The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) is an international peer reviewed medical journal. The BMJ has been published without interruption since 1840, when it began as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal. Our mission is to lead the debate on health and to engage, inform, and stimulate doctors, researchers, and other health professionals in ways that will improve outcomes for patients. To achieve these aims we publish original research articles, review and educational articles, news, letters, investigative journalism, and articles commenting on the clinical, scientific, social, political, and economic factors affecting health that help doctors make better clinical, research and public health decisions. The BMJ also aims to publish articles that advance debate on the science and art of patient partnership and co-production of health. We are delighted to consider articles for publication from doctors and others, and from anywhere in the world. Although the editorial office is located in London, we have editors throughout the world, including Europe, North America, South Asia, and China.
The BMJ is published by the BMJ, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Medical Association. The BMA grants editorial freedom to the editor of The BMJ (currently Dr. Fiona Godlee). The views expressed in the journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the BMA. The BMJ follows guidelines on editorial independence produced by the World Association of Medical Editors and the code on good publication practice produced by the Committee on Publication Ethics, the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, and checklists and advice for good research reporting of the EQUATOR network.
The BMJ has an impact factor of 20.7 (ISI Web of Science, 2017) and is ranked fourth among general medical journals. The journal’s website, bmj.com has X,XXX,XXX annual views, and papers published in The BMJ in 2016 had XXXX media mentions in outlets throughout the world. Papers published in The BMJ receive an Altmetric score that is displayed on the article’s page: the median Altmetric score in 2016 was XXXX. The journal produces podcast that highlight papers published in the journal.
We publish only about 7% of the 7000-8000 articles we receive each year (and only about 4% of the 4,000 research articles). We reject about two thirds of all submissions without sending them for external peer review, but many authors tell us they appreciate quick decisions that allow them to submit their work elsewhere without delay. In 2016, the median time to make a first decision for research, analysis and education papers sent out for review was 48, 83 and 31 days, respectively.
The BMJ is an online publication and publishes its articles continuously to bmj.com. The website is updated daily with original articles, podcasts, videos, and blogs and organised into four main content streams—research, education, news and views, and campaigns. In addition, the site is fully searchable, with an archive going back to 1840 and numerous topic collections on clinical and non-clinical subjects. Articles of relevance to specific countries and regions are grouped together on country portals.
Some articles published online will subsequently also appear in a print issue of The BMJ. The print journal is now published in three editions: one weekly edition targeting hospital clinicians, primarily in the UK; a second weekly edition for GPs; and a third monthly edition aimed at academics and a more international audience. Together, their circulation totals about 122,000 copies and all are printed on 100% recycled paper and mailed in a recyclable wrapper.
In place of a page number, each online article has a unique identifier; this identifier (elocator) should be used when citing any article in The BMJ. The form of the citation (e.g. BMJ 2008;337:a134) appears on all articles both online and in print, and it will appear thus in PubMed and other indexes.
All 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. For additional information, please see the section of instructions to authors on copyright, open access, and permission to reuse.
For research and analysis papers, The BMJ has fully open peer review. This means that accepted research and analysis papers will usually have their prepublication history posted alongside them on bmj.com (read more in this editorial). This prepublication history generally comprises all previous versions of the manuscript, the study protocol (mandatory for all clinical trials and encouraged for all other studies at The BMJ), the report from the manuscript committee meeting, the reviewers’ comments, and the authors’ responses to all the comments from reviewers and editors. The prepublication history will be posted around the same time the paper is published, but at busy times of the year there may be delays. If you cannot locate the prepublication history for a particular paper, please contact email@example.com.
For rejected research papers, we expect that authors will keep the identity and comments of peer reviewers confidential. They may, however, share the peer review comments (though not peer reviewer names) in confidence with other journals. Authors should contact the editor who handled their paper if they have any complaints about the peer review process or the behaviour of the peer reviewers.
We ask reviewers to sign their reports and declare any competing interests on any manuscripts we send them. Reviewers for The BMJ agree to have their signed comments posted if a paper is published, but not otherwise.
When research articles are of exceptional clinical importance and urgency, or where there is a public policy reason for urgent publication, we can offer full online publication within four weeks of submission. Please send research articles for fast track submission through http://submit.bmj.com/.
|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 (sometimes after a potential author pitches us the idea) and do not accept unsolicited submissions for this section.|
|Editorials||These are usually commissioned but we are happy to consider and peer review unsolicited editorials.|
|Rapid Responses||These are letters to the editor that are related to manuscripts published in The BMJ.|
|Personal views||These are highly readable and compelling commentaries that appeals to our international readership of practising doctors.|
|What Your Patient Is Thinking||These articles are written by patients and carers and focus on any aspect of the patient experience.|
|BMJ Opinion||Comment and opinion blogs about medicine, healthcare and publishing written by The BMJ's international community of readers, authors, and editors.|
|BMJ Careers||These articles discuss issues related to medical careers.|
|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 in early September. Further details can be found in this link|
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.
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, lease 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."
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. 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.
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 paper 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 (DO WE WANT ALL THE FORMS? DO WE POST THEM?)
The statement in the manuscript should take the following format:
"Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf 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 www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf 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 www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf 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 www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf 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."
Mixed competing interests: "All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf and declare: financial support for the submitted work from ABC Company; AB has received research grants and honorariums from XYZ company, BF has been paid for developing and delivering educational presentations for BBB Company, DF does consultancy of HHH and VVV companies; AB chairs the BAA guideline committee on disease Y, BF is a member of the Royal College of Physicians' guideline committee on gastroenterology."
Complete the BMJ 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.