Intended for healthcare professionals
At The BMJ, we offer authors the opportunity to submit a range of article types. You can find out more about preparing and submitting a particular style of article by clicking on the links below. Please take the time to explore these instructions before proceeding with a submission. Further details about each of these individual sections and article types are discussed further down this page.
|Research||Original research studies that can improve decision making in clinical medicine, public health, health care policy, medical education, or biomedical research.|
|Research Methods and Reporting (RMR)||RMR articles discuss the nuts and bolts of doing and writing up research and are aimed at doctors who are interested in doing and interpreting clinical research. We also consider papers that present new or updated research reporting guidelines.|
|Analysis||Analysis papers address topical clinical, scientific, ethical, and policy issues that matter to doctors, patients and health policy makers. These articles present a clearly reasoned argument, are backed by an even-handed look at the evidence, and have a clear key message. Articles that set out hypotheses are not suitable unless they contain a convincing attempt to test them.|
|Education||These deal with topics and conditions that are common or have serious consequences, have international appeal, and may interest doctors from different specialties and backgrounds. We commission all our education content and do not accept unsolicited submissions. However you can contact us to send us a proposal using our Education Article Proposal Form, together with your completed Declaration of Financial Interests|
|Endgames and Minerva Pictures||The BMJ does not publish standard case reports. We do, however, publish articles about real cases in our education section if they are suitable for presentation in specific educational formats. These formats include Endgames Case Review articles, Endgames Spot Diagnosis articles, and Minerva Pictures articles.|
Detailed guidance for these can be found in the education instructions below. Please note that the instructions for Minerva Pictures are different to the instructions for Endgames.
|Editorials||Editorials are usually commissioned. We no longer consider unsolicited editorials via Scholar One; however, you are welcome to pitch us your idea for an editorial using this form. Pitches are read once a week and a member of the editorial team will let you know if we wish to encourage submission of the full article. Editorials are 800 word articles which usually respond to a topical issue. They must be evidence based, but journalistic in style and written with an international general medical audience in mind. We particularly value pitches authored or co-authored by patient advocates, representatives, and leaders. Authors with financial ties to industry are not allowed to write clinical editorials and all authors must declare their interests on this form and have them approved before a full submission. Please see below for further detailed guidance on BMJ editorials.|
|Rapid Responses||These are electronic letters to the editor that are related to manuscripts published in The BMJ. Anyone can respond without a subscription to any article published on The BMJ by sending a rapid response. Our weekly published letters are edited selections of posted rapid responses and are indexed in PubMed. Rapid responses are not indexed in PubMed but they have their own URL and are retrievable in an advanced search of thebmj.com in perpetuity.
Learn more about sending rapid responses on our Reader FAQ pages.
|Personal views||These are highly readable and compelling commentaries that appeal to our international readership of practising doctors. We also publish opinion pieces authored by patients. Read our opinion pieces here.|
|BMJ Opinion||Comment and opinion blogs about medicine, healthcare and publishing written by The BMJ's international community of readers, authors, patients, and editors. Visit our BMJ Opinion site.|
|BMJ Careers||These articles discuss issues related to medical careers.|
|Obituaries||The BMJ likes to pay tribute to the life and work of members of the profession who have died. If you would like to share your memories of a colleague, friend, or family member who was a doctor with a connection to the UK, please email an MS Word file to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send us no more than 500-600 words.
Find out more about our Obituaries here
|Christmas issue||We publish a special two-week issue of The BMJ over Christmas and New Year. We are pleased to consider all kinds of articles, including reports of original research, for this issue and particularly welcome colour illustrations. All submissions should follow the standard requirements for The BMJ's articles and should be submitted by the annual deadline, which usually falls at the end of July for research, and the end of August for non research. Further details can be found in this link|
|Student||These articles discuss issues related to medical student life, career planning, and education.|
|Living systematic reviews||Living systematic reviews allow authors to update their previously vetted and peer reviewed evidence syntheses (for example, systematic reviews and meta-analyses) in response to relevant new information. Read more about Living systematic reviews at The BMJ.|
Please ensure that anything you submit to The BMJ conforms to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals uniform recommendations for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals.
Before submitting an article, please ensure that you have followed all guidelines below. We recommend learning about our house style and ways to incorporate images into your submission.
The title should be informative and, for research papers, a subtitle with the study design (for example, "a phase III clinical trial" or "a systematic review and meta-analysis").
In this page, please provide for each author his or her name, affiliation (job title) at the time the paper was written, email and, for the corresponding author, the best contact address. All authors must fulfill the ICMJE criteria for authorship. If the number of authors is very large we may ask for confirmation that everyone listed met the ICMJE criteria for authorship. We also offer the option of joint first authorship when two authors meet criteria for such a designation. We reserve the right to require that authors form a group whose name will appear in the article byline. MEDLINE guidance explains that group authorship is acceptable, stating "When a group name for a specific consortium, committee, study group, or the like appears in an article byline, the personal names of the members of that group may be published in the article text. Such names are entered as collaborator names for the MEDLINE citation."
Further details about The BMJ's stance on authorship, contributorship, and group authorship can be found on our Authorship and contributorship page.
Please note that from 30 November 2018 The BMJ is mandating ORCiD iDs for corresponding authors for all research articles if accepted, and this information will be required alongside submitted manuscripts. Co-authors and reviewers are strongly encouraged to also connect their ScholarOne accounts to ORCiD. We firmly believe that the increased use and integration of ORCiD iDs will be beneficial for the whole research community. For those who do not currently have an iD they will be required to register but this is free and takes a matter of seconds - we strongly encourage all authors to register for an ORCiD profile.
To learn more about ORCiD, please visit http://orcid.org/content/initiative
If article describes a study please include the study design
|Psychological complications after stillbirth--influence of memories and immediate management: population based study|
Separate with commas. No full stops after initials. If there is a very large number of authors we may suggest that they form a group whose name will appear in the article byline. List ORCiD iD alongside respective authors
|Ingela Radestad (0000-0000-0000-0000), Gunnar Steineck, C Nordin, B Sjogren|
|Address for each author
Separate each part of address with a comma (don't use a separate line for each part) Please include postcodes
Authors' names and positions
Use same style of name as below title Please give one job position for each author, (under the relevant address) on separate line from author's name
|Centre for Caring Sciences, Karolinska Institute, S-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden Ingela Radestad midwife Unit of Cancer Epidemiology, Radiumhemmet, Karolinska Institute Gunnar Steinbeck associate professor Department of Womens Health, Karolinska Institute B Sjogren associate professor Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital, Linkoping, Sweden C Nordin associate professor|
Give the name, full address and email address of the corresponding author. Please note, there can only be one corresponding author per article.
|Correspondence to: I Radestad iradestad@.......|
Each contributorship statement should make clear who has contributed what to the planning, conduct, and reporting of the work described in the article, and should identify one, or occasionally more, contributor(s) as being responsible for the overall content as guarantor(s). The guarantor accepts full responsibility for the work and/or the conduct of the study, had access to the data, and controlled the decision to publish. The following line should also be included - "The corresponding author attests that all listed authors meet authorship criteria and that no others meeting the criteria have been omitted."
For articles in The BMJ that do not report original research - such as editorials, clinical reviews, and education and debate - please state who had the idea for the article, who performed the literature search, who wrote the article, and who is the guarantor (the contributor who accepts full responsibility for the finished article, had access to any data, and controlled the decision to publish). For non-research articles that include case reports such as lessons of the week, drug points, and interactive case reports, please also state who identified and/or managed the case(s). We encourage authors to fully acknowledge the contribution of patients and the public to their research where appropriate.
Since January 2000, The BMJ has not asked authors of journal articles to assign us their copyright and authors (or their employers) retain their copyright in the article. All we require from authors is an exclusive licence (or, from government employees who cannot grant this, a non-exclusive licence) that allows us to publish the article in The BMJ (including any derivative products) and any other BMJ products (such as the Student BMJ or overseas editions), and allows us to sublicense such rights and exploit all subsidiary rights.
We ask the corresponding author to grant this exclusive licence (or non-exclusive for government employees) on behalf of all authors by reading our licence and inserting in the manuscript on submission the following statement:
“The Corresponding Author has the right to grant on behalf of all authors and does grant on behalf of all authors, a worldwide licence to the Publishers and its licensees in perpetuity, in all forms, formats and media (whether known now or created in the future), to i) publish, reproduce, distribute, display and store the Contribution, ii) translate the Contribution into other languages, create adaptations, reprints, include within collections and create summaries, extracts and/or, abstracts of the Contribution, iii) create any other derivative work(s) based on the Contribution, iv) to exploit all subsidiary rights in the Contribution, v) the inclusion of electronic links from the Contribution to third party material where-ever it may be located; and, vi) licence any third party to do any or all of the above."
This licence allows authors to use their own articles for their own non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from us. Only if the use is commercial do we need to know about it. In addition, we will pay authors a royalty on certain commercial uses that we negotiate.
Information on permissions for authors and third parties for reuse can be found here.
Manuscripts authored or co-authored by one or more NIH employees must be submitted with a completed and signed NIH Publishing Agreement and Manuscript Cover Sheet according to NIH’s Employee Procedures.
Publication of any personal information about a patient in The BMJ - for example, in a case report or clinical photograph - will normally require the signed consent of the patient. If this is the case, please include a statement that any identifiable patients have provided their signed consent to publication and submit, as a supplemental file, The BMJ's patient consent form that is available in several languages.
A competing interest - often called a conflict of interest - exists when professional judgment concerning a primary interest (such as patients' welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain, academic promotion, or personal rivalry). It may arise for the authors of an article in The BMJ when they have a financial interest that may influence, probably without their knowing, their interpretation of their results or those of others.
We believe that, to make the best decision on how to deal with an article, we should know about any competing interests that authors may have, and that if we publish the article readers should know about them too. We are not aiming to eradicate such interests across all article types in The BMJ. However, certain articles (see below) fall under a stricter policy announced in 2014. This means that authors whose financial conflicts of interest are judged to be relevant by the BMJ team are not permitted to write these articles. We also ask our staff and reviewers to declare any competing interests.
A declaration of interests for all authors must be received before an article can be reviewed and accepted for publication. It should take one of two forms, depending on what type of article you are submitting. The links to the relevant forms are provided at the end of this section.
Since 2014, The BMJ requires that such articles must be written by authors without relevant financial ties to industry. By "industry" we mean companies producing drugs, medical foods, nutraceuticals, devices, apps or tests; medical education companies; or other companies with a financial or reputational interest in the topic of the article. We consider the following relationships with industry to be relevant, making it unlikely that we would be able to publish your work: employment; ownership of stocks and shares (this excludes mutual funds or other situations in which the person is not in a position to control investment decisions) ; travel and accommodation expenses; paid consultancy or directorship; patent ownership; aid membership of speakers' panels or bureaus and advisory board; acting as an expert witness ; being in receipt of a fellowship, equipment, writing, or administrative support; writing or consulting for a medical education promotional or communications company. If you are in doubt about the relevance of any potential conflict of interest please discuss with the editor of the appropriate section before submission.
All authors must review the updated COI policy and complete The BMJ's Education Declaration of Interests form. If the article is accepted for publication these completed forms will be stored and made available on request. The corresponding author should insert within their manuscript a summary statement derived from the information provided in the COI forms (link below): "I/We have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and declare the following interests: [list them or state that you have none]."
Examples of different sorts of summary statements:
No competing interests: "We have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and declare that we have no competing interests."
Competing interests disclosed: "We have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and declare the following interests: AA is an unpaid member of XX group developing guidelines for ZZ."
We ask authors of research papers to use a revised version of the ICMJE’s unified disclosure form. The unified form can be used for several journals. Each journal, will, however, integrate the form into its processes in different ways.
Authors must disclose three types of information:
Associations with commercial entities that provided support for the work reported in the submitted manuscript (the timeframe for disclosure in this section of the form is the lifespan of the work being reported).
Associations with commercial entities that could be viewed as having an interest in the general area of the submitted manuscript (in the three years before submission of the manuscript).
Non-financial associations that may be relevant or seen as relevant to the submitted manuscript.
All authors must complete the disclosure form and send it to the corresponding author who will use the information in the forms to craft the COI statement for the paper (examples provided below). The statement but not the forms must be included with the submission. and that must be included with the initial submission. If the paper is accepted, these forms will be required and will be published alongside the article.
The statement in the manuscript should take the following format:
"Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at http://www.icmje.org/disclosure-of-interest/ and declare: no support from any organisation for the submitted work [or describe if any]; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years [or describe if any]; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work [or describe if any].”
Examples of statements:
No competing interests: "All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at http://www.icmje.org/disclosure-of-interest/ and declare: no support from any organisation for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work."
Grant funding for research but no other competing interest: "All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at http://www.icmje.org/disclosure-of-interest/ and declare: all authors had financial support from ABC Company for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work."
Mixed competing interests: "All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at http://www.icmje.org/disclosure-of-interest/ and declare: no support from any organisation for the submitted work; AB has received research grants and honorariums from XYZ company, BF has been paid for developing and delivering educational presentations for BBB foundation, DF does consultancy for HHH and VVV companies; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work."
Complete The BMJ's Disclosure form. We do not need to receive signed copies of the statements regarding competing interests or the licence to publication: these are for information only. When submitting your article (or a revised version of it) you will be prompted at our online editorial office to tick two boxes , confirming that you have read and complied with our policies on competing interests and licence to publication. Please also ensure that your manuscript, whether in original or revised form, also includes your written statements of competing interests and licence to publication.
In addition to the above, all of our articles have additional requirements which should be fulfilled before submitting. For more information on any of the requirements below, please contact email@example.com.
We have produced a checklist to help authors decide whether The BMJ is the right journal for their research. If the work does not seem to fit in The BMJ, it may be better sent straight to another journal with a more specialist or local readership or a higher acceptance rate.
To learn more about the kind of research articles we give priority to, and what services we offer to authors of research, please read the editorial "Publishing your research study in the BMJ?". Please note that we welcome studies - even with "negative" results - as long as their research questions are important, new, and relevant to general readers and their designs are appropriate and robust.
To encourage full and transparent reporting of research we do not set fixed word count limits for research articles. Nonetheless, we ask you to make your article concise and make every word count. You will be prompted to provide the word count for the main text (excluding the abstract, references, tables, boxes, or figures) when you submit your manuscript.
Original research articles should follow the IMRaD style (introduction, methods, results, and discussion) and should include a structured abstract (see below), a structured discussion, and a succinct introduction that focuses - in no more than three paragraphs - on the background to the research question.
For an intervention study, the manuscript should include enough information about the intervention(s) and comparator(s) (even if this was usual care) for reviewers and readers to understand fully what happened in the study. To enable readers to replicate your work or implement the interventions in their own practice, please also provide any relevant detailed descriptions and materials (uploaded as one or more supplemental files, including video and audio files where appropriate). Alternatively, please provide in the manuscript URLs to openly accessible websites where these materials can be found.
Please ensure that the discussion section of your article comprises no more than a page and a half and follows this overall structure, although you do not need to signpost these elements with subheadings:
• Statement of principal findings
• Strengths and weaknesses of the study
• Strengths and weaknesses in relation to other studies, discussing important differences in results
• Meaning of the study: possible explanations and implications for clinicians and policymakers
• Unanswered questions and future research
This video gives more detailed advice on writing each section of a research paper for The BMJ.
Please ensure that the structured abstract is as complete, accurate, and clear as possible and has been approved by all authors. We may screen original research articles by reading only the abstract.
Abstracts should be 250- 300 words long: you may need up to 400 words, however, for a CONSORT or PRISMA style abstract. MEDLINE can now handle up to 600 words. Abstracts should include the following headings, but they may be modified for abstracts of clinical trials or systematic reviews and meta-analyses according to the requirements on the the CONSORT extension for abstracts and the PRISMA extension for abstracts, respectively.
• Objectives - a clear statement of the main aim of the study and the major hypothesis tested or research question posed
• Design - including factors such as prospective, randomisation, blinding, placebo control, case control, crossover, criterion standards for diagnostic tests, etc.
• Setting - include the level of care, eg primary, secondary; number of participating centres. Be general rather than give the name of the specific centre, but give the geographical location if this is important
• Participants (instead of patients or subjects) - numbers entering and completing the study, sex, and ethnic group if appropriate. Give clear definitions of how selected, entry and exclusion criteria.
• Interventions - what, how, when and for how long. This heading can be deleted if there were no interventions but should normally be included for randomised controlled trials, crossover trials, and before and after studies.
• Main outcome measures - those planned in the protocol, those finally measured (if different, explain why).
• Results - main results with (for quantitative studies) 95% confidence intervals and, where appropriate, the exact level of statistical significance and the number need to treat/harm. Whenever possible, state absolute rather than relative risks.
• Conclusions - primary conclusions and their implications, suggesting areas for further research if appropriate. Do not go beyond the data in the article. Conclusions are important because this is often the only part that readers look at.
• Trial registration - registry and number (for clinical trials and, if available, for observational studies and systematic reviews).
When writing your abstract, use the active voice but avoid "we did" or "we found". Numbers over 10 do not need spelling out at the start of sentences. p-values should always be accompanied by supporting data, and denominators should be given for percentages. Confidence intervals should be written in the format (15 to 27) within parentheses, using the word "to" rather than a hyphen. Abstracts do not need references.
We want your piece to be easy to read but also as scientifically accurate as possible. We encourage authors to review the "Statistical Analyses and Methods in the Published Literature or The SAMPL Guidelines" while preparing their manuscript.
Whenever possible, state absolute rather than relative risks. Please include in the results section of your structured abstract (and in the article's results section) the following terms, as appropriate:
For a clinical trial:
• Absolute event rates among experimental and control groups.
• RRR (relative risk reduction).
• NNT or NNH (number needed to treat or harm) and its 95% confidence interval (or, if the trial is of a public health intervention, number helped per 1000 or 100,000).
For a cohort study:
• Absolute event rates over time (eg 10 years) among exposed and non-exposed groups
• RRR (relative risk reduction)
For a case control study:
• OR (odds ratio) for strength of association between exposure and outcome
For a study of a diagnostic test:
• Sensitivity and specificity
• PPV and NPV (positive and negative predictive values)
The box stating 'what is known' and 'what this study adds' should also reflect accurately the above information. Under what this study adds, please give the one most useful summary statistic eg NNT.
Please do not use the term 'negative' to describe studies that have not found statistically significant differences, perhaps because they were too small. There will always be some uncertainty, and we hope you will be as explicit as possible in reporting what you have found in your study. Using wording such as "our results are compatible with a decrease of this much or an increase of this much" or 'this study found no effect' is more accurate and helpful to readers than "there was no effect/no difference." Please use such wording throughout the article, including the structured abstract and the box stating what the paper adds.
Provide one or more references for the statistical package(s) used to analyse the data - for example, RevMan for a systematic review. There is no need to provide a formal reference for a very widely used package that will be familiar to general readers - for example, Stata - but please say in the text which version you used.
Reporting guidelines promote clear reporting of methods and results to allow critical appraisal of the manuscript. We ask that all manuscripts be written in accordance with the appropriate reporting guideline. Please submit as supplemental material the appropriate reporting guideline checklist showing on which page of your manuscript each checklist item appears. A complete list of guidelines can be found in the website of the Equator Network. Below is the list of most often used checklists but others may apply.
For a clinical trials, use the CONSORT checklist and also include a structured abstract that follows the CONSORT extension for abstract checklist, the CONSORT flowchart and, where applicable, the appropriate CONSORT extension statements (for example, for cluster RCTs, pragmatic trials, etc.). A completed TIDieR checklist is also helpful as this helps to ensure that trial interventions are fully described in ways that are reproducible, usable by other clinicians, and clear enough for systematic reviewers and guideline writers.
For systematic reviews or meta-analysis of randomised trials and other evaluation studies, use the PRISMA checklist and flowchart and use the PRISMA structured abstract checklist when writing the structured abstract.
For studies of diagnostic accuracy, use the STARD checklist and flowchart.
For observational studies, use the STROBE checklist and any appropriate extension STROBE extensions.
For genetic risk prediction studies, use GRIPS.
For economic evaluation studies, use CHEERS.
For studies developing, validating or updating a prediction model, use TRIPOD.
For articles that include explicit statements of the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations, we prefer reporting using the GRADE system.
For studies using data from electronic health records, please use CODE-EHR.
A cover letter is your opportunity to introduce your study to the editor, highlighting the most important findings and novelty. Please also include in the letter the following information:
• Details of previous publications from the same study - including in scientific abstracts or partial reports by the media at scientific meetings and in foreign language journals.
• Details of any previous publication of the same study in electronic form, including on any preprint server. For example, The BMJ does not consider posting of protocols and results in clinical trials registries to be prior publication, but we would like to know if results have been posted, and where (please provide URLs or trial registration details). And we are pleased to consider articles based on longer systematic reviews and meta-analyses published at the Cochrane Library or HTA database.
• In most cases, we will follow suggestions for preferred and non-preferred reviewers. If you have suggestions for preferred reviewers, please provide us with their names and contact details; we may invite some of them to review the paper. Please also let us know if you would not like us to invite specific reviewers to look at your work but provide an explanation for your request.
• Assurance that a study funded or sponsored by industry follows the guidelines on good publication practice. These GPP2 guidelines aim to ensure that such studies are published in a responsible and ethical manner. The guidelines cover companies’ responsibility to endeavour to publish results of all studies, companies’ relations with investigators, measures to prevent redundant or premature publication, the roles of authors and contributors, and the role of professional medical writers.
• Assurance that any article written by a professional medical writer follows the guidelines by the European Medical Writers' Association on the role of professional medical writers. The guidelines emphasise the importance of respecting widely recognised authorship criteria, and in particular of ensuring that all people listed as named authors have full control of the content of articles. The role of professional medical writers must be transparent. Please name any professional medical writer among the list of contributors to any article for The BMJ (not only original research articles), and specify in the formal funding statement for the article who paid the writer. Writers and authors must have access to relevant data while writing articles. Medical writers have professional responsibilities to ensure that the articles they write are scientifically valid and are written in accordance with generally accepted ethical standards.
The BMJ is encouraging active patient and public involvement in clinical research as part of its patient partnership strategy. This is research which is "co produced" with patients, carers, or members of the public. Patient involvement in this context is not about being a research participant, answering surveys, or being an interviewee. It encompasses setting research priorities, defining research questions and outcome measures, providing input into study design and conduct, dissemination of results, and evaluation.
To support co production of research we request that authors provide a short paragraph as a subsection within the methods section of their papers entitled Patient and Public Involvement detailing how they involved the patients and the public in their research. We request this to both encourage the movement and ensure that BMJ readers can easily see whether, and if so how, patients and the public were involved in the research. If they were not involved in any way this information should be formally documented in the Patient and Public Involvement section.
As co production of research with patients and the public is relatively new we appreciate that not all authors will have involved them in their studies. We also appreciate that patient / public involvement may not be feasible or appropriate for all papers. We therefore continue to consider papers where they were not involved.
The Patient and Public Involvement section should provide a brief response to the following questions, tailored as appropriate for the study design reported:
• At what stage in the research process were patients/public first involved in the research and how?
• How were the research question(s) and outcome measures developed and informed by their priorities, experience, and preferences?
• How were patients/public involved in the design of this study?
• How were they involved in the recruitment to and conduct of the study?
• Were they asked to assess the burden of the intervention and time required to participate in the research?
• How were (or will) patients and the public be involved in choosing the methods and agreeing plans for dissemination of the study results to participants and wider relevant communities? You may find this link helpful.
In addition to considering the points above we advise authors to look at guidance for best reporting of patient and public involvement as set out in the GRIPP2 reporting checklist.
If information detailing whether there was patient and public involvement, or not, is missing in the submitted manuscript we will request authors to provide it.
Where they have been involved we consider it good practice for authors to name and thank them in the contributorship statement after seeking their permission to do so; and to clearly identify them as patient/public contributors. When they have contributed substantially and meet authorship criteria they should be invited to coauthor the manuscript.
Links to selected examples of Patient and Public Involvement statements in published BMJ research papers showing patient and carer involvement at various stages of the research process.
Comparison of the two most commonly used treatments for pyoderma gangrenosum: results of the STOP GAP randomised controlled trial
Evidence based community mobilization for dengue prevention in Nicaragua and Mexico
Computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) as treatment for depression in primary care (REEACT trial): large scale pragmatic randomised controlled trial.
Real world effectiveness of warfarin among ischemic stroke patients with atrial fibrillation: observational analysis from Patient-Centered Research into Outcomes Stroke Patients Prefer and Effectiveness Research (PROSPER) study.
Example PPI statements to adapt for use in a paper
We require a data sharing statement for all research papers. For papers that do not report a trial, we do not require that the authors agree to share the data, just that they say whether they will.
For reports of clinical trials, we ask that the authors commit to making the relevant anonymised patient level data available on reasonable request (see editorial). This policy applies to any research article that reports the main endpoints of a randomised controlled trial of one or more drugs or medical devices in current use, whether or not the trial was funded by industry.
"Relevant data" encompasses all anonymised data on individual patients on which the analysis, results, and conclusions reported in the paper are based. As for "reasonable request," The BMJ is not in a position to adjudicate, but we will expect requesters to submit a protocol for their re-analysis to the authors and to commit to making their results public. We will encourage those requesting data to send a rapid response to thebmj.com, describing what they are looking for. If the request is refused we will ask the authors of the paper to explain why.
In addition, we will follow the new ICMJE data sharing policy that goes into place on July 1, 2018 (see editorial): manuscripts submitted to ICMJE journals that report the results of clinical trials must contain a data sharing statement that indicates whether individual de-identified participant data (including data dictionaries) will be shared; what data in particular will be shared; whether additional, related documents will be available (study protocol, statistical analysis plan, etc); when the data will become available and for how long; by what access criteria data will be shared (including with whom, for what types of analyses, and by what mechanism). Clinical trials that begin enrolling participants on or after January 1, 2019 must also include a data sharing plan in the trial’s registration. If the data sharing plan changes after registration this should be reflected in the statement submitted and published with the manuscript, and updated in the registry record.
We encourage authors of all research articles in The BMJ to link their articles to the raw data from their studies. For clinical trials, we require data sharing on request as a minimum and- if authors of such trials are willing to go further and share the data openly, so much the better. The BMJ has partnered with the Dryad digital repository datadryad.org to make open deposition easy and to allow direct linkage by doi from the dataset to The BMJ's article and back (for The BMJ's articles' datasets see here).
Data requesters should do the following:
• Submit a rapid response to the paper and email the corresponding author for the paper to request the relevant data.
• Be prepared to provide the authors of the paper a detailed protocol for your proposed study, and to supply information about the funding and resources you have to carry out the study.
• If appropriate, invite the original author[s] to participate in the re-analysis.
• If a month elapses without a response from the authors, please email the head of research for The BMJ (presently firstname.lastname@example.org) and cc email@example.com.
• The BMJ will assess the request and if appropriate we will encourage the authors or their institution to share the data, although we are not in a position to compel data release or broker agreements. Our role is limited to making the request process public, and all correspondence related to the request may be made public through rapid responses to the paper.
All research studies published in The BMJ should be morally acceptable, and must follow the World Medical Association's Declaration of Helsinki. To ensure this, we aim to appraise the ethical aspects of any submitted work that involves human participants, whatever descriptive label is given to that work including research, audit, and sometimes debate. This policy also applies on the very rare occasions that we publish work done with animal participants. The manuscript must include a statement that the study obtained ethics approval (or a statement that it was not required), including the name of the ethics committee(s) or institutional review board(s), the number/ID of the approval(s), and a statement that participants gave informed consent before taking part.
Please include in your manuscript a transparency declaration: a statement that the lead author (the manuscript's guarantor) affirms that the manuscript is an honest, accurate, and transparent account of the study being reported; that no important aspects of the study have been omitted; and that any discrepancies from the study as originally planned (and, if relevant, registered) have been explained.
The BMJ is committed to making the editorial process transparent and ethical. The BMJ’s transparency policies are accessible from this link.
Role of the funding source
Please include in the manuscript a statement giving the details of all sources of funding for the study. As appropriate, the statement must include a description of the role of the study sponsor(s) or funder(s), if any, in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication. In addition, the statement must confirm the independence of researchers from funders and that all authors, external and internal, had full access to all of the data (including statistical reports and tables) in the study and can take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis is also required.
If you are submitting an original article reporting an industry sponsored clinical trial, postmarketing study, or other observational study please follow the guidelines on good publication practice (GPP2) and on properly reporting the role of professional medical writers. Another resource, the Authors' Submission Toolkit: A practical guide to getting your research published summarises general tips and best practices to increase awareness of journals' editorial requirements, how to choose the right journal, submission processes, publication ethics, peer review, and effective communication with editors - much of which has traditionally been seen as mysterious to authors.
The BMJ will not consider for publication any study that is partly or wholly funded by the tobacco industry, as explained in this editorial.
Patient and Public Involvement statement
Within the Methods section of your paper, please state if and how patients and the public were involved in the research you are describing. For more information, please see the specific guidance on mandatory reporting of patient and public involvement above. If patients and the public were not involved this information should be formally documented in the Patient and Public Involvement statement.
Dissemination to participants and related patient and public communities
For accepted papers we will ask you to confirm when and how the results of your study were (or will be) sent to research participants and whether they are also being sent to relevant patient and public communities, as applicable. If you have not disseminated and have no plans to do so, please state why.
Please produce a box offering a thumbnail sketch of what your article adds to the literature. The box should be divided into two short sections, each with 1-3 short sentences.
In two or three single sentence bullet points, please summarise the state of scientific knowledge on this topicbefore you did your study, and why this study needed to be done. Be clear and specific, not vague.
In one or two single sentence bullet points, give a simple answer to the question “What do we now know as a result of this study that we did not know before?” Be brief, succinct, specific, and accurate. For example: "Our study suggests that tea drinking has no overall benefit in depression." You might use the last sentence to summarise any implications for practice, research, policy, or public health. For example, your study might have asked and answered a new question (one whose relevance has only recently become clear); contradicted a belief, dogma, or previous evidence provided a new perspective on something that is already known in general; or provided evidence of higher methodological quality for a message that is already known. DO not make statements that are not directly supported by your data.
In accordance with the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors' Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, The BMJ will not consider reports of clinical trials unless they were registered prospectively before recruitment of any participants. This policy on prospective registration applies to trials that started after 1 July 2005; for older trials retrospective registration will be acceptable, but only if completed before submission of the manuscript to the journal. The trial registration number and name of register should be included as the last line of the structured abstract. The BMJ accepts registration in any registry that is a primary register of the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) or in ClinicalTrials.gov, which is a data provider to the WHO ICTRP.
In your submission, please include details about registration: registry, date registered, affirmation that registration was prospective before enrolling the first patient (if applicable) and registry number. The BMJ relies on information contained in trial registries. If authors believe that information in the registry is incorrect they should make their case to registry officials.
Eligible trials have been defined by ICMJE since 1 July 2008 as trials "where human participants are prospectively assigned to one or more health-related interventions (including health services and behavioural interventions) to evaluate the effects on health outcomes," and before that were defined more narrowly as trials "where human participants are prospectively assigned to investigate the cause and effect relationship between a medical intervention and health outcome." The ICMJE further states that, "Some trials assign healthcare providers, rather than patients, to intervention and comparison/control groups. If the purpose of the trial is to examine the effect of the provider intervention on the health outcomes of the providers' patients, then investigators should register the trial. If the purpose is to examine the effect only on the providers (for example, provider knowledge or attitudes), then registration is not necessary." We will take these definitions into account when evaluating if trials were adequately registered.
The BMJ does not consider posting of protocols and results in clinical trial registries to be prior publication. We also will consider research articles that have been posted on preprint servers, provided this is clearly disclosed on submission of the paper.
The BMJ encourages but does not require registration of protocols and posting of results in publicly accessible registries for studies that are not clinical trials if they involve human participants, particularly observational studies . If the study was registered, please provide the registration details, explaining whether the study was registered before data acquisition or analysis began.
The BMJ expects authors of clinical trials to report their findings in accordance with the outcomes listed in the trial registry. Outcomes that were not pre-specified in the registration should be identified as such in the text of the paper and in any tables. All registered outcomes should be described in the BMJ paper. If results for any outcomes will be or have been reported in another publication this should be made clear to readers. The timing and reasons for any changes in registered outcomes should also be disclosed.
The BMJ requires authors of clinical trials to upload a protocol for their study. This protocol will be published alongside other materials if the article is accepted. Any discrepancies between the protocol-specified outcomes and those listed in the trial registry or reported in the paper should be explained in the paper. In cases where pre-specified outcomes differ between the trial registration and the protocol, our policy is to consider the outcomes listed in the registry as pre-specified. Outcomes listed in the protocol but not the trial registry can be reported in the paper, but should be identified as post-hoc outcomes. Protocols vary in completeness and content. There are often multiple versions of a protocol and the timing of decisions about outcomes in relation to the onset of a trial cannot easily be determined. This is in contrast to trial registries, where date stamps are reliable and can be easily verified by readers.Trial registry entries should be updated if new outcomes are added or existing ones deleted, promoted, or demoted.
The BMJ requires authors of clinical trials to upload a statistical analysis plan (SAP) for their study. The SAP will be published alongside other materials if the article is accepted. A SAP provides more detailed information about statistical analysis than a protocol, including detailed descriptions of procedures used to execute the analyses. Please follow the guidance on producing a SAP contained in the table of this document: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2666509
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 occasionally publishes as open access other types of (non-research) articles arising from work funded by a funder who mandates open access publication.
Open access articles may be reused according to the relevant Creative Commons licence. The BMJ's default licence for open access publication of research is the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial licence (CC BY-NC 4.0). But where the funder requires it the author can select the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence during the submission process (funders who mandate CC BY include the Wellcome Trust, RCUK, and MRC).
To support this, we ask authors to pay an open access article processing charge - you can find our author charges for open access here. We can offer discounts and waivers for authors who cannot pay. Consideration of the paper is not related to whether authors can or cannot pay the fee. We will ask for the fee only once we have accepted a paper, and we will send an invoice only once authors tell us (via firstname.lastname@example.org) they can claim the fee. Seeking and processing fees will not delay editing or publication. Please do not contact editors about open access fees: neither editors nor reviewers will know whether a fee is payable, and administrative staff will handle payments and all associated correspondence. For non-research articles published with open access we will ask authors to pay the open access fee. We do not offer refunds for Open Access once articles have been published. For further information, contact email@example.com.
A number of institutions have open access institutional memberships with BMJ (the publishing group), which either cover the whole cost of open access publishing for authors at participating institutions or allow authors to receive a discount on the article processing charge. For a list of member institutions and their policies on how to receive a discount or to publish free of charge, please visit http://journals.bmj.com/site/authors/openaccess.xhtml
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.
For additional information, please see the section of instructions to authors on copyright, open access, and permission to reuse.
The BMJ will pilot a small number of living systematic reviews
Duration: We will typically host a living systematic review which is live for up to 2 years after initial publication. The triggers for updates, and their frequency, will be decided with authors on a case by case basis.
Communication: The title will reflect the living nature of the review and the most recent update will become the default publication on bmj.com. Reviews will have a single digital object identifier (DOI) to keep the information in one place. However, previous versions will remain available as data supplements. An updates table will be included in the review to make tracking the history of the review easier and to signal planned changes. Updates will be flagged on bmj.com, including in rapid responses. They will also be communicated to third parties including PubMed and PubMedCentral.
Updates: Updates should be submitted as a “track changes” version of the final MIcrosoft Word version of the previous iteration of the review. A clean version should also be submitted via the ScholarOne manuscript system. Subsequent internal or external peer review reports will be added to the pre-publication history tab on bmj.com with each version of the paper. The approach to any authorship changes should be negotiated before the first version of the paper is published.
Resources: The usual BMJ article open access processing fee will be charged for the initial version of the review and an additional fee will be added to cover the cost of up to three updates per year (£2000 per update). After the first year the price may be revised based on the scope of the revisions and the work done on each one.
Preliminary reporting guidance for living reviews
COVER LETTER: This should explain and defend the need for the review to be “living.” Briefly describe other extant reviews, in particular any other living systematic reviews that have recently been published. The cover letter should acknowledge the authors’ acceptance of the following special conditions that apply to living reviews: 1) the need to provide current conflict of interest declarations or updates for all authors at each revision; 2) the single DOI for the paper and updates; agreement that open access fees cannot be waived for living reviews and that additional fees apply to cover the extra work of producing and maintaining living reviews.
TITLE: The phrase “living systematic review” should appear in the title. If additional terms apply, those may be included as appropriate (e.g. “network meta-analysis,” “meta-analysis,” “critical appraisal,” etc.).
ABSTRACT: The abstract should include:
1) A statement of the research question or objective, including a statement that one objective is to provide regular updates and keep the review live.
2) The rationale for a living systematic review should be described, e.g. rapidly evolving evidence base, anticipated impact on policy or practice, etc.
3) A “Readers’ note” at the end of the abstract that provides information about the version of the paper, the date it went live, and gives notice of planned updates. For example: “Readers’ note: This article is a living systematic review that will be updated periodically over the next 2 years to reflect emerging evidence. This version is update XXX of the original article published XXXXXX (give BMJ DOI), and previous updates can be found as data supplements (give link). When citing this paper please consider adding the version number and date of access for clarity.”
MAIN PAPER: Please address the following matters in the appropriate section of the paper:
-- Include the information required in the abstract (see above paragraph) at the end of the introduction section.
-- In updates, consider including a short paragraph that describes how the living review has evolved. For example, what are the key developments since the previous version of the review, and what developments might be expected?
-- Mention and include a reference to any published or publicly available protocol for this review. If not registered, consider registering the review.
-- Describe the methods that will be used to keep the review living, including the processes that will be used to search for new evidence, anticipated triggers for updates, and the circumstances under which the review might end before the 2 year time limit for BMJ Living Reviews.
-- In updated versions of the review, make clear when and why any methods have evolved over time. If these descriptions are lengthy or complex, consider doing this in a table that can be included in an appendix or supplemental file. Such a table will ideally describe important changes to the review protocol, statistical analyses, or other aspects of the review, along with the dates of these changes.
-- A table at the end of the discussion section might be used to highlight new evidence that was not included in the review.
-- Clearly state the updated dates of the search.
-- Consider additional subheadings to separate, e.g. What remain the important findings so far? Versus what are the main new findings to highlight?
-- Consider additional table updates to this article. This will make clear historical and anticipated change. Columns trigger, date and action.
Declaration of competing interests
-- All authors must complete the ICMJE Competing Interests form with the initial submission. At each revision, we will ask the corresponding author to state whether there have been any changes to competing interests among any of the existing authors. If there are changes or if new authors have been added, the corresponding author is responsible for ensuring the this information is up to date. Otherwise there will be no change to the declaration of interests.
-- Previous versions of the paper
Please contact Dr. Elizabeth Loder (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
You may submit the following materials as supplemental files if you think they will help the authors and reviewers make a decision or readers better understand your study:
Original raw data if you think they will help our reviewers (and maybe readers), or if we specifically request them. Please note our policy on data sharing, explained above.
Video and audio files that will add educational value to your article, for example by explaining the intervention in a trial.
A video abstract that summarizes your findings and that will be posted on bmj.com with your paper. You can find additional information about video abstracts here and here.
Public and patient involvement materials used in your research.
Copies of any non-standard questionnaires and assessment schedules used in the research.
Copies of patient information sheets used to obtain informed consent for the study or to comprise or deliver the intervention in a clinical trial.
Copies of closely related articles you have published (this is particularly important when details of the study methods are published elsewhere).
Copies of any previous reviewers' reports on this article. We appreciate that authors may have tried other journals before sending their work to The BMJ, and find it helpful if you let us know how you have responded to previous reviewers' comments.
We are willing to consider papers that present new or updated research reporting guidelines, but only if the guideline pertains to a study type that we publish in The BMJ. The checklist itself must be included as part of the paper. We prefer to be the only journal publishing the guideline, but under some circumstances we will consider co-publication with up to two other journals. For an example of how to format a reporting guideline to appear in our research methods and reporting section, see http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1049.full.pdf+html.
We do not set fixed word count limits for RMR articles. Nonetheless, we ask you to make your article concise and make every word count. For some submissions this might be published in full on bmj.com with a shorter version in the print BMJ
Research Methods and Reporting should have the following elements:
Title and standfirst
A short title is followed by an 100-150 word italicised single sentence (the standfirst) which encapsulates the article’s central message.
Articles should begin with a brief paragraph that captures readers’ attention and explains the aim of the piece.
The body of the text should be broken up under subheadings that provide a logical narrative structure. Avoid acronyms and abbreviations unless they are universally recognised e.g. DNA. The evidence on which key statements are based should be explicit and referenced, and the strength of the evidence (published trials, systematic reviews, observational studies, expert opinion etc.) addressed.
Boxes, tables and figures
Include tables, boxes, or illustrations (clinical photographs, imaging, line drawings, and figures) to enhance the text and add to or substantiate key points made in the body of the article. Figures may be in color. Worked out examples that use specific methods under discussion can be included as additional boxes. If appropriate, include a box of linked information such as website urls for those who want to pursue the subject in more depth.
We may be able to publish on bmj.com some additional boxes, figures, and references (in a separate reference list numbered w1, w2,w3, etc. and marked as such in the main text of the article). Also may include suggestions for linked podcasts or video clips, as appropriate.
Contributors and sources
We ask for a 100-150 word supplementary paragraph (excluded from word count) to explain the article’s provenance. It should include the relevant experience and expertise of each author, his or her contribution to the paper, and the sources of information used to prepare it. One author must be nominated as the guarantor of the article. Include a statement of sources and selection criteria.
Key messages box
Include up to four sentences, in the form of bullet points, highlighting the article's main points.
Must be in Vancouver style and should be kept to a minimum; ideally no more than 20.
“Analysis” is a distinct article type at The BMJ, and differs from other sections such as Research, Education, Editorials, and Personal Views. A great Analysis article makes an argument and supports it with reference to a robust (not cherry picked) evidence base. It has academic heft yet is a journalistic read. 'Academic heft' means the argument is evidence-based and supported by data. 'Journalistic read' means the article is really engaging (not dry nor dull; written in clear language and avoiding technical jargon; and pitched to our international audience of doctors of all specialties, academics, and policy makers). Keep in mind that Analysis articles are “long reads” at around 1800-2000 words, so they need to be absolutely great reading to keep readers’ attention, particularly readers that may not be familiar with the topic.
We receive many manuscripts that are not a good fit for the Analysis section. We generally do not consider:
• Case studies (e.g. where the article mostly concerns the author’s writing about their own work)
• Manuscripts containing primary research data (such papers should be submitted as Research)
• Narrative review articles (as a general practice, The BMJ does not accept unsolicited submissions of review articles)
• Articles presenting a new hypothesis
If you are unsure if your work is suitable for The BMJ's Analysis section we are willing to consider succinct pre-submission inquiries, please complete the form in this link and await a response from one of the analysis editors.
We recommend looking at this Analysis article template and using it as a basis for your work before considering submission.
Word count and style
The BMJ has an international readership that includes policy makers, health professionals, and doctors of all disciplines. Authors are advised to keep this readership in mind and to write their article for the non-expert. It’s important to avoid jargon. Specialised terminology and references to organisations or practices that are specific to one country need to be explained. Clear writing and an attractive presentation are essential. Analysis papers should be 1,800-2,000 words long.
The manuscript should have the following elements:
Title and standfirst
A short title is followed by an italicised single sentence (the standfirst) which encapsulates the article’s central message.
Articles should begin with a brief paragraph that captures readers’ attention and explains the aim of the piece.
The body of the text should be broken up under sub-headings that provide a logical narrative structure. Avoid acronyms and abbreviations unless they are universally recognised e.g. DNA. The evidence on which key statements are based should be explicit and referenced, and the strength of the evidence (published trials, systematic reviews, observational studies, expert opinion, etc.) made clear. Articles should present a balanced, even-handed look at the evidence rather than selectively citing evidence that supports a particular view.
Boxes, tables and figures
These should extend and substantiate points made in the body of the paper. Words in boxes and tables are excluded from the word count of the body of the text, but the additional material should be concise.
Key messages box
This should be at the end of the article and include 2 to 4 points summing up the main conclusions. When submitting your article at submit.bmj.com, please enter your key messages when prompted to enter the abstract.
Must be in Vancouver style and should be kept to a minimum; ideally no more than 20.
Contributors and sources
We ask for a 100-150 word supplementary paragraph (excluded from word count) to explain the article’s provenance. It should include the relevant experience and expertise of each author, his or her contribution to the paper, and the sources of information used to prepare it. One author must be nominated as the guarantor of the article.You are welcome to invite co-authors to work with you on the article. We suggest including 2-3 co-authors with different locations and perspectives to help ensure articles are international in scope and accessible to our broad readership online and in print.
Report of patient involvement
As The BMJ is seeking to advance partnership with patients, we also ask authors to seek their input into articles wherever relevant, and document their involvement as patient contributors or coauthors.
Conflicts of Interest
All authors should read our competing interests policy and include the appropriate declaration in their manuscript. Where a competing interest exists that might disqualify an author from contributing, it is wise to discuss it with a BMJ editor before writing the article.
We require the manuscript to include the following statement:
“The Corresponding Author has the right to grant on behalf of all authors and does grant on behalf of all authors, an exclusive licence (or non exclusive for government employees) on a worldwide basis to the BMJ Publishing Group Ltd ("BMJ"), and its Licensees to permit this article (if accepted) to be published in The BMJ's editions and any other BMJ products and to exploit all subsidiary rights, as set out in our licence.”
The BMJ has fully open peer review for analysis articles. This means that every accepted analysis article submitted from February 2016 onwards will have its prepublication history posted alongside it on thebmj.com. This prepublication history comprises all previous versions of the manuscript, the report from the manuscript committee meeting, the reviewers’ signed comments, and the authors’ responses to all the comments from reviewers and editors. Authors are welcome to suggest names of suitable reviewers, including patient reviewers.
• All submissions are read in full by one or more members of the editorial team.
• Articles that pass the initial editorial screen are sent for external peer review.
• Articles are then discussed at a regular analysis committee meeting where editors make one of three decisions: reject; reject with offer to resubmit; or provisionally accept.
In most cases we will publish the prepublication history alongside an accepted analysis article. This prepublication history comprises all previous versions of the manuscript, the report from the manuscript committee meeting, the reviewers’ comments, and the authors’ responses to all the comments from reviewers and editors. In rare instances we may determine after careful consideration that we should not make certain portions of the prepublication record publicly available. For example, in cases of stigmatised illnesses we seek to protect the confidentiality of reviewers who have these illnesses. In other instances there may be legal or regulatory considerations that make it inadvisable or impermissible to make available certain parts of the prepublication record. In all instances in which we have determined that elements of the prepublication record should not be made publicly available, we expect that authors will respect these decisions and also will not share this information.
Rapid responses are electronic letters to the editor and offer readers a way to interact with our content. Sometimes responses may be critical of an article. We believe that authors have an academic duty to respond to substantive criticism of their work and we expect authors to post their own rapid responses on bmj.com in reply to any such substantive comments. Editors may send reminders about this.
The BMJ publishes different types of educational articles to engage and challenge a range of postgraduate doctors and clinical researchers internationally. We strive to publish articles that are original in their content and/or presentation, and cannot be found elsewhere or in textbooks. We prioritise topics and situations that are common or have serious consequences, have international appeal, and that interest a variety of doctors, including GPs and specialists.
We encourage authors to write in teams, including those from other specialties, professions, and countries. We ask that one author is routed in the clinical environment of the intended reader. We encourage authors to write in plain English, to be clear about where there is uncertainty, and to include numbers and phrases where possible that will help doctors in conversation with their patients.
Our educational articles are shaped by two initiatives:
• We believe that financial interests can distort education articles and we minimise or exclude authors who we judge have such a conflict.
• We believe that patient involvement strengthens content. We encourage authors to seek input from patients either to inform the scope, develop the content, contribute to, or co-author articles. For help with this, please read our guidance on what we mean by patient involvement and co-production.
We receive more articles and suggestions than we can publish. We require all authors to contact us before submitting a manuscript to us. Send us your proposal using our Education Article Proposal Form, together with your completed Declaration of Financial Interests.
The proposal form will guide you through the following questions:
• What is your idea?
• Can you sum up the aim of your article in a sentence?
• Why is the topic important to The BMJ's readers?
• What is the prevalence of the symptom/condition/situation you wish to write about?
• Why cover it now? Has something new happened?
• What has The BMJ's Education section covered on this topic in the last five years? What will your contribution add?
• Can you provide the key evidence/references you might use?
• Why are your writing team well placed to cover the topic?
• Have you thought about what a patient would say about your idea?
Education articles can have can have up to four authors. One author should be from the relevant specialty or setting, unless agreed otherwise. For example, if the article discusses presentation to the emergency department one author should be an emergency care doctor. All authors should meet authorship criteria. We welcome authors or contributions from allied health professions and patient authors, and actively encourage authors from a primary care background.
The BMJ will not consider authors with financial interests when writing Education articles.
It is important that we understand the financial interests of every author, and can judge to what extent we believe that they may be relevant to the article that you propose. We do not publish content from authors who we judge have relevant financial ties to the industry (excluding State of the Art reviews, Therapeutics articles, and Summaries of NICE Guidelines). The relevance of declared interests are judged by the BMJ team. This applies to every author. Any additional authors and their financial interests must be discussed and agreed with the commissioning editor before the article is submitted.
As part of our drive to co-produce our content with patients we ask that you seek patient input into articles at the planning stage. We believe that their experience and perspectives will make articles more useful for doctors in their quest to help improve patients well being and outcomes.
We ask all authors to what extent patients have been involved in their article and how their involvement changed the article. We ask that all writing encourages honesty and partnership with patients. Where uncertainty exists, share it. Where data exists present the numbers in a way that can be shared with the patient (use absolute numbers, natural frequencies, and graphics where you can). Use language that empowers patients to make the right choices for them in their situation (write that a doctor should/could offer a test, rather than should do a test).
When patients are involved in the manuscript, we ask for their consent. We have two types of consent forms for BMJ education articles:
• A patient consent form is required if any anonymised patient information is included in the review. Consent is needed for images even if the patients are not identifiable for example, in X-rays and histology slides, and for patients’ stories/vignettes even if details are anonymised.
• A patient contributor form is required for any patients who are named within the review, for example, patient co-authors, patient contributors or named authors of patient stories.
We want our readers to have the ability to share decisions with their patients and make clear for them the degree of certainty ( or lack of it) about a potential course of action. We therefore ask that, in addition to the format and instructions detailed below for the specific Education article that you are writing, you follow these recommendations:
• Consider including in your manuscript a box explaining your strategy to search for evidence. It should include a search date, the sources searched, and brief inclusion criteria.
• Clearly distinguish suggestions made based on your experience, standard practice, guidelines, and evidence.
• Provide specifics about the evidence you discuss. For example, for key statements, please say: "A large, well conducted, randomised controlled trial showed INSERT number [CI] and or p value". "The findings of a small case series suggest...". “A subgroup analysis found…”. etc.
• Use absolute numbers or explain why you have not used them.
• Consider how these numbers can be communicated by the clinician read to their patient in a clear way.
• Where evidence is lacking or of poor quality make this clear.
• Write about known and unknown benefits and harms.
"What you need to know" box. No more than three bullet points for practice articles and five for clinical updates encapsulating the specific take home messages from this article.
"How patients were involved in the creation of this article" box. Please include: Which patients were asked (e.g. patient advocates, networked patient communities and organisations, patients in your clinic etc). What they said (e.g. include more practical advice on how to inject insulin.) How you changed your article as a result (e.g. we included a box to address this.)
"Education into practice" box. Include two to three bullet points about how a reader might at an individual or organisational level improve their practice (e.g. do you offer lifestyle advice to all patients with newly diagnosed hypertension?)
At least one other box or table and at least one figure or image that complement the text of the article.
We accept pitches for the following article types. Once our editors have made a decision to encourage a pitch, we will provde authors will a full, detailed set of instructions on how best to format your content.
|Article Type||Focus/Audience||Word Limit|
|Clinical Updates||These articles provide an up to date overview of a clinical condition. The content should be evidence based, aimed at non-specialists and have international appeal. It should include a broad update of recent developments (from the past 1-2 years) and their likely clinical applications in primary/community and secondary/hospital care.||1800 words, maximum of 40 references|
|Practice Pointer||These are practical, often problem based articles. They should help clinicians who are not specialists in a particular field know “how to” to approach a problem, diagnosis or management better.||1,000 words and 15 references|
|Easily Missed||This series highlights conditions that are often missed at first presentation in general practice or the emergency department. For the condition in question provide evidence that the condition may be misdiagnosed or that diagnosis may be delayed and that timely recognition will benefit the patient. The condition should be reasonably common (likely to present at least once a year to a full-time primary care practitioner) or is serious and delayed diagnosis is likely to worsen prognosis. The condition should have easily defined diagnostic features and/or tests with known predictive characteristics.||1,000 words and 15 references|
|Rational Testing||These articles update clinicians on the best initial use of imaging methods or diagnostic tests for common or important problems. The aim of these articles is to equip frontline clinicians to exclude and diagnose important conditions, and to know when to refer to a specialist. Imaging articles will require relevant high-resolution images.||1,000 words and 15 references|
|10 Minute Consultation||These articles describe how clinicians might use a (one) consultation to tackle a common scenario, in primary or secondary care. Articles must address a tightly framed issue for example how to explore a new symptom (eg tingling fingers), explain a diagnosis of a condition (eg Parkinson’s disease, or an aspect of its management) or act in an urgent situation, such as on receipt of a high INR reading.||700 words and 10 references|
|Uncertainties||This series highlights areas of practice that lack convincing evidence.||1,000 words and 15 references|
|Essentials||These articles provide a basic comprehensive summary of a topic that the reader should already know something about. They are aimed at non specialists. Essentials articles are not meant to give readers a full update, and may not be telling readers anything new. Ideally, we prefer an international author team and focus.||1,000 words and 15 references.|
|Therapeutics||The BMJ's Therapeutics series covers new drugs in clinical use or old drugs with important new indications or controversy. Articles are about 1000 words long, and aimed at doctors who aren't specialists in the therapeutic field. They focus on what frontline clinicians need to know before prescribing the drugs, or treating patients already taking them. The editorial that launched the series is here: http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d37||1,000 words and 15 references|
|Change Page||This series highlights where practice may need to change.||1,000 words and 15 references|
|What Your Patient Is Thinking (WYPIT)||
This is a series led, and edited and written by patients and their carers and contain messages that are thought provoking, and challenging for readers of The BMJ, along the lines of "What I wish you [The BMJ’s audience] knew, and why." Please suggest any articles of this type directly to our patient editor, Emma Cartwright (email@example.com).
|Around 650 words, including the summary box at the end of each piece, called “What You Need To Know.”
Find out more about the WYPIT submission process here.
|Summary of NICE Guidelines||These article types are solely commissioned by our editors.|
|State of the Art Reviews|
What are Minerva Pictures?
Can I write?
We will only publish articles authored by people free from financial interests that we consider to be relevant, which is why we ask all authors to complete our online competing interests form before submission.
No more than two authors can write each Minerva Picture article.
What sort of case do I need?
Minerva Picture articles with the following characteristics are not usually accepted because they lack educational value for general readers:
Writing up a Minerva Picture article
Before we can consider your article, we need:
NB: Minerva pictures/articles are currently not indexed in PubMed.
Less than 100 words
What are Endgames?
Endgames articles are quizzes based on genuine clinical scenarios. The difficulty of the questions should reflect knowledge needed for postgraduate exams. Endgames also offer doctors who have passed postgraduate exams the chance to test their knowledge for continuing medical education. There are two article types within Endgames: Spot Diagnosis articles and Case Review articles (see instructions below).
Please focus on standard diagnosis and management and cite major guidelines if they exist (or evidence if guidelines do not exist.) Endgames is not the place to discuss or debate various management strategies.
Can I write?
We will only publish articles authored by people free from financial interests that we consider to be relevant. Please ensure that each potential author has completed the BMJ Education online competing interests form before submission. We will not consider a paper until we have reviewed and approved competing interests declaration forms from each author.
Before we can consider your article, we also need to see written consent from every patient, parent, or next of kin, regardless of whether the patient can be identified from the picture. This must be in the form of a signed BMJ patient consent form and must be included when you submit your article.
What sort of case do I need?
Please do not plagiarise content. Avoid duplication of large paragraphs of text from textbooks or journals.
Please provide a signed originality of work attestation form and attach it to your submission.
Writing up a Case Review article
• A 50 word learning point as a take home message for readers
Please complete the BMJ Education online competing interests form. We will not consider your paper until we have reviewed and approved competing interests declaration forms from each author.
A complete, signed BMJ patient consent form must be included when you submit your article.
Please write your paper within our Case Review template and submit it to our online editorial office.
Writing up a Spot Diagnosis
• A 50 word learning point as a take home message for readers
Please complete the BMJ Education online competing interests form. We will not consider your paper until we have reviewed and approved competing interests declaration forms from each author.
A complete, signed BMJ patient consent form must be included when you submit your article.
Please write your paper within our Spot Diagnosis template and submit it to our online editorial office.
150 word vignette (case history) section and 200 word answer section. See templates for more details.
Format and instructions
BMJ editorials are scholarly, balanced, and evidence based. All substantive comments must be underpinned by recent best evidence. We reserve strong opinions for our Opinion columns.
Editorials usually respond to something topical, discuss why it matters, and call for some kind of action. They should be of international interest to any or all of the following: patients, clinicians, researchers, policy makers, and guideline developers.
We particularly encourage co-production of editorials with patients, patient leaders, or patient advocates. If co-authorship isn't possible please consider asking a patient to review an early draft, and acknowledge their contribution in a statement at the end.
Editorials usually have 1-3 authors, and must not have more than four. Five authors are allowed only if the extra author is a patient.
All authors must be cleared of relevant competing interests by the editorials editor before submission. Failure to secure clearance may jeopardise the publication of your editorial. We no longer consider clinical editorials by authors with relevant financial ties to commercial companies. We do not allow authors to editorialise their own work.
Editorials do not carry original data, or personal experience/stories.
Please write clearly for generalists with little specialist knowledge of your topic (such as primary care doctors, doctors in training, policy makers), and for an international audience.
References should be in Vancouver style. If there are six or fewer authors cite all; if more than six please give the first six and et al. Avoid using superscript for references. Please do not use endnotes or footnotes.
Editorials must include a title page giving all authors' names, addresses, email addresses, contact numbers, and job titles.
Up to 800 words long, with 12-20 references.
Rapid responses are electronic letters to the editor. Our weekly letters are edited selections of posted rapid responses and are indexed in PubMed. Rapid responses are not indexed in PubMed but they have their own URL and are retrievable in an advanced search of thebmj.com in perpetuity. Thus a rapid response is published with its first appearance online. Use search on bmj.com to find the article to which you are responding, and then follow the link at the top of the page, marked "Respond to this article."
This is the only way to submit a letter to The BMJ: all letters that appear in the printed issue of The BMJ and on bmj.com arrived as rapid responses initially.
The best personal view pieces make a strong, novel, and well argued point. They are also often topical, insightful, and attention grabbing. We publish anonymous personal view articles only by special arrangement when it would be impossible for the article to appear with the author's name. Accepted articles are all published online initially on BMJ Opinion, but may not be published in print. Please submit online at http://submit.bmj.com. We cannot promise publication before the piece is submitted.
600 words and 10 references
BMJ Opinion provides comment and opinion written by The BMJ's international community of readers, authors, and editors. We welcome submissions for consideration. Your article should be about medicine, healthcare, publishing, or an issue that will interest doctors and other healthcare professionals. Writing should be clear, compelling, and appeal to our international readership. The best pieces make a single topical point. All opinion articles appear online and are indexed in PubMed. Please submit via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have an idea for an article about doctors' careers, please pitch it to us by emailing Tom Moberly (email@example.com). Send a few sentences explaining what you’d like to write about, how you’d like to cover the topic, and what you think readers would gain from the article you are proposing. If we like your idea we will contact you to discuss how we would like to proceed.
Clinical Opinion (previously Fillers)
Clinical Opinion articles are short 300-500 word articles that appear online. The aim of these articles is to make readers think but they must also convey your own personal opinion on a topic. They evolved to fill a gap in the print version of The BMJ. Now, all accepted submissions are published online on the BMJ Opinion website. Some are selected to appear in print on the Education pages but we cannot guarantee this.
When writing, please consider the following :
We welcome submissions on topics such as:
As well as the article we need you to send us a short biography (a sentence or two). We also ask all authors to submit a competing interests statement, even if there's nothing to declare. Here's more on this (http://bit.ly/1nwvs0Q). Please could you include your twitter handle if you have one. Finally, please could you also send a photo of yourself to go online with the article.
Please note that your article may be sent for peer review.
Please also note that BMJ Clinical Opinion (previously Fillers) and BMJ Opinion articles are not indexed in PubMed.
Please submit online at http://submit.bmj.com.
Please send any Obituaries queries or submissions as a Word file directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome obituaries for doctors with a connection to the UK within a year of their death. We assume that material is sent exclusively to us, and we publish the full versions we receive on bmj.com. We produce the short obituaries in the print issue from these full versions; these usually appear with a time lag of several weeks. Obituaries include mandatory biographical details: the last position held, date of birth, place and year of qualification, postgraduate qualifications if applicable, and date and cause of death. Pictures should be sent as high -resolution images electronically or as photographs. We do not accept obituaries sent by post, and neither do we accept handwritten obituaries. Please include a postal address if you want us to send one a copy of the relevant print issue to the families of the deceased (additional copies will have to be purchased from email@example.com). We also need the name of the author(s) of the obituary. NB: Please do not use abbreviations.
We generally commission the full page obituaries for the print issue of The BMJ from professional writers: these are usually about doctors and are published no more than three months after death. We regret that we cannot provide individual progress updates - please check http://www.bmj.com/news/obituary to find out whether your submission has been published.
Around 150 words
Follow this link to find out more about The BMJ submission system, how to submit your article, and how to navigate and manage your submitted papers.