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‘Care of the Female Athlete’ special theme issue: AMSSM call for manuscripts

25 Jul, 13 | by Karim Khan

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) is soliciting submissions for publication in the February 2014 issue of the BJSM. This AMSSM themed issue will focus on the broad topic of “Care of the Female Athlete”. (See the cover of the 2013 AMSSM special issue of BJSM at right). 


Manuscript submissions can be in any area of sports medicine as it pertains to women in sport. Submission ideas can include but are not limited to those manuscripts that are cutting edge, highlight current areas of significant clinical interest or debate, focus on a novel treatment or training regimen.

Deadline for original manuscripts  is  September 15, 2013

They must be submitted to the BJSM Editorial office by this date to be considered. Instructions to authors can be found HERE . Submissions should be sent to

In your cover letter, reference that the paper is being submitted for the AMSSMease also send an email with the title of the paper you’re submitting to both Dr. Joy ( and Dr. Logan (, and copy BJSM Editor Karim Khan, MD, PhD (

Submission of a manuscript for the themed issue does not guarantee acceptance. All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed.

The AMSSM (@TheAMSSM), one of BJSM’s 13 member societies, is excited to have this opportunity to highlight “Care of the Female Athlete” in this BJSM issue. We are confident that we can have exceptional representation from our AMSSM membership and from other contributors.

Yours in sport and exercise medicine,

Elizabeth Joy, MD, MPH

Kelsey Logan, MD

Triathlete with calf/Achilles pain – what’s the diagnosis? (Just one of six fun interactive cases!)

22 May, 13 | by Karim Khan

ankle xrayWe know that case-based learning is the most effective and fun way to improve clinical skills. So BJSM provides opportunities!

Under the “Education” tab on the home page, click on Image Quiz. You’ll find real-life cases – ideal for medical students and junior doctors. (We tested our EIC on two and are pleased to report he got them right!).

Our newest cases are of (i) a triathlete with unusual calf/Achilles region pain and (ii) a water-skier who came to grief while attempting his start.

These cases will help you recognize clinical scenarios and help you gain confidence in interpreting imaging. These new case include a lateral x-ray of the ankle/ultrasound scan of the lower leg and an MRI of the hamstring region. As a side teaching note, remember that precise localisation of hamstring injuries is important as the location of injury affects prognosis. (Carl Askling’s work – listen to his podcast here).

Thanks to Arthur Kievit (PhD fellow) and Gino Kerkhoffs (orthopedic surgeon) from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands for the hamstring quiz. The Dutch Sports Medicine Society (VSG in Dutch) is a BJSM member society – all VSG members have full access to BJSM and the VSG guides one issue of BJSM annually.

Thanks also to Dr James Thing (Sports Physician in training), Dr James Sarkodieh (Radiology in training) and Dr Muaaze Ahmad (Consultant Radiologist) from the Royal London Hospital for the case about the calf/Achilles pain.

Follow this link to the newest quizzes

Keep an eye out for future quizes – they’ll be flagged on BJSM’s Facebook and Twitter channels. Drs Kievit, Kerkhoffs and Thing will keep the Image Quizes coming and feel free to submit cases yourself! Please contact me on and I’ll make it easy for you. Best Image Quiz for the Year gets a free copy of a best-selling sports medicine book!

Yours in sport,

Babette Pluim, Deputy Editor BJSM


Have you looked at the podcast list? Great guests! Easy to find – free!

3 Aug, 11 | by Karim Khan

Just a very quick blog today — to alert you to the Podcast icon on the BJSM home page. The page includes a guest index so you can look up Jon Drezner, Steve Blair, Jill Cook, Lars Engebretsen, Robert Jan de Vos, Robert Sallis, Jiri Dvorak, Richard Frobell, and more – a veritable galaxy of stars!

Most podcasts are not time-sensitive – Paul McCrory’s post Zurich discussion remains relevant if you have not listened to it.

Feel free to suggest who you would like to listen to – email me at  Or Tweet and include the @BJSM_BMJ handle in the body of the tweet! Snail mail works too! I’m building up the courage to ask Malcolm Gladwell but it probably needs $, not courage!

Enjoy – and please do feel free to share your feedback!

And remember that we love Guest Blogs – 200-400 words – we’ll do the posting for you – just send an email!

Repost: Thinking of submitting a systematic review? What BJSM is looking for.

12 Jul, 11 | by Karim Khan

Systematic reviews in BJSM

Systematic reviews provide level 1 evidence and form a critical part of the literature. Here we provide some ground rules for SRs of interest in BJSM. These guidelines are meant to inform authors but are not absolute.

Is the review of interest to our core readership?

BJSM is a clinical journal so the topic must have relevance and some application to clinical practice. Ask the key question ”will the findings change what practitioners do?”

The scope of the question and review:

Very specific questions and very broad questions may both have limited appeal. Those that ask and answer ‘meaty’ questions that reflect clinical issues have greater interest to BJSM readers.

Is the review worth the journal space?

Succinct and focussed reviews are always of more interest. Questions that are topical, novel or controversial that will attract readers and researchers to the journal will be more likely to be accepted.

Do the authors have broad knowledge in the topic area?

We are looking for experts to synthesise the literature and to comment on the outcomes of the review in a meaningful and clinically relevant way. The conclusion that ‘more research is needed’ does not add value for readers – it is uninformative.

After you consider these questions, please send in your SRs.  Also, we are open to amending these guidelines – feel free to contact us with your suggestions.


BJSM Editorial Office

What the BJSM editors look for in a paper – clinical relevance

1 Mar, 11 | by Karim Khan

BJSM is transparent about its peer-review process. We receive 1000 papers a year and can only publish about 10% of them. So 60% of papers are returned to authors after the editorial team has reviewed them. Who’s the editorial team? It’s Karim Khan, Babette Pluim and Jill Cook. So these are called ‘rejected without external review’. This should happen within a week of submission so the good news is that if the paper doesn’t look like having a chance to get into BJSM, authors have it back without delay.

Today, I’ll focus on what it takes to get through that first hurdle – to have a paper sent for external review. BJSM’s mission is to provide clinically useful material for clinicians the world over. Our summary slogan could be ‘clinically-relevant’ and ‘global/international’. Will your paper influence practice or policy in sport and exercise medicine? There are many ways to do that so we have a broad scope. Our member societies include BASEM, AMSSM, ECOSEP and the Swiss Sports Physiotherapy Association so papers should be of interest to those readers.

We are also endorsed by sports and exercise medicine societies in South Africa (SASMA), Australia and New Zealand (ACSP) so BJSM has wide reach. Our plan to focus on clinical relevance came after consultation with folks from all our member societies. We are executing a strategy which has us aiming to provide multimedia value to clinicians as they practice every day and work with active individuals in various settings. (Hence the videos and podcasts on the home page).

Sports clinicians are involved in public health so papers about physical activity and health are clearly relevant. Papers that will influence decision-makers in the field of exercise and health are also important. Data that will help teams perform better in relation to health issues are grist for the mill. But if you have a new ‘play’ in basketball that would fit better in a coaching or coaching science journals.

If you are interested in the peer-review process, see the BMJ ‘Head to Head’ (two articles, one for, one against ‘open’ peer review). Also, BJSM has a take on innovation and the problems that researchers have in challenging conventional thinking.

I’ll clarify this more about BJSM’s process in the next few days among our other blog topics. Feel free to ask questions or to comment.

How to get papers accepted by BJSM & other editors’ secrets…

15 Nov, 08 | by Karim Khan

In the November WarmUp (editorial, for those not familiar with BJSM jargon!) I promised to explain why BJSM has to reject many good papers. The simple answer is that 1000 doesn’t got into 180. Without giving away crucial trade secrets to our friendly competitors, I can share with you that BJSM receives close to 1000 submissions per year. And as those of you inclined toward accounting and other obsessive-compulsive pursuits will have noticed, we have 80 pages per issue. And some of those pages are already accounted for. So you can see we can publish only about 15 average length articles.

To help authors get rapid decisions, 40-60% of submissions are evaluated by a couple of editors and returned rather rapidly to authors. The research area might not be in BJSM’s scope — it does not mean that the research isn’t good. But given that only 15-20% of submissions can be accepted, BJSM needs to focus on the 500 or so papers that will provide the final 180. Clearly peer-review is not an exact science. There is no algorithm for ‘rapid rejection’. I don’t claim it is ‘objective’ in the way that the Olympic 100m final result is adjudicated. But as authors, all the editorial team appreciates the hard work that goes into papers; we have all had many papers rejected and we all have had differences of opinions with editors. An imperfect system but a better one has not yet caught on.

Focusing on the positive, how can you maximise your chances of review and publication?
A few quick tips on how to get papers accepted by BJSM:

  1. Choose an interesting area of research.
  2. Highlight the innovation in your research in a 3-paragraph introduction if you can. Most great papers need only 3 paragraphs to explain why the project was done.
  3. A catchy (but honest) title is better than a boring title.
  4. Emphasise the clinical relevance in your discussion – why will this research make a difference to clinical practice, policy, or to coaches?

We like randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews, meta-analyses. But that’s not all. See recent issues for interesting cohort studies. Cross-sectional studies and retrospective surveys, broadly speaking, obtain a lower priority than their counterparts that provide higher on the levels of evidence. Not rocket science.

As a BJSM and blog reader I thank you for considering BJSM and for giving us a chance. We know from the e-data that are now readily available that BJSM is widely downloaded and clicked-upon. We encourage you to give us a try as both an author and a reader. And as I have said consistently, feedback and debate is welcomed. BJSM aims to be the leading resource for new knowledge and debate in the broadly defined field of clinical sports medicine. Our target audience is physicians and physiotherapists who work in musculoskeletal medicine and exercise, as well as physiologists, scientists and public health authorities who believe that physical activity is the most powerful single health modality that a person can readily adopt.

Enjoy this issue.

Editor’s Note

13 Oct, 08 | by Karim Khan

As mentioned in the Warm Up in the November issue, BJSM receives nearly 1000 submissions a year. Given that we only have budget to print about 15 papers a month, it means that only about 10% of ‘original submissions’ can be accepted. It doesn’t seem fair to authors or reviewers to send all these papers to peer review – most authors prefer a fast rejection over a slow one. Thus, our policy is to reject 40% of papers at the editorial board level. This means that about 600 papers go for review per year and of those about 1/3 will be published.

This means a paper might report fine research but be passed over for BJSM. Priority areas for BJSM are papers that are of interest to clinicians including family doctors, sports physicians, physiotherapists and public health and policy staff. We love papers that will change what clinicians and sports scientists do. Randomized trials, systematic reviews and large, longitudinal cohort studies are, of course, very much in demand. Basic science needs to have a clear, short-run, clinical implication to be accepted.

As active researchers and clinicians, the editorial team appreciates the hard work that goes into every research study. However, we also have a responsibility to shape BJSM for its readership – and we do not apologise for that.

Early days

20 Feb, 08 | by Karim Khan

I am very excited and most grateful that 6 international leaders in sports and exercise medicine have agreed to serve as Senior Associate Editors in Chief – Babette Pluim (Netherlands), Jill Cook (Australia), Liza Arendt (US), Steven Stovitz (US), Roald Bahr (Norway) and Timothy Noakes (South Africa).

This senior leadership group and I will take the first 5 months of the year to catch up with the hardworking Editorial Board and engage all those who wish to contribute to the Journal.The new Associate Editors and the expanded Editorial Board will be listed in the June issue of BJSM.

To contribute to the direction of BJSM, I encourage you to provide input either in person (e.g., The RendezVous Conference in Las Vegas (March 25-29), my visit to various UK centres in early May) or on email (

The BJSM vision that aims to reflect the diverse interests of the world of sport and exercise medicine will be on the web by June 1st.

We aim to make the BJSM the premier clinically-relevant original data journal and online community. BJSM is one of the ‘specialist journals’ of the BMJ publishing group. The mother ship – the BMJ – aims to ‘help doctors make better decisions’.

BMJ editors ask 3 questions about manuscripts that are submitted:

  1. Is it new?
  2. Is it true?
  3. Will it change what doctors do?

Given the expertise, resources, and brand recognition of the BMJ, it seems that team BJSM might do well to follow that game plan in the first instance. Thus, we will focus on clnically-relevant health and human performance.We’ll aim to accept and solicit material that is new, true, and has the potential to change the things you do.

We hope this Blog helps us engage a global community to find answers.

Exciting times!

BJSM blog homepage


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