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Research Section: Hypothesis Submission Guidelines and Instructions to Authors

About the Publication

Hypothesis (ISSN 1093-5665) is the official journal of the Research Section of the Medical Library Association. The journal is open access, and is indexed in CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), LISSA (Library and Information Science Source), and LISTA (Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts). Hypothesis is a peer-reviewed journal whose purpose is to provide Research Section and other MLA members with an outlet for research and research-related content: works in progress, announcements, and other related content.

Submission Deadlines

Hypothesis is published online twice per calendar year: Spring/Summer with a submission deadline of April 15 and Fall/Winter, with a submission deadline of July 15. Feel free to submit your article to Hypothesis today.

Submission Criteria

To submit an article or other item for consideration, contributors should ensure that the following criteria are met. We welcome inquiries about possible submissions.

Reference Style

Hypothesis follows the MLA Style Manual for references. Consult Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 2nd edition, for further information and examples.

Research Papers

STRUCTURED ABSTRACT: Objective, population or problem, methods, findings, and conclusions (300 words). Consult the MLA Research Section’s structured abstract guidelines for more information on abstract requirements.

BODY OF PAPER (5000 words): Consult the MLA Style Manual for help with formatting and style.

  • INTRODUCTION: Provide concise overview of study, including research questions, population or problem, methods
  • LITERATURE REVIEW: Explain the need for research based on prior work. Use JMLA-approved citation style (see
  • METHODS: Clearly explain process of gathering appropriate and sufficient information to answer research questions. The process may be qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods, but it should be replicable based on provided information. Include mention of human subjects approval, if appropriate
  • Include, as an appendix, survey questions or other information needed for replicability;
  • FINDINGS: Clearly explain process of analyzing findings, using figures and/or tables (no more than 2) to illustrate results. Additional links to data should be listed in article, as appropriate.
  • DISCUSSION: Discuss implications of findings and suggestions for future research. BE transparent about assumptions, possible bias, and weaknesses of design or processes: no research is perfect!

Peer review will be based on how well submitted work has followed evidence-based guidelines for research. The rubric for review is provided for your use as a checklist. If you are a new researcher, you are encouraged to contact a research mentor through MLA (see Professional Development / Find or Become a Mentor, or

Other Hypothesis categories: (500 words)

Non-research reports and announcements describing topics of interest (e.g., reflections on research activities in progress, reviews of resources) to Section and general MLA membership are welcomed. Please submit your proposed report or idea to the editors. Length, format, and other elements will depend on content. Items will be reviewed for style and grammar prior to approval.

Letters to the Editor can be general commentary on topics of interest to MLA members or commentary on recent Hypothesis research publications. If the letter is research commentary, it will be sent to the lead author of the paper to invite their (optional) commentary; letters and authors’ responses (if provided) are published together.


All works in Hypothesis are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Authors own copyright of their articles appearing in Hypothesis. Readers may copy articles without permission of the copyright owner(s), as long as the author and the Medical Library Association are acknowledged in the copy and the copy is used for educational, not-for-profit purposes. For any other use of articles, please contact the copyright owner.