International Family Planning Perspectives:
Guidelines for Authors
International Family Planning Perspectives is a peer-reviewed research journal serving researchers, policymakers, program administrators and service providers in developing countries. The journal invites submissions based on qualitative or quantitative research on such topics as contraceptive practice and research; fertility levels, trends and determinants; adolescent pregnancy; sexual behavior; HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases; public policies and legal issues affecting family planning and childbearing; program operation, development and evaluation; information, education and communication activities; reproductive, maternal and child health; and abortion incidence, determinants and consequences. (Because the journal receives funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, it is prohibited under the Helms Amendment (P.L. 93-189) from publishing material that promotes abortion.)
We receive manuscripts with the understanding that they are not under consideration elsewhere and that the substance of the data or analysis has not been published previously. Submissions undergo a two-tiered review. They are screened initially by the editorial staff for overall quality and interest; about 70% are rejected at this stage, and the author is notified within eight weeks of submission. The surviving submissions undergo double-blind peer review by at least two experts in the field. Authors of articles sent for review can expect to receive critiques of their manuscript four months after submission, with guidance from the editors as to whether to proceed with a revision.
We expect manuscripts to be double-spaced, with pages numbered; only one copy is needed. The title page should include the names, titles and affiliations of all authors; we limit the number of authors to eight. (Multicenter clinical studies may have up to 10 authors.)
Use active voice when writing the text. Stick to plain English, and avoid jargon known only to academic or professional subspecialties. In particular, describe the study's methodology clearly and simply, keeping in mind that some readers may not be familiar with specific statistical techniques. Dispense with arcane acronyms as well as brand names; if brand names are important to the research, give them on first mention in the methodology section, then use generic designations.
Subheads to delineate the sections of the paper are welcome, but they must fit within one journal column. First-level heads should be no more than 27 characters, and second-level heads no more than 50 characters. Third-level sub_heads may be used if the text merits; these are run-in clauses, in italics and preceded by bullets.
The maximum number of tables and other graphic elements is eight. Place each table and chart on a separate page at the end of the text. All line graphs and charts should be accompanied by their respective data points so that they can be replicated by the journal's production staff.
Reference lists should indicate that you are familiar with the relevant literature, as well as provide citations for all data and factual observations. Most articles have 10-30 references. References in the initial submission need not be in any particular format; however, if we are interested in the article, the correct referencing style must be incorporated with other requested revisions before it will be accepted for publication.
International Family Planning Perspectives follows a reference style based on the citation-sequence system of the Council of Science Editors. References are numbered consecutively in the text, and are listed in numerical order at the conclusion of the article. A reference may contain more than one citation. Do not list reference numbers twice; use "ibid." or "op. cit.," as appropriate, when a source is cited more than once. If there are more than three authors, list the first author and add "et al."
The following examples illustrate the format of the most common types of references. For other types, refer to any recent issue of the journal as a guide.
1. Henshaw SK and Van Vort J, Abortion services in the United States, 1991 and 1992, Family Planning Perspectives, 1994, 26(3):100-106 & 112, Table 4.
2. Hatcher RA et al., Contraceptive Technology, 16th ed., New York: Irvington Publishers, 1994, p. 209.
4. Henshaw SK and Van Vort J, 1994, op. cit. (see reference 1).
Footnotes and references are separate elements and should not be intermingled. Used sparingly, footnotes are appropriate for parenthetical or explanatory information that cannot be smoothly accommodated in the text. To distinguish them from references, use symbols or letters to designate them. Please do not use computer automatic numbering functions for either references or footnotes (i.e., do not "embed" them in the text); type them at the end or place them in a separate electronic file.
Acknowledgments should include funding information, as well as any employment, appointments or financial arrangements that might be perceived as a conflict of interest. Acknowledgments should not be used to thank anonymous reviewers, study participants or coworkers who provided no special technical or intellectual expertise.
The journal contains a number of sections to which you may submit your manuscript or to which it may be assigned by the editors. The majority of submissions appear in the "Articles" category. Articles deal with never-before-published data or analyses of a research endeavor, survey, program evaluation or academic exercise. Articles should contain all the standard elements: structured abstract (of no more than 250 words), introduction, methodology, results and discussion. Extensive literature reviews are not needed for our specialized audience. The abstract summarizes key data; therefore, the results should not be summarized again in the discussion. Rather, you should draw conclusions about what the results mean for the field and what specific and practical applications can be made of them. A word count is mandatory; we look unfavorably upon articles of more than 6,000 words (not including references or footnotes).
"Comments," too, are usually data-based, but the data may have been compiled from sources other than original research, and the text is an analytic review of some issue or question. Comments may or may not follow the standard structure of a research article, depending on how the author chooses to tackle the subject, but they usually are shorter than an article and have fewer references. Some comments undergo peer review, but others do not.
Although most "Special Reports" are staff-written, an occasional outside submission may land in this section. Special Reports cover a wide range of issues and, for example, may present an in-depth discussion of policy issues relevant to sexuality education, summarize a global conference on maternal mortality, evaluate the adequacy of postabortion contraceptive services or investigate the status of research on a new contraceptive method. Special Reports stop at 4,500 words, do not have abstracts, forgo tables, usually don't contain the standard elements of an article and often are accepted on the basis of the editors' judgment only.
"Viewpoints" follow no specific guidelines and are as individual as the opinions of the people who write them. They are not subjected to peer review, and acceptance is based solely on whether the editors think the opinion is worth airing and the case is cogently made. Viewpoints should be no more than 3,500 words.
We welcome "Letters to the Editor." They should support or take issue with material published in the journal or present some other observation that can be made in 1,200 words or less. Letters are usually sent to the first author of the original paper for a rejoinder, to be published with the letter.
Upon acceptance of a manuscript, we will ask you to send an electronic version of the article and to assign copyright to the journal. Approximate time between acceptance of a manuscript and publication is six months. All manuscripts are edited for grammar, conciseness, organization and clarity. The editing may be more extensive than at other journals, to make manuscripts suitable for a multidisciplinary, international readership. You will have two opportunities to review edited galleys; galleys are sent by overnight delivery service or electronically, as PDF files.
Please send manuscripts to: Frances A. Althaus, Executive Editor, International Family Planning Perspectives, The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 120 Wall Street, New York, N.Y. 10005, or send them electronically to . Include a cover letter with the complete affiliation, address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address of the author with whom we are to correspond. Not all authors are required to sign the letter, but implicit in the submission of a manuscript is an acknowledgment by the corresponding author that all authors are aware that they are being listed, have seen and approved the manuscript, and accept responsibility for its content. Receipt of the manuscript is acknowledged by return mail; manuscripts not accepted for publication are not returned.