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Author Guidelines

Scope of articles

The Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association / Journal de l’Association des bibliothèques de la santé du Canada (JCHLA / JABSC), formerly known as Bibliotheca Medica Canadiana (BMC), is a triannual publication dedicated to providing a voice for issues and interests shared by Canadian health science librarians and health libraries.


Suggested topics for JCHLA/JABSC
The following topics are suggested as topics within the scope of JCHLA / JABSC, but the list should not be considered definitive:
• Health information and library services
• Primary health care reform, health system integration, health information networks, etc.
• Electronic medical records, personal medical records
• Consumer health information services
• Provincial health information networks – role of librarians in these, role of consumer health information
• Evidence-based medicine/practice, evidence-based librarianship
• New and changing roles for librarians, digital libraries, intranet information delivery
• Distance services
• Library management, consortia, partnerships, collaboration with other sectors
• Databases, apps, and other information products
• Accreditation (Library – CCHSA, JCAHO and AHIP through MLA)
• Management and mentoring
• Education (continuing education, health sciences curricula of library schools, etc.)
• Grants (identifying, writing, and obtaining)
• Working in remote/rural environments (e.g., role of the Internet and national consortia, and impact on libraries/librarians in these settings)
• Health literacy
• Emerging technologies and social media as they pertain to the library environment, or to the users we serve


Types of articles
The JCHLA / JABSC publishes accepted manuscripts covering a range of article types to serve its readership. General guidelines for the most frequent types are described below:


Research article (peer-reviewed)
The following guidelines, adapted from The Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals(1), are meant as general guidelines for potential contributors of full-length research articles.


Components of a Research Article
The text of research articles is typically structured in the following sections: Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Long articles may need subheadings within some sections (especially the Results and Discussion sections) to clarify their content.
Abstracts must be typed on a separate page and should contain not more than 250 words (excluding section indicators).


All abstracts should be structured and include as a minimum the following: Introduction (including Objective and Scope), Methods, Results, and Discussion (including conclusions) (2). All section indicators should be bolded and follow the form of a paragraph. References should not be included unless they are absolutely essential and complete bibliographic information is given.


The Introduction should clearly state the purpose of the article, summarize the rationale for the study, and review the literature relevant to the work. Only strictly pertinent references should be included.


Methods should describe the design of the study in sufficient detail to allow others to reproduce the results. Statistical methods should also be detailed sufficiently to enable a knowledgeable reader, with access to the original data, to verify the reported results. Authors should name any general-use computer programs used, provide a general description in the Methods section, and specify the statistical methods used to analyze data presented in the Results section.


Authors are advised to use graphs as an alternative to tables with many entries and refrain from duplicating data in graphs and tables.


Results should be presented in logical sequence in the text, tables and illustrations. This section should emphasize or summarize only important observations rather than repeat all the data in the tables or illustrations.


The Discussion should state the implications of the findings, including implications for future research, as well as limitations of the findings. The conclusions should connect with the goals of the study but avoid unqualified statements and statements not completely supported by the data.
At the end of the article, one or more statements should specify contributions such as acknowledgements of technical help or acknowledgements of financial and material support (which should specify the nature of the support), but do not justify authorship.


Program description (peer-reviewed)
Program development or redevelopment is a key component of our practice as medical librarians. Often, a program may be unique or interesting, but may not be broad enough to be the focus of a research project. Program Descriptions provide an alternative for reporting on such initiatives. These articles relay all the important details of a program in a short, concise article.


Program Descriptions are peer-reviewed, and as such, JCHLA requires a level of rigour in the reporting of the program that goes beyond simply summarizing what was done. We require that authors place their program in the context of current research and practice; provide enough information for readers to replicate or adapt the program in their own contexts; evaluate the program; and discuss lessons learned about what worked, what did not, and what might be changed.
The following outline provides a simple framework for composing a program description about new or redesigned services recently implemented in your organization. It summarizes an editorial policy report from the Canadian Medical Association Journal entitled “Program descriptions: information for authors and peer reviewers”(3). If you or your organization has developed a unique or interesting program or service, please consider writing a program description of between 1,500 and 2,500 words in length for JCHLA.


Components of a Program Description
The Introduction should include the problem definition, a brief review of relevant literature to indicate how the problem or issue has been discussed or addressed by others, and the specific objective(s) of the program.


The Description is similar to the methods section of a research article and outlines how the program was planned, structured, and delivered. This section should describe the following: the information or service offered, the target population, the service providers, and particulars of the setting (location, period, and duration) of service delivery.
This section should provide readers with the information they require to decide whether it is useful or practical to adapt this program to their own setting. While you need not include every detail of your program, major points should be highlighted. A discussion of alternative options explored and discarded as part of the program development process may be pertinent in some situations. You may wish to note that readers may contact the author(s) directly if they would like more information.


Outcomes demonstrate the effectiveness of a program by including an initial evaluation. Outcome measures will vary depending on the nature of the program. Examples of evaluated outcomes include user satisfaction, a change in uptake of a tool as measured by usage statistics, or before-and-after levels of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviours of the target group(s). While evaluation will likely not be done to the extent that would be the case in a research study, we do expect all program descriptions to contain some evaluative component.

The Discussion is similar to that of any scientific paper and summarizes the usefulness of the program, lessons learned, and future directions. The Discussion generally includes comparisons with related programs, implications of the new program, an outline of the program’s strengths and weaknesses, what might be done differently the next time the program is offered, or whether there is potential to expand the program to a greater number of users, or to different groups. Any other interesting or relevant issues around the program that were not addressed in other sections may be raised here. The Discussion should end with a few concluding thoughts on the program.


Review article (peer-reviewed)
JCHLA welcomes review articles. The type of review should be clearly stated. Please refer to Grant and Booth’s article “A typology of reviews : an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies”(4) for descriptions and examples of review types. Review articles should be approximately 2,500-3,000 words, and include the following sections:
 Question: one sentence clearly stating the precise objective(s) or question(s) addressed in the study.
 Data sources: source of data/studies, including years.
 Study selection: inclusion or exclusion criteria used to select the data sources.
 Data extraction: method used to extract data from the sources selected
 Results: a precise statement of the major findings of the study; outcomes should be provided and quantified
 Conclusion: all major conclusions supported by the data should be given


Book reviews (non-peer-reviewed)
Periodically, the editors of JCHLA will solicit requests for book reviewers for specific titles on CANMEDLIB. We also welcome proposals from members; if you are interested in reviewing a particular title, please contact us at junior-editor@chla-absc.ca. If you are acquainted with any of the book’s authors, please state the nature of the acquaintance, so that the editors may assess whether this represents a potential conflict for the reviewer.


Book reviews should be no longer than 1,000 words. Book reviews are more than merely descriptive; we expect a certain level of analysis of the book’s content, and engagement with its ideas. Strengths and weaknesses should be discussed, along with who would benefit from the book, and how. If a book has serious shortcomings, do not hesitate to highlight them. If you are familiar with resources on the same topic, discuss how this book supplements, updates or expands on those (or if it fails to do so). The general structure of the book review should be as follows:
 In one or two paragraphs, briefly introduce the issue or topic discussed by the book, including a general overview, and what other books and resources are available on the topic (if you are aware of any). You can keep this discussion general, or offer some thoughts based on your own experience, if that seems more appropriate. For example, if you are reviewing a book on library construction and renovation planning, you might start with your own experience around renovating your library, discuss the issues you encountered, which resources you consulted, and whether they were helpful, up to date, and comprehensive, or what you needed that you didn’t get from these resources. Then introduce the author(s) and title, with a brief discussion of the author(s)’ background/credentials.
 A brief summary of the book’s coverage. Provide an overview of how the book is organized, and what is covered. We are looking for a very brief description before you move on to your analysis.
 Analysis of the book’s content or ideas. You might choose to address any or all of the following. This is a guide, and not a comprehensive list of things you might address:
o target audience(s), and how well the book meets their needs
o topic coverage (are there gaps?)
o level of detail – too much, too little, or just right?
o usefulness to practice
o quality of the writing (entertaining and accessible? Jargon-laden? Dense?) and editing (is the book riddled with errors?)
 Analysis of the authors’ point of view (which ideas do they promote or endorse? Do they dismiss or fail to mention other relevant points of view?)
 If applicable, and if you are comfortable doing so, feel free to tie the book’s content to your own experience. Is it a book you wish you’d had as a resource on a previous project? Is it one you intend to use in future?
 Concluding remarks. Is this a book that you would recommend your colleagues purchase and read? Does it represent good value for the money?
Citing the Reviewed Book
We require that the following information about the book be included at the top of each review, and formatted as follows:
Author(s)/Editor(s). Title. Edition. Place of Publication: Publisher; Year. Hardcover/softcover: No. of pages. ISBN #. Price: CAN$ or USD$. Available from: [link to publisher web page for this title].
Example:
Kahn MB. Disaster response and planning for libraries. 3rd ed. Chicago: ALA Editions; 2012. Hardcover: 176 p. ISBN: 978-0-8389-1151-8. Price: USD$60.00. Available from: http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=3531.
For detailed information on formatting book citations, see Chapter 2 of Citing Medicine (5).


Further Reading
We recommend the following article as a very good introduction to writing book reviews. Please note that the article is in four parts; the links to each part are at the top right:
Hartley J. [Internet]. How to…write a book review. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. [n.d.; cited 2012 Jul 4]. Available from: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/authors/guides/write/book_review.htm.


Product reviews (non-peer-reviewed)
This column is intended to highlight and review new or existing products, tools, utilities, databases, websites, and resources of interest to health sciences librarians. Examples of types of products we review include reference management programs, screencasting and other instructional development tools, hardware such as tablets and smartphones, free or subscription-based online health databases, and consumer health web sites and apps. For specific examples of product reviews, please see recent issues of the journal.


Product reviews should be no more than 1,000 words in length. Your product review should include the following headings (as applicable to the particular product): Purpose; Product Description; Intended Audience; Special Features; Compatibility Issues ; Platform; Usability; Strengths and Weaknesses ; Comparison with Similar Products; Currency; Cost/ Value; Contract Information. Screen shots of the product may be included to illustrate key features of the product.

Comment and opinion (non-peer-reviewed)
Manuscripts that are primarily editorial and comment on timely and significant topics are published in the comment and opinion section of JCHLA. Submissions do not require abstracts and should not exceed 2,500 words.


Columns (non-peer-reviewed)
JCHLA publishes columns on a wide variety of topics, including social media; consumer health; management and leadership; and other issues that are topical and of interest to the membership. These are non-peer-reviewed articles that should not exceed 2,500 words. They can range from a non-systematic discussion of current research around a topic, to opinion or discussion of the author’s own experience. We often solicit columns from CHLA/ABSC interest groups, or from particular individuals, but we are interested in any ideas from our members. If you have an idea for a column, please contact the editor.


Preparation of manuscript
Contributions should be double-spaced. Articles may be submitted in French or in English but will not be translated by the editors or their associates. Style of writing should conform to acceptable English usage and syntax; slang and jargon should be avoided. Abbreviations and acronyms should be fully spelled out on first use, with the acronym following in parentheses; for example: “Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS).” Subsequent mentions may use the acronym alone. Spelling shall conform to that of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary; exceptions shall be at the discretion of the editors. Authors are responsible for consistency in spelling.
JCHLA / JABSC reserves the right to copy-edit submissions accepted for publication in accordance with its style and format. All articles submitted to the journal are also edited for clarity and readability.


Title page
The first page should carry the title of the article; the name by which each author is known, with his or her highest academic degree(s) and institutional affiliation; contact information for each author, including telephone, fax numbers, and e-mail addresses; and any necessary footnotes. Please identify the corresponding author.
The abstract (if applicable) appears on the second page, followed by the text and the reference list.
Tables and captions for illustrations must be on separate pages and placed after the reference list.


Authorship
Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content. Authorship credit should be based only on substantial contributions to (a) either the conception and design, or the analysis and interpretation of data and to (b) drafting the article or revising it critically for intellectual content and on (c) final approval of the version to be published. Participation solely in the acquisition of funding or the collection of data does not justify authorship. General supervision of the research group is not sufficient for authorship.


Reference style
All references should be formatted according to the guidelines set out in the National Library of Medicine’s Citing Medicine (5), which is the style recommended by the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). If you are using a reference management program, please use the NLM style filter; or, if unavailable , the ICMJE style. Each reference must be cited in the text. The reference list must be double-spaced and placed at the end of the text.


Footnotes
Footnotes to material in the text should not be used unless they are unavoidable, but their use is encouraged in tables. Where used in the text, footnotes should be cited in the manuscript by superscript Arabic numbers (except in the tables; see below) and should be numbered serially beginning with any that appear on the title page. Each footnote should be typed on the manuscript page on which the reference to it is made; footnotes should not be included in the list of references.


Appendices
Figures and tables used in an appendix should be numbered sequentially but separately from those used in the main body of the paper, for example, Fig. A1, Table A1, etc.
Illustrations
Each figure or group of figures should be planned to fit into one or two columns of text. The maximum finished size of a one-column illustration is 8.6 cm × 23.7 cm (3.4 in. × 9.3 in.) and that of a two-column illustration is 18.2 cm × 23.7 cm (7.2 in. × 9.3 in.). The figures (including halftones) must be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals, and each one must be referred to in the text and self-explanatory. All terms, abbreviations, and symbols must correspond with those in the text. Only essential labelling should be used, with detailed information given in the caption.


Tables
Each table should have an Arabic number and a brief title. Each table must be referred to in the text but should be self-explanatory. Column headings should be brief but may be amplified by footnotes. Vertical rules should not be used.
Footnotes in tables should be designated by symbols (*, †, ‡, §, ll, ¶, #) or superscript lowercase italic letters. Descriptive material not designated by a footnote may be placed under a table as a Note. Tables should be typed on separate pages and placed after the list of references.


Line drawings
All lines must be sufficiently thick (0.5 points minimum) to reproduce well, and all symbols, superscripts, subscripts, and decimal points must be in good proportion to the rest of the drawing and large enough to allow for any necessary reduction without loss of detail. Avoid small open symbols; these tend to fill in upon reproduction. Also avoid patterns with shades of gray; instead, use clearly distinguishable well-spaced dots or diagonal lines. The same font style and lettering sizes should be used for all figures. Characters should be scaled so the minimum height is 1.5 mm and the maximum height 2.5 mm.


Photographs
A photograph, or group of photographs, should be planned to fit into the area of either one or two columns of text with no further reduction.
Preparation of electronic illustration files
The preferred graphic file formats of JCHLA are *.jpg, *png, *.tif, *.eps, and *.pdf.
All figures should be submitted at their final published size. For figures with several parts (e.g., a, b, c, d, etc.) created using the same software application, assemble them into one file rather than sending several files. Remember that the more complex your artwork becomes, the greater the possibility for problems at output time. Avoid complicated textures and shadings, especially in vector illustration programs; this increases the chance for a poor-quality final product. The proper resolution should be used when submitting illustration files. The minimum requirements for resolution are 300 dpi.


Manuscript submission
Manuscripts should be submitted electronically via the OJS submission system. Text (including tables) should be provided in a standard word-processing file format. For the formatting of figures, refer to the section “Preparation of electronic illustration files,” above. The corresponding author’s telephone, fax, mailing and e-mail addresses should be listed on any correspondence. Please consult https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/jchla/index.php/jchla/about/editorialPolicies#publicationFrequency for the current publication schedule. Please note that we do not guarantee publication in the next issue; articles may be published in a later issue if we have a high volume of submissions.

 

References

1. Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals [Internet]. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors April 2010 cited 2013 Mar 30]. Available from: http://www.icmje.org/urm_main.html
2. Bayley L, Wallace A, Brice A. Evidence based librarianship implementation committee. research results, dissemination task force recommendations. Hypothesis. 2002;16(1):6-8.
3. Huston P, Elmslie T. Program descriptions: Information for authors and peer reviewers. CMAJ. 1996 Oct 15;155(8):1069-74.
4. Grant MJ, Booth A. A typology of reviews: An analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Info Libr J. 2009 Jun;26(2):91-108.
5. Patrias K. Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. 2nd ed. Wendling D, editor. Bethesda, MD: National Library of Medicine (US); 2007-.

 

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.

  1. 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).
  2. The submission file is in Microsoft Word document file format.
  3. Where available, URLs for the references have been provided.
  4. The text is double-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed at the end of the text.
  5. The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines, which is found in About the Journal.
  6. If submitting to a peer-reviewed section of the journal, the instructions in Ensuring a Blind Review have been followed.
 

Copyright Notice

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.

 

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