Infobox Journal
title = British Medical Journal

discipline = Medicine
abbreviation = BMJ
publisher = BMJ Group
country = U.K.
frequency = In print weekly, continuously updated online
history = 1840-
openaccess = Immediate [non-research: after 12 months] [According to PubMed Central]
website =
ISSN = 0959-8138

"BMJ" is a medical journal. It is among the most influential and widely read peer-reviewed general academic journals in the field of medicine in the world. cite web |title=About BMJ |url= |publisher=BMJ]

The journal is published by the BMJ Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Medical Association that also publishes 24 other journals focusing on various medical specialties. Originally called the "British Medical Journal", the title was officially shortened to "BMJ" in 1988.

The editor of "BMJ" is Fiona Godlee, who was appointed in February 2005.

Journal content

"BMJ" is an advocate of evidence-based medicine. It publishes original research as well as clinical reviews, news, editorial perspectives, personal views and career focus articles, to mention a few.

The journal also releases a number of "theme issues" every year, when it publishes research and review articles pertaining to the theme addressed. Some of the popular theme issues in recent years include "Health in Africa," "Management of Chronic Diseases," and "Global Voices on the AIDS Catastrophe." A special "Christmas Issue" is published annually, on the Friday before Christmas.


"BMJ" has four paper editions (which have the same content but different advertising):

*General Practice edition for general practitioners.
*Clinical Research for hospital doctors.
*International edition for overseas subscribers.
*Compact Edition for retired members of the British Medical Association.

Some of the international editions are also available in local languages.

Functioning of the journal

Submission of manuscripts to "BMJ" is done via an online manuscript processing system called BenchPress (a service of Stanford University's HighWire Press).

"BMJ" has an open peer review system, wherein the authors are told who reviewed their manuscript. About half the original articles are rejected after review in-house. [cite web
url =
title = "Peer review" on BMJ website
] The acceptance rate is less than 7 percent for original research articles. Manuscripts chosen for peer review are first "refereed" by external experts, who comment on the importance and suitability for publication, before the final decision on a manuscript is made by the editorial ('hanging') committee.

Decisions for those manuscripts sent for external review are usually reached within eight weeks. If not sent for external review, the decisions are usually reached within two weeks.

Impact and readership

The journal began its history in 1840 as the "Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal", and quickly attracted the attention of physicians around the world through its publication of high-impact original research articles and unique case reports. The "BMJ’s" first editor was Andrew Wynter. For a long time, its sole competitor was "The Lancet", also based in the UK, but with increasing globalisation, "BMJ" has faced tough competition from other medical journals, particularly "the New England Journal of Medicine" and " JAMA".

"BMJ" is considered to be one of the 'core' general medical journals; the others being the "New England Journal of Medicine", (N Engl J Med), the "Journal of the American Medical Association" (JAMA) and "The Lancet". Some authorities also include the "Canadian Medical Association Journal" (CMAJ) and "Annals of Internal Medicine" in this category, although both are biweekly publications. Fact|date=September 2008The most recent impact factor of the journal was 9.2 in 2006, [ ranked #7] ranked #7 among general medicine journals. The journal has long criticized the misuse of impact factor to award grants and recruit researchers by academic institutions. Fact|date=September 2008

"BMJ" website and access policies

"BMJ" went fully online in 1995, and has archived all its issues dating back to 1994 on the internet. In addition to the print content, supportive material for original research articles, additional news stories, and electronic letters to the editors are its principal attractions. The "BMJ" website has a remarkable policy of publishing most e-letters to the journal, called 'Rapid Responses', and is shaped like a fully moderated internet forum. However, concerns remain, even among the web editors of the journal, that this feature may be abused by correspondents who might not want to contribute anything substantial to the topic under discussion [] . A Greasemonkey 'killfile' filter [] was developed by some British doctors to suppress certain commenters and thus avoid annoyance. Fact|date=September 2008

From 1999, all content of "BMJ" was freely available online; however, in 2006 this changed to a subscription model. Original research articles continue to be available freely, but from January 2006, all other 'added value' contents, including clinical reviews and editorials, require a subscription. All access restrictions are lifted a year after publication. "BMJ", like "N Engl J Med", allows complete free access for visitors from economically disadvantaged countries. Of the major general medical journals, only the "Canadian Medical Association Journal" is available under complete open access (i.e. no registration/login is required).


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