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BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine is an open-access journal covering all aspects of sport and exercise medicine and associated areas such as physical activity for chronic disease prevention. We will consider a broad array of topics within the themes of physical activity, exercise as medicine, and sports medicine; and are inclusive of scientific approaches ranging from qualitative methods, epidemiology, to measurement development and evaluation. We aim to publish original research, reviews (in particular systematic reviews) and study protocols considered to be coherent and technically sound, ensuring that the latest research is reviewed and disseminated rapidly to a global audience. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine adheres to the highest possible industry standards concerning publication ethics. To read the journal’s detailed guidelines, please see our policies.



Editorial policy

BMJ Open Sports & Exercise Medicine 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.

More information on copyright and authors’ rights.


Copyright and authors’ rights

As an open access journal, BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine adheres to the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition of open access.. 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. Such 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 Open Sport & Exercise Medicine Author Licence. More information on copyright and authors’ rights.

When publishing in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, authors choose between two licence types – 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

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 processing charges

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine is an open access journal and levies an Article Processing Charge (APC) of 1,500 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). Charges for publishing a study protocol, short research reports and viewpoints are 1000 GBP. There are no submission, colour or page charges.

There is a 25% discount for articles where the corresponding author is a British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine member.  Corresponding authors who are members of the affiliations listed below are eligible for a 15% discount. There is a 25% discount where the corresponding author has reviewed for BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine within the previous 12 months. These discounts cannot be combined.

As one of the founding members of the HINARI Access to Research in Health Programme, we provide free access to all of our journals, and journals archive to local, not-for-profit institutions in low-income countries. In addition, we appreciate that some authors do not have access to funding to cover publication costs and we offer waivers through our Open Access Waiver Fund. Further information can be found at the BMJ Author Hub. We will accept part payment where only limited funds are available, and we offer waivers to authors in exceptional circumstances, on request.

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 of the Article Processing Charge (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.

BMJ also grants waivers and discounts* in specific circumstances, for more information on publishing open access with BMJ visit our Author Hub.

*Please note that applications for waivers or discounts should be made during initial submission and not after an article has been accepted. Editors are not involved in this process and the ability to pay has no bearing on editorial decisions. Payment will not be required unless your article is accepted. Accepted articles will not be published until payment has been received. BMJ does not refund APCs once paid.


Data sharing

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine 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.


Affiliations

Corresponding authors who are members of one of the following twenty-five organisations will receive a discount off the article publishing charge (APC) as detailed:


Provenance and peer review

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine submissions are predominantly unsolicited, all articles submitted are subject to peer review. The journal operates single blind peer review whereby the names of the reviewers are hidden from the authors; 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 – after submitting.

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 Open Sport & Exercise Medicine; these should be submitted electronically via the journal’s website. Please find further details on how to publish a response and the terms and requirements.

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine will consider appeals on rejected manuscripts provided the authors can demonstrate that the decision on their manuscript was flawed or not in line with the journal’s policies. For an appeal to be considered, authors must provide a detailed point-by-point response to all the concerns raised by the reviewers or editors involved with the manuscript. We ask that authors do not provide a revised manuscript during the appeal. All decisions made on appeals are final, and the decision process could take longer than with original submissions. Appeals must be made within 30 days of the reject decision.


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. 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 transfer service

BMJ and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine are 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. As part of this service, once authors agree to transfer their manuscript all versions, supplementary files and peer reviewer comments are automatically transferred; without the need to resubmit or reformat.

Authors who submit to the British Journal of Sports Medicine and are rejected will be offered the option of transferring to BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine.

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.


ORCID

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine 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 BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine; 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.

We encourage authors to submit previous reviews by other journals and specify what action they took to address reviewer comments. Submitting previous reviews may significantly reduce article processing times. When you submit a previously reviewed manuscript to BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, please name the journal and submission ID in the cover letter and append any previous reviews and your responses.

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.

We require every research article submitted to include a statement that the study obtained ethics approval (or a statement that it was not required and why), including the name of the ethics committee(s) or institutional review board(s), the number/ID of the approval(s), and a statement that participants gave informed consent before taking part. Generic statements such as “ethical approval was granted from the institutional board” will not be accepted.

You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services.

Original research

Original Research should not exceed 3000 words, excluding references and tables.

Additional material may be presented as supplementary information, which will be published in a single Word/PDF file in the Appendix should the article be accepted (this can be in any format: text, tables, images, videos, etc).

For all original research we ask you to provide in 3-4 bullet points subheadings “What is already known”, and “What are the new findings”, highlighting the clinical relevance of your work.

For the main body of the paper, we encourage short introductions when the rationale of the study is obvious, i.e. it may be as short as 3 paragraphs if that addresses “Why we did it”.

We encourage the use of subheadings in the methods, results and discussion. We find it hard to imagine a discussion that has fewer than two subheadings.

Following the lead of The BMJ and its patient partnership strategyBMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine 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.

Word count: up to 3000 words
Abstract: up to 250 words and structured including the headings; Objectives, Methods, Results and Conclusion
Tables/illustrations: up to 6 tables and/or figures
References: up to 40
Reporting guidelines: dependent upon the design of your study


Qualitative research

Qualitative research should not exceed 4500 words, excluding references and tables.

Additional material may be presented as supplementary information, which will be published in a single Word/PDF file in the Appendix should the article be accepted (this can be in any format: text, tables, images, videos, etc).

For all qualitative research we ask you to provide in 3-4 bullet points subheadings “What is already known”, and “What are the new findings”. Highlighting the clinical relevance of your work.

For the main body of the paper, we encourage short introductions when the rationale of the study is obvious, i.e. it may be as short as 3 short paragraphs if that addresses “Why we did it”.

We encourage the use of subheadings in the methods, results and discussion. We find it hard to imagine a discussion that has fewer than two subheadings.

Following the lead of The BMJ and its patient partnership strategy, BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine 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.

Authors should clearly state their qualitative approach, data collection and analysis methods. Additionally, sufficient descriptions of theoretical and/or conceptual underpinnings should be included were applicable. We strongly advise authors to describe their approach to rigor and trustworthiness throughout the study.

Word count: up to 4500 words
Abstract: up to 300 words, unstructured
Tables/illustrations: up to 6 tables and/or figures
References: up to 40
Reporting guidelines: Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research (SRQR) & Consolidated Requirements for Qualitative Research (COREQ)

Review

Review articles should not exceed 4500 words, excluding references and tables.

Reviews provide in-depth discussions in established and new areas in sports and exercise medicine. If you feel your review warrants additional length, consult the editorial office and/or mention the reason in your Cover letter.

For all reviews we ask you to provide in 3-4 bullet points subheadings “What is already known”, and “What are the new findings”, highlighting the clinical relevance of your work.

Systematic review

Systematic reviews provide Level One evidence; they form a critical part of the literature.

  • We are looking for experts to synthesise the literature and to comment on the outcomes of the review in a meaningful and clinically relevant way
  • The topic must be of relevance to clinicians with the key question ‘will the findings change what practitioners do?’’
  • Succinct and focussed reviews, with questions that are topical, novel or controversial that will attract readers and researchers to the journal are more likely to be accepted
  • The literature search should have been completed within 12 months of manuscript submission.
  • All titles should include ‘a Systematic Review’
  • Systematic review registration: registry and number (if registered)

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Word count: up to 4500 words
Abstract: up to 250 words and structured including the headings; Objectives, Design, Data sources, Eligibility criteria for selecting studies, Results and Summary/Conclusion
Tables/illustrations: up to 6 tables and/or figures
References: up to 100
Reporting guidelines: Prisma checklist/statement and flowchart

Narrative review

We consider narrative reviews of general topics of importance to the sports and exercise medicine clinician.

  • Authors should clearly outline in their cover letter why a narrative review is appropriate rather than a systematic review
  • All titles should include ‘a Narrative Review’

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Word count: up to 4000
Abstract: up to 250, unstructured
Tables/illustrations: up to 6 tables and/or figures
References: up to 80

Consensus statement

Please follow the steps in the Agree Reporting Checklist and upload as Research Checklist when submitting your article.

Word count and references can be discussed with the editor.

Editorial

Editorials are by invitation only.

Word count: up to 1000
Tables/figures: up to 2 tables and/or figures
References: up to 10

Protocol

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine will consider protocols for any study design, including observational studies and systematic reviews.

Publishing study protocols enables researchers and funding bodies to stay up to date in their fields by providing exposure to research activity that may not otherwise be widely publicised. This can help prevent unnecessary duplication of work and will hopefully enable collaboration. Publishing protocols in full also makes available more information than is currently required by trial registries and increases transparency, making it easier for others (editors, reviewers and readers) to see and understand any deviations from the protocol that occur during the conduct of a study.

Protocol manuscripts should report planned or ongoing research studies. If data collection is complete we will not consider the protocol. The inclusion of pilot data supportive of the protocol is encouraged.

Protocols for studies that will require ethical approval, such as trials, will not be considered without having received that approval.

For all protocols we ask you to provide in 3-4 bullet points subheadings “What is already known”, and “What are this study could add”, highlighting the clinical relevance of your work.

Word count: up to 4000
Abstract: up to 250, unstructured
Tables/illustrations: up to 6 tables and/or figures
References: up to 30

Short report

Short reports should not exceed 1500 words excluding references and tables. Short reports in general describe original research.

For all short reports we ask you to provide in 3-4 bullet points subheadings “What is already known”, and “What are the new findings”, highlighting the clinical relevance of your work.

We encourage the use of  the headings introduction, methods, results, discussion, and subheadings where appropriate. Typically, any discussion section should have two or more subheadings.

Additional material may be presented as supplementary information, which will be published in a single Word/PDF file in the Appendix should the article be accepted (this can be in any format: text, tables, images, videos, etc).

Word count: up to 1500 words
Abstract: up to 200 words, structured including the headings; Objectives, Methods, Results and Conclusion
Tables/illustrations: up to 4 tables and/or figures
References: up to 30

Viewpoint

Viewpoints should not exceed 1500 words excluding references and tables. Viewpoints in general provide a commentary on a topic of interest to the BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine readership.

For all viewpoints we ask you to provide in 3-4 bullet points subheadings “What is already known”, and “What are the new findings”, highlighting the clinical relevance of your work.

We encourage the use of subheadings where appropriate. Typically, any discussion section should have two or more subheadings.

Additional material may be presented as supplementary information, which will be published in a single Word/PDF file in the Appendix should the article be accepted (this can be in any format: text, tables, images, videos, etc).

Word count: up to 1500 words
Abstract: up to 200 words, unstructured
Tables/illustrations: up to 4 tables and/or figures
References: up to 30


Supplements

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