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.

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 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.


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). There are no charges for submission, page or colour figures.

For more information on open access, funder compliance and institutional programmes please refer to the BMJ Author Hub open access page.

Submission guidelines

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 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.

Original research

Full papers must present important and substantial new research material. Articles should be of direct relevance to clinical practise or important contributions to theoretical frameworks.

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 the submission, authors should state the reason in the cover letter.

Authors may choose to present their research in one of two forms:

Original research: full-length article

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

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

Word count: 3,500 words
Abstract: 250 words (Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusions)
Tables/Illustrations: Up to 8
References: Up to 40

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
Abstract: 250 words (Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusions)
Tables/Illustrations: Up to 1
References: Up to 15


Reviews of all types are welcome, including systematic reviews.

Word count: 6,000 words
Abstract: 250 words
Tables/Illustrations: Up to 8
References: Up to 50


Editorials will usually be solicited by the Editor and undergo peer review. Authors wishing to submit an editorial should seek the advice of the Editor in advance. To contact, please email

Word count: 1,500 words
Tables/Illustrations: Up to 1
References: Up to 10


Features will be solicited by the editor and undergo peer review. Authors wishing to submit a feature should approach the Editor in advance. To contact, please email

Word count: 5,000 words
Abstract: 250 words
Tables/Illustrations: Up to 8
References: Up to 20


Letters in response to articles published in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care are welcome and should be submitted electronically via the website. Contributors should click on the responses tab to the left of the article in question and click on ‘Compose a Response to This Article’.

Letters containing original data should be submitted via ScholarOne Manuscripts. Letters may be published in a shortened form at the discretion of the editor.

Word count: 1,000 words
Tables/Illustrations: Up to 1
References: Up to 5

Case report

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 figures or tables 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 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


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