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Author Guidelines

Manuscripts are submitted to the Editor-in-Chief through ScholarOne ( and must meet the requirements described in the “Guidelines for Contributors to AJOT,” a document that is updated and published annually in the November/December supplement to the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 

  • If you are considering submitting an article to AJOT, first visit ScholarOne ( Answers to most questions about submitting an article are provided there (see Instructions & Forms).
  • Authors who are able to suggest one or more reviewers at the time of their submission may find that their manuscript moves more quickly through the review process. Many factors influence the speed with which papers are reviewed, however, so we cannot guarantee an exact response time.
  • If you are an author and have questions about an article that has been submitted or published, contact

Authors should refer to the following instructions and forms before submission:

Updates to the "Guidelines for Contributors to AJOT"

Authors must complete the AJOT Presubmission Checklist (also available on the manuscript submission site) when submitting a manuscript. At this time, the journal does not require fees for submissions.

AJOT is distributed online only, and authors should keep the online reader in mind when creating graphic elements such as figures. Note the following technical requirements for figures and strive to submit camera-ready materials:

  • Figures submitted with articles may be in black and white or in color and should be able to be reproduced with minimal editing or resizing. All text within figures should be legible on an 8.5 x 11 printed page and may be up to 7 inches wide.
  • We recommend that authors avoid tables that have a landscape orientation in order to facilitate online viewing.

Single-subject case reports are not considered for publication; studies must have an of at least 3.

Limited space is allocated to "The Issue Is . . ." articles, and otherwise acceptable manuscripts may be rejected if they cannot be published within a reasonable time frame.

Article Types, Word Limits, and Reporting Guidelines

AJOT solicits seven basic article types. The following table provides an overview of each article type and the word limit for each.

Note. Limits are inclusive of title page, abstract, acknowledgments, references, tables, figures, and illustrations.

aSystematic reviews do not need to include references, evidence tables, or risk-of-bias tables in the word count; however, authors should strive for economy of expression and follow the guidelines for systematic reviews provided on the AJOT manuscript submission site.

The following table outlines the required and recommended reporting guidelines by study design.

Systematic Reviews

  • AJOT follows the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) standards. Systematic reviews must be in accordance with the PRISMA standards (see the PRISMA Checklist for additional guidance).
  • Authors should review AJOT's Guidelines for Systematic Reviews (also available at the manuscript submission site) and follow them carefully. Evidence tables and risk of bias tables should adhere to the prescribed format.
  • Authors should adhere to best practices in conducting systematic reviews as detailed in the Cochrane Handbooks for systematic reviews and the Johanna Briggs Reviewers Manual.  

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials that are the subject of manuscripts submitted to AJOT must be registered with  or a similar public clinical trials registry. All trials commencing participant recruitment on or after January 1, 2016, should be registered prospectively (i.e., before recruiting participants). Trials that started or finished recruitment before January 1, 2016, but are the subject of manuscripts submitted on or after that date must be retrospectively registered. The trial registration website address and trial registration number must be included in the final, unmasked manuscript in the "Acknowledgments" section. 

AJOT uses the National Institutes of Health (2014) definition of clinical trial:

A research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes.

Refer to the NIH website ( for definitions of terms and more information.

Qualitative Research

Authors submitting manuscripts based on qualitative research should refer to the standards developed by the American Psychological Association Publications and Communications Board Working Group on Journal Article Reporting Standards for Qualitative Research (JARS–Qual Working Group). See Levitt, H. M., Bamberg, M., Creswell, J. W., Frost, D. M., Josselson, R., & Suárez-Orozco, C. (2018). Journal article reporting standards for qualitative primary, qualitative meta-analytic, and mixed methods research in psychology: The APA Publications and Communications Board task force report. American Psychologist, 73,26–46.

Open Access

Authors may purchase immediate open access for articles. This type of open access makes the content free to nonsubscribers but does not convey a Creative Commons license. Authors must submit a copyright transfer form at the time of submission. For more information, email


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