Guide for Authors


RHM is a twice-yearly journal with in-depth analysis of sexual and reproductive health matters written by and for women's health advocates, researchers, service providers, policy makers and others in the field. The journal aims to promote laws, policies, research and services that meet sexual and reproductive health needs and respect, protect and fulfil sexual and reproductive rights.
RHM is supported by grants and subscriptions, and is distributed free to developing country institutions and organisations. It is available in print and online. RHM publishes translated editions in Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, French and Russian.

Editorial policy
RHM aims to promote laws, policies, research and services that meet sexual and reproductive health needs and support women's right to decide whether, when and how to have children. RHM looks at experiences, values, information and issues from the point of view of those whose lives are affected. Its approach is women-centred and gender-sensitive, and includes the sexual and reproductive health needs of men and those arising from diverse expressions of sexuality and gender identity.
Such a perspective makes it possible to evaluate existing policy and practice, in order to improve upon it to better meet people's needs. As a knowledge platform, RHM publishes work that analyses and addresses fundamental concerns and dilemmas, acknowledging the multi-faceted nature of problems and solutions, and reflecting on commonalities and differences in goals and points of view among those involved in the field - in order to foster increased communication and cooperation, new thinking and action, and new forms of consensus.

Journal contents
Each issue of the journal focuses on one main theme in diverse ways and contains an introduction, feature papers on the main theme, feature papers on other timely topics, reviews of the most important new publications on the theme, and a round-up of information on the theme from the published literature, including on law and policy, service delivery and research.
Papers may be submitted for publication of the following types: commentary and discussion; letters to the editor, issues in current research, service delivery or policy, research methodology; or history of achievements in the field.
Papers with a range of views by different authors on a controversial topic are also published as a roundtable of views. Submissions whose aim is to create a roundtable are welcome.

Original papers are welcome on the main themes of future issues of the journal - announced in our calls for papers - and all other sexual and reproductive health and rights matters, including sexuality, HIV/AIDS and population policy, written in a stimulating and thoughtful way, for a well-informed, multi-disciplinary, international audience, in keeping with the editorial policy of the journal.
If you want to know if RHM is interested in your paper, the best way to find out is to submit the full paper using the online submission process indicated.
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 RHM.
Previously published papers may be considered if they appeared in a publication with specialist, national or limited circulation or are not easily accessible to our readers internationally. Papers published in languages other than English may also be considered in translation in English.
Submissions are considered twice a year following the submission date. Flexibility in these dates depends on whether space is available for late submissions.

Submission dates:
- 1-30 November for May publication
- 1-31 May for November publication

Contributions are welcome from authors from all over the world, from both developed and developing countries. However, more authors from developed countries than from developing countries have access to the resources to publish in international journals, including to do research and write articles about developing countries. To help to redress this imbalance, RHM will give preference to papers about developing countries by authors from those countries or written with authors from those countries.
All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship. The order of authorship should be a joint decision of the co-authors. The definition of an author is as follows: 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) conception and design, or analysis and interpretation of data; b) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and c) final approval of the version to be published. Anyone who does not meet all three of these criteria (e.g. someone who participated in data collection or analysis only) should be credited for their contribution in the acknowledgements.
One author must be appointed by the authors as corresponding author; she/he will be responsible for communicating with the editor and co-authors about revisions at all stages of editing and final approval of the text, proofreading, and assigning copyright to RHM. In general, the corresponding author should be available to take charge of revisions, copyediting and proofreading in the months following receipt of peer reviews and acceptance of the manuscript, up to publication.

Author intention to go to publication
With any paper submitted, the authors must intend to go forward to publication. Please do not submit a paper 'just to see what happens' without the intention of putting further work into bringing it to publication standard. We ask authors to recognise the time investment of editorial staff and peer reviewers in reviewing and advising authors on how to improve their papers. This must be matched by authors, by following through on making the changes necessary to reach a high level of publication standard.

Maximum length of submissions
(including abstract, footnotes, references, tables):
- All full length papers: 5,000 words
- Letters to the editor: 600-1,000 words

The process: from submission to publication
** As of May 2013, RHM's submission and peer review system has moved online: All submissions must be received through this system. **
All submissions must go through the editorial review process described below, even though authors are sometimes invited to submit papers.
Papers on the theme of a particular journal issue are considered for inclusion in that issue only. Non-theme papers are published as soon as space allows. Almost all accepted papers are published within a year of submission, most in the first issue following the date of submission.
For detailed information about the submissions process, please see our Submission Guidelines below. All submissions are reviewed by an editor first. Only papers being considered for publication will be sent for peer review. At least two peer reviews will be obtained prior to a decision on acceptance. If the editor thinks a paper needs substantial re-writing before it can be sent for peer review, we will suggest how it should be revised.

Publication timetable (approximate)

May issue November issue
All submissions reviewed December June
Peer review, revision January and February July and August
Finalisation of papers March September
Typesetting and proof reading April October

Open peer review
RHM operates a system of open peer review, so that authors and reviewers know each other's names. Most reviewers and authors find this a positive experience; reviews are much more constructive, and new contacts and mutual sharing of information can take place. However, there are legitimate reasons why a review might better be done anonymously and RHM is happy to honour such a request.
Depending on the peer reviews and the editors' own review of the paper, papers will be provisionally accepted, returned for further revision and re-submission, or rejected.
Authors are expected to take account of peer reviewers' comments when revising. Reasons for rejecting a paper will be given.
One or more rounds of revision and editing by the author may be required. Following this, copyediting and 'polishing' for style and language will be done by the editors, with the approval of the text by the authors. Closer to publication, some cuts may be necessary because of length, repetition of points made in other papers, or typeset text overrunning a page by a few lines.

All co-authors must check, correct and approve the final version, which must be arranged by the corresponding author. The corresponding author will receive a PDF copy of the typeset text for correction; ideally, all co-authors should also be able to suggest and approve any corrections via the corresponding author. Prior to printing, the editors will also proofread and reserve the right to make changes, e.g. if typos are found or if text overruns a page.

Photographs and other visuals
RHM often includes a photograph in papers when space allows. We believe photos make a statement about the issues that words cannot make. Photographs and other appropriate visuals such as posters may be submitted by the authors. If the authors do not submit any visuals, the RHM editors may choose a photograph from the archives of international agencies, usually at the last minute. Because there are a very limited number of appropriate photographs available, unless there is more than one that is appropriate for the paper concerned, we do not always ask for the author's approval. If you feel this may be a problem for you, let the editor know in advance of proofreading.

Copyright of papers published by RHM must be assigned by the corresponding author to Reproductive Health Matters unless copyright already belongs to a prior publisher. RHM has never refused reprint permission to an author and will not charge for this unless the reprinting (including posting on a website) is for commercial purposes.

RHM publishing model
RHM journal has now moved to online-only publication and an open-choice publishing model, meaning that authors will have the option to publish their papers open-access for a fee. A limited number of fee waivers will be available for authors from low-income countries. More detail will follow soon. In the meantime if you have queries about this model please contact the editor,

After publication
All co-authors will be sent a PDF of the published paper by e-mail, from which they can print as many copies as they need, and all co-authors will receive a year's free subscription that includes the journal issue in which their paper is published. Offprints are not provided.
All co-authors are welcome to post the PDF of their paper, with credit to RHM and if possible RHM's web URLs, on their personal or work website. Permission from RHM is not required (see the RHM copyright assignment form for further information).

The RHM blog and published papers
RHM is interested in publishing blog posts arising from journal papers on its blog Please consider the possibility of writing a blog post related to your paper and discuss any ideas you have with our communications team at Blogs could tell a story that is linked to your research but is not included in your paper, focus on your experience conducting the research, or reflect on the relevance of your findings in relation to something in the news. Blogs are a great way of drawing in new readers and giving visibility to your work. If you have your own blog or you use other social media for your work, do please use these for telling others about your paper and let us know if you have done so.

RHM in translation: Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, French and Russian editions
RHM's NGO partners in China, Egypt, Peru, Brazil, India, Burkina Faso and Russia publish and distribute editions of the RHM journal in translation, once or twice annually, on an independent basis. The translated editions are also posted on those NGOs' websites and can be accessed through the RHM website
If your paper is published in RHM in English, it may be translated into any or all of these languages and published by our partners with RHM's permission. The editor of that language edition will inform authors if their papers are going to be translated and send them a copy when the translation has been completed. Authors who speak that language may request to check and correct the translation. The copyright of translated editions remains with RHM.

For more information, please visit the RHM website:



How to submit your paper
As of May 2013, RHM's submission and peer review system has moved online: All submissions must be received through this system.
You must log on to EES and follow the instructions, starting with 'submit new manuscript'. If you have not used EES before you will be asked to register first.
Then you will be asked for the following information:

- Type of article. See drop down menu. If you are unsure what type of article you are submitting, please select 'other' and include an explanation in the comment section below.
- Full title. Recommended length 8-10 words; maximum length 20 words.
- Author names and details. Please put these in the order of publication.
- Abstract. This should be a maximum of 200 words.
- Keywords. Please give up to five, to include countries or region (if three or more countries).
- Information about any previous publication.
- Comments. Here you should indicate which journal volume and issue you are submitting to, as well as any other comments for the editorial team.
- Suggested peer reviewers. Please submit at least two names. After the first name, click on 'add reviewer' to enter additional names. Please enter as much information about the reviewers as possible.
See below for more information on each of these.

You will then be asked to upload the following documents:

- Cover letter (essential).
- Manuscript (essential).
- Figures, tables, videos or photographs (optional).

Finally, you will be asked to build a PDF of the documents you have submitted. This is so that the editorial team have a standard document format to work from. You must then review and approve the PDF at 'submissions waiting for approval' and submit. At this stage you can also send a message to the editorial team by clicking on 'send email'.
You can review the progress of your submission at any time by logging onto the site and clicking on 'main menu'. You will receive email notifications any time there is a decision on your paper or a need to do further work on it.

Cover letter
The cover letter should be signed by all co-authors. It should state that the manuscript has been read and approved by all authors; and name the corresponding author. If you are unable to obtain the signatures of all co-authors on one letter, please upload separate files with co-authors' signatures under 'other'.
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce any copyrighted material in their papers. A copy of any permission must accompany the submission and can be included in your cover letter or uploaded separately under 'other'.

The abstract should be a highly condensed version of the paper; its structure should tightly follow that of the paper itself, and reflect what is most important in the paper. It should be a maximum of 200 words and should include:

- A background statement;
- Main subject of the paper;
- Methodology and sources of information;
- The most important findings, actions, events or points made;
- The most important outcomes, conclusions and/or recommendations.

Use and condense the most important sentences from the article itself as much as possible.Remember that the abstract will appear in international databases and be read by people who may never see the paper. It will also appear at the end of the paper in French and Spanish, translated by RHM.

Please follow these guidelines carefully. Submissions that do not fulfil these criteria will be returned to authors.

Amend Normal style in Format/Style so that the text has these parameters: Font Calibri 11; left aligned; English UK; single-spaced; no indents; no automatic spacing between paragraphs.

- All text must be left-aligned.
- Do not indent or tab the first lines of paragraphs, quotes or references.
- Leave a blank line between paragraphs, using a hard return.
- Use brief headings (and sub-headings sparingly) in bold to break up text and identify contents. These should reflect what is highlighted in the abstract.
- Put quotes as separate paragraphs, in italics and with double quote marks.
- Use double quotation marks rather than single in general, e.g. it wasn't 'nice'.
- Spell out the numbers one to ten. Use figures for higher numbers, measurements and time, e.g. 7 km.
- Do not use acronyms, except a few internationally well-known ones, such as WHO, UNFPA, HIV and PMTCT. Spell out all other names and text in full. Do not use SRHR; spell it out too.
- Avoid jargon, obscure and discriminatory language, long or complex sentence construction, and very long paragraphs.
- Limit and define specialist terms.
- Non-English words and phrases should be in italics and translated briefly in parentheses. Example: ayah (helper).

Tables and figures
These can be included in the paper or uploaded separately. If uploaded separately, please provide clear indication in the text of where they should appear. They should be designed to fit across one journal column if possible (7.5 cm) or at most two columns (15 cm). They should be no longer than one RHM page (19.5 cm) or designed to fit across two pages. Aim for clarity and simplicity. Please refer in the text to all tables and figures like this: (Figure 2).

Use the table function in Word to present them. Use one row for each text item and for data about it. If you are listing demographic data, for example, age 15-24 and age 25-34, each should have their own row. Columns should also contain only one item, except for '28 (15%)', which can sit in one column.

Use only black, dark grey and white as colours, either plain or in patterns. Avoid complicated designs and three-dimensional displays that take up more space than is needed. See previous issues of RHM for examples.

- Do not acknowledge peer reviewers. RHM will do that in the front of the journal.
- Do acknowledge advice or technical help with the paper, the study, data collection or interpretation, translator's name, and sources of funding for the study.
- Acknowledge any previous publication, presentation at a conference or in a thesis/dissertation, of part or all of the work. State if the paper was translated, revised, updated, expanded or shortened for RHM.

Any named person must have given their permission to be acknowledged (but not donors).

Footnotes and references
Submissions that do not follow RHM style for footnotes and references will be returned to authors for correction.

- Footnotes are comments or additional information on the text. If they include a reference, this should be numbered in or at the end of the footnote and appear in the reference list. Any footnotes to the text should be superscripted in the text, and appear at the bottom of the page where they are noted, using the Word footnote function. Choose the following sequence: *, †, **, ‡.
- Personal communications should be cited in the text as follows (Name, Position, Personal communication, date). They should not be treated as footnotes or references.

References are bibliographic details of a publication. References should be in Vancouver style, numbered manually or using the endnote function in Word. Reference numbers should be placed in square brackets after punctuation marks, i.e. after commas and period/full stops with a blank space in between. Each reference should be assigned one and only one number when it is first cited. Re-use the number assigned to that reference each time it is cited in the text subsequently. Do not put reference numbers in the text into superscript. Example: like this [1].

- The accuracy of references is the responsibility of the authors, who should check them carefully; they will not be checked by the editors.
- Where there are more than three authors, cite the first three authors, et al.
- Do NOT use italics, underlining or quote marks.
- Spell out journal names. Use initial caps for book titles/journal names. Titles of chapters of books, journal articles, reports and internet text should be in lower case except for proper nouns.
- If an article or book cited is on the web, include the full URL at the end of the reference. Please use a URL that leads directly to the relevant page where the publication is found, not just to a home page.
- Please hyperlink URLs and check that they still work before uploading the paper. It is not necessary to include the date you last accessed the source.

Examples of reference
See a recent copy of the RHM journal, or look online at for examples of reference style.

Photographs or other camera-ready visuals (including slides) to illustrate articles are welcome - in colour with good contrast. Include a caption, the photographer's name and any agency or NGO that must be credited. Electronic images should be high resolution and uploaded in JPG format.

RHM follows the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, updated April 2010).

The Elsevier ethics in publishing guidelines can be found at