Call for Papers: Tobacco Harm Reduction 2011 yearbook and Harm Reduction Journal

Call for papers:  Tobacco Harm Reduction 2011 yearbook and Harm Reduction Journal

from: Carl V. Phillips
contact: or (twitter) @carlvphillips

8 February 2011

–please forward to anyone who might be interested —

We are currently soliciting submissions about tobacco harm reduction for the Tobacco Harm Reduction 2011 yearbook (THR2011) and Harm Reduction Journal (HRJ).  This will work rather differently from what you might expect, so I encourage you to read on if you have any interest in the subject matter or the scientific review process.

For those not familiar with these publications, Tobacco Harm Reduction 2010 ( was the first of what we expect will be a series of yearbooks on the topic produced by  Like THR2010, THR2011 will be an edited volume combining research reprints, original articles, and other material relevant to documenting the history of thought about THR.  THR2010 covered material that was originally published roughly from 2009 through the first few months of 2010; THR2011 will cover the period after that through the time the book is assembled a few months from now.  THR2010 also included some original material, as will THR2011, though for the latter we will be introducing a peer review process where appropriate.  THR2010 is available as a free download.  THR2011 will also be made available for open access in some format and we hope to be able to release it for sale for e-book readers and on paper (and will re-release THR2010 in these forms as well).

HRJ ( is a peer-reviewed open access journal, edited by Ernie Drucker, that covers the spectrum of traditional harm reduction topics and has published several important THR papers.  HRJ is making a push to publish more articles about tobacco, and last week I accepted the newly created role as Subject Editor in charge of articles relating to tobacco.

We will be using a consolidated peer review system for THR2011 (and presumably THR2012 after that) and HRJ.  Submissions that are accepted for publication will appear in either or both, as decided by the author.  Note that the publisher of HRJ charges the authors a substantial publication fee, as is typical for open access journals; we are looking for some funding to help offset this, but cannot promise anything.  Publishing in THR2011 is free.  We will also be accepting some papers for THR2011 that are not suitable for peer review – see below.

There is no political litmus test for any of these submissions, nor a limit on the type of analysis.  We are equally interested in epidemiology (risk factor or descriptive), behavioral health research, social science studies of the politics, history, anthropology, policy analyses that support promoting THR, policy analyses that advocate against promoting THR, ethical analyses (either technical analysis of ethical points or explicitly making ethical arguments on one side or another), and any other analysis, so long as it is closely related to THR.  We are not, however, interested in analyses of tobacco policy or health research that is not about harm reduction (if you cannot figure out any way to spin it as being about harm reduction, it is off-topic).  We discourage submissions that are generic overviews of why THR is a good idea – there are already plenty of those.

All original material published in HRJ and THR2011 will be under a Creative Commons licence.  For those not familiar, this basically means that the author remains the copyright holder but grants permission for us and anyone else, subject to some obvious limitations about giving credit, to publish the material (legal details:

A new system for peer reviewed submission to THR 2011 and HRJ
Those who are familiar with peer review in areas related to public health (from experience or from reading what has been written about it — you can find my recent contributions at know that it does not work very well, and we can expect it to get worse.  I have suggested that crowd-sourcing is the only apparent solution to that problem; it has been used in other scholarly fields and we will try it here.  The system will allow anyone who is qualified to assess the analysis in the paper to review it and post (non-anonymous) comments, which will be available to the author and other reviewers.  There will be mechanisms to ensure recruitment of at least as many reviewers for each submission as a typical journal review process would provide, but anyone else (who self-defines as qualified) can volunteer comments.  The idea is to take advantage of the energy and expertise of those who would read the paper after it is published anyway, collecting their comments to make it better before it is finalized.

Authors are encouraged to let us post their submissions and updates as working papers with a permalink to the latest version (which will provide a place to find the paper until another version is published and in case no other version is published), but upon request we will limit access to registered reviewers who request a copy to review.

When sufficient reviews are collected, the editors will instruct the author about necessary and recommended revisions.  Since neither THR2011 nor HRJ is seriously space limited, reviews will be intended to identify and increase the value of each submission rather than look for an excuse to reject it.  Submissions will only be rejected if the judgment is that there is minimal net value (i.e., no new useful data and not enough analysis that has not appeared elsewhere), or if authors refuse to correct serious problems that are identified in the review process.  In the unlikely event we get an overwhelming number of submissions, we could theoretically have more original material than we want to put in THR2011 and would have to prioritize, and there will be a deadline for revisions to be completed in time for the book.  But HRJ has no space limits, and publishes on a rolling basis, so there is no deadline.

Initially the system will be largely manual, which will allow for correcting any limitations that emerge.  If it is successful and expands, we will make it more automated.  We will release more details and invitations once there are a few papers to review.

We are accepting submissions immediately and indefinitely.  We strongly encourage anyone wishing to publish in THR2011 to make their submission by the end of March to allow time for revisions before we finalize the book.  Anything that is accepted and finalized before we lay out the book (estimated: mid- to late-summer) can be included up to the last minute, but sooner is better.

Non-peer-reviewed papers for THR2011
We are also issuing a call for content for the yearbook which will not be peer reviewed.  This includes suggestions about articles or similar publications we might be able to reprint (your own or anything else you might suggest).  We are also interested in published technical papers and comments, like submissions to governments by individuals, corporations, or other organizations.  These can be either work you produced or own, or someone else’s work that you are aware of (we will pursue necessary permissions to publish).  These clearly cannot be reviewed since they are already finalized.

For both of these categories we are interested in not just exemplary contributions but also junk science and bad analyses, and anything in between.  We will probably write introductions for these, so feel free to propose introductory material explaining the significance of the work.  The purpose of including weaker material is to create a record of the current thinking about THR, good and bad.  (Obviously, lower quality material is only interesting if it has been published somewhere or by someone that gives it some significance; we are not interested in bad analyses from the webpages of local advocacy groups unless they are really funny or iconic.)  Note that we will consider publishing self-submitted blog posts and similar popular publications under this category, though in cases where the content is interesting because it is analytic, we encourage you to instead rewrite it for publication as a peer reviewed paper.

We also invite submissions of original material that is not suitable for peer review (i.e., peer review cannot improve the value beyond simple editing).  This includes narratives (we published one in THR2010) or individual case reports, poetry, artwork (we need a cover), or whatever.  (Note:  If you would just like to tell your brief “how I adopted THR” story, keep watching — there is a plan to systematically collect those for inclusion.)  We are not sure what exactly we might get here, and obviously it needs to have sufficient value to be included.  We will assess it when we see it.

Contact information
For any purpose (including queries about what is appropriate, sending in submissions, etc.), you can contact me (Carl V. Phillips) directly at the address above.  If you are interested in joining the review system, keep an eye on either of the two blogs linked here, check where this CFP is posted and updates will appear, or contact Paul Bergen ( about this or other technical questions.  For any thoughts that you believe might be useful for an open conversation, please use the comment section attached to this post (found at if you are seeing a reprinted version of this).

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