Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Users guide to the Bulletin

How to increase your chances of getting published.

Read a couple of issues of the Bulletin. Do you think your paper is similar to something we have already published? If so, send it in. If not, you may wish to try another journal.

Our authors and reviewers come from all over the world. The Bulletin's editors and editorial advisers are employed by the World Health Organization, and some papers are written or reviewed by people in the World Health Organization, but anyone can submit a paper to the Bulletin. The Bulletin's 2009 impact factor as calculated by the Institute of Scientific Information is 5.302, which ranks it among the top 5 most cited journals of public health. The Bulletin is distributed free in over 6000 printed copies to ministries of health, national health executives, non governmental organizations, and United Nations agencies around the world every month. In developing countries, schools of medicine and public health, and urban hospitals also receive a free subscription. There are over 1500 paid subscribers to the Bulletin. The Bulletin's website is free for all to access, with no registration required, but we do have about 30,000 people signed up to receive a monthly notification of our table of contents.

We do several theme issues each year, which are usually proposed by working groups within WHO. All theme issues are announced with an open call-for-papers, in the hope of soliciting a wide range of views and research on the subject in question. Papers for theme issues undergo the same peer review and selection procedure as for those in regular issues of the Bulletin. If you wish to contribute to an upcoming theme issue, please email us: bulletin.submit.ask@who.int.

What sort of papers do we want?

The Bulletin publishes papers on matters of international public health. This is a very broad field, and we consider a very wide range of papers, but the ones that survive peer review and are accepted for publication have some common features.

  • The work described has some implications beyond where it was done.
  • We learnt something from the paper.
  • We think that our readers would learn something, or find the contents useful to them in their work.
  • The work is novel, relevant and valid, and has been conducted in an ethical manner.

What kind of paper have you written?

Is it research (does it have a hypothesis, clear methods, testing, results and discussion?)
Is it policy and practice? (Is it a non-systematic review, debate, or hypothesis-generating piece?)
Is it a perspective or round table base paper? (A short paper presenting a view, hypothesis, or discussion of a topic of public health interest?)

The rest of our content is generally commissioned, but if you have a great idea for a commentary, editorial, public health review, news story, interview, book review, or public health classic, we would be happy to consider your proposal. Contact us at bulletin.submit.ask@who.int.

What to do with your paper before submitting.

Make sure you have clarified authorship. Please see the Vancouver guidelines for authors. Collect all the authors' statements of competing interests.

The Bulletin's policy on competing interests.

Competing interests arise when authors, reviewer, or editors have personal, commercial, political, academic or financial interests that are not fully apparent and that may influence their professional judgement on a paper's content or suitability for publication. The Bulletin recognizes that the desirable expertise of authors, writers and reviewers also makes them prone to acquiring competing interests in their subject area. However, as a member of the Committee of Publication Ethics, the Bulletin also requires authors, editors and reviewers to disclose their competing interests, upon submission or review of a paper for any section of the journal. Authors' competing interests statements will be taken into consideration when a final decision is made to accept or reject a paper, but will not stand as the only criterion for rejection without the editors first seeking further clarification from the authors. The Bulletin asks reviewers to decline the invitation to review a paper if they feel that they may have a conflict of interest that would impede their objectivity, and to declare any potential competing interests when accepting the invitation to review. Bulletin editors and editorial advisers are obliged to declare any competing interests to WHO, and preclude themselves from handling papers in such interests collide.

The Bulletin's usual time span on conflict of interests is for three years preceding the disclosure, but authors, reviewers and editors are asked to declare any relevant competing interests that they may have outside of this period.

In addition, The Bulletin requires that authors explicitly state all sources of funding for research or writing activities. This information should be included in the acknowledgements section of the paper, and the methods section of the paper should include the role of the funding source as regards the design, execution, and analysis of the study, and the decision to submit the paper for publication.

How to submit.

Decide on the section of the Bulletin to which you wish to submit the paper. Check that you have followed our 'Guidelines for Authors' for that particular section. Go to http://submit.bwho.org and follow the instructions for online submission provided at: how to submit your manuscript.