4 weeks of submission. The reports of randomized controlled trials should adhere to CONSORT guidelines http://www.consort-statement.org

Annals of Community Health requires that protocols of randomized trials must have been registered in a clinical trial registry when patient recruitment commenced on or after July 1/2005 (for more information, see "Is this clinical trial fully registered? A statement from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors)".

Systematic reviews (including meta-analyses)

Should attempt to answer a focused question and adhere to accepted methodology. Maximum length: 3000 words including abstract, tables, figures and references.

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Short Communication

Reporting of preliminary results of an ongoing study or extracts of a larger study.

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Review Article

In-depth review of a specific issue by an expert in the field by 3,000 words (excluding references)

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Viewpoint

Musings by experts in the filed

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Perspectives

Annals of Community Health on its pursuit of becoming the go to reference for postgraduates considers this section as one of its most important section along with happenings, news and series. AoCH places a high value on articles submitted to this section and you can expect the most rigorous quality control in this section. We expect a very small percentage of submissions to be accepted.

The journal has intentionally not waived submission fees for this section, instead it has a higher charge for submission (lower publication charges though). An argument for waiver of fees was put forward quoting that majority of the contributors for this section is expected to be postgraduate students. However, the editorial team justifies payment for submission to prevent uncontrolled submission of substandard manuscripts (we want you to perform quality control yourself and not submit all your seminars and make us search in them). The editorial team also feels that INR 1000 (~15$) is neither too big an amount to hinder submissions, nor is it too small to be taken lightly. In addition, the journal wishes to pay a nominal amount to its reviewers and needs funds for that.

Every unsolicited perspective tries to answer a particular question (not a research question, which is what original research articles are for). In simple words, it is the near perfect answer to a 20 marks postgraduate question.

This makes it a unique platform for:

  1. Post graduate students to submit extracts from seminars for which they would have performed pain-staking research.
  2. Recently passed graduates to provide valuable contributions to their juniors.
  3. Senior professors to impart knowledge to a wide group of students / academicians.
  4. Researchers and policy makers to discuss the pros and cons of a particular topic.
  5. Critical analysis of a topic of public health importance.

Publication in this section credits the author about his command on the topic and more importantly spreads this good piece of work among fellow academicians.

So, what do you need to submit to be considered?

We will not suggest individual word limits but keep the whole article at 3,000 words.

  1. Title: clear, crisp, capturing attention of the reader, within limits of the article, of acceptable length.
  2. Question: let us know exactly what are you trying to express by informing us the question you are trying to answer. This is most important to both be clear to our target audience (postgraduates) and ensure that reviewers know the scope of what is to follow.
  3. Content/answer/critical analysis/view points: Your matter goes here. please make sure that:
    • Tables and images are inserted where relevant in the text and not at the end.
    • Permission has been taken for use of the images you have submitted.
    • Extracts of work done by others has been properly attributed (including tables and figures).
    • No copyright infringements happen by submission of your article for publication in AoCH.
    • If some image or certain copyrighted content is of utmost importance, please provide it as a reference with links to that page and not the image.
    • Plagiarism (copying of someone else's content without attribution) is severely frowned upon and may lead to blacklisting you from the journal.
  4. References: Being an expert in Community Medicine / public health / we expect you to write references properly in Vancouver style. Improper writing of references might lead to rejection of the article by itself. Also provide a link to the reference whenever possible.
  5. Comment (vouching) by one P.G guide (only for submissions by postgraduates): We expect that you submit a comment by a professor / Head of your department on their view about manuscript being submitted. This should not be a recommendation for publication but an acknowledgment by the department; of your work related to the submission and also should highlight why they feel this article should be published. (This is not included in the word limit for perspectives, maximum 500 words. Will be published only if need is felt by the editorial board).

Also, please read review of perspectives section in review policy to get a better understanding of this section and author guidelines to know formatting options for submission.

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Series

Solicited articles on specific allied disciplines of Community Health written by topic experts to help in better understanding of the subject of Community Medicine.

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Institute of Public Health Importance

Write-up about various institutes involved in pioneering work in public health.

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Success Story

Introduction to some of the outstanding achievements in the field of community health and the people behind it.

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Activities

Reporsts of highlights of activities done to promote Public Health

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Spotlight

Solicited article highlighing a current topic of importance.

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Medical Education and Humanities

Medical humanities (MH) have been described as using subjects traditionally known as the humanities for specific purposes in medical education. Learning MH provides a number of advantages to medical stu-dents. I have been involved in facilitating MH sessions for over seven years. MH modules are still not com-mon in South Asia. There are various challenges in initiating a MH module in a medical school in south Asia. MH modules should be driven by the energy and creativity of facilitators in each medical school, should use small group learning strategies and be fun.

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Peer Review Process

What happens when News article is submitted?

Once the article has been submitted according to section policy and author guidelines, the submitted news article will not be processed till 5 weeks before the issue dead line. Two editors will pick 5 articles to be published in the journal 1 month before the date of publication of the issue. The authors will be intimated and the final copy-editing step is competed and intimated to the managing editor who undertakes layout editing and proof reading. Copy editing, layout editing and proof reading should be completed by 15 days maximum, else, that article cannot be published in that issue, so it becomes of utmost importance for the author to provide proper contact details during submission.

We will share the news articles not accepted for publication in the journal blog and Facebook page for the benefit of everyone as these are important updates for all. They will be shared "as is" and will not be copyedited or proofed. They will be taken down on request from the author if they want to submit the same article for consideration of some other journal.

What happens to articles submitted in perspectives?

We ask you to see section policies to know what is expected in this section and author guidelines to know how to submit in this section.

Initial review:

The managing editor on receiving the manuscript assigns it to one senior editor (editors in chief/executive editor). The assigned editor blinds the article and then asks one honorary editor and one editor to review the submission along with himself. The manuscript is evaluated based on the question that it tries to answer. Some of the aspects looked at are:

  • Approach,
  • Usefulness,
  • Need,
  • Completeness,
  • Critical analysis, and
  • Recommendations.

The following outcomes are possible after this step:

  1. All three suggest, “Rejection” or “Resubmit with major corrections”: The author is notified and submission is rejected.
  2. Two suggest, “Rejection” or “Resubmit with major corrections”: The author is notified and submission is rejected.
  3. One suggests “rejection” or “Resubmit with major corrections”: The editor gets it reviewed by another senior editor and his decision will be considered final. Author is notified of the submission is rejected.

The manuscript is deemed acceptable for publication if it receives favourable response from three editors:

Ouside Review:

The assigned senior editor then sends the manuscript for review by two experts not in the editorial team. The possible outcomes here are:

  1. Both reviewers suggest rejection or resubmission with major changes: The submission is rejected and author is notified.
  2. One reviewer suggests rejection or resubmission with major changes: The blinded article is assigned to another senior editor and their decision is considered final.

Thus for acceptance of a submission to the section perspectives, it should receive a rating of "accept" or "accept with minor changes" from 5 reviewers.

The senior editor notifies the author, informs the managing editor about his decision of accepting the article for publication, and follows it up through minor revisions and copyediting phase (written in detail in Original articles section of peer review process).

Readers review

This section will also greatly benefit by the readers review and comments, so we request you to take part actively in adding to existing published knowledge. See below for more details.

What happens when you submit a research/review article?

This section outlines the flow of an article submitted to the sections of Original Research Article, Short Communication and Review articles. Once the editorial team of AoCH receives an unsolicited manuscript along with submission fee, it undergoes the following procedure:

Initial review:

The managing editor assigns the blinded manuscript to two senior editors (editors in chief/ executive editor) for advice if the article should be considered for peer review. The following outcomes are possible:

  1. Both senior editors accept: Manuscript is assigned to a editor to oversee the peer review process and copy editing stage.
  2. One senior editor accepts, another rejects: The managing editor assigns the manuscript to the third senior editor (at this stage the third senior editor will be blinded about the earlier process). His decision to reject it or consider for review will be taken as final.
  3. Both senior editors reject the paper: The author is informed about the result and the paper is rejected.

The senior editors at this stage would not do an extensive review of the article, but would look for points like:

  • Suitability of the submission to the scope of the journal.
  • Obvious glaring flaws in research methodology.
  • Proper use of technical terms in Community Medicine (ex: do not use the sentence "pre-tested, close ended, semi-structured questionnaire" lightly).
  • Obvious glaring contraindications.
  • Over generalising of the results.
  • Improper representation of data.
  • Style of presentation.

Once the initial review is completed and the paper is accepted for consideration; the managing editor assigns the manuscript to a editor (or himself) for further evaluation.

Peer review and decision-making:

The assigned editor then undertakes the process of review of the article. Peer review is conducted by the assigned editor, and/or one or two specialists in the area of the paper concerned identified by the editor. The editor compiles his comments along with comments and suggestions by the reviewers and decides if the article is to be rejected or needs to be re-submitted with major changes and informs the author about the same (Incase of contraindicating reviews, the editor gets another review done externally or from another editor of the journal).

If after compilation of these two/three, reviews the editor comes to the opinion of accepting the article or acceptance after minor corrections, the same is informed to the managing editor.

A senior editor is then assigned to the manuscript in question and provided with the revised (if applicable) manuscript and editorial/reviewer comments. After a review of his own along with the comments at hand, he either rejects the article or concurs to the suggestion given by the editor to accept or accept with minor revisions for publication.

This information is conveyed to the editor through the managing editor who sends an acknowledgment of acceptance to the author and further processes the article through copyediting stage.

Copyediting:

The editor then edits the manuscript with a view to clarity, brevity, style, and accuracy. The careful scrutiny at the copyediting stage may reveal further areas where information is lacking or clarification is needed. (This is where the editor tries to improve the quality of presentation of the article and making sure, it fits to the requirement of the journal. The editor here utilises the expertise of a language expert to better the manuscript. The following steps are expected in this phase:

  • Correction of grammatical mistakes.
  • Pruning unwanted sentences.
  • Confirming proper use of abbreviations.
  • Suggests rewriting of paragraphs if required.
  • Clarifications regarding any queries that may arise).

The copyedited manuscript is sent to the corresponding author for approval. We request the authors to please take this step seriously because it's your study, you are one who knows best, you are the one who will be answerable if corrected sentences reflect a different meaning than what you intend to tell. This will be the final step where major changes are done to the manuscript.

The approved copy edited manuscript, and the transfer of copyright of the manuscript to us should be sent to the editor at this point.

The editor then submits the final copy edited manuscript, copyright form to the managing editor who takes up the process of layout editing. The final copy is sent to the editor and author for proofreading (corrections not more than spelling mistakes, formatting errors will be accepted at this stage). The manuscript this approved by the author will be assigned for an issue by the managing editor.

Readers review

This is a new concept in trial by few journals for extended quality control.

Once a manuscript has been published, the reader in this journal has been given a chance to comment on the article (anonymously if required). If the reader points out serious flaws including but not limited to plagarism that may have escaped notice (in spite of our best efforts), and majority of the editors in AoCH accept the comment, the article will be RETRACTED by a statement in the next issue and removed from the website.

We request the readers to utilise this "power" judiciously and not of haste or hate. Always attempt to contact the author by email or phone for clarifications, remember that this is just a paper and not a thesis, not every point can be given in detail. If you do not get satisfactory answer then you can post your review for the attention of the editorial board and the world. Properly worded and named comments will be published under the section "letters to the editor" with either clarification from the author or an editorial reply.

We welcome your comments which bestow constructive criticism on the articles (example "that test if had been applied would have been better), or your journal club critical review. Such discussion will help future articles and researchers. Well-worded comments will be published in the journal. Offensive comments like "this is a silly article" will not be tolerated. Remember that five to six experts in the field have reviewed the article in front of you and is here after their approval. All we ask you is to make use of this opportunity of reviewing a published article for the betterment of manuscripts available to us all.

 

Publication Frequency

Annals of Community Health (AoCH) issues are published Quarterly. Accepted articles will be published in our journal and released online at the same time.

 

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

 

Archiving

This journal utilizes the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. More...

 

Print Journal Subscription

Article Reprints (Digital Quality)*:

  • 4 Copies of article = INR 1,000
  • 20 Copies of article = INR 1,500
  • 50 Copies of article = INR 3,000
One Complete Issue Print (Current or past) (Digital Quality)*: INR 2,000
  • If authored an article in the issue*: INR 1,500

Annual Individual Suscription (1 copy each issue - Total 4)*: INR 4,000

Annual Institutional Subscription (1 copy each issue - Total 4)*: INR 6,000

Annual Institutional Subscription (2 copies each issue - Total 8)*: INR 10,000

For subscriptions from outside India, The charges will be subject to revision based on prevalent postal charges on time of subscription. Kindly request a quote before subscription.

*Including Postal Charges

 

Attribution of used copyrighted material

  1. Icons from Visualpharm used under Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
  2. Facebook icon by Aha-Soft, available from iconspedia.com used under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

 

Ethical and Retracation guidelines

This section will be updated in the near future



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