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Instructions To Authors

Upon receipt of accepted manuscripts at Oxford Journals authors will be invited to complete an online copyright licence to publish form.

Please note that by submitting an article for publication you confirm that you are the corresponding/submitting author and that Oxford University Press ("OUP") may retain your email address for the purpose of communicating with you about the article. You agree to notify OUP immediately if your details change. If your article is accepted for publication OUP will contact you using the email address you have used in the registration process. Please note that OUP does not retain copies of rejected articles


Public Health Ethics invites submission of papers on any topic that is relevant for ethical reflection about public health practice and theory. Our aim is to publish readable papers of high scientific quality which will stimulate debate and discussion about ethical issues relating to all aspects of public health. Our main criteria for grading manuscripts include originality and potential impact, quality of philosophical analysis, and relevance to debates in public health ethics and practice. Manuscripts are accepted for publication on the understanding that they have been submitted solely to Public Health Ethics and that they have not been previously published either in whole or in part. Authors may not submit papers that are under consideration for publication elsewhere, and, if an author decides to offer a submitted paper to another journal, the paper must be withdrawn from Public Health Ethics before the new submission is made.

The editorial office will make every effort to deal with submissions to the journal as quickly as possible. All papers will be acknowledged on receipt by email and will receive preliminary editorial review within 2 weeks. Papers of high interest will be sent out for external review. Authors will normally be notified of acceptance, rejection, or need for revision within 8 weeks of submission. Contributors will be provided with electronic access to their proof via email; corrections should be returned within 48 hours.


Public Health Ethics publishes material in the form of editorials, original articles, case discussions, case commentaries, discussion papers, review articles and letters to the editor.

Editorials. Editorials are solicited by or written by the Editors and are generally related to a paper or papers published in the same issue. Length and format of the editorial will be agreed upon between Editors and author.

Original Papers. Original papers should generally be no longer than 8,000 words, and most are expected to be in the range of 5,000 to 6,000 words. The Editors reserve the right to make literary corrections. When drafting your paper, please remember that the journal has a worldwide and interdisciplinary readership. Write clearly and explain any technical terms.

Case For Discussion. The journal welcomes short papers which outline and discuss a case or dilemma in public health practice. The idea is to explain what ethical questions should be raised in relation to the case, and to suggest what ethical concerns might be relevant. Cases For Discussion are normally 1000-2000 words. If such a paper is accepted, it will be first published on the PHE websites, and scholars in public health, ethics and/or law are invited to submit commentaries.

Case Commentary. This is a short discussion of a case. Case discussions can be up to 1500 words, and will be published in the same issue as the case presentation.

Discussion Paper. Discussion papers are written in response to articles published in PHE or other journals. A discussion should be focused and not be longer that 3000 words.

Review Article. A review article (maximum 10,000 words) presents an extensive overview of the ethical issues related to a particular practice, methodology or phenomenon in public health work. A review article presents the state of the art of the topic as basis for a systematic discussion of ethical questions raised. Ideally such an article would be written jointly by an expert on that topic and a philosopher, ethicist or lawyer. Possible topics for review articles are: occupational medicine, newborn screening, functional foods, health care in times of disasters, or specific vaccination programs. Authors who are interested in submitting a review article are requested to contact the editors beforehand.

Letter to the Editor. Letters are welcome and will be published if appropriate. They should be no longer than 500 words and a maximum of five references; one table or figure is acceptable if absolutely necessary. Letters should discuss normative issues raised in work in the journal.


Books for review should be sent to:

David Hunter
Lecturer in Ethics
Centre for Professional Ethics
Room CBC 2.001
Chancellor's Building
Keele University

Books not reviewed are not returnable.

All correspondence in connection with reviews should be addressed to: d.hunter@peak.keele.ac.uk


Manuscripts must be submitted online. Once you have prepared your manuscript according to the instructions below, please visit the online submission web site . Instructions on submitting your manuscript online can be viewed here .

Electronic files for text and figures should be prepared and uploaded as directed in the online submission instructions.

Please email the Editorial Office with any queries regarding submissions: phe.editorialoffice@oup.com


The journal’s language is English. British English or American English spelling and terminology may be used, but either one should be followed consistently throughout the article. Spelling in references should follow the original. Abbreviations should be explained at the first occurrence. Articles must be word processed, ideally using Microsoft Word, and should be double-spaced throughout allowing good margins. All self-identifying information should be removed from manuscripts submitted to Public Health Ethics , and should appear in the title page only. Personal citations may be retained as long as these citations do not identify the author of the article to reviewers.

The title page of the article should include the following information (where applicable):

  • Article type
  • Manuscript title
  • Running title
  • Names and affiliations of all contributing authors
  • Full address for correspondence, including telephone and fax number and email address
  • Summary: please provide a short summary of 200 words or less. The summary should not contain any undefined abbreviations or unspecified references
  • Key words: please provide between 2 and 5 key words in alphabetical order, suitable for indexing. Ideally these words will not have appeared in the title.
  • Funding Statement (see notes below)
  • Acknowledgements
  • Conflict of Interests Declaration (see notes below)

Section headings

First-, second-, third- and fourth-order headings within the manuscript should be clearly distinguishable, but not numbered.


Notes should be indicated in the text by superscript numbers and should appear at the end of the article in numerical order, before the list of References.


Authors are asked to pay particular attention to the accuracy and correct presentation of references. The Harvard system of references, giving the surname of the author(s) and year of publication in the text, followed by specific page numbers after a direct quotation, should be used. In-text lists of references should be in chronological order. A reference list should appear at the end of the manuscript and should include only those references cited in the text. References should be double spaced, arranged alphabetically by author, and chronologically for each author. Publications for the same author appearing in a single year should use a, b, c etc. Each listed reference should begin with the authors' surnames followed by initials, the year, and the title of the work. Then, for a journal article, the journal name, volume number, issue number, and inclusive page numbers should follow, while, for a book, the title, the editor (if applicable), the place of publication, and publisher should be stated.

Book: Pettit, P. (1997). Republicanism: a Theory of Freedom and Government. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Book Chapter: Shickle, D. (1999). ‘The Wilson and Jungner Principles of Screening and Genetic Testing’, in R. Chadwick, D. Schickle, H. Ten Have, and U. Wiesing (eds.) The Ethics of Genetic Screening. Dordrecht: Kluwer, pp. 1-34.

Journal Article: Arneson, R. (1982). ‘The Principle of Fairness and Free-rider Problems’. Ethics , 92(4): 616-33.

Multi-Author Article: Where there are more than two authors, the reference within the text should be cited as Smith et al . and the date, but in the reference list the names of all the authors should be included.

Advance Access Papers: Papers published in Advance Access are citable using the DOI and publication date:

Millership, S.E., Cummins, A. J., and Irwin D.J. (2007). ‘Infection control failures in a dental surgery – dilemmas in incident management’. Journal of Public Health Advance Access published June 22, 2007, doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdm038.

The same paper in its final form would be cited:

Millership, S.E., Cummins, A. J., and Irwin D.J. (2007). ‘Infection control failures in a dental surgery – dilemmas in incident management’. Journal of Public Health , 29(3): 303-307. First published June 22, 2007, doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdm038.


For preparation of figures for online submission and peer review please use the Online submission instructions.

Authors should supply figures as high resolution .tif files at the following resolutions: 1200 dpi for line drawings and 300 dpi. for colour and half-tone artwork.

Figures should be saved in separate files without their captions. Files should be named according to DOS conventions, e.g. 'figure1.tif'.

Each figure and table should be numbered and mentioned in the text. Figures and tables should be placed at the end of the manuscript following the Reference section. Each figure and table should be accompanied by an explanatory legend. The figure legends should be grouped and placed on a separate page. Figures that are to be printed in black-and-white should not be submitted in colour. Authors will be charged for reproducing figures in colour.

In tables, footnotes are preferable to long explanatory material in either the heading or body of the table. Such explanatory footnotes, identified by superscript letters, should be placed immediately below the table.


Authors will receive electronic access to their paper free of charge. Printed offprints may be purchased in multiples of 100. Rates are indicated on the order form which must be returned with the proofs. Orders for printed offprints received after the deadline will be subject to a 100% surcharge.


No page charges are levied on authors or their institutions. Colour figures are published at the author’s expense only


Details of all funding sources for the work in question should be given in a separate section entitled 'Funding'. This should appear before the 'Acknowledgements' section.

The following rules should be followed:

  • The sentence should begin: ‘This work was supported by …’
  • The full official funding agency name should be given, i.e. ‘National Institutes of Health’, not ‘NIH’ (full RIN-approved list of UK funding agencies) Grant numbers should be given in brackets as follows: ‘[grant number xxxx]’
  • Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma as follows: ‘[grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]’
  • Agencies should be separated by a semi-colon (plus ‘and’ before the last funding agency)
  • Where individuals need to be specified for certain sources of funding the following text should be added after the relevant agency or grant number 'to [author initials]'.

An example is given here: ‘This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [AA123456 to C.S., BB765432 to M.H.]; and the Alcohol & Education Research Council [hfygr667789].


At the point of submission, the policy of Public Health Ethics requires that each author reveal any financial interests or connections, direct or indirect, or other situations that might raise the question of bias in the work reported or the conclusions, implications, or opinions stated - including pertinent commercial or other sources of funding for the individual author(s) or for the associated department(s) or organization(s), personal relationships, or direct academic competition. When considering whether you should declare a conflicting interest or connection please consider the conflict of interest test: Is there any arrangement that would embarrass you or any of your co-authors if it was to emerge after publication and you had not declared it?

As an integral part of the online submission process, Corresponding authors are required to confirm whether they or their co-authors have any conflicts of interest to declare, and to provide details of these. If the Corresponding author is unable to confirm this information on behalf of all co-authors, the authors in question will then be required to submit a completed Conflict of Interest form to the Editorial Office. This information must be provided at the point of submission. It is the Corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure that all authors adhere to this policy.

If the manuscript is published, Conflict of Interest information will be communicated in a statement in the published paper.


It is a condition of publication in the journal that authors grant an exclusive licence form to Oxford University Press. This ensures that requests from third parties to reproduce articles are handled efficiently and consistently and will also allow the article to be as widely disseminated as possible. In assigning copyright, authors may use their own material in other publications provided that the journal is acknowledged as the original place of publication, and Oxford University Press is notified in writing and in advance.


Public Health Ethics authors have the option, at an additional charge, to make their paper freely available online immediately upon publication, under the Oxford Open initiative . After your manuscript is accepted, as part of the mandatory licence form required of all corresponding authors, you will be asked to indicate whether or not you wish to pay to have your paper made freely available immediately. If you do not select the Open Access option, your paper will be published with standard subscription-based access and you will not be charged.

Oxford Open articles are published under Creative Commons licences. Authors publishing in PHE can use the following Creative Commons licences for their articles:

• Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY)
• Creative Commons Non-Commercial licence (CC-BY-NC)
• Creative Commons non-Commercial No Derivatives licence (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Please click here for more information about the Creative Commons licences.

Open Access charges
You can pay Open Access charges using our Author Services site. This will enable you to pay online with a credit/debit card, or request an invoice by email or post. The open access charges applicable are:

Regular charge - £1500/$2400/€1950
List B Developing country charge* - £750/ $1200/€975
List A Developing country charge* - £0/$0/ €0

*Visit our Developing Countries page for a list of qualifying countries

Please note that these charges are in addition to any colour/page charges that may apply.

Orders from the UK will be subject to the current UK VAT charge. For orders from the rest of the European Union, OUP will assume that the service is provided for business purposes. Please provide a VAT number for yourself or your institution and ensure you account for your own local VAT correctly.


If you will be publishing your paper under an Open Access licence but it contains material for which you do not have Open Access re-use permissions, please state this clearly by supplying the following credit line alongside the material:

Title of content
Author, Original publication, year of original publication, by permission of [rights holder]

This image/content is not covered by the terms of the Creative Commons licence of this publication. For permission to reuse, please contact the rights holder.


It is the responsibility of the author to obtain written permission for a quotation from unpublished material, or for all quotations in excess of 250 words in one extract or 500 words in total from any work still in copyright, and for the reprinting of figures, tables or poems for unpublished or copyrighted material.


For information about this journal's policy, please visit our Author Self-Archiving policy page .


Opinions expressed in articles, reviews and letters in Public Health Ethics are the views of the authors and contributors, and not those of the Editors, the publishers or the editorial board.


If your first language is not English, to ensure that the academic content of your paper is fully understood by journal editors and reviewers is optional. Language editing does not guarantee that your manuscript will be accepted for publication. For further information on this service, please click here . Several specialist language editing companies offer similar services and you can also use any of these. Authors are liable for all costs associated with such services.


In order to meet your funding requirements authors are required to name their funding sources, or state if there are none, during the submission process. For further information on this process or to find out more about the CHORUS initiative please click here .

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