Editorial policies, peer review process, ethics and transparency

Peer review process

The British Journal of Cardiology (the BJC) focuses publications on all aspects of cardiovascular medicine. Submissions are encouraged both from the UK and internationally. The Journal publishes a mix of original research, clinical review papers, case studies, editorials, news, views and correspondence, and reports from international congresses. Unlike any other existing UK publications, the BJC provides a unique bridge for hospital doctors and primary care health professionals to share knowledge. Currently we have approximately 27,000 healthcare professionals registered on our website. Roughly half of these are from the UK and the remainder are from other countries. Over the past 25 years we have provided doctors and other healthcare workers with high quality educational materials, views and opinions which reflect the ever changing nature of advances in care. We are the official journal of a number of distinguished medical bodies including the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, The British Junior Cardiologists Association, HEART UK, the British Heart Valve Society, Anticoagulation UK, and the Cardiorenal Forum.

The BJC supports the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) on Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts (URM) Submitted to Biomedical Journals. These can be accessed at www.icmje.org

All manuscripts are sent to at least 2 referees for single-blind review before publication. Approved articles are published quarterly in the online and print editions of the BJC. Unfortunately we do not have a specific timeframe for publication, but we do attempt to expedite submitted manuscripts as much as possible, so that response to authors is timely. All corrections are assessed prior to accepting any manuscript. Similarly notice of rejection is made clear as early as possible. Corrections brought to the attention of the publisher will be published in print in the next possible issue and online as soon as possible. The same applies to retractions. Editorials and news items written by BJC staff are not externally peer reviewed.

The BJC’s editors treat all submitted manuscripts as confidential documents. We do not divulge their contents or any information about them with anyone without the consent of the authors. During the process of reviewing the manuscript the following people may have access to the documents for review purposes:

  • Editors and editorial staff at or working on behalf of the BJC
  • External reviewers, including experts in the relevant field or in trial methods, and statisticians
  • Members of the BJC editorial board
  • The only reason we may divulge details of or about a manuscript to a third party without the consent of the authors would be in the event of suspicion of clinical, research or scientific misconduct.

Ethical considerations

The BJC aims to ensure that all articles published in the BJC conform to acceptable ethical norms, and expects authors to adhere to the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki.

Informed consent of participants of studies is an important aspect of ethical appraisal of scientific and clinical studies. The BJC conforms to all UK laws on data protection, including the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU 2016/679). Authors in the UK should be aware that the General Medical Council has extensive guidance on patient consent and confidentiality, which the BJC conforms to.

However the BJC may also ask if the design and conduct of each manuscript is ethically justifiable by considering these questions:

  • What (additional) burdens are placed on the patients (or others)?
  • What (additional) risks are imposed on the patients (or others)?
  • What benefits might the patients (or others) receive as a result of the work?
  • What potential future benefits are there to the wider society?
  • To what extent does this deviate from accepted clinical practice?

For further clarification – the editors may ask authors to provide additional detailed information on how they justified their work ethically and/or any contact details for ethical committees that reviewed their work, or to explain what ethical considerations or justifications they made in the case that their work was not reviewed by an ethics committee or institutional review board.

Any material published by the BJC which involves use of animals must adhere to the highest ethical standards concerning animal welfare, including the meeting of any relevant legal requirements regarding the treatment of animals.

Conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest can occur where professional judgement concerning a primary interest such as patient welfare, or research validity may be said to be influenced by a secondary interest such as financial interest or personal differences. We always ask about and publish any legitimate conflict of interest in our articles.

The BJC always publishes any sponsorship information that may relate to the production of or funding of any article – especially if it could be considered to influence the editorial independence of the article in question.

We regularly add to these editorial, ethical and transparency policies. This page was last updated on 20th June 2018. If you believe there is something missing, please do contact us at editorial@bjcardio.co.uk