Titles of journal articles come in a variety of ways. The most common formats are:
- Declarative titles – stating the main findings or conclusions (e.g. ‘A three-month weight loss program increases self-esteem in adolescent girls’) - discouraged by JMIR because the findings of a study are rarely clear-cut
- Descriptive titles – describe the subject of the article but do not reveal the main conclusions (e.g. ‘The effects of family support on patients with dementia’) - preferred JMIR style for original articles and protocols (if combined with a description of the method after a colon, see below).
- Interrogative titles – introduce the subject in the form of a question (e.g. ‘Does cognitive training improve performance on pattern recognition tasks?’) - discouraged for original articles, but sometimes used for opinion/viewpoint pieces (see What are the article types for JMIR journals?).
General JMIR guidelines for journal titles:
- JMIR is trying to introduce a more consistent format of titles, following roughly a "Issue or Intervention in Demographic/Disease/Condition: Method" format. An example is "Usability of Wearable Devices for Patients with Heart Failure: Observational Study". The method part should describe how something was done and/or what was done.
- In particular, for RCTs, the title format should be "Intervention in Condition/for target group: Randomized Controlled Trial", for systematic reviews it is "Intervention in Condition/for target group: Systematic Review". Slight deviations in the first title part are permissible, but the method part must be consistent
- Other "method" qualifiers which have been used include for example "Qualitative Study", "Focus Group Study", "Content Analysis", "Cross-Sectional Questionnaire Study", "Longitudinal Observational Study", "Cohort Study" etc. Descriptors like "pilot study" are discouraged as they don't reveal how something was done.
- The indefinite article after the colon in front of the method is mostly not required (e.g. instead of "....: A Randomized Controlled Trial" simply use "...: Randomized Controlled Trial")
- Avoid overly long titles by cutting out details - you don't need to list all the inclusion criteria in a title, for example (but it must be mentioned in the abstract).
- Titles should be descriptive but as concise as possible. Omit redundant words, such as in "Study Protocol of a ..." - the word "Study" is not needed here
- Absolutely no acronyms in titles except well-known acronyms like "HIV/AIDS"
- Acronyms of study names are permissible but should usually be in brackets if deemed necessary/useful and if it is not too long
- Protocols or Proposals (published in JMIR Research Protocols) always must have the word "Protocol" or "Proposal" in the title (e.g. "....: Protocol of a Randomized Controlled Trial"), even if published in JMIR Res Protoc (do not assume it is evident from the journal title that the article describes a protocol, because JMIR Res Protoc also publishes original articles such as formative work)
- Questions in titles ("Is a web-based intervention more effective than...?") should be avoided.
- Declarative titles, i.e. a statement of the result / conclusion should usually not be used as title ("XY web-based intervention is more effective than.") or only in exceptional cases (where the result is really clear-cut), e.g. ""A 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 unusual locations/settings, e.g. developing countries (LMIC), then the country should be mentioned.
- If you change the title, edit the title in the manuscript management system (How do I edit/correct/enter article metadata before publication?) and in the manuscript file