Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain

Cover image for Vol. 56 Issue 8

Edited By: Thomas N. Ward, MD

Impact Factor: 2.961

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 63/192 (Clinical Neurology)

Online ISSN: 1526-4610

Author Guidelines

Instructions for Authors

Headache is the official publication of the American Headache Society (AHS). The editorial board welcomes for consideration papers on head and
face pain and all other aspects of pain concerned with clinical or basic research. 

Instructions for Authors are also available in Mandarin Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish.

You can download the Mandarin translation by clicking this link.

You can download the Italian translation by clicking this link.

You can download the Portuguese translation by clicking this link.

You can download the Spanish translation by clicking this link.

You can download the Turkish translation by clicking this link.

Headache strives to improve the reporting quality of clinical trials. For randomized trials, Headache has endorsed the CONSORT Statement (available at www.consort-statement.org).

We recommend authors refer to the EQUATOR network website for futher information on the available reporting guidelines for health research.

To ensure your manuscript moves quickly through peer review, and to ensure you are compliant with the American Headache Society’s ethical standards, it is recommended you complete the following steps
before submission:
1. Read the Manuscript Preparation and Submission section below.
2. Read the ethics checklist. For more detailed information on ethical issues, please consult the AHS Journal Publication Guidelines.
3. Familiarize yourself with Headache’s demand for the inclusion of a Reporting Checklist (see Reporting Checklists section below)

  Headache only accepts on-line submissions and utilizes an electronic system for review and communication. The site may be accessed at: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/headache.

  If you have previously reviewed or submitted manuscripts to Headache, your contact details have been pre-loaded into the database of our online submission site. We would be grateful if you would now check and update your contact details, enter key words and add information on your specialty/ area of expertise.
  To obtain your username and password, choose the option “Check for an Existing Account” on the login page. Entering your email address will generate an automatic email that provides your username and password.

  Help is always a click away. Please make use of the “Get Help Now” button located throughout the site. You can log in at any time and update your contact details, change your password, or enter your subject specialty and key words to assist in reviewer selection.

Research Submissions. Present results of original basic science research or clinical investigation.

  • Clinical or Basic Research Investigations. Present results of original research or clinical investigation.
  • Brief Communications. Present a small series of cases or a single case of significant note. Manuscripts must draw attention to an important or unique observation.
  • Review Articles. Must include a comprehensive review and critique of the literature on the topic and may include a new hypothesis.
  • Special Articles. History of medicine, education, ethics, and socioeconomic issues in relation to head and face pain.
  • Vox Clamantis. We welcome the submission of short (under 1,000 words) opinion pieces, intended to promote lively discussion on any topic in headache medicine. The article should be somewhat informal in style, though still scholarly in intent. No abstract is required.
  • Letters to the Editor. There are to types of Letters to the Editor. When submitting your letter please select the article type "Comment" or "Clinical Correspondence."

Article type definitions

  1. Comment, Observation, and Rebuttals: A comment, observation, or rebuttal of previously published articles in Headache. May refer to items of interest on head and face pain or may offer criticism of articles previously published in Headache but must be objective, constructive, and educational.
  2. Clinical Correspondence: A short (1,000 word) case description. Such correspondence should have no abstract, no figures or table, and between 1 to 4 references. The correspondence must be presented without any internal sections. Case reports that do not fit this format must be submitted as Brief Communications. Authors should be aware that Headache is accepting very few Brief Communications but does welcome the submission of Clinical Correspondence.

Headache Resident and Fellow Section

This section serves the general journal’s readership but may be particularly relevant to educators, students, residents and fellows. We encourage trainees and educators to submit articles to this section, where there are a few different categories. All submissions will be processed in the same way as other submissions to the journal and are subject to peer-review. In the accompanying cover letter, submission to this section must be mentioned.

Authors should submit their manuscripts via the website for Headache (https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/headache). Inquiries may be sent to the associate editors of the Resident and Fellow Section, Morris Levin, MD (morris.levin@ucsf.edu) and Matthew Robbins, MD (marobbin@montefiore.org).

Manuscript types:

  • Headache Rounds

The suggested length of a submission is 2,000 to 4,000 words with up to 20 references. Figures depicting imaging findings and tables showing pertinent laboratory data are encouraged. The section editors may choose to append a summary of the case and identify learning points at their discretion. Like other manuscripts in Headache, submissions will be published electronically and in print, and will be indexed on Pubmed.

  • Teaching Images in Headache

Submission to this subsection is for a case or cases with neuroimaging in headache medicine that are particularly instructive. The suggested length is 200 words, with 1 figure (which may have multiple panels and a legend) and up to 5 references.

  • Education Research

Manuscripts concerning research related to headache education can be submitted to this subsection. Manuscript specifications are the same for research submissions as clinical and basic research investigations.

  • Careers in Headache Medicine
  • Opinions in Headache Education

Careers in Headache Medicine may feature information, ideas, suggestions, or commentary on career paths in the headache field. Opinions in Headache Education can include thoughts and opinions on all aspects of graduate or postgraduate education in Headache Medicine. Manuscript specifications are the same for Vox Clamantis submissions.

  • Headache and the Arts

This section will include original art, prose and poetry by trainees in headache medicine. Here, all the submitter should send is their original creation in their preferred format.

Manuscripts accepted for publication are subject to editing according to the 9th edition of the American Medical Association Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors (Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins; 1998). The corresponding author will receive edited proofs for approval and is responsible for all content, including changes made by the editor and his staff.

Manuscripts of papers read at meetings of the AHS must be submitted to Headache and will be published if acceptable to the editor after peer review. Authors wishing to publish presented material elsewhere must first obtain permission from the editor. All manuscripts submitted for the annual Harold G. Wolff Award become the property of the AHS and will be considered for publication in Headache at the discretion of the editorial board.


Manuscripts submitted to Headache are subjected to peer review.

Headache strives to improve the reporting quality of clinical trials. For randomized trials, Headache has endorsed the CONSORT Statement (available at http://www.consort-statement.org). We recommend authors refer to the EQUATOR network website (http://www.equator-network.org) for further information on the available reporting guidelines for health research.

Headache mandates that a completed reporting guideline checklist is included with all article types with the exception of Letters to the Editor. Manuscripts that fail to include a completed reporting guideline checklist along with the actual inclusion of appropriate criteria in their manuscript are typically rejected by the journal.

In an attempt to improve the quality of research reports in the journal, Headache now requires a completed reporting checklist as a condition of article submission. A table detailing the Study Type and appropriate checklist can be found here.

It is a mandatory requirement that a reporting checklist is submitted. We urge you, while completing this form, to consider amending your manuscript to ensure your article addresses all issues raised by the reporting checklist, where appropriate. Taking the time to ensure your manuscript meets these basic reporting needs will greatly improve your manuscript, potentially enhancing its chances for eventual publication.

An article from Elizabeth Loder and Donald Penzien provides more information on the need for Reporting Checklists and can be found here.


In general, manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals” developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. [1] 

For frequently asked questions regarding manuscript preparation and submission, click here.

Through our online submission system you are able to track the progress of your manuscript. If you see the status update “Awaiting Reviewer Selection”, this means that reviewers have been invited to review your manuscript. This message also displays if we have not yet secured our mandatory minimum number of reviewers. This can mean that we already have one or more reviewers evaluating your manuscript, but not our full complement. The mandatory minimum number of reviewers fluctuates depending upon the type of manuscript you submit. Your manuscript is, consequently, progressing through peer review and it should not be assumed that the journal has failed to start the peer review process. Indeed Headache conducts a detailed triage of every manuscript as part of an initial round of review ahead of the invitation of reviewers.

Peer Review Research:
Headache periodically conducts editorial and peer review research, such as analyzing submission trends or interpreting the use of reporting guidelines. If you do not want your article entered into future research studies performed by the editorial office, please inform us of your position at journal@ahsnet.org. Your decision to participate or not will have no influence on the final editorial decision regarding your manuscript.

Title Page: Please upload the Title Page as a Word document containing the following information:
• Article Title
• Authors (in the order you wish to see the names published)
   - Author names to be written as First (Given) Name, middle initials, Last (Family) Name
   - Highest Degrees (e.g. MD, PhD)
   - Author affiliations (institution, city, country)
• Conflict of Interest Statement (provide full disclosure for each author otherwise you must state ‘No conflict’). Manuscripts without any Conflict of Interest Statement will be rejected before peer review.
• Key Words. – Please provide up to six key words from the text for use in indexing and computerized databases.
• Provide information on any sources of financial support for your research
Headache adheres to the trial registration policy of the ICMJE: only trials that have been registered before submission, and before the onset of patient enrollment, will be considered for publication. The registration number and name of the trial registry must be provided at the end of the article abstract.
• Abbreviations. – List all abbreviations in the order used in the text and their meanings. In the text proper, define all abbreviations the first time they are used. Keep abbreviations to a minimum.
• Acknowledgements

Formatting for Headache style:
• Structured Abstract. – Headache requires that all original articles submitted include a structured abstract [2] that lists: Objective, Background, Design or Methods (or both), Results, and Conclusions. The abstract should be understandable without access to the entire article. Do not cite references or use
abbreviations in the abstract.
• Arrange components of the manuscript in the following order: structured abstract, text, references, tables in numerical sequence, and the figures with legends. Begin each component on a separate page. Number all pages consecutively, starting with the title page. Double-space all text.
• Please check all tables and figures have been submitted (including title and legend)
• All artwork MUST be submitted in digital format. There are three preferred formats for digital artwork submission: Encapsulated PostScript (EPS), Portable Document Format (PDF), and Tagged Image Format (TIFF). We suggest that line art be saved as EPS files. Alternately, these may be saved as PDF files at 600 dots per inch (dpi) or better at final size. Tone art, or photographic images, should be saved as TIFF files with a resolution of 300 dpi at final size. For combination figures, or artwork that contains both photographs and labeling, we recommend saving figures as EPS files, or as PDF files with a resolution of 600 dpi or better at final size. More detailed information on the submission of electronic artwork can be found at http://authorservices.wiley.com
• Scanned images of line art will not be accepted – please supply in the original file format
• All figure titles and legends should not be embedded in the submitted image – please supply this information separately (such as figure legends in the main manuscript file)
• All tables are required to be in Word or Excel formats. No image files of tables please
• All extraneous use of color must be removed from figures and tables
• Figures and Tables must be cited in the text and numbered in the order they are cited
• All manuscripts, with the exception of Letters to the Editor, must contain a conclusion.
• References must be checked for bibliographic accuracy
• The manuscript should be spell-checked before submission. It must feature US English spelling (e.g. color not colour)
• Style of Writing. – Writing should conform to accepted English usage and syntax. Authors whose first language is not English should arrange for their manuscripts to be written in idiomatic English prior to submission. Refer to patients by number. No names or initials should be used. All measurements are to be in metric units.
• Authors are requested, when referring to types of headache, to use the terminology developed by the Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society. [3]
• References. – List references in the order in which they first appear in the text (not alphabetically). If a reference is cited more than once, subsequent citations should be to the original number. All references must be cited in the text or tables using superscript numerals. Personal communications and unpublished observations are not acceptable as references, but can be included in the text. References to journal articles should include: (1) author(s), (2) title, (3) journal name (as abbreviated in Index Medicus) in italics, (4) the year of publication, (5) volume number, and (6) inclusive pages. References to books include: (1) author(s), (2) chapter title, (3) editor(s), (4) title of book, (5) city and state of publications, (6) publisher, (7) year of publication, and (8) specific pages. Volume and edition numbers should be included if appropriate. The author is responsible for the accuracy and completeness of references and their correct citation in the text.

1. Niswander GD, Karacan I. Clinical experience with fl uphenazine. Dis Nerv Syst.
2. KoelleGB. Neurohumoral transmission and the autonomic nervous system. In: Gilman LS, Gilman
A, eds. The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. New York, NY: The MacMillan Publishing
Co; 1975:404–444.
• The manuscript text must be double-spaced
• Do not use footnotes.

File Formats:
• The manuscript must be uploaded as a .doc or .rtf file. A PDF file cannot be accepted
• Graphic file formats preferred are JPEG, TIFF or EPS. PowerPoint may be acceptable but the figure must not be lifted directly from a PowerPoint presentation – background colors and non-essential graphic design must be removed.
• To ensure the highest possible image quality we prefer you supply graphics in one of the above-referenced file formats rather than embed the image directly into a Word document. As a rule of thumb, if your image appears blurred on screen, print reproduction will likely be even more inferior.
Each manuscript submitted must be accompanied by a cover letter, signed by the first author, that contains the following statement: “The principal author takes full responsibility for the data presented in this study, analysis of the data, conclusions, and conduct of the research. The principal author had full access to those data and has maintained the right to publish any and all data independent of any third party.”
Please note that Word 2007 is not yet compatible with journal production systems. Unfortunately, the journal cannot accept Microsoft Word 2007 documents until such time as a stable production version is released. Please use Word’s ‘Save As’ option therefore to save your document as an older (.doc) file type.

Copyright, Author Responsibility, and Financial Disclosure. Copyright on all published articles will be held by the publisher, the American Headache Society. All authors will be asked to sign an exclusive license form, authorship responsibility, and financial disclosure statements. 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 http://authorservices.wiley.com/bauthor/faqs_copyright.asp

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 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 http://authorservices.wiley.com/bauthor/faqs_copyright.asp and visit http://www.wileyopenaccess.com/details/content/12f25db4c87/Copyright--License.html.

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: http://www.wiley.com/go/funderstatement.

For RCUK and Wellcome Trust authors click on the link below to preview the terms and conditions of this license:
Creative Commons Attribution License OAA

To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services http://authorservices.wiley.com/bauthor/faqs_copyright.asp and visit http://www.wileyopenaccess.com/details/content/12f25db4c87/Copyright--License.html.

Headache employs the services of a Statistical Consultant. Consequently we hold all statistical techniques and research methodologies to the highest standards. To enhance the likelihood of your manuscript being accepted for publication, please consult the editorial “Statistical Reviewing for Headache” by Tim Houle and Donald Penzien for the standards expected by Headache. This can be found here.

Authors submitting manuscripts describing microarray data are required to deposit the data in compliance with MIAME with one of the following public repositories: Array Express or GEO and to have the accession numbers available to be published in the article.
Deposition of high-throughput sequencing data for RNA (RNA-Seq) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP-Seq) with ArrayExpress or GEO in compliance with MINSEQE is also required.
Submission information:
ArrayExpress: www.ebi.ac.uk/microarray/submissions_overview.html
GEO: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo/info/submission.html


View the Reporting Guidelines

1. Ensure agreement has been received from all co-authors ahead of submission.
• Inclusion of all author names
• The order of authors is accurate and as agreed by all authors
• All authors have reviewed the final draft
• Authors have approved submission to Headache
2. Full and accurate disclosures of conflicts of interest
• Collected conflict of interest information ahead of submission
• Included conflict of interest statement on title page
• Uploaded the same conflict of interest statement into the online submission and review site
• Ensured that if manuscript is being submitted by a proxy, the proxy understands the need to accurately supply disclosure information
3. Access to data
• Confirm full access to ALL study data
• Include a statement outlining author access to data in the methodology section
4. Redundant and duplicate publication
• Ensured citation to all prior published material that might be construed as overlapping current submission
• If submission contains substantial overlap with prior published material, ensure an explanation for this is included in submission cover letter
• Manuscripts that represent English-language translations of previously published material will not be accepted for publication unless agreement has be sought ahead of submission from the editorial office.
5. Image Manipulation
• Ensured all authors can attest to the supply of the ORIGINAL image capture – the file supplied has not been altered or enhanced
• A copy of the original image fi le has been retained in case of future investigation
6. Patient Confidentiality
• Signed consent has been obtained from patient, patient’s guardian or, in the event of the patient being deceased, next of kin to publish case
• Information identifying patient has been removed or rendered anonymous?
• Ensured copy of patient consent has been retained
7. Permissions
• Confirm permission obtained to reproduce figures and tables
• Have you obtained permission to reference a personal communication
• Has the nature and extent of the content disclosed from a personal communication been agreed? 

Please contact the Editorial Office at journal@ahsnet.org with any questions regarding suitability or style. 

1. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. N Engl J Med.
2. GriggsRC.Changes in policy for publishing manuscripts in Neurology. Neurology. 1997;49:1.
3. International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edition. Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. Cephalalgia. 2004;24(Suppl 1):8-152.