Editorial policy, authors’ instructions and guidance

The British Journal of Cardiology (the BJC) is pleased to consider manuscripts on all aspects of cardiovascular medicine and related disciplines. We publish manuscripts that aim to inform and aid understanding of research and medical practice. We support the continuous medical education of specialist and general cardiologists, as well as other healthcare professionals with an interest in cardiovascular medicine, in both secondary and primary care. Manuscripts should be written so that they are accessible to all healthcare professionals interested in this field.

Submissions are encouraged from the UK and internationally. All material is assumed to be exclusively submitted to the BJC unless otherwise stated in writing.

The BJC supports the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) on Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts (URM) Submitted to Biomedical Journals; Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals. These can be accessed at www.icmje.org. We also draw particular attention to ICMJE recommendations relating to ethical considerations, particularly those on the protection of human subjects and animals in research, conflicts of interest and peer review.

The BJC expects all parties involved in the publication of any of its content (the publisher, editors, authors, and reviewers) to follow these guidelines.

Types of manuscripts

The BJC publishes a mix of balanced and comprehensive articles comprising review papers, original research, short reports, case studies, editorials and correspondence.

  • Review articles provide in-depth surveys of recent advances in a field. Suggestions for review articles should be provided in the form of a one page synopsis or discussed with the editors (production@bjcardio.co.uk) prior to submission. Articles should be around 3,000 words in length (including tables, figure legends, and references). Ideally authors should limit the number of tables and figures to 5.
  • Original articles, such as audits and clinical studies, should inform and update health care professionals on evolving issues and advances in clinical practice. These should be around 3,000 words in length (including tables, figure legends, and references). Ideally authors should limit the number of tables and figures to 5.
  • Short reports and communications should contain original data and may include manuscripts of clinical studies, high quality observational work (clinical or experimental) or study results which can be summarised in under 1,500 words with up to 2 figures or tables. Case reports are not acceptable under this format.
  • Correspondence and letters are encouraged to provide comments on previously published papers or on important or novel aspects of research in the field. These should be around 500 words in length.
  • Case reports of brief and novel clinical cases are considered for publication. It is advisable to provide a short synopsis of the case to editors (production@bjcardio.co.uk) prior to submission, as occasionally we have an excess of such manuscripts submitted. Reports can be illustrated with two to three tables or images. Articles submitted as case reports should be no more than 800 words.
  • Editorials are welcome. These should be opinion pieces or commentaries on articles, guidelines, or important or novel pieces of work. They should be around 1,000 words in length.

 

Submission

Please read all our guidance before submitting your manuscript, which should be sent by email to: production@bjcardio.co.uk. A manuscript checklist is given at the end of this section and authors should check manuscripts meet our requirements before submission. Receipt of manuscripts is acknowledged by the BJC by email.

Manuscript requirements and formatting

Manuscripts should be submitted in English, in Microsoft Word format, with text double-spaced, and pages numbered.

Title page: this should carry details of the authors’ full names, positions and their professional address. An email address and telephone number should be given for the corresponding author. Please state the contribution of each author to the manuscript (see authorship for more details)

Abstract: a brief summary of the article (circa 200 words) is required for all articles except editorials or correspondence

Key words: use the medical subject headings (MeSH) list in Index Medicus (where possible)

Key messages: three or four bullet points summarising the article for the busy reader are required for all articles except editorials, case reports and correspondence

Introduction: this should state simply the article’s aim and its relevance to current practice

Materials and methods (for original articles and short reports)

Results (for orginal articles and short reports)

Discussion should assess and review the relevance and significance of the article’s content in relation to current knowledge and practice, as well as discuss its limitations

References should follow the Vancouver Convention style (see References below)

Units SI units should be used

Acronyms and abbreviations Please spell out in full the first time used including in legends, figures etc

Tables should be used to summarise data instead of text whenever possible. Each table should be on a separate page with the legend clearly indicated in bold type

Figures can be used to illustrate relevant key results, demographics, procedures and findings. Sole-authored papers require a photograph of the author. (See Illustrations, artwork and photographs)

Acknowledgements (see authorship)

Funding (see conflict of interest and funding)

Conflicts of interest for all authors should be declared (see conflict of interest and funding)

Statements of consent and ethical approval (see ethical considerations and consent)

Authorship

All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship following the ICMJE guidelines. The order of authorship should be a joint decision of the co-authors. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content. Authorship credit should be based on substantial contribution to conception and design, execution, or analysis and interpretation of data. All authors should be involved in drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, and must have read and approved the final version of the manuscript. In the case of co-authored manuscripts, the corresponding author will also be responsible for authorising the submission via the online submission system.

Substantive contributions to the article from persons not qualified for authorship should be noted by the author(s) in an acknowledgement.

Conflicts of interest and funding

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. Receipt of financial assistance, materials, industry affiliations and other resources should be declared by all authors. For more information and to download a Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest, which can be submitted with your manuscript, please visit the ICMJE site.

Funding

Details of all funding sources for the work in question should be given in a separate section entitled ‘Funding’.

Sponsorship

The BJC will always clearly declare sponsorship information that may relate to the production of or funding of any article, that could be considered to have influenced the editorial independence of the article.

Ethical considerations

The BJC aims to ensure that all its published articles conform to the highest ethical standards. It expects authors – and the investigators of any studies cited – to adhere to the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki, which relates to ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects.

Any material published by the BJC that involves use of animals must also adhere to the highest ethical standards concerning animal welfare, including the meeting of any relevant legal requirements regarding the treatment of animals and those of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research of the National Research Council and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

The peer review of manuscripts by the BJC thus includes judgment as to whether or not the investigative methods conform to the standards of good research practice.

The editors ask authors to provide 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.

Consent

Informed consent of participants of studies is an important aspect of ethical appraisal of scientific and clinical studies. Authors should include a statement in the manuscript that informed consent was obtained if a study with human subjects was conducted. Authors in the UK should be aware that the General Medical Council has extensive guidance on patient consent and confidentiality, to which the BJC conforms.

The right to privacy of human subjects must always be observed. Identifying information, including names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, or pedigrees unless the information is essential and the patient (or designated representative) gives written informed consent for publication, as per COPE guidance. It is the author’s responsibility to ensure that patient anonymity is maintained and, if they are in any doubt, they should obtain consent. Informed consent for this purpose requires that an identifiable patient be shown the manuscript to be submitted. Authors should disclose to these patients that any potential identifiable material will be available via the Internet as well as in print after publication. Patient consent should be written and retained by the authors to ensure confidentiality.

References

Recent literature should be well represented alongside historic reviews within the references. References should be identified in the text by Arabic numerals and numbered in the order cited. All references should be compiled at the end of the article in the Vancouver Convention style (i.e. author-number system). Complete information should be given for each reference, including the title of the article, abbreviated journal title, page numbers and the doi.

Example of typical journal reference:
Al-Lamee R, Thompson D, Dehbi HM et al. Percutaneous coronary intervention in stable angina (ORBITA): a double-blind, randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2018;391:31–40. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32714-9.

Example of book reference:
Camm AJ, Lüscher TF, Maurer G, Serruys PW (eds). The ESC textbook of cardiovascular medicine, 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Illustrations, artwork and photographs

Illustrations, images and photographs should be supplied separately as either eps, jpeg, png, or tiff files (minimum resolution 300 dpi).

Legends should be indicated clearly in the manuscript on a separate page and any images embedded into the word document, should also be sent separately as eps, jpeg, png or tiff files.

Authors are responsible for obtaining the necessary permission for re-use of any previously published material.

A colour head and shoulders passport-style picture is required of the author (for sole-authored papers only) supplied as an eps, jpeg, png or tiff file at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi.

Should authors need to supply original source material by post, such as CT scans or X-Rays, please contact the BJC office in advance to make arrangement.

Peer review process and selection of manuscripts for publication

The majority of our manuscripts are sent to at least 2 referees for single-blind review before publication and authors are invited to suggest possible referees for their work.

News items and conference reports are not externally peer reviewed.

Authors will be sent referees’ reports and invited to revise manuscripts before acceptance. Any notice of rejection is made clear as early as possible.

We do not have a specific timeframe for publication, but we do attempt to expedite submitted manuscripts so that response to authors is timely. Papers will be published in the sequence of acceptance for publication, unless, for exceptional reasons, a paper is recommended by the editors to ‘fast track’.

Proofs

Page proofs of successfully selected manuscripts will be sent to authors. Corrections should be limited to typographical amendments. Authors’ approval will be assumed if corrections are not returned by the date indicated. The corresponding author will need to sign a consent to publish form on behalf of all authors. Failure to return a signed consent form to the publisher will result in delayed publication.

Approved articles are published quarterly in the print editions of the BJC and regularly online ahead of print. Authors will be notified before publication.

The editors reserve the right to publish papers in print in an abbreviated format with the full paper published online.

Copyright

Authors will be asked to provide formal written Consent to Publish and Transfer of Copyright to Medinews (Cardiology) Limited, the publishers of the BJC, before publication of their submission. The Author retains the right to republish the Contribution in any printed collection consisting solely of the Author’s own Works without charge and subject only to notifying MediNews (Cardiology) Limited of the intent to do so and to ensuring that the publication by the Publisher is properly credited and that the relevant copyright notice is repeated verbatim.

Corrections after publication

Corrections after publication that are brought to the attention of the publisher will be published in print in the next possible issue and online as soon as possible after being notified. The same applies to retractions.

Data protection/confidentiality

The BJC’s editors, editorial staff and board, peer reviewers, and others involved with the journal publication,  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 and publishing a manuscript, the following people may have access to the documents:

  • 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 a legitimate business interest such as suspicion of clinical, research or scientific misconduct.

The BJC conforms to all UK laws on data protection, including the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU 2016/679). You can find out more on our privacy policy page.

We regularly add to these editorial, ethical and transparency policies.
This page was last updated on 29th January 2019. If you believe there is something missing, please do contact us at editorial@bjcardio.co.uk

Authors checklist

Manuscript format and authorship:
Your manuscript should be written in English and be saved as a Microsoft Word document, with text double spaced and pages numbered.
Is your abstract in the correct format?
Have you provided first and family names, job titles and addresses for all authors?
Have you provided an email address and telephone number for the corresponding author?
Have you stated each author’s contribution to the manuscript?
Have you supplied key words?
For appropriate manuscripts, have you supplied key messages?
Is your manuscript the requisite length (word count) following our guidance for the number of tables/figures and references?
Has the manuscript been ‘spell checked’ and ‘grammar checked’?
Have you used SI units?

Tables
Are your tables in an editable format and on separate pages?
Are they embedded into the main word document?
Have they been cited in the text?
Have you provided appropriate table legends?
Have you obtained copyright permission to re-use any previously published material?
Has the source been acknowledged?

Figures
Are your figures separate from the text?
Have they been supplied in files of an acceptable format (eps, jpeg, png, tiff) and are they of sufficient quality?
Have the files been labelled appropriately?
Have the figures been cited in the text?
Have you provided appropriate figure legends?
Have you obtained copyright permission to re-use any previously published material?
Has the source been acknowledged?

References
Are all the references in the correct (Vancouver style) format?
Have all of the references been cited in the text?
Have you added the DOI where possible?

Statements: Ethical, patient consent, funding, contributors, and conflicts of interest
Have you provided details of ethical approval and patient consent?
Have you declared conflicts of interests for all authors?
Have you declared all funding and other sources of support?
Have you acknowledged all contributors to your work?

Suggested reviewers
Have you suggested reviewers for your paper?