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As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • An appropriate research checklist has been uploaded as part of the submission.
  • The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word or RTF document file format.
  • The text is single-spaced, uses a 12-point font, employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses) and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end. In addition, figures and their legends have been added to the end of the document.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined on this page and specific guidance relating to the type of submission outlined in the Information for Authors page.
  • You have clearly defined the contribution of each author and acknowledged contributors
  • Images and additional materials are prepared and ready for uploading as supplementary files. The filenames of images should reflect their citation in the main text (i.e. Figure 1, Figure 2 etc.) as should supplementary material (i.e. Supplementary 1, Supplementary 2)
  • You have included statements regarding ethics, approvals, sources of funding, potential or actual conflicts of interest and author contributions.

1. General Principles

This journal follows the principles set out by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals. A summary of those guidelines relevant to authors is provided below. In addition, there is additional specific guidance relating to the types of submissions that the journal current accepts, namely:

  • Original research
  • Literature reviews
  • Case reports
  • Best evidence topic reports
  • Audit
  • Service evaluation
  • Research methodology
  • Letters
  • Quality improvement

2. Reporting Guidelines

Reporting guidelines have been developed for different study designs and the most appropriate guideline checklist must be completed and uploaded as a supplementary file with your article submission. Specific examples include:

  • CONSORT for randomized trials
  • STROBE for observational studies
  • PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  • STARD for studies of diagnostic accuracy
  • SQUIRE for quality improvement

You can obtain these and a wide range of other guidelines from the Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research (EQUATOR) website.

3. Pre-registration

The journal strongly encourages pre-registration of original research and systematic reviews with online databases, such as ClinicalTrials.gov, ISRCTN and PROSPERO, in-line with ICJME guidelines on clinical trial registration, all clinical trials MUST be pre-registered.

4. Authorship

Authorship confers credit and has important academic, social, and financial implications. Authorship also implies responsibility and accountability for published work. Because authorship does not communicate what contributions qualified an individual to be an author, you must provide information regardint the contributions of the authors (unless there is only one).

i. Who Is an Author?

An author is somone who meets ALL of the following 4 criteria:

  1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  2. Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  3. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
  4. In addition to being accountable for the parts of the work he or she has done, an author should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific other parts of the work. In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their co-authors.

ii. Non-Author Contributors

Contributors who meet fewer than all 4 of the above criteria for authorship should not be listed as authors, but they should be acknowledged. Examples of activities that alone (without other contributions) do not qualify a contributor for authorship are acquisition of funding; general supervision of a research group or general administrative support; and writing assistance, technical editing, language editing, and proofreading. Those whose contributions do not justify authorship may be acknowledged individually or together as a group under a single heading (e.g. "Clinical Investigators" or "Participating Investigators"), and their contributions should be specified (e.g., "served as scientific advisors," "critically reviewed the study proposal," "collected data," "provided and cared for study patients", "participated in writing or technical editing of the manuscript"). 

4. Manuscript Sections

The following are general requirements for reporting within sections of all study designs and manuscript formats.

a. Title page

The title page should contain the following:

  • Title
  • Author information
  • Word count
  • Keywords.

i. Title

The title provides a distilled description of the complete article and should include information that, along with the Abstract, will make electronic retrieval of the article sensitive and specific. Ensure you include the study design in the title (particularly for randomised trials and systematic reviews and meta-analyses)

ii. Author information

The first named author should be the corresponding author responsible for the journal submission. For all authors, a full name, postal and email address is required. In addition, a contact number for the corresponding author should be supplied. If you have an Open Researcher and Contributor Identification (ORCID), please include this also.

iii Word count 

Include the word count, excluding the abstract, acknowledgments, tables, figure legends, and references.

iv. Keywords

Suggest up to 3 Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) keywords to aid in searching for your article. The MeSH on demand service can help with this.

b. Abstract

Original research, literature and systematic reviews, and meta-analyses require structured abstracts that should generally conform to the IMRAD style. The abstract should provide the context or background for the study and should state the study's purpose, basic procedures (selection of study participants, settings, measurements, analytical methods), main findings (giving specific effect sizes and their statistical and clinical significance, if possible), and principal conclusions. It should emphasise new and important aspects of the study or observations, note important limitations, and not overinterpret findings. Clinical trial abstracts should include items that the CONSORT group has identified as essential. Funding sources should be listed separately after the Abstract.


c. Introduction

Provide a context or background for the study (that is, the nature of the problem and its significance). State the specific purpose or research objective of, or hypothesis tested by, the study or observation. Cite only directly pertinent references, and do not include data or conclusions from the work being reported.

d. Methods

The guiding principle of the Methods section should be clarity about how and why a study was done in a particular way. Methods section should aim to be sufficiently detailed such that others with access to the data would be able to reproduce the results. In general, the section should include only information that was available at the time the plan or protocol for the study was being written; all information obtained during the study belongs in the Results section. If an organisation was paid or otherwise contracted to help conduct the research (examples include data collection and management), then this should be detailed in the methods.

i. Selection and description of participants

Clearly describe the selection of observational or experimental participants (healthy individuals or patients, including controls), including eligibility and exclusion criteria and a description of the source population. Because the relevance of such variables as age, sex, or ethnicity is not always known at the time of study design, researchers should aim for inclusion of representative populations into all study types and at a minimum provide descriptive data for these and other relevant demographic variables. If the study was done involving an exclusive population, for example in only one sex, authors should justify why, except in obvious cases (e.g. obstetric emergencies). 

ii. Technical information

Specify the study's main and secondary objectives–usually identified as primary and secondary outcomes. Identify methods, equipment (give the manufacturer's name and address in parentheses), and procedures in sufficient detail to allow others to reproduce the results. 

iii. Statistics

Describe statistical methods with enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to judge its appropriateness for the study and to verify the reported results. When possible, quantify findings and present them with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals). Avoid relying solely on statistical hypothesis testing, such as p-values, which fail to convey important information about effect size and precision of estimates. References for the design of the study and statistical methods should be to standard works when possible (with pages stated). Define statistical terms, abbreviations, and most symbols. Specify the statistical software package(s) and versions used. Distinguish prespecified from exploratory analyses, including subgroup analyses.

e. Results

Present your results in logical sequence in the text, tables, and figures, giving the main or most important findings first. Do not repeat all the data in the tables or figures in the text; emphasise or summarise only the most important observations. Provide data on all primary and secondary outcomes identified in the Methods Section. Extra or supplementary materials and technical details can be placed in supplementary files where they will be accessible but will not interrupt the flow of the text, or they can be published solely in the electronic version of the journal. Refer to the supplementary files in the text using the reference 'Supplementary 1', 'Supplementary 2' etc.

Give numeric results not only as derivatives (for example, percentages) but also as the absolute numbers from which the derivatives were calculated, and specify the statistical significance attached to them, if any. Restrict tables and figures to those needed to explain the argument of the paper and to assess supporting data. Use graphs as an alternative to tables with many entries; do not duplicate data in graphs and tables. Avoid nontechnical uses of technical terms in statistics, such as random (which implies a randomising device), normal, significant, correlations, and sample.

Separate reporting of data by demographic variables, such as age and sex, facilitate pooling of data for subgroups across studies and should be routine, unless there are compelling reasons not to stratify reporting, which should be explained.

The BPJ embraces the principle that research should be reproduceable. Consider adding details about how interested readers could replicate your methods by adding further information as a supplemental file, including details about whether the raw data is available for the purposed of reproduction of the results.

f. Discussion

It is useful to begin the discussion by briefly summarising the main findings, and explore possible mechanisms or explanations for these findings. Emphasise the new and important aspects of your study and put your finings in the context of the totality of the relevant evidence. State the limitations of your study, and explore the implications of your findings for future research and for clinical practice or policy. Do not repeat in detail data or other information given in other parts of the manuscript, such as in the Introduction or the Results section.

Link the conclusions with the goals of the study but avoid unqualified statements and conclusions not adequately supported by the data. In particular, distinguish between clinical and statistical significance, and avoid making statements on economic benefits and costs unless the manuscript includes the appropriate economic data and analyses. Avoid claiming priority or alluding to work that has not been completed. State new hypotheses when warranted, but label them clearly.

g. References

i. General considerations related to references

Authors should provide direct references to original research sources whenever possible. Although references to review articles can be an efficient way to guide readers to a body of literature, review articles do not always reflect original work accurately. On the other hand, extensive lists of references to original work on a topic can use excessive space. Fewer references to key original papers often serve as well as more exhaustive lists, particularly since references can now be added to the electronic version of published papers, and since electronic literature searching allows readers to retrieve published literature efficiently.

Do not use conference abstracts as references: they can be cited in the text, in parentheses, but not as page footnotes. References to papers accepted but not yet published should be designated as 'in press' or 'forthcoming'. Information from manuscripts submitted but not accepted should be cited in the text as 'unpublished observations' with written permission from the source.

Avoid citing a 'personal communication' unless it provides essential information not available from a public source, in which case the name of the person and date of communication should be cited in parentheses in the text. For scientific articles, obtain written permission and confirmation of accuracy from the source of a personal communication.

The BPJ will endeavour to check the accuracy of all reference citations, but in order to minimise errors, references should be verified using either an electronic bibliographic source, such as PubMed, or print copies from original sources. Authors are responsible for checking that none of the references cite retracted articles except in the context of referring to the retraction. Authors can identify retracted articles in MEDLINE by searching PubMed for "Retracted publication [pt]", where the term "pt" in square brackets stands for publication type, or by going directly to the PubMed's list of retracted publications.

ii. Reference style

The BPJ uses the American Psychological Association (APA) 7th edition reference style. This is similar to Harvard, but has the advantage that there are no variations of this reference style, unlike Harvard. In addition, most citation managers already support it (e.g. Mendeley, Endnote, Zotero).

h. Tables

Tables capture information concisely and display it efficiently; they also provide information at any desired level of detail and precision. Including data in tables rather than text frequently makes it possible to reduce the length of the text.

Prepare tables according to the specific journal's requirements; to avoid errors it is best if tables can be directly imported into the journal's publication software. Number tables consecutively in the order of their first citation in the text and supply a title for each. Titles in tables should be short but self-explanatory, containing information that allows readers to understand the table's content without having to go back to the text. Be sure that each table is cited in the text.

Tables should be included in the main body of text where they are referred to. Place the table title above the table and label it sequentially (Table 1, Table 2 etc.). Give each column a short or an abbreviated heading. Authors should place explanatory matter in a table footnote, not in the heading. Explain all nonstandard abbreviations in the table footnote, and use symbols to explain information if needed.

If you use data from another published or unpublished source, obtain permission and acknowledge that source fully.

Additional tables containing additional data that is too extensive to publish may be added as a supplemental file(s). An appropriate statement should be added to the text to inform readers that this additional information is available and use the appropriate citation (e.g. Supplementary 1). Submit the tables for consideration with the paper so that they will be available to the peer reviewers.

i. Illustrations (Figures)

Digital images of manuscript illustrations should be submitted separately as a PNG or JPG file. Vector illustrations should be submitted separately as an SVG. Although this is an electronic journal, aim to submit PNG or JPG images that are minimally compressed and at a resolution of at least 2000px on the longest dimension.

For X-ray films, scans, and other diagnostic images, as well as pictures of pathology specimens or photomicrographs, send high-resolution photographic image files. 

Figures will not be redrawn, so letters, numbers, and symbols on figures should be clear and consistent throughout, and large enough to remain legible when the figure is reduced for publication. Titles and detailed explanations belong in the legends—not on the illustrations themselves.

Figures should be numbered consecutively according to the order in which they have been cited in the text. If a figure has been published previously, acknowledge the original source and submit written permission from the copyright holder to reproduce it. Permission is required irrespective of authorship or publisher except for documents in the public domain.

In the manuscript, legends for illustrations should be on a separate page, with Arabic numerals (i.e. 1,2,3...) corresponding to the illustrations. When symbols, arrows, numbers, or letters are used to identify parts of the illustrations, identify and explain each one clearly in the legend.

j. Units of Measurement

Measurements of length, height, weight, pressure and volume should be reported in metric units (metre, kilogram, kiloPascal or litre) or their decimal multiples.

Temperatures should be in degrees Celsius. Blood pressures should be in millimeters of mercury.

k. Abbreviations and symbols

Use only standard abbreviations; use of nonstandard abbreviations can be confusing to readers. Avoid abbreviations in the title of the manuscript. The spelled-out abbreviation followed by the abbreviation in parenthesis should be used on first mention unless the abbreviation is a standard unit of measurement. 

l. Conflicts of interest

The credibility of published articles depends in part on how transparently an author's relationships and activities, directly or topically related to a work, are handled during the planning, implementation, writing, peer review, editing, and publication of scientific work.

The journal follows the ICJME guidance for conflict of interests, which states: "The potential for conflict of interest and bias exists when professional judgment concerning a primary interest (such as patients' welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain). Perceptions of conflict of interest are as important as actual conflicts of interest."

If you have a potential or acutal conflict of interest, or are unsure, please complete the ICJME conflict of interest form and include it with your submission to the journal.

m. Ethics

At the end of the manuscript you should include a statement indicating that the research was approved or exempted from the need for review by the responsible review committee (institutional or national). If no formal ethics committee is available, a statement indicating that the research was conducted according to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki should be included.

Confirmation of consent from patients is required for case reports and studies that involve patients (including vulnerable populations) and animals.

n. Approvals

Please details the approvals that were necessary and secured for your paper or if no approvals were necessary. For research conducted in the UK we suggest checking the HRA guidance on necessary approvals at https://www.hra.nhs.uk/approvals-amendments/what-approvals-do-i-need/ as well as the HRA decision tools around 'Is my study research?' https://hra-decisiontools.org.uk/research/ and 'Do I need NHS REC review?'  https://hra-decisiontools.org.uk/ethics/ 

o. Funding

Any source of funding should be stated at the end of the manuscript, or a statement confirming that no funding was provided.

p. Author contributions

Please include a statement at the end of the manuscript outlining the contribution of each author to the study and manuscript.


Last update: 3rd July 2023