Editorial policy

BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine adheres to the highest standards concerning its editorial policies on publication ethics and scientific misconduct. The journal follows guidance produced by bodies that include the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) the Council of Science Editors and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). To view all BMJ Journal policies please refer to the BMJ Author Hub policies page , including information about our Editors’ roles and responsibilities. 

Research ethics and consent

Authors are required to submit a statement that their study obtained ethics approval (or a statement that it was not required and why) and that participants gave informed consent. Our Editors will consider whether the work is morally acceptable as determined by the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki. In addition to this an article that contains personal medical information about an identifiable living individual requires patients explicit consent (in the format of a signed BMJ patient consent form) before we will publish it. Please find further details on BMJ research ethics policies (human participants and animals) and consent for publication; including a link to the downloadable consent form.

Competing interests

To make the best decision on how to deal with a manuscript, BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine needs to know about any competing interests authors may have; this includes any commercial, financial or non financial associations that may be relevant to the submitted article. Authors must download and complete a copy of the ICMJE Conflict of Interest disclosure form. In addition to this BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine ensures that all advertising and sponsorship associated with the journal does not influence editorial decisions, is immediately distinguishable from editorial content and meets all other BMJ guidelines. Please find more information about competing interests and a link to the form.

Publication misconduct

We take seriously all possible misconduct. If an Editor, author or reader has concerns that a submitted article describes something that might be considered to constitute misconduct in research, publication or professional behaviour they should forward their concerns to the journal. The publisher will deal with allegations appropriately following ICMJE and COPE guidelines. Corrections and retractions are considered where an article has already been published; corrections, expressions of concern or a retraction notices will be published as soon as possible in line with the BMJ correction and retraction policy.

Transitioning to a greener future

From January 2022, BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine will publish solely online. This change brings significant climate and environmental benefits. Transitioning to online-only means we can completely eliminate the substantial use of energy, water and chemicals that is involved in the complex production and distribution process of a print journal.

Most of our readers already use our website for most of their needs–the website after all offers readers a far richer experience with more content overall. We hope that this change does not cause too much inconvenience for our readers as we move towards a greener future for BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine.

Plan S compliance

BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine is a Plan S compliant Transformative Journal. Transformative Journals are one of the compliance routes offered by cOAlition S funders, such as Wellcome, WHO and UKRI.

Find out more about Transformative Journals and Plan S compliance on our Author Hub.

Copyright and authors rights

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 BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine Author Licence for the applicable Creative Commons licences. More information on copyright and authors’ rights.

When publishing in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, authors choose between three licence types – exclusive licence granted to BMJ, 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 report work that has 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.

Conflicts of interest

BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine adheres to the BMJ Journal policies on competing interests. We also ensure that our Editorial Board must meet all three points within the BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine policy:

  1. Honoraria for drug-funded activities is not allowed. But, receipt of reasonable expenses and travel cost to attend meetings is OK.
  2. Invitations to speak at drug company events should be considered carefully to ensure that the meeting is a “proper” scientific meeting. If not, they should not be accepted, as per point 1 any honoraria should be declined.
  3. It is generally not appropriate for editorial board members to have shares in tobacco, alcohol, drug or biotechnology companies, as these may be directly or indirectly affected by editorial decisions.

Provenance and peer review

BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine uses single blind peer review (the names of the reviewers are unknown to the author) for all content; usually two external reviewer reports are obtained before an Original research or Review article is accepted for publication. 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. If you believe that your article has been rejected unfairly please submit an appeal by contacting the Editorial office. 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; 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.

We welcome reader responses, questions and comments to published content; these should be submitted electronically via the journals website. Please find further details on how to publish a response and the terms and requirements.

Plagarism checks

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

Data sharing

BMJ Evidence-Based 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.

The Data Availability Statement and the registry record should note any changes to the plan. All research articles must contain a Data Availability Statement. For more information and FAQs, please see BMJ’s full Data Sharing Policy page.

Patient and public partnership

We consider that patient and public involvement in healthcare is a core component of EBM and the BMJ encourages active patient and public involvement in clinical research as part of its patient and public partnership strategy. To support the 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:

    • 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 the 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 or members of the public were not involved, please add the reason(s) written in your own words (e.g.) funding or training restrictions, access to software, COVID etc.; also, it may be that speaking to patients inspired this review if this was the case it is fine to add that although there was no direct PPI in this paper we did speak to patients about the study and we asked a member of the public to read our manuscript after submission.

For original research or education papers, please place the PPI declaration at the end of the methods. For other articles, we suggest adding a PPI statement before the results and the conclusion. If the Patient and Public Involvement statement is missing in the submitted manuscript, we will request that the authors provide it.

In addition to considering the points above, we advise authors to look at the guidance for best reporting of patient and public involvement as set out in the GRIPP2 reporting checklist.

The journal is also committed to patient and public involvement in the editorial process, including peer review and the generation of patient-authored contents.


BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine mandates ORCID iDs for the submitting author at the time of article submission; we encourage co-authors and reviewers 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 BMJ’s policy on ORCID on our Author Hub.

Article transfer service

BMJ is 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. If authors agree to transfer their manuscript, all versions, supplementary files and peer reviewer comments are automatically transferred; there is no need to resubmit or reformat.

Authors who submit to the BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine and are rejected will be offered the option of transferring to another BMJ Journal, such as BMJ Open.

Please note that the article transfer service does not guarantee acceptance but you should receive a quicker initial decision on your manuscript.

Contact the Product Owner of BMJ’s Article Transfer Service for more information or assistance.

Article Processing Charges

During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for £2,300 APC (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors) in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine. Publishing open access has multiple benefits including wider reach, faster impact and increased citation and usage. Please note that there are no submission or page charges.

Find out if you are eligible for institutional funding

A number of institutions have open access agreements with BMJ which can either cover the whole cost of open access publishing for authors at participating institutions or can allow authors to receive a discount off the APC.

Visit BMJ’s open access agreements page to find out whether your institution is a member and what discounts you may be entitled to.
For more information on publishing open access with BMJ visit our Author Hub.

Rapid responses

A rapid response is a moderated but not peer reviewed online response to a published article in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine; it will not receive a DOI and will not be indexed. Find out more about responses and how to submit a response.

Submission guidelines for authors

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 and promoting your paper. We encourage authors to ensure that research articles are written in accordance with the relevant research reporting guideline.

You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services.

I. Evidence:

Original research and Evidence synthesis

Research and evidence synthesis undergo external review, letters may undergo external and internal peer review.

II. Tools in EBM:

EBM learning
Research methods and reporting

These articles undergo external peer review and may also be subject to internal peer review.

III. Debate and analysis

EBM opinion and debate
EBM analysis

These articles undergo external peer review and may also be subject to internal peer review.

IV. BMJ EBM Spotlight:


Blog articles can be viewed on BMJ EBM Spotlight.

V. Supplements:


Original research and Evidence synthesis

BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine publishes:

1. Original research: reports results of studies about the practice of evidence-based medicine (e.g. of the impact of implementing EBM practices such as providing evidence at the point of care or of using evidence to make health decisions). This section also covers original meta-epidemiological or research-on-research papers focusing on methodological aspects highly relevant to EBM practitioners. Research on methods targeting strictly to researchers is outside the scope of this journal.

2. Evidence synthesis: encompasses a broad range of review types that systematically synthesise evidence from various sources to inform healthcare decisions. This article is evolving beyond the conventional “what works” systematic review to high-quality reviews that identify clinical and methodology gaps, inform future research, inform policy and develop robust, practical interventions for practice. Evidence syntheses have clear focussed questions, use systematic methods to search, select, appraise and synthesise the included evidence. Evidence synthesis may include:

      • Scoping reviews
      • Systematic reviews (interventions, diagnostic, prognosis, prevalence, clinical study reports, individual participant data, economic evaluations)
      • Living systematic reviews and network meta-analysis
      • Other types of systematic reviews (case studies/case reports, n-of-one studies, etc.)
      • Qualitative evidence synthesis and realist reviews
      • Umbrella reviews / Overviews
      • Evidence (gap) maps
    • Narrative reviews: we do not accept unsolicited submissions of these types of articles.
      Rapid reviews: a need to justify the need for rapid methods (i.e. simplified methods). Systematic reviews done rapidly using automated or accelerated methods are not included in this category.

      Word count: we recommend your article does not exceed 4,000 words, with up to five figures and tables. This is flexible, but exceeding this will impact the paper’s readability. We require that you upload your figures as separate files rather than embedding them in the article. Note that BMJ EBM publishes only the abstract and summary box in the print issue; we publish the full article online.

      Articles should adopt the following format and should also be written in accordance with the relevant research reporting guideline (e.g. CONSORT for clinical trials, PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta-analyses, abstracts can be modified accordingly):

Article structure

1. Title: this should include the research question and the study design or review type
2. Structured abstract: Abstracts should be 250- 300 words long: you may need up to 400 words, however, for a CONSORT or PRISMA style abstract. Abstracts should include the following headings, but they may be modified for abstracts of clinical trials or systematic reviews and meta-analyses according to the requirements on the the CONSORT extension for abstracts and the PRISMA extension for abstracts, respectively.

        • Objectives – The main aim of the study and central hypothesis/research question can include background information as applicable
        • Design – e.g. prospective, randomised, blinded, case-control, etc
        • Setting – e.g. primary, secondary; number of participating centres (generalised)
        • Participants – numbers entering and completing the study, sex, and ethnic group if appropriate. Give clear definitions of selection, entry and exclusion criteria.
        • Interventions – what, how, when and for how long (delete if no interventions)
        • Main outcome measures – planned (i.e. in the protocol) and measured (if different, explain why)
        • Public and Patient Involvement statement – How were patients or members of the public involved in your article?
        • Results – main results with (for quantitative studies) 95% confidence intervals and, where appropriate, the exact level of statistical significance and the number needed to treat/harm. Whenever possible, state absolute rather than relative risks.
        • Conclusions – primary conclusions and their implications suggest areas for further research if appropriate. Do not go beyond the data in the article.
        • Trial registration/ Review protocol – registry and number
        • Information about the ethical aspects and IRB approval:The editor may require supporting documentation.

3. Summary box: include the following snapshot of what your article adds to the literature, all 1-3 short bullet points:

  • What is already known about this subject?
  • What are the new findings?
  • How might it impact clinical practice in the foreseeable future?

4. Introduction: a brief introduction that focuses on the research question
5. Methods
6. Results
7. Discussion: a structured discussion that includes: a statement of principal findings, strengths and weaknesses of the study and in relation to other studies, the meaning of the study (explanations and implications), unanswered questions and future research. The key projections and generalisability of the results.

Following the lead of The BMJ and its patient partnership strategy, our journal encourages active patient involvement in setting the research agenda. As such, from May 2021, we require authors of original research to add a Patient and Public Involvement statement in the Methods section. Please see more details above for our patient and partnership strategy.


Letters may refer to a recent commentary or article published in EBM or relevant to evidence-based medicine practice, teaching or methodology.

Word count: up to 400
Abstract: none
Tables/illustrations: up to 2
References: up to 5

EBM learning

EBM learning articles focus on topic-related concepts and skills fundamental to the teaching and practise of evidence-based medicine and healthcare. These would include plain-language explanations of topics surrounding the key steps of EBM (ask, acquire, appraise, apply, assess), including, but not limited to: information retrieval, statistics and clinical epidemiology, shared decision making, among others. This section also covers EBM teaching strategies and experiences, but research papers about education should be submitted as “original research”.

Word count: up to 1,500
Abstract:  none
Tables/illustrations: up to 3
References: up to 20

Research methods and reporting

Research methods and reporting articles describe innovative research and educational methodologies relevant to evidence-based medicine. Research on research papers should be submitted as “original investigation”.

Word count: up to 2,500
Abstract:  up to 250 words, unstructured
Tables/illustrations: up to 3
References: up to 50


All editorials published in BMJ-EBM are commissioned. We do not accept unsolicited articles in this section.

Word count: up to 1,000
Abstract: none
Tables/illustrations: none
References: up to 20

EBM opinion and debate

EBM opinion and debate articles express a highly readable and compelling perspective or opinion on current issues related to evidence-based medicine, health care and research. The best opinion pieces make a single robust, novel, and well-argued point. These articles do not include primary data nor evidence synthesis.

Word count: up to 1,000
Abstract: none
Tables/illustrations: up to 2
References: up to 10

EBM analysis

Analysis articles debate and discuss topical issues which address clinical practice, research and policy. We are looking for pieces taking a critical approach to assessing evidence (not cherry-picked) and use empirical data to analyse its impact on individuals or populations, providing a worthwhile conclusion. It has academic heft yet is a journalistic read. ‘Academic heft’ means the argument is evidence-based and supported by data. ‘Journalistic read’ means the article is engaging (not dry nor dull; written in clear language and avoiding technical jargon; and pitched to our international audience of doctors of all specialities, academics, patients and consumers, and policymakers). These articles do not include primary data nor evidence synthesis.

Word count: up to 2,000
Abstract: none
Tables/illustrations: up to 3
References: up to 30

BMJ EBM Spotlight Blog

We run a dedicated blog site that analyses and discusses developments in evidence-based medicine from our authors. The journal commissions these blog entries once their article is accepted.


BMJ journals are willing to consider publishing supplements to regular issues that do not compromise he journal’s integrity, independence and academic reputation, proposals can include:

  • Conference scientific committees to publish conference abstracts. Abstract submissions are selected by the host conference scientific committee.
  • The journal editor, an editorial board member or a learned society may wish to organise a meeting and publish the proceedings as a sponsored supplement.
  • The journal editor, editorial board member or learned society may wish to commission a sponsored supplement on a particular theme or topic.
  • BMJ 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 supplement 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