BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health publishes material on contraception, abortion, menopause, sexual and reproductive health, sexual dysfunction, sexually transmitted infection, clinical practice, and health education and training. We welcome submissions of research, reviews, and articles and commentaries relevant to all health care professionals working in the area of sexual and reproductive health. While it is not currently a requirement, we actively encourage patient involvement in the design, analysis and presentation of research.
All submitted articles are assessed by the Editor-in-Chief. Those considered likely to be of interest to our readers are assigned to an Associate Editor and reviewed externally, usually by at least two independent experts.
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.
More information on copyright and authors’ rights.
Please follow our Instructions for Authors to facilitate the prompt consideration of your article.
For guidelines on submission and editorial policies for BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health please refer to the BMJ Author Hub. Here you will find information on planning your research through to submitting and promoting your research.
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.
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 Sexual and Reproductive Health Author Licence for the applicable Creative Commons licences”.
When publishing in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, 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 publishing 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.
BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health 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.
BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health 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.
Reporting patient and public involvement in research
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. However, the papers where it must be included are research 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.
Article types and word counts
The types of articles and maximum word counts are outlined below. Articles that do not conform to these specifications may be returned to the author for revision prior to peer review. Please contact the editorial office in advance of manuscript submission if you feel it is appropriate/valid for your article to exceed the specified maximum word count.
Authors may find it useful to consult our pre-submission checklist.
We welcome original, robustly designed/conducted and well-described quantitative or qualitative research, as well as consensus statements and meta-analyses. Original research should include a structured abstract and key message points, both of which should reflect accurately the content and findings of the study, rather than the opinions of the authors.
If the topic of your manuscript relates to research on sexual or reproductive health in a particular country, it is the journal’s policy to require that at least one co-author is based in that country. Your manuscript may be rejected if you do not meet this requirement or adequately explain in your cover letter why it is not possible to include a local co-author.
Following the lead of The BMJ and its patient partnership strategy, BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health 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.
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/introduction, methods, results, and conclusions (or similar as appropriate). In addition, please supply a text box containing key message points. This should comprise a maximum of three bullet points of no more than 25 words each, highlighting the main new message(s) emerging from the article.
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 study´s aims and objectives.
Please describe clearly the design, setting, participants, intervention, prespecified outcomes, sample size and statistical analysis for your study. Please provide sufficient information so that other researchers can repeat the study. For statistical analyses, please give sufficient details of the experimental design and analysis so that the reader can assess their adequacy and validity.
Requirement for Patient and Public Involvement statement:
The journal actively encourages the involvement of patients in research. Please include a statement in the methods section of your manuscript under the sub-heading ‘Patient and Public Involvement’. This should provide a brief response to the following questions:
- How was the development of the research question and outcome measures informed by patients’ priorities, experience, and preferences?
- How did you involve patients in the design of this study?
- Were patients involved in the recruitment to and conduct of the study?
- How will the results be disseminated to study participants?
- For randomised controlled trials, was the burden of the intervention assessed by patients themselves?
Please present your results 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.
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.
up to 2500 words
maximum of 4 tables or figures (additional supplementary online-only data permitted)
maximum of 30 references
NB. Whilst the journal does not publish short communications, 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 1500 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 research articles.
We welcome systematic reviews, and comprehensive, evidence-based narrative reviews of the literature. In up to 3500 words (excluding text boxes, figures and references) these should provide a clear, up-to-date and evidence-based account of an important topic, with a critical analysis and conclusions. The article should appeal to international readers and those from a variety of relevant disciplines (e.g. primary care, sexual and reproductive health, genitourinary medicine and obstetrics and gynaecology, and possibly others such as infections disease or tropical medicine). Please consider seeking patient input into your article. We may send your manuscript for patient peer review or commission a patient commentary.
Please include a structured abstract comprising no more than 250 words (additional to the words of the main body of the text) with headings appropriate to the content of your review. In addition, please supply a text box containing three or four key message points comprising bullet points of no more than 25 words each, highlighting the most important ‘take home’ messages from the article.
The introduction should be about 100–150 words, and explain what the review is about, why it is important to which relevant specialties, and what it covers. It should specifically answer the question: “Why should I read this review?” In any methods section please outline what sources of information you used to prepare the review, and how you selected what to include. We do not expect you to perform a systematic review, but hope you will consult Cochrane and other systematic reviews. Please include a statement commenting on the overall quality of the supporting evidence.
Evidence-based writing: Throughout the article, please clarify the evidence on which key statements are based, and the strength of this evidence (published trials, systematic reviews, observational studies, expert opinion), for example: “A large randomised trial/a qualitative, focus group based study finds…”. Where evidence is lacking or is of poor quality please say so. Please avoid specialist jargon and abbreviations. Please make it clear if your advice is country specific.
Presentation: Please use ‘reader-friendly’ subheadings. Two or three relevant illustrations (e.g. clinical photographs, line drawings and flow chart) should be provided where possible. Additional figures or other material may be published on the journal website in the form of online-only supplementary material. We need informed consent from patients for any material you obtain from patients even if they are not identifiable (including radiographs, histology slides, and so on).
Additional material: Please include a box entitled ‘Additional educational resources’ detailing 2–6 key review articles, particularly Cochrane reviews where these exist, and useful URLs and websites. Please also consider including a box of up to 200 words containing a patient’s personal account. The patient may use his/her full name in the piece or can remain anonymous. We always need to see the patient’s signed consent prior to publication.
Word count: up to 3500 words
Illustrations/tables: maximum of 4 tables or figures (additional supplementary online-only data permitted)
References: maximum of 50 references
Editorials should be based on high-quality evidence, with the sources of that evidence presented. Editorials are sometimes commissioned but we also welcome submissions on topics of importance in sexual and reproductive health care, whether of a clinical, public health or political nature. We welcome editorials from both UK and international authors, however they should be written with a worldwide readership in mind.
Word count: up to 800–1000 words (maximum)
Illustrations/tables: maximum of 2 tables or figures
References: maximum of 10 references
Personal views differ from editorials 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 1000 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, whose aim is to disseminate service delivery suggestions likely to help readers improve practice. Contributions should 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.
Please include a text box containing key message points. This should comprise a maximum of three bullet points of no more than 25 words each, highlighting the main message(s) emerging from the article.
Word count: up to 1200 words
Illustrations/tables: maximum of 2 tables or figures
References: maximum of 10 references
The journal publishes Letters 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
The journal does not charge authors for the publication of colour images.
Authors can choose to have their article published Open Access for a fee of £1950 (plus the applicable rate of VAT).
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.
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 .
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.