Australian Journal of Rural Health

Cover image for Vol. 25 Issue 1

Edited By: Russell Roberts

Impact Factor: 0.764

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 79/114 (Nursing (Social Science)); 82/116 (Nursing (Science)); 155/173 (Public Environmental & Occupational Health)

Online ISSN: 1440-1584

Author Guidelines




Authors should kindly note that submission implies that the content has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere except as a brief abstract in the proceedings of a scientific meeting or symposium.

Once you have prepared your submission in accordance with the Guidelines, manuscripts should be submitted online at

For further assistance please contact the editorial office:
Australian Journal of Rural Health
155 Cremorne Street, Richmond, Victoria 3121, Australia
Tel: (61) 3 9274 3133

Note that effective with the 2017 volume, this journal is published by Wiley in electronic format only.

Print subscription and single issue sales are available from Wiley’s Print-on-Demand Partner. For more information click here.


The Australian Journal of Rural Health publishes articles in the field of rural health. It facilitates the formation of interdisciplinary networks, so that rural health professionals can form a cohesive group and work together for the advancement of rural practice, in all health disciplines. The Journal aims to establish a national and international reputation for the quality of its scholarly discourse and its value to rural health professionals. All articles, unless otherwise identified, are peer reviewed by at least two researchers expert in the field of the submitted paper.

The journal is taken by subscribers in Canada, Japan, USA and the United Kingdom. Readership includes general practitioners, nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacists, health administrators, universities, rural health units and libraries.

'Rural health is an important and dynamic concern in Australia and around the world. The Australian Journal of Rural Health provides a wonderful mix of practical and academic medical, nursing and other health articles. This provides interesting and useful reading for those in rural practice and those involved in rural health care education, planning and development internationally. I look forward to each issue.'
- James T. B. Rourke, MD, CCFP(EM), MCISc, FCFP, FAAFP, Rural Family Physician, Goderich, Ontario, Canada.


Original Research Papers

Word limit: 2,000 words maximum (excluding abstract, boxed lists and references)
Abstract: no more than 250 words; must be structured using the headings: Objective, Design, Setting, Participants, Main outcome measure(s), Result, Conclusion
Two boxed lists: Must include ‘What this paper adds’ & ‘What is already known on this subject’
References: Maximum of 24 references
Figures/Tables: Total of no more than 6 figures and tables
Description: These should report original research relevant to rural health in a way that is accessible to readers of a general journal. They should follow the IMRAD style (introduction, methods, results and discussion. We know that people don't read long papers unless they’re very interested in the subject, so please try to make your paper concise and make every word count. Think hard about what really needs to be in the paper to get your message across and what can be left out. The secret of readability is short words, short sentences, short paragraphs and white space.

These Papers May Be Recordable For DEST Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC)

Systematic Review papers

Word limit: 2,500 words maximum (excluding abstract and references)
Abstract: no more than 250 words; must be structured using the headings: Objective, Design, Setting, Participants, Main outcome measure(s), Result, Conclusion
Two boxed lists: Must include ‘What this paper adds’ & ‘What is already known on this subject’
References: Maximum of 50 references.
Figures/Tables: Total of no more than 6 figures and tables.
Description: These should report research where the evidence is found in published research papers, preferably but not necessarily from the peer-reviewed literature. Reviews may adopt systematic review methodology, narrative review approaches or a variety of approaches for reviewing qualitative papers or sets of qualitative and quantitative papers. The reviews should address a clear and important question of relevance for rural health and should have a clear method that includes both search strategies and clear description of the analyses performed. Reviews should crucially be up to date and there should be enough evidence in the method for the reader to replicate the search and the analysis. There are a number of published papers that provide publication guidelines for reviews such as PRISMA, STARLITE and others. Increasingly papers are being written about how to review qualitative research papers in a systematic way For guidance you may wish to consult which provides information on a wide range of publication guidelines We aim to publish one review paper in each edition of the AJRH

Quality improvement reports

Word limit: 1,500 words maximum (excluding abstract and references) Abstract: no more than 250 words; must be structured using the headings: Problem, Design, Setting, Key measures for improvement, Strategies for change, Effects of change, Lessons learnt.
Two boxed lists: Must include ‘What this paper adds’ & ‘What is already known on this subject’
References: Maximum of 24 references.
Figures/Tables: Total of no more than 4 figures and tables.
Description: We are keen to publish interesting and important descriptive reports on how people try to change and improve health services. Such reports do not contain original science and do not fit easily into the standard IMRaD format for research papers. The reports are to be structured like this:
• Brief description of context: relevant details of staff, function of department, team, unit, patient group
• Outline of problem: what were you trying to accomplish?
• Key measures for improvement: what would constitute improvement in the view of patients?
• Process of gathering information: methods used to assess problems
• Analysis and interpretation: how did this information help your understanding of the problem?
• Strategy for change: what actual changes were made, how were they implemented, and who was involved in the change process?
• Effects of change: did this lead to improvement for patients – how did you know?
• Next steps: what have you learnt/achieved and how will you take this forward?

Short reports

Word limit: 600 words maximum (excluding references if any cited)
Abstract: Not required
References: Maximum of 5 references.
Figures/Tables: Total of no more than 1 figure or table.
Description: The text of a short report should have 3 clear sections:
• Introduction
• Participants, methods and results
• Comment. (To help readers, please give the main message of the paper in the first sentence of this comment section).

These Reports May Be Recordable For DEST Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC)

Letters to the Editor

Word limit: 400 words maximum (excluding references)
Abstract: Not relevant
References: Maximum of 5 references, including the related AJRH article
Figures/Tables: Not relevant
Description: Letters should:
• Relate to articles published in the AJRH in the preceding issue
• Be signed by all the authors
• Be accompanied by each author’s current appointment and full address, and a phone and fax number and email address for the corresponding author
• Letters will be edited and may be shortened.
Unpublished letters may be sent to the author of the article to which they refer.

Did you know? Practical Practice Pointers

Word limit: 600 words maximum (excluding references if any cited)
Abstract: Not required
References: Maximum of 5 references.
Figures/Tables: Total of no more than 1 figure or table.
Description: With the journals multi-professional readership in mind, if you have something that would help others to improve practice, or make life easier, how about writing about it and letting the rest of us know? If you know of a colleague who could do this, persuade them to share it with us all.


Word limit: 250 words maximum
Abstract: Not relevant
References: Maximum of 5 references
Figures/Tables: Not relevant
Description: Obituaries are really important. Readers like to hear of rural lives and other health professionals in the community. ‘Self-written obituaries’ (written in the first person) are welcome. All obituaries are required to include the full name of the deceased, main job title, date of birth, date and place of qualification and exact date of death. We also encourage authors to include the cause of death where possible.


Format and Style

• The main text file should be prepared using Microsoft Word, using 1.5 line spacing.
• Manuscripts should follow the style of the Vancouver agreement detailed in the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ revised ‘Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication’, as presented at
• The journal uses Australian spelling and authors should therefore follow the latest edition of the Macquarie Dictionary.
• Use s-spellings: minimise, organisation, capitalisation.
• All measurements must be given in SI units as outlined in the latest edition of Units, Symbols and Abbreviations: A Guide for Medical and Scientific Editors and Authors (Royal Society of Medicine Press, London).
• Abbreviations should be used sparingly and only where they ease the reader’s task by reducing repetition of long, technical terms. Initially use the word in full, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. Thereafter use the abbreviation.
• Drugs should be referred to by their generic names, rather than brand names.

Parts of the Manuscript

The manuscript should be submitted in separate files: title page; main text file; figures.

Title page

The title page should contain:
(i) a short informative title that contains the major key words. The title should not contain abbreviations;
(ii) the full names of all contributing authors;
(iii) the author's institutional affiliations at which the work was carried out;
(iv) the full postal and email address, plus telephone number, of the author to whom correspondence about the manuscript should be sent;
(v) in keeping with the latest guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, each author’s contribution to the paper is to be quantified in percentages;
(vi) disclosure statement e.g. funding of research, or, if research has been previously published in part or in full elsewhere, details to be provided;
(vii) acknowledgements; and
(viii) any conflict of interest if there is any.

The present address of any author, if different from that where the work was carried out, should be supplied in a footnote.

For details on how to quantify each author's contribution, refer to the section 'Authorship and Acknowledgments' below.

Dislosure Statement: For details on what to include in the disclosure statement, refer to the section 'Disclosure' below.

Acknowledgements: The source of financial grants and other funding should be acknowledged, including a frank declaration of the authors’ industrial links and affiliations. The contribution of colleagues or institutions should also be acknowledged. Thanks to anonymous reviewers are not appropriate.

Main text

As papers are double-blind peer reviewed the main text file is not to include any information that might identify the authors. The main text of the manuscript should be presented in the following order:

(i) title, abstract and keywords (see heading below for further information);
(ii) “what this paper adds & what is already known on this subject” (see heading below for further information);
(iii) text;
(iv) references;
(v) tables (each table complete with title and footnotes); and
(vi) figure legends.

Figures should be supplied as separate files. Footnotes to the text are not allowed and any such material should be incorporated into the text as parenthetical matter.

Abstract and key words

Articles must have a structured abstract of no more than 250 words that provides a structure that ensures that essential information is included in the abstract. They are used in all full length originals. Headings to be used are:
Objective – give the broad aim of the study.
Design – case control, randomised double blind etc.
Setting – primary care, outpatient clinic, tertiary referral centre.
Participants – numbers, sex, ethnic group if appropriate and clear definitions.
Interventions – delete this heading if there were none.
Main outcome measure(s) – This is often little more than a more specific restatement of the objective, and sometimes there may be multiple outcome measures. But if, for example, the objective was to determine whether drug x was effective in prophylaxis of asthma, then the main outcome measures might be peak expiratory flow measure and the presence of symptoms.
Results – give numerical data rather than vague statements that drug x produced a better response than drug y. Favour confidence intervals over P values and never give a lone P value without the numerical data on which it is based.
Conclusions – important because it is often all that people read. Make sure that it doesn’t make any claims that are not in the paper and that it reflects accurately the paper’s conclusions. The first few items – objective, design, setting – may be note-like and need not form full sentences. However, the limited data we have suggests that readers prefer reading proper narrative prose with verbs and articles, so the results and conclusion sections at least should be written properly.

Five key words should be supplied below the abstract and should be words that are not in the manuscript title.

'What this paper adds' boxes

Please produce two boxes offering a thumbnail sketch of what your paper adds to the literature, for readers who would like an overview without reading the whole paper. It should be divided into two sets of dot points.

1: What is already known on this subject?
In two or three dot points explain:
• What the state of scientific knowledge was in this area before you did your study, and
• Why this study needed to be done.
It's important to be as clear and specific as possible. For example you might say:
‘Numerous observational studies have suggested that tea drinking may be effective in treating depression, but until now evidence from randomised controlled trials has been lacking/the only randomised controlled trial to date was underpowered/was carried out in an unusual population/did not use internationally accepted outcome measures/used too low a dose of tea.’ or:
‘Evidence from trials of tea therapy in depression have given conflicting results. Although Sjogren and Smith conducted a systematic review in 1995, a further 15 trials have been carried out since then ...’

2: What does this study add?
In two or three dot points give a simple answer to the question ‘What do we now know as a result of this study that we did not know before?’
For example ‘This randomised study suggests that tea drinking has no overall benefit in depression’.
Be brief, succinct, specific, and accurate.
You might use the last dot point to summarise any implications for practice, research, policy, or public health. For example, your study might have:
asked and answered a new question (one whose relevance has only recently become clear) contradicted a belief, dogma, or previous evidence, provided a new perspective on something that is already known, in general provided evidence of higher methodological quality for a message which is already known.


Authors should use subheadings to divide the sections of their manuscript: Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion.


The Vancouver system of referencing should be used. In the text, references should be cited using superscript Arabic numerals in the order in which they appear. If cited only in tables or figure legends, number them according to the first identification of the table or figure in the text. In the reference list, the references should be numbered and listed in order of appearance in the text. Cite the names of all authors when there are six or less; when seven or more list the first three followed by et al. Reference to unpublished data and personal communications should appear in the text only.

References should be listed in the following form.

Journal article
1 Alderman CP, Cosh DG, Peters PG Thompson CJ. Development of a pilot course in applied pharmacology for nurses working in rural settings. Australian Journal of Rural Health 1994; 2: 3–6.

2 Jones KP. Rural Health and Welfare in Australia, 3rd edn. Brisbane: Mosby Williams, 1994.

Chapter in a book
3 Ried F. Mobility and safer handling. In: McMahon CA, Harding J, eds. Knowledge to Care: A Handbook for Care Assistants. Oxford: Blackwell Science, 1994; 53–69.

4 Anderson SC, Poulsen KB. Anderson's electronic atlas of hematology [CD-ROM]. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2002.

Journal article on the Internet
5 Smith DM. Barriers facing junior doctors in rural practice. Rural and Remote Health 2005; 5: 348. [Cited 22 Aug 2008]. Available from URL:


Tables should be self-contained and complement, but not duplicate, information contained in the text. Tables should be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals. Each table should be presented on a separate sheet of A4 paper with a comprehensive but concise legend above the table.Tables should be double-spaced and vertical lines should not be used to separate columns. Column headings should be brief, with units of measurement in parentheses; all abbreviations should be defined in footnotes. Footnote symbols: †, ‡, §, ¶, should be used (in that order) and *, **, *** should be reserved for P-values. The table and its legend/footnotes should be understandable without reference to the text.

Figure legends

Legends should be self-explanatory. The legend should incorporate definitions of any symbols used and all abbreviations and units of measurement should be explained so that the figure and its legend is understandable without reference to the text.


All illustrations (line drawings and photographs) are classified as figures. Figures should be cited in consecutive order in the text. All figures must be supplied in electronic format. Photographs must prevent human subjects being recognized.

Although authors are encouraged to send the highest-quality figures possible, for peer-review purposes, a wide variety of formats, sizes, and resolutions are accepted.

Click here for the basic figure requirements for figures submitted with manuscripts for initial peer review, as well as the more detailed post-acceptance figure requirements.

Wiley Author Resources

Manuscript Preparation Tips: Wiley has a range of resources for authors preparing manuscripts for submission available here. In particular, authors may benefit from referring to Wiley’s best practice tips on Writing for Search Engine Optimization.

Editing, Translation, and Formatting Support: Wiley Editing Services can greatly improve the chances of a manuscript being accepted. Offering expert help in English language editing, translation, manuscript formatting, and figure preparation, Wiley Editing Services ensures that the manuscript is ready for submission.


Peer Review and Acceptance Criteria

Australian Journal of Rural Health is the official English journal of the National Rural Health Alliance Inc. and publishes papers on all aspects of rural health practice, research and education. The journal is multidisciplinary, aiming to facilitate the formation of interdisciplinary networks so that rural health professionals can form cohesive groups and work together for the advancement of rural practice, in all health disciplines. The content of the journal includes papers of the following type: Original Research papers, Quality Improvement Reports, Systematic Review articles, Short Reports, Letters to the Editor, Practical Practice Pointers, Obituaries.

The Editor encourages new and inexperienced authors to contribute papers. Help and advice will be given to enable publication in this quality journal.

The acceptance criteria for all papers concern the quality and originality of the research and its significance to our readership. Material should be up to date. Authors should have reviewed the literature and should refer to recently published material in the peer reviewed literature if it is relevant. All manuscripts are peer reviewed by two anonymous reviewers and the Editor (unless specifically stated in the case of invited commentaries or editorials). The Editorial Board reserves the right to refuse any material for publication. Final acceptance or rejection rests with the Editorial Board.

Manuscripts should be written so that they can be understood by the professional reader who is not a specialist in the particular field. Where contributions are judged as acceptable for publication on the basis of scientific content, the Editor or the Publisher reserve the right to modify typescripts to eliminate ambiguity and repetition and improve communication between author and reader.


Principles for Publication of Research Involving Human Subjects

Manuscripts must contain a statement to the effect that all human studies have been reviewed by the appropriate ethics committee and have therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in an appropriate version of the Declaration of Helsinki (as revised in Brazil 2013), available at It should also state clearly in the text that all persons gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study. Details that might disclose the identity of the subjects under the study should be omitted.


The journal adheres to the definition of authorship set up by The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). The ICMJE recommends that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria: i) Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; ii) Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; iii) Final approval of the version to be published; and i) Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. Contributors who do not qualify as authors should be mentioned under ‘Acknowledgements’.

Disclosure and Conflict of Interest Statement

Authors must declare any financial support or relationships that may pose a potential conflict of interest. This includes financial arrangements authors have with a company whose product figures prominently in the submitted manuscript or with a company making a competing product. If the article is accepted for publication, a conflict of interest statement may be included in paper if the Editors deem it appropriate. For further information on what may constitute a conflict of interest, please refer to the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE) website at

Best Practice Research Guidelines

Authors are encouraged to ensure their studies conform to accepted best practice guidelines such as:

  • CONSORT guidelines for reports of randomised trials and cluster randomised trials
  • STROBE statement for observational studies (cohort, case-control, or cross-sectional designs)
  • PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  • SQUIRE guidelines for quality improvement studies

These and others can be found at

Publication Ethics

This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Note this journal uses iThenticate’s CrossCheck software to detect instances of overlapping and similar text in submitted manuscripts. Read the Top 10 Publishing Ethics Tips for Authors here. Wiley’s Publication Ethics Guidelines can be found at


If a paper is accepted for publication, the author identified as the formal corresponding author will receive an email prompting them to log in to Author Services, where via the Wiley Author Licencing Service (WALS) they will be required to complete a copyright licence agreement on behalf of all authors of the paper.

Authors may choose to publish under the terms of the journal’s standard copyright agreement, or OnlineOpen under the terms of a Creative Commons Licence.

General information regarding licensing and copyright is available here. To review the Creative Commons License options offered under OnlineOpen, please click here. (Note that certain funders mandate a particular type of CC license be used; to check this please click here.)

Self-Archiving Definitions and Policies: Note that the journal’s standard copyright agreement allows for self-archiving of different versions of the article under specific conditions. Please click here for more detailed information about self-archiving definitions and policies.

Open Access fees: Authors who choose to publish using OnlineOpen will be charged a fee. A list of Article Publication Charges for Wiley journals is available here.

Funder Open Access: Please click here for more information on Wiley’s compliance with specific Funder Open Access Policies.


Accepted Article Received in Production

When an accepted article is received by Wiley's production team, the corresponding author will receive an email asking them to login or register with Wiley Author Services. The author will be asked to sign a publication license at this point.


The corresponding author will receive an email with details on how to provide proof corrections. It is therefore essential that a working email address be providing for the corresponding author.

Early View

The journal offers rapid speed to publication via Wiley’s Early View service. Early View articles are complete full-text articles published online in advance of their publication in a printed issue. Early View articles are complete and final. They have been fully reviewed, revised and edited for publication, and the authors' final corrections have been incorporated. Because they are in final form, no changes can be made after online publication. Early View articles are given a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), which allows the article to be cited and tracked before allocation to an issue. After print publication, the DOI remains valid and can continue to be used to cite and access the article.


Access and Sharing

When the article is published online: 

  • The author receives an email alert (if requested).
  • The link to the published article can be shared through social media.
  • The author will have free access to the paper (after accepting the Terms & Conditions of use, they can view the article).
  • The corresponding author and co-authors can nominate up to ten colleagues to receivea publication alert and free online access to the article.

Print copies of the article can now be ordered (instructions are sent at proofing stage or email

To find out how to best promote an article, click here.

Measuring the Impact of an Article

Wiley also helps authors measure the impact of their research through specialist partnerships with Kudos and Altmetric.


For further assistance please contact the editorial office:
Australian Journal of Rural Health
155 Cremorne Street, Richmond, Victoria 3121, Australia
Tel: (61) 3 9274 3133

Note: The editorial office wishes to acknowledge the British Medical Journal as the source of inspiration for these instructions. 

Author Guidelines updated 13 March 2017