Instructions for Authors
For guidelines on policy and submission across our journals, please click on the links below:
Patient consent forms
Submission and production processes
The editors have provided some guidance on how to create a paper with the best chance of being accepted. Read these instructions here.
Emergency Medicine Journal is committed to the publication of high quality research , educational material , and perspective that will be of interest to a broad audience of emergency practitioners, including physicians, nurses and paramedics, within different settings and in different countries. Our scope includes emergency department care, urgent care, pre-hospital care and the interface of emergency medicine with colleagues in other specialties and public policy.
Our priorities are to:
Publish high quality and cutting edge research in clinical care, education, and health services delivery
- Provide context for the reader on the contribution of the research we publish to our overall knowledge base
Provide educational material on practice and teaching that is evidence-based
Provide innovative methods of delivering information including both print, web-based and mobile technology
Provide a forum for discussion and controversy
- Ensure that a fair, independent and respectful peer review system is in place
- Adhere to the highest ethical standards of research conduct.
We welcome submissions of the following types of articles. We receive far more papers than we can publish; thus all papers are reviewed by the Editor in Chief on submission but only some will be sent on for external peer review. Our goal is to give you a decision within one week for submissions we are not sending on for further review.
Each month the editor will select one article (Editor’s Choice) to highlight on our website emj.bmj.com, which is free to download.
Article Types and Word Counts
Please click on the link to see specific descriptions of each article and requirements for submission:
- Original Articles
- Short Reports
- Top Ten
- The View from Here
- Letters and Rapid Responses
- Image Challenge
Please note that we no longer publish case reports; please consider submitting your article to BMJ Case Reports.
The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements and contributions and the references.
Language Polishing Service
If you are not a native English speaker, we recommend that you have your manuscript edited by a native speaker prior to submission. Professional editing will improve the grammar, spelling and punctuation of your manuscript, providing clear language which will mean that reviewers and editors are better able to concentrate on the scientific content of the paper.
Please find further details here.
Full length articles reporting research. Authors of original articles are required to comply with one of the appropriate reporting guidelines endorsed by the EQUATOR Network. More information can be found here.
BMJ requires compliance with the following reporting guidelines; please upload your completed checklist with your submission and label it "Research Checklist". Below is a list of the most commonly used research checklists which should be selected based on the type of study you are reporting. If your study's methodology does not have a suitable research checklist you may submit the paper, but must state in the cover letter why no checklist is attached.
CONSORT statement - Required for all randomised controlled trials
PRISMA statement - Required for all systematic reviews
EVEREST statement - Required for all economic evaluations
STARD statement - Required for all diagnostic research papers
STROBE statement - Required for all observational studies
MOOSE statement - Required for all meta-analyses of observational studies
Guidance and forms are available here.
Abstract: 250 words
Word count: up to 3000 words
Illustrations and tables: up to 6
Additional information (such as data collection tools, surveys, etc) may be placed on the web site as a data supplement. In some cases, we may ask to publish the abstract in print and the full-length article on the website only.
You also have the option to publish the abstract of your paper in your local language. If you wish to do this, please upload a Word copy of your abstract to your manuscript on Scholar One and save it as 'supplementary material'.
We have specific requirements for before and after (pre-post) studies. Please see Goodacre, March 2015 'Uncontrolled before-after studies: discouraged by Cochrane and the EMJ'.
Introduction: The article should include a brief introduction explaining why you chose to do the study – this would include a description of the importance of the topic, a summary of what is already known and why the study was needed, and the goal of the study. Three to four paragraphs should be sufficient.
Methods: Guidelines exist for the reporting of methodology and results for randomized trials, observational studies and retrospective chart review. Please see above or refer to the EQUATOR website for guidelines according to the specific type of study. The Methodology section must include a statement about ethics approval before it can be reviewed. Clinical trials must be previously registered and the registration number given.
Results: Please follow the standardized guidelines (as in Methods) for reporting of results. For statistics, confidence intervals are preferred to p values.
Discussion: The discussion should begin with a brief summary of the findings (no more than one paragraph) followed by the following (in whatever order works best in the flow of the article): how this study is similar or different from prior studies with regards to methods and results; limitations of this study; implications of the results for practice or policy. If you wish to offer a conclusion, this should be done in the last paragraph of the Discussion rather than as a separate subsection.
Tables should be placed in the main text where they are first cited while figures should be provided as supplementary files.
"What this paper adds” Box
Please produce a box offering a thumbnail sketch of what your article adds to the literature, for readers who would like an overview without reading the whole article It should be divided into two short sections, each with 1-3 short sentences.
Section 1: What is already known on this subject
In two or three single sentence bullet points please summarise the state of scientific knowledge on this subject before you did your study and why this study needed to be done. Be clear and specific, not vague.
For example you might say: “Numerous observational studies have suggested that tea drinking may be effective in treating depression, but until now evidence from randomised controlled trials has been lacking/the only randomised controlled trial to date was underpowered/was carried out in an unusual population/did not use internationally accepted outcome measures/used too low a dose of tea.”
Or: “Evidence from trials of tea therapy in depression have given conflicting results. Although Sjogren and Smith conducted a systematic review in 1995, a further 15 trials have been carried out since then…”
Section 2: What this study adds
In one or two single sentence bullet points give a simple answer to the question “What do we now know as a result of this study that we did not know before?” Be brief, succinct, specific, and accurate. For example: “Our study suggests that tea drinking has no overall benefit in depression”.
You might use the last sentence to summarise any implications for practice, research, policy, or public health. For example, your study might have: asked and answered a new question (one whose relevance has only recently become clear) contradicted a belief, dogma, or previous evidence provided a new perspective on something that is already known in general provided evidence of higher methodological quality for a message which is already known.
Short reports of experimental work, new methods, or a preliminary report can be accepted as two page papers; maximum length 750 words including abstract, tables, and legends. The Methodology section should include a statement about ethics approval. Additional information may be placed on the web site as a data supplement.
Word count: up to 750 words
Illustrations and tables: up to 3
References: up to 10
We welcome submissions of both literature reviews (e.g. treatment of the patient with asthma) and systematic reviews which focus on a specific question. In both cases, the Methods section should include a description of the process of literature retrieval and appraisal.
For systematic reviews, PRISMA guidelines should be followed.
Additional information may be placed on the website as a data supplement.
You also have the option to publish the abstract of your paper in your local language. If you wish to do this please upload a Word copy of your abstract to our manuscript on Scholar One and save it as 'supplementary material'.
Word count: up to 3000 words
Illustrations and tables: up to 6 tables
References: up to 40
BestBETs are brief, evidence-based reviews of a specific practice question that are published in a set format which is as follows:
2. Reported by
3. Checked by
4. Clinical scenario
6. 3-part question
7. Search strategy
8. Evidence table, columns on:
- Author, together with county and year of publication
- Patient group
- Study type
- Outcomes measured
- Key results
- Study weaknesses
9. Clinical bottom line: The Clinical Bottom Line is written to answer the question: "Having found and appraised all the evidence available to me and presented in the evidence table, what would I do if faced with the same clinical situation again?"
All Bets should be submitted via the bestbets website www.bestbets.org
We do not accept Bets submitted via ScholarOne.
Word count: up to 1000 words
Illustrations and tables: 1 table or figure
References: up to 25
Top ten articles are expert summaries of research, teaching materials and other resources important to emergency physicians. These articles are commissioned by the editors, but suggestions for topics and authors are welcome.
Editorials are written or commissioned by the editors, but suggestions for possible topics and authors are welcome.
Word count: up to 500 words
Illustrations and tables: at editorial discretion
References: up to 20, ideally 10
Commentaries are commissioned to accompany a paper being published in the EMJ. The main objectives may be: to highlight the importance of the article, to critique the article or the research method, to provide a balancing view if the article is controversial. Authors of commentaries will often be given a brief by the editorial team.
Word count: up to 500 words
Illustrations and tables: 1 table or figure
References: up to 8
This section features first-person accounts of practice, education and health care delivery in unusual settings, such as limited resource countries, disasters, countries in conflict. Additionally, we will consider insightful reflections on the practice and delivery of emergency health care in more traditional settings.
Word count: up to 1000 words
Photo or illustration: 1
Include a 1-line description of the author's background with relevance to the article
References are not necessary
We welcome letters, either about articles published in the EMJ or other important issues. Letters may be submitted in several ways:.
Letters in response to articles published in EMJ are welcome and should be submitted electronically via the website (rather than via Scholar One). Contributors should go to the abstract or full text of the article in question. At the top right corner of each article is a "contents box". Click on the "eLetters: Submit a response to this article" link.
Letters relating to or responding to previously published items in the journal will be shown to those authors, where appropriate, who will be offered the opportunity to reply.
For particularly noteworthy letter exchanges, we may choose to also publish these in the journal after the print publication appears.
2.Letters on items in the news, media reports, new policies etc are welcome and should be submitted via Scholar One. Particularly with regard to controversial subjects or criticism, we will attempt to obtain a letter in response prior to publication.
Authors are encouraged to submit images for our Image Challenge. Images that are selected will be published on-line on the EMJ website and may also be selected for publication in the print journal at a later date.
Images should be educational, not sensational. Our preference is for images that can be obtained on physical exam or with
basic investigations, providing clues to the diagnosis, or indicating the need for advanced imaging. The decision to publish
the image will depend on several factors including:
1) the importance and relevance of the entity to emergency medicine
2) the educational value of the image
3) the quality of the write-up, including important take-home teaching points.
All images must be accompanied by a signed patient consent.
Title: Since the aim of these articles is to stimulate the reader to think about the case, the title should be ambiguous and not give away the final diagnosis immediately.
Each image challenge will be presented in two parts:
- The first part should contain a very brief (maximum 100 words) clinical introduction to the case, followed by the image and a question designed to stimulate the reader to think about what the image shows. There should be four potential answers listed in multiple-choice format with only one correct answer. The legend for the image should not indicate the diagnosis, but should simply describe the nature of the image e.g. “initial ECG.”
- The second part (maximum 200 words) will appear separately from the case and should contain the Answer. The Answer should include a brief description of the key diagnostic features of the image, the outcome, and a teaching point. The Answer should explain why one answer is correct and the others are not. If the image is an ecg, x-ray or ultrasound, please provide a second image, identical to the first, with annotations, such as arrows. If pointing out the important finding, you may also provide a second image to enhance the explanation, e.g. an x-ray result of a physical finding.
The quality of the image must be at least 300dpi and in .tif, .jpeg, .gif or .eps format. Videos for online presentation are also welcomed and should be in .mov, .avi, or .mpeg format.
Number of authors: 3 maximum
Word count: up to 300 words
References: up to 3
For other articles, 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. There is no additional charge for colour online.
The BMJ Publishing Group journals will 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 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.
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 date 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).
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.
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