Hastings Center Report Submission Guidelines

General Manuscript Submission and Review

The Hastings Center Report takes a broad understanding of bioethics. We welcome manuscript submissions that address social and ethical issues in health care, the life sciences, and human alteration of the environment. Topics within our scope include clinical care decisions, institutional and organizational policies, societal health policy, social and environmental determinants of health, public health, and the development and use of biological science and technology for humans, nonhuman organisms, and the environment. Prospective contributions must be clearly written and of interest to a broad readership. They may take many forms:

  • Scholarly articles, of 4,000 to 8,000 words, should be based on research and discuss moral, social, philosophical, historical, and/or empirical questions. Articles that report empirical research may include a brief discussion of methods and other technical aspects of the study, but these may be contained in a box or sidebar rather than comprising a large portion of the text. The focus of articles should be on the question that the research is designed to investigate rather than on the research itself.
  • Essays, of 1,600 to 4,000 words, may be on bioethical issues in the news, clinical ethics, institutional or organizational topics, legal and regulatory developments, medical education, books relevant to bioethics, and media.
  • Case studies, of 1,600 to 2,400 words, may either be divided into a case description and one to three separately authored commentaries or written as a single essay integrating the case description with a thesis and analysis.
  • Personal narratives, limited to about 1,600 words, explore the ethics of providing health care (for the Report’s In Practice column).

Tables and figures should be kept to a minimum. References should be restricted to the most pertinent, up-to-date sources; heavily referenced manuscripts are not preferred. (Commentaries for the Perspective column are typically commissioned.) Book review essays are usually commissioned, but unsolicited manuscripts will be considered and should be no longer than 1,600 words and have no endnotes; page numbers for quotations in book reviews should be provided parenthetically in the text.

In matters of grammar and usage, the Report refers to the Chicago Manual of Style (although for purposes of review, manuscripts need not conform to this). Authors’ instructions for formatting endnotes are available below.

How to Submit

Manuscripts should be submitted via the Report’s Scholar One Manuscripts review system. Names and contact information for the author(s) should not appear on the manuscript text. The system will prompt you for all additional information that we need for review, including authors’ names and contact information, the type of item you are submitting (whether it is an article, essay, Case Study, In Practice, or book review), a brief abstract, and a disclosure of any conflicts of interest. The system also allows you to give us suggestions for possible reviewers.

For questions about contributing to the Hastings Bioethics Forum, our online publication, or to submit a commentary to the Forum for consideration, please contact Susan Gilbert, editor, gilberts@thehastingscenter.org.

Review Procedure

Manuscripts will be acknowledged upon receipt. Feature articles, all reports and reviews of empirical work, and many short essays recommended for consideration by the editor will also be reviewed by an independent reader. Manuscripts recommended after this second review will be presented to the Report’s Editorial Committee for final disposition. Authors will be notified of a decision by email.

The Hastings Center Report Editorial Committee consists of Gregory E. Kaebnick (editor of the Report), Laura Haupt (managing editor), Nancy Berlinger (research scholar), Liz Bowen (postdoctoral fellow), Susan Gilbert (director of communications and editor of Hastings Bioethics Forum, the Report‘s blog), Michael K. Gusmano (research scholar), Carolyn P. Neuhaus (research scholar), and Erik Parens (research scholar), all at The Hastings Center, and Robert Arnold, (University of Pittsburgh), Tod S. Chambers (Northwestern University), Marion Danis (National Institutes of Health), Rebecca Dresser (Washington University in St. Louis), Carl Elliott (University of Minnesota), Joseph J. Fins (Weill Cornell Medical College), Christine Grady (National Institutes of Health), Bradford H. Gray (Urban Institute [retired]), Bruce Jennings (Center for Humans and Nature), Eric Juengst (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Stephen R. Latham (Yale University), Hilde Lindemann (Michigan State University), Thomas H. Murray (The Hastings Center [retired]), Jamie Nelson (Michigan State University), Annette Rid (King’s College London), Cynda Hylton Rushton (Johns Hopkins University), Jackie Leach Scully (University of New South Wales), Ilina Singh (University of Oxford), Robert D. Truog (Harvard University; Boston Children’s Hospital), Benjamin S. Wilfond (Seattle Children’s Research Institute; University of Washington), and Matthew Wynia (University of Colorado).

Conflict of Interest

The Hastings Center Report expects all prospective contributors and reviewers to declare any potential conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest include any personal or professional affiliations, any financial interests, and/or any past, present, or anticipated activities that may compromise the quality or objectivity of a manuscript or review. The rough test that we ask authors and reviewers to employ is, Is there anything that would likely cause readers to second-guess your objectivity if it were to emerge after publication? Authors will be asked to disclose conflicts of interest when a manuscript is submitted for consideration to the Report.

Author Licensing Options

If a paper is accepted, a licensing agreement must be signed by one or more of the authors before the paper can be published. Authors may choose to publish under the terms of the journal’s standard copyright transfer agreement, or they may purchase open access under the terms of a Creative Commons license. Information about open access is available here.

Authors who are using the copyright transfer agreement will receive it to fill out (along with the journal’s conflict-of-interest form, which every author must fill out) shortly after receiving their galley for review. Permitted uses of different versions of the paper (submitted, accepted, and final published versions) are described in the CTA.

NIH-Funded Work

Any author whose work was supported by an NIH grant and is accepted for publication in the Hastings Center Report is responsible for depositing the accepted version of the manuscript (not the final, published version or any version that includes editing by the Report‘s editorial staff) with PubMed Central. This can be the version that the author submitted following peer review. If the title was changed for publication, use the final title. On the version deposited with PubMed Central, include a note explaining that this is an earlier version of the manuscript published in the Report and provide a citation for the publication. This accepted version will be made publicly available twelve months after the piece is published in the Report.

Authors’ Instructions for Formatting References

The Report prefers to keep references to a minimum. The Report avoids discursive notes wherever possible and asks that citations be restricted to the two or three most important or most useful sources.

Endnote numbers in the text should be sequential, never repeating, and only one endnote number should be placed at any location. When multiple citations are relevant to a particular point in the text, they are grouped together in a single endnote, each citation separated by a semicolon (see example 2 below).

The Report follows or uses a slightly modified version of Chicago style. For guidance on matters not specified below, see the guidelines set out in the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, for endnotes (not bibliographies). For legal cases, Bluebook style is followed, as recommended in the Chicago Manual. Title case (up-and-down Chicago style) is used for the titles of all works.

Page Numbers

  • When inclusive page numbers begin with a number below 100 or with a multiple of 100, all digits of the second number are used (27-29, 100-114, 200-234).
  • For 101 to 109, 201 to 209, 301 to 309, and so on, use only the changed part (102-4, 406-9, 1202-5).
  • For 110 to 199, 210 to 299, and so on, use only the last two digits of the second number (70-77, 205-34) unless more are required to include all changed parts.
  • Provide inclusive roman numerals in full (xxiv-xxvii, cvii-cix).

Use hyphens, not en-dashes, between digits. Other examples are provided in the Chicago Manual of Style.


  1. S. Hauerwas, Naming the Silences: God, Medicine, and the Problem of Suffering (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1990), 64 (emphasis added). [A page number(s) is needed after the closing parenthesis if language from the source is quoted in the article.]
  2. R. R. Faden and T. L. Beauchamp, A History and Theory of Informed Consent (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); J. W. Berg et al., Informed Consent: Legal Theory and Clinical Practice, 2nd ed. (Fair Lawn, NJ: Oxford University Press, 2001).
  3. Hauerwas, Naming the Silences, 65.

Use “et al.” for more than three authors: D. Schneider et al., . . . Second reference: Schneider et al., . . . [Note that there is no comma before “et al.”]

For publishers’ names, omit “Publishing Company,” “Co.,” “Inc.,” “Ltd.,” etc., but retain “Press” or “Books.”

Journal Articles

  1. G. J. Annas, “Whose Waste Is It Anyway? The Case of John Moore,” Hastings Center Report 18, no. 5 (1988): 37-39, at 38.
  2. S. Campbell and J. Stramondo, “The Complicated Relationship of Disability and Well-Being,” Kennedy Institute for Ethics Journal 27, no. 2 (2017): 151-84.
  3. See Y. Wilson et al., “Intersectionality in Clinical Medicine: The Need for a Conceptual Framework,” American Journal of Bioethics 19, no. 2 (2019): 8-19, at 17.
  4. Annas, “Whose Waste Is It Anyway?,” 38. [A citation is abbreviated upon second and subsequent use.]
  5. S. Ryan, “What Is Wisdom?,” Philosophical Studies 93, no. 2 (1999): 119-39.

Online Publication ahead of Print

If an article is published online and has not yet been assigned volume, issue, and page numbers, a DOI and the month and date (in addition to the year) should be included.

  1. H. Schmidt, D. E. Roberts, and N. D. Eneanya, “Rationing, Racism and Justice: Advancing the Debate around ‘Colourblind’ COVID-19 Ventilator Allocation,” Journal of Medical Ethics (January 6, 2021 [epub ahead of print]): doi:10.1136/medethics-2020-106856.

Omit “The” at the start of a journal title.

List the issue no. for journals that paginate each issue separately. No issue number is needed for, for example, the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, which use a single set of consecutive page numbers throughout a volume.

All journal titles (including the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association) are spelled out in full.

See note 8 for how to punctuate when the title of a journal article ends with a question mark: a comma immediately follows the question mark.

Editor in the Place of an Author

  1. E. F. Kittay and D. T. Meyers, eds., Women and Moral Theory (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1987), 234.
  2. Kittay and Meyers, Women and Moral Theory, 200-234. [A repeated citation is abbreviated.]

Article in an Anthology

  1. B. Steinbock, “The Moral Status of Extracorporeal Embryos,” in Ethics and Biotechnology, ed. A. Dyson and J. Harris (London: Routledge, 1994), 79-82, at 80. [The clause “at 80” is needed to indicate that the citation is giving the location of a quotation in the text.]
  2. J. Cohen and R. L. Hotz, “Toward Policies regarding Assisted Reproductive Technologies,” in Setting Allocation Priorities: Genetic and Reproductive Technologies, ed. R. H. Blank and A. Bonnicksen (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), 228-29.
  3. Steinbock, “The Moral Status of Extracorporeal Embryos,” 82. [This is the second citation of the source in note 12.]
  4. B. Steinway, “On the Stem Cell Debate,” in Setting Allocation Priorities, ed. Blank and Bonnicksen, 230-40. [The book named here is cited in full in endnote 13 above, so the editors’ first initials are not needed here.]

In notes 12 and 13, “ed.” means “edited by” and thus is not “eds.”

Chapter in a Book by a Single Author

  1. J. Haidt, “Why Are We So Groupish?,” chap. 9 in The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (New York: Vintage Books, 2012).

Newspaper and Magazine Articles

  1. A. Jacobs, “In Sweeping War on Obesity, Chile Slays Tony the Tiger,” New York Times, February 7, 2018.
  2. J. Wise, “The Story of One Dose,” New York Magazine, April 5, 2021.

For newspapers and magazines that have print editions, a link is generally not needed.

Electronic Sources

  An online article, paper, proposal, or statement takes quotation marks.

  1. “Can Video in a Hospital Lead to a HIPAA Violation?,” LW Consulting, Inc., January 23, 2015, https://www.lw-consult.com/resources/medical-litigation-support/can-video-in-a-hospital-lead-to-a-hipaa-violation.

  Blog posts are to be cited as online newspaper articles are. The word “blog” is added in parentheses after the title (unless it is part of the title).

  1. F. G. Miller and A. D. Lyerly, “Navigating Ethics Review of Human Infection Trials with Zika,” Hastings Bioethics Forum (blog), April 30, 2018, https://www.thehastingscenter.org/navigating-ethics-review-human-infection-trials-zika.

Freestanding online reports, pamphlets, brochures, and other freestanding online materials are treated much as books are, but a URL is added. Include the author, the title (in italics), the city of publication, the publisher, and the date—or as much of this information as is available.

  1. World Health Organization, Ethics in Epidemics, Emergencies and Disasters: Research, Surveillance and Patient Care: Training Manual (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2015), https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/196326/9789241549349_eng.pdf;jsessionid=B7BD18BD255A11F5FB23FF0B52DFC393?sequence=1.
  2. P. Dixon and R. Gellman, The Scoring of America: How Secret Consumer Scores Threaten Your Privacy and Your Future (World Privacy Forum, April 2, 2014), http://www.worldprivacyforum.org/wpcontent/uploads/2014/04/WPF_Scoring_of_America_April2014_fs.pdf.

For web pages (as opposed to online articles), put the name of the company or organization after the title or name of the web page (see note 23). But if a citation is for a PDF or another kind of online source that is not a web page, then the name of the organization or administrative body is first if that body is the author (see note 24).

  1. “Tobii Pro Glasses 2 Wearable Eye Tracker,” Tobii AB, accessed July 17, 2019, https://www.tobiipro.com/product-listing/tobii-pro-glasses-2/.
  2. Office of Science Policy, “NIH Guidance on Consent for Future Research Use and Broad Sharing of Human Genomic and Phenotypic Data Subject to the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy,” National Institutes of Health, 2018, https://osp.od.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/NIH_Guidance_on_Elements_of_Consent_under_the_GDS_Policy_07-13-2015.pdf.

  Online encyclopedia entries

  1. K. Gyekye, “African Ethics,” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, article first published September 9, 2010, https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2011/entries/african-ethics/.

If an online source has no publication date, include your access date, as in note 23.

Other Examples

  1. U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Neonatal Intensive Care for Low Birthweight Infants: Costs and Effectiveness (Washington, DC: U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, December 1987), 21.
  2. National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979).
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