How to submit your paper
For more information on how to submit a paper to a specific journal, please visit the instructions for authors’ page for the journal that is of interest to you.
The submission process
A typical submission to a journal consists of the following stages:
- The submitting author must be registered with the journal’s online submission system – you can create your own username and password. After logging in, upload your manuscript and any associated documentation (eg, figures, videos, study protocols, supplementary data). This doesn’t need to be completed in one session, however all the necessary components must be supplied prior to final submission. Once submitted, a confirmation email is sent containing a unique manuscript ID number that should be quoted in any correspondence with the editorial office.
- The editorial assistant checks the manuscript against the journal’s guidelines. At this stage, the manuscript may be returned to the author with queries or requests to provide missing information.
- If the manuscript passes the initial checklist stage, it will be assigned for peer review. The Editor, and if appropriate the Associate Editors, will evaluate the manuscript for scope, fit, quality, originality, interest for the readership, etc. If the journal criteria are met, it will then be sent out for external peer review or rejected.
- When the required number of reviews have been received, usually two, the Editor will consider the experts’ opinions and make an initial decision to accept, reject, or request a revision.
- If the decision is for revision, the author must respond to each comment made by the reviewers and Editor, and resubmit. Usually the revised manuscript will be re-evaluated by the original handling editor, who will make either make an immediate decision or send the manuscript for further review prior to making a decision. Some journals allow multiple manuscript revisions.
- If the manuscript is rejected at any stage of the process, the author is free to submit it to another journal. If during the original submission process the author elected to have the manuscript transferred to another journal following rejection, they will be contacted by the editorial office to confirm that they still wish this transfer to take place.
- If the manuscript is accepted, it will be checked once again by the editorial office before it is forwarded to the production department for processing and publication. In order to ensure your accepted manuscript is not delayed, we urge authors to ensure that their manuscript is complete and all items completed prior to acceptance.
While this is a basic outline of the process, each journal has its own characteristics and so procedures and policies vary from title to title. One thing that you can expect from each journal is help throughout the submission and peer review process from the journals’ dedicated editorial office.
On each journal site our Author Guidelines contain detailed information, however, if you are unable to find the answer to your question, our editorial staff will be on hand to answer your questions quickly and efficiently. Contact details for the editorial office are on the journal’s help page, or on the journal’s online submission site. You can also check the status of your manuscript at any time by logging into the site.
The production process
A typical production process may consist of the following stages – we aim to complete this process within 21 days:
- Once received by the production department, it will automatically be loaded onto our Publishing at Work tracking system and a copy is sent to our typesetters.
- The typesetters will cross check they have received all of the files and clean up the word document in preparation for copyediting including checking the references against PubMed/CrossRef.
- Once the article has been “cleaned”, the production editor allocates it to a copyeditor. The edited article is returned to the typesetters who will integrate the images, design the article, and create the author’s proof.
- Proofs are sent via a link in an email. At the same time, a copy is sent to the production editor and the journal Editor. Authors are asked to approve the proofs within 48 hours, to ensure that their articles are published online as soon as possible after acceptance at this stage, only minor corrections (as all other changes should be made pre-acceptance during the revision process).
- The production editor adds/checks the author corrections and returns the proof to the typesetter for correction.
- The revised proof is checked by the production editor; and if there are further corrections to add, the process repeats until the proof is ready for online publication.
- Once the proof is signed off, it is ready for online first publication, and at this stage will be fully citeable (through its DOI) and indexed in PubMed and the other abstracting and indexing services.
- Articles will be assigned to print issues according to editor selection.
Introducing the new online-only, open access, respiratory medicine journal published by BMJ, in partnership with the British Thoracic Society.
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• Access our FAQs and our Instructions for Authors