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For guidelines on policy and submission across our journals, please click on the links below:

BMJ STEL follows wider BMJ policy on authorship and contributorship. Please read this page before you submit your manuscript. All submissions to BMJ STEL require an authorship and contributorship statement.

Open Access

Authors can choose to have their article published Open Access for a fee of £1,950 (plus applicable VAT). We do not offer refunds for Open Access once articles have been published.

Colour figures

Images will be published in this online journal in colour.

Article types and word counts

The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements and contributions and the references. 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

When a paper has been submitted from the Editor or Associate Editors’ departments, they have no role in the reviewing or decision making process. This also applies to any Associate Editors who are authors, in which instance the reviewing process is handled by the Editor in Chief.

All papers with more than 8 authors will require a contributorship statement justifying each author’s contribution to the work.

Original Research

Research Papers

Original research papers should follow the basic structure of abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, references, and tables and figures as appropriate.

Supplementary and raw data can be placed online separately from the text, and we may request that you separate out some material into supplementary data files to make the main manuscript clearer for readers.

Authors are encouraged to submit figures and images in colour as there are no colour charges.

Word count: up to 3500 words
Abstract: up to 300 words
Tables/Illustrations: maximum 8 tables and/or figures
References: up to 40

Short reports

Topics suitable for presentation for short reports include single case reports which illustrate important new phenomena, or reports of short, original research studies.

Word count: no more than 1500 words
Abstract: structured, 200 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to one of each
References: should not normally exceed 15

In practice reports

A new article type for BMJ STEL, In practice reports are short descriptions of work in progress that you want to share with colleagues and the wider research and practice communities. This may be an example of good simulation practice in your institution, or an account of an ongoing project which may not otherwise be written up as a conventional research article. The report may be structured conventionally (using the headings Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion), or may be a more free-form descriptive narrative. Although no abstract should be provided, the first paragraph should serve as a brief summary of the work described.

In practice reports are internally reviewed and once accepted will be rapidly published online. Please ensure that all submissions comply with the specifications below.

Word count: no more than 1000 words (submissions that are longer than this will be returned to the author)

Abstract: no abstract required
Tables/Illustrations: maximum 1 table or figure
Multimedia: a short video or audio file may be included
References: up to 5

Internally reviewed

Guideline updates

We are happy to consider important audit findings with national or international implications, brief descriptions of the protocol of forthcoming important research projects and brief updates to guideline documents.

Word count: up to 1500 words
Unstructured abstract: up to 100 words
Tables/illustrations: up to 1
References: up to 5



Reviews will be solicited by the Editor and are subjected to a review process.

Authors wishing to submit a review should seek the advice of the Editor in advance. The inclusion of additional material, e.g. video clips and sound files, and links to useful websites is strongly encouraged.

Word count: 5000 words maximum – bullet points encouraged
Tables/Illustrations: should not normally exceed 5
References: should not normally exceed 40.

Systematic reviews

Systematic reviews report on the answer to a clinical question by describing article selection, summarising and synthesising study quality and results, and drawing conclusions about the answer to the question.

Word count: up to 3500 words
Abstract: up to 250 words, structured, to include background, objective, study selection, findings, and conclusions
Tables/illustrations: up to 4
References: 50, exclusive of lists of articles considered or summarized



BMJ STEL welcomes editorials. The purpose of an editorial is to provide a novel perspective on a clinically-relevant issue. We welcome suggestions for possible topics and authors.

Word count: 1500 words
Tables/Illustrations: 1 table or figure
References: should not normally exceed 25.


Letters in response to articles published in BMJ STEL are welcomed and should be submitted electronically via the website. Contributors should go to the abstract or full text of the article in question. In the right hand column on the article webpage is a section entitled ‘Responses’. Click on ’Submit a response’ and complete the online form.

Letters containing original research should be submitted via ScholarOne and must be typed in double line spacing. Letters may be published in a shortened form at the discretion of the editor. Proofs will not be sent to the authors.

Word count: 1000 words
Tables/Illustrations: 1 table or figure
References: 5

Video features

A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a million pictures. Processes, products or ideas are sometimes best captured and transmitted using videos. We would encourage original (and preferably professionally produced) video for conveying to the audience a very strong message. A short text summary of up to 250 words should be submitted to accompany the video.

Video files are preferred in .WMF or .AVI formats, but can also be supplied as .FLV, .Mov, and .MP4. The journal can recommend video editing services (for which a fee would be payable). Authors are encouraged to submit raw footage as well as the final edited video.

If your video file is too large to submit via our online submission system, or if you wish to enquire about video editing services, please contact the


Journals from BMJ are willing to consider publishing supplements. 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.
  • The BMJ Group 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.

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

For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplements guidelines(PDF).

Plagiarism detection

BMJ is a member of CrossCheck by CrossRef and iThenticate. iThenticate is a plagiarism screening service that verifies the originality of content submitted before publication. iThenticate checks submissions against millions of published research papers, and billions of web content. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting