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Instructions for Authors

For guidelines on policy and submission across our journals, please click on the links below:
Manuscript preparation
Editorial policies
Patient consent forms
Licence forms
Peer review
Submission and production processes

Open Access

Authors can choose to have their article published Open Access for a fee of £1,700 (plus applicable VAT).

Article types and word counts

Word counts
Word counts exclude the title page, abstract, tables, figure captions, acknowledgements and references.
Authors should bear in mind that the inclusion of additional material, eg video clips and sound files, and links to useful websites is strongly encouraged.
Please refer to the relevant article category for specific word counts.

Research Papers
Full papers must present important and substantial new material. Articles should be of direct relevance to clinical practise or important contributions to theoretical frameworks.
Authors may choose to present their research in one of two forms:

  • a full-length article (with a maximum of 3500 words, and a maximum of eight tables/figures and 40 references);
  • a short report (with a maximum of 1500 words, and a maximum of one table/figure and 15 references).

In the case of articles, we are sometimes able to publish additional material "web only", but the paper version must be self-contained.

Research checklists should be uploaded during the submission process. If these are not applicable to your research please state the reason in your cover letter.

Short Reports
You should consider presenting your findings as a research paper rather than a short report in the following situations:

  • where the research is generalizable and of widespread significance;
  • where your work provides a stand-alone contribution to the literature;
  • where the findings relate to a substantial piece of research, and not only a pilot or preliminary investigation.

You should consider presenting your findings as a short report rather than a full-length article in the following situations:

  • where the research, though interesting, is of mainly local significance;
  • where your findings provide a largely additional or complementary perspective on existing research;
  • where these findings correspond to a still early and relatively incomplete stage in the development of your project.

Both research papers and short reports should be prefaced with an abstract of no more than 250 words (additional to the 3500/1500 words of the main body of the text). Structure your abstract under the headings: Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusions.

Reviews will usually be solicited by the Editor and will undergo peer review. Authors wishing to submit a review should seek the advice of the Editor in advance. Reviews have a word limit of 6,000 words. They should contain no more than eight tables/figures and a maximum of 50 references. Preface your review with an abstract of no more than 250 words (additional to the 6,000 words of the main body of the text).

Editorials will be solicited by the Editor and will undergo peer review. Authors wishing to submit an editorial should seek the advice of the Editor in advance.
An Editorial paper should have no more than 1500 words, one table/figure and 10 references.

Features will be solicited by the info.spcare{at} and will undergo peer review. Authors wishing to submit a feature article should approach the Editor in advance.
Features have a word limit of 5000. They should contain no more than eight tables/figures and a maximum of 20 references. Preface your feature article with an abstract of no more than 250 words (additional to the 5,000 words of the main body of the text)

Letters in response to articles published in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care are welcome and should be submitted electronically via the website. 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.  Some letters in response to an article may be published in the print version of the journal.

Letters containing original data should be submitted via ScholarOne Manuscripts. Letters may be published in a shortened form at the discretion of the editor.
Letters should not exceed 1000 words. They should contain no more than one table or figure and five references.

Case Reports
Case reports are any report/case history of four cases or less. The abstract of a paper that focuses on a case report must summarise the essential descriptive elements of the case(s) and indicate their relevance and importance. If more illustrations are required the text must be reduced accordingly. The title should be no longer than seven words. All case reports must be submitted with a scanned patient consent form uploaded as a supplemental file.

Word count: up to 1200 words (excluding title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: up to 150 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 2 small tables or images
References: up to 5

Educational pieces
Educational articles should describe or evaluate educational techniques used to impart concepts and skills to any kind of palliative care professional.

Word count: up to 3000 words
Abstract: Up to 300 words
Tables/Illustrations:Up to 5
References: Up to 40

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.
  • 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.

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


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. If you are not a native English speaker and would like assistance with your article there is a professional editing service available.

BMJ's pre-submission checklist

Free sample issue
This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.

View free sample issue >>

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