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About Harm Reduction Journal
This page includes information about the aims and scope of Harm Reduction Journal, editorial policies, open access and article-processing charges, the peer review process and other information. For details of how to prepare and submit a manuscript through the online submission system, please see the instructions for authors.
Aims & scope
Harm Reduction Journal is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal whose focus is on the prevalent patterns of psychoactive drug use, the public policies meant to control them, and the search for effective methods of reducing the adverse medical, public health, and social consequences associated with both drugs and drug policies. We define 'harm reduction' as 'policies and programs which aim to reduce the health, social, and economic costs of legal and illegal psychoactive drug use without necessarily reducing drug consumption'.
We are especially interested in studies of the evolving patterns of drug use around the world, their implications for the spread of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne pathogens, and in accurate descriptions and rigorous evaluations of innovative policies and practices for harm reduction in diverse societies. Harm Reduction Journal also seeks to improve the access to authoritative and current harm reduction literature for health professionals and policy specialists in the non-English speaking world, by offering access to translations of published articles, and their data sets.
While there are many fine print journals already published on the drug issue, the open access journal Harm Reduction Journal is the first to focus exclusively on this public health model and to make contemporary research on harm reduction freely available online - as well as providing full access to the large body of factual reports and policy documents published by governments and by the growing international network of harm reduction organizations.
All articles published by Harm Reduction Journal are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication, without subscription charges or registration barriers. Further information about open access can be found here.
Authors of articles published in Harm Reduction Journal are the copyright holders of their articles and have granted to any third party, in advance and in perpetuity, the right to use, reproduce or disseminate the article, according to the BioMed Central copyright and license agreement.
For authors who are US government employees or are prevented from being copyright holders for similar reasons, BioMed Central can accommodate non-standard copyright lines. Please contact us if further information is needed.
Open access publishing is not without costs. Harm Reduction Journal therefore levies an article-processing charge of £1565/$2450/€1995 for each article accepted for publication. If the corresponding author's institution is a Member, the cost of the article-processing charge is covered by the membership, and no further charge is payable. In the case of authors whose institutions are Supporter Members, however, a discounted article-processing charge is payable by the author. We routinely waive charges for authors from low-income countries. For other countries, article-processing charge waivers or discounts are granted on a case-by-case basis to authors with insufficient funds. Authors can request a waiver or discount during the submission process. For further details, see our article-processing charge page.
All articles published in Harm Reduction Journal are included in PubMed, the most widely used biomedical bibliographic database service, which is run by the US National Library of Medicine. Other bibliographic databases that index articles published in Harm Reduction Journal include:
- Current contents
- Google Scholar
- PubMed Central
- Social Sciences Citation Index
The full text of all research articles is deposited in PubMed Central, the US National Library of Medicine's full-text repository of life science literature, and other digital archives including e-Depot (The Netherlands).
The full text of all research articles published by BioMed Central is also available on SpringerLink.
Harm Reduction Journal is tracked by Thomson Reuters (ISI) and has an Impact Factor of 1.64.
Publication and peer review process
Criteria for Publication
Research - reports of data from original research.
Book reviews - 1000-1500 words on recent and classic works in the field.
Brief reports - brief reports of data from original research, usually about 1500 words.
Case reports - reports of clinical cases that can be educational, describe a diagnostic or therapeutic dilemma, suggest an association, or present an important adverse reaction.
Case studies - descriptions of a major healthcare intervention, usually from a public health perspective. The article should include a rigorous assessment of the processes and impact of the intervention as well as recommendations for future interventions.
Commentaries - short, focused and opinionated articles on any subject within the journal's scope. These articles are usually related to a contemporary issue, such as recent research findings or other HRJ publications.
Methodology articles - present a new experimental method, test or procedure. The method described may either be completely new, or may offer a better version of an existing method. The article must describe a demonstrable advance on what is currently available.
Reviews - comprehensive, authoritative descriptions of important subjects within the journal's scope. HRJ will regularly solicit these and is open to proposals for additional topics. These have an educational aim and are 2000-5000 words - with more extensive and wider ranging references.
Peer review policies
- Peer review in Harm Reduction Journal (HRJ) is designed to ensure that the research and scholarship published is based on sound principles of science and is relevant to the important issues associated with drug use and drug policies.
- HRJ considers manuscripts spanning a wide range of scientific, public health, and policy interests.
- We recognize the importance of highlighting articles that contain the most interesting, important or significant research. Peer reviewers are asked to indicate articles they consider to be especially interesting or significant. These articles will be given greater prominence within HRJ and greater external publicity.
- Submitted manuscripts will generally be reviewed by two external experts.
- Peer reviewers will have four possible options, for each manuscript: (1) accept without revision, (2) accept after revision without expecting to check those revisions, (3) neither accept nor reject until author(s) make revisions and resubmit or (4) reject because scientifically unsound
- In recommending whether to accept or reject a manuscript, a reviewer asks him/herself whether the scientific community is better served by publishing or not publishing the article. The final decision to publish rests with the Editors.
- When asking for revisions, reviewers have two possible goals: to ask authors to tighten their arguments based on existing data or to identify areas where more data are needed.
- HRJ normally allows authors a maximum of two revisions of a manuscript.
- Peer reviewers are asked to say if the manuscript is not sufficiently clearly written for publication. In such cases authors are asked to revise the manuscript, seeking, if necessary, the assistance of colleagues or a commercial editing service.
- We aim to publish research as quickly as possible. Our electronic submission process is designed to facilitate rapid publication.
Authors will be able to check the progress of their manuscript through the submission system at any time by logging into My Harm Reduction Journal, a personalized section of the site.
High-quality, bound reprints can be purchased for all articles published. Please see our reprints website for further information about ordering reprints.
Harm Reduction Journal will consider supplements based on proceedings (full articles or meeting abstracts), reviews or research. All articles submitted for publication in supplements are subject to peer review. Published supplements are fully searchable and freely accessible online and can also be produced in print. All full length articles (proceedings, reviews or research articles) are indexed by PubMed. PubMed displays the title of the supplement only in the case of meeting abstract collections. For further information, please contact us.
All manuscripts submitted to HRJ should adhere to BioMed Central's editorial policies.
Citing articles in Harm Reduction Journal
Articles in Harm Reduction Journal should be cited in the same way as articles in a traditional journal. Because articles are not printed, they do not have page numbers; instead, they are given a unique article number.
Article citations follow this format:
Authors: Title. Harm Reduct J [year], [volume number]:[article number].
e.g. Roberts LD, Hassall DG, Winegar DA, Haselden JN, Nicholls AW, Griffin JL: Increased hepatic oxidative metabolism distinguishes the action of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor delta from Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor gamma in the Ob/Ob mouse. Harm Reduct J 2009, 1:115.
refers to article 115 from Volume 1 of the journal.
Why publish your article in Harm Reduction Journal?
Harm Reduction Journal's open access policy allows maximum visibility of articles published in the journal as they are available to a wide, global audience. Articles that have been especially highly accessed are highlighted with a 'Highly accessed' graphic, which appears on the journal's contents pages and search results.
Speed of publication
Harm Reduction Journal offers a fast publication schedule whilst maintaining rigorous peer review; all articles must be submitted online, and peer review is managed fully electronically (articles are distributed in PDF form, which is automatically generated from the submitted files). Articles will be published with their final citation after acceptance, in both fully browsable web form, and as a formatted PDF; the article will then be available through Harm Reduction Journal, BioMed Central and PubMed Central and will also be included in PubMed.
Online publication in Harm Reduction Journal gives authors the opportunity to publish large datasets, large numbers of color illustrations and moving pictures, to display data in a form that can be read directly by other software packages so as to allow readers to manipulate the data for themselves, and to create all relevant links (for example, to PubMed, to sequence and other databases, and to other articles).
Promotion and press coverage
Articles published in Harm Reduction Journal are included in article alerts and regular email updates. Some may be included in abstract books mailed to academics and are highlighted on Harm Reduction Journal's pages and on the BioMed Central homepage.
In addition, articles published in Harm Reduction Journal may be promoted by press releases to the general or scientific press. These activities increase the exposure and number of accesses for articles published in Harm Reduction Journal. A list of articles recently press-released by journals published by BioMed Central is available here.
Authors of articles published in Harm Reduction Journal retain the copyright of their articles and are free to reproduce and disseminate their work (for further details, see the BioMed Central copyright policy and license agreement).
For further information about the advantages of publishing in a journal from BioMed Central, please click here.