|Remember to edit the title not only in your manuscript, but - more importantly - also in our metadata form. See How do I edit the abstract/title in the metadata form on revision or before publication?|
To enhance discoverability and citability—and to prevent readers from drawing incorrect conclusions from poorly written titles—JMIR enforces a specific format for its article titles. Editors, copyeditors, and typesetters may change a title according to the guidelines below.
JRP publishes proposal or protocols (it is essentially the authors’ choice whether they want to frame it as proposal or protocol), and in these cases it is essential that one of these terms appears in the title.
Titles of journal articles come in a variety of formats. The most common formats are:
Descriptive titles *** Required for JMIR articles ***
- Describe the subject of the article and (after a colon) the method/design, but do not reveal the main conclusions
- Eg, “The Effects of Family Support on Patients With Dementia: Randomized Controlled Trial” or "COVID-19 Anti-vaccination Sentiment in the Early Stages of the Pandemic: Infodemiology Study of Tweets"
- This is the preferred JMIR style for original articles and protocols (if combined with a description of the method after a colon (see below)
- Stating the main findings or conclusions
- Eg, “A 3-Month Weight Loss Program Increases Self-esteem in Adolescent Girls”
- This is discouraged by JMIR because the findings of a study are rarely clear-cut
- Introduce the subject in the form of a question
- Eg, “Does Cognitive Training Improve Performance on Pattern Recognition Tasks?”
- This is discouraged for original articles, but sometimes used for opinion/viewpoint pieces (see What are the article types for JMIR journals? for additional info)
General JMIR guidelines for article titles
- JMIR is trying to adhere to a consistent format of titles, roughly following the format "Issue or Intervention in Demographic/Disease/Condition: Method/Study Design"
- Eg, "Usability of Wearable Devices for Patients with Heart Failure: Observational Study"
- The method part after the colon (ie, the study design) should describe how something was done and/or what was done
- A study design is, for example, a cohort study, questionnaire study, qualitative focus group study, randomized controlled trial, etc (see below)
- This can be enhanced with further qualifiers (eg, "Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial" or "Pilot Questionnaire Study")
- For a helpful list of commonly used methods / study designs, see What are some examples of methods/study designs that should appear in the article title?
- For randomized controlled trials, the title format is "Intervention in Condition/for Target Group: Randomized Controlled Trial" (per CONSORT-EHEALTH for Randomized Controlled Trials)
- For systematic reviews, the title format is "Intervention in Condition/for Target Group: Systematic Review"
- Identify the report as a systematic review, meta-analysis, or both, as per PRISMA (see Where to find PRISMA, SPIRIT and other reporting guidelines). Slight deviations in the first part of the title are permissible, but the method part must be consistent.
- A title containing "Systematic Review" implies a specific type of paper where authors conducted a rigorous literature review of a specific topic as per PRISMA statement
- Please do not use this title for other kinds of papers
- In particular, a systematic search and review of apps on app stores, or systematic assessment of websites, should not be called a “Systematic Review”
- JMIR prefers other titles such as “Systematic Search on App Stores and Content Analysis” for a search/review of apps
- See our e-collection Reviews of Multiple Existing Apps for additional title examples
- “Feasibility Study” or “Pilot Study” does not sufficiently characterize a study design; it characterizes the purpose/objective of the study and is discouraged
- Tip: If you have pilot/feasibility studies, we strongly suggest submitting this preliminary work to JMIR Formative Research rather than our other journals. Our high-impact journals (J Med Internet Res, JMIR mHealth etc) will not accept pilot or feasibility studies but transfer it to JMIR Formative Res.
- Protocols and proposals (published primarily in JMIR Research Protocols [JRP]) MUST mention “Protocol” or “Proposal” in the title, respectively. JRP mainly publishes proposals or protocols. Proposals or protocols are very similar - it is essentially the authors’ choice whether they want to frame it as proposal (which is often more higher-level) or as a protocol (which may contain more details), and authors will be prompted by production staff if this is missing from the title (the default assumption is that it is a protocol).
- Eg, "Issue or Intervention in Demographic/Disease/Condition: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial”); see SPIRIT statement (Where to find PRISMA, SPIRIT and other reporting guidelines)
- Even if the article is published in JMIR Research Protocols, we do not assume that it is evident for readers from the journal title that the article describes a protocol
- Viewpoints can have any style of title which appropriately summarizes the article
- Note that the title of a Viewpoint will most likely not contain a study design of any kind since it's not reporting results of a study
- Corrigenda, the format should be “Correction: Title of the Article Being Corrected“
- You can replace “Correction” with more specific wording like “Metadata Correction” or “Figure Correction”
- This is the only instance where two colons are allowed in a title (see item 9 below)
- Questions in titles should be avoided
- Eg, “Is a Web-Based Intervention More Effective Than...?”
- However, questions can be used in exceptional cases where the result is really clear-cut
- Titles should be concise, specific, informative, and should contain the key points of the work
- Too much detail should be avoided (you don’t need to mention all inclusion criteria in the title). If a title runs over 4-5 lines it is probably too long (Too much detail: "Time to Treatment and In-Hospital Major Adverse Cardiac Events Among Patients With ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction Who Underwent Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) According to the 24/7 Primary PCI Service Registry in Iran: Cross-Sectional Study").
- Omit/avoid redundancies such as “Study Protocol of a…” (better: "Protocol of a...") and fluff such as “Role of,” Effects of,” “Treatment of,” “Use of,” and “Report of a Case of”
- Declarative titles (ie, a statement of the result/conclusion) should usually be avoided in titles
- Eg, “XY Web-Based Intervention is More Effective Than...”
- A country or geographic location (“...in Japan...”) should only be used in the title if it is essential for the article topic and if different results can be expected in other countries/geographic regions
- Otherwise it is sufficient to mention the location of the study in the abstract (or only the methods section of the paper)
- However, if the study has been conducted in specific locations/settings (ie, developing countries; low and middle-income countries), then the country should be mentioned
- The indefinite article after the colon in front of the method is mostly not required
- Eg, instead of “First Part of the Title: A Randomized Controlled Trial” simply use “First Part of the Title: Randomized Controlled Trial”
- Ensure the title uses title case capitalization
- Avoid using acronyms in titles. Exceptions to this rule can be found here.
- Acronyms of study names are permissible if they are not too long. They should appear in brackets if deemed necessary/useful.
- When there has been a “stretch” to create a study name or the name of a writing group that makes sense, is easy to say, and somehow relates to the name of the group, but where the first letters of the major words do not match the acronym, do not use unusual capitalization to indicate how the study name was derived. If a study name is an acronym made up of letters that do not begin the words of the longer phrase (eg, “VItal siGns monItoring with continuous puLse oximetry And wireless cliNiCian notification aftEr surgery” to create “VIGILANCE”), the acronym can be listed first with the phrase following in parentheses instead of the typical order of phrase (acronym). However, please note that the spelled out form should still be in title case (eg, "VIGILANCE (Vital Signs Monitoring With Continuous Pulse Oximetry and Wireless Clinician Notification After Surgery)...”).
- Please do not use more than one colon in the title (corrigenda notwithstanding)
- A title like “A Text Message–Delivered Smoking Cessation Intervention: The Initial Trial of TXT-2-Quit: Randomized Controlled Trial” is not acceptable
- In this case, the title should have been changed to either of the following:
The Initial Trial of a Text Message–Delivered Smoking Cessation Intervention (TXT-2-Quit): Randomized Controlled Trial
A Text Message–Delivered Smoking Cessation Intervention (TXT-2-Quit): Pilot
Randomized Controlled Trial
- Do not assume that readers know your application or website by its brand name
- A title like “Randomized Evaluation of the Autobot” or “First Results From the ABCD Trial” is incomprehensible to most readers
- Replace brand names and acronyms with a descriptive phrase that is understandable by everybody
- Eg, “A Robot for Autistic Children (Autobot): Randomized Controlled Trial” is much more meaningful to readers than the brand name or acronym of the intervention, despite how connected authors may feel to the name
- JMIR Publications tweets each title and shares it on multiple social media accounts, so we prefer to keep the titles short to fit into a single tweet without getting cut off
- This is another reason for why we want the methods/design part at the end of the title — if the title is cut off, it should still invite readers to click on the title
- A truncated title like “Evaluation and Pilot Evaluation of a....” is less enticing than “A Robot for Elderly Care: ...”
- If you change the title, edit the title in the manuscript management system (How do I edit/correct/enter article metadata before publication?) as well as in the manuscript file if in peer-review or copyediting.
Capitalization in titles and headings
- Use headline style caps (title case) for all titles and headings.
In title case, we do not capitalize articles (a, an, the), prepositions of ≤3 letters (of, as, in), coordinating conjunctions (and, or, for, nor, but), or the “to” in infinitives, except when it is the first word in the title or subtitle. Do capitalize a 2-letter verb, such as Is or Be.
Exceptions are made for some expressions, such as compound terms from languages other than English (eg, Ethical Questions Surrounding In Vitro Fertilization) and phrasal verbs (eg, Weighing In on Bariatric Surgery).
- Capitalize major words in titles, subtitles, and headings of publications; musical compositions, plays (stage and screen), radio and television programs, movies, paintings and other works of art, software programs/apps, websites and weblogs, electronic systems, trademarks; and names of ships, airplanes, spacecraft, awards, corporations, and monuments. Capitalize trademarks and proprietary names of drugs and brand names of manufactured products and equipment. Do not capitalize a coordinating conjunction, an article, or a preposition of ≤3 letters in any of these elements, except when it is the first word in a title or subtitle.
- Example: In a title/heading, app name "headspace Work and Study" will be revised as "Headspace Work and Study".
- If non-proper names that stylistically begin with a lowercase letter appear in titles and headings (eg, mHealth), do not capitalize the first letter.
- Example: An mHealth Intervention for People With Dementia...
- Although email is no longer hyphenated, because it has become a commonly used word (like eHealth), newer compounds that start with “e-” retain the hyphen. In such words, the “e” is considered a prefix, and only the noun should be capitalized in a heading or at the start of a sentence.
- Example: “e-Cigarettes and Future Battles in the Fight Against Smoking” in titles, but “Minnesota health officials are planning to release results of the state’s first-ever survey on the use of e-cigarettes.” Other examples in titles: e-Learning, e-Patient, e-Prescribing
- Similar capitalization in titles applies to intercapped compounds of trade/brand names; they should be presented as eBay, iPhone, etc, in titles and headings.
- Hyphenated compounds: In titles and headings, capitalize the second part of the hyphenated compound too.
- Capitalize both parts of the compound if each part of the hyphenated term carries equal weight (eg, Low-Level Activity, Population-Based Study, Drug-Resistant Bacteria)
- Capitalize the first letter of a word that follows a lowercase (but not a capital) Greek letter, a numeral (except when an abbreviated unit of measure that never is capitalized follows), a symbol, or an italicized organic chemistry prefix such as trans- and cis- (eg, Systemic Adverse Effects of Ophthalmic β-Blockers, High-Dose 308-nm Excimer Laser, Effectiveness of Timolol at 10% Strength)
- Exceptions: (1) If either part is a hyphenated prefix or suffix (eg, Self-referral to Psychiatrists, Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) or (2) if both parts together constitute a single word as per the current edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (eg, Long-term Treatment of Diabetes, Cross-sectional Study of Patients With Malaria, Meta-analysis in Nutrition Research)
Capitalize the formal name of a genus in the title, but lowercase the species name.
Example: Helicobacter pylori and the Patient With Ulcers