The Journal of Rural Health

Cover image for Vol. 33 Issue 2

Edited By: Tyrone Borders Ph.D., F.A.C.E.

Impact Factor: 1.279

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 52/75 (Health Policy & Services); 66/88 (Health Care Sciences & Services); 117/173 (Public Environmental & Occupational Health)

Online ISSN: 1748-0361

Author Guidelines

The mission of The Journal of Rural Health is to serve as a medium for communication among health scientists and professionals in practice, educational, research, and policy settings. It is a peer-reviewed international journal devoted to advancing research related to rural health, but its focus is especially on the United States. The journal publishes Original Articles, Letters to the Editor, Commentaries, Book Reviews, and Editorials. Most Original Research articles published in the journal are full research manuscripts, but brief research reports and reviews of the scientific literature are also published.

The journal will only publish manuscripts that reflect the highest standards of practice and scientific inquiry and that report results in a style and format relevant to rural health scientists and professionals. Responsibility for the content of articles belongs to the authors.

The submission of a manuscript for review represents a certification on the part of the author(s) that it is an original work and that the manuscript, or a version of it, has not been published and is not being considered for publication elsewhere. If study findings have been previously disseminated in a working paper, policy brief, or other written (including electronic) format, the manuscript submitted to the journal should be meaningfully different. Formal, published reports that have been previously posted on the Internet in their entirety, have been intended to reach a wide audience, and are publicized and available to any interested party (whether free or not) usually will not be considered for journal publication absent substantially new data, analysis, and/or interpretation. At the time of submission, authors must disclose in a cover letter to the Editor details of related papers they have authored. View our full prior dissemination policy here.

Reporting Guidelines: We request that authors apply the STROBE guidelines for observational studies (cross-sectional or cohort studies pertain to the STROBE), CONSORT guidelines for randomized trials, and PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews. Links to these and other guidelines, including for qualitative research, can be found at

Authorship Criteria: We follow the ICMJE recommendation that each author listed must meet 3 conditions: (1) make substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; (2) draft the article or revise it critically for important intellectual content; and (3) give final approval of the version to be published. All contributors who do not each meet all 3 criteria should be listed in the acknowledgements. Visit

Conflicts of Interest: Conflicts of Interest (or their absence) may be personal, commercial, political, governmental, academic, or financial. The role(s) or lack thereof of any funding organization and/or sponsor in the design and conduct of the study; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and in the preparation, editing, or censuring of the manuscript must be specified in writing in the Disclosures section of the blinded title page submitted with the manuscript. View our full conflicts of interest policy here.

Where to Submit Manuscripts: All manuscripts must be submitted in electronic form via the web-based peer review system located at Authors who have never submitted to the journal using the online system will need to create a user account. Existing users can log in with their previously issued user ID and password. Additional instructions may be found at the website. The documents described below should be uploaded with each submission.

Cover Letter: A letter addressed to the Editor (Tyrone F. Borders, PhD, Editor, The Journal of Rural Health) should be uploaded as “Cover Letter” at the time of submission. This letter from the corresponding author(s) should testify that (a) the material has not been published in whole or in part elsewhere; (b) the paper is not currently being considered for publication elsewhere; (c) all authors have been personally and actively involved in substantive work leading to the report and will hold themselves jointly and individually responsible for its content; and (d) all relevant ethical safeguards have been met in relation to patient or subject protection.

Abstract: Submit Abstracts in a structured format (suggested subheadings are Purpose, Methods, Findings, and Conclusions) and include no more than 250 words. In the online system, you will be directed to paste your abstract into a specified field. You will also be directed to type or select 3 to 5 key words for the manuscript. Authors must also include the Abstract, followed by key words, on the first page of the main manuscript.

Title Page: The title page should be uploaded as a separate document in the online system and must not be included in the main body of the manuscript. Include each author's highest degree after his or her name, followed by a superscript number, and add below a corresponding affiliation note that lists the author's Department (or Unit), Institution, City, and State. The same superscript number should be repeated for authors with identical affiliations. Authors with more than one primary affiliation should list each separately. Identify the corresponding author and provide full contact information, including mailing address, e-mail, and telephone number. Funding sources, Disclosures, Acknowledgments, and a maximum of 5 Key Words should also be included on the title page.

Main Manuscript: Author identifying information may only appear on the title page and cannot appear anywhere in the main body of the manuscript; if all author identifiers are not removed from the main manuscript, the submission cannot be processed and will be returned to the submitting author. The manuscript should be submitted as a double-spaced Microsoft Word document; the paper will automatically be converted to PDF in the manuscript central system. Pages should be numbered, starting with the first page of the abstract. Please use US English spellings. If explanatory notes are necessary, use endnotes (at the end of the manuscript) rather than footnotes (at the bottom of pages). For all citations and references, use AMA style.

Types of Submissions

Original Articles and Brief Reports: A report of research addressing a specific research question, including the methods used, the results of the research, and conclusions drawn from the research. The body of a manuscript (abstract through conclusion) should be no more than 4,500 words (approximately 18 double-spaced pages). Manuscripts of more than 4,500 words should not be submitted without first consulting the Editorial Office. Brief Reports of no more than 2,000 words not including the abstract and with no more than 3 tables/figures may be submitted. The references and any tables or figures are not counted toward the word limit.

Literature Reviews: An assessment of existing research that is relevant to current issues in rural health. It should address a specific research question, analyze the research methods used and the results of existing research, and discuss why further study is important. Word limits are the same as those for original research articles.

Commentaries: Commentaries generally discuss an issue that is relevant to the journal's scope, such as the pro and con views on an important, controversial health services or policy issue or the impact of a new policy on organizations and services. The commentary should not duplicate material being published or submitted elsewhere. Commentaries are limited to 1500 words (text and any notes) and have no abstract. The Editor makes a decision on whether to publish a submitted commentary but may request further evaluation by peer review.

Letters to the Editor: A letter to the editor in response to a specific article provides a means of communication between authors and readers of the JRH, allowing continued dialog about journal content to take place. Such letters should be sharply focused, not exceed 400 words, and have no abstract. Submission of a letter to the editor constitutes permission to publish the letter at the discretion of the Editor in Chief. The letter may be edited or abridged.

General Questions of Style and Format: The journal attempts to adhere to the style of the American Medical Association (AMA), as outlined in the latest edition of the publication manual of that organization. For guidance, please refer to that manual or the abbreviated source at Some frequent JRH style issues: the use of data (always plural); the use of eg or ie (within the text eg or ie may be used only within parentheses, and the current style is to not use periods); the use of P values (always capitalized, italicized, space before and after operators, and no digits to the left of the decimal, as in P = .002); and the expression of numbers in text (use numerals, even for 1 through 9, except at the beginning of sentences or where “one” is more appropriate).

Tables should be included in the main document file but on separate pages after the reference list. Figures should be uploaded as separate EPS or PDF (600 dpi or greater) files. All tables and figures should be numbered consecutively and referred to within the text at least once.

For all Citations and References, use the style as outlined in the AMA Manual of Style. Authors should always consult the primary source and never cite a reference that they themselves have not read. Each reference listed must be cited in the text, tables or figures in consecutive numerical order using superscript Arabic numerals. Place the superscript numerals outside periods and commas but inside colons and semicolons. When citing two or more references at the same place in a manuscript, use hyphens to join the first and last numbers of a closed series; use commas (without spaces) to separate multiple citations (eg, The data, as previously reported,1-3,5 had led other researchers to several different conclusions.3,5). When a reference is mentioned in the text, only surnames of authors are used. For a two-author reference, use both surnames; for references with more than two authors or authors and a group, include the first author's surname followed by “and associates” or “et al” if mentioned in parentheses. Within the reference list, which should appear in the main document file following the manuscript text, use this format for articles published in print journals: Reid-Arndt SA, Cox CR. Does rurality affect quality of life following treatment for breast cancer? J Rural Health. 2010;26(4):402-405. If there are more than 6 authors, list only the first 3 followed by et al. Use this style when citing a chapter in a book: Goldstein H. Multilevel Statistical Models. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Wiley; 1995. Follow this format when citing an article in an online journal: Duchin JS. Can preparedness for biological terrorism save us from pertussis? Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158(2):106-107. Available at: Accessed June 1, 2004.

Reproduced Material, including figures and tables, should be identified as such and an appropriate reference cited. Authors should secure any rights and permissions prior to uploading their final source files upon formal acceptance by the Editors. The journal is not responsible for obtaining permission to use previously published materials.

Appendices are not published in print but may be published online at the discretion of the Editor. They should be referred to in the main manuscript at least once, followed by “(available online only).” Appendices should be uploaded as separate files with the designation “supporting information for online publication only.”

Copyright Transfer Agreement: If your paper is accepted, the Author whom you flag as being the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an e-mail prompting him/her to login into Wiley’s Author Services. Via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS), the corresponding author will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper. You may preview the copyright terms and conditions at:

For authors choosing OnlineOpen

If the OnlineOpen (see 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, or Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial -NoDerivs License OAA.

To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please 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:

Additional Information and contact information for the Managing Editor and Editor is available under “Resources” at

Note to NIH Grantees: Pursuant to NIH mandate, Wiley-Blackwell will post the accepted version of contributions authored by NIH grant-holders to PubMed Central upon acceptance by the journal. This accepted version will be made publicly available 12 months after publication. For further information, see