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The full text of all accepted BMJ research articles is published online in full, with open access and no word limit, on bmj.com as soon as it is ready. In the print and iPad BMJ each research article is abridged, with the aim of making research more inviting and useful to readers.
BMJ pico is our one page abridged format for research papers in the print journal, which some authors volunteered to help us pilot. We have designed BMJ pico with evidence based medicine experts to succinctly present the key evidence from each study, to help minimise delay between online and print publication, and to enable us to publish more research in each week’s print BMJ. See frequently asked questions (FAQs) about BMJ pico.
There is no need for authors to prepare a BMJ pico to submit along with their full research article. Authors produce their own BMJ pico, using a template from us, only when the full article has been provisionally accepted.
Because publication of research on bmj.com is definitive, rather than interim “epublication ahead of print”, authors who do not wish to abridge their articles using BMJ pico will be able to opt for online only publication.
Where and when should I send mine in?
If you do decide to write a BMJ pico for your accepted research article, please email the pico to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tips for writing your BMJ pico
Each BMJ pico needs to fill a single page in the print BMJ, and we've found that a word count of 550 is about right, on average. This has to include the whole body of the text. The statement on funding and disclosures is not a footnote - it's a key part of the BMJ pico.
But page layout depends on the size of the accompanying simple table or figure (for which we allow necessary flexibility): if your table or figure is relatively small it may be fine for the text to slightly exceed the 550 word limit. If it's bigger than average, we may need to cut the text slightly. This need to consider layout may seem rather trivial for a research article, but the single page format is an important element of BMJ pico's appeal and usefulness to readers. So please try to stick to around 550 words of text (excluding the title and authors' details).
Please ensure that your BMJ pico poses a concise research question that really works as a question.
For example "Do nurse-led follow-up programmes improve patient rehabilitation after discharge from intensive care?" (this was an RCT).
or "Is varenicline, a recently licensed smoking cessation product, associated with an increased risk of self harm compared with bupropion and nicotine replacement therapy?" (this was a cohort study).
BMJ pico templates
- BMJ pico for case-control study
- BMJ pico for cohort study
- BMJ pico for cross sectional study
- BMJ pico for diagnostic test study
- BMJ pico for economic evaluation
- BMJ pico for randomised controlled trial
- BMJ pico for systematic review or meta-analysis
- BMJ pico for qualitative study
Published examples of BMJ pico
Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain: economic evaluation. Hollinghurst S and colleagues. doi:10.1136/bmj.a2656 BMJ pico