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 deliver
  • 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 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. The editors have provided some guidance on how to create a paper with the best chance of being accepted, read them here.

Editorial policy

Emergency Medicine Journal 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.

Plan S compliance

Emergency Medicine Journal 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 Emergency Medicine Journal Author Licence for the applicable Creative Commons licences”.

When publishing in Emergency Medicine Journal, 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 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.

Reporting guidelines

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.

Required for all randomised controlled trials

Required for all systematic reviews

Required for all economic evaluations

Required for all diagnostic research papers

Required for all quality improvement studies

Required for all observational studies

Required for all meta-analyses of observational studies

Required for all qualitative studies

Data sharing

Emergency Medicine Journal 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.

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.


Emergency Medicine Journal 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.

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 Emergency Medicine Journal 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 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.

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 Emergency Medicine Journal; it will not receive a DOI and will not be indexed. Find out more about responses and how to submit a response.

Submission guidelines

Please review the below article type specifications including the required article lengths, illustrations, table limits and reference counts. For all submissions, the word count should be included on the cover page. 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.

Original research

Full length articles reporting research. Authors of original research are required to comply with one of the appropriate reporting guidelines endorsed by the EQUATOR Network. A completed guideline checklist must be included with the submission.

All clinical trials require prospective registration.

Following the lead of The BMJ and its patient partnership strategy, The EMJ 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. See more details above.

Abstract: 300 words
Word count: up to 3000 words
Illustrations and tables: up to 6
References: 30

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‘.


Studies presenting research require an abstract. EMJ uses a structured abstract with four sections: Background, Methods, Results, Conclusion. Please see the guidance for each section below:

  • The Background section should briefly describe the issue at hand (or previous work) and give the objective or hypothesis of the study.
  • Methods should include study design, dates and location of study, inclusion criteria, intervention (or data collected), primary outcome(s) of interest and brief summary of statistical testing.
  • Results should include number of participants eligible (or screened) and number included, and primary results. Include results of statistical tests (confidence intervals are preferred to p values).
  •  Conclusion – Should include a brief summary of the findings (without repeating results) and their implications.

**Abstracts of randomized controlled studies must also follow the CONSORT abstract guidelines.

Recommended sections:


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.


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.


Please follow the standardized guidelines (as in Methods) for reporting of results. For statistics, confidence intervals are preferred to p values.


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.

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 report

Short reports of experimental work, new methods, or a preliminary report can be accepted as two page papers with a maximum length of 1,000 words not 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. An abstract and a key messages box are required.

Word count: up to 1,000 words not including abstract, tables, figures or references
Abstract: up to 250 words
Illustrations and tables: up to 3
References: up to 10

“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.

Practice review

Practice reviews are narrative reviews that discuss management of a particular symptom, or disease (e.g. management of acute asthma exacerbation, or management of the LVAD patient). The paper should be written for an audience of practicing emergency physicians, where the goal is to update them on developments in the field, recommended practice changes, and discuss controversies. Authors should include a description of the literature, although exact search terms are not required. An exhaustive bibliography is not required; rather we prefer the article highlight those papers that are pivotal in directing practice. The article should begin with an unstructured abstract summarizing the major points to be covered.

At least one of the co-authors of a practice review should be considered an expert in the field, based on peer-review publications, national or international lectures, authoring a textbook chapter or book, or equivalent activities. The expert need not be first author but should have reviewed the paper and had significant input.

Word count: up to 3000 words
Illustrations and tables: up to 6 tables
References: up to 30

Systematic review

Systematic reviews summarise and evaluate existing literature to answer a particular question (e.g. what is the best method of beta-agonist delivery for patients with acute asthma exacerbations). EMJ does not accept scoping reviews.

PRISMA guidelines should be followed and a checklist submitted. Registration with PROSPERO is recommended. The methods should include a description of the process of literature retrieval, including who the abstractors were and how agreement was reached on which articles to include. The exact search terms should be available in an on-line appendix. An evaluation of the papers for presence of bias is essential. Meta-analysis is optional. This type of paper is considered research and the paper should have a structured abstract and key messages.

Word count: up to 3000 words
Illustrations and tables: up to 6 tables
References: up to 30

Concepts paper

Concepts papers present original ideas with grounding in existing published literature. They do not present original data that has not been peer-reviewed. Examples of concepts papers would include taking an existing body of evidence and applying its fundamental principles to an area in emergency medicine (e.g. decision making, safety, training). They may also include new ways of thinking about or defining how healthcare is delivered, explaining complex methodological or statistical concepts, or describing challenges within a field. Concepts papers are not opinion pieces, although the author may try to persuade the reader of the value of the idea.


BETs are brief, evidence-based reviews of a specific practice question that are published in a set format which is as follows:

  1. Title
  2. Reported by
  3. Checked by
  4. Clinical scenario
  5. Abstract
  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
    • Comments
  • 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?”
  • References
  • All Bets should be submitted via the bestbets website 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


    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 850 words
    Illustrations and tables: 1 table or figure
    References: up to 8

    The view from here

    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: Include a 1-line description of the author’s background with relevance to the article
    References: not required


    We welcome 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.

    Image challenge

    Authors are encouraged to submit images for our Image Challenge. Once a number of Image submissions have been received they will be subject to a single internal review to be selected for publication. Images that are selected will be assigned to an issue for publication in print. 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.
    Number of authors: 3 maximum
    Word count: up to 300 words
    References: up to 3

    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.

    Please note that decisions for Image challenge submissions may take longer than other article types. For quality purposes, we need to accumulate a range of submissions before progressing.

    In perspective

    These articles are commentaries which address or challenge the interpretation and accuracy of research and other publications related to emergency medicine. They usually draw on several piece of research, statistics and common sense to provide a new or different point of view, or provide implications for practice. Opinions should be supported by research cited but should be balanced by acknowledgment of alternative arguments. (Authors wishing to respond to a particular paper in EMJ should first consider a letter to the editor.)

    Word count: up to 875 words
    Figures and tables: 1 (if needed)
    References: up to 8

    Quality improvement report

    Quality improvement reports should comply with the SQUIRE 2.0 reporting guideline (endorsed by the EQUATOR Network) and a completed checklist is to be included with the submission.

    The paper should describe a quality improvement initiative, that is, a process whereby patients benefit from a change to (or within) a service. The function of Quality Improvement (QI) is to improve patient experience and/or outcomes, to enhance the clinical care delivered to patients in a sustainable manner.

    Word count: up to 3,000 words
    Abstract: up to 300 words
    Illustrations and tables: up to 6
    References: up to 25

    Recommended sections:


    This should include a description of the ‘local problem’ and the background to this, including the evidence available from previous studies, improvement projects, grey literature etc. An analysis of the problem with a description of how it relates relates to the specific aims of the project should be included.


    A description of the chosen interventions, QI methodology and metrics (including rationale for choosing) should be included. A discussion should be included on how the interventions and metrics are related as well as how inferences about the effect of the interventions on metrics were made.


    The data of outcome, process and balancing measures should be included, along with details of the interventions and the change in outcomes over time (e.g using a run chart, Statistical Process Control chart and timelines).


    The discussion should include the association between interventions and the measures, together with a discussion of the utility of the project (especially to other contexts) and including suggestions for further work. The limitations section should include barriers/difficulties encountered and elements of the project that may affect internal validity and generalisability.

    Swing shift: innovations in emergency medicine

    These are short reports of truly original developments, programs, or tools that fill a gap in the care of emergency patients. Reports must include description of design, and some evidence testing, utility or sustainability. The paper should explain what gap the innovation is addressing. New applications of existing technologies, performance improvement projects using standard methods, derivation of decision rules would not be considered in this category.

    Word count: up to 1,000 words not including abstract, tables, figures or references
    Abstract: up to 250 words
    Illustrations and tables: up to 3
    References: up to 10


    These are educational articles written in which a case is presented and a series of questions is asked about diagnosis and management with evidence-based answers given after each question, progressing through the case from initial presentation and diagnosis to disposition. We prefer cases that raise controversial questions and where there is new or evolving evidence. Cases should be aimed at physicians with some experience in EM.


    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