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Instructions for Authors

For guidelines on policy and submission across our journals, please click on the links below:
Manuscript preparation
Editorial policies
Patient consent forms
Licence forms
Peer review
Submission and production processes

Twitter handles - BJSM encourages the inclusion of Twitter usernames in an author's information to encourage discussion and debate around each article.  

Editorial policy

The British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) aims to highlight clinically-relevant orginal research, editorials 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.

Please note that references will be published online only; references should be provided as a separate data supplement.

Open Access

Authors can choose to have their article published Open Access for a fee of £1,950 (plus applicable VAT).

Colour figure charges

During submission you will be asked whether or not you agree to pay for the colour print publication of your colour images. This service is available to any author publishing within this journal for a fee of £250 per article. Authors can elect to publish online in colour and black and white in print, in which case the appropriate selection should be made upon submission.

Article types and word counts

The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements and contributions and the references.

Please note: Maximum word counts are strictly enforced and manuscripts that exceed these guidelines are usually rejected.

If you are not a native English speaker and would like assistance with your paper there is a professional editing service available.

BMJ's pre-submission checklist

Review articles

Review articles should provide concise in-depth reviews of both established and new areas in sports medicine.

Systematic reviews
Systematic reviews provide level 1 evidence; they form a critical part of the literature. Here we provide some ground rules for SRs of interest in this journal. These guidelines are meant to inform authors but are not absolute.

Is the review of interest to our core readership?
BJSM is a clinical journal so the topic must have relevance and some application to clinical practice. Ask the key question "will the findings change what practitioners do?"

The scope of the question and review
Very specific questions and very broad questions may both have limited appeal. Those that ask and answer 'meaty' questions that reflect clinical issues have greater interest to BJSM readers.

Is the review worth the journal space?
Succinct and focussed reviews are always of more interest. Questions that are topical, novel or controversial that will attract readers and researchers to the journal will be more likely to be accepted.

Do the authors have broad knowledge in the topic area?
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 conclusion that 'more research is needed' does not add value for readers - it is uninformative.

So, after you consider these questions, please send in your SRs. We are open to amendments to these guidelines - contact us with your suggestions.

Please include a summary box summarising in 3-4 bullet points '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.

How to easily create multiple choice questions:         

  • Make the questions a positive single choice with only one correct answer
  • Provide 4-5 answer options for each question
  • The reader should be able to answer the questions need from the material provided in the article
  • Problem orientated questions in form of a short case description are best
  • Make sure that each question focuses only on one problem
  • The answers you offer should be homogeneous: for example 5 diagnostic procedures, 5 therapeutic interventions
  • Avoid options that contain vague terms such as "common," "often", "rare," "sometimes," and absolute statements such as "never" or "always"
  • Avoid "all of the above" of none of the above
  • Please give us an answer key for your questions! The correct answer with a short explanation for each answer
  • Please check all your questions and answers carefully - do this with a colleague.

Word count: up to 4000 words (not including figure/table legends, references).
Peer reviewed by 2 external reviewers.

Original reports

Papers should be a maximum of 3000 words in length (not including abstract, figure/table legends, references).
Abstracts should be a maximum of 250 words in length and structured as follows:

  • Background/Aim
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusions

Please include a summary box summarising in 3-4 bullet points 'what are the new findings'.
Peer reviewed by 2 external reviewers.

Editorials

These are written or commissioned by the editors, but suggestions for possible topics and authors are welcome.
Word count: a maximum of 1000 words (not including figure/table legends, references).
References: up to 10.
Peer reviewed by 2 reviewers who may be external or by the Editorial Board.

Occasional piece / Analysis

Contributions with a medical and sporting interest are welcomed. Papers should be a maximum of 2000 words in length (not including figure/table legends, references).

Education reviews

These are written or commissioned by the editors and should follow the proforma guidelines that will be supplied by the editorial office.
Peer reviewed by 2 external reviewers.

Fillers

We try to make the best use of every page of the printed BJSM, so we use small gaps to publish fillers. Most fillers have the added advantage of entertaining readers and making them think. If the filler refers to an identifiable person we will need written consent to publication from that person or a relative. We welcome articles of up to 400 words (we also like and need much shorter ones) on topics such as:

  • Any other story conveying instruction, pathos or humour.

Head to Head

"Head to Head" provides BJSM readers with both sides of a clinically relevant "hot and topic". The case for each side should be made inside two pages (1400 words (not including figure/table legends, references), with a maxiumum of 10 references). "Head to Head" articles are solicited but authors are also encouraged to submit ideas with 200 word outlines for each side to the editorial office

Preferred reviewers

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.

I-test - Sports medicine radiology/imaging

I-tests aim to provide readers with a succinct imaging-based educational opportunity in a clinical context familiar to a sports medicine readership. The main thrust of the article is the diagnosis of the condition through imaging; however, the clinical presentation should be addressed as well as basic aspects of treatment (surgical or otherwise). The specific role of imaging in the diagnosis and management of the condition should be highlighted.

The "question" part of the I-test should comprise a short description of the clinical presentation (< 200 words) accompanied by up to 3 images; the "answer" should include a discussion of the clinical, imaging and management issues (< 1200 words), supplemented by up to 3 additional images and 8 references.

The "question" and "answer" parts should be submitted online as a single article following the standard formats.

Pictorial essay

Pictorial essays are educational articles that are extensively illustrated (radiographs, ultrasound, CT, MRI, etc) with limited text. The teaching points and educational goals should be given as bullet points at the beginning of the article. Articles must be accompanied by five multiple choice questions, which can be answered by reading the article and supported by the cited references. Video images (eg, AVI files of dynamic ultrasound examinations) are encouraged to enhance the article on-line.

The article should be submitted online as a single article following the standard formats. The multiple choice questions and answers should be submitted online as a supplementary file.

Article format

  • Educational goals/teaching points (bullet points)
  • Introduction < 250 words describing the clinical context of pictorial essay
  • Main text < 1000 words
  • Up to 30 figure parts and supporting legends
  • Up to 15 references

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.

How to easily create multiple choice questions:          

  • Make the questions a positive single choice with only one correct answer
  • Provide 4-5 answer options for each question
  • The reader should be able to answer the questions need from the material provided in the article
  • Problem orientated questions in form of a short case description are best
  • Make sure that each question focuses only on one problem
  • The answers you offer should be homogeneous: for example 5 diagnostic procedures, 5 therapeutic interventions
  • Avoid options that contain vague terms such as "common," "often", "rare," "sometimes," and absolute statements such as "never" or "always"
  • Avoid "all of the above" of none of the above
  • Please give us an answer key for your questions! The correct answer with a short explanation for each answer
  • Please check all your questions and answers carefully - do this with a colleague.

Supplements

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.

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

For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplements guidelines (PDF).

Plagiarism detection

BMJ is a member of CrossCheck by CrossRef and iThenticate. iThenticate is a plagiarism screening service that verifies the originality of content submitted before publication. iThenticate checks submissions against millions of published research papers, and billions of web content. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting www.ithenticate.com.

Free sample

This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of BJSM.
View free sample issue >>

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