Health Services Management Research Guidelines for Authors

For details of benefits offered to RSM Press authors, please visit our benefits page.

For details of our policy on depositing articles in institutional or central respositories, please visit our archiving page.

These instructions comply with the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals formulated by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (for further details, see the ICMJE site)

1. Aims and scope
Health Services Management Research publishes articles which, through the conduct of research and analysis, provide information for improved management of health services. The journal is aimed at managers at different levels and from a variety of functions, at clinicians and other professional staff increasingly involved in management and at academics concerned with health systems.

A special feature of the journal is an attempt to bridge the gap between research activity and the practical implementation of management decision making. Evidence-based management is as important as evidence-based medicine. Coverage includes:

  • Policy issues and implications for health services
  • Research in healthcare
  • Strategic management
  • Human resource aspects of healthcare provision
  • Financial and resource implications of change in health services
  • Organizational change and development
  • Clinical/management interaction
  • Quality and outcome in health provision.
  • Articles submitted to Health Services Management Research should be primarily empirical but analytical theoretical reviews are acceptable. The development and improvement in management practice resulting from the paper should be clear.

    2. Editorial policy
    Covering letter

    The covering letter is important. To help the Editor in his preliminary evaluation, please indicate why you think the paper suitable for publication. If your paper should be considered for fast-track publication, please explain why.

    Peer review

    All contributions to the journal will be considered for publication on the understanding that they are not under consideration/accepted for publication or already published elsewhere. All will be peer-reviewed and the final decision on acceptance or rejection will remain with the Editor.

    Ethical approval

    All research submitted for publication must be approved by an ethics committee.

    Patient consent

    Any article containing identifiable patient information not already in the public domain must be accompanied by a statement of consent to publication.
    If there is any doubt about whether or not information is identifiable, the Editors are happy to discuss this before an article is submitted.
    Reviewers will also be asked to take careful account of issues relating to patient confidentiality when reviewing articles.

    Competing interests and other declarations

    All authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest when submitting papers for publication.
    Declarations of funding sources, a guarantor and a statement of contributorship are also required.


    All previously published material must be accompanied by the written consent to reproduction of the copyright holder.
    An acknowledgement of permission should be included at the relevant point in the paper, and a full reference to the original place of publication should be included in the reference list.


    Authors of accepted manuscripts will be required to allocate copyright to the publishers prior to publication.


    Only the help of those who have made substantial contributions to the study and/or the preparation of the paper should be acknowledged.

    3. Types of articles

    Original Articles

    There is no strict length limitation on submitted manuscripts but they will normally be expected to fall within the range of 3000–4000 words. Manuscripts will not normally be returned unless specifically requested. Structured headings are required.

    Letters to the Editor

    Letters arise normally but not exclusively from papers published in this and other scientific journals. These are usually less than 500 words.

    Book Reviews

    The heading should include the title, author, town and name of publisher, year of publication, number of pages and price. Only two copies need be submitted, one of which should be on disc. Books for review should be sent to Professor Peter Spurgeon, Warwick University, Warwick Medical School, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK.

    4. How to submit a manuscript
    Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the guidelines below and should be sent by post: one copy on PC-formatted floppy disk or CD-ROM (together with digital images of any figures) and three printed copies. The manuscript should be sent to:

    Professor Peter Spurgeon, Warwick University, Warwick Medical School, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK.

    All submissions must be in English.

    File formats

    Text files must be saved in .doc or .rtf format. Other suitable formats include .tif for photographic images, .xls for graphs produced in Excel, and .eps for other line drawings.

    5. How to prepare a manuscript

    Manuscripts must be submitted using double line-spaced, unjustified text throughout, with headings and subheadings in bold case. Press ‘Enter’ only at the end of a paragraph, list entry or heading.

    Title page

    The first page should contain the full title of the manuscript, a short title, the author(s) name(s) and affiliation(s), and the name, postal and email addresses of the author for correspondence, as well as a full list of declarations.

    The title should be concise and informative, accurately indicating the content of the article. The short title should be no more than six words long.


    A summary of no more than 200 words must accompany all Articles. Letters to the Editor do not require an abstract.


    Tables must be prepared using the Table feature of the word processor. Tables should not duplicate information given in the text, should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text, and should be given a brief title.


    All figures should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text. All figures must be accompanied by a figure legend. If figures are supplied in separate files, the figure legends must all be listed at the end of the main text file.

    Line drawings should be produced electronically and clearly labelled using a sans serif font such as Arial. Graphs may be supplied as Excel spreadsheets (one per sheet). Other line drawings should be supplied in a suitable vector graphic file format (e.g. .eps)

    All photographic images should be submitted in camera-ready form (i.e. with all extraneous areas removed), and where necessary, magnification should be shown using a scale marker. Photographic images must be supplied at high resolution, preferably 600 dpi. Images supplied at less than 300 dpi are unsuitable for print and will delay publication. The preferred file format is .tif.


    A limited number of explanatory footnotes are permissible, but should be kept to a minimum. They should be designated by superscript letters (a, b, c, etc.) within the text. The notes themselves should be typed on a separate sheet or sheets. Footnotes should not be used for reference citations.


    Only essential references should be included. Authors are responsible for verifying them against the original source material. RSM Press uses the Vancouver referencing system: references should be identified in the text by superscript Arabic numerals after any punctuation, and numbered and listed at the end of the paper in the order in which they are first cited in the text. Automatic numbering should be avoided. References should include the names and initials of up to six authors. If there are more than six authors, only the first three should be named, followed by et al. Publications for which no author is apparent may be attributed to the organization from which they originate. Simply omit the name of the author for anonymous journal articles – avoid using ’Anonymous’. Punctuation in references should be kept to a minimum, as shown in the following examples:

    1. Rice B. Are you really working harder now? Med Educ 2001;78:22-5
    2. Barbour RS, Kitzinger J, eds. Developing Focus Group Research: Politics, Theory and Practice. London: Sage, 1999
    3. Commission for Health Improvement. NHS National Staff Survey 2003. London: Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection, 2003


    Symbols and abbreviations should be those currently in use. Authors should not create new abbreviations and acronyms. The RSM’s book Units, Symbols and Abbreviations provides lists of approved abbreviations.


    All measurements should be expressed in SI units.


    If preparing statistical data for publication, please read the statistical guidelines.

    6. Proofs and eprints
    Proofs will be sent by email to the designated corresponding author as a PDF file attachment and should be corrected and returned promptly; corrections should be kept to a minimum.

    A PDF eprint of each published article will be supplied free of charge to the author for correspondence; hardcopy offprints may be ordered from the publisher when the proofs are returned.