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Research Article Author Guidelines
MMRR is a peer-reviewed, online journal published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Office of Information Products & Data Analytics (OIPDA). MMRR reports data and research that inform current and future directions of the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance programs. The journal seeks to examine and evaluate health care coverage, quality and access to care for beneficiaries, and efficient payment for health care services. MMRR highlights the results of policy-relevant research and provides a forum for a broad range of diverse viewpoints to stimulate discussion. Our audience includes policymakers, researchers, administrators, and health care providers.
MMRR will consider for publication manuscripts that report original health care research, program evaluations, and analyses of major policy issues. As a definitive source for peer-reviewed research on these programs, MMRR will not exclude from consideration manuscripts where the study results are presented in an existing government-funded or foundation-funded research deliverable.
Please submit your manuscript through the automated system at the following Web site: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mmrr. Once you create an account, you will be able to track your manuscript through our review process.
All manuscripts submitted to MMRR are held in strict confidence throughout the review and production processes. The editor, editorial board members, and external reviewers are not permitted to discuss, post, or otherwise share manuscript details with third parties , nor reveal information regarding author or reviewer correspondence.
Please name all of your submitted electronic files with the corresponding author's last name, year followed by month of submission, and one or two key words regarding topic of submission separated by underscores; e.g., smith201108_medicaid_expansion.doc
Research Manuscript Preparation
Please be prepared, when requested during the submission process, to provide the title of the manuscript (12 words or less); the names, formal titles, academic degrees, and affiliations of the authors; the complete addresses (including e-mail), telephone/FAX numbers of all authors; the designated contact author; the date of submission; acknowledgements and approvals; research funding information; and word count that includes footnotes. Please do not include author names, addresses, or affiliations within the manuscript itself (except references as appropriate) to assist in blinding the manuscript for peer review.
Our online submission system allows up to five authors to be named; however, we will allow more in a published article if they fit the guidelines for authorship stated under the Authorship heading below. Please enter all the required author information for the additional authors in the cover letter, under the heading, “Additional Authors not listed with the first five.” The order in which the information is provided will determine the order of the sixth and subsequent authors.
For all manuscripts, please include a 250-word structured abstract, any reasonable headings may be used. For manuscripts reporting policy analyses, a 250-word summary acquainting the prospective reader with the essence of the text may be substituted, however editors reserve the right to request a structured abstract. Abstracts must be intelligible when divorced from the article and devoid of any undefined abbreviations.
Please prepare up to 10 key words to supply with your submission when requested through the automated process. You may choose from the keywords list in the system or, if you do not find an appropriate term in the list, you may add your own.
Please state in the cover letter the type of manuscript you are submitting; i.e., research article manuscript. We require authors to include in a cover letter information about the context of the manuscript that may have a bearing on the value of publishing it, such as those listed here:
- if the research or preliminary results of the study in the manuscript have been presented or made available publicly prior to submission;
- if your manuscript, or similar manuscripts based on the same research, have been submitted simultaneously to another journal or publication;
- if you or your coauthors have financial or other interests related to the manuscript’s research or policy implications;
- if the research has been supported by a grant or cooperative agreement, or per-formed under a contract; and
- if you wish to acknowledge persons whose contributions did not warrant authorship.
Information that we require in a cover letter is also discussed under “Disclosure” and “Authorship.”
Manuscripts are considered with the understanding that they have not been published previously (except in the case where the research results are presented in a government- or foundation-funded research deliverable) and are not under consideration by another publication. If more than one article is being prepared based on the same study, the author(s) must notify us in a cover letter of the substantive differences between the articles and the other publication(s). An article following presentation of preliminary findings at a scientific meeting may also be considered for publication; however, notification of the presentation must be included in the cover letter submitted with the manuscript. Authors must reduce manuscripts reporting research included in a government-funded or foundation-funded research deliverable to focus upon a single research issue per submission, and notify us of the substantive differences between the manuscript and the other publication(s) in a cover letter.
MMRR as a government publication has a primary responsibility to its stakeholders to provide unbiased scientific results and analyses, with a transparent reporting of competing financial interests or other interests so that a stakeholder can adequately assess the work. In order to accomplish this goal, we not only rely on the expertise of the MMRR Editorial Board and expert peer reviewers, but also require all authors to declare any competing financial or other interests in relation to the work described within the context of the submission. Competing interests can be of two major types and must be reported by all authors:
- direct and personal, such as equity, stock ownership, consulting, research support and funding, and personal patents (applied, in-process, or awarded); and
- indirect, such as employment by an agency that may gain or lose financially; management or advisory affiliations, or consulting (all within the last 2 years); and corporate patents (applied, in process, or awarded).
Only those persons who contributed substantially to the study on which the manuscript was written, and who accept responsibility for the published work, should be listed as authors. Conversely, identification of those who had important engagement with the work should not be omitted. Others may be mentioned in an acknowledgment or identified as contributors; e.g., those providing funding, study subjects, technical services, text translation, or supervision. Authorship includes those who participated substantially in the study, such as by "formulating the problem or hypothesis, structuring the experimental design, organizing and conducting the statistical analysis, interpreting the results, or writing a major portion of the paper"1 The corresponding author will be provided a Statement of Authorship form to complete and sign along with his or her approval of the Final Proof.
MMRR editors may request a detailed description of contribution from each author, and verification of his or her agreement to serve as an author and acceptance of authorship responsibilities. Names of those whose contributions do not constitute authorship may be removed as a condition of publication. All authors, including coauthors, are expected to have confirmed findings in the submission. It may be damaging to an author's reputation if his name is used on an article he had little involvement with or if he does not understand it.
Our online submission system allows up to five authors to be named. Please enter all the required author information for the sixth and subsequent authors in the cover letter, under the heading, “Additional Authors not listed with the first five.” The order in which the information is provided will determine the order these authors will appear in the proof of an accepted manuscript.
If the manuscript contains acknowledgments, the corresponding author will be given an Acknowledgment Approval Form to sign, prior to publication, confirming that those acknowledged approve of being named. We regard this precaution as essential, because thanking colleagues for their help may be interpreted to mean that they approve of the article. If they do not, they may object to being mentioned.
The authors should agree on the order in which the authors’ and contributors’ names should be listed in the article.
All authors should comply with the journals’ policies on conflict of interest. If the research has been supported by a grant or cooperative agreement, or performed under a contract, this information must be provided in the cover letter.
Please submit your manuscript text in Microsoft Word, 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins and all pages numbered. Word count should be 5,000 or less including footnotes, and excluding references, tables, and figures.
References and Footnotes
References should be limited to 30 or fewer. All references listed must be cited in the text and must appear in alphabetical order at the end of the text. Citations in text must include author's last name and date of publication. Journal references must include source, volume, issue number (if available and if paginated by issue), pages, and year of publication by following APA style, preferably using the guidelines in APA’s Publication Manual, Sixth Edition. Provide Digital Object Identifiers (doi) when possible. Do not abbreviate names of journals. Double-space each reference. Improperly formatted references may be returned to the author for revision, possibly delaying publication.
Sample Journal Article Reference
Gold, M. and Mittler, J. (2000, Winter). Second Generation Medicaid Managed Care: Can It Deliver? Health Care Financing Review, 22(2), 29-47.
If you cite references that appear on the Internet, you must include the following information in your reference list: author's name, document title, date of publication, and complete and accurate URL following the words Retrieved from. Use the format in the following sample:
Sample Internet Reference
Smith, V. and Ellis, E. (2001, October). Medicaid Budgets Under Stress: Survey Findings for State Fiscal Year 2000, 2001, and 2002.
Retrieved from http://www.kff.org/content/2001/4020.pdf
Anything attributed to another author is a reference, not a footnote. Footnotes should only be used to add important explanatory material that would be distracting in the main flow of text. Footnotes may contain a reference. A reference by itself should not be placed in a footnote.
Footnotes must be cited in the text with a superscript number and must be numbered sequentially throughout the manuscript. Footnotes must be listed at the bottom of the page—not separately at the end of the text—and must not exceed 30 words in length.
Although we wish to accept a broad variety of tables and figures, in order to ensure accessibility (Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act) and to reflect the small number of staff at MMRR, we must request that authors submit exhibits in simple, easily formatted versions.
- Place all exhibits (10 maximum tables and figures in combination) at the end of the manuscript.
- Each exhibit must be on a separate page, numbered consecutively, and specifically cited within the manuscript narrative.
- Place a note, “Exhibit n About Here,” on a separate line in the text near the first reference to the exhibit to assist editors in placement for a published article.
- Exhibits must be individually and succinctly titled; footnotes must be keyed with numbers rather than symbols; and tables must not have vertical lines, leaders, nor nested tables if possible.
- Each table or figure must have a SOURCE line below any footnotes indicating the derivation and year of the data, for example: SOURCE: Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, Access to Care File, 2009.
Tables should be submitted in Word format with no nested table formats, minimized number of cells merged across columns, few horizontal borders except to separate column headings, and no vertical borders. Table contents may be in 10 point font. Use page margins no smaller than 0.75” left and right. Table headings, notes, and source text should be kept separate from the table itself; that is, outside the table itself.
If tables are submitted in Excel format, authors of accepted articles will be expected to reformat them if a copy and paste of the table into Word results in a nested table or requires inordinate amounts of reformatting to match MMRR styles.
Figures should be submitted in one of two ways: either
- an image file that includes ONLY the figure; that is, without title, notes or source embedded (title, notes and source text should be submitted separately) or
- an Excel file with the figure on one worksheet and the data behind the figure on a separate worksheet within the same file. Each figure in a manuscript should be submitted in a separate Excel file, so that reviewers see the figure correctly in the PDF rendering online.
Numerical plotting points for graphic files should also be in Microsoft Excel compatible format.
Color in exhibits is permitted. Design your color exhibits with an eye towards black-and-white reproduction or printing. Color schemes in figures may not result in gray tones with sufficient differentiation to clearly distinguish elements or in colors that present common access problems, e.g. red/green color blindness. If a manuscript is accepted, authors may be required to provide an alternative rendering in grayscale for each exhibit containing color.
At the editors’ discretion, MMRR will publish and permanently maintain supplemental materials that are referenced, but not included in the manuscript. Supplemental materials may include text, tables, source files, derivations, photographs, figures, graphs, and video material as appropriate. All material will be reviewed for appropriateness by the editors prior to publication, but may not be edited or formatted to MMRR specifications. Please ensure that the supplemental material is reasonably formatted. Supplemental material must be individually and succinctly titled.
Research Manuscript Review Process
All manuscripts are acknowledged upon receipt and initially reviewed for completeness before the review process is initiated. Editors will determine their policy relevancy and/or their implications for the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance programs. Any submissions that are incomplete, in which the instructions are not followed, will be withdrawn by the editorial office and the authors will be instructed on how to complete their submissions. Authors can obtain assistance with an incomplete submission by contacting the editorial office at MMRR-Editors@cms.hhs.gov.
Manuscripts of interest are referred to at least two external subject-matter experts for double blind peer review. Authors may suggest specific, relevant peer reviewers who present no conflict of interest, apparent or actual, by providing names and e-mail addresses, when requested, through the automated submission process. Authors also may request to exclude a specific reviewer. We offer no guarantee that these suggestions will be used.
Manuscripts under consideration for publication are subject to the peer reviewer's critiques and authors will be required to make revisions based on those comments or delineate in a written response why specific comments have not been addressed. Revised and resubmitted manuscripts may be required to undergo a second round of peer review. Revised and resubmitted manuscripts are not guaranteed acceptance.
Please use the same Web-based process to re-submit revised manuscripts with a previous decision, referencing the ID of the previous submission. Notification of manuscript decisions will be sent to the corresponding author.
Assignment of Reviewers
One of the benefits of using our online submission and review tool is that authors are able to track the progress of their submission. Sometimes the status may say ‘Awaiting Assignment of Reviewers.’ This does NOT necessarily mean we have not invited anyone to review the manuscript. It may mean that an invited reviewer has not yet accepted our invitation to review.
Accepted Research Manuscripts
Once a manuscript has been accepted for publication, we will send the corresponding author a preview galley for review. The preview will be either in Microsoft Word format using track changes, if edits are extensive or require further author input, or in PDF format if it is expected that the manuscript is in near final form with few additional changes expected. Authors should respond directly to comments and edits. Authors will see their articles as a final proof for approval in PDF format immediately before publication. Prior to publication, the corresponding author will be required to submit a Statement of Authorship to the editorial staff (via email with cc to every author) that all authors have reviewed and approved the Final Proof and attest to their authorship. Alternatively, a Final Proof approval form signed by each author may be submitted.
Accepted manuscripts are issued a Digital Object Identifier (doi), have all references confirmed, and have links to PubMed and doi (Cross-Ref, http://www.crossref.org) added if possible. Once the manuscript has been published, the corresponding author will receive notification and an electronic file for reprint requests.
Authors are requested not to share their research findings with anyone, nor provide copies of such findings, while an article is being considered for publication and during the editorial/production phases, until the manuscript is either published or rejected.
All published material appearing in MMRR is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; however, citation to source is appreciated.
Doe, J. and Smith, M. (2015). Health Reform’s Impact on the Medicare and Medicaid Populations, 2011-2014. Medicare & Medicaid Research Review, 5(1), 23-38. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5600/mmrr.005.01.a06
1American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. p. 18.