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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 employees or where BMJ has agreed CC BY applies. For US Federal Government officers or employees acting as part of their official duties, the terms are as stated in accordance with our licence terms. Authors or their employers retain copyright. Open access articles can be reused under the terms of the relevant Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content; please refer to the British Journal of Sports Medicine Author Licence for the applicable Creative Commons licences.
More information on copyright and authors’ rights.
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.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine adheres to BMJ’s Tier 2 data policy. We strongly encourage that data generated by your research that supports your article be made available as soon as possible, wherever legally and ethically possible. We also require data from clinical trials to be made available upon reasonable request. To adhere to ICMJE guidelines, we require that a data sharing plan must be included with trial registration for clinical trials that begin enrolling participants on or after 1st January 2019. Changes to the plan must be noted in the Data Availability Statement and updated in the registry record. All research articles must contain a Data Availability Statement. For more information and FAQs, please see BMJ’s full Data Sharing Policy page.
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.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine mandates ORCID iDs for the submitting author at the time of article submission; co-authors and reviewers are strongly encouraged to also connect their ScholarOne accounts to ORCID. We strongly believe that the increased use and integration of ORCID iDs will be beneficial for the whole research community.
Please find more information about ORCID and BMJ’s policy on our Author Hub.
Reporting patient and public involvement in research
BMJ encourages active patient and public involvement in clinical research as part of its patient and public partnership strategy. To support co-production of research we request that authors provide a Patient and Public Involvement statement in the methods section of their papers, under the subheading ‘Patient and public involvement’.
We appreciate that patient and public involvement is relatively new and may not be feasible or appropriate for all papers. We therefore continue to consider papers where patients were not involved.
The Patient and Public Involvement statement should provide a brief response to the following questions, tailored as appropriate for the study design reported (please find example statements here):
- At what stage in the research process were patients/the public first involved in the research and how?
- How were the research question(s) and outcome measures developed and informed by their priorities, experience, and preferences?
- How were patients/the public involved in the design of this study?
- How were they involved in the recruitment to and conduct of the study?
- Were they asked to assess the burden of the intervention and time required to participate in the research?
- How were (or will) they be involved in your plans to disseminate the study results to participants and relevant wider patient communities (e.g. by choosing what information/results to share, when, and in what format)?
If patients were not involved please state this.
In addition to considering the points above we advise authors to look at guidance for best reporting of patient and public involvement as set out in the GRIPP2 reporting checklist.
If the Patient and Public Involvement statement is missing in the submitted manuscript we will request that authors provide it.
Article processing charges
During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 2,300 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 350 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 will find information on writing and formatting your research through to the peer review process. You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services.
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)
- Please consider whether the topics warrants a systematic review or whether a scoping review would be more appropriate. See here for guidance.
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 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.
Following the lead of The BMJ and its patient partnership strategy, BJSM is encouraging active patient involvement in setting the research agenda. As such, we require authors of Research Articles to add a Patient and Public Involvement statement in the Methods section. Please see more details above.
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” and “how might it impact on clinical practice in the future”.
Statements: have you included the necessary statements relating to contributorship, competing interests and funding, data sharing, ethical approval and patient involvement?
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 a maximum of 8 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.
These are written or commissioned by the editors and should follow the general proforma guidelines below.
Guidelines for clinical topics:
- Title: focused area
- Background: introductory paragraph addressing the relevance of the topic, up to 5 sentences
- Short case example: 2-3 sentences
- Clinical question: the focus of the piece
- Clinical features: important elements of the history and physical exam to address. This section may address recommended adjunct tests with a concise explanation of
their diagnostic value
- Management: summary and synthesis from resources. This should include evidence-based treatment options including key clinical pearls (and may include anecdotal
suggestions on items to observe or examination maneuvers not always addressed in research or textbooks- “pearls”)
- Figure: allows additional information not in text or emphasizes a key point
- Practical tips: take-away clinical pearls (limit to 5)
Word count: up to 800 words
Illustrations and tables: 1 table and/or 1 figure
References: up to 8
PhD Academy Award
- 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.
- 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 preferably capturing the participants in one of the PhD studies. For example a photograph of participants undergoing testing/evaluation/exercise intervention. Alternatively, any photo of the PhD candidate i.e. you or a creative illustration relevant to your PhD is also acceptable
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 2019/20 awards, the author must have successfully defended his/her PhD between June 2019 and May 2020).
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)
Image: 1 infographic, portrait orientation preferred
Image word count: up to 250 words
Accompanying text: up to 400 words
References: Up to 5
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
Mobile app user guide
We have decided to publish this article type on BJSM Blog post from now on.
Regarding the blog, it is a popular way of sharing information and blog posts are designed to stay on the website. If you agree to consider a blog post, please send a Word version of your paper to email@example.com and copy firstname.lastname@example.org. Such submissions should follow this format:
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