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Open Access References for scientific papers: why not standardise to one global style? [Notes from the field]

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The different reference styles demanded by journals, both for in-text citations and manuscript bibliographies, require that significant time and attention be paid to minute detail that constitute a tedious obstacle on the road to publication for all authors, but especially for those from resource-limited countries and/or writing in a second language. To illustrate this, we highlight different reference styles requested by five popular journals to which operational research papers are often submitted. We call for a simpler, standardised format for in-text and bibliography reference citations, so that researchers can concentrate on the science and its interpretation rather than fonts and punctuation.
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Keywords: Médecins Sans Frontières; The Union; operational research capacity building; references

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France; and Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK 2: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France; and International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, South-East Asia Regional Office, New Delhi, India 3: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France; and School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand 4: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France; and Center for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway 5: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France 6: Médecins Sans Frontières–Operational Centre Brussels, Medical Department, Operational Research Unit, MSF-Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Publication date: September 21, 2013

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  • Public Health Action (PHA), The Union's quarterly open access on-line journal, provides a platform for its mission 'Health solutions for the poor'. PHA addresses the need for show-casing operational research that addresses issues in health systems and services. It publishes high-quality scientific research that provides new knowledge to improve access, equity, quality and efficiency of health systems and services.

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