GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS Download PDF
The British Columbia Medical Journal is a general medical journal that seeks to continue the education of physicians through review articles, scientific research, and updates on contemporary clinical practices while providing a forum for medical debate. Several times a year, the BCMJ presents a theme issue devoted to a particular discipline or disease entity.
We welcome letters, blog posts, articles, and scientific papers from physicians in British Columbia and elsewhere. Manuscripts should not have been submitted to any other publication. Articles are subject to copyediting and editorial revisions, but authors remain responsible for statements in the work, including editorial changes; for accuracy of references; and for obtaining permissions. The corresponding author of scientific articles will be asked to check page proofs for accuracy.
The BCMJ endorses the “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals” by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (updated December 2018), and encourages authors to review the complete text of that document at www.icmje.org.
All materials must be submitted electronically, preferably in Word to:
BC Medical Journal
Letters to the editor, articles, and scientific papers must be reviewed and accepted by the BCMJ’s eight-member Editorial Board prior to publication. The Board normally meets the last Friday of every month, at which time submissions are distributed for review the following month. We do not acknowledge receipt of submissions; the editor will contact authors of articles by email once the submission has been reviewed by the Board (usually within 8 to 10 weeks of submission). The general criteria for acceptance include accuracy, relevance to practising BC physicians, validity, originality, and clarity. The editor contacts authors to inform them whether the paper has been rejected, conditionally accepted (that is, accepted with revisions), or accepted as submitted. Authors of letters are contacted only if the letter is accepted and editorial staff need further information. Scientific papers and other articles typically take 5 to 10 months from the date of receipt to publication, depending on how quickly authors provide revisions and on the backlog of papers scheduled for publication. Manuscripts are returned only on request. Access to the BCMJ is available for free on our website.
For All Submissions
- Avoid unnecessary formatting, as we strip all formatting from manuscripts.
- Double-space all parts of all submissions.
- Include your name, relevant degrees, e-mail address, and phone number.
- Number all pages consecutively.
- BCMD2B: (medical student page). An article on any medicine-related topic by a BC physician-in-training. Less than 2000 words. The BCMJ also welcomes student submissions of letters and scientific/clinical articles. BCMD2B and student-written clinical articles are eligible for an annual $1000 medical student writing prize.
- The Good Doctor: A biographical feature of a living BC physician. Less than 2000 words.
- Point-Counterpoint: Essays presenting two opposing viewpoints; at least one is usually solicited by the BCMJ. Less than 2000 words each.
- Premise: Essays on any medicine-related topic; may or may not be referenced. Less than 2000 words.
- Proust for Physicians: A lighthearted questionnaire about you. Submit responses online by completing our online questionnaire, print a copy from the BCMJ website, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 604 638-2815.
- Special Feature: Articles, stories, history, or any narrative that doesn’t fit elsewhere in the BCMJ. Less than 2000 words.
- Obituaries: Include birth and death dates, full name and name deceased was best known by, key hospital and professional affiliations, relevant biographical data, and photo. Less than 300 words.
- News: A miscellany of short news items, announcements, requests for study participants, notices, and so on. Submit suggestions or text to email@example.com. Less than 300 words.
Clinical Articles, Case Reports, Survey Studies
Manuscripts of scientific content/clinical articles and case reports should be 2000 to 4000 words in length, including tables and references. The first page of the manuscript should carry the following:
- Title, and subtitle, if any.
- Preferred given name or initials and last name for each author, with relevant academic degrees.
- All authors professional/institutional affiliations, sufficient to provide the basis for an author note such as: “Dr Smith is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of British Columbia and a staff gynecologist at Vancouver Hospital.”
- A structured or unstructured abstract of no more than 150 words. If structured, the preferred headings are “Background,” “Methods,” “Results,” and “Conclusions.”
- Three key words or short phrases to assist in indexing.
- Competing interests, if any.
- Name, address, phone number, and email address of corresponding author.
Survey studies must have a response rate of at least 50% in order for the paper to be reviewed for publication consideration. Papers with less than this response rate will not be reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board. We recognize that it is not always possible to achieve this rate, so you may ask the Editor in advance to waive this rule, and if the circumstances warrant it, the Editor may agree to have the paper reviewed.
Authorship, copyright, disclosure, and consent form
When submitting a clinical/scientific/review paper, all authors must complete the BCMJ’s four-part “Authorship, copyright, disclosure, and consent form.” [PDF]
Papers will not be reviewed without this document, which is available here
- Authorship: All authors must certify in writing that they qualify as an author of the paper. Order of authorship is decided by the authors. To be considered an author, an individual must meet all three conditions:
- Have made substantial contributions to the conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data.
- Drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content.
- Given final approval of the version to be published.
- Copyright: All authors must sign and return an “Assignment of copyright” prior to publication. Published manuscripts become the property of Doctors of BC and may not be published elsewhere without permission.
- Disclosure. All authors must sign a “Disclosure of financial interests” statement and provide it to the BCMJ. This may be used for a note to accompany the text.
- Consent. If the article is a case report or if an individual patient is described, written consent from the patient (or his or her legal guardian or substitute decision maker) is required.
References to published material
Try to keep references to fewer than 30. Authors are responsible for reference accuracy. References must be numbered consecutively in the order in which they appear in the text. Avoid using auto-numbering as this can cause problems during production.
Include all relevant details regarding publication, including correct abbreviation of journal titles, as in Index Medicus; year, volume number, and inclusive page numbers; full names and locations of book publishers; inclusive page numbers of relevant source material; full web address of the document, not just to host page, and date the page was accessed. Examples:
- Gilsanz V, Gibbons DT, Roe TF, et al. Vertebral bone density in children: Effect of puberty. Radiology 2007;166:847-850. NB: List up to four authors or editors; for five or more, list first three and use et al
- Mollison PL. Blood Transfusion in Clinical Medicine. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Scientific Publications; 2004.p.78-80.
- O’Reilly RA. Vitamin K antagonists. In: Colman RW, Hirsh J, Marder VJ, et al. (eds). Hemostasis and Thrombosis. Philadelphia, PA: JB Lippincott Co; 2005.p.1367-1372.
- Health Canada. Canadian STD Guidelines, 2007. Accessed 15 July 2008. www.hc-sc.gc.ca NB: The access date is the date the author consulted the source.
A book cited in full, without page number citations, should be listed separately under Additional or Suggested reading. Such a list should contain no more than five items.
References to unpublished material
These may include articles that have been read at a meeting or symposium but have not been published, or material accepted for publication but not yet published (in press). Examples:
- Maurice WL, Sheps SB, Schechter MT. Sexual activity with patients: A survey of BC physicians. Presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, Winnipeg, MB, 5 October 2008.
- Kim-Sing C, Kutynec C, Harris S, et al. Breast cancer and risk reduction: Diet, physical activity, and chemoprevention. CMAJ. In press.
Personal communications are not included in the reference list, but may be cited in the text, with type of communication (oral or written), communicant’s full name, affiliation, and date (e.g., oral communication with H.E. Marmon, director, BC Centre for Disease Control, 12 November 2007).
Material submitted for publication but not accepted should not be included.
It is the author’s responsibility to obtain written permission from both author and publisher for material, including figures and tables, taken or adapted from other sources. Permissions should accompany the article when submitted.
Should possible scientific misconduct or dishonesty in research submitted for review by the BCMJ be suspected or alleged, we reserve the right to forward any submitted manuscript to the sponsoring or funding institution or other appropriate authority for investigation. We recognize our responsibility to ensure that the question is appropriately pursued, but do not undertake the actual investigation or make determinations of misconduct.
Tables and figures
Tables and figures should supplement the text, not duplicate it. Keep length and number of tables and figures to a minimum. Include a descriptive title and units of measure for each table and figure. Obtain permission and acknowledge the source fully if you use data or figures from another published or unpublished source.
Tables. Please adhere to the following guidelines:
Submit tables electronically as Word or Excel files so that they may be formatted for style.
Number tables consecutively in the order of their first citation in the text and supply a brief title for each.
Place explanatory matter in footnotes, not in the heading.
Explain all nonstandard abbreviations in footnotes.
Ensure each table is cited in the text.
Figures (illustrations). Please adhere to the following guidelines:
Images must be high resolution; if unsure, send highest resolution possible and we will advise if necessary.
Number figures consecutively in the order of their first citation in the text and supply a brief title for each.
Place titles and explanations in legends, not in or on the illustrations themselves.
Provide internal scale markers for photomicrographs.
Ensure each figure is cited in the text.
Color is not normally available, but if it is necessary, an exception may be considered.
Report measurements of length, height, weight, and volume in metric units. Give temperatures in degrees Celsius and blood pressures in millimetres of mercury. Report hematologic and clinical chemistry measurements in the metric system according to the International System of Units (SI).
Except for units of measure, we discourage abbreviations. However, if a small number are necessary, use standard abbreviations only, preceded by the full name at first mention, e.g., in vitro fertilization (IVF). Avoid abbreviations in the title and abstract.
Use generic drug names. Use lowercase for generic names, uppercase for brand names, e.g., venlafaxine hydrochloride (Effexor). Drugs not yet available in Canada should be so noted.
Reprint order forms can be sent to authors upon publication of the article. If you know that you would like additional copies prior to printing, please advise us and we can arrange a larger print run.
MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION CHECKLIST
Before you submit your paper, please ensure you have completed the following, or your paper could be returned:
Authorship, copyright, disclosure, and consent form is completed and included.
Abstract is provided.
Three key words are provided.
Author information is provided for all authors.
References in text are in correct numerical order.
Reference list is in correct numerical order and is complete.
References list contains up to three authors only.
All figures and tables are supplied.
Permissions letters are included.