BJA Open: Journal & Editorial Policies

Peer review process:

BJAO cover

BJA Open operates a blinded process of peer review as defined by the ICMJE ( for all published articles other than invited Commentaries (peer review is obtained for Editorials) and Correspondence (Letters to the Editor). Manuscripts that are considered by the Editor-in-Chief to be outside the scope of the Journal or fundamentally flawed will be rejected without peer review. Reviewers will include experts in the specialist area of the manuscript but the Editor may also invite reviews from other experts, for example, experts in statistics, methodology or ethical issues.

Authors are required to nominate peer reviewers during the submission process but the Editor is under no obligation to invite the nominees to provide a review. Nominations of peer reviewers unaccompanied by a verifiable (usually institutional) email address will not be considered. Authors may request an individual not to be used as a reviewer but the reason must be clearly explained in the covering letter to the Editor.

BJA Open provides all invited peer reviewers with guidance on their role:

The following ethical guidelines for all reviewers are emphasised:

* You should treat the manuscript and your review as confidential. You must not share your review or information about the review process with anyone without the agreement of the editors and authors involved, even after publication. This also applies to other reviewers' "comments to author" which are shared with you on decision (and vice versa).

* If you suspect plagiarism, fraud or have other ethical concerns, please raise your suspicions with the editor, providing as much detail as possible.

*Any suggestion you make that the author include citations to your (or your associates') work must be for genuine scientific reasons and not with the intention of increasing your citation counts or enhancing the visibility of your work (or those of your associates).

Manuscripts authored by a member of Editorial Board
Manuscripts authored by Editors or members of Editorial Board are treated no differently to any other manuscript submitted to BJA Open. All possible measures are undertaken to avoid any potential conflict of interest in handling of such manuscripts at all the stages including allocation of handling Editor, selection of reviewers, decision making and, if required, processing for publication.

Editorial Independence
The owners of BJA Open (British Journal of Anaesthesia) and the Editor-in-Chief have contractually committed to the principles of Editorial Independence as defined by the World Association of Medical Editors ( The Editor-in Chief has total responsibility, authority, and accountability for editorial content of the Journal. Editorial decisions will be based not only on scientific merit and contribution to advancement of clinical practice but also on relevance to the aims and scope of the journal. Decisions will not be influenced by political, commercial and other considerations that are beyond the scope of each article and analysis of possible impacts and applications.

Authors who may have a complaint against any of the aspects of their interaction with BJA Open should, in the first instance, e-mail the Editor responsible for handling the manuscript. In case that does not resolve the issue, the complaint should be forwarded to the Editor-in-Chief. The Editors and Editor-in-Chief aim to acknowledge the complaint within 7 days after receiving it and will explain to the author the procedure that they will be undertaking to resolve the matter.

BJA Open follows the ICMJE criteria for authorship (see this link). All authors should have made substantial contributions to all of the following: (1) the conception and design of the study, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data, (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, (3) final approval of the version to be submitted, and 4) all authors must agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

For large, multicentre studies, the group of investigators should identify individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship. If the author list includes a group name, then all members of the group must meet the full criteria for authorship as described above. If all members of a group do not meet all authorship criteria, a group must designate one or more individuals as authors or members of a writing group who meet full authorship criteria. Other group members who are not authors may be listed as collaborators (sometimes called non-author contributors). These will be listed on PubMed as collaborators rather than authors. In order to be indexed as collaborators, the names of the group members should be listed in an Appendix in the main text document, before the Reference list. The group should also be included in the main author list. There should be a note associated with the author list clearly stating that the full list of author and collaborator names appears elsewhere in the paper. Collaborator names are searchable on PubMed in the same way as authors. PubMed rules for this can be found here. For an example of a previously published paper that lists collaborators in the correct format, please see this article.

Changes to authorship
Authors are expected to consider carefully the list and order of authors before submitting their manuscript and provide the definitive list of authors at the time of the original submission. Addition, removal or rearrangement of author names in the authorship list can be made only before the manuscript has been accepted and only if approved by the handling Editor. To request such a change, the corresponding author must provide the Editor with: (a) the reason for the change in author list and (b) written confirmation (e-mail, letter) from all authors that they agree with the addition, removal or rearrangement. In the case of addition or removal of authors, this includes confirmation from the author being added or removed. In exceptional circumstances the Editor will consider the addition, removal or rearrangement of authors after the manuscript has been accepted. While the Editor considers the request, publication of the manuscript will be suspended. If the manuscript has already been published in an online issue, any requests approved by the Editor will result in a corrigendum.

Upon acceptance of an article, authors will be asked to complete an 'Exclusive License Agreement' (see more information on this). Permitted third party reuse of open access articles is determined by the author's choice of user license.

Author rights
As an author you (or your employer or institution) have certain rights to reuse your work. More information. Permitted third party (re)use is defined by the following Creative Commons user licenses:

Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)
Lets others distribute and copy the article, create extracts, abstracts, and other revised versions, adaptations or derivative works of or from an article (such as a translation), include in a collective work (such as an anthology), text or data mine the article, even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit the author(s), do not represent the author as endorsing their adaptation of the article, and do not modify the article in such a way as to damage the author's honor or reputation.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)
For non-commercial purposes, lets others distribute and copy the article, and to include in a collective work (such as an anthology), as long as they credit the author(s) and provided they do not alter or modify the article.

Conflict of interest
Each manuscript must contain a declaration of interests from ALL authors. This should include all possible interests in the past five years. This is obviously most common in studies involving new equipment or drugs, but other areas such as advisory bodies are also relevant. For example: 'Dr A has received an honorarium from Company X. Dr B has received a travel grant from Company Y. Prof C is a member of the national advisory committee on Z.'
You are required to declare all authors' interests at the time of submitting your manuscript by completing and uploading the conflict of interest form, available to download here in Word or PDF format, along with your manuscript. Failure to do so will lead to delays in the processing of the manuscript. Please make sure that information from all authors has been included before uploading, even if there are no interests to be declared. A form must be submitted even if there is no conflict of interest. The corresponding author of an article acts as guarantor and must ensure that this criterion is fulfilled and a full conflicts of interest statement is supplied to the Journal. If there are no interests to declare then please state: 'The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest' (if there are multiple authors) or 'The author declares that they have no conflicts of interest' (if it is a single-authored paper). Simply stating 'None' or 'None declared' is not sufficient.

Study funders and sponsors:
It is essential to acknowledge all sources of financial assistance, and any potential material benefit expected from publication of the work. The authors must provide details of all funding sources for the work in question in a separate section entitled Funding. Also, please describe the role of the study sponsor, if any, in study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, writing the report, and the decision to submit the report for publication. All this information must be provided as part of the original submission. Any such information provided after acceptance of the manuscript will result in withdrawal of the offer of acceptance pending further enquiries and re-review.

Reviewers should not agree to review an article when they have a clear conflict of interest, for example, if they are a current collaborator of an author or they have made a contribution to the work. When reviewers receive a request to review an article they should contact the Editor if they have a conflict of interest that might preclude them from being an appropriate reviewer. In many instances it is not possible to identify reviewers without a potential conflict of interest, such as being an “academic competitor”, especially if the subject of the article is highly specialised. Reviewers are required to make a declaration of interests concerning every article they review for the Journal and to provide details of any declared interest.

All Editors of BJA Open provide a declaration of interests that is published on the Journal website and updated annually.


BJA Open adheres to the COPE guidelines for publication ethics ( and has adopted COPES’ recommended procedures for dealing with suspected or alleged misconduct, should this relate to a manuscript under consideration for publication, an accepted manuscript prior to publication or a published manuscript.

All manuscripts submitted to BJA Open undergo plagiarism check using commercial software. Based on the findings of the check, Editors may ask authors to address any minor duplication, or similarity, that the contents of their manuscript may have to any previously published work (even though it may be author's own previously published work). However, severe cases of plagiarism amount to 'misconduct', and these cases will be dealt with as such. The reviewers and the Editors initially assume that authors are reporting work based on honest observations. However, if substantial doubt arises about the honesty or integrity of work, either submitted or published, the Editor will inform the authors of the concern, seek clarification, and pursue the issue with the author's sponsoring body and/or employing authority. Consequently, if the sponsoring body and/or employers find a published paper to be fraudulent, the Journal will print a retraction. If, however, this method of investigation does not result in a satisfactory conclusion, the Editor may choose to conduct his or her own investigation, and may choose to publish an expression of concern about the aspects of the conduct or integrity of the work. The validity of previous work by the author of a fraudulent paper cannot be assumed. Editors may ask the author's institution to assure them of the validity of earlier work published in their journal or to retract it. If this is not done, Editors may choose to publish an announcement expressing concern that the validity of previously published work is uncertain.

Human Rights & Clinical Ethics
Please see our information pages at and

Regardless of the country of origin, all clinical investigators describing human research must abide by the Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki, and amended by the World Medical Association ( Investigators are encouraged to read and follow the Declaration of Helsinki. Clinical studies that do not meet the Declaration of Helsinki criteria will be denied peer review. If published research is subsequently found to be non-compliant it will be withdrawn or retracted.

On the basis of the Declaration of Helsinki, BJA Open requires that manuscripts reporting clinical research state in the first paragraph of the Methods section that:

  • The study was approved by the appropriate Ethics authority.
  • Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects, a legal surrogate, or the parents or legal guardians for minor subjects, or that the requirement for written informed consent was waived by the ethics committee, or that the research was conducted under a national, regional or institutional process that obviated the need for approval.
  • In countries where formal ethics committee approval is not mandatory for a non-interventional study, evidence should be provided that the study was submitted to the ethics committee and deemed exempt from review and/or consent from the patient or patient's relatives. The name of the committee and the study reference number should be cited in the Methods.

Human subjects must not be identifiable. Do not disclose patients' names, initials, hospital numbers, dates of birth, or other protected personal or healthcare information. Keep copies of ethics approval and signed consent forms. In unusual circumstances the Editors may request blinded copies of these documents to address questions about ethics approval and study conduct. For more information, please review Elsevier Policy on the Use of Images or Personal Information of Patients or other Individuals. Unless you have written permission from the patient (or, where applicable, the next of kin), the personal details of any patient included in any part of the article and in any supplementary materials (including all illustrations and videos) must be removed before submission.

Case Reports and Informed consent
BJA Open publishes Case Reports and Case Series that contain novel information and provide educational value for relevant specialists. Although the manuscript should not include patient identifiers, BJA Open requires permission from the patient or patient's relatives for submission of the case report for potential publication. This must be obtained before submission of the manuscript and must be stated in the cover letter. If photographs of the patient (in any form) are used, a specific signed permission from the patient or patient's relatives must be obtained and a copy of this submitted with the manuscript. Click here to download a Patient Consent Form. Failure to comply will result in rejection of the manuscript.

Animal Rights
All animal studies must have been conducted within the guidelines of the appropriate national body as well as be approved by institutional review board(s), and accompanied by a specific declaration of such approval and number in the Methods. Authors must submit a supplementary file detailing compliance with ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) guidelines for reporting on animal studies. For animal models, the genotype, strain, source, number of backcrosses, sex, and age of animals studied must be provided in the manuscript.

Studies that involve the use of animals must clearly indicate that Institutional approval was obtained and state the UK Home Office Licence number or equivalent code that the studies were performed under. European studies with animals should follow the EU directive 2010/63 and provide a national and/or institutional approval number. It is recognised that animal welfare legislation can vary between countries. BJA Open uses the UK standards as a baseline and reserves the right to reject manuscripts judged not to meet these standards, even when local approval has been granted.

Further information can be found in the Instructions for Authors.