You don't need to be signed in to read BMJ Blogs, but you can register here to receive updates about other BMJ products and services via our site.


BMJ Open’s first birthday

23 Feb, 12 | by Richard Sands, Managing Editor


It is a year today that BMJ Open published its first papers: prompting donuts all round!

We have now published over 230 open access research articles, covering niche topics and major public health issues alike.

Several articles have received plenty of press coverage. Some have prompted considerable national debate, such as this paper suggesting that there would be major benefits to the rest of the UK if their diets improved to the level of England’s. Others, such as this paper on locked-in syndrome, have received widespread international coverage. Many articles now have thousands of downloads.

Wider exposure can bring closer scrutiny and some articles have received plenty of robust critique after publication. Everything we publish has received peer review, quite often including statistical review. We publish reviews of accepted articles so the justification for acceptance is clear. But research thrives on debate and we would be delighted to receive more comments – positive or (constructively) critical.

After just a year of publication we feel the journal is already making its mark. We have published papers from first-time authors and experienced researchers, offering a straightforward route to publication via fair, transparent peer review.

Many authors have also benefited from our willingness to waive article payment charges for those without the means to pay.

In our next year we look forward to publishing an even wider range of papers, hopefully with more authors taking advantage of our partnership with the Dryad repository to share their research data.

Here’s to the next 12 months …

Locked-in syndrome article coverage

25 Mar, 11 | by Richard Sands, Managing Editor

A month after launch, some of our first papers are still being picked up in the media (see today’s Irish Medical Times for coverage of our paper on delays in recording diagnoses of ovarian cancer).

The paper by Bruno et al. on self-assessed well-being of locked-in syndrome patients received considerable coverage, including this interview on BBC Radio’s flagship news broadcast The Today Programme, and coverage in New Scientist, BBC News, and The Independent among many others.

The article has also generated comments via e-letters and our Disqus blog-style commenting feature. You can read them, and comment yourself, here.

Review for BMJ Open

2 Nov, 10 | by Richard Sands, Managing Editor

Keep your analytical skills sharp, receive public acknowledgement of your efforts and save money on publication charges!

BMJ Open is now reviewing articles for publication. Peer reviewing is a good way to hone your analytical skills and to get a ‘first look’ at forthcoming research. Our system of open peer review – publishing reviewers’ comments – provides public acknowledgement of your input. It is also helpful if you need to demonstrate your reviewing activity for continuing professional development purposes.

You can register as a reviewer at our submission site; once you have registered, drop us an email and let us know.

In recognition of your support, as a BMJ Open reviewer you will receive a 25% discount on article processing charges if you are the corresponding author of a paper submitted to the journal within a year of returning your review.

Our instructions for reviewers are here.

Have your research seen by the world!

20 Sep, 10 | by Richard Sands, Managing Editor


BMJ Open is now welcoming submissions. Submit now – and your work could be included in the launch of our brand new open access journal.

Instructions for authors are available here and you can read more about BMJ Open‘s aims and scope here.

Open access has long been part of the BMJ Group ethos – BMJ research articles have been open access for over ten years. We are very excited about this new extension of our open access content through an entirely new journal, and we aim to be an equally invaluable resource for the medical community.

If you are an author who has submitted research to any BMJ Group journal within the last six months and were declined, just let us know which journal you submitted to – and the manuscript number if you have it – and if the article type is appropriate we will transfer the files on your behalf. (Your article must not be under consideration by any other journal, anywhere else.)

Finally, congratulations to our sister journal BMJ Case Reports, which recently won the ALPSP Best New Journal 2010 prize. That’s something for BMJ Open to live up to!

BMJ Open instructions for authors posted

31 Aug, 10 | by Richard Sands, Managing Editor

Instructions on how to prepare a manuscript for submission to BMJ Open can be found here. Our manuscript submission site is in development; a notice will be posted on this site as soon as it is ready, so keep checking back.

Press release

23 Aug, 10 | by Richard Sands, Managing Editor

The official press release announcing BMJ Open can be found here.

It includes a comment from Dr Fiona Godlee, BMJ Editor-in-Chief, that helps set BMJ Open in the context of the BMJ Group’s history of open access, and its mission to help improve patient outcomes worldwide.

BMJ Open FAQs posted

20 Aug, 10 | by Richard Sands, Managing Editor

A page that provides more specific information on BMJ Open has been added to the site here.

Topics covered include BMJ Open‘s required reporting standards for submissions, data sharing policies, article processing charges, peer review and copyright agreement.

We will be adding to this document but meanwhile you can click on the Contact us link with any unanswered questions.

Wider open access developments at the BMJ Group

19 Aug, 10 | by Richard Sands, Managing Editor

By adopting an open access policy for research articles, BMJ Open follows in the footsteps of the BMJ itself. All research articles published in the BMJ are available open access, a policy that dates from 1998. A recent editorial in the BMJ talks about the launch of BMJ Open and the BMJ‘s new policy on open access charges.

One of the editorial’s authors, and BMJ deputy editor, Dr Trish Groves has also opened the issue up for discussion on doc2doc here.

BMJ Open: accessible medical research

16 Aug, 10 | by Richard Sands, Managing Editor

Welcome to the BMJ Open blog, where we will be documenting our countdown to launch later this year.

BMJ Open is an open access journal for general medical research. Using a continuous publication model the journal will provide rapid publication for research from any medical discipline or therapeutic area.

Not only will the journal publish traditional full research reports, including small or low-impact studies, but we intend to shed light on all stages of the research process by publishing study protocols, pilot studies and pre-protocols. The journal will also place great emphasis on the importance of data sharing; raw data will be linked to at its repository or hosted online as supplementary material wherever possible.

This emphasis on transparency will continue with research protocols and reviewers’ comments being published alongside final papers. Authors will need to provide clear statements of their studies’ strengths and limitations. Peer review will be open, and the criteria for acceptance will be that the research was conducted in a transparent and ethical way. Naturally, all articles will need to comply with the BMJ Group’s high standards of research and publication ethics.

Authors will be asked to pay article-processing charges on acceptance, although waivers will be available on request. The ability to pay will not influence editorial decisions; payment requests will be made on acceptance.

Watch this space for updates on our progress – and for advance information on how to submit your research. Meanwhile, for more information you can contact the editorial office at