Article requirements

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 (ICMJE Recommendations 2013)

The ICMJE recommendations are long and comprehensive,
and The BMJ also has specific requirements for different types of articles and particularly detailed ones for research articles. We urge you to look carefully at all of these.

Here, however, is an overview of the requirements for all manuscripts submitted to The BMJ:

  • Title - all manuscripts - Title page
  • Names, addresses, and positions of all authors plus email address for corresponding author, ensuring that all people listed as authors fulfil the criteria for authorship - all manuscripts
  • Copyright/licence for publication - all manuscripts
  • A competing interest declaration - all manuscripts
  • Details of contributors and the name of the guarantor - all original research and education articles
  • Details for reporting Patient Involvement.
  • Signed patient consent forms - all manuscripts with personal information about a patient
  • Statements regarding ethics approval; informed consent from participants; funding; the role of the study sponsor in study design and the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and the writing of the article and the decision to submit it for publication; the independence of researchers from funders and sponsors; and the access of researchers to all the data - all original research articles. Please also ensure that the following sentence is included in your text: 'We attest that we have obtained appropriate permissions and paid any required fees for use of copyright protected materials.'
  • All the information recommended in the relevant reporting statement, for example CONSORT. We do not use reporting guidelines as critical appraisal tools to evaluate study quality or filter out articles. We're simply aiming to make research articles so clear that peer reviewers, editors, clinicians, educators, ethicists, policy makers, systematic reviewers, guideline writers, journalists, patients, and the general public can tell what really happened during a study. -all original research articles
  • If you are submitting a report of a randomised controlled trial please send with your manuscript a completed checklist and flowchart in accordance with the appropriate CONSORT guidelines, the trial protocol, and the registration details of the trial. In accordance with ICMJE uniform requirements, trials commenced after July 2005 must have been registered prospectively before patient recruitment; for older trials retrospective registration will be acceptable but only if done before submission of the manuscript to the journal.
  • If you are submitting a report of:
    • A systematic review or meta-analysis of randomised trials and other evaluation studies please follow the PRISMA guidelines (these have superceded the QUOROM guidelines) and submit as a supplemental file the study protocol, if there is one.
    • A meta-analysis of observational studies please follow the MOOSE guidelines and submit as a supplemental file the study protocol, if there is one.
    • A study of diagnostic accuracy please follow the STARD guidelines.
    • An observational study please follow the STROBE guidelines and submit as a supplemental file the study protocol, if there is one
    • A clinical guidelines paper, we would encourage you to follow the GRADE guidance for grading evidence, but will not insist on this.
    • A health economics paper, please follow the CHEERS statement.

Because we aim to improve our papers’ reporting and increase reviewers’ understanding we ask our research authors to follow such reporting guidelines and to complete the appropriate reporting checklist before submission (or before external peer review if not done sooner). We do not, however, use reporting guidelines as critical appraisal tools to evaluate study quality or filter out articles.

These and other reporting guidelines are collected together in one place: the website of the EQUATOR Network. This network seeks to improve the quality of scientific publications by promoting transparent and accurate reporting of health research.

Another resource, the Authors' Submission Toolkit: A practical guide to getting your research published, summarises general tips and best practices to increase awareness of journals' editorial requirements, how to choose the right journal, submission processes, publication ethics, peer review, and effective communication with editors - much of which has traditionally been seen as mysterious to authors.