Guide for Authors

  • General Information
    Women and Birth invites authors to submit articles, case studies, book reviews, major conference reviews, and correspondence on all facets of pregnancy, birth and the early postpartum period with particular emphasis on midwifery care during the childbearing year. The majority of submissions are peer reviewed but book and conference reviews, along with letters to the editor are reviewed only by the Editor-in-Chief or the Deputy Editor.

    The journal follows the ICMJE's Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.

    Types of articles
    • Research article
    • Literature Review
    • Theoretical paper
    • Opinion / discussion paper
    • Case study which is linked to the literature

    Considerations specific to types of research designs
    The editors require that manuscripts adhere to recognised reporting guidelines relevant to the research design; Randomised Control Trials, Cohort Studies, Observational studies, Non-randomised evaluations and qualitative research. Please submit a completed checklist from the appropriate reporting guidelines as an addendum to your covering letter to the editor.

    Observational cohort, case control and cross sectional studies - STROBE - Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology http://www.equator-network.org/

    Quasi-experimental/non-randomised evaluations - TREND - Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with Non-randomized Designs http://www.equator-network.org/

    Randomised (and quasi-randomised) controlled trial - CONSORT - Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials http://www.equator-network.org/

    Study of Diagnostic accuracy/assessment scale - STARD - Standards for the Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies http://www.equator-network.org/

    Systematic Review of Controlled Trials - PRISMA - Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses http://www.equator-network.org/

    Systematic Review of Observational Studies - MOOSE - Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology http://www.equator-network.org/

    Qualitative researchers are encouraged to consult the guideline listed below:

    Qualitative studies - COREQ - Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research. Tong, A., Sainsbury, P., Craig, J., 2007. Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ): a 32-item checklist for interviews and focus groups. International Journal for Quality in Health Care 19 (6), 349-357. http://intqhc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2007/09/14/intqhc.mzm042

    Peer review process
    Editors review all abstracts and will make a rapid decision about whether the article is suitable for peer review in this journal. The rejection rate at this stage is approximately 50% . This rapid decision is of benefit for authors because if the paper is rejected reasons will be given and the author can submit elsewhere without undue delay.

    Each paper suitable for peer review is allocated to two reviewers who are asked to assess the paper against one of the Journal's three sets of reviewing criteria:
    • Quantitative Research Review Criteria
    • Qualitative Research Review Criteria
    • Scholarly Paper Review Criteria

    View the Review criteria here.

    Articles submitted for review must be original works, and may not be submitted for review elsewhere whilst under review for the Journal.

    After review, the Editor-in-Chief will write to the corresponding author to let them know whether the paper has been accepted, rejected, or needs revision.

    Categories of decision
    • Accept
    • Minor revisions (accept with revisions as advised by Editors)
    • Major revisions (possible acceptance following major revision and resubmission)
    • Reject

    All efforts are made to provide fair and thorough reviews as speedily as possible.

    If an author(s) believes that a manuscript has been wrongly rejected, a detailed appeal letter that responds point-by-point to the reviewers' comments should be sent to the Editor who, having reviewed the referees' reports, will make the final decision.

    Reviewed by Editor-in-Chief or Editorial Team only
    • Letter to the Editor or a short comment on any topic of current interest
    • Book review
    • Major conference review

    For these types of submissions, the corresponding author will receive a fairly rapid decision on publication.

    Production
    Following acceptance of a manuscript; it will be transmitted to Elsevier's Production department. The corresponding author will receive an acknowledgement. The paper will then be edited to comply with house style, and typeset.

    The Publisher will email a proof to the corresponding author for checking before it is published.

    The corresponding author is responsible for checking proofs thoroughly. By approving the proofs any editorial changes are being accepted.

    Submission of Manuscripts
    All manuscripts, correspondence and editorial material for publication should be submitted online via the Elsevier Editorial System at http://ees.elsevier.com/wombi. Authors simply need to "create a new account" (i.e., register) by following the instructions at the website, and using their own e-mail address and selected password. Authors can then submit manuscripts containing text, tables, and images (figures) online.

    Authors can expect an initial decision, ie. to undergo peer-review, Accept or Reject on their submission within 7 days.

    Once a manuscript is accepted for publication, authors can expect web publication of the article in final version on ScienceDirect in 4 weeks.

    Following Registration, click on "Author begin" and follow the instructions for submitting a complete manuscript, including the cover letter, title page, structured abstract, tables, figures, and other required documentation.

    Under "Entry data," indicate the number of authors in the box and justify more than 7 authors. If you wish to publish colour figures and agree to pay the "colour charge" check the appropriate box. Colour illustrations incur a colour charge of US$ 312 for the first page and US$ 208 for every additional page containing colour. Figures can be published in colour at no extra charge for the online version. If you wish to have figures in colour online and black and white figures printed, please submit both versions.

    Preparation of Manuscript
    Word limits have been removed. For a standard discussion, review, clinical paper or quantitative research articles, the maximum length is now 30 double-spaced pages, with standard margins of 2.5 cm (1 inch) all around, and 11 point font size. (Inclusive of all Tables, Figures, and References, but excluding the Structured Abstract).

    Any author who has a very good reason to increase the page number beyond 30, e.g. a qualitative research paper, will need to make a clear case to the Editor-in-chief. Please email the Editor for approval, including the Structured Abstract, prior to submitting. Email: kathleen.fahy@scu.edu.au).

    Tables must not exceed four typeset pages.Supplementary material may be added in the online version of the article without specific page limits. The readability of the article, however, must not depend upon access to supplementary materials. .

    First time authors are also strongly advised to co-author with an academic supervisor or senior colleague who has been successful in writing for publication.

    Page numbers and line numbers should be included for the convenience of the peer-reviewers.

    Every submission, regardless of category, must include the following. Please have these items ready before you log-on to the system.

    (1) A Cover letter, stating:
    Conflict of Interest: when the proposed publication concerns any commercial product, either directly or indirectly, the author must include in the cover letter a statement (1) indicating that he or she has no financial or other interest in the product or distributor of the product or (2) explaining the nature of any relation between himself or herself and the manufacturer or distributor of the product. Other kinds of associations, such as consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interests or patent-licensing arrangements, also must be disclosed. If, in the Editor's judgment, the information disclosed represents a potential conflict of interest, it may be made available to reviewers and may be published at the Editor's discretion; authors will be informed of the decision before publication.
    Sources of outside support for research: including funding, equipment, and drugs.
    Word Count: Please state the word-count, including the Abstract, References, Tables and Figures.

    (2) An Author Agreement stating:
    • that the article is the author(s)’ original work
    • the article has not received prior publication and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere
    • that all authors have seen and approved the manuscript being submitted
    • the author(s) abide by the copyright terms and conditions of Elsevier and the Australian College of Midwives

    (3) An Ethical Statement for all Research papers, providing the following information:
    • Whether the submitted manuscript involved human or animal research.
    • If human or animal research was involved, whether Ethical Approval was granted for the Study as either (A) A quality assurance or practice improvement project, OR(B) A scientific research study.
    • If the submitted manuscript is based on a research study which was subjected to a full review by an institutional ethics committee, please provide the following information:
    - The name of the ethics committee
    - The approval number
    - The date of approval

    Note: If the manuscript is based on a quality assurance or practice improvement project this must be made clear in the text of the paper and address ethical issues concerning informed and free consent and confidentiality, as relevant.

    If an Ethical Statement is not applicable – this must also be specified.

    (4) Title Page (first page) should contain:
    • Title. Short and informative (abbreviations should not be used in title).
    • Running Head. Short title of 30 characters and spaces.
    • Authors. List all authors by first name, all initials, family name and highest academic degree only using "RM, PhD" for holders of both qualifications.
    - address of all institutions where the work was done. List departmental affiliations of each author affiliated with that institution after each institutional address. Connect authors to departments using numbered superscripts.
    • Corresponding Author. Provide the name, exact postal address with zip or postal code, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address of the author to whom communications, proofs, and requests for reprints should be sent.

    (5) The complete manuscript, arranged as follows: (1) structured Abstract and Keywords (2) manuscript, including Acknowledgments/Disclosures (see below) and References, (3) Tables (each complete with title) and (4) Figures.

    In addition, the following must be submitted direct to the Editorial Office if applicable:
    Written permission from the publisher (copyright holder) to reproduce any previously published table(s), illustration(s) or photograph(s) in both print and electronic media.
    Written permission from unmasked patients appearing in photographs.

    SECTIONS OF THE MANUSCRIPT (in order):

    Abstract & KeywordsThe structured abstract should be under 250 words.

    The structure of the abstract should be:
    • Problem or Background
    • Question, Hypothesis or Aim
    • Methods
    • Findings
    • Conclusion

    The structured Abstract must not include references. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms. Ensure the name of the hospital or health service is not mentioned.

    Keywords: Provide up to six keywords, at least three of which should be selected from those recommended by the Index Medicus Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) browser list (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/meshhome.html).

    Main Text
    For Original Research Articles (Word count is 4,000 or less. References should not be more than 30, except with specific permission from the editor prior to submission), text should be organised as follows:

    - Introduction (including hypothesis or guiding question and outline of the paper, ensure the name of the hospital or health service is not mentioned)
    - Literature Review (critical but brief review of directly related literature)
    - Subjects (or Participants) and Methods (described in detail). Ethics approval statement (see regulatory Requirements below).
    - Findings or Results: for qualitative research results should be concisely reported in tables and figures, with brief text descriptions. For qualitative research a balance must be struck between conciseness and sufficient data to support the discussion and conclusion.
    - Discussion (clear and concise interpretation of results)
    - Conclusion (summarise key points)
    - Acknowledgments and Disclosures

    Other requirements:
    - Cite references, illustrations and tables in numeric order by order of mention in the text.
    - Avoid abbreviations. Define abbreviations at first appearance in the text.
    - Measurements and weights should be given in standard metric units.
    - Language should be woman-centred, e.g. use "childbearing" instead of "gravida".

    Regulatory Requirements in the Methods section:
    Research Protocol
    Authors must state that the protocol has been approved by the appropriate Ethics Committee (state which).

    Human Investigation
    The ethical guidelines that were followed by the investigators must be included in the Methods section of the manuscript. In Australia, all work should conform to the "Statement on Human Experimentation" by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. State clearly that the subject gave informed consent. Anonymity should be preserved.

    Humane Animal Care
    The Methods section must contain a statement assuring that all animals received humane care in accordance with the "Statement on Animal Experimentation" by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, or its equivalent in other Countries (for example the "Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals" published by the National Institutes of Health).

    For Original Literature Review Articles, text should be organised as follows:

    Introduction (problem or guiding question and outline of the paper)
    Literature Search Strategy and Data Bases Searched
    Review of the literature related to the problem or question of the paper
    Discussion (clear and concise interpretation of the literature)
    Conclusion (summarise key points)
    Acknowledgments and Disclosures

    Acknowledgments

    This section is compulsory. Grants, financial support and technical or other assistance are acknowledged at the end of the text before the references. All financial support for the project must be acknowledged. If there has been no financial assistance with the project, this must be clearly stated.

    The role(s) of the funding organisation, if any, in the collection of data, its analysis and interpretation, and in the right to approve or disapprove publication of the finished manuscript must be described in the Methods section of the text.

    References

    Women and Birth, along with many leading journals, use the referencing standards of International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals: Sample References (www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/uniform_requirements.html) webpage and detailed in the NLM’s Citing Medicine, 2nd edition (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7256/). These resources are regularly updated as new media develop (as of 25 September 2013).

    Thousands of other journals use these referencing standards including British Medical Journal, the Lancet, Medical Journal of Australia, Bio-med Central, Midwifery, International Journal of Nursing, International Journal of Nursing practice – to name a few. As more and more journals abandon ‘house styles’ and adopt the ICMJE recommendations it becomes easier for authors to be able to quickly submit to another journal if they are rejected or are asked for major changes from their first choice journal.

    For EndNote users, please use the most up to date version of EndNote and select the Lancet Output Style (it complies with the ICMJE referencing standards).

    Journal References should list all authors in small letters (surnames first followed by initials), title of communication in lower case lettering, title of Journal in italics [abbreviated according to International Serials Data System-List of Serial title Word Abbreviations, 1985 (ISDS-ISO International Centre, 20 rue Bachaumont, 75002 Paris, France)], year of publication; volume number: first and last page number.

    Book References should contain Author Name(s) in the same format as above: Title. Publisher's location: Name; Year of publication. Page range.

    References to multi-author books with editor(s) should contain Author Name(s) in the same format as above: Title of contribution. In: Name(s) of editor(s). Title of book. Publisher's location: Name; Year of publication. If necessary page range (see Ref. 4)

    Material referred to by the phrase "personal communication" or "submitted for publication" are not considered full references and should only be placed in parentheses at the appropriate place in the text, e.g., (Hessel 1997 personal communication).

    Examples of references are shown below.
    1.Homer C, Farrell T, Davis G, Brown M. Women's worry in the antenatal period. British Journal of Midwifery 2002; 10:356-359.
    2. Copley AL. The endoendothelial fibrin lining. Thromb Res 1983;(SV):1-154.
    3. Davies JT, Rideal EK. Interfacial Phenomena. New York-London: Academic Press; 1961. p. 110-30.
    4. Battistutta D, McDowell J. Quantitative research designs. In: Courtney M (Ed.), Evidence for Nursing Practice. Sydney: Elsevier; 2005. p. 50-62.

    Internet References
    3. Health Care Financing Administration. 1996 statistics at a glance. Available at: http://www.hcfa.gov/stats/stathili.htm. Accessed December 2, 1996.

    Tables

    Tables should be double-spaced on separate sheets (one to each page). Do not use vertical lines. Each table should be numbered (Arabic) and have a title above. Legends and explanatory notes should be placed below the table. Abbreviations used in the table follow the legend in alphabetic order. Lower case letter superscripts beginning with "a" and following in alphabetic order are used for notations of within-group and between-group statistical probabilities. Tables should be self-explanatory, and the data should not be duplicated in the text or illustrations. Tables must be submitted as part of the text file and not as illustrations.

    Figure Legends

    Figure legends should be numbered (Arabic) and double-spaced in order of appearance beginning on a separate sheet. Identify (in alphabetic order) all abbreviations appearing in the illustrations at the end of each legend. Give the type of stain and magnification power for all photomicrographs. All abbreviations used on a figure and in its legend should be defined in the legend. Cite the source of previously published (print or electronic) material in the legend.

    Illustrations or Figures

    Images or figures are submitted online as one or more separate files that may contain one or more images. Within each file containing images, use the figure number (eg, Figure 1A) as the image filename. The system accepts image files formatted in TIFF and EPS. Powerpoint (.ppt) files are also accepted, but you must use a separate Powerpoint image file for each Powerpoint figure.

    Symbols, letters, numbers and contrasting fills must be distinct, easily distinguished and clearly legible when the illustration is reduced in size.

    Black, white and widely crosshatched bars are preferable; do not use stippling, gray fill or thin lines.

    Written permission from unmasked patients appearing in photographs must be obtained by the authors and must be surface mailed or faxed to the editorial office once the manuscript is submitted online.

    Audio Slides
    The journal encourages authors to create an AudioSlides presentation with their published article. AudioSlides are brief, webinar-style presentations that are shown next to the online article on ScienceDirect. This gives authors the opportunity to summarize their research in their own words and to help readers understand what the paper is about. More information and examples are available at http://www.elsevier.com/audioslides. Authors of this journal will automatically receive an invitation e-mail to create an AudioSlides presentation after acceptance of their paper.

    COPYRIGHT
    Papers accepted for publication become the copyright of the Australian College of Midwives, and authors will be asked to sign a transfer of copyright form, on receipt of the accepted manuscript by Elsevier. This enables the Publisher to administer Copyright on behalf of the Authors and the Society, whilst allowing the continued use of the material by the Author for Scholarly communication.

    OPEN ACCESS
    This journal offers you the option of making your article freely available to all via the ScienceDirect platform. To prevent any conflict of interest, you can only make this choice after receiving notification that your article has been accepted for publication. The fee of USD 1,700 excludes taxes and other potential author fees such as color charges. In some cases, institutions and funding bodies have entered into agreement with Elsevier to meet these fees on behalf of their authors. Details of these agreements are available at http://www.elsevier.com/fundingbodies. Authors of accepted articles, who wish to take advantage of this option, should complete and submit the order form (available at http://www.elsevier.com/locate/openaccessform.pdf). Whatever access option you choose, you retain many rights as an author, including the right to post a revised personal version of your article on your own website. More information can be found here: http://www.elsevier.com/authorsrights.

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