Australian Journal of Rural Health

Cover image for Vol. 24 Issue 3

Edited By: David Perkins

Impact Factor: 0.764

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 79/114 (Nursing (Social Science)); 82/116 (Nursing (Science)); 155/172 (Public Environmental & Occupational Health)

Online ISSN: 1440-1584

Author Guidelines


Thank you for your interest in Australian Journal of Rural Health. Please read the complete Author Guidelines carefully prior to submission, including the section on copyright. To ensure fast peer review and publication, manuscripts that do not adhere to the following instructions will be returned to the corresponding author for technical revision before undergoing peer review.

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


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.

Authorship and Acknowledgements
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 guidelinens 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

Plagiarism Detection
The journal employs a plagiarism detection system. By submitting your manuscript to this journal you accept that your manuscript may be screened for plagiarism or duplicate publishing against previously published works.

Committee on Publication Ethics
The journal is a member of, and subscribes to the principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).


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. Grazings

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.


Pre-acceptance English-language editing
Authors for whom English is a second language may choose to have their manuscript professionally edited before submission to improve the English. Visit our site to learn about the options. All services are paid for and arranged by the author.  Please note using the Wiley English Language Editing Service does not guarantee that your paper will be accepted by this journal.

Optimising Your Article for Search Engines
Many students and researchers looking for information online will use search engines such as Google, Yahoo or similar. By optimising your article for search engines, you will increase the chance of someone finding it. This in turn will make it more likely to be viewed and/or cited in another work. We have compiled these guidelines to enable you to maximise the web-friendliness of the most public part of your article.

• 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 eg finding 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' above.

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

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. (Provide a letter stating copyright authorisation if figures have been reproduced from another source.)

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. All images and graphics must be supplied as high resolution files (at least 300 dpi), saved as .jpg or .tiff. For instructions on submitting electronic artwork, please visit the online graphics resource for authors:

Colour figures
Colour photographs should be submitted as good quality, glossy colour prints. A charge of A$1100/US$660/¥70 000 for the first three colour figures and A$550/US$330/¥35 000 for each extra colour figure thereafter will be charged to the author.


Manuscripts should be submitted online at:

• A cover letter may be included in the ‘Cover Letter Field’ of the ScholarOne system. The text can be entered directly into the field or uploaded as a file. The inclusion of a cover letter is optional but recommended.

• Two Word-files need to be included upon submission: A title page file and a main text file that includes all parts of the text in the sequence indicated in the section 'Parts of the manuscript', including tables and figure legends but excluding figures which should be supplied separately.

• The main text file should be prepared using Microsoft Word, using 1.5 line spacing.

• Each figure should be supplied as a separate file, with the figure number incorporated in the file name. For submission, low-resolution figures saved as .jpg or .bmp files should be uploaded, for ease of transmission during the review process. Upon acceptance of the article, high-resolution figures (at least 300 d.p.i.) saved as .eps or .tif files will be required.

Associate your ScholarOne account with your ORCID iD
ORCID iD is a unique and persistent identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and connects you and your research activities. We encourage you to register for an ORCID iD and then associate it with your ScholarOne account. Click here to find out how.


Accepted papers will be passed to Wiley’s production team for publication. The author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to login into Wiley’s Author Services, where via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS) they will be asked to complete an electronic license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper. More details on the copyright and licencing options for the journal appear below.

Wiley’s Author Services

Author Services enables authors to track their article through the production process to publication online and in print. Authors can check the status of their articles online and choose to receive automated e-mails at key stages of production. The corresponding author will receive a unique link that enables them to register and have their article automatically added to the system. Please ensure that a complete e-mail address is provided when submitting the manuscript. Visit for more details on online production tracking and for a wealth of resources including FAQs and tips on article preparation, submission and more.


Once the paper has been typeset the corresponding author will receive an e-mail alert containing instructions on how to provide proof corrections to the article. It is therefore essential that a working e-mail address is provided for the corresponding author. Proofs should be corrected carefully; the responsibility for detecting errors lies with the 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. More information about DOIs can be found at


A PDF reprint of the article will be supplied free of charge to the corresponding author. Additional printed offprints may be ordered online for a fee. Please click on the following link and fill in the necessary details and ensure that you type information in all of the required fields: If you have queries about offprints please e-mail:

Author Marketing Toolkit

The Wiley Author Marketing Toolkit provide authors with support on how to use social media, publicity, conferences, multimedia, email and the web to promote their article.


Accepted papers will be passed to Wiley’s production team for publication. The author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to login into Wiley’s Author Services, where via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS) they will be asked to complete an electronic license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper.

Authors may choose to publish under the terms of the journal’s standard copyright transfer agreement (CTA), or under open access terms made available via Wiley OnlineOpen.

Standard Copyright Transfer Agreement: FAQs about the terms and conditions of the standard CTA in place for the journal, including standard terms regarding archiving of the accepted version of the paper, are available at: Copyright Terms and Conditions FAQs.

Note that in signing the journal’s licence agreement authors agree that consent to reproduce figures from another source has been obtained.

OnlineOpen – Wiley’s Open Access Option: OnlineOpen is available to authors of articles who wish to make their article freely available to all on Wiley Online Library under a Creative Commons license. With OnlineOpen, the author, the author's funding agency, or the author's institution pays a fee to ensure that the article is made open access. Authors of OnlineOpen articles are permitted to post the final, published PDF of their article on their personal website, and in an institutional repository or other free public server immediately after publication. 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.

OnlineOpen licenses. Authors choosing OnlineOpen retain copyright in their article and have a choice of publishing under the following Creative Commons License terms: Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY); Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (CC BY NC); Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial-NoDerivs License (CC BY NC ND). To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright Terms and Conditions FAQs.

Funder Open Access and Self-Archiving Compliance: Please click here for more information on Wiley’s compliance with specific Funder Open Access and Self Archiving Policies, and click here for more detailed information specifically about Self-Archiving definitions and policies.

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

Author Guidelines updated 4 June 2015