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The British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) aims to highlight clinically-relevant original research, editorials, systematic reviews, consensus statements and commentary that will be of interest to the field of sport and exercise medicine. The journal is aimed at physicians, physiotherapists, exercise scientists and those involved in public policy.
BJSM encourages the inclusion of Twitter usernames in an author’s information to encourage discussion and debate around each article.
Please note that references will be published online only.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine adheres to the highest standards concerning its editorial policies on publication ethics, scientific misconduct, consent and peer review criteria. To view all BMJ Journal policies please refer to the BMJ Author Hub policies page.
Articles are published under an exclusive licence (or non-exclusive licence for UK Crown and US Federal Government employees) and authors retain copyright. Articles can also be published under a Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content; please refer to the The British Journal of Sports Medicine Copyright Author Licence Statement.
BMJ and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine have a facility for transferring manuscripts among their sports medicine journals. Authors submitting to the flagship journal The British Journal of Sports Medicine can choose BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine as an ‘alternate journal’.
Once authors agree for their manuscript to be transferred to another BMJ journal, all versions of the manuscript, any supplementary files and peer review comments will automatically be transferred on the author’s behalf. Please note that there is no guarantee of acceptance. Contact the editorial team for more information or assistance.
Please suggest up to four reviewers who the editors can approach to review if needed. First name, last name, institution and email are required. You are required to suggest at least two reviewers, and preferably, at least half of the nominated reviewers should be from a country other than your own. Reviewer nominees from the same institution as any of the authors are not permitted.
We welcome video abstracts to accompany accepted research articles. These allow authors to personally talk through their work beyond the restrictions of a formal article to improve the user’s understanding.
Note that we will not ask you to consider submitting a video abstract until your paper has been accepted. Please do not try to upload a video abstract upon initial submission of your manuscript.
There are many tutorials online which can guide the production of a video abstract, using widely and often freely available software.Windows Movie Maker and Apple iMovie are the most common examples. Examples of video abstracts are available from The BMJ. Below are a few guidelines for making a video abstract. Authors may also want to ask their institution’s press/media office for assistance.
- Video abstracts should not last longer than 4 minutes.
- The content and focus of the video must relate directly to the study that has been accepted for publication, and should not stray beyond the data. We recommend that you follow the same structure as the paper itself i.e. briefly outline the background/context of the study, present your research objective, outline the methods used, present the key results and then discuss the implications of the outcomes.
- The presentation and content of the video should be in a style and in terms that will be understandable and accessible to a general medical audience. The main language should be English, but we welcome subtitles in another language. Please avoid jargon that will not be familiar to a wide medical audience, and do not use abbreviations.
- Authors usually talk directly into the camera and/or present a slideshow, but we encourage the use of other relevant visual and audio material (such as animations, video clips, still photographs, figures, infographics). If you wish to use material from previously published work or from other sources, please obtain the appropriate permissions from the relevant publisher or copyright owner.
- If the video shows any identifiable living patients and/or identifiable personal details, authors need to demonstrate that consent has been obtained. If a patient consent form was provided for the related article, there is no need to provide this again for the video.
- Please use the compression parameters that video sharing sites use. Often these are standard options from your editing software. A comprehensive guide is available from the vimeo website.
Videos are too large to email so will need to be uploaded to BMJ’s account on the Hightail website. Please include the journal’s name and your manuscript ID number in the message field – this will enable us to match your video to your paper. Your video needs to be received by the time that you return the corrections for your article proof, at the very latest. Please note that if you do not correctly label your video or if you miss the deadline, this may cause delays in publication of both your article and the video.
All video abstracts will be assessed for suitability by the editorial team and publication is not guaranteed. In some cases editors may request edits to the video.
Video abstracts are embedded within the research article online and also published separately on the journal’s YouTube channel. They are published under the same copyright terms as the associated article.
Article publishing charges
During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 1950 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). Authors can also choose to publish their article in colour for the print edition – instead of the default option of black and white – for 250 GBP. There are no submission, page or online-only colour figure charges.
For more information on open access, funder compliance and institutional programmes please refer to the BMJ Author Hub open access page.
Please review the below article type specifications including the required article lengths, illustrations, table limits and reference counts. The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements, contributions and references. Manuscripts should be as succinct as possible.
For further support when making your submission please refer to the resources available on the BMJ Author Hub. Here you can also find general formatting guidelines across BMJ and a formatting checklist.
- Review articles: systematic reviews and narrative reviews
- Consensus statements
- Original article
- Education reviews
- The BJSM PhD Academy Awards
- Patient Voices
- Bright spots: physical activity investments that work
- Mobile app User Guide
- Research Letters
- Letters in response to
Review articles should provide in-depth (in the order of 4000-4500 words) reviews of both established and new areas in sports and exercise medicine. If you feel your review warrants additional length, consult the editorial office and/or mention the reason in your Cover letter.
Systematic reviews provide Level One evidence; they form a critical part of the literature.
- We are looking for experts to synthesise the literature and to comment on the outcomes of the review in a meaningful and clinically relevant way.
- The topic must be of relevance to clinicians with the key question ‘will the findings change what practitioners do?’’
- Succinct and focussed reviews, with questions that are topical, novel or controversial that will attract readers and researchers to the journal are more likely to be accepted.
- The literature search should have been completed within 12 months of manuscript submission.
- A completed PRISMA checklist and flow diagram should accompany the submission.
- All systematic reviews (with or without meta-analysis) should address all the items recommended in the PRISMA statement.
- All titles should include ‘a Systematic Review’
- A structured Abstract should be added to the Main Document. Including headings Objective, Design, Data sources, Eligibility criteria for selecting studies, Results and Summary/Conclusion.
- We have a Systematic Review Prize for the best Systematic Review every half year.
- Please include a summary box summarising in 3-4 clear and specific bullet points ‘What is already known’ and ‘What are the new findings’.
- Please provide 5 multiple choice questions (MCQs) each with 4-5 possible answers (only 1 correct answer), so the reader can test his or her understanding of the article. These MCQs will be published online-only in the form of an E-learning module.
- Systematic review registration: registry and number (if registered)
Word count: up to 4500 words
Abstract: up to 250 words
Tables/illustrations: Maximum 6 tables and/or figures
References: up to 100
Checklist: Prisma checklist/statement and flowchart
We consider narrative reviews of general topics of importance to the sports and exercise medicine clinician. Authors should clearly outline in their cover letter why a narrative review is appropriate rather than a systematic review.
All titles should include ‘a Narrative Review’.
Please include a summary box summarising in 3-4 bullet points ‘What is already known’ and ‘What are the new findings’.
Word count: up to 4000 words
Abstract: up to 250 words
Tables/illustrations: Maximum 6 tables and/or figures
References: up to 80
Original Research should not exceed 3000 words; Additional data may be presented as supplementary information, which will be published online only should the article be accepted (this can be in any format: text, tables, images, videos, etc.).
Main body of the paper: We encourage short introductions when the rationale of the study is obvious, i.e. it may be as short as 3 short paragraphs if that addresses “Why we did it”.
We encourage the use of subheadings in the methods, results and discussion. We find it hard to imagine a discussion that has fewer than two subheadings.
Word count: up to 3000 words
Abstract: up to 250 words and structured including the headings Objectives, Methods, Results and Conclusion
Tables/illustrations: up to 6 tables and/or figures
Please include a summary box summarising in 3-4 bullet points “what are the new findings”.
Reporting patients’ involvement in research
As part of its patient partnership strategy, BJSM is encouraging active patient involvement in setting the research agenda.
We appreciate that not all authors of research papers will have done this, and we will still consider your paper if you did not involve patients at an early stage. We do, however, request that all authors provide a statement in the methods section under the subheading Patient involvement.
This should provide a brief response to the following questions:
- How was the development of the research question and outcome measures informed by patients’ priorities, experience, and preferences?
- How did you involve patients in the design of this study?
- Were patients involved in the recruitment to and conduct of the study?
- How will the results be disseminated to study participants?
- For randomised controlled trials, was the burden of the intervention assessed by patients themselves?
- Patient advisers should also be thanked in the contributorship statement/acknowledgements.
If patients were not involved please state this.
If this information is not in the submitted manuscript we will ask you to provide it during the peer review process.
Please also note BJSM now sends randomised controlled trials and other relevant studies for peer review by patients.
This type of paper makes a comment related to a hot topic; it differs from an editorial in that it might be wider ranging and it may link (discuss) a series of papers. As with an editorial, these should be written in less than 800 words and use 8 or less references.
BJSM welcomes editorials. The purpose of an editorial is to provide a novel perspective on a clinically relevant issue. Please see the table of contents of BJSM for examples. We welcome suggestions for possible topics and authors.
Word count: up to 800 words
Illustrations and tables: 1 table or figure
References: up to 8
Additional material can be posted as supplementary information (this can be hyperlinked) or on the BJSM Blog.
Commentaries are commissioned to accompany a paper being published in BJSM. The main objectives may be: to highlight the importance of the article, to critique the article or the research method, to provide a balancing view if the article is controversial. Authors of commentaries will often be given a brief by the editorial team.
Word count: up to 850 words
Illustrations and tables: 1 table or figure
References: up to 8
These are written or commissioned by the editors and should follow the proforma guidelines that will be supplied by the editorial office.
The BJSM PhD academy awards
- To gather the World’s leading PhD graduates to share their work with the BJSM community.
- To promote the impact/contribution that graduate students’ work can have on sports medicine clinical practice.D
- To highlight an ‘innovator of the month’.
Each submission to follow the below structure:
- What did I do? Aim/s of your PhD
- Why did I do it? Rationale for your PhD
- How did I do it? Brief overview of main methods
- What did I find? Overview of main findings
- What is the most important clinical impact / practical application
- Upload 1 x photograph capturing the participants in one of the PhD studies. For example a photograph of participants undergoing testing/evaluation/exercise intervention
Specific rules/eligibility criteria:
To be eligible to enter the PhD Academy Awards, the author must have successfully defended his/her PhD between June to May (e.g. to enter the 2017/18 awards, the author must have successfully defended his/her PhD between June 2017 and May 2018).
A cover letter from (and signed by) the principal supervisor must be submitted confirming that 1) the PhD has successfully been awarded to the candidate within the dates for eligibility and 2) the PhD Academy Award manuscript submitted accurately reflects the work undertaken and main findings/conclusions of the PhD thesis.
Word count: up to 600words
References: up to 6
The purpose of this series is to provide the patients perspective on the injuries and health problems that we treat in sports medicine.
- No abstract is required
- Word limit: 1000 words
- Up to 8 references
Manuscript Text: Suggested Structure
- Short introduction of the topic
- Description of the problem from the patient’/ athlete’s perspective (one or two cases)
Bright spots: physical activity investments that work
The purpose of Bright Spots series is to feature novel and promising physical activity programs from around the globe (see : Launch of new series: Bright Spots, Physical Activity Investments that Work). Multi-behaviour programmes (targeting e.g. both diet and physical activity) will also be considered.
- No abstract is required
- Word limit: 800 words
- Up to 8 references.
- Up to 1 small/medium size Table (not counting towards the word limit)
- Please include a brief graphic “Programme Card” (see below).
This does not count towards the 800 word count and can be in simple text/tabular format or graphical. Graphical cards should be accompanied by the card contents text. The card should contain information on:
- Target population
- What modes/types/domains of physical activity does the program promote? (1 sentence)
- Which of the 7 best investments the program addresses? See Infographic. Best investments for physical activity
- What sectors does it involve? E.g. transportation, education, healthcare (1 sentence)
- Estimated program reach (1 sentence)
- What is special about this program? (1 sentence)
- Key contact (name, position, e-mail)
- Programme website and/or Twitter / Facebook handle
Manuscript Text: Suggested Structure
- Background and description of key features of the program
- Elaboration on the program’s success, e.g. why does the program work? Why is it novel? Both anecdotal and formal evaluation evidence are acceptable.
- Lessons learnt (that may assist future physical programmes)
- Additional materials: we encourage inclusion of e.g. the program logo, web links, a program video, an infographic. For additional materials we encourage use of colour images. Please note that colour images in print will incur the usual journal charges of £250 per article. You can elect to publish online in colour and black and white in print at no cost to the authors.
- Please ensure that any figures/Images/Infographics that contain text the fonts are readable in a standard tablet or small laptop.
Mobile app user guide
BJSM welcomes reviews of mobile sporting apps that have the potential for clinical use in the world of sports medicine. Such submissions should follow the format below:
Author: Name, address, email and Twitter handle (if you have one)
Name of the mobile application: e.g. Strava
Category of the mobile application: e.g. Fitness or health
Platform: e.g. iOS (iPhone 4 & above), Android (versions 2.3.3 & above), Google Glass and over 50 GPS devices (e.g. Garmin) can upload date onto the Strava website
Cost: The different versions available of an app and their particular pricings
About the App: Should be less than 300 words
Use in clinical practice: Should be less than 150 words
Pros: Up to eight bullet points, but no less than three
Cons: Up to eight bullet points, but no less than three
References: References – References are not essential and the maximum required is four
Screen shot: Please provide an image of the app, such as a screen shot, for use in the article. The quality of the image must be at least 300dpi and in .tif, .jpeg, .gif or .eps format
Image: 1 infographic
Word count: Up to 400
References: Up to 5
Research Letters undergo the same review process as full length papers. You will be asked to add a title page including Title, authors, affiliations, contact details. Financial associations or other possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed.
Word count: up to 600 words
Abstract: not required
Tables/Illustrations: Maximum 1 tables and/or figures
References: Maximum 6
Letters in response to
Correspondence in reference to a BJSM article must not exceed 400 words and up to 6 references and must be received within three weeks of publication of the article. If you are responding to an Online First article that does not have a print publication date, the article will be listed under “Online Articles”.
You will be asked to add a title page including Title, authors, affiliations, contact details. Financial associations or other possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed.
The BMJ Publishing Group journals are willing to consider publishing supplements to regular issues. Supplement proposals may be made at the request of:
- The journal editor, an editorial board member or a learned society may wish to organise a meeting, sponsorship may be sought and the proceedings published as a supplement.
- The journal editor, editorial board member or learned society may wish to commission a supplement on a particular theme or topic. Again, sponsorship may be sought.
- The BMJPG itself may have proposals for supplements where sponsorship may be necessary.
- A sponsoring organisation, often a pharmaceutical company or a charitable foundation, that wishes to arrange a meeting, the proceedings of which will be published as a supplement.
In all cases, it is vital that the journal’s integrity, independence and academic reputation is not compromised in any way.
For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplements guidelines.
When contacting us regarding a potential supplement, please include as much of the information below as possible.
- Journal in which you would like the supplement published
- Title of supplement and/or meeting on which it is based
- Date of meeting on which it is based
- Proposed table of contents with provisional article titles and proposed authors
- An indication of whether authors have agreed to participate
- Sponsor information including any relevant deadlines
- An indication of the expected length of each paper Guest Editor proposals if appropriate