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Insert catchy title here: engaging readers and improving health with stylish academic editorials
  1. Stuart J Warden1,
  2. Nicol van Dyk2
  1. 1 Department of Physical Therapy, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  2. 2 Rehabilitation, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stuart J Warden, Department of Physical Therapy, Indiana University, Indianapolis IN 46202, USA; stwarden{at}

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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Analogous to this familiar philosophical thought experiment, an editorial needs to be sensed (ie, read) to provoke a reaction—to have impact. To paraphrase the late Wall Street Journal editor Robert Bartley, editorials deliver the science behind ideas, while other journal sections deliver the science behind the experiments and analyses.1 We believe editorials should: (1) stimulate discussion around a specific topic or new study (eg, recent editorials about acute:chronic workload ratios2 3), (2) propose new theories or challenge the existing dogma (eg, whether sports medicine screening adds any value4 5) or (3) deliver a call to action (eg, addressing the myth that obesity is caused by physical inactivity as opposed to a bad diet6). Here, we provide tips for writing an editorial for the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) and encourage your input on this ‘meta’ discussion.

Start with ‘why’

Following the teachings of Sinek,7 editorials need to get straight to the point by starting with why. Why write the editorial? What is the motivation? The opening statement is critical to setting the scene. It may take the form of the principal finding/s from the study/ies being …

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  • Twitter @StuartJWarden @NicolvanDyk

  • Contributors SJW wrote the initial drafts. NvD edited and added to the drafts. Both authors approved the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.