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Instructions for contributors

Jump To: Preparing your Submission | Article Types | Policies | After Acceptance


The British Journal of Psychiatry (BJPsych) is an international, peer-reviewed journal owned by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The journal is published monthly by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the College. The BJPsych publishes original work in all fields of psychiatry. Please see the journal's Aims & Scope for further information about its focus and readership.

The BJPsych is not responsible for statements made by contributors and material in the BJPsych does not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor-in-Chief or the College.


Manuscripts should be submitted online as a word document via Authors may track the progress of their manuscript(s) at any time via the submission website. For assistance with online submission, please email or call + 44 (0) 20 3701 2546.

Peer Review

Authors should be aware of the criteria listed in the document 'What is a BJPsych paper?' which helps the editorial team assess all the high-quality papers submitted to the journal. The journal is unable to offer a review of a paper’s suitability before submission.

All submissions are initially assessed for suitability by a Deputy Editor. After initial assessment, submissions are single blind peer reviewed by two independent, anonymous expert referees and the assigned Handling Editor. The Handling Editor will recommend a decision to the Editor-in-Chief who is responsible for making the final decision. Find out more about what to expect during peer review here.

Preparing your Submission

Checklist: What to Include

Authors will be asked to confirm the following elements are included during submission. Any omissions may cause delays.

Word Document:

  1. Title – The title should be brief and relevant. Titles should not announce the results of articles and (apart from editorials) they should not be phrased as questions.
  2. Author Names – The full names of the authors should appear on the title page in the form and order that is wished for publication.
  3. Main Text – See relevant Article Type for individual specification.
  4. Clinical Trials Registration – In accordance with ICMJE guidelines, the BJPsych requires all clinical trials to be registered in a public trials registry at the beginning of the research process (prior to patient enrolment). Trial registration numbers should be included in the abstract, with full details of the trial in the Methods section. We encourage authors to register the protocol for systematic reviews on PROSPERO and include the registration number in the abstract.
  5. Ethics Statement – All authors are required to follow the ICMJE guidelines on the protection of research participants. Reports on research involving human participants must include the following statement in the Methods section: The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional committees on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008. All procedures involving human subjects/patients were approved by [name of the relevant local, regional or national review body and approval number]. For further assistance in writing an ethics statement please visit Ethics Statement Generator.
  6. Consent Statement – Reports on research involving human participants must include the following statement in the Methods section: Written [or verbal] informed consent was obtained from all subjects/patients. Where verbal consent was obtained this must be followed by a statement such as: Verbal consent was witnessed and formally recorded. This confirms that any research participant has consented to the inclusion of material pertaining to themselves, that they acknowledge that they cannot be identified via the manuscript; and that the participant has been fully anonymized by the author. If research participants are identifiable, authors should complete and upload a Consent Form. Where someone is deceased, please ensure you have written consent from the family or estate.
  7. Author Details – At the end of the manuscript list the degrees, job titles, affiliations and countries at the time the work described in the paper was carried out. Identify one corresponding author with a full postal address (including post/zip code) and email address appropriate for publication.
  8. References – References should be numbered in the order that they appear in the text and listed at the end of the manuscript using the Vancouver style. Unpublished doctoral theses may be cited but no other citation of unpublished work, including unpublished conference presentations, is permissible. Authors are responsible for checking all references for accuracy and relevance before submission.

Required Statements:

  1. Declaration of Interest – All authors are required to complete the ICMJE Conflicts of Interest form (more information here). Please include a summary statement in your manuscript derived from the information in the forms. Where no known conflicts of interest exist, please include the following statement: “None”.
  2. Funding – Please provide details of the sources of financial support for all authors, including grant numbers. Grants held by different authors should be identified as belonging to individual authors by the authors’ initials. For example: This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (A.B., grant numbers XXXX, YYYY), (C.D., grant number ZZZZ); the Natural Environment Research Council (E.F., grant number FFFF); and the National Institutes of Health (A.B., grant number GGGG), (E.F., grant number HHHH). Where no specific funding has been provided for research, please provide the following statement: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
  3. Acknowledgements – Authors may acknowledge individuals or organisations who provided non-financial advice and/or support. Names and descriptions of the contributions of all non-author contributors should be included (as identified in the ICMJE guidelines). If a professional medical writer has been employed in connection to the work, the writer must submit a completed ICMJE Conflicts of Interest form and be named in the Acknowledgements section with their contact information.
  4. Author Contribution – All authors should meet all four ICMJE criteria for authorship. Please provide a very brief description of the contribution of each author to the research including their roles in formulating the research question(s), designing the study, carrying it out, analysing the data and writing the article.
  5. Data Availability – Authors should indicate whether they had access to the study data, with an explanation of the nature and extent of access, including whether access is on-going. Where appropriate, the statement should indicate where the data associated with a manuscript is available and include links and DOIs to the data set. The DOI, repository name and number should also be included in the abstract. See here for more details.

Other Documents:

  1. Tables - Tables should be numbered (e.g. Table 1, Table 2…) and referenced in the text of the manuscript. Authors must indicate the desired position of the table in the manuscript. Authors must obtain permission from the original publisher if they intend to use tables from other sources, and due acknowledgement should be made in a footnote to the table as follows: Permission to replicate this table has been given to the authors by XXX.
  2. Figures - Figures should be numbered (e.g. Fig 1, Fig 2, Fig 3…) and referenced in the text of the manuscript. Authors must indicate the desired position of the figure in the manuscript. Please consult the journal artwork guide for a detailed specification on accepted file formats. Authors must obtain permission from the original publisher if they intend to use figures from other sources, and due acknowledgement should be made in the legend as follows: Permission to replicate this figure has been given to the authors by XXX.
    Any figures supplied in colour will be published online in colour but converted to tints of the journal’s Pantone shade for printing. The optional charge for full colour figure print publication is £200/$320 per figure (up to a maximum of £1000/$1600 per article). To request colour figures in print, please tick the appropriate box when submitting your manuscript.
  3. Supplementary Material – Material related to a paper but not essential to a general understanding of the paper will be published as an online data supplement. Supplementary material is peer reviewed but will not be copyedited or typeset and should be supplied as authors wish to appear online. Supplementary material should be uploaded as a separate file and referenced in the manuscript. This material includes, but is not restricted to:
    • Additional data presented as tables or figures
    • Details of a search strategy employed in a literature review
    • Details of the literature retrieved but not further discussed in the body of the manuscript
    • Technical details of specialist (but not novel) methodology, statistical analysis and supporting references
    • Authors who have contributed in some sense to the paper but don’t qualify for an authorship credit (e.g. group authorship) should be added to supplementary material rather than included in the footnote or acknowledgement section
  4. ICMJE Conflict of Interest Form – All authors are required to complete the ICMJE Conflicts of Interest form disclosing all financial and personal relationships that might bias or be seen to bias their work as detailed in the ICMJE guidelines. The forms must be uploaded as supplementary files and will be published online for all accepted research papers.
  5. Copyright Form - A signed Copyright Assignment Form must be submitted online when submitting a revised version of the manuscript, or immediately after acceptance if no revision is required.
  6. CONSORT, PRISMA, or CHEERS Checklist/Flow Diagram – If relevant, see here for more information.

During Online Submission:

  1. Relevance statement - Authors are required to provide a relevance statement that explains in no more than 100 words the relevance of the research to practising psychiatrists.
  2. Fast-track assessment - Authors can request fast-track assessment in their cover letter if they believe their paper has the potential directly to improve clinical practice or influence public policy.
    Appropriate reasons for fast-track assessment:
    • Findings suggest an immediate change in practice for reasons of patient safety
    • Findings suggest that aspects of current practice are no longer ethical
    • Findings suggest that a change in current practice will lead to significantly improved patient outcomes
    • The first report of a novel and clinically useful therapy
    • The first report of good evidence for a novel aetiological mechanism.
    A decision regarding the fast-track route will be made within 10 days of submission. All manuscripts approved for the fast-track route will be assessed within 4 weeks of submission.

Article Types

Jump to: Paper | Review | Short Report | Editorial | Reappraisal | Analysis | In Debate | CommentaryBook Review | Extra | Correspondence & e-Letters

  • The word count should be between 3,000 and 4,000 words (excluding references, tables and figure legends) and may include up to 25 essential references beyond those describing statistical procedures, psychometric instruments and diagnostic guidelines used in the study.
  • Structured abstract of up to 250 words with the headings: Background; Aims; Method; Results; Conclusions (Trial Registration Number and Data Set Information where appropriate). Please find further guidance on writing an effective abstract here.
    • Quantitative studies: abstracts should provide effect sizes with confidence intervals (not P-values alone).
    • Conclusions, in isolation, are likely to be used by others citing or promoting the work and must therefore be an accurate reflection of the study's main findings.
  • Main text should include the following sections: Introduction, Method, Results and Discussion.
    • Introductions should be no more than one paragraph. Longer introductions may be permissible but should be split with subheadings if they exceed two paragraphs.
    • Discussion section should always include limitations of the paper to ensure balance, use of subheadings is encouraged in this section.
    • A Conclusions section is not required in the main text.
  • In total, up to four tables and figures may be included in the print version of each paper (e.g. three tables and one figure). Additional tables and figures may be included as online only supplementary material. All large tables (exceeding one journal page) will be published as online only supplementary material. Authors are encouraged to present key data within smaller tables for print publication.

  • There is no word limit or maximum number of references, tables or figures.
  • The abstract and main text should be structured in the same way as Papers (above).
  • Systematic reviews are preferred, narrative reviews will be published only under exceptional circumstances.
  • Previously published Reviews for groups such as the Cochrane Collaboration and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence should be submitted with the latest version of the parent review and its status, so an informed decision can be made about the added value of the submitted paper.

Short Report
  • The word count should not exceed 1,200 words (excluding references, tables and figure legends) and may include one figure or table and up to 10 essential references.
  • Short reports require an unstructured summary paragraph not exceeding 100 words.
  • Short reports must not exceed two printed pages and may require further editing after acceptance.

  • The word count should not exceed 1,500 words and may include one figure or table and up to 10 essential references.
  • Editorials require an unstructured summary paragraph not exceeding 50 words.
  • Editorials may only exceed two printed pages at the Editor's discretion and may require further editing after acceptance.
  • A good-quality photograph (minimum resolution 300 dpi) of the lead author for publication must be submitted with the manuscript, along with brief biographical details (up to 25 words) for each author.

  • The word count should not exceed 2,500 words and may include one figure or table and up to 25 essential references.
  • Analysis articles require an unstructured summary paragraph not exceeding 50 words.
  • Analysis articles are commissioned to discuss a clinical, scientific, ethical, legal or policy issue that is relevant to clinical practice and patient care. Demonstrating an unbiased approach in evaluating the relevant evidence, with a clear line of argument and justifiable conclusion. Submissions addressing recent developments are particularly welcome and authors must bear in mind the international readership of the BJPsych.
  • Unsolicited material is considered and pre-submission enquiries should be sent to

  • The word count should not exceed 1,500 words and may include 1 figure or table and up to 15 essential references.
  • Reappraisals require an unstructured summary paragraph not exceeding 50 words.
  • Reappraisals may only exceed two printed pages at the Editor's discretion and may require further editing after acceptance.
  • Reappraisals are commissioned by the Editor concerning well-known subjects in psychiatry that are going through a period of controversy or re-evaluation – intended to give a long-term, balanced perspective on the subject, based on the latest evidence.
  • A good-quality photograph (minimum resolution 300 dpi) of the lead author for publication must be submitted with the manuscript, along with brief biographical details (up to 25 words) for each author.

In Debate
  • Each author may use up to 2500 words and 15 references, divided as they wish between their three rounds. A short introduction will be provided by the In Debate Editors post-acceptance.
  • In Debate articles not adhering to the agreed format may not be considered.
  • Proposals for In Debate articles should be sent to, providing a brief outline (one paragraph) of the issue to be debated together with the proposed motion. The author may also suggest an opponent for the debate. Two debaters have three rounds of debate (1-2-1-2-1-2), responding to each other after each round.

  • The word count should not exceed 1,200 words and may include up to 20 essential references.
  • Commentaries require an unstructured summary paragraph not exceeding 50 words.
  • Commentaries may only exceed two printed pages at the Editor's discretion and may require further editing after acceptance.
  • A good-quality photograph (minimum resolution 300 dpi) of the lead author for publication must be submitted with the manuscript, along with brief biographical details (up to 25 words) for all authors.

Book Review
  • Book reviews are commissioned and should include the name, postal address and email address of the corresponding author as well as full book details (title, author(s), price, publisher, publication year and number of pages) and a picture of the book cover

  • These comprise a wide range of material considered to be of interest to readers of the BJPsych. Manuscripts are submitted online via
  • Extras may be up to 500 words in length and should not include references.
  • Authors should specify the type of Extra they are submitting in their manuscript file.
    • Extra types include: Psychiatry in music, Psychiatry in movies, Psychiatry in history, Psychiatry in literature, Psychiatry in pictures, Psychiatry in theatre, Psychiatry in the Bible, Psychiatry in sacred texts, Reflections, Poems (including poems by doctors), 100 years ago, 100 words and miscellaneous.

Correspondence & eLetters
  • Letters may be submitted online as responses to published articles by navigating to the eLetters tab when viewing an article online and selecting ‘Submit a response’.
  • Letters may be up to 500 words in length with a maximum of 5 references.
  • All letters must include a Declaration of Interest statement.
  • All eLetters will be screened by the Correspondence Editor prior to publication online, a selection from these eLetters will subsequently be included in the printed Journal.

Case reports, cost-of-illness and cost studies are not considered for publication in the BJPsych and should be submitted to BJPsych Open.

Transparent Reporting: Equator Guidelines

Authors must abide by the following guidelines and documentation, if applicable:


Attention should be paid to providing a clear description of study designs and objectives, and evidence that the statistical procedures used were both appropriate for the hypotheses tested and correctly interpreted. The statistical analyses should be planned before data are collected and full explanations given for any post hoc analyses carried out. The value of test statistics used (e.g. t, F-ratio) should be given as well as their significance levels so that their derivation can be understood. Standard deviations and errors should not be reported as ± but should be specified and referred to in parentheses.

Trends should not be reported unless they have been supported by appropriate statistical analyses for trends. The use of percentages to report results from small samples is discouraged, other than where this facilitates comparisons. The number of decimal places to which numbers are given should reflect the accuracy of the determination and estimates of error should be given for statistics. Use of confidence intervals is encouraged but not mandatory. Authors are encouraged to include estimates of statistical power where appropriate. To report a difference as being statistically significant is generally insufficient, and comment should be made about the magnitude and direction of change.

Economic evaluations

Trial-based economic evaluations

Priority will be given to trial-based economic evaluations submitted to the BJPsych that meet the following criteria (in order of importance):

  • Submitted with the main clinical trial outcome results in a single manuscript
  • Submitted alongside the main clinical trial manuscript, or subsequent to the main clinical trial manuscript being accepted for publication in the BJPsych and demonstrating added value in the form of original and important results not reported in the clinical trial manuscript
  • Submitted in isolation from the main clinical trial manuscript, published elsewhere and demonstrating added value in the form of original and important results not reported in the clinical trial manuscript.

Economic evaluations based on decision analysis

Priority will be given to economic evaluations based on decision modelling that meet all the following criteria:

  • Original and important results, not reported elsewhere, that are likely to have an impact on real decisions in clinical practice or on mental health policy
  • Methods/results that are described and reported clearly enough to be accessible to a primarily clinical audience
  • Based on data from systematic literature reviews/meta-analyses, randomised controlled trials and/or routine data sources (such as hospital episode statistics or patient registries).

Manuscripts that do not meet this criterion may still be considered, if the first two criteria are clearly met.

Qualitative research

The Editorial team recognises that the term 'qualitative research' encompasses diverse methods, manuscripts will be evaluated based on the appropriateness of the selected framework, the coherence of the report and its adherence to quality criteria consistent with the methodology and method as follows:

Epistemological and/or theoretical frameworks
  • The epistemological underpinnings and/or theoretical framework are made explicit and applied consistently

Study design and method
  • The research goal is clear, justified and in context regarding the literature
  • The approach matches the purpose of research and is justified
  • Methods of sampling, data collection, data management and analysis are made explicit and consistent with the methodology
  • Analytical and interpretative processes are described in full

Findings, discussion and implications
  • Findings represent the depth and breadth of data
  • Findings and interpretations are supported by the data
  • Direct quotations, exemplars or other data presentations are used judiciously to illustrate the findings
  • Findings are presented in a way that is consistent with the methodology, method and study aims
  • Authors are appropriately cautious about knowledge claims
  • Findings are explored theoretically and applications discussed

Process issues
  • The report provides an account of reflexive practice in keeping with the methodology


ORCID provides a unique identifier for researchers and through integration in key research workflows such as publication and grant applications, links your professional activities. We encourage authors to link their ORCID identifier to their ScholarOne account. If you do not already have an ORCID identifier, registration is fast and free, and you can register directly from your ScholarOne account or at

Data Sharing

Authors are required to maintain accurate records of data associated with their submitted manuscript, and to supply or provide access to these data on reasonable request. Authors encouraged to deposit data in a suitable repository or storage location, for sharing and further use by others, if appropriate.

Language Editing Service

Where English is not a native language we encourage authors to have their manuscripts checked by an English language native speaker before submission. This will ensure that manuscripts are judged at peer review exclusively on academic merit. Cambridge University Press partners with American Journal Experts to provide a high-quality service to authors. More information can be found here. Use of this service is entirely voluntary and does not guarantee acceptance, nor does its use require authors to later submit to a Cambridge journal.


Publication ethics

Authors are expected to be aware of and comply with best practice in publication ethics. This includes, but is not restricted to: avoiding duplicate or multiple submissions, plagiarism and manipulation of figures/data. Authors must ensure that submissions to the BJPsych are not under consideration, accepted for publication or previously published elsewhere. All content overlap with published or submitted content must be acknowledged and cited. Submitted articles will be checked using duplication-checking software (Crossref™ Similarity Check) at revision stage.

The BJPsych takes issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and the reputation of the journal. Any claims of plagiarism or misuse of articles published in the journal will be investigated according to COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics).

The BJPsych reserves the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article (removing it from the journal); taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author’s institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; banning the author from publication in the journal, or appropriate legal action.

Any concerns in this regard must be brought to the attention of the Editor via

To ensure unbiased review, submissions from the editors and members of the editorial board are welcome but will be peer reviewed by an independent Editor.

Cambridge University Press's Ethical Guidelines can be found here: Publication Ethics and Ethical Standards.

Appeals & Complaints

If an author believes their manuscript has been incorrectly rejected, an appeal letter can be submitted by responding to the decision email directly or contacting

To have an appeal considered, please provide full details regarding your reasoning for the appeal letter. All appeals are reviewed and discussed during the monthly Senior Editorial Committee meeting with a final decision communicated to the author via email. We can consider only one appeal per manuscript.

Please direct all complaints to the Editor-in-Chief or the editorial office at

After Acceptance


On acceptance of the manuscript for publication, we require all authors to assign copyright to the Royal College of Psychiatrists via signature of the Copyright Assignment Form.

Open Access

There is no submission or publication fee for papers published in the BJPsych. All papers published in the BJPsych become freely available online 12 months after publication. Authors have the option to publish their paper under an Open Access agreement, on payment of an open access article-processing charge (APC). In this case, the final Version of Record will be made freely available from publication and in perpetuity, under a creative commons license enabling its reuse. The APC is currently £2,500 (or US$4,500) per article plus VAT where applicable. Please complete the relevant sections of the Copyright Assignment Form. Find out more information about license options, embargo periods and APCs here.


First proofs will be emailed to the corresponding author after acceptance. Authors should check their first proofs and answer any queries that have arisen during copyediting and typesetting within two days. Authors must check proofs carefully, once the article has been published online no further changes can be made. For more details on the Production process, see our comprehensive guide.

Online Publication

BJPsych articles are published online as a Version of Record (VoR) using the Cambridge FirstView model. Articles are published in final form 2-3 weeks after receipt of corrected author proofs.  Articles are paginated independently, fully citable with an assigned digital object identifier (DOI) and made available to the journal's subscriber.

Press Releases

To coordinate and provide additional publicity surrounding a press release, including Twitter and Facebook, for your publication please email as soon as possible after acceptance.

Sharing Your Article

The corresponding author will receive a code to download their final article on publication. The journal’s green Open Access policy allows authors to share their article in the following ways:

Personal web page

Department or institutional repository

Non-commercial subject repository

Commercial repository or social media site (e.g. ResearchGate,, SSRN)

Accepted Manuscript

On acceptance

6 months after publication

6 months after publication

Abstract only plus link to VoR on

Version of Record

Abstract only plus link to VoR on

Abstract only plus link to VoR on

Abstract only plus link to VoR on

Abstract only plus link to VoR on

Note that the BJPsych offers Cambridge Core Share, which allows authors, readers and subscribers to share a link to a read-only version of an article anywhere at any time. Please see Open Access resources for more information about how you can share your article.

Authors are encouraged to actively promote their articles to their colleagues and contacts around the world. Our suite of resources are available to help you engage with your readership, increase your visibility and make your article more discoverable online. When tweeting about your article, please include the journal portfolio handle, @TheBJPsych.

Digital Preservation

If the research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, participating US-based or European funders/funding institutions you are required to deposit the accepted paper to PubMed Central/Europe PubMed Central. Cambridge University Press automatically transfer the accepted manuscript to PubMed Central/ Europe PubMed Central.

BJPsych is deposited in the following digital archives to guarantee long-term digital preservation:
CLOCKSS (journals) Portico (journals and books)

Last Updated: November 2018