Submissions

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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, or RTF document file format.
  • Where available, DOIs for references have been provided. Web-only references include URLs and date of access.
  • The text is single-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.
  • DOIs, if available, are provided.
  • If the manuscript was prepared by more than one person, contributions of each person are clearly spelled out in a note added at the end of the document, before the list of citations.

Author Guidelines

To submit an article or other item for consideration, contributors should ensure that the following criteria are met. We welcome inquiries about possible submissions.

Reference Style

Hypothesis follows the MLA Style Manual for references. Consult Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 2nd edition, for further information and examples.

Research Papers

Form of review: Double-blind peer review by two reviewers, with additional unblinded review by editor(s). 

Multiple authorship and other contributors: If the manuscript was prepared by more than one person, contributions of each person are clearly spelled out in a note added at the end of the document, before the list of citations. 

Sections of Manuscript:

STRUCTURED ABSTRACT: Objective, population or problem, methods, findings, and conclusions (300 words). Consult the MLA Research Section’s structured abstract guidelines for more information on abstract requirements.

BODY OF PAPER (5000 words): Consult the MLA Style Manual for help with formatting and style.

  • INTRODUCTION: Provide concise overview of study, including research questions, population or problem, methods.
  • LITERATURE REVIEW: Explain the need for research based on prior work. Use JMLA-approved citation style (see http://www.mlanet.org/p/cm/ltd/fid=198).
  • METHODS: Clearly explain process of gathering appropriate and sufficient information to answer research questions. The process may be qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods, but it should be replicable based on provided information. Include mention of human subjects approval, if appropriate, as an appendix, survey questions or other information needed for replicability.
  • FINDINGS: Clearly explain process of analyzing findings, using figures and/or tables (no more than 2) to illustrate results. Additional links to data should be listed in article, as appropriate. 
  • DISCUSSION: Discuss implications of findings and suggestions for future research. Be transparent about assumptions, possible bias, and weaknesses of design or processes: no research is perfect!

Peer review will be based on how well submitted work has followed evidence-based guidelines for research. The rubric for review is provided for your use as a checklist. If you are a new researcher, you are encouraged to contact a research mentor through MLA (see Professional Development / Find or Become a Mentor, or http://www.mlanet.org/p/cm/ld/fid=45).

Other Hypothesis Categories

Project or Program Descriptions (5000 word maximum). Open (unblinded) review by editors. 
Topics of interest (e.g., reflections on research activities in progress, reviews of resources) to Section and general MLA membership are welcome. Length, format, and other elements will depend on content. Items will be reviewed for style and grammar prior to approval. 

OA: Items of Interest (structured abstracts)

This new column will help spread the word about research that's only published in open access repositories. Your submission should: be of possible interest to MLA and Research Caucus members; include authors' permission statement ; include a structured abstract; and a link to the item in its repository. Items will be reviewed for content to ensure suitability, and may be edited for style and grammar prior to approval in an unblinded editor review.

 

Hypothesis: Failure (5000 word maximum). Open (unblinded) review by editors. Edited by Heather Holmes, articles submitted to this column are full-length explorations of roadblocks and stumbles. File it under 'lessons learned' - and share these experiences so that others can also benefit. Inquiries about possible topics are very welcome! Please use the following conventions: introduction, body, and conclusions (a.k.a. lessons learned or advice to others). 

Letters to the Editor (500 word maximum) Open (unblinded) review by editors. 
Letters can be general commentary on topics of interest to MLA members or commentary on recent Hypothesis research publications. If the letter is research commentary, it will be sent to the lead author of the paper to invite their (optional) commentary; letters and authors’ responses (if provided) are published together.  Items will be reviewed for style and grammar prior to approval.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor can be general commentary on topics of interest to MLA members or commentary on recent Hypothesis research publications. If the letter is research commentary, it will be sent to the lead author of the paper to invite their (optional) commentary; letters and authors’ responses (if provided) are published together. Editors reserve the right to edit submission, although authors will be informed of the suggested change.

Hypothesis: Failure

Hypothesis: Failure is a peer-reviewed regular column, the brainchild of Heather Holmes. The column is intended to provide a pioneering platform to share experiences that didn't end as expected (or that didn't end at all).  

Please feel free to contact the editors with inquiries (MLARSHypothesis@gmail.com) about possible submissions. 

Structured abstract:

  • Objective(s): What was your original intent?
  • Methods: What did you do?
  • Results: What happened instead?
  • Lessons learned: What would you do differently?

Example: 

While this is a more conventional format, we welcome your creative approach.

Neilson, C., & Lê, M. L. (2019). A failed attempt at developing a search filter for systematic review methodology articles in Ovid Embase. Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA107(2), 203.

Research

STRUCTURED ABSTRACT: Objective, population or problem, methods, findings, and conclusions (300 words). Consult the MLA Research Section’s structured abstract guidelines for more information on abstract requirements.

BODY OF PAPER (5000 words): Consult the MLA Style Manual for help with formatting and style.

INTRODUCTION: Provide concise overview of study, including research questions, population or problem, methods

LITERATURE REVIEW: Explain the need for research based on prior work. Use JMLA-approved citation style (see http://www.mlanet.org/p/cm/ltd/fid=198)

METHODS: Clearly explain process of gathering appropriate and sufficient information to answer research questions. The process may be qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods, but it should be replicable based on provided information. Include mention of human subjects approval, if appropriate

Include, as an appendix, survey questions or other information needed for replicability;

FINDINGS: Clearly explain process of analyzing findings, using figures and/or tables (no more than 2) to illustrate results. Additional links to data should be listed in article, as appropriate.

DISCUSSION: Discuss implications of findings and suggestions for future research. Be  transparent about assumptions, possible bias, and weaknesses of design or processes: no research is perfect!

Images, charts, and graphs may be in black and white or color. Consecutively numbered, brief, descriptive captions (e.g., “Figure 1 Distribution of test scores”) should on separate pages at the end of the manuscript.

Charts and graphs should be submitted in the program whereby they were created, such as Microsoft Excel, to be processed for printing.

Resolution for photographs or digital images should be at a minimum of 300 dots per inch (dpi). Please note that the JMLA does not accept screenshots for the print version, as nearly all images that are downloaded from the Internet will not have sufficient resolution for the printing process. More details about requirements for illustrations can be found online.

Tables should appear on separate numbered sheets at the end of the manuscript. Each table must be numbered consecutively and headed by a brief, descriptive title that includes the number of the table (e.g., “Table 1 Number of study participants”). Use your word processor’s table commands. There is no limit on the number of tables allowed, but all included should be a) necessary to the sense of the article, and b) clearly linked in the text. 

Charts and graphs should print on separate pages, numbered consecutively, and headed by a brief descriptive title that includes the number of the figure (e.g., “Figure 1 Distribution of test scores”). There is no limit on the number of charts or graphs allowed, but all included should be a) necessary to the sense of the article, and b) clearly linked in the text. 

Copyright and Disclosure Agreement

If a manuscript is accepted for publication, Hypothesis will require the author and all coauthors to submit a signed copy (or individual copies) of the JMLA copyright license agreement and disclosure forms. It is the responsibility of the first author to ensure that all coauthors sign copyright and disclosure forms.

All persons designated as authors should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors provides guidelines for determining authorship.

Download the JMLA copyright license agreement and disclosure form.

Projects & Programs

While not subject to peer review, the editors will review and suggest changes as needed. Items should provide complete information about event, including dates and links. 

Items of Interest

Items published in this section highlight 

will be research studies and other interesting publications, including those items published only in open access repositories or elsewhere. There is no length requirement, but each must meet the following criteria:

  • Is comprised of a structured abstract that follows the conventions of research studies (preferred) or a statement about the content of the work
  • Is of potential interest to readers 
  • Is current
  • Includes a statement of permission from the author(s)
  • Cannot have been published elsewhere
  • Includes a copyright permissions statement

Submissions will be reviewed for the above criteria by the editors, and may require editing prior to publication. Please contact us with questions.

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