Published since 1884 by the Society for the Study of Addiction.
Editor's Notes

The EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction) are recruiting two Scientific Analysts and a Scientific Writer - the vacancies are open to citizens of the EU and Norway, working in English with a working knowledge of a second EU language. Full details can be found at

robert west
A message from Robert West, Editor-in-Chief

Types of Articles that Addiction Publishes

The paragraphs below describe the types of article published by Addiction and provide additional guidance for people seeking to contribute each type of article. Authors should also refer to the general guidelines for contributors (link).

Asterisks (*) signal articles types that are by invitation only. If authors are interested in contributing such an article they should email the London office ( setting out their proposal. Other types of article may also be invited. If an article is formally invited, it will still undergo peer review and may be rejected. When it comes to submitting invited articles authors should be sure to select “Europe, Africa & Asia” as the Regional Office.

Research Reports

Research reports are papers reporting original findings from individual studies (or groups of studies). The study or studies may be qualitative or quantitative and may involve experimental or non-experimental designs.

Addiction does not publish research involving non-human animals; such papers can be sent to Addiction Biology.

Research reports should be a maximum of 3500 words excluding abstract, tables and references (for full details see Instructions for Authors).

Qualitative manuscripts may be up to 4500 words to facilitate the inclusion of direct quotations within the main text, but this is in lieu of any tables.  There is no minimum word length.

Articles under 1500 words excluding abstract, tables and references may be designed at ‘Brief reports’.

We may commission commentaries on research reports.

Research reports should be structured

The following instructions relate to particular kinds of research report.

  • Randomised controlled trials: Contributors should report randomised controlled trials using the CONSORT guidelines or one of its extensions ( CONSORT). Addiction normally requires clinical trials to have been registered in a publicly accessible database. The name of the trial register and the clinical trial registration number should appear on the front page of the manuscript. A full list of registers can be found via the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). Contributors should make clear when registration took place relative to the start or end of data gathering.
  • Qualitative studies: Contributors are advised to refer to, and use, Addiction’s guidance on qualitative articles (links to editorials) and include a checklist (link to editorial note).
  • Surveys and longitudinal studies: Contributors should use and refer to the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology guidance (STROBE)  and the Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with Nonrandomized Designs (TREND)
  • Descriptions or evaluations of behavioural interventions: Evaluations involving behavioural interventions must include full manuals or protocols (or at least very detailed descriptions) of those interventions as supplementary files to be included published with the online version of the article.


Reviews draw together a body of literature to reach one or more major conclusions. They are expected to use and refer to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA).  It is expected that reviews will be ‘systematic’, which means they will set out very clearly the search strategy (including key words where appropriate), the selection criteria for articles to include, and the basis for integrating findings. A review may be up to 4000 words.

Reviews that do not conform fully to PRISMA may be considered if authors can provide a convincing case that the procedures used are not likely to lead to bias in the conclusions.

We may commission commentaries on reviews.  Addiction will not normally consider unsolicited reviews written by authors with a specific conflict of interest relating to the topic of the review.

Reviews should be structured:


Addiction publishes solicited and unsolicited letters. They may express opinions about articles published in the journal, report on a development, or comment on some issue of potential interest to the readership of the journal. They will normally be refereed. Addiction does not generally use letters to report new findings unless they extend findings of a paper published in the journal. Letters should normally be no longer than 500 words with up to 19 references. If a letter comments upon a paper already published in the journal, this should be cited at the beginning of the letter. The author of that paper may be given a right of reply.

Case Reports/Case Series

Case reports should include a brief statement explaining why the case is worth documenting followed by a thorough account of the case, including sufficient data. There should then be a discussion section that includes evidence that the case is unique or unexpected and outlines any alternative explanations for case features. A conclusion detailing implications should end the case report. It is very important that case reports show written evidence of patient consent. Case reports should be no longer than 3000 words and should include a structured abstract under the following headings: Background, Case Description, Conclusions.

A case series analysis is a paper based on a series of case studies. Each case should be structured in a similar way to case reports and generalisations should be drawn from each of the cases. Again, it is very important that case series show written evidence of patient consent. Case series should be no longer than 3000 words and should include a structured abstract under the following headings: Background, Case Descriptions, Conclusions. When submitting please select ‘Case Report’ as the manuscript type.

Case reports/case series should be structured:

Addiction History

Articles may look at any addictive behaviour from a distant or contemporary historical perspective. The article must be based on original historical research and not simply provide a review of material that has already been published. It must also have relevance to future theory or practice. The material on which the paper is based must be fully referenced. This category provides an opportunity for historians to publish where they will have impact on the addictions field. A length of 3500 words is preferred but up to a maximum of 4000 words is allowable.

Addiction history articles should be structured:

Methods and Techniques

Articles in this category may be invited or unsolicited. Articles for this category deal with methodological issues. Papers will include descriptions, assessments or comparisons of 1) methods of diagnosing or quantifying addiction or dependence; 2) any measures or instruments (biochemical, physiological, behavioural, questionnaire-based etc.) used to study addictive behaviours, their features, causes or consequences; 3) statistical methods; 4) methods for obtaining study participants; 5) study designs; and 6) discussion or investigation concerning the nature and publication of addiction research. The scope of the category is wide, ranging from state-of-science primers on methods that are popular but frequently misunderstood through methods that are emerging and underused to original techniques.

It is expected that the articles will be written in a style that will engage readers without specialist statistical expertise and have a strong relevance to research in the addictions. Methods articles should be a maximum of 3500 words excluding abstract, tables and references. Where a study is presented, the abstract should be structured (250-word limit) and include the following headings: Aims, Design, Settings, Participants, Measurements, Findings, Conclusions; in the case of non-empirical articles other structures will be allowed.

Further details for authors considering writing under this category are given in the editorial note, “Research methods and statistical techniques in Addiction” (Addiction 2012; 107(10): 1724-1725) (link). Prospective authors are invited to send ideas and outlines to the Statistics and Methodology Editor (via

Articles in this category can be structured in a way that is appropriate to the content but must include:


Addiction publishes occasional monographs of 4,000-10,000 words, excluding references, abstract, title, tables and figures. Monographs constitute major pieces of writing that cannot be expressed within the usual length limits. Monographs might include extensive systematic reviews of major topics or a series of linked studies addressing a common research question. These articles will go through the usual peer review process; however, the editor will only accept monographs that are of substantial importance. There will be no appeals for rejected monographs, but rejection will not preclude authors from submitting papers based on the material as standard research reports.

Authors who are interested in submitting such a piece are advised to contact the Editor-in-Chief first via Otherwise authors wishing to submit monographs for consideration should submit in the usual way, but should add a note in their cover letter explaining that they would like the submission to be treated as a monograph. Monographs should carry structured abstracts (no more than 300 words) and include headings similar to those of research reports or reviews.

Monographs should be structured as research reports or reviews as appropriate.

Trial Protocols

Addiction is willing to consider major trial protocols. These should relate to major clinical evaluations of interventions aimed to combat addiction.  Trial protocols of pilot trials and proof-of-concept studies (i.e. without any results) will not be considered (though Addiction will consider submissions reporting the findings of these as research reports).  Trials must have adequate control for potential confounding factors and adequate sample sizes, use accepted measures of outcome that are of clinical significance, and specify the primary outcome variable and analysis plan and expected timeline for completion and reporting.  We will only consider protocols relating to interventions in which there is a commitment to public sharing of the intervention content in full.  Arrange abstracts under these headings:  Background and aims, Methods, and Discussion. The report itself should follow CONSORT headings (   The word limit is normally 3500.

Trial protocol articles should be structured:

For Debate*

‘For debate’ articles are opinion pieces up to 3500 words in length. They synthesise the research literature in a way that adds important new insights. They should be written in an international context and make one or two key points that are more in the way of opinion rather than fact. The point(s) will normally challenge existing thinking, raise an issue that has been neglected, take an issue forward that is currently being considered, or reinforce one side of a debate that is currently underway. It can concern matters of policy, treatment, assessment/diagnosis, theory or methodology and should be written in a lively and engaging style.

Approximately 3–4 commentaries will usually be commissioned to accompany these articles. Commentators will be chosen to provide alternative opinions on the debatable issue.

Once the commentaries have been accepted for publication, the author of the ‘For Debate’ article will be given the opportunity to respond to the commentaries, and the response will be published alongside the ‘For Debate’ article and its commentaries. ‘For Debate’ articles should follow the abstract and article style of reviews.


A commentary should add a further perspective or point of view to a particularly important research report or learned review. Rather than being a review of the article, authors should use the findings as a stepping stone to make one or two points of wider relevance to the field. Commentaries are commissioned by Addiction and are published alongside the paper on which they comment. A commentary should be approximately 500-800 words and up to 10 references. When commenting upon a research report or review, a reference should be made to this text at the beginning of the commentary and included in the reference list. There is no abstract.

Commentaries should be structured:


Published at the start of every issue of Addiction, an editorial should be a significant piece of academic writing. An editorial is distinct from a review – it is shorter and provides a place in which one has the distinct aim of stimulating debate, identifying ideas, and pushing ideas further forward. It should make one or two key points that are more in the way of opinion rather than fact. The point(s) will normally challenge existing thinking, raise an issue that has been neglected, take a current issue forward, or reinforce one side of a debate that is currently under way. It can concern matters of policy, treatment, assessment/diagnosis, theory or methodology and should be written in a lively and engaging style with the point(s) very clearly stated. An editorial should also be written from an international perspective. Editorials should be under 1000 words and should contain no more than 19 references.

Individual Series*

Addiction publishes individual commissioned series based on specific topics. These papers are normally limited to 3500 words.

Journal Club*

The Addiction Journal Club provides an opportunity to present an instructive discussion on published work of any kind (papers, reports, books). Journal Club articles may involve a detailed critique of the publication, assessing how far the conclusions it draws are justified, or draw attention to a publication that has particularly important implications that have not been picked up in the literature. The issues must be sufficiently important for the field and require explication beyond what can be achieved with a letter.

In the first instance, potential contributors should send a brief description of the concept to Addiction’s head office ( This will be discussed by the editorial team and if the idea looks promising an invitation will be issued.

The article need have no specific format but must include a 50-100 word summary at the front and in terms of general formatting and referencing conform to Addiction’s requirements. The usual word limit is 3000 excluding references.

Journal Club articles will be subject to peer review and may be declined if the review process identifies problems with the analysis, assumptions or argument. In some cases the authors of the original publication being critiqued may be offered a right of reply after the Journal Club article has been accepted.

Book Reviews*

Book reviews should be more than simply a summary of the book’s content and should place the book in the context of other literature in the field. Reviewers should aim to make them a ‘good read’. On occasion it may be appropriate for a reviewer to offer a negative appraisal of a book but vituperation is to be avoided. The books reviewed are selected to be of interest to the journal’s international readership and the reviews should identify what is good and worthwhile in the book for Addiction’s varied readers. Book reviews should be no more than 500 words and up to 10 references.

If you are interested in contributing to invited article categories, please contact the appropriate editor:
Book Reviews Editor: John Witton (
Editorials Editor: Nancy Petry (
Commissioning Editor: Peter Miller (