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BMJ Open Quality adheres to a rigorous and transparent peer review process and all papers will be considered on the basis of ethical and methodological soundness rather than their novelty, significance, or relevance to any particular audience. The Journal will be published continuously online and aims to operate a fast submission and review process, to ensure timely, up-to-date research is available worldwide.

Submissions should be made through the Journal’s online submission system, which is available here. Articles should not be under review by any other journal when submitted to BMJ Open Quality.

Article publishing charges

BMJ Open Quality is an Open Access journal and all accepted articles will be liable to an Article Publishing Charge (APC). The standard APC for research articles and reviews will be GBP 1,350 (exclusive of VAT). The APC for quality improvement reports will be GBP 1,000 (exclusive of VAT). There are no submission or page charges, and no colour charges. Payment of the APC may be made online by credit card, or by bank transfer following receipt of an invoice.

Your institution may have a BMJ Quality subscription or prepay membership so you don’t have to pay the APCs personally. A list of institutions will be available online soon. Please visit our Open Access Institutional Programme page to see if your institution is part of our Open Access Programme.

Waiver policy

We are working to build research capabilities in low-income countries. As one of the founding members of the HINARI Access to Research in Health Programme, we provide free access to all of our journals, and journals archive to local, not-for-profit institutions in low income countries. Find out more here.

In addition, we appreciate that some authors do not have access to funding to cover publication costs and we offer waivers through our Open Access Waiver Fund. Our Open Access journals will accept part payment where only limited funds are available, and we offer waivers to authors in exceptional circumstances, on request. No payment information is requested before an article is accepted, so the ability to pay cannot affect editorial decisions.

Requests for waivers and discounts will be considered using the following criteria:

  • Whether the research was conducted largely or entirely in a country that is in the Hinari Core Offer
  • Whether there was external funding for the research for any of the authors
  • Whether the authors could contribute from their personal accounts.

Refund policy

We do not offer refunds for Open Access once articles have been published.

Manuscript transfer

Your article will not automatically be transferred to BMJ Open Quality if rejected from another BMJ Journal; however, you can choose BMJ Open Quality as an alternate journal when submitting an article to any BMJ Journal; any reviewer comments will be shared, resulting in a reduced time to decision.

Manuscripts will be evaluated separately by the BMJ Open Quality editorial team, with different criteria for acceptance.

Data checks

BMJ is a member of CrossCheck by CrossRef and iThenticate. iThenticate is a plagiarism screening service that verifies the originality of content submitted before publication. iThenticate checks submissions against millions of published research papers, and billions of web content. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting ithenticate.com

Data sharing

Authors of original research articles are encouraged to include a data sharing statement when submitting their article. The statement should explain which additional unpublished data from the study – if any – are available, to whom, and how these can be obtained.

At present there is no major repository for clinical data, but Dryad has declared its willingness to accept medical datasets. Authors can start the deposition process while submitting to any BMJ Journal. Dryad provides authors with a DOI for the dataset to aid citation and provide a permanent link to the data. Note that Dryad hosts data using a CC0 licence so authors should check that this is suitable for the data that they are depositing. The DataCite organisation has a growing list of other repositories for research data.

Submission policies

For guidelines on policy and submission across our journals, please click on the links below:

Authors may find it useful to consult our pre-submission checklist.

The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements and contributions and the references. If you are not a native English speaker and would like assistance with your article there is a professional editing service available.

Original Research

Original Articles report research and studies relevant to quality of health care. They may cover any aspect, from clinical or therapeutic intervention, to promotion, to prevention. They may cover studies that describe work to implement interventions and studies that aim to improve health care delivery or they may cover studies that explore how the interaction of context and interventions impacts on improvement results. They should usually present evidence indicating that problems of quality of practice may exist, or suggest indications for changes in practice, or contribute towards defining standards or developing measures of outcome. We are particularly interested in articles that contribute to developing approaches to measuring quality of care in routine practice. The journal is interprofessional and welcomes articles from anyone whose work is relevant, including health professionals, managers, practitioners, researchers, policy makers, or information technologists.

Word count: 3000-4000 words
Abstract: up to 275 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 5 tables or illustrations; appendices that present additional methodological details or other relevant materials that may be of interest to readers can also be included with the intention of aiding peer reviewers or providing them as online material for interested readers.

Research checklists should be uploaded during the submission process. If these are not applicable to your research please state the reason in your cover letter.

Systematic Reviews

Systematic reviews, whether qualitative or quantitative (i.e., meta-analyses) should conform to the same guidelines outlined above for Original Research (Word count: 3000-4000 words or less, structured abstract of 275 words or less, and up to 5 Tables/Figs). Detailed search strategies and other supplementary materials will be considered for inclusion as online-only appendices.

Narrative Reviews

We will consider narrative reviews of general topic areas within patient safety , as opposed to structured, systematic reviews that address the effectiveness of specific interventions. E.g., an overview of the state of the science in teamwork training or assessments of patient safety culture. Narrative reviews can also address methodological topics, such as the use of ethnographic methods in patient safety research or a primer on run charts.

Word count: up to 3000 words

Research and Reporting Methodology

Articles that aim to advance research methodology or reporting standards related to patient safety and quality improvement. These articles are distinct from Primers or How to type articles on meant to provide a useful resource for general readers (such reviews fall under the Narrative Review category above)

Word count: 3000 words or less

Short Reports

These articles should be summaries of improvement or implementation best practice that generate one or two learning points for the reader.  Topics might include headline results from original research projects (as per traditional Research Letters), new ways to measure improvement in routine care or how local context affected a piece of implementation.

Word count: 750 words or less with no more than 2 Tables or Figures – can be up to 1000 words if only 1 (or no) Table/Figure

Quality Education Reports

Articles that describe innovative approaches to imparting trainees or practitioners with concepts or tools related to quality improvement or patient safety. Articles that report a robust evaluation can have the same format as Original Research. Less ambitious reports should be less than 1500 words and have fewer than 20 references. For shorter reports, note that the literature already contains numerous descriptions of curricula for students and trainees. To be of interest, the curriculum and, or the evaluation should include some relatively novel element.

Quality Improvement Programme Reports

Articles which outline how quality improvement programmes are set up, their measurable benefits and lessons learnt.

Authors of improvement reports are strongly encouraged to consult the SQUIRE guidelines
(Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence) regarding the format and content.  Please note, authors of improvement reports must use the downloadable SQUIRE template to submit their project

Word count: up to 4000 words
Abstract: 300
Figures/Tables: up to 3 tables or figures

Criteria for a Quality Improvement Report

  1. Describes and evaluates an intervention that aims to improve a process or system of healthcare. The project does not necessarily have to show improvement, but should demonstrate an attempt to improve a process or system.
  2. Is not an audit alone. Shows measurement, improvement, and then measurement repeatedly at least twice. BMJ Quality suggest using the PDSA model for improvement but authors may choose to use different tools. There should be three separate points where measurement has occurred and at least 2 improvement cycles. Authors describe and evaluate the variation in their data over time
  3. Ideally, the project outcomes should be sustainable
  4. Where the intervention is educational, the evaluation examines changes in learners’ knowledge or behaviours and/or resultant organisational change/improvement. Simply reporting learner satisfaction with the intervention is not sufficient, and authors should consider submitting their work to an educational journal.
  5. Where it does not meet all criteria, the report attempts to address this in the limitations section. The report should consider the sustainability of the intervention within the limitations and detail to what extent sustainability has been assessed.

Supplements

The BMJ Publishing Group journals are willing to consider publishing supplements to regular issues. Contact clangford@bmj.com with a brief outline of the proposal and to find out potential costs. The topic must fall within the scope of interest for the journal and meet the usual standards for the journal, as well as its conflict of interest policy.

For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplements guidelines.

Plagiarism Detection

BMJ is a member of CrossCheck by CrossRef and iThenticate. iThenticate is a plagiarism screening service that verifies the originality of content submitted before publication. iThenticate checks submissions against millions of published research papers, and billions of web content. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting www.ithenticate.com.

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