Research Synthesis Methods

Cover image for Vol. 8 Issue 2

Edited By: Tasha Beretvas and Ian Shrier

Impact Factor: 3.018

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2016: 9/57 (Mathematical & Computational Biology); 13/64 (Multidisciplinary Sciences)

Online ISSN: 1759-2887

Author Guidelines

For additional tools visit Author Resources - an enhanced suite of online tools for Wiley InterScience journal authors, featuring Article Tracking, E-mail Publication Alerts and Customized Research Tools.

Author Guidelines


Research Synthesis Methods (JRSM) is devoted to the publication of papers covering the development and dissemination of methods for designing, conducting, analyzing, interpreting, reporting, and applying systematic research synthesis.

Papers must clearly be of scientific value in the field and will be submitted to two independent referees. Contributions must be in English and must not have been published elsewhere, and authors must agree not to communicate the same material for publication to any other journal. It is in the author's interest to ensure accurate and consistent presentation and thus avoid publication delays. There are no page charges.

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Manuscript Submission

All papers must be submitted via the online system. Research Synthesis Methods operates an online submission and peer review system that allows authors to submit articles online and track their progress via a web interface. Please read the remainder of these instructions to authors and then click to navigate to the Research Synthesis Methods online submission site.

IMPORTANT: Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one. If you have reviewed or authored for the journal in the past year it is likely that you will have created an account.

File types. Preferred formats for the text and tables of your manuscript are .doc, .rtf, .ppt, .xls. LaTeX files may be submitted provided that an .eps or .pdf file is provided in addition to the source files. Figures may be provided in .tiff or .eps format.


NON-LATEX USERS: Editable source files must be uploaded at this stage. Tables must be on separate pages after the reference list, and not be incorporated into the main text. Figures should be uploaded as separate figure files.

LATEX USERS: For reviewing purposes you should upload a single .pdf that you have generated from your source files. You must use the File Designation "Main Document" from the dropdown box.


NON-LATEX USERS: Editable source files must be uploaded at this stage. Tables must be on separate pages after the reference list, and not be incorporated into the main text. Figures should be uploaded as separate figure files.

LATEX USERS: When submitting your revision you must still upload a single .pdf that you have generated from your now revised source files and also upload the main .TeX file. Choose "Main Document" as the file designation from the dropdown box for the .pdf and .TeX file. In addition you must upload your TeX source files as "Supplemental Material not for review". Previous versions of uploaded documents must be deleted. If your manuscript is accepted for publication we will use the files you upload to typeset your article within a totally digital workflow.

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Copyright and Permissions

If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to login into Author Services; where via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS) they will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper.

For authors signing the copyright transfer agreement

If the OnlineOpen option is not selected the corresponding author will be presented with the copyright transfer agreement (CTA) to sign. The terms and conditions of the CTA can be previewed in the samples associated with the Copyright FAQs below:

CTA Terms and Conditions

For authors choosing OnlineOpen

If the OnlineOpen option is selected the corresponding author will have a choice of the following Creative Commons License Open Access Agreements (OAA):

Creative Commons Attribution License OAA

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License OAA

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial -NoDerivs License OAA

To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services and visit

If you select the OnlineOpen option and your research is funded by The Wellcome Trust and members of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) you will be given the opportunity to publish your article under a CC-BY license supporting you in complying with Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK requirements. For more information on this policy and the Journal’s compliant self-archiving policy please visit:

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English Editing

Papers must be in English. Oxford English Dictionary or American spelling is acceptable, provided usage is consistent within the manuscript.

Manuscripts that are written in English that is ambiguous or incomprehensible, in the opinion of the Editor, will be returned to the authors with a request to resubmit once the language issues have been improved. This policy does not imply that all papers must be written in "perfect" English, whatever that may mean. Rather, the criterion will require that the intended meaning of the authors must be clearly understandable, i.e., not obscured by language problems, by referees who have agreed to review the paper.

Authors for whom English is a second language may choose to have their manuscript professionally edited before submission to improve the English. A list of independent suppliers of editing services can be found at Japanese authors can also find a list of local English improvement services at

All services are paid for and arranged by the author, and use of one of these services does not guarantee acceptance or preference for publication.

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Presentation of papers

Manuscript style. Use a standard font of the 12-point type: Times, Helvetica, or Courier is preferred. It is not necessary to double-line space your manuscript.

Tables must be on separate pages after the reference list, and not be incorporated into the main text. Figures should be uploaded as separate figure files.

  • During the submission process you must enter 1) the full title 2) the short title of up to 70 characters 3) names and affiliations of all authors and 4) the full address, including email, telephone and fax of the author who is to check the proofs.
  • Include the name(s) of any sponsor(s) of the research contained in the paper, along with grant number(s).
  • Enter an abstract of no more than 250 words for all articles. Please see the guidance below on acceptable abstract writing for Research Synthesis methods
  • Keywords. Authors should prepare no more than 5 keywords for their Manuscript to help describe their paper for indexing purposes.


Review Synthesis Methods is an inter-disciplinary journal. Different scientific domains may interpret the same words to have different meanings, or different words to have the same meaning. In addition, it is not always clear to someone outside of the author’s field why the article might be important for them to read. The objective of this section is to bridge this gap and to allow readers outside of the author’s field to more fully appreciate the importance of the work.

  • What is already known
  • What is new
  • Potential impact for Review Synthesis Methods readers outside the authors' field

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Writing Abstracts

An abstract is a concise summary of the whole paper, not just the conclusions. The abstract should be no more than 250 words and convey the following:

1. An introduction to the work. This should be accessible by scientists in any field and express the necessity of the experiments executed

2. Some scientific detail regarding the background to the problem

3. A summary of the main result

4. The implications of the result

5. A broader perspective of the results, once again understandable across scientific disciplines

It is crucial that the abstract convey the importance of the work and be understandable without reference to the rest of the manuscript to a multidisciplinary audience. Abstracts should not contain any citation to other published works.

Reference Style

Authors are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of information contained in the references. The journal uses Harvard Reference Style. References must be compiled at the end of the article in alphabetical order. Identify multiple authors published in the same year with an a,b,c, etc. after the year. In-text citations must be listed by author name(s) and year of publication in parentheses.For example: One author: (Smith, 1998); one author with more than one referenced publication in the same year (Smith, 1998b). Two authors: (Smith and Jones, 1997). Three or more authors: (Smith et al., 1996). NOTE: et al. is used only for in-text citations, not in the references. If more than one article is cited in parentheses, list authors alphabetically. For example: (Brown et al., 1999; Lee et al., 1995b; Smith, 2000; Walters and Mason, 1997a). Cite unpublished data—such as papers submitted but not yet accepted for publication and personal communications, including e-mail communications—in parentheses in the text. Refer to the List of Journals Indexed in Index Medicus for abbreviations of journal names, or access the list at

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Upload each figure as a separate file in either .tiff or .eps format, with the figure number and the top of the figure indicated. Compound figures e.g. 1a, b, c should be uploaded as one figure. Tints are not acceptable. Lettering must be of a reasonable size that would still be clearly legible upon reduction, and consistent within each figure and set of figures. Where a key to symbols is required, please include this in the artwork itself, not in the figure legend. All illustrations must be supplied at the correct resolution:

  • Black and white and colour photos - 300 dpi
  • Graphs, drawings, etc - 800 dpi preferred; 600 dpi minimum
  • Combinations of photos and drawings (black and white and colour) - 500 dpi

Tables should be part of the the main document and should be placed after the references. If the table is created in excel the file should be uploaded separately.

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Colour policy

Where colour is necessary to the understanding of the figures, colour illustrations will be reproduced in the journal without charge to the author. Colour figures must be submitted in a CMYK colorspace. Do not submit colour figures as RGB.

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Citing EarlyView Articles

To include the DOI in a citation to an article, simply append it to the reference as in the following example:

R. K. Harris, A. Nordon, K. D. M. Harris, Rapid. Commun. Mass Spec. 2007, DOI: 10.1002/rcm.21464.

To link to an article from the author’s homepage, take the DOI (digital object identifier) and append it to "" as per following example:

DOI 10.1002/jrsm.20941, becomes

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Supporting Information

Supporting Information can be a useful way for an author to include important but ancillary information with the online version of an article. Examples of Supporting Information include additional tables, data sets, figures, movie files, audio clips, 3D structures, and other related nonessential multimedia files. Supporting Information should be cited within the article text, and a descriptive legend should be included. It is published as supplied by the author, and a proof is not made available prior to publication; for these reasons, authors should provide any Supporting Information in the desired final format. For further information on recommended file types and requirements for submission, please visit:

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Article formats published in Research Synthesis Methods

Research Articles report original work on methodological issues. There are no formal limits on the number of pages for Research Articles, but they should be written as concisely as possible. Please see the above section for rules pertaining to format and presentation. An abstract and a maximum of five keywords should be given at the top of the manuscript.

Tutorials provide a source of information about a topic or method that aims to be more instructive than what is conveyed in a normal research article. Topics should be presented at a level suitable for non-experts with maximum attention being given to clarity of expression, freedom from jargon, and high quality figures. Tutorial articles should stimulate as well as inform the readers. Tutorials must be accompanied by an abstract, a maximum of five keywords, and contain fewer than 50 references.

Reviews give a general overview of a particular field or topic, providing the reader with an appreciation of the importance of the work, a summary of recent developments, and a starting point in the specialist literature. Reviews are not limited as to the number of pages, tables, figures and references that may be included. An abstract and a maximum of five keywords should be provided.

Discussion Papers/Commentaries discuss a paper published in a specific issue and should critique or support the paper and set the problems it addressed in the wider context of the field. Discussion papers and commentaries appear only by invitation of the Editors.

Brief Method Notes describe or critique a particular method, procedure, graphic display, or the like that may be useful or interesting. A Method Note should focus on what is innovative or useful, or problematic, about the method. New methods or procedures should be presented clearly and with sufficient detail to allow them to be used by the non-expert. Method Notes are limited to 10 manuscript pages and should be accompanied by a short abstract and up to five keywords.

Article Alerts are bibliographies and annotations designed to keep researchers up-to-date with the emerging literature in their area of research. They are compiled by the designated Feature Editor to provide periodic updates of articles, chapter, and books that address topics related to research synthesis methods.

Software & Book Reviews are usually written on invitation, but suggestions are always welcome. Publishers should send relevant brochures directly to the Book Review Editor. An informative book review should be up to 5000 characters in length and provide answers to the following questions: What topics are covered in the book and are they established topics or ones of recent research interest? What are the merits and deficiencies of the work? What benefits does the book offer to different types of readers? Similar aspects hold for reviews of software or websites.

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Original Publication Submission of a manuscript will be held to imply that it contains original unpublished work and is not being submitted for publication elsewhere at the same time. The author must supply a full statement to the Editor about all submissions and previous reports that might be regarded as redundant or duplicate publication of the same or very similar work

Conflicts of Interest Authors are responsible for disclosing all financial and personal relationships between themselves and others that might be perceived by others as biasing their work. To prevent ambiguity, authors must state explicitly whether potential conflicts do or do not exist. Any possible conflict of interest, financial or otherwise, related to the submitted work must be clearly indicated in the manuscript and in the cover letter accompanying the submission.

Paper will not be rejected because there is a competing interest: the aim of funding and conflicts of interest statements is not to eradicate conflict of interest (they are common); it is so that journal articles are fully transparent and ethical.

Ethics When reporting on patient data, for example in a patient data meta-analysis, do not use patients' names, initials or hospital numbers. When reporting experiments on specific animal trials, indicate whether the institution's or a national research council's guide for, or any national law on, the care and use of laboratory animals was followed. A statement describing explicitly the ethical background to the studies being reported should be included in all manuscripts. Ethics committee or institutional review board approval should be stated.

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information should not be published in written descriptions, photographs and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential but patient data should never be altered or falsified in an attempt to attain anonymity.

Authorship All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship and all those who qualify should be listed. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content. One or more authors should take responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole, from inception to published article. Authorship credit should be based only on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; 3) final approval of the version to be published. Conditions 1, 2 and 3 must all be met. Acquisition of funding, the collection of data or general supervision of the research group, by themselves, do not justify authorship. All others who contributed to the work who are not authors should be named in the Acknowledgements section.

Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) As a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), adherence to these submission criteria is considered essential for publication in Research Synthesis Methods. If, at a later stage in the submission process or even after publication, a manuscript or authors are found to have disregarded these criteria, it is the duty of the Editor to report this to COPE. COPE may recommend that action be taken, including but not exclusive to, informing the authors' professional regulatory body and/or institution of such a dereliction.

For more information visit the COPE website at:

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Further Information

For accepted manuscripts the publisher will supply proofs to the submitting author prior to publication. This stage is to be used only to correct errors that may have been introduced during the production process. Prompt return of the corrected proofs, preferably within two days of receipt, will minimise the risk of the paper being held over to a later issue. There is no page charge to authors.

Manuscript accepted for publication?

Author Services enables authors to track production and publication of their accepted articles. Authors also receive free access to their published articles online and have the ability to nominate up to 10 colleagues for free access.

Check out our suite of tools and services for authors at:

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Online Open

OnlineOpen is available to authors of primary research articles who wish to make their article available to non-subscribers on publication, or whose funding agency requires grantees to archive the final version of their article. With OnlineOpen, the author, the author's funding agency, or the author's institution pays a fee to ensure that the article is made available to non-subscribers upon publication via Wiley Online Library, as well as deposited in the funding agency's preferred archive. For the full list of terms and conditions, see

Any authors wishing to send their paper OnlineOpen will be required to complete the payment form available from our website at:

Prior to acceptance there is no requirement to inform an Editorial Office that you intend to publish your paper OnlineOpen if you do not wish to. All OnlineOpen articles are treated in the same way as any other article. They go through the journal's standard peer-review process and will be accepted or rejected based on their own merit.