Instructions for Authors

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BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care aims to connect many disciplines and specialties throughout the world by providing clinically relevant research, reviews, commentary, information and news of high quality and international importance.

We hold an inclusive view of supportive and palliative care in behavioural sciences, clinical trials, epidemiology, ethics, health service and translational research.

Authors should bear in mind that the inclusion of additional material (e.g. video clips, sound files and links to useful websites) is strongly encouraged.


Editorial policy

BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 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.


Plan S compliance

BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 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 Supportive & Palliative Care Author Licence for the applicable Creative Commons licences. More information on copyright and authors’ rights.

When publishing in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care, 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

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.


Data Sharing

BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care adheres to BMJ’s Tier 3 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. All research articles must contain a Data Availability Statement. For more information and FAQs, please see BMJ’s full Data Sharing Policy page.

ORCID

BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 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 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. There are no charges for submission, page or colour figures.

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 Supportive & Palliative Care; 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. Authors should reference the formatting instructions and checklist.

For further support when making a 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 processYou may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services.

For information on COPE’s Guidelines for retracting articles, please visit the COPE website here.

Titles: Titles should be short and informative; include at least 3 key phrases and 3 additional keywords with study design.
Social Media: For tips on writing for online visibility, please see our BMJ Author Hub. Our BMJ SPC Blog is also available to publicize your work.
Keywords: A minimum of five must be included.
Word Count: Excludes: title page, abstract, tables, figures, acknowledgements, contributions and references

Systematic Review

      • The date of completed search must be < 12 months from the submission date. If older, please update the search before submission.
      • All systematic reviews must follow PRISMA guidelines and any other applicable guidelines listed by the EQUATOR network (http://www.equator-network.org/).

Word Count: 6,000 words (excludes title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: 250 words
Tables/Figures: ≤ 8
References: ≤ 80
Key Messages Box: Please answer the three questions below – two bullet points each: ≤ 50 words total in the Box, excluding the heading and subheadings.

      1. What was already known?
      2. What are the new findings?
      3. What is their significance?
        A) Clinical
        B) Research

Review

      • Rapid and Scoping Reviews will be considered under this category.
      • The date of completed search must be < 12 months from the submission date. If older than this, please update the search before submission.
      • All reviews must follow any applicable guidelines listed by the EQUATOR network (http://www.equator-network.org/).

Word Count: 6,000 words (excludes title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: 250 words
Tables/Figures: ≤ 8
References: ≤ 50
Key Messages Box: Please answer the three questions below – two bullet points each: ≤ 50 words total in the Box, excluding the heading and subheadings.

      1. What was already known?
      2. What are the new findings?
      3. What is their significance?
        A) Clinical
        B) Research

Editorials

      • Written by content experts, Editorials are intended to address controversial or timely topics of wide importance to palliative and supportive care.
      • They may also provide context or perspective on accompanying articles in the corresponding edition of the journal.
      • Editorials are typically solicited by the International Commissioning Editor or the Editor-in-Chief.
        • Authors wishing to submit an editorial must seek advice from the Editor-in-Chief in advance. To contact, please email spcare@bmj.com.

Word Count: 1,500 words (excludes title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: 100 words
Tables/Figures: ≤ 1
References: Minimum 15; ≤ 20

Letters

  • Letters with original data should be submitted via ScholarOne. Letters may be published in a shortened form at the discretion of the relevant Associate Editor or Editor-in-Chief.
  • Some Letters may be published in the print version.

Word Count: 1,000 words (excludes title page, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: None
Tables/Figures: ≤ 1
References: ≤ 5

State of the Science

      • These contributions are intended to be authoritative statements by content experts of advances in medicine, and their application to palliative and supportive care clinical practice.
      • They are not Review articles, but concise statements of cutting-edge ideas with which all practicing clinicians in the field should be familiar.
      • State of the Science articles will typically be solicited by the Editor-in-Chief or the International Commissioning Editor.
        • Authors wishing to submit a State of the Science article must seek advice from the Editor-in-Chief in advance. To contact, please email spcare@bmj.com.

Word Count: 1,500 words (excludes title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: 100 words
Tables/Figures: ≤ 1
References: Minimum 15; ≤ 20

Case reports

      • A report/case history of ten cases or less.
      • Title: ≤ than 7 words
      • Must be submitted with a scanned patient consent form uploaded as a supplemental file.
      • Usually published online only.

Word Count: ≤ 1,200 words (excludes title page, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: None
Tables/Figures: ≤ 2 small tables or images; if more Figures or Tables are required, reduce the text accordingly.
References: ≤ 5

Education

      • Contributions should describe or evaluate techniques to impart concepts and skills to any palliative or supportive care professional.

Word Count: ≤ 3,000 words (excludes title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: ≤ 200 words
Tables/Figures: ≤ 5
References: ≤ 40
Key Messages Box: Please answer the three questions below – two bullet points each: ≤ 50 words total in the Box, excluding the heading and subheadings.

      1. What was already known?
      2. What are the new findings?
      3. What is their significance?
        A) Clinical
        B) Research

Clinical Audit

      • This is where the effectiveness (efficiency, quality) of healthcare is measured against published, proven standards or (where no published standard exists) through literature review and/or team discussion.
        • There is a complete cycle where care is measured against the standard, results reviewed, change implemented and the cycle repeated.
      • The Audit must be complete to be considered.
      • Topics must be confined to direct clinical practice.
      • Authors should contextualize the reason for the audit/QIP.
      • Standards must be easily identifiable, qualified and quantified. Authors should rationalize/critique both why the specified standard(s) were chosen, and the agreed level of performance.
      • The impact of the audit/QIP on clinical practice and the effect on future patient care (what is next?) should be described.
      • The phrase “A Clinical Audit” must appear in the title.

Word Count: 1,500 words (excludes title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: 200 words (Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusions)
Tables/Figures: ≤ 1
References: ≤ 15
Key Messages Box: Please answer the three questions below – two bullet points each: ≤ 50 words total in the Box, excluding the heading and subheadings.

      1. What was already known?
      2. What are the new findings?
      3. What is their significance?
        A) Clinical
        B) Research

Features

      • Features will typically be solicited by the Editor-in-Chief.
      • Authors wishing to submit a Feature should seek advice from the Editor-in-Chief in advance. To contact, please email spcare@bmj.com.

Word Count: 4,000 words (excludes title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: 250 words
Tables/Figures: ≤ 8
References: ≤ 20
Key Messages Box: Please answer the three questions below – two bullet points each: ≤ 50 words total in the Box, excluding the heading and subheadings.

      1. What was already known?
      2. What are the new findings?
      3. What is their significance?
        A) Clinical
        B) Research

Original research

      • These reports must present important and substantial new material. Articles should be of direct relevance to clinical practice or provide an important contribution to theoretical frameworks.
      • The title should include information about the study design and high-level conclusions. Both titles and manuscripts should be succinct.
      • Inclusion of additional material (website links, video clips, sound files) is strongly encouraged.
      • We publish additional material “web only”, but the paper version must be self-contained.
      • Research checklists should be uploaded during the submission process. If not applicable, authors should explain in a cover letter.

Original research – Short report

Authors should consider a Short report rather than a full-length article when:

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

Word Count: 1,500 words (excludes title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: 200 words (Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusions)
Tables/Figures: ≤ 1
References: ≤ 15
Key Messages Box: Please answer the three questions below – two bullet points each: ≤ 50 words total in the Box, excluding the heading and subheadings.

      1. What was already known?
      2. What are the new findings?
      3. What is their significance?
        A) Clinical
        B) Research

Original research – Full report

Consider a Full-Length Report (rather than Short) when:

      • Research is generalizable; of widespread significance
      • The work is a stand-alone literature contribution
      • A substantial piece of research (not a pilot or preliminary investigation)
    • Word Count: 3,500 words (excludes title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
      Abstract: 250 words (Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusions)
      Tables/Figures: ≤ 8
      References: ≤ 40
      Key Messages Box: Please answer the three questions below – two bullet points each: ≤ 50 words total in the Box, excluding the heading and subheadings.

          1. What was already known?
          2. What are the new findings?
          3. What is their significance?
            A) Clinical
            B) Research

Qualitative & Mixed Methods

      • Describe the study goals/aim and research design, including data collection and data analysis strategies.
      • Include the recruitment process, report sample size and characteristics and author reflexivity/standpoint.
      • “Results” should present the themes to include analytic/conceptual material.
      • Participant quotes should demonstrate results are grounded in data (not included in Word Count).
      • Link overall findings to the research goals/aims and discuss the methods strengths and weaknesses.
      • Describe how the study makes a meaningful contribution to current literature, as well as policy or practice and implicate future research.
      • Usually published online only.

Word Count (Qualitative): 4,000 words (excludes title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
Word Count (Mixed Methods): 4,500 words (excludes title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: 250 words (Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusions)
Tables/Figures: ≤ 1
References: ≤ 15
Key Messages Box: Please answer the three questions below – two bullet points each: ≤ 50 words total in the Box, excluding the heading and subheadings.

      1. What was already known?
      2. What are the new findings?
      3. What is their significance?
        A) Clinical
        B) Research

Supplements

BMJ 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.

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