Guide for Authors

Journal of Physiotherapy (JoP) is the first Open Access core physiotherapy journal; it welcomes contributions that are relevant to the science or practice of physiotherapy.


Original Research
The Editorial Board is committed to publishing excellent research and will consider the following types of papers:

• Systematic reviews
Systematic reviews are strongly preferred over narrative (non-systematic) reviews. High quality systematic reviews with firm conclusions are a publication priority. However, systematic reviews are unlikely to be published if they find there is not enough good quality evidence to review or if the literature is inconclusive. Note that this journal gives priority to systematic reviews that are prospectively registered in a publicly available register (e.g., PROSPERO at Authors should submit evidence of registration when submitting a manuscript for consideration. There are specific guidelines available for this type of study at the end of the Presentation section of these Author Guidelines.
• Clinical trials
All clinical trials submitted to JoP must have been registered in a publicly-accessible trials register. We will accept any register that satisfies the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors requirements (such as The Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry at Authors must provide the name and website address of the register and the trial registration number on submission. The journal will only accept trials that have been registered prospectively unless data collection began before 2006, in which case retrospective registration is acceptable. There are specific guidelines available for this type of study at the end of the Presentation section.
• Economic analyses
• Experimental studies
• Qualitative studies
Qualitative research refers to research where the analysis of data involves qualitative judgements. Commonly qualitative research explores aspects of the human, social world. Qualitative research methodologies include narrative inquiry, case studies, naturalistic inquiry, ethnography, hermeneutics, phenomenology, and survey research using open-ended questions. There are specific guidelines available for this type of study at the end of the Presentation section.
• Epidemiological studies
• Observational studies
• Narrative reviews
Narrative reviews critically appraise and summarise literature on a common topic area but do not set specific criteria for selecting literature to be included or a specific review protocol. A narrative review draws together major arguments in a field of discourse or provides a significant historical review of an important aspect of physiotherapy. Narrative reviews should be on topics that do not lend themselves to systematic reviews, e.g., examination of the mechanisms underlying a clinical phenomenon. Narrative reviews will almost always be invited and will be considered only if they are written by authors with extensive research experience in the field, usually reflected in multiple significant publications. Authors considering submission of a narrative review should first consult the Journal Editor regarding potential suitability of the review for publication. Narrative reviews of intervention, diagnosis, and prognosis will generally not be accepted.

The following types of studies are a low priority:
• Studies of the reliability or validity of clinical measurement procedures
• Surveys of physiotherapy students
• Surveys of physiotherapy practice
• Any survey with a low response rate (less than 70%)

Submission of these types of studies should be accompanied by a short (less than 100 words) explanation of why the study would be of particular interest to readers of JoP. The Editorial Board will decide, on the basis of this explanation and the abstract, whether the manuscript should be considered for publication. If accepted, such studies will be published as papers of less than 2000 words with no more than one table or figure.

The following types of studies are not accepted:

• Clinical practice guidelines
Although the journal is particularly interested in presenting the recommendations of clinical practice guidelines to its readers, clinical practice guidelines are often developed by consensus and may be endorsed by a professional body. This can make it difficult to apply the Journal's normal process of peer review. Therefore, particularly relevant guidelines that have been developed using a rigorous process and endorsed by a high quality professional body, such as NHMRC, will be summarised in the Appraisal section of the journal, but will not be republished. Details of the location where hard or electronic copies of the full guidelines are available will be given in the summary.
• Pilot studies
Pilot clinical trials are those that are not designed to have adequate statistical power. Their purpose is to test the feasibility of an intervention in terms of recruitment and delivery of the intervention, as well as to examine the rate of dropouts. They usually provide information to power a future trial and do not therefore reach firm conclusions.

Manuscript length (not including title page, abstract, references, tables or figure legends) depends on the type of study:
• Systematic reviews: up to 5000 words
• Clinical trials, experimental and qualitative studies: up to 3500 words
• Observational studies: up to 2500 words

Authors may be invited, or in some cases required, to place important supplementary material as electronic addenda (eAddenda) on the JoP web site.


Research manuscripts should consist of a title page, abstract, text, references, tables, and figures. Manuscripts should be prepared with 2.5 cm margins and a footer containing an abbreviated title, the first author's family name, page number and date. The abstract, introduction, method, results, and discussion should be 1.5 line-spaced, but all other text should be single-spaced. Put a double return between paragraphs. Download the journal's manuscript template.

Title Page

The title of the manuscript should not be more than 25 words and should be in two parts. Give the main results of the study followed by a colon and the method used, e.g., 'A resource-efficient exercise program after discharge from rehabilitation improves standing ability in people after stroke: a randomised trial'. Download example titles for different research designs.

Then, list all authors and their degrees, positions, institutions, country, and email address. Nominate a corresponding author for the review who is authorised to negotiate and approve editorial revisions, provide his/her title (Professor, Dr, etc.), and give contact details (email address). You may nominate a different corresponding author for publication; provide his/her title (Professor, Dr, etc.) and short contact details (department/institution, postal address and email address).

Provide a running head of up to six words. Next, for indexing purposes, select up to five key words from the Index Medicus Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). MeSH Headings can be found on the PubMed MeSH browser at

List the word count for the abstract and the body of the text, as well as the number of references, tables, and figures.

Finally, list the Ethics Committee(s) that approved the study and the procedures for gaining consent, source(s) of support, acknowledgements, and any competing interests. The statements regarding ethics and consent do not need to be re-stated in the body of the manuscript. Acknowledgments should include statements of important contributions that do not justify authorship. The nature of the contribution should be specified. It is customary to seek permission of people named in the acknowledgments. Download the journal's Title Page template.


An abstract of no more than 250 words is required for all submissions using the headings: Question, Design, Participants, Intervention, Outcome measures, Results, Conclusion, and Trial registration (if appropriate). The results should include estimates of effect sizes and their confidence intervals rather than p values. Abstracts should not contain references. Download examples of abstracts for different research designs


The introduction should justify the aims of the research. Only references essential to understanding these aims should be included. Introductions rarely need to be longer than five paragraphs. At the end of the introduction, list the research questions as given in the Abstract again. Download Research question examples for different research designs


Use the subheadings: Design; Participants, therapists, centres; Intervention; Outcome measures; and Data analysis, as appropriate to the design of the study. Restrict headings to no more than two levels of importance (i.e., avoid sub-subheadings). Where aspects of the method have been described in other widely-available publications a reference to those publications may suffice, whereas newly-developed procedures should be described in more detail.

In the Design section, describe the overall design, especially the timing of intervention and measurement, and any randomisation or blinding procedures.

In the Participants, therapists, centres section, outline the recruitment procedures and the inclusion and exclusion criteria for eligibility of participants, therapists, and centres.

In the Intervention section, give as much detail as necessary so that the intervention could be faithfully replicated by a reader. If this requires extensive material, consider placing some in an Appendix, which can be an electronic-only addendum to the paper.

In the Outcome measures section, state the impairment/activity limitation/participation restriction being collected (e.g., walking) and its measurement with units (e.g., velocity during 10 m Walk Test in m/s). Other examples are: strength measured as peak isometric elbow extensor torque using hand-held dynamometry in Nm, or pain measured as intensity at rest on a 10 cm VAS in cm. It can be useful to divide outcome measures into those examining impairments vs activity limitations vs participation restrictions. It is only necessary to refer to manufacturers' information for equipment when the precise specifications could be important to interpretation of the study. Information should be placed in a footnote at the end of the text, coded using consecutive, superscripted lower case letters.

In the Data analysis section, outline any a priori power analysis carried out to determine the number of participants needed for the study. Outline any conversions or calculations made with the data. Explain how the research questions are answered by the interpretive tests but do not name the statistical package used if it is widely available.


The first subheading should be Flow of participants, therapists, and centres through the study where the numbers at each point in the study are presented as well as baseline characteristics. The remainder of the results should report only the data that answer the research questions and should be organised under subheadings that reflect those questions. Pertinent results should be reported using text and/or tables and/or figures; tables are more useful than figures because exact values are given. Avoid repeating in the text data presented in tables or figures. Do not duplicate data in tables and figures.

When reporting data, be conscious of the precision of the data and only report a meaningful number of decimal places. Usually, report numbers between 0 and 1 to 2 decimal places, between 1 and 10 to 1 decimal place, and above 10 with no decimal place.

All data reported as numbers should also be given as a percentage of the sample (in brackets) rounded off, e.g., 17 (34%) participants were men. All data reported as means should also be accompanied by the standard deviation (in brackets), e.g., the mean height of participants was 1.53 m (SD 0.23).

When reporting the results of interpretive tests, report the size of the effect rather than its statistical significance, e.g., 'People with arthritis were twice as likely to sprain their ankle (OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.75)' or 'People after stroke walked 0.65 m/s (95% CI 0.60 to 0.70) slower than their age-matched healthy counterparts', but not 'People with asthma were significantly more breathless after exercise (p = 0.02)'.


New and important findings should be emphasised but, as a rule, data already presented in the Method and Results sections should not be repeated. Implications and limitations of the findings and their clinical application should be discussed. The length of the Discussion should be commensurate with the number of important findings; usually it will be less than 750 words. Do not include a separate conclusion at the end of the Discussion.


Only essential references should be cited. Most research will require fewer than 30 references. If the research requires considerably more (e.g., systematic reviews of areas with many clinical trials), references may be provided as supplementary material or eAddenda.

The referencing style used by the journal is the JAMA style, which can be found as a standard referencing style in EndNote, RefWorks, Mendeley, and Zotero. If you use reference management software such as these, please convert your paper to the JAMA style before submission. Journal titles should be abbreviated according to the journals list in PubMed. Please ensure that all references are complete and presented using numbered style.


Tables should appear after the references and each table should start on a separate page. They should be numbered consecutively in the order to which they are referred in the text. A short caption should be given above each table (e.g., 'Table 1. Characteristics of participants.'). Within the table, give the units of outcome measures in brackets and italics, e.g., (m/s). When reporting counts (frequencies), give percentages in brackets. Use abbreviations for time (i.e., s, min, hr, etc.) and amount (i.e., kg, deg, Nm, etc.) without a legend explaining them. Where abbreviations for physiotherapy-specific terms are used (e.g., ROM, MCP, etc.), provide a legend below the table. Tables should be presented with a minimum of horizontal lines and no vertical lines. Download examples of tables.


Figures should start on a separate page after the tables. They should be displayed at the proposed publication size and numbered consecutively in the order to which they are referred in the text. A short caption should be given below each figure, e.g., 'Figure 1. Mean (SD) effect of posture on forced expiratory volume for the experimental group (closed circles) and the control group (open circles)'. Do not place boxes around figures. Do not put axes on the top and right sides of graphs. Use symbols and/or line types rather than colour to differentiate data. Where several graphs refer to closely-related material, present them as separate panels of a single figure labelled A, B, C, etc., and provide one caption explaining what is in each panel. Photographs should be in sharp focus, have simple backgrounds, and be in black and white unless colour is essential to illustrate the point (e.g., MRI).

For publication, photographs should be supplied as digital images saved at a minimum of 300 dpi in .jpg format. Graphs and line drawings generated by commonly-used graphing programs (such as Microsoft Excel) are acceptable. Written permission should be obtained for use of previously published Figures and Tables, and for publication of photographs of recognisable subjects. These documents should be uploaded with the final manuscript once it has been accepted.


When information needs to be listed but is not a table (contains numbers) or a figure (photograph, graph, or flow diagram), then it should be called a Box. Boxes should be numbered consecutively in the order to which they are referred in the text. A short caption should be given above each box (e.g., 'Box 1. Elements of a viable patient education program.') Download examples of boxes formatted to these specifications.


Manuscripts should be written in simple, direct, and grammatically-correct English. Use Australian/English spelling. Use gender neutral and non-labelling language (e.g., 'People with back pain' rather than 'back pain patients'). When people are enrolled in a trial, use 'participant' rather than 'subjects'. Use capitals (upper case letters) sparingly but capitalise proper nouns. Divisions of the data set are also capitalised (e.g., 'Group 1' or 'Stage 2'). See previous issues for other specific aspects of JoP style.

Click below for the guidelines and examples available for the following types of studies:
Systematic Review guidelines
Systematic Review examples
Clinical Trial guidelines
Clinical Trials examples
Qualitative Study guidelines
Papers reporting the results of questionnaires guidelines


All manuscripts, correspondence and editorial material for publication should be submitted online via the Elsevier Editorial System at Authors first 'create a new account' (i.e., register) by following the instructions at the website, and using their own email address and selected password. Authors can then upload manuscripts containing text, tables, images (figures), and any supplementary material (eAddenda). You will be guided stepwise through the creation and uploading of the various files. The entire peer-review process is managed electronically to ensure timely review and publication. All correspondence, including notification of the Editor's decision and requests for revision, takes place by email and via the Author's homepage, removing the need for a hard-copy paper trail.

Note: articles submitted for the review process may be edited after acceptance to conform to journal standards. For this an 'editable' file format is necessary; we prefer a Word file. Ensure that all track changes have been accepted and the reviewing function is turned off. Retain identical hard and electronic copies of the manuscript and all illustrative material. Manuscripts will be acknowledged on receipt. Those which are not presented according to Journal of Physiotherapy guidelines will be returned to the author for amendment. Although Elsevier can process most file formats, should your electronic file prove to be unusable, the article will be typeset from the hardcopy printout and particular care should be taken to check the proofs.

Submission of an article implies that the work described has not been published previously (except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis), that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere in the same form, in English or in any other language, without the written consent of the Publisher.

Compulsory Authorship Form

JoP policy on Authorship is based on the guidelines for authorship in the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals 2004 ( which states that 'authorship should be based on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and 3) final approval of the version to be published. Conditions 1, 2, and 3 must all be met. Acquisition of funding, the collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, by themselves, do not justify authorship'. Manuscript submission, and completion of the online Authorship form signifies that all authors satisfy the ICMJE criteria for authorship.


This journal is Open Access. All articles will be immediately and permanently free for everyone to read and download. Permitted reuse is defined by the following Creative Commons user license:

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (CC BYNC-ND): for non-commercial purposes, lets others distribute and copy the article, and include in a collective work (such as an anthology), as long as they credit the author(s) and provided they do not alter or modify the article.

Open Access of articles is sponsored by the Australian Physiotherapy Association.


Research manuscripts are subject to peer review.

This journal operates a double blind review process. All contributions will be initially assessed by the editor for suitability for the journal. Papers deemed suitable are then sent to a minimum of two independent expert reviewers to assess the scientific quality of the paper. The Editor is responsible for the final decision regarding acceptance or rejection of articles. The Editor's decision is final. For more information on the types of peer review, please visit:

Reviewers will usually have specific expertise in the field and a record of recent publication in peer-reviewed journals. Reviewers are asked to advise the Journal Editor if the manuscript is credible and of importance to the physiotherapy profession; they are also asked to comment on the manuscript's validity, relevance, clarity, and conciseness. They are asked to provide their reports within four weeks of receipt of the manuscript.

Reviewers are asked to consult checklists where appropriate. Specifically, reviewers of randomised controlled trials are asked to consult the CONSORT e-checklist, reviewers of systematic reviews are asked to consult the PRISMA statement, and reviewers of studies of the accuracy of diagnostic tests are asked to consult the STARD checklist. These checklists can be found at

The Journal Editor considers the reviewers' comments and decides if the manuscript is to be accepted in its current form, accepted subject to minor revisions, potentially publishable but requiring significant revision, or not suited to publication in JoP. Authors are provided with the reviewers' comments, sometimes with additional comments made by the Scientific Editor, and are informed of the decision. Authors of manuscripts requiring revision are invited to consider and respond to the comments made by the reviewers and the Journal Editor, revise the manuscript accordingly, and re-submit. Usually the revised manuscript is returned to the original reviewers for further comment. Some manuscripts undergo several rounds of review before a final decision (accept or reject) is made.

Usually authors hear within 7-10 days if the journal Editor decides that the submission is not suitable for publication in JoP. Time to first decision after review (accept, revise with guarantee, revise without guarantee, or reject) is generally no more than 2 months from submission. Once accepted, manuscripts will go into production and be made available online as an article in press. They undergo extensive editing to improve clarity and comply with JoP style. Author(s) are given the opportunity to review the accuracy of the edited manuscript at proof stage prior to publication. Authors are provided with a .PDF of the final version.


Journal of Physiotherapy accepts research protocols for major prospective studies. An abstract of the protocol will be published in the journal, supported by the full version of the protocol available as Appraisal content from the journal website.

To be eligible for consideration the study must have received competitive research funding. Submissions will be reviewed by the Protocol Section Editor, and by members of the Journal's Editorial Board, with particular focus on the quality of the proposed methods, relevance of the study to physiotherapy, and innovation. The protocols we select for publication need to meet several high standards including that the trial will be likely to directly influence how physiotherapists practice, and/or the trial will significantly enhance understanding of conditions treated by physiotherapists.

Protocols must be submitted via the Elsevier electronic manuscript submission system (EES) including upload of the full study protocol and an abstract prepared according to the Journal of Physiotherapy Protocol template; and upload of a completed Authorship statement.


Journal of Physiotherapy publishes one or two editorials on scientific or professional issues of physiotherapy practice in each issue. Editorials are usually commissioned; however, anyone wishing to write an editorial should contact the Journal Editor at for discussion about the topic. Editorials should be no more than 2000 words with a maximum of three authors (unless agreed with the Journal Editor before the work begins) and 20 references. Commissioned editorials are not formally peer reviewed, but may be subject to informal review. Non-commissioned editorials will be formally peer reviewed.


Correspondence to Journal of Physiotherapy should be uploaded via the Elsevier Editorial System. Correspondence is reviewed by the Journal Editor and may be edited. Generally, correspondence falls into two categories: letters challenging physiotherapy assumptions about practice, and letters commenting on papers published in the journal (particularly welcome). In general, such letters should be submitted soon after publication of the paper they refer to. Authors of the papers will usually be invited to reply.

All letters should be no more than 500 words and should contain no more than five references.


The Journal may, under certain circumstances, publish a retraction or issue an expression of concern or issue a correction. The circumstances under which retractions or expressions of concern or corrections might be published are outlined in the Retraction Guidelines published by the Committee for Publication Ethics.