Submission Categories

Invited Commentary

These submissions only receive editorial review. In this section we publish position statements, Research Caucus information, and other related content. 

Make a new submission to the Invited Commentary.

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.

Make a new submission to the Letters to the Editor.

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 ( 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?


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.

Make a new submission to Hypothesis: Failure.

Methods Moment

Methods Moment columns should be written in a casual, practical style.  A given column will not aim to be comprehensive of a topic; instead, it should give enough detail to familiarize the reader with the topic, help them imagine the topic’s practical application in health librarian research, and lead interested readers to explore further.

The structured abstract serves as a place for librarians to determine whether a given method is relevant to them at all. It covers:

  • Objective: What is this method intended to do or discover?
  • Approach: How does the method work? What describes the unique features or technique of this method?
  • Data type(s) used: What data goes into this method? Is it interviews, health records, national surveys, big data, etc?
  • Strengths: What is uniquely good about this method?
  • Limitations: What are common limits or issues to be aware of when using this method?

Each Methods Moment column each column is intended to provide (1) an overview of the topic; (2) a practical example or illustrative mini-case; and (3) resources for further exploration.   

  • Overview: The overview should include a short definition or description of the method or topic. It will then explain the method or topic, its purpose or role in producing research findings, and why it might be of interest to health science librarians in their research. The overview should stand on its own for readers who are curious but do not want to explore further.
  • Example: The example section should illustrate how the method or topic plays out during research in practice. The example might be a narrative description of the topic in action, a personal experience of application, or a mock case study describing an imaginary scenario of when and how the topic would be applied.
  • Resources: The resources section should point readers to places for further exploration and self-guided learning. This should be a curated list of materials for interested learners. Wherever possible, if learning materials exist then they should be pointed to in the resources rather than trying to include instructional content in the overview. Most of the resources should be freely accessible, rather than subscription resources with limited availability.

However, alternative formats may be considered! Good alternative formats could include compare-and-contrast between two related methods, brief reports of methods Institutes focusing on ideas for self-guided exploration, or summaries of discussion events among librarians who use a certain method. Creative approaches to addressing the needs of practitioners new to research are encouraged.

For questions, contact the column editor, Nina Exner

Make a new submission to Methods Moment.


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

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!

Make a new submission to Research.

Voices of Experience

Items submitted to this section are intended to be experiential and reflective in nature, while also providing readers with some background information on methods or processes. For example, an article on your first experience working with an interdisciplinary research team should share your own journey and lessons learned, but also provide some helpful references to literature addressing the main concerns, if available. Your intended audience should be both new and experienced researchers. Articles will be blind peer reviewed.

Word count: 300 for your structured abstract, 5,000 for the article (excluding citations and any appended materials). 

Structured Abstract: Article focus, background (, reflection on process or experience, what was learned, advice or other conclusions (300 words). 

Body Of Paper (5000 words): Consult the MLA Style Manual for help with formatting and style.

Introduction: Provide concise overview of what you were doing, and what your process was. This is where you tell readers enough to engage their interest, but don't get detailed - save that for the next sections. 

Literature Review: Have others written about the methods or processes? Was there helpful literature guiding you? Use JMLA-approved citation style (see

Experience: Clearly explain your experience. Your writing should be professional in quality, but since this is intended to be reflective and hence, more personal, use of "I" is acceptable.

Discussion: Discuss what you've learned, adding suggestions for others. Be  transparent about your own experience (or lack of it). 

Make a new submission to the Voices of Experience.