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Instructions to authors

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 07 January 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:50

The BMJ aims to help doctors everywhere practise better medicine and to influence the debate on health. To achieve these aims we publish original scientific studies, review and educational articles, and papers commenting on the clinical, scientific, social, political, and economic factors affecting health. We are delighted to receive articles for publication in all of these categories—from doctors and others. We can publish only about 12% of the articles we receive, but we aim to give quick and authoritative decisions. The editorial staff in London is always happy to advise on submissions by post or telephone. The BMJ is published weekly and has a circulation of about 111500, of which 20000 copies are distributed outside Britain. In addition, Bulgarian, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Pakistani, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and South African editions reach another 150000 readers. Material published in the weekly journal may be reproduced in the other editions.

The BMJ's peer review process

The BMJ peer reviews all the material it receives. About half the original articles are rejected after review in house by two medical editors. The usual reasons for rejection at this stage are insufficient originality, serious scientific flaws, or the absence of a message that is important to a general medical audience. We aim to reach a decision on such papers within two weeks.

The remaining articles are sent to one or more external referees selected from a database of about 2500 experts. Once returned, those articles thought suitable for publication are discussed by our weekly “hanging committee” of two practising clinicians, two editors, and a statistician.

We aim to reach a final decision on publication within eight weeks of submission. Original articles should be published within three months of being finally accepted—after any necessary revisions. We publish six monthly data on how often we achieve these …

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