- What will it cost
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All BMJ Case Reports should have two key elements:
1) Substantial novel learning value
We publish both common and rare cases as long as there is something new to learn from these and clinical information is presented in a manner that optimises learning. It is essential that the clinical evidence is presented in full and supports the conclusions and learning points made. Information should be presented in a manner that maximises learning value with:
– flowcharts that show clinical course time lines
– illustrative diagrams that facilitate the interpretation of clinical images
– graphs of results
– management algorithms
– referenced guidelines
2) Be patient-centred
We suggest that you write about a patient who is currently under your care – someone who can be a part of the writing process and is available for you to double check details, clarify parts of the clinical story, follow up easily in person or online, and able to offer you their individual perspective of their experience of illness and treatment.
We do not publish case reports that:
- assess the efficacy or effectiveness of new interventions, new drugs, unlicensed substances, or lifestyle changes
- describe drug efficacy, drug interactions or adverse drug effects in patients enrolled in ongoing clinical trials
- describe single-instance, off-label or experimental use of an existing drug or a combination of drugs used for a new clinical indication or the results of phase 2 clinical trials
- have been previously submitted to a preprint server as there are patient confidentiality concerns
- have more than one case (case series). If we feel that an article is strengthened by the inclusion of more than one case, we may consider the article provided it includes no more than three patients. Please contact the editor-in-chief before submitting a case series
Authors are requested to declare at submission whether the patient described in their case report is enrolled in a clinical trial – whether the trial relates directly to the illness and treatment reported in the case report or otherwise, and whether the authors are the trial investigators or otherwise.
How to submit
When you submit to BMJ Case Reports you will be required to upload 4 documents:
1) Case report – using the relevant template as a Word document
2) Figures – a separate word document for each image
3) Patient consent form
4) Author statements
Read our Author Guide for more information. For further support please refer to the resources available on the BMJ Author Hub., where you will find information on writing and formatting, dealing with the peer review process and promoting your paper. You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services.
Case report templates
BMJ Case Reports publishes clinical case reports, global health case reports and images. Each article type has a unique writing template. Videos may be uploaded with any of these article types. Please download and type directly into our Word templates. Each template contains important formatting information, and advice on what to write and how to present your case. Read our Author Guide for more information.
Our templates have evolved over the last 10 years, and are updated regularly in line with publication guidelines and changes in medical education. Whether you have published with us before or this is your first report, please, check the template instructions and reminders carefully.
Select a patient you have seen who presents a diagnostic or management challenge, or may illustrate a mechanism of injury, or clinical-pathological correlation of educational value.
We recommend a maximum of 2,000 words for clinical reports (excluding the summary and references), but this is not a strict word limit and may be exceeded if important points require further explanation, especially during revision.
– the learning outcomes should be important and novel
– there should be a detailed and balanced review of relevant up-to-date literature
– include diagrams, flowcharts and algorithms that you have drawn so that each case may be used as a textbook case
We encourage authors to provide a patient perspective detailing the patient’s experience of illness, treatment, recovery and rehabilitation. This is a separate and distinct section in the report written or dictated to the authors by the patient in their own words.
Care should be taken not to reveal personal identifying information. Translation to English or correction of grammar/phrasing may be performed by the authors with the patient’s approval. The patient perspective is optional, not obligatory. Single sentence statements of thanks will not be published.
These are case reports that focus on the causes of ill health, the social determinants of health and access to healthcare services, prevailing local and national issues that affect health and wellbeing, and the challenges in providing care to vulnerable populations or with limited resources.
We recommend a maximum of 4,000 words for global health case reports (excluding the summary and references), but this is not a strict word limit and may be exceeded if important points require further explanation, especially during revision.
– there should be comprehensive and critical appraisal of relevant global health literature
– include published public health and epidemiological data
– include an in-depth understanding of the anthropological background of the case
Images in… are short descriptions of cases centred around relevant clinical images and videos. Images should be accompanied by no more than 500 words (if revision requires additional text, the word limit may be exceeded). Add line diagrams beside clinical images to better illustrate the anatomy – this substantially adds to learning value.
- Videos are published under the same copyright terms as the associated article
- The content and focus of the video must relate directly to the case report
- If audio narration is used, please, ensure that this is clear
- Annotate and label essential structures in videos
- Do not add background music or colourful animation
- Use the compression parameters that video sharing sites use. Often these are standard options in your editing software. A comprehensive guide is available from Vimeo
- Do not show any identifiable features of living patients and/or identifiable personal details in the foreground or background
All submissions to BMJ Case Reports require an Author Statements form. This should be uploaded to ScholarOne along with your Case Report template, figures and patient consent form(s). Your article will not be processed unless we recieve this form.
You will be asked details about the authors and their contributions to the article, competing interests, authorship agreement, patient information and details about an previous publication or press activity.
BMJ Case Reports depends on our peer reviewers to assess the quality and usefulness of the many case reports we receive each year. We have proivded some guidance for our reviewers to help them evaulate articles based on the requirements of the journal, quality, completeness and accuracy of the information presented:
BMJ Case Reports adheres to the highest standards concerning its editorial policies on publication ethics, scientific misconduct, consent and peer review criteria. The journal follows guidance produced by bodies that include the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). To view all BMJ Journal policies please refer to the BMJ Author Hub policies page, including information about our Editors’ roles and responsibilities.
We take seriously all possible misconduct. If an Editor, reviewer, author or reader has concerns that a submitted article describes something that might be considered to constitute misconduct in research, publication or professional behaviour they should forward their concerns to the journal. The publisher will deal with allegations appropriately following ICMJE and COPE guidelines.
All submissions to BMJ Case Reports require the completion of author statements.
Case reports should have a maximum of four authors. One of the co-authors should be the lead clinician responsible for the patient’s care and responsible for the integrity of the content of the case report, signed informed consent and author statements accompanying each manuscript. Corresponding authors who are medical students, foundation year doctors or interns should copy the lead clinician co-author on all journal correspondence.
Authors should ensure that they have “The Right to Write” and check whether anyone else involved in the patient’s care has plans to publish the case, particularly in large healthcare institutions where patients have been undergoing treatment for long periods or when multidisciplinary teams are involved in a single patient’s care. Authorship should be agreed within the authors’ institution before submission of the manuscript. We strongly advise against sole authorship of a manuscript – inclusion of the relevant clinical team makes for a comprehensive manuscript, rich in learning value.
All authors must have made an individual contribution to the writing of the article as well their involvement in the patient’s care. All authors must meet these requirements:
- be involved in the clinical care of the patient
- give final approval of the manuscript
- be responsible for drafting of the text, sourcing and editing of clinical images, results of clinical investigations, drawing of original diagrams and management algorithms, and critical revision for important intellectual content
- agree to be accountable for the article and to ensure that all questions regarding the accuracy or integrity of the article are investigated and resolved.
You can find out further information on authorship on our author hub.
Patients as co-authors
Should a patient wish to co-author a manuscript please send a pre-submission enquiry to the editor-in-chief (email@example.com).
- authors are required to declare in the author statement that they are the patient in the case report, this statement will appear in the case report
- we do not publish case reports where the patient is the sole author or the patient is a relative of the author
- the report will require careful anonymisation – patients with concerns about anonymity are advised not to co-author manuscripts but to add their patient perspective instead
Patient consent and confidentiality
Publication of any personal information about an identifiable living patient requires the explicit consent of the patient or legal guardian – this is a requirement under the UK’s Data Protection legislation. We will not consider a manuscript without consent.
Authors should use the latest BMJ consent form, which is available in several languages.
The senior author and lead clinician in the patient’s care is responsible for overseeing the consent process. Consent forms signed only by medical students, foundation year doctors or interns will not be accepted by the editorial office.
- we require consent from everyone whose medical information is disclosed in the manuscript (e.g., parents, siblings, etc)
- signature of the consent form should be after the patient has seen and approved the manuscript
- if the manuscript is substantially changed as a result of revisions, the authors should confirm that the patient has seen and approved the final manuscript
- patients should be made aware that published online content may be picked up by non-BMJ or non-medical media
- after publication of a case report, should authors wish to submit a second manuscript describing the progress of the same patient, up to date informed consent will be needed with a new consent form signed by the patient
If the patient is deceased the UK Data Protection Act does not apply. The authors must seek permission from a relative (ideally the next of kin or legal guardian) who may sign the consent form and state their relation to the patient.
They should be aware of the implications of publication before they sign the deceased patient consent form. Please contact the editorial office at firstname.lastname@example.org before submission if you have any queries.
Please see the author hub for BMJ standards on anonymisation. Please anonymise all patient details in the manuscript as much as possible. The following guidelines should be followed to ensure patient anonymity:
- anonymise all details of patients in the text, tables, figures, figure legends and within the patient perspective section
- unless clinically relevant, ethnicity and occupation should not be included
- when describing family history in the case report use “first degree relative” or ”second degree relative” for parents or siblings or grandparents or cousins
- exclude specific ages, instead use “early”/”mid”/”late” “20s”, “30s”, “40s”….
- childhood age ranges include preterm neonatal, term neonatal (birth – 27 days), infancy (28 days – 12 months), toddler (13 months – 2 years), early childhood (2 – 5 years), middle childhood (6 – 11 years), early adolescence (12 – 18 years) and late adolescence (19 – 21 years)
Articles submitted to BMJ Case Reports are subject to peer review. The journal operates single anonymised peer review whereby the names of the reviewers are hidden from the author. Manuscripts are sent to two external expert peer reviewers. A decision is then sent to the author by the handling editor. Revised articles should be submitted with tracked changes and comprehensive responses to all reviewer and editor comments.
For more information on what to expect during the peer review process please refer to BMJ Author Hub – the peer review process.
Manuscripts authored by a member of a journal’s editorial team are independently peer reviewed; an editor will have no input or influence on the peer review process or publication decision for their own article.
BMJ requests that all reviewers adhere to a set of basic principles and standards during the peer-review process in research publication; these are based on the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. Please refer to our peer review terms and conditions and reviewer guidance for each article type.
BMJ takes publication ethics very seriously and abides by the best practice guidance of the Committee on Publication Ethics. BMJ is a member of CrossCheck by CrossRef and iThenticate which is a plagiarism screening service that verifies the originality of content submitted before publication. iThenticate checks submissions against millions of published articles, and billions of web content.
Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting www.ithenticate.com. Every article is screened and any that are deemed to overlap more than trivially with other publications will be rejected automatically with no right of appeal.
A competing interest exists when professional judgement concerning a primary interest (such as patient welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain or personal rivalry). We believe that to make the best decision on how to deal with a paper we should know about any financial competing interest that authors may have.
In the context of a case report this may arise for the authors when they have an interest in the treatment of a patient that may be financial (for example, in the development or manufacture of a medical device) or that may influence, probably without their knowing, their interpretation of their results or those of others (for example, interests in drug manufacture or research).
We are not aiming to eradicate competing interests – they are almost inevitable. We will not reject cases simply because you have a competing interest, but we will make a declaration on whether you have competing interests.
For all manuscripts please provide a statement describing any relevant interests of all authors in the appropriate box on submission (for guidance on relevant competing interests read the BMJ declaration).
We also ask reviewers to provide statements of competing interests, and we use these when assessing the value of peer review.
What will it cost
BMJ Case Reports has a unique business model whereby users (whether authors or readers) become Fellows:
- Individual Fellowships – individuals pay for a 12-month Fellowship period where you may submit as many cases as you like, access all the published material in the journal, and re-use any published material for personal use and teaching without further permission. There are no additional publication or colour charges for accepted articles. The corresponding author must be/become a Fellow
- Institutional Fellowships – faculty, students and staff in such institutions will not have to pay individual Fellowship fees. To check whether your institution has a Fellowship, contact your institutional library. For further information and pricing (based on the number of full time equivalents at the institution) contact our institutional sales team.
During submission, authors can choose to have their article published as open access for 460 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). This is a separate fee to the Fellowship fee and is entirely optional.
You might be eligible for institutional funding. A number of institutions have open access agreements with BMJ which can either cover the whole cost of open access publishing for authors at participating institutions or can allow authors to receive a discount of the Article Processing Charge (APC).
Visit BMJ’s open access agreements page to find out whether your institution is a member and what discounts you may be entitled to.
When publishing in BMJ Case Reports, authors choose between three licence types – exclusive licence granted to BMJ, CC-BY-NC and CC-BY (Creative Commons open access licences require payment of an article processing charge).
BMJ Case Reports authors are required to grant BMJ an assignment of the copyright in the report unless an author is a Crown employee or where BMJ has agreed that CC BY applies. In this case a non exclusive licence is granted to BMJ. For US Federal Government officers or employees acting as part of their official duties, the terms are as stated in accordance with our author agreement. Open access BMJ Case Reports can be reused under the terms of the relevant Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content; please refer to the BMJ Case Reports Author Agreement or the applicable Creative Commons licences.
As an author you may wish to post your article in an institutional or subject repository, or on a scientific social sharing network. What you can do with your article, without seeking permission, depends on the licence you have chosen and the version of your article. Please refer to the BMJ author self archiving and permissions policies page for more information.
A rapid response is a moderated but not peer reviewed online response to a published article in BMJ Case Reports; it will not receive a DOI and will not be indexed.
Find out more about responses and how to submit a response.