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 process, to ensure timely, up-to-date research is available worldwide.
BMJ Open Quality 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.
We take seriously all possible misconduct. If an Editor, 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.
As an open access journal, BMJ Open Quality adheres to the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition of open access and a licence. Articles are published under an exclusive licence or non-exclusive licence for UK Crown employees or where BMJ has agreed CC BY applies. For US Federal Government officers or employees acting as part of their official duties, the terms are as stated in accordance with our licence terms. Authors or their employers retain copyright. Such open access articles can be reused under the terms of the relevant Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content. please refer to the BMJ Open Quality Author Licence. More information on copyright and authors’ rights.
As the author you may wish to post your article in a PrePrint service, institutional or subject repository or a scientific social sharing network. For more information on author self archiving and rights to reuse content – which are dependent on the licence you have obtained – please refer to the BMJ author self archiving and permissions policies page.
Article publishing charges
BMJ Open Quality is an open access journal and levies an Article Publishing Charge (APC) of 1,350 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors) for Research and Reviews. Charges for publishing a Quality Improvement Reports are 1,000 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). There are no submission, colour or page charges.
No payment information is requested before an article is accepted, so the ability to pay cannot affect editorial decisions. Accepted articles will not be published until payment has been received. BMJ does not refund APCs once paid.
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. 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. We will accept part payment where only limited funds are available, and we offer waivers to authors in exceptional circumstances, on request.
For more information on open access, funder compliance, discounts and waivers please refer to the BMJ Author Hub open access page.
Articles submitted to BMJ Open Quality are subject to peer review. The journal operates single blind peer review whereby the names of the reviewers are hidden from the author; this is the traditional method of reviewing and is the most common. For more information on what to expect during the peer review process please refer to BMJ Author Hub – your papers journey.
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 policy page.
BMJ is committed to transparency. Every article we publish includes a description of its provenance (commissioned or not commissioned) and whether it was internally or externally peer reviewed.
Plagiarism is the appropriation of the language, ideas or thoughts of another without crediting their true source and representation of them as one’s own original work. 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. BMJ runs manuscripts through iThenticate during the peer review process. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting www.ithenticate.com.
BMJ Open Quality adheres to BMJ’s Tier 3 data policy. We strongly encourage that data generated by your research that supports your article be made available as soon as possible, wherever legally and ethically possible.
All research articles must contain a Data Availability Statement. For more information and FAQs, please see BMJ’s full Data Sharing Policy page.
Reporting patient and public involvement
BMJ encourages active patient and public involvement in clinical research as part of its patient and public partnership strategy. To support co-production of research we request that authors provide a Patient and Public Involvement statement in the methods section of their papers, under the subheading ‘Patient and public involvement’.
We appreciate that patient and public involvement is relatively new and may not be feasible or appropriate for all papers. We therefore continue to consider papers where patients were not involved.
The Patient and Public Involvement statement should provide a brief response to the following questions, tailored as appropriate for the study design reported (please find example statements here):
- At what stage in the research process were patients/the public first involved in the research and how?
- How were the research question(s) and outcome measures developed and informed by their priorities, experience, and preferences?
- How were patients/the public involved in the design of this study?
- How were they involved in the recruitment to and conduct of the study?
- Were they asked to assess the burden of the intervention and time required to participate in the research?
- How were (or will) they be involved in your plans to disseminate the study results to participants and relevant wider patient communities (e.g. by choosing what information/results to share, when, and in what format)?
If patients were not involved please state this.
In addition to considering the points above we advise authors to look at guidance for best reporting of patient and public involvement as set out in the GRIPP2 reporting checklist.
If the Patient and Public Involvement statement is missing in the submitted manuscript we will request that authors provide it.
Please review the below article type specifications including the required article lengths, illustrations, table limits and reference counts. The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements, contributions and references. Manuscripts should be as succinct as possible.
For further support when making your submission please refer to the resources available on the BMJ Author Hub. Here you will find information on writing and formatting your research through to 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.
If your article is accepted you can take advantage of BMJ’s partnership with Kudos, a free service to help you maximise your article’s reach.
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.
Following the lead of The BMJ and its patient partnership strategy, BMJ Open Quality is encouraging active patient involvement in setting the research agenda. As such, we require authors of Research Articles to add a Patient and Public Involvement statement in the Methods section. Please see more details above.
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.
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.
Systematic reviews, whether qualitative or quantitative (i.e., meta-analyses) should conform to the same guidelines outlined above for Original Research. Detailed search strategies and other supplementary materials will be considered for inclusion as online-only appendices.
Word count: 3000-4000 words
Abstract: structured, up to 275 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 5 tables or illustrations
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
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: up to 750 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 2 Tables or Figures – word count can be up to 1,000 words if only 1 (or no) Table/Figure
Quality education report
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 report
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
Figures/Tables: up to 3 tables or figures
Criteria for a Quality Improvement Report
- 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.
- 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
- Ideally, the project outcomes should be sustainable
- 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.
- 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.
The BMJ Publishing Group journals are willing to consider publishing supplements to regular issues. Supplement proposals may be made at the request of:
- The journal editor, an editorial board member or a learned society may wish to organise a meeting, sponsorship may be sought and the proceedings published as a supplement.
- The journal editor, editorial board member or learned society may wish to commission a supplement on a particular theme or topic. Again, sponsorship may be sought.
- The BMJPG itself may have proposals for supplements where sponsorship may be necessary.
- A sponsoring organisation, often a pharmaceutical company or a charitable foundation, that wishes to arrange a meeting, the proceedings of which will be published as a supplement.
In all cases, it is vital that the journal’s integrity, independence and academic reputation is not compromised in any way.
For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplements guidelines.
When contacting us regarding a potential supplement, please include as much of the information below as possible.
- Journal in which you would like the supplement published
- Title of supplement and/or meeting on which it is based
- Date of meeting on which it is based
- Proposed table of contents with provisional article titles and proposed authors
- An indication of whether authors have agreed to participate
- Sponsor information including any relevant deadlines
- An indication of the expected length of each paper Guest Editor proposals if appropriate