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Instructions for Authors

For general guidelines on policy and submission across all journals from BMJ, please click on the links below:
Manuscript preparation
Editorial policies
Patient consent forms
Licence forms
Peer review
Submission and production processes

Editorial policies

Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care promotes the advancement of the field through coverage of related subjects such as contraception, abortion services, menopause, sexual/reproductive health, sexual dysfunction services, sexually transmitted infection testing/treatment, clinical practice, health education and training.  The journal welcomes the submission of current research in sexual and reproductive health (SRH), timely reviews of important topics in SRH, and articles and commentaries relevant to all health care professionals working in SRH. 

We aim to ensure a fair and independent peer review system whereby all submitted articles are reviewed externally by at least two independent experts, in addition to having an Associate Editor assigned to oversee each article throughout the peer review process.

Policy decisions regarding content and related matters are made by the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, in consultation with members of the Editorial Board, who actively participate in the peer review process.

Authors are advised to adhere to the journal’s Instructions for Authors to facilitate the prompt consideration of their article.

Article types and word counts 

The types of articles accepted by the journal are detailed below, together with the maximum permitted article extents in words and/or the equivalent in illustrative or tabular material. Any articles that do not conform to these specifications may be returned to the author for revision prior to peer review. Authors should contact the Editorial Office in advance of manuscript submission should they feel the need to deviate greatly from the given article extents. 

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

Original article

Original articles are full-length reports of original quantitative or qualitative research studies or clinical investigations. Consensus statements and meta-analyses are included. Original articles should include a structured abstract and key message points.

The structured abstract should comprise no more than 250 words (additional to the words of the main body of the text) and should be structured under the headings: background, aim, design, setting, methods, results, conclusions (or similar as appropriate). In addition to an abstract, authors should include as part of the text a box containing key message points. This should comprise a maximum of three bullet points of no more than 25 words each, highlighting the main features of, and lessons to be learned from, the article.

Introduction: The introduction should set the study in context by relating to a brief review of relevant knowledge of the subject. This should be followed by a concise statement of the aims and objectives of the study.

Methods: Sufficient information should be provided so that other researchers can repeat the study. We would expect to see information under the following subheadings as appropriate: design setting, participants, intervention, outcomes, sample size and statistical analysis. For statistical analyses authors should give sufficient details of the experimental design and analysis so that the reader can assess their adequacy and validity.

Results: Results should be presented in the form of text, tables and figures as appropriate. Data given in tables and figures should not be repeated in the text. Tables and figures should be cited in the text in numerical order.

Discussion: The interpretation of results should be discussed, observations should be related to relevant studies, limitations of the study acknowledged and the implications of results for future research should be outlined. Results should not be repeated in this section.

Word count: up to 3000 words
Illustrations/Tables: maximum of 4 tables or figures (supplementary online-only data permitted)
References: maximum of 40 references

NB. Whilst the journal does not publish short communications as such, authors are welcome to submit audit reports, pilot studies, preliminary reports of a clinical study, and follow-up reports from previously published papers. These should be written as concisely as possible (the suggested maximum word count is 2000 words, with a maximum of 2 tables or figures and 20 references), they should include a structured abstract and key message points, and ideally should contain the same headings as for original articles.

Review

A comprehensive, evidence-based review of the literature relating to an important, major clinical area, with a critical analysis and conclusions. The literature review methodology, including databases searched, search terms and dates, should be detailed. For reviews an abstract is optional, however they should include up to three key message points, comprising a maximum of three bullet points of no more than 25 words each.

Word count: up to 5000 words
Illustrations/Tables: maximum of 4 tables or figures (supplementary online-only data permitted)
References: maximum of 80 references

Case report

The journal occasionally publishes individual case reports, but only if they convey an important or novel learning point for our community of health professionals (e.g. cases involving a new manifestation of a disease or condition, or important diagnostic or management issues). It is therefore vital that authors make absolutely clear in their covering letter, as well as in the case report itself, why they see the lessons of the case to be important for their colleagues’ practice.

For those submitted case reports that the editorial panel deem to be of insufficient importance for publication in the journal, resubmission in the form of a Letter to the Editor (see below) is often advised.

Please note that patient consent is required for the use of images/case descriptions.

Word count: up to 1000 words
Illustrations/Tables: maximum of 1 table or figure
References: maximum of 5 references

Commentary

Commentaries should be knowledge-based and express objective perspectives, opinions or experiences on a clinical area. They may focus on an original article scheduled to be published in the same issue of the journal, in which case they are usually commissioned.

Word count: up to 1500 words
Illustrations/Tables: maximum of 2 tables or figures
References: maximum of 10 references

Personal view/Viewpoint

Personal views/Viewpoints differ from commentaries in that they provide authors with an opportunity to express their own personal views and opinions on a specific topic or theme, which may of course differ greatly from commonly held views and may thus be controversial.

Word count: up to 1500 words
Illustrations/Tables: maximum of 2 tables or figures
References: maximum of 10 references

Better way of working

The journal publishes occasional “Better Way of Working?” articles, the purpose of which is to disseminate service delivery suggestions likely to be of interest and relevance to readers. Contributions should ideally be submitted in a ‘question and answer’ format addressing questions such as: Why was change needed? How did you go about implementing change? What advice would you give to others who might be considering a similar course of action? What outcome(s) resulted from the change in practice?

Word count: up to 1500 words
Illustrations/Tables: maximum of 2 tables or figures
References: maximum of 10 references

Letter to the Editor

The journal publishes Letters to the Editor, including short research papers, rapid responses to published papers, and contributions to a controversy or debate. If commenting on material published in the most recent issue of the journal, correspondence should be received within 6 weeks of dispatch of that journal to be in time for inclusion in the next issue. Correspondents should state their qualifications, full contact details and any competing interests.

Word count: maximum of 600 words
Illustrations/Tables: maximum of 1 table or figure
References: maximum of 5 references

Book review

Whilst some book reviews are commissioned, the journal welcomes the submission of both scientific and fiction book reviews. To ensure timeliness, normally the book being reviewed should have been published within the previous 12 months.

For scientific books, reviewers may wish to consider including the following points in their review: brief background to the subject matter; comments on the readability, accuracy and scope of the contents; the type of reader who would benefit from reading the book (e.g. general practitioner, specialist, nurse, trainee, layperson, etc.). It may also be worthwhile highlighting particularly good (or bad) chapters.

In the case of fiction books, reviewers should strive to highlight themes in the book that are relevant to sexual and reproductive health and/or that may inform professional practice.

Word count: up to 400 words (although longer reviews are occasionally accepted)
Illustrations/Tables: usually none
References: usually none

Journal review

The majority of journal reviews are commissioned. To ensure reviews are sufficiently current, prospective reviewers should select relevant journal articles published within the previous 3 months.

Word count: up to 400 words (although longer reviews are occasionally accepted)
Illustrations/Tables: usually none
References: maximum of 5 references

Conference report

Conference reports are often commissioned, however prospective authors are welcome to submit brief reports (either of the whole conference or of individual symposia/sessions likely to be of interest and relevance to journal readers) for consideration.

Word count: up to 500 words
Illustrations/Tables: usually none
References: usually none

Additional charges 

Colour

The journal does not charge authors for the publication of colour images.

Open Access

Authors can choose to have their article published Open Access for a fee of £1950 (plus the applicable rate of VAT).

Online-only publication

Online-only publication of supplementary data to print articles

It is sometimes the case that the extent of an article, in terms of tables, figures and/or textual material, is in excess of what is feasible to include in the print journal, but it is judged that the article is otherwise worthy of publication and all the material could be of value to some readers. If some of this material could be provided in a separate appendix then, at the Editor-in-Chief’s discretion, the article may be accepted subject to this additional material being published solely online as supplementary material hyperlinked to the full-text version of the article on the journal’s website The supplementary material will not appear in the print journal issue in which the article is eventually published. Authors also need to be aware that supplementary data is not routinely typeset, and therefore it will appear online in essentially the same format in which it is submitted by the author.

Online-only publication of individual articles

The journal’s Editor-in Chief reserves the right to nominate articles for e-publication (i.e. online-only publication). Online-only publication allows the journal to publish a greater number of manuscripts in a timelier manner than is afforded by print publication alone. It also allows the journal to accept papers with greater word counts than can be accommodated in printed journal issues. Online-only articles are fully indexed and are made available as a typeset .pdf file online. The author receives typeset page proofs to check/approve and an order form for reprints in the usual way.

Online-only articles are listed in the print journal’s table of contents, and are highlighted in the ‘In this Issue’ page. Readers are directed to the journal website in order to view the full-text/pdf version of the article. There are advantages in this approach for authors as it means their article will be published online rapidly and usually within 30 days of acceptance. Also, the article is indexed by PubMed and therefore is immediately searchable, accessible and fully citable by journal subscribers and readers worldwide. Online-only articles may also be published Open Access, and are thus available to interested readers, whether or not they subscribe to the journal.

Supplements

BMJ is 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 BMJ 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.

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

For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplement guidelines (PDF).

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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