BMJ Leader is an international, peer-reviewed, online only journal that publishes articles in the field of healthcare leadership. With a focus on original research and reviews, the journal is a place of discussion and debate for the many disciplines that make up leadership in the health services.
BMJ Leader adheres to the highest standards concerning its editorial policies on publication ethics and scientific misconduct. The journal follows guidance produced by bodies that include the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), the Council of Science Editors and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). To view all BMJ Journal policies please refer to the BMJ Author Hub policies page, including information about our Editors’ roles and responsibilities. Authors are required to submit a statement that their study obtained ethics approval (or a statement that it was not required and why) and that participants gave informed consent. Our Editors will consider whether the work is morally acceptable as determined by the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki. In addition to this, in line with General Medical Council guidelines, an article that contains personal medical information about an identifiable living individual requires patients explicit consent (in the format of a signed BMJ patient consent form) before we will publish it. Please find further details on BMJ research ethics policies (human participants and animals) and consent for publication; including a link to the downloadable consent form.
To make the best decision on how to deal with a manuscript, BMJ Leader needs to know about any competing interests authors may have; this includes any commercial, financial or non financial associations that may be relevant to the submitted article. Authors must download and complete a copy of the ICMJE Conflict of Interest disclosure form. In addition to this BMJ Leader ensures that all advertising and sponsorship associated with the journal does not influence editorial decisions, is immediately distinguishable from editorial content and meets all other BMJ guidelines. Please find more information about competing interests and a link to the form. 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 following ICMJE and COPE guidelines. Corrections and retractions are considered where an article has already been published; corrections, expressions of concern or a retraction notices will be published as soon as possible in line with the BMJ correction and retraction policy
Plan S compliance
BMJ Leader is a Plan S compliant Transformative Journal. Transformative Journals are one of the compliance routes offered by cOAlition S funders, such as Wellcome, WHO and UKRI. Find out more about Transformative Journals and Plan S compliance on our Author Hub.
Copyright and authors’ rights
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. 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 Leader Author Licence for the applicable Creative Commons licences. More information on copyright and authors’ rights.
When publishing in BMJ Leader, authors choose between three licence types – exclusive licence granted to BMJ, CC-BY-NC and CC-BY (Creative Commons open access licences require payment of an article processing charge). As an author you may wish to post your article in an institutional or subject repository, or on a scientific social sharing network. You may also link your published article to your preprint (if applicable). What you can do with your article, without seeking permission, depends on the licence you have chosen and the version of your article. Please refer to the BMJ author self archiving and permissions policies page for more information
Preprints foster openness, accessibility and collaboration by allowing authors to make their findings immediately available to the research community and receive feedback on an article before it is submitted to a journal for formal publication. BMJ fully supports and encourages the archiving of preprints in any recognised, not-for-profit server such as medRxiv. BMJ does not consider the posting of an article in a dedicated preprint repository to be prior publication.
Preprints are reports of work that have not been peer-reviewed; Preprints should therefore not be used to guide clinical practice, health-related behaviour or health policy. For more information, please refer to our Preprint policy page.
Provenance and peer review
BMJ Leader submissions are predominantly unsolicited, all articles submitted are subject to peer review. The journal operates single anonymised peer review whereby the names of the reviewers are hidden from the author; usually two external reviewer reports are obtained before an Original research or Review article is accepted for publication. Articles authored by a member of a journal’s editorial team are independently peer reviewed; an editor will have no input or influence on the peer review process or publication decision for their own article. For more information on what to expect during the peer review process please refer to BMJ Author Hub – your paper’s journey. 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. BMJ requests that all reviewers adhere to a set of basic principles and standards during the peer review process; these are based on the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. Please refer to our peer review terms and conditions policy page.
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. Reader responses, questions and comments to published content are welcomed by BMJ Leader; these should be submitted electronically via the journals website. Please find further details on how to publish a response and the terms and requirements.
Article transfer service
BMJ is committed to ensuring that all good quality research is published. Our article transfer service helps authors find the best journal for their research while providing an easy and smooth publication process. If authors agree to transfer their manuscript, all versions, supplementary files and peer reviewer comments are automatically transferred; there is no need to resubmit or reformat. Authors who submit to the BMJ Leader and are rejected will be offered the option of transferring to another BMJ Journal, such as BMJ Open.
Please note that the article transfer service does not guarantee acceptance but you should receive a quicker initial decision on your manuscript. Contact the Transfer Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article processing charges
BMJ Leader is a subscription journal and all articles are free to publish. During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 2,575 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). Publishing open access has multiple benefits including wider reach, faster impact and increased citation and usage. There are no submission, page or colour figure charges.
Waivers and discounts
If authors choose to publish their article open access, an APC waiver may be available. Before applying for an APC waiver please consider: (1) Does your institution have an open access agreement with BMJ? If it does, then this may cover all or part of the APC for your article. Check BMJ’s open access agreements page to find out whether your institution is a member and what discounts you may be entitled to. (2) Have you received funding from a funder with an open access mandate or policy that covers paying APCs? If so, BMJ expects that the APC will be paid in full. If neither (1) nor (2) above apply then consider (3) Are all the authors of your article based in low-income countries*? If so, you are eligible to apply for a full or partial waiver from BMJ. Visit our author hub to learn more about our waivers policy and how to request one. Please note that regardless of the funding situation, authors can still choose to publish with us at no cost, and articles will be made available to our subscribers. *This list is reviewed annually and is based upon HINARI Core Offer Groups A and B, and the World Bank Country and Lending Groups.
BMJ Leader adheres to BMJ’s Tier 2 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. We also require data from clinical trials to be made available upon reasonable request.
To adhere to ICMJE guidelines, we require that a data sharing plan must be included with trial registration for clinical trials that begin enrolling participants on or after 1st January 2019. Changes to the plan must be noted in the Data Availability Statement and updated in the registry record. All research articles must contain a Data Availability Statement. For more information and FAQs, please see BMJ’s full Data Sharing Policy page.
We welcome video abstracts to accompany accepted research articles. These allow authors to personally talk through their work beyond the restrictions of a formal article to improve the user’s understanding. Note that we will not ask you to consider submitting a video abstract until your paper has been accepted. Please do not try to upload a video abstract upon initial submission of your manuscript. There are many tutorials online which can guide the production of a video abstract, using widely and often freely available software. Windows Movie Maker and Apple iMovie are the most common examples. Examples of video abstracts are available from The BMJ. Below are a few guidelines for making a video abstract. Authors may also want to ask their institution’s press/media office for assistance.
- Video abstracts should not last longer than 4 minutes.
- The content and focus of the video must relate directly to the study that has been accepted for publication, and should not stray beyond the data. We recommend that you follow the same structure as the paper itself i.e. briefly outline the background/context of the study, present your research objective, outline the methods used, present the key results and then discuss the implications of the outcomes.
- The presentation and content of the video should be in a style and in terms that will be understandable and accessible to a general medical audience. The main language should be English, but we welcome subtitles in another language. Please avoid jargon that will not be familiar to a wide medical audience, and do not use abbreviations.
- Authors usually talk directly into the camera and/or present a slideshow, but we encourage the use of other relevant visual and audio material (such as animations, video clips, still photographs, figures, infographics). If you wish to use material from previously published work or from other sources, please obtain the appropriate permissions from the relevant publisher or copyright owner.
- If the video shows any identifiable living patients and/or identifiable personal details, authors need to demonstrate that consent has been obtained. If a patient consent form was provided for the related article, there is no need to provide this again for the video.
- Please use the compression parameters that video sharing sites use. Often these are standard options from your editing software. A comprehensive guide is available from the vimeo website.
BMJ Leader mandates ORCID iDs for the submitting author at the time of article submission; co-authors and reviewers are strongly encouraged to also connect their ScholarOne accounts to ORCID. We strongly believe that the increased use and integration of ORCID iDs will be beneficial for the whole research community.
Please find more information about ORCID and BMJ’s policy on our Author Hub.
A rapid response is a moderated but not peer reviewed online response to a published article in BMJ Leader; it will not receive a DOI and will not be indexed. Find out more about responses and how to submit a response.
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. Authors are encouraged to include their Twitter handles in their profiles on the submission system should they wish to engage with the editorial team on Twitter post-publication 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. We encourage authors to ensure that research articles are written in accordance with the relevant research reporting guideline. You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services.
I. Opinion: Editorial Commentary II. Original research: Original research Systematic review Brief Report III. Review: Review IV. Leadership in the Mirror: Leadership in the Mirror V. Translating Research and Evidence: Translating Research and Evidence VI. The Learning Zone The Learning Zone VII. 10 Minutes With… 10 Minutes With… VIII. BMJ Leader Blog: BMJ Leader Blog IX. Supplements: Supplements
Editorials are usually commissioned by the Editor. However, we welcome suggestions for possible topics and authors. Authors wishing to submit an editorial are advised to seek the advice of the Editor in advance of submission.
Word count: 1000 words maximum References: should not normally exceed 15
Commentaries are opinion based papers underpinned by reference to published literature. They are usually commissioned by the Editor. Authors wishing to submit a commentary are advised to seek the advice of the Editor in advance. We encourage suggestions that focus on current controversies or rapidly developing areas of research.
Word count: 3000 words maximum Tables/Illustrations: should not normally exceed 3 References: should not normally exceed 25
Full length original research papers should follow the basic structure of abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, references, and tables and figures as appropriate. Research reviews that systematically synthesise evidence (e.g. Systematic reviews, Meta-analysis, Scoping reviews, Mixed methods reviews, etc) are classified by the journal as Systematic reviews and must be submitted as such. Supplementary and raw data can be placed online separately from the text, and we may request that you separate out some material into supplementary data files to make the main manuscript clearer for readers.
Word count: up to 3500 words Abstract: Structured, up to 300 words Tables/Illustrations: maximum 8 tables and/or figures References: up to 40 Please include the key messages of your article after your abstract using the following headings. This section should be no more than 3-5 sentences and should be distinct from the abstract; be succinct, specific and accurate.
- What is already known on this topic – summarise the state of scientific knowledge on this subject before you did your study and why this study needed to be done
- What this study adds – summarise what we now know as a result of this study that we did not know before
- How this study might affect research, practice or policy – summarise the implications of this study
This article type includes all research reviews that systematically synthesise evidence (e.g. Systematic reviews, Meta-analysis, Scoping reviews, Mixed methods reviews, etc). Please include the research type in your title to make the nature of your study clear.
Please see Original research for more guidance on article requirements.
Work suitable for submission as a brief report will generally fall into one of two categories: (i) reports of innovative and original work in leadership and leadership development, or (ii) small scale original research studies, protocols or preliminary studies
Word count: no more than 1500 words Abstract: Structured, 200 words Tables/Illustrations: up to one of each References: should not normally exceed 15
Reviews aim to gather and interpret the existing evidence base. Research reviews that systematically synthesise evidence (e.g. Systematic reviews, Meta-analysis, Scoping reviews, Mixed methods reviews, etc) are classified by the journal as Systematic reviews and must be submitted as such. Authors wishing to submit a review are advised to seek the advice of the Editor in advance.
Word count: 4000 words maximum Tables/Illustrations: should not normally exceed 5 References: should not normally exceed 40
Leadership in the Mirror
Leadership in the Mirror submissions are pieces that involve people’s personal reflections relating to leadership and management in healthcare. We aim, in this journal, to prioritize publishing narrative essays that are novel and useful to the journals’ readership. Readability — strong and engaging writing — is also essential. Please see here for a fuller description of the aims and scope for this article type.
Word count: up to 3000 words Abstract: Structured, up to 300 words References: Should not normally exceed 15
Translating Research and Evidence
Translating Research and Evidence submissions are short pieces that communicate findings from existing research in a way that makes it accessible to both practicing healthcare leaders and to researchers interested in issues relating to healthcare leadership. The aim of this submission type is to communicate the findings of existing research to a new audience of researchers and practitioners that is specifically interested in healthcare leadership and management. Please see here for a fuller description of the aims and scope for this article type.
Word count: up to 3000 words Abstract: Structured, up to 300 words Tables/Illustrations: should not normally exceed 3 References: Should not normally exceed 25
The Learning Zone
The published literature on leadership is vast and sprawling, but within it are some pervasive and important ideas that have had a significant influence the way we conceive and think about the subject. In each issue of BMJ Leader we examine key leadership concepts, theories and models summarising them in simple and straightforward language, and wherever possible, highlighting their application to the healthcare context. The Learning Zone is written with the general journal readership in mind but may be of particular interest to clinicians and managers undertaking educational programmes that require them to apply theory to practice. These may include undergraduate and masters courses in healthcare leadership and management, or those on leadership development programmes.
Articles will be both invited and commissioned and include the following key features: Word count: 800 to 15,00 words Title: clearly describing the topic, and easily searchable ‘In practice’: an insert box of up to 200 words applying the concepts under discussion ‘Express checkout’: the article summarised in less than 100 words Each edition will be accompanied by a podcast interview and a Twitter chat in which those leading in health and care will be invite to reflect on how the ideas discussed in the Learning Zone play out in their own working life and practice. We welcome suggestions from readers wishing to contribute to this section. Please contact Tim Swanwick, Associate Editor, via the BMJ Leader Editorial Office at email@example.com with your proposal.
10 Minutes With…
This article format has been established in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to capture and share the experiences of leaders at all levels of seniority, across all disciplines, and across all health and care contexts and geographical locations. Authors should submit a written version of an interview with a clinical leader, conducted using the standard question set below. 1. What are the key leadership messages you want to get out to the BMJ Leader readership? 2. Tell us a little bit about your leadership role and how it is changing as a result of the pandemic? 3. What events in your past experience are most informing your leadership in this pandemic? 4. What are you finding the biggest challenges? 5. Any particular surprises? 6. Are you seeing any behaviours from colleagues that encourage or inspire you? 7. How are you maintaining kindness and compassion? 8. Are there any ideas or readings that you find helpful, for inspiration and support, which you would recommend to others? 9. What are you looking for from your leaders?
Interview word count: 750-2000 Biography word count: 100-200 References: up to 5 Please include the interview date at the end of your manuscript along with Acknowledgments, Competing Interests, Funding and all other required statements
BMJ Leader Blog
We welcome submissions for consideration. Your article should be clear, compelling, and appeal to our international readership interested in health and care leadership. The best pieces make a single topical point. They are well argued with new insights. The word limit is 1000 words. BMJ Leader Blogs are read by anyone interested in health and care leadership. We bear this in mind when considering whether to accept an article. It has to be about leaders or leadership and framed in a way relevant to our readers, many of whom are practising clinicians as well as leaders. References can be included where appropriate. If possible it is best to include the references as hyperlinks in the text. But where a url cannot be provided then up to five traditional references are fine. We have to be careful not to libel anyone. Any potentially contentious articles are checked by our lawyer.
All blog posts must adhere to our patient consent and confidentiality policies. We need a signed BMJ consent form for any named or identifiable individuals, unless they are deceased or sufficiently anonymised. Submitting to BMJ Leader Blogs Once you have written a BMJ Leader Blog article then please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then accept or reject it, edit it, and upload it online. We also need a short biography of the author to put online with the article so that readers know who you are. It only needs to be a sentence or two long. Please can you also send a high quality photo of yourself to go online with the article and your twitter handle if you have one. Please read our policy on competing interests and add the appropriate statement from this document to your manuscript.
BMJ 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.
- 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.
For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the Supplement 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