The Postgraduate Medical Journal (PMJ) is committed to ongoing medical education across the whole range of specialties. Clearly the requirements of clinicians vary within different settings and in different countries. It is this principle that underlies the future planning of the journal and guides the editorial board and reviewers in making their judgements on whether papers submitted to the Postgraduate Medical Journal should be accepted or rejected.

Our policy is to provide a broad mix of articles that will be of educational value to specialists and trainees, and to seek innovative and attractive ways in which to deliver a comprehensive programme of professional development. Our priorities are to:

  • Publish up-to-date guidance on clinical management.
  • Harness the latest technologies to promote access to a full range of educational resources.
  • Continue to develop specialist areas of publication that deal with legal, ethical, ethnic and historical issues that are relevant to clinical medicine.
  • Publish contentious issues that are of educational importance.
  • Ensure that a fair, independent peer review system is in place.
  • Adhere to the highest ethical standards concerning research conduct.

PMJ does not publish research solely involving animals unless it is translatable into postgraduate medical practice.

Editorial policy

The Postgraduate Medical Journal  adheres to the highest standards concerning its editorial policies on publication ethics, scientific misconduct, consent and peer review criteria. To view all BMJ Journal policies please refer to the BMJ Author Hub policies page.

Plan S compliance

The Postgraduate Medical Journal 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 and US Federal Government employees) and authors retain copyright. Articles can also be published under a Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content; please refer to the The Postgraduate Medical Journal Copyright Author Licence Statement.

When publishing in Postgraduate Medical Journal, 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.

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 Postgraduate Medical Journal 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 Product Owner of BMJ’s Article Transfer Service for more information or assistance.

Article processing charges

During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 2,300 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. Authors can also choose to publish their article in colour for the print edition – instead of the default option of black and white – for 400 GBP. There are no submission, page or online-only colour figure charges.

Find out if you are eligible for institutional funding

A number of institutions have open access agreements with BMJ which can either cover the whole cost of open access publishing for authors at participating institutions or can allow authors to receive a discount off the APC.

Visit BMJ’s open access agreements page to find out whether your institution is a member and what discounts you may be entitled to.
For more information on publishing open access with BMJ visit our Author Hub.

Data sharing

Postgraduate Medical Journal 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.


Postgraduate Medical Journal 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.

Rapid responses

A rapid response is a moderated but not peer reviewed online response to a published article in Postgraduate Medical Journal; it will not receive a DOI and will not be indexed. Find out more about responses and how to submit a response.

Submission guidelines

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.

Adverse drug reactions

Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) articles are intended to inform practising clinicians about significant adverse reactions, as well as their diagnosis, management and prevention. PMJ seeks case reports or case series on the following forms of reactions:

  • Reports of suspected ADR to new drugs
  • Reports of suspected ADR to drugs that have been in clinical use for some time
  • Reports of ADRs of educational value even if the association is already known

We aim to publish one report in each issue. Priority will be given to reports that are novel or have educational value.

Word count: a brief report is more likely to be accepted. Case reports must be shorter than 500 words while up to 1000 words are allowed for case series
Abstract: no abstract required
Tables/Illustrations: maximum 1 figure, case series can include a table
References: up to 5
Multimedia: a short video or audio file may be included

Best practice

These are usually commissioned by the editor but we welcome suggestions for topics and authors. Please email us at

The article should review current clinical practice with evidence from controlled clinical trials. Where no evidence exists, it should be made clear what is based on consensus and what is based on personal experience or opinion. The article should summarise what national guidelines are available and where these can be sourced. The extent to which the guidelines are evidence or consensus-based, and a comment on their importance. should be discussed. Areas of controversy should be included. The author should state, from a personal viewpoint, on which side he/she would come down, and why.

The article should provide a list of useful websites for patients and doctors, together with information on self-help groups and sources of good quality patient information. The author should select from the complete list of references, the top five review or original articles published within the last five years, for further reading. These should be placed in a box for ease of identification. A complete list of references should be included at the end of the article in the usual way.

At the end of the article there should be between five and ten self-test questions on the content of the article. These can be multiple choice or open questions. A set of answers should accompany the article.

Word count: between 2000 and 3000 words
Abstract: up to 150 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 5 tables and up to 3 illustrations
References: up to 100


These are commissioned by the editor to accompany one or more published articles.

Word count: between 1500 words
Abstract: not required
Tables/Illustrations: up to 2
References: up to 10


This is a forum for debating the challenging and difficult issues currently confronting the medical profession. Two articles should be submitted; one offering a ‘view’ and the other providing the ‘counter-view’. Each should contain cogent arguments backed up with relevant references.

Word count: between 2000 words
Abstract: not required
Tables/Illustrations: up to 1
References: up to 25


Editorials should deal with contemporary issues of importance to clinicians. Their content can be clinical, social, political, legal or related to research issues. Although they may be controversial, they should attempt to provide a balanced view. Editorials provide a personal view and, as such, will not be routinely submitted to peer review.

Word count: between 1000 – 2000 words
Abstract: not required
Tables/Illustrations: not normally included
References: up to 10

Education and learning

These encompass a variety of resources and are commissioned by the editor.

Word count: 2000-3000 words
Abstract: yes, non-structured
Tables/Illustrations: not normally included
References: 100 max

Ethics and law

These articles focus on ethical, ethnic or legal aspects of clinical practice and examine the implications for patient care. Articles can be submitted either as a comprehensive Review Article or as an Original Article.


Fillers can either be a written account or a photograph. We welcome summaries of around 250 words that provide light, informative reading. Subjects might include favourite books and music, self help groups, life defining moments, memorable patients, historical events and anniversaries. Photographs that add interest and variety to the PMJ should be accompanied by a brief caption.


Images should have a clear educational message or are aesthetically interesting. They can relate to historical aspects of medicine in the broadest term. A picture which ‘shocks’ is unlikely to be published simply for its horror value. The selected image(s) should be clearly described and be accompanied by a succinct case history. In addition pictures must have definition and be capable of good quality reproduction in the journal.

The patient’s written permission to publish their case must be obtained prior to submission.

Word count: up to 250 words
Abstract: not required
Tables/Illustrations: up to 2
References: up to 5

Online resources

Please email us at to discuss your idea with the editorial team before submitting.

Image quiz

This is designed to help candidates preparing for the MRCP or equivalent. Any number of images can be included, but the emphasis should be on selecting conditions that candidates are likely to experience in the examination and in clinical practice.

The quiz should start with a brief introduction, giving the aim and scope of the quiz and its intended audience. Each image should be accompanied by a brief summary of the case (if appropriate) and question(s) that are designed to test the participant’s knowledge. The answer(s) should follow separately and should include a brief description of the diagnostic features of the image and the key learning points.

The quiz can be submitted either as a PowerPoint presentation or with the images saved in TIFF, JPEG or EPS format and the accompanying text saved as a Word document or equivalent.

All online resources, including those that have been invited, are subject to peer review. If individual patients are involved, their written permission to publish the material must be obtained prior to submission.

All online resources, including those that have been invited, are subject to peer review. If individual patients are involved, their written permission to publish the material must be obtained prior to submission.

Video collection

Video demonstrations of clinical, surgical, technological or laboratory topics will be featured on PMJ Online. Videos should be 2-3 minutes long and can accompany any of the article types described here. A 25-50 word legend or audio voice-over should be provided.

Alternatively, the video can be submitted as a stand-alone resource. It should be accompanied by an explanatory account of around 1000 words or an audio voice-over. Written accounts should include a title page, introduction, methods or technique shown, comments, and up to 5 references.

If individual patients are involved, their written permission to publish the video must be obtained prior to submission.

Original research

Original research are always welcome at the PMJ. We continue to believe in the value of clinical research and to encourage its impact on health care. For most doctors this is the reason they took up clinical practice. All of us should be enthusiastic about applying scientific methodology to patient investigation, care and treatment and so ensure the provision of the best service that we can achieve.

Articles should be presented in a way that is accessible to readers of a general medical journal. All research papers involving human subjects MUST contain a statement about ethics committee approval. Reports of randomised controlled trials should follow the revised CONSORT statement (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials.) published in JAMA (2001;285:1987-91), as closely as possible. See RCTs for more guidelines.

Papers should also summarise in list-form “What is already known on the subject” and the study’s main messages.

Word count: up to 3000 words
Abstract: Abstracts of up to 250 words are required for all original articles. Headings for experimental or observational studies should include: purpose of the study, study design, results and conclusions. Headings for randomised controlled trials and meta-analyses should, as a guide, include: aim, design, setting, patients, interventions, main outcome measures, results, and conclusions.
Tables/Illustrations: up to 6
References: up to 30


Review articles must be up-to-date and provide practical and clear guidance where possible for the clinician. Areas of uncertainty need to be documented and referenced. The views expressed in favour of one form of treatment as opposed to another should be soundly based and referenced. Of course, as practising clinicians we all have developed certain biases over the years. When a review article discusses such personal preferences the authors are encouraged to make it clear that this is exactly what they are – personal preferences and prejudices. However, such views need to be kept to a minimum. They only have a small part in contemporary clinical practice and would be hard to defend against criticism.

Liberal use should be made of bulleted learning points. Up to 100 references may be included and, from these, the authors should select five that they consider to be the key references for further reading. At the end of the review five multiple choice questions should be provided, together with the answers in true/false format.

Word count: Between 2000 and 5000 words
Abstract: up to 150 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 5 tables and up to 3 illustrations
References: up to 100


The Postgraduate Medical Journal Blog is the blog for the Postgraduate Medical Journal to discuss, debate and share thoughts and ideas on a wide range of topics relevant to junior doctors and the continued professional development of all doctors.

We welcome submissions for consideration. Your article should be clear, compelling, and appeal to our readership of practising clinicians and teachers. The best pieces make a single topical point. They are well argued with current or new insights. The word limit is a maximum of 800 words.

For for more information and how to submit a blog click here.


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