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Journals: Terms & conditions for rapid responses

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  • Journals: Terms & conditions for rapid responses

Journals: Terms & conditions for rapid responses

Terms and conditions for rapid responses

We intend to post all responses approved by the Editor within 14 days (BMJ Journals) or 24 hours (The BMJ).  Responses must contribute substantially to the topic however it is at our absolute discretion whether we publish and timeframes cannot be guaranteed.

When you submit a rapid response, you agree to the following terms and conditions, which may be amended from time to time:

  • We aim to provide a forum for those with differing opinions to debate in good faith the often controversial topics we cover but we do not accept hostile or hateful speech of any kind directed at any individual or group. Please remember that the language used in your response should reflect the fact that BMJ's journals are part of the evidence base of medicine, used globally. If you are commenting on sensitive subjects, please be careful to avoid giving unnecessary offence, particularly when your comments refer to any protected characteristic as defined by the Equalities Act 2010 (including race, sex, disability or gender). That said, our primary objective is the provision of good evidence to support clinical decision-making, not the avoidance of offence being given and we cannot guarantee that no offence will be given by a published response. However, we will consider every complaint made to us. See our complaints process for more information:
  • It is for BMJ to decide whether to post responses. We will not publish any response that:
    • we consider inappropriate 
    • may lead to legal difficulties (or would require us spending time or money to establish that it wouldn’t)
    • gives information on specific patients
    • is not written in English, is too lengthy or is in capital letters 
    • is almost entirely a quote from somewhere else
    • does not include adequate and accurate author personal details (or uses an alias).
  • We make our own judgements on the potential implications of a response, rather than refer them to our lawyer. Potential libel is the most common problem we see. These cases do not typically warrant us spending money to confirm our judgement that something is libellous
  • Anyone can submit a response but we will not publish a response if you do not reply to our emails.  
  • Your name, occupation, affiliation and declared competing interests will be published with your response. Your email address will automatically be published when submitting a response to BMJ Journals but not The BMJ. If you are submitting to The BMJ and you would like your email address to be published, please include it in the body of the text of your response. We will also process any personal data you supply in accordance with our Privacy Notice .  
  • You must declare any competing interests.
  • We reserve the right to edit responses before and after publication.
  • If only a line or two of an otherwise OK response is defamatory or extremely abusive, we may delete the line and post the rest.
  • Your response must be original and not infringe any third party's intellectual property rights.
  • Once a response has been published on the website, you will not be able to have it removed or edited. BMJ may, however, be able to remove or edit any response at its absolute discretion.
  • You are responsible for the accuracy of what you say in your response. We cannot check facts, although we may ask you to substantiate what you say - for example by giving a reference. It is your responsibility to check that references support the claims made.
  • Rapid responses are not routinely copy-edited, but typographical errors may be corrected by the Editor prior to publication.
  • Please do not include or link to original data in your response unless it has already been published in a peer reviewed journal and you are able to include a reference.
  • While we try to deal with all our authors in as courteous and timely manner as possible, we have limited resources. Please be patient when awaiting a response and note that we cannot enter into lengthy correspondence about why we have not posted a response. 
  • We will not publish responses with figures, tables, graphics or images. 
  • Responses may be considered for print publication, depending on individual journal policy.
  • All posted responses are eligible for publication in all other versions of the journal and other BMJ publications and may be sublicensed to third parties for their use as deemed fit by BMJ, including within local editions. All of these publications may be published within any media known now or created in the future, throughout the world. By submitting a response you agree to this and understand that this may occur without further recourse to you.