Health Reports
Author guidelines

Health Reports scope

Health Reports publishes original research on diverse topics related to understanding and improving the health of populations and the delivery of health care. We publish studies based on analyses of Canadian national/provincial representative surveys or Canadian national/provincial administrative databases, as well as results of international comparative health research. Health Reports encourages the sharing of methodological information among those engaged in the analysis of health surveys or administrative databases. Use of the most current data available is advised for all submissions.

Who publishes Health Reports

Health Reports is published by Canada’s national statistics agency, Statistics Canada. Health Reports is designed for a broad audience that includes health professionals, researchers, policymakers, and through media coverage, the general public. Articles are published electronically on the third Wednesday of every month.

Health Reports content

Health Reports contains three types of article:  Research Articles, Health Briefs, and Methodological Insights. (Please indicate type when you submit your manuscript)

Research Articles

Research Articles present an in-depth analysis of a research question or hypothesis.  Authors should think in terms of issues or themes, rather than a description of data.  Research Articles undergo double-blind external peer review. Articles are also read by Statistics Canada staff and subject matter specialists from Health Canada or the Public Health Agency of Canada (a step known as “institutional review”).

Methodological Insights

Methodological Insights explore issues such as data quality, response bias, and sampling error.  They are intended for the benefit of other researchers and data users.  Like Research Articles, Methodological Insights undergo double-blind external peer review and institutional review.

Statistics Canada Data Resource Profile

Statistics Canada Data Resource Profile describes health related databases available at Statistics Canada, such as surveys, administrative database and link datasets. They are intended for the benefit of other researchers and data users. Statistics Canada Data Resource Profile undergo peer and institutional review.

Health Briefs

Health Briefs are short, descriptive reports. Profile articles, e.g. prevalence of an outcome by key components, simple trend analysis or even simple regression analysis may be more appropriate for Health Briefs than for Research Articles. Health Briefs articles also undergo peer and institutional review.

Guidelines for writing articles

The style requirements of Health Reports generally follow those of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), entitled “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals,” which can be found at: International Committee of Medical Journal Editors' web site.

Research Articles and Methodological Insights

Text

The text should be divided into sections headed Introduction, Data and methods, Results, and Discussion. Long articles may need subheadings within some sections to clarify their content. Only one level of subhead beneath these major sections should be used. The passive form should be used, i.e. use “The results showed” instead of “We show”.

Introduction

The Introduction should provide context and background. Authors should provide a clear statement of the objectives and how they intend to reach them. 

Methods

This section should include a description of the data sources including details of sample size, collection methodology and, in the case of survey data, response rate. Statistical methods should be described with enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to reproduce the reported results. Findings should be presented with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals). Appropriate methods that account for the complexity of survey sampling (for example, the use of resampling techniques like bootstrapping) should be used where indicated.

Results

Emphasize or summarize only important observations.  Regardless of the type of article, readers should not be burdened with too many numbers.  Put only key numbers in the text; less important figures can be displayed in accompanying tables.  Do not repeat in the text a lengthy description of material that is presented in tables and/or figures. 

Discussion

We encourage authors to write the discussion sections of research articles in a structured way. For more information, see "The case for structuring the discussion of scientific papers", BMJ 1999; 318:1224-1225 (8 May).

The Discussion addresses the specific issue(s) and the broader context presented in the Introduction.  The Discussion should be written without numbers (or just a few).  A brief summary of the main findings may be helpful, but authors should not repeat in detail the material in the Results section.  Emphasize the new and important aspects of the study and the conclusions that follow from them. Compare and contrast the results with other relevant studies, state the limitations, and explore the implications of findings for future research.  Link the Results with the goals of the study, but avoid unqualified statements and conclusions not supported by the data.

To maintain Statistics Canada's position as a neutral and objective information provider, opinions related to current or previous policies or directions for future policies should be avoided.

Health Reports follows journals published by the BMJ Group by asking that authors include a "What this paper adds" box. The box should be divided into two short paragraphs containing bulleted sentences.

Paragraph 1: What is already known on this subject?
In two or three bulleted sentences, explain the state of scientific knowledge in this area prior to your study and why this study needed to be done.

Paragraph 2: What does this study add?
Give a simple answer to the question, "What do we now know as a result of this study that we did not know before?" Be brief, succinct, specific and accurate. The last sentence should summarize any implications for future research.

References

Health Reports follows the Vancouver style of referencing (using a superscripted number system). A list of sample references for many different types of citations (for example, journal articles, books, book chapters) is available at: United States National Library of Medicine. We strongly urge our authors to consult these requirements when preparing their manuscripts.

Statistics Canada Data Resource Profile

Text

The text should be divided into sections headed Introduction, Data Resource Description, Data Resource Use, Strengths and Weaknesses and Data Resource Access. Long articles may need subheadings within some sections to clarify their content. Only one level of subhead beneath these major sections should be used. The passive form should be used, i.e. use “The results showed” instead of “We show”.

Introduction

The Introduction should provide context and background. Authors should provide a clear statement of the objectives of the data resource.

Data Resource Description

This section should include a description of the data sources including details of the target population in space and time, number of subjects (sample or database size), collection methodology (sampling or linkage strategy for example), quality assessment including response or linkage rates. An overview of the data available should be provided.

Data Resource Use

This section should include how the data resource has been or can be used including specific analytical techniques the users should be aware of. If a bibliography of the use of the data resource exists, if should be referenced.

Strengths and Weaknesses

This section should include strengths and weaknesses of the data. Other data resources on the same subject can be presented in this section.

Data Resource Access

This section should include reference and instructions on how this dataset can be accessed by researchers.

References

Health Reports follows the Vancouver style of referencing (using a superscripted number system). A list of sample references for many different types of citations (for example, journal articles, books, book chapters) is available at: United States National Library of Medicine. We strongly urge our authors to consult these requirements when preparing their manuscripts.

Health Briefs

Text

Health Briefs are generally descriptive and are shorter than Research Articles. Health Briefs contains the same section as a Research Article. Compared to Research Articles, more emphasis is put on the Results section. The Introduction and Discussion sections will be shorter. The passive form should be used, i.e. use “The results showed” instead of “We show”.

Introduction

The Introduction should provide context and background. Authors should provide a clear statement of the objectives and how they intend to reach them.

Methods

This section should include a description of the data sources including details of sample size, collection methodology and, in the case of survey data, response rate. Statistical methods should be described with enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to reproduce the reported results. Methods used in Health Briefs should be simple and can be explain concisely. More sophisticated methods are more appropriate for Research Articles. Findings should be presented with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals). Appropriate methods that account for the complexity of survey sampling (for example, the use of resampling techniques like bootstrapping) should be used where indicated.

Results

Emphasize or summarize only important observations. Regardless of the type of article, readers should not be burdened with too many numbers. Put only key number in the text; less important figures can be displayed in accompanying tables. Do not repeat in the text a lengthy description of material that is presented in tables and/or figures.

Discussion

We encourage authors to write the discussion sections of research articles in a structured way. For more information, see "The case for structuring the discussion of scientific papers", BMJ 1999; 318:1224-1225 (8 May).

The Discussion addresses the specific issue(s) and the broader context presented in the Introduction. The Discussion should be written without numbers (or just a few). A brief summary of the main findings may be helpful, but authors should not repeat in detail the material in the Results section. Since a Health Briefs article is short, emphasis on the new and important aspects of the study may be sufficient. Compare and contrast the results with other relevant studies and state the limitations. Link the Results with the goals of the study, but avoid unqualified statements and conclusions not supported by the data.

To maintain Statistics Canada's position as a neutral and objective information provider, opinions related to current or previous policies or directions for future policies should be avoided.

References

Health Reports follows the Vancouver style of referencing (using a superscripted number system). A list of sample references for many different types of citations (for example, journal articles, books, book chapters) is available at: United States National Library of Medicine. We strongly urge our authors to consult these requirements when preparing their manuscripts.

Submitting your article

All articles should be submitted electronically to: didier.garriguet@canada.ca. Submissions should be double-spaced and use 12pt font. Track changes should be removed. The title page containing author information, the abstract, the word count and the number of tables and figures and the body of the text should all be in one MS Word document.

Tables and figures should be included in the e-mailed submission as separate files in MS Excel. Each table or figure should be in a separate file. Data for the creation of figures should be included in the same spreadsheet as the figure itself.

Tables should contain, only one number per cell. For example, a mean with the accompanying 95% confidence interval should be presented in three columns: mean, lower bound and upper bound.

Tables and figures should include a precise title, the data source and any notes required, for example, symbols related to the quality of the estimates (E or F) or related to the significance testing.

For more complex figures (for example, maps), an image (.gif) can be provided. Authors might be asked to provide a written description of the figure.

The review process

A manuscript submitted to Health Reports is assessed by the Scientific Editor, who, in consultation with Associate Editors, decides whether it is suitable to be sent to peer and institutional review. 

Manuscripts rejected at this stage typically are those that fall outside the scope of the journal, lack originality or population health/health services research significance, have serious conceptual and/or methodological flaws, or do not follow the author guidelines.

If deemed suitable, the article is sent to a minimum of two peer reviewers. Authors may suggest individuals who specialize in the topic of their paper as reviewers, but Health Reports does not guarantee that the editors will use all or any of the suggested reviewers. Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and depending on the subject of the paper, other government departments, also review the articles. At the same time as peer review, the article is reviewed by senior management at Statistics Canada to ensure that no statements might compromise Statistics Canada’s non-partisanship, objectivity and neutrality. The review process normally takes four to six weeks.

In light of the peer and institutional reviews, the Scientific Editor decides on one of four possible outcomes: accept, accept with minor revisions, accept with major revisions, or reject. If an article is accepted and revisions are required, the author’s revised version is reassessed by the Scientific Editor. Once an article is accepted, it will be copy-edited.

Data verification

If the article is accepted for publication, Health Reports reserves the right to examine data programs and output to ensure the findings can be reproduced.

Translation

Health Reports is published in English and French. Translations of Health Reports articles are verified by a French or English editor, depending on the language of the original manuscript. Authors are offered an opportunity to review the translation of their article.

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