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Using pictures in the BMJ

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 21 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:916
  1. Trish Groves, senior assistant editor (,
  2. Jan Croot, picture editor
  1. BMJ

    We want lots of pictures, but have policies on using them ethically

    We encourage authors to include pictures in submissions to the BMJ to add useful and relevant information. We also use pictures to help the journal to look good, to be well read, to entertain and stimulate readers, and sometimes to cast different perspectives on familiar subjects. Surveys show that readers may lose interest when faced with slabs of unbroken print, so we include some pictures to make articles more engaging and to draw readers in.

    But there are pitfalls in publishing pictures in a medical journal, and we receive a handful of complaints each year about ours. Readers have two main concerns—that publishing pictures of patients may compromise privacy and confidentiality and that pictures may be altered and might thereby mislead.

    The BMJ …

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