Intended for healthcare professionals


Screening research papers by reading abstracts

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 26 August 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:470
  1. Trish Groves, coordinating editor (,
  2. Kamran Abbasi, acting editor
  1. BMJ
  2. BMJ

    Please get the abstract right, because we may use it alone to assess your paper

    The BMJ receives approaching 8000 manuscripts each year and accepts only about 7% of them. Editors reject about 60-70% of original articles without external review. When a paper is clearly unsuitable for the BMJ just one editor can make the decision to reject it. When the decision is less clear other editors are involved.

    The low acceptance rate makes the BMJ a big rejection machine and leaves many of our customers dissatisfied. But triaging papers at an early stage allows us to spend as much time and effort as possible on the peer review, commissioning, and editing of material that we think will be relevant, useful, and important to our readers, material that we want to publish. Furthermore, rejecting unsuitable papers quickly allows the authors to submit their work to another journal. That delay may be as little as a few hours. Daily duty editors make initial decisions within 24 hours of submission of research papers and can reject manuscripts, send them for …

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