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Resources for authors
What does the BMJ publish?
The BMJ's mission is to lead the debate on health, and to engage, inform, and stimulate doctors, researchers and other health professionals in ways that will improve outcomes for patients. We aim to help doctors to make better decisions.
To achieve these aims we publish original research articles, review and educational articles, news, letters, investigative journalism, and articles commenting on the clinical, scientific, social, political, and economic factors affecting health. We are delighted to consider articles for publication from doctors and others, and from anywhere in the world.
We can publish only about 7% of the 7000-8000 articles we receive each year, but we aim to give quick and authoritative decisions. For all types of article the average time from submission to first decision is two to three weeks and from acceptance to publication eight to 10 weeks. These times are usually shorter for original research articles. We reject about two thirds of all submissions without sending them for external peer review, but many authors tell us they appreciate quick decisions that allow them to submit their work elsewhere without delay.
We also audit the performance of BMJ research articles, using a wide range of indicators to assess their impact on readers and their dissemination to the wider world.
All research papers in the BMJ are published with Open Access. Moreover, the BMJ immediately fulfils the requirements of the US National Institutes of Health, the UK Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and other funding bodies by making the full text of publicly funded research freely available to all on bmj.com and sending it directly to PubMed Central, the National Library of Medicine's full text archive.
The BMJ's default licence for open access publication of research is the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial licence (CC BY-NC 3.0). But where the funder requires it the author can select the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) licence during the submission process (funders who mandate CC BY include the Wellcome Trust, RCUK, and MRC). To support Open Access publishing we ask authors of all research papers to pay an Open Access fee of £3000 (excluding VAT) on acceptance of their paper. We offer discounts and waivers for authors of unfunded research. Consideration of research articles is not related to ability to pay the fee, and we ask authors not to discuss with editors any issues concerning payment at any stage of the peer review process. Any communications related to fees are handled by administrative staff not involved in decisions about manuscripts.
The BMJ occasionally publishes other types of (non-research) article arising from work from funded by a funder who mandates Open Access publication, and the above policy applies to these too.
For articles not published with Open Access the BMJ's publication licence allows each author to post their article's URL (provided above) on either their own or their employer's website, thereby giving users free access to the full text of the article on bmj.com. Authors will need to use the toll free link to ensure visitors have free access to the article.
Alternatively, authors can post the full text of their published article on their own website or their employer's website.
Open peer review
We ask reviewers to sign their reports and declare any competing interests on any manuscripts we send them. Reviewers advise the editors, who make the final decision (aided by an editorial manuscript committee meeting for some articles, including original research).
Who else advises the editors?
Advice on writing, laying out, and submitting articles
For fully detailed advice please follow the links in the index at the top left of this page. The main points, however, are here:
- Where to submit an article
- How to prepare an article: for all manuscripts
- What to write: advice on preparing the different article types
- How to report research: advice on writing and submitting original research articles
- Which research does the BMJ prioritise?
- Is the BMJ the right journal for my research article?
- Policy on all aspects of transparency in conducting research, and in preparing and submitting manuscripts
- BMJ/Cleveland Clinic continuing medical education (CME)
- Responding to articles (rapid responses, letters)
- What will happen to your article: our peer review process
- Our publishing model: The BMJ publishes its articles continuously to bmj.com, so each day there is new content. We then select from among published content to make up a weekly print issue. Each online article has a unique identifier, in place of a page number; this identifier (elocator) should be used when citing any BMJ article. The form of the citation—eg BMJ 2008;337:a134—appears on all articles both online and in print, and it will appear thus in PubMed and other indexes.
- See the frequently asked questions about our publishing model
- Editorial policies and practices: the BMJ follows the the International Committe of Medical Journal Editors Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (ICMJE Recommendations 2013), the guidelines on editorial independence produced by the World Association of Medical Editors, the code on good publication practice produced by the Committee on Publication Ethics, and the EQUATOR network resource centre guidance on good research reporting