Contributing to BJGP Open
BJGP Open accepts submissions from authors worldwide and benefits from the expertise of our peer reviewers. Select 'Submit article' to access the Allentrack online submission system, choosing the BJGP Open Manuscript Types on the submission form.
- Research articles
- Randomised controlled trials
- Systematic reviews
- Clinical and policy reviews
- Research protocols
- Qualitative research
- Guidelines on reporting health research
- Open access publication
- Submit an article to BJGP Open
The title should be a clear description of the topic of the research and the methods and setting used for the study. It should not exceed 12 words.
If you put your name to an article you must fulfil the standard requirements for authorship.
All research articles should have a structured abstract of no more than 250 words. This should be set out with the following headings: Background, Aim, Design & setting, Method, Results, Conclusion, and Keywords. Please ensure that the most important results are fully reported and that the Conclusion is as specific as possible about the implications of your work for practice and research.
You can include up to six keywords, which should be MeSH headings. Ensure that primary health care, family practice, or general practice are included where appropriate.
How this fits in
Summarise, in no more than four short sentences, what was previously known or believed on the topic and what this piece of research adds, particularly focusing on the relevance to clinicians.
Articles should follow the traditional format of Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion. We recommend that the main text does not exceed 2500 words, excluding tables and figures as described below. Articles may be returned without review if this guidance is ignored.
Generic names of drugs should be used wherever possible. We discourage the use of non-standard abbreviations for medical terms, except where it would otherwise make the text unwieldy.
Footnotes are not included in the main text and will be removed.
This should be a succinct and up-to-date review of the key publications informing the intellectual background to the study. It does not need to be a systematic review, but should avoid obviously selective citation of the literature. The introduction should lead to the framing of the research question being asked, and this should be clearly stated.
This section should include a description of setting, patients, intervention, the time that the study took place, instruments used to measure outcomes, statistical tests applied, and software used for analysis, stating the version number. It should also include any arrangements for data oversight.
This section should contain all the information required by reviewers and readers to assess the validity of the conclusions. For quantitative studies, the section should include details of the response rates and numbers lost to follow-up, and trials should include a CONSORT flow diagram. For more information, see the specific guidance on research articles below.
Results of statistical analyses should be reported using estimates and confidence intervals whenever possible, to provide indications of magnitude and precision rather than just P-values. Where P-values are presented so that readers can judge the strength of evidence for themselves, the exact figure should be quoted to two significant figures down to P = 0.01. Any figure below this can be quoted to one significant figure down to P = 0.001, below which P<0.001 will suffice. Examples of presentations are therefore P = 0.087, P = 0.002 but not P = 0.0005.
Structure the discussion using these subheadings:
- Strengths and limitations
- Comparison with existing literature
- Implications for research and/or practice
Authors are expected to adopt this structure unless there are good reasons for not doing so. Additional subheadings can be used if they are likely to help readers understand the article.
Tables and figures
Up to a total of six tables, figures, or boxes are permitted in an article. Close attention should be paid to ensure clear presentation of data. This will normally mean keeping the data in each table (and the number of tables) to the minimum possible. A rough guide would be no more than five columns and rows in each table. The same general rule applies to figures.
We encourage use of graphic representation of data; please ensure that original data are also included for the purpose of redrafting where necessary. Pie charts are discouraged. All figures and tables must have a caption.
At the end of the text and before the references we ask authors to report:
- Funding: name of funding body with reference number where appropriate
- Ethical approval: body giving ethics approval with reference number where appropriate
- Competing interests
Authors should include acknowledgements of all those who have helped with and contributed to the study (including patients) who are not authors of the article. Individuals should only be acknowledged with their express permission.
These are presented in Vancouver style, with standard NLM title abbreviations for journals. References to personal communications in the text should include the date. Do not use automatic formatting features of your software such as footnotes and endnotes to indicate references.
Authors submitting randomised controlled trials should follow the revised CONSORT guidelines, including a completed CONSORT checklist and flowchart of participants in the trial.
You should also note the difficulty outlined in making statements about an intention-to-treat analysis. We acknowledge that this is a difficult area and ask that authors are candid about handling the data of patients lost to follow-up.
Negative trials, which refute a widely-used practice or policy, for instance, will be favourably considered.
We welcome systematic reviews, with or without meta-analysis (up to 2500 words plus data presented in up to six tables, figures, or boxes) on areas of interest and importance to primary care. They should be written in a style suitable for the BJGP Open, but should aspire to the quality standards set by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
You may find it helpful to consult the instructions for systematic reviews given on the Cochrane Collaboration website. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses should conform to the PRISMA statement. Reviews should include a structured abstract, a statement of the question that you are attempting to answer, and a description of the search strategy used to answer it. Authors should attempt to synthesise results of primary care research either quantitatively or qualitatively.
We also welcome non-systematic reviews of clinical and policy topics, particularly when recent evidence has emerged to support new approaches to clinical diagnosis or management, or to provide new guidance on the structure and delivery of primary care services. These reviews should not exceed 2500 words plus up to 4 tables, figures or boxes. They should include an Introduction which clearly sets out the clinical or policy question being addressed, and a main section, broken up with appropriate sub-headings, which sets out the available evidence in a critical narrative. A brief concluding section should encapsulate the main points of the review and, as far as possible, answer the question posed in the Introduction, as well as mentioning evidence gaps and topics for further research.
Researchers often find it helpful to publish a peer-reviewed version of the research study protocol in advance of conducting and writing up the research itself. We will be happy to consider submissions of research protocols. Researchers also find it useful to publish the results of small-scale feasibility studies which, for example, provide guidance on likely recruitment rates and dropouts during follow-up in a larger study. We will be happy to consider submissions of feasibility studies. The text should not exceed 2500 words, with up to four accompanying figures or diagrams.
Articles describing qualitative research should conform to the guidance set out in: Murphy E, Dingwall R, Greatbatch D, et al. Qualitative research methods in health technology assessment: a review of the literature. Health Technol Assess 1998; 2(16): 1–13.
Illustrative quotes should be included in the results section of the text where the themes are described. Quotes are, in a sense, equivalent to the tables and figures of quantitative articles, and should be included in the word count, so that the limit of 4000 words applies to the main text plus the quotes and their identifiers.
The EQUATOR Network provides details of all the guidelines on reporting various kinds of research studies including the following:
- RECORD for studies using routinely-collected health data and electronic health records;
- STARD for studies on the evaluation of diagnostic tests; and
- STROBE for observational studies.
BJGP Open operates an open access publication policy for all its articles. We make accepted papers freely available where the funder of the research has agreed to pay for open access publication, and the authors can claim the Article Processing Charge (APC). Payment of APCs and open access publication do not affect the Journal's usual peer review processes.
Many funders such as the Research Councils, the National Institute for Health Research, the Wellcome Foundation and some major charities now require authors to make their a research available through open access, and the costs of the APCs are included in research funding applications. The APC for BJGP Open has been set at £1000 (plus VAT where applicable) for Research articles and £250 (plus VAT where applicable) for Practice & Policy articles. Open access not only allows free publication of publicly funded research to everyone, but also enables it to be shared and re-used with minimal restrictions.
Open access articles are published under a Creative Commons licence that allows reuse subject only to the use being non-commercial and to the article being fully attributed. The default license type is CC BY-NC 4.0 license; however, requests for CC BY 4.0 license will be granted if specified. The articles are fully available on publication via the BJGP Open website.
Submit your article via the BJGP Open submission system BJGP Allentrack, choosing the BJGP Open Manuscript Types on the submission form. When you register, make sure you enter your email address correctly, otherwise we’ll have no way of contacting you. If your email address changes, remember to update your profile.