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. More information on copyright and authors' rights. 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.
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.
When publishing in British Journal of Sports Medicine, authors choose between three licence types – exclusive licence granted to BM, CC-BY-NC and CC-BY (Creative Commons open access licences require payment of an article processing charge). As an author you may wish to post your article in an institutional or subject repository, or on a scientific social sharing network. You may also link your published article to your preprint (if applicable). What you can do with your article, without seeking permission, depends on the licence you have chosen and the version of your article. Please refer to the BMJ author self archiving and permissions policies page for more information.
Preprints foster openness, accessibility and collaboration by allowing authors to make their findings immediately available to the research community and receive feedback on an article before it is submitted to a journal for formal publication. BMJ fully supports and encourages the archiving of preprints in any recognised, not-for-profit server such as medRxiv. BMJ does not consider the posting of an article in a dedicated preprint repository to be prior publication.
Preprints are reports of work that have not been peer-reviewed; Preprints should therefore not be used to guide clinical practice, health-related behaviour or health policy. For more information, please refer to our Preprint policy page.
BMJ and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine are committed to ensuring that all good quality research is published. Our article transfer service helps authors find the best journal for their research while providing an easy and smooth publication process. As part of this service, once authors agree to transfer their manuscript all versions, supplementary files and peer reviewer comments are automatically transferred; without the need to resubmit or reformat. Authors who submit to the British Journal of Sports Medicine and are rejected will be offered the option of transferring to BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine is the open access companion journal to the British Journal of Sports Medicine. It is indexed by PubMed Central, DOAJ, Google Scholar and Scopus, and covers all aspects of sport and exercise medicine from physiology to return to play. The journal publishes original articles considered by peer reviewers to be coherent and technically sound, ensuring that the latest research is disseminated rapidly to a global audience. Find out more about BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine.
Please note that the article transfer service does not guarantee acceptance but you should receive a quicker initial decision on your manuscript. Contact the Transfer Editor at email@example.com
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. 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.
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.
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.
BJSM is committed to the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in research and publications. To this end, we encourage researchers to consider how EDI principles are integrated into their study design, data collection and interpretation, constraints on generalizability, and formation of investigative and author teams. To support EDI in research, authors must include an EDI statement in the methods section of their papers, under the subheading ‘Equity, diversity, and inclusion statement’. The EDI statement should provide a brief response to the following areas, tailored as appropriate for the study design, reporting, and author team (please find example statements here):
- Describe whether and how diversity in your study population was planned and recruited. For instance, how did the study design address balance and diversity in the recruitment of participants based on gender, race/ethnicity/culture, socioeconomic level, and representation from marginalized* groups?
- Describe whether and how you addressed diversity in the investigator and author team. For instance, is the author team gender balanced and does it include junior researchers, individuals from marginalized backgrounds, and perspectives from multiple disciplines? Please note: It is not necessary to disclose individual backgrounds or identities. Authors should only report on areas they are comfortable in disclosing.
- Describe whether and how your data collection methods were planned to allow for inclusivity. For instance, did the study account for the participants’ accessibility needs, regional geographic differences, education, and socioeconomic levels?
- Describe whether and how your study considered equity in the analysis and interpretation of results. For instance, did the study consider gendered and racialized inequities, socioeconomic disadvantage, and inequities in marginalized communities?
In addition to the points above, we advise authors to: 1) ensure the title specifies the population described and does not generalize, 2) provide detailed participant demographics within the Results, and 3) include a discussion of the generalizability and limitations of the sample population within the Discussion, under a subheading ‘Limitations’. If the EDI statement is missing in the submitted manuscript, we will request the authors provide it. *Marginalized groups include:
- Black, Indigenous, and people of colour
- People from the LGBTQIA2S+ community
- People with disabilities
- People with complex/chronic illnesses
- People from the Global South or Far North
- People from low- or middle-income countries or contexts
- People from stateless communities
- People displaced from or living in conflict zones
During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 3,600 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). Publishing open access has multiple benefits including wider reach, faster impact and increased citation and usage. Authors can also choose to publish their article in colour for the print edition - instead of the default option of black and white - for 400 GBP. There are no submission, page or online-only colour figure charges.
If authors choose to publish their article open access, an APC waiver may be available. Before applying for an APC waiver please consider: (1) Does your institution have an open access agreement with BMJ? If it does, then this may cover all or part of the APC for your article. Check BMJ’s open access agreements page to find out whether your institution is a member and what discounts you may be entitled to. (2) Have you received funding from a funder with an open access mandate or policy that covers paying APCs? If so, BMJ expects that the APC will be paid in full. If neither (1) nor (2) above apply then consider (3) Are all the authors of your article based in low-income countries*? If so, you are eligible to apply for a full or partial waiver from BMJ.
Visit our author hub to learn more about our waivers policy and how to request one. Please note that regardless of the funding situation, authors can still choose to publish with us at no cost, and articles will be made available to our subscribers. *This list is reviewed annually and is based upon HINARI Core Offer Groups A and B, and the World Bank Country and Lending Groups.
A rapid response is a moderated but not peer reviewed online response to a published article in British Journal of Sports Medicine; it will not receive a DOI and will not be indexed. Find out more about responses and how to submit a response.
Articles submitted to British Journal of Sports Medicine are subject to peer review. In most instances we aim for two external opinions (and often additional statistical assessment) for reasons of fairness and science. The journal is not prepared to compromise on this stance. The journal operates single anonymised peer review whereby the names of the reviewers are hidden from the author; Manuscripts authored by a member of a journal’s editorial team are independently peer reviewed; an editor will have no input or influence on the peer review process or publication decision for their own article. For more information on what to expect during the peer review process please refer to BMJ Author Hub – the peer review process. BMJ requests that all reviewers adhere to a set of basic principles and standards during the peer-review process in research publication; these are based on the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. Please refer to our peer review terms and conditions policy page.
BMJ is committed to transparency. Every article we publish includes a description of its provenance (commissioned or not commissioned) and whether it was internally or externally peer reviewed. During the submission process, authors must not suggest reviewers who are current or recent colleagues of themselves or their co-authors. For more information about suggesting reviewers please visit our Author Hub. Plagiarism is the appropriation of the language, ideas or thoughts of another without crediting their true source and representation of them as one’s own original work. 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. BMJ runs manuscripts through iThenticate during the peer review process. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting www.ithenticate.com.
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.
Systematic review articles should provide in-depth reviews (in the order of 4000-4500 words) of both established and new areas in sports and exercise medicine. If you feel your review warrants additional length, please 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 is required and should accompany the submission as supplemental material.
- All systematic reviews (with or without meta-analysis) should address all items recommended in the PRISMA statement.
- Please consider the PERSiST guidance (implementing PRISMA in Exercise, Rehabilitation, Sport medicine and SporTs science) available at https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2021/10/08/bjsports-2021-103987 and reference in the methods: Ardern CL, Büttner F, Andrade R, et al. Implementing the 27 PRISMA 2020 Statement items for systematic reviews in the sport and exercise medicine, musculoskeletal rehabilitation and sports science fields: the PERSiST (implementing Prisma in Exercise, Rehabilitation, Sport medicine and SporTs science) guidance. Br J Sports Med. Published Online First: 08 October 2021. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2021-103987
- All titles should include 'a Systematic Review' or ‘a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis’. A structured Abstract should be added to the Main Document, including headings Objective, Design, Data sources, Eligibility criteria for selecting studies, Results and Conclusion.
- Please include a summary box summarising in 3-4 clear and specific bullet points ‘What is already known’ and 'What are the new findings'.
- Systematic review registration: please provide the registry and number (if registered) in the methods section.
- Please consider whether the topic warrants a systematic review or whether a scoping review would be more appropriate. See here for guidance.space
Narrative review articles should provide in-depth reviews (in the order of 4000-4500 words) of both established and new areas in sports and exercise medicine. If you feel your review warrants additional length, please consult the editorial office and/or mention the reason in your Cover letter.
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. The methods for the evidence review and search strategy should be presented after the introduction. 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 unstructured) Tables/illustrations: Maximum 6 tables and/or figures References: up to 80
Please see the BJSM Author Guidelines for Consensus Statements. Greater word count and/or references can be discussed with the Editor.
Word count: up to 5000 words Abstract: up to 250 words Tables/illustrations: Maximum 8 tables and/or figures References: up to 100
Original research should not exceed 3000 words; if you believe your study warrants additional length, please consult the editorial office and/or mention the reason in your Cover letter. 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.). Research reviews that systematically synthesise evidence (e.g. Systematic reviews, Meta-analysis, Scoping reviews, Mixed methods reviews, etc) should be submitted as Systematic reviews. Main body of the paper: We encourage short introductions (i.e. as short as 3 paragraphs) that summarize key background, address the study rationale (“Why we did it”), and state the purpose of the study. We encourage the use of subheadings in the methods, results and discussion. All discussions should include a section on “Clinical Implications” (or Research/Policy Implications if more appropriate) and a “Limitations” section. 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. As a commitment to the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in research and publications, BJSM is encouraging researchers to consider how EDI principles are integrated into their study and research teams. As such, we require authors of Research Articles to add an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion statement in the Methods section. Please see more details above. Authors are encouraged to complete the CHecklist for statistical Assessment of Medical Papers (CHAMP) found in the supplementary materials, and submit the Checklist as a research checklist file. Authors of randomised controlled trials are required to submit separate TIDieR (Template for Intervention Description and replication) Checklists for all intervention components that are delivered within a study, including interventions targeted at actors involved in implementation (e.g. parents, partners, teachers, colleagues, peers). TiDieR Checklists should be submitted as research checklist file. The TiDieR Checklist is available at https://www.equator-network.org/reporting-guidelines/tidier/ to download as a PDF and a Word file. For studies that report exercise interventions, the Consensus on Exercise Reporting Template (CERT) Checklist can also be submitted. The CERT Elaboration and Explanation Statement is available here.
Word count: up to 3000 words Abstract: up to 250 words and structured including the headings Objectives, Methods, Results and Conclusion References: up to 50 Tables/illustrations: up to 6 tables and/or figures Statements: have you included the necessary statements relating to contributorship, competing interests and funding, data sharing, ethical approval, patient involvement and EDI? Statistics: Please review that your statistical analysis and presentation are consistent with the CHAMP statement found in the supplementary materials at https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/55/18/1009.long and reference in the methods: Mansournia MA, Collins GS, Nielsen RO, et al. A CHecklist for statistical Assessment of Medical Papers (the CHAMP statement): explanation and elaboration. Br J Sports Med. 2021;55(18):1009-1017 Summary Box: Please include the key messages of your article after your abstract using the following headings. This section should be no more than 3-5 sentences and should be distinct from the abstract; be succinct, specific and accurate.
- What is already known on this topic - summarise the state of scientific knowledge on this subject before you did your study and why this study needed to be done
- What this study adds - summarise what we now know as a result of this study that we did not know before
- How this study might affect research, practice or policy - summarise the implications of this study
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. Please note unpublished, original research data is not permitted.
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.
A Service spotlight paper may be submitted independently or commissioned by the Editorial Board. The piece aims to highlight an individual or group (i.e. clinicians, mentors, or athletes/teams) whose work has made a valuable contribution to a community through service and volunteerism to advance safe sport, illness or injury prevention, or physical activity for a healthier world. We particularly wish to highlight work that has occurred in vulnerable populations or underrepresented communities in need. The submission should include some or all of the following aspects:
- The background story of the individual or group being recognised
- The purpose of the service or volunteerism
- Challenges faced by both the community and the individual/group being recognised
- The impact of the work on the community (i.e. safer sport, healthier world)
- How the work was innovative, educational or translated knowledge successfully
- Reflections or lessons learned
- Plans to make the project sustainable
- Contacts or resources for more information about the service or program
Word count: up to 800 words Illustrations and tables: 1 table or 1 figure/photo References (if appropriate): up to 8
This series focuses on the stories of health and performance optimization of people engaging in sport, exercise, and physical activity – as told by the people themselves. Our intention is to have Patient Voices reflect the global community across the lifespan, from all types of activity and levels of participation. We encourage submissions from all people engaging in sport, exercise, and physical activity, especially from members of communities that are not widely represented in sport and exercise medicine literature. Please refer to our Author Instructions and Guiding Questions for more information. Please direct submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: no abstract is required Word limit: 1000 words Illustrations and tables: 1 table or 1 figure/photo References: up to 8
Please use images that represent diverse identities – this includes people of different races, gender identities, abilities, and body types. Please refer to our publishing resources including our EDI guiding document for more information. Please note unpublished, original research data is not permitted.
Image: 1 infographic, portrait orientation preferred Image word count: up to 250 words Accompanying text: up to 400 words References: Up to 5 Abstract: None
Objectives: To gather the World’s leading PhD graduates to share their research related to sports and exercise medicine with the BJSM community. To promote the impact and contribution that graduate student research can have on sports and exercise medicine clinical practice. Format: 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?
Word count: up to 800 words Illustration: 1 figure. The figure can be related to study data, a photograph capturing the participants in the study undergoing testing/evaluation/exercise intervention, or a creative illustration relevant to your PhD. References: up to 8 Letter: The PhD supervisor should supply a brief letter confirming their support of this submission for a PhD Academy Award. The letter should be submitted as a supplementary file. Note: Accepted PhD Academy Awards will be invited to submit a 2 minute video summary of their project. This is requirement to be considered for the end of year ‘People’s Choice Award’.
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.
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
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