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Instructions for Authors

For guidelines on policy and submission across our journals, please click on the links below:
Manuscript preparation
Editorial policies
Patient consent forms
Licence forms
Peer review
Submission and production processes

Editorial Policy

Evidence-Based Mental Health surveys a wide range of international psychiatric and psychological journals applying strict criteria for the quality and validity of research. Editors are practicing clinicians and select articles for coverage that are likely to be valid and relevant for clinical practice. Expert commentators succinctly summarize and critically appraise these articles, including implications for clinical practice.

Evidence-Based Mental Health also publishes contents related to the study, teaching, critical appraisal and practice of evidence-based mental health. Submissions in these areas are subject to peer review. Commentaries can be published online only as electronic pages to an issue, unless selected for print publication by the Editor in Chief.

Evidence-Based Mental Health believes that to make the best decision on how to deal with a manuscript the Journal Editor should know about any competing interests that authors may have. It is recommended that all authors download and complete a copy of the ICMJE disclosure form. More information on conflicts of interest and the ICMJE disclosure form can be found here.

Submission toEvidence-Based Mental Health implies that the work described has not been accepted for publication elsewhere, that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere and does not duplicate material already published.

Open Access

Authors can choose to have their article published Open Access for a fee of £1,950 (plus applicable VAT).

Language Polishing Service

If you are not a native English speaker, we recommend that you have your manuscript edited by a native speaker prior to submission. Professional editing will improve the grammar, spelling and punctuation of your manuscript, providing clear language which will mean that reviewers and editors are better able to concentrate on the scientific content of the paper. Click here for more information.

Article Types and Word Counts

The word count refers to the text only, excluding the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements and references. For guidance on how to improve your graphs and tables please view these BMJ demonstration videos.

Manuscripts are copy-edited to improve readability and to ensure conformity with house style. A proof will be sent to the corresponding author of an article prior to publication.

All unsolicited articles should be accompanied by a covering letter to the Editor, where the authors explain the reasons why they would like to publish their contribution in Evidence-Based Mental Health.


These are commissioned only articles. The commentary should focus on the article and the aim of the commentary is to discuss if and how the study can have an impact on evidence based practice. Authors with any conflicts of interest should not accept commentary invitations. More information on conflicts of interest can be found here.

Word limit (including references): 800 words

Evidence Based Mental Health has a specific format for this type of commentary. To keep your commentary in-line with the journal style, we ask that you format your commentary according to the following sub-headings and section lengths:

  1. 1. Title - Please provide a declarative title that closely reflects the main finding of the article and that is supported by the evidence presented (i.e. that holds up after your critical appraisal). About 30 words.
  2. 2. “What is already known on this topic” - Summarise in TWO or THREE SENTENCES the context of the problem addressed by the paper (e.g. epidemiology, history, question addressed etc), and how this research fits with previous work in this area.
  3. 3. “Methods of the study” - Briefly describe the methods of the study, covering the following points:

For intervention studies, diagnostic studies or prognostic studies:

  • Population: What was the population under study? how many were sampled? where and when were the data collected? who were excluded?
  • Intervention/Test/Prognostic factors: What was the intervention being tested and how was it delivered? What was the diagnostic test(s) under study, what was the diagnostic (gold) standard that it was being compared to? What was assessed (test scores, scales etc) at the beginning and/or during the study, and by whom?
  • Outcomes: What were the outcomes measured (e.g. sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value)? how were they measured and by whom?
  • Allocation (if applicable): Was the allocation of participants to interventions randomised/concealed and how?
  • Blinding (if applicable): Who was blinded? how was blinding checked?
  • Follow up (if applicable): How long was the follow up period?

For systematic reviews and meta-analyses:

  • Data sources: What were the data sources used (e.g. databases used, use of registers, contact with experts etc)?
  • Study selection: What were the inclusion and exclusion criteria? who applied them?
  • Analysis: Were the results meta-analysed? If not, why not? If they were, what types of models were used to calculate the meta-analysis? Was heterogeneity or publication bias assessed?
  • Outcomes: What were the outcomes measured? how were they measured and by whom?
  1. 4. “What this paper adds” - Write TWO or THREE BULLET POINTS to explain what this article adds to the literature and our scientific knowledge.
  2. 5. “Limitations” - Write TWO or THREE BULLET POINTS to highlight your major concerns of the study, considering both methodological (i.e. internal validity) and clinical issues (i.e. external validity).
  3. 6. “What next in research” - Write in TWO or THREE SENTENCES which will be in your opinion the next steps or directions to be taken to increase our knowledge in the field.
  4. 7. “Do these results change your practices and why?” - Write in TWO or THREE SENTENCES which are for you the most important clinical implications from the study and if and how it will change your practice.


These are commissioned only articles, and may be about commentaries or other articles published in EBM, or may serve as the voice of the Editors of the journal. Original papers should not be submitted under this article type unless invited.

  1. Word count: up to 1500 words
  2. Abstract: none
  3. Tables/illustrations: none
  4. References: up to 20


Perspectives are essays that express a point of view or opinion (or two points of view, in a debate), highlight a current evidence-based medicine issue, or discuss hypotheses. Although citation and discussion of evidence is welcome, these articles generally do not include primary data.

  1. Word count: up to 1500 words
  2. Abstract: up to 250 words, unstructured
  3. Tables/illustrations: up to 2
  4. References: up to 20

Systematic Reviews

Systematic reviews report on the answer to a clinical question by describing article selection, summarising and synthesising study quality and results, and drawing conclusions about the answer to the question.

  1. Word count: up to 3500 words (background, objective, study selection and analysis, findings, conclusions and clinical implications)
  2. Abstract: up to 250 words, structured (question, study selection and analysis, findings, conclusions)
  3. Tables/Illustrations: up to 5
  4. References: 50, exclusive of lists of articles considered or summarized (references above 50 may appear online only)

Clinical Reviews

Clinical reviews are 2500-3000 word articles (excluding text in boxes, figures and the references) that provide a clear, up to date account of the topic aimed at non specialist hospital doctors, general practitioners, and candidates for postgraduate examinations—from all over the world.

The review should include a broad update of recent developments (from the past 1-2 years) and their likely clinical applications in primary and secondary care. It should stimulate readers to read further and should indicate other sources of information, including web based information—for example, Cochrane reviews. The article should also try to highlight the bridge between primary and secondary care and offer specific information on what general practitioners should know about the condition.

You may consider having a colleague to write the piece with you if it will help to broaden its perspective. The choice of coauthor would be yours, but do let us know who the coauthor might be. In particular we would like to know his or her competing interests. If you do have a competing interest that might rule you out from accepting this commission please do get in touch so that we can discuss it before you start.

Increasingly many readers prefer to read articles on You therefore need to visualise how the article will look on the web not just on paper. You should try to use the many advantages of web publishing such as links to other sources of information, extra photographs, figures, tables, or sometimes even a short video.

  1. Word count: up to 3000 words: introduction, methods, presentation (the text should be broken up under "clinician friendly" sub-headings and they can also be questions)
  2. Abstract: up to 250 words, unstructured
  3. Tables/Illustrations: up to 4
  4. References: up to 50

Original Article

These articles report results of studies of the practice of evidence-based mental health (e.g. of the impact of implementing evidence-based practices in mental health such as providing evidence at the point of care, or of using evidence to make health decisions). 

  1. Word count: up to 3500 words (background, objective, methods, findings, discussion and clinical implications)
  2. Abstract: up to 250 words, structured (background, objective, methods, findings, conclusions and clinical implications)
  3. Tables/Illustrations: up to 4
  4. References: up to 30

Statistics in Practice

These articles will focus on tools and concepts that are basic and central to teaching and practicing evidence-based mental health (example: "How to explore and account for publication bias in mental health” or “Demystifying fixed and random effects meta-analysis ") or on educational methodologies.

  1. Word count: up to 3500 (introduction, methods, results, discussion)
  2. Abstract: up to 250 words, structured (objective, methods, results, conclusions)
  3. Tables/Illustrations: up to 5
  4. References: up to 30

Expert Commentary

These are commissioned only articles. Original papers should not be submitted under this article type, unless invited. Expert commentary articles will summarize evidence-based medicine relevant content that appears in two or three recent articles published elsewhere in peer-reviewed journal.

  1. Word count: up to 2000 words
  2. Abstract: none
  3. Tables/Illustrations: up to 2
  4. References: up to 15

Evidence-Based Case Conference

The main aim of this new series of papers is to help clinicians learn and apply the evidence-based approach in their own clinical practices. The clinical question that authors seek to solve in each of this series should come from a real clinical case (completely anonymized). The case conference should illustrate how to find, critically appraise and apply the best available evidence to the specific clinical presentation. To have an example, please visit here.

  1. Word count: between 1500 and 2000 words (subheadings: Introduction, Clinical Case, Formulate your Clinical Question, Literature Search, What will You do with Your Patient?)
  2. Abstract: none
  3. Box (mandatory): to summarise the Critical Appraisal of the Literature (subheadings: “Are the results at risk of bias?”; “What are the results?”; “How can I apply the results to patient care?”)
  4. References: up to 5

Statistics in Pills

These are commissioned only articles. This new section is aimed at providing the essential information readers should know about the topics that are addressed in the “Statistics in practice” paper published in the same issue of the EBMH. This stand-alone section has to be seen as an articulated summary of the main notions clinicians have to know about some basic concepts in statistics, which may be useful for their evidence based practice.

  1. Word count: up to 600 words
  2. Abstract: none
  3. Tables/Illustrations: none
  4. References: up to 3


EBMH welcomes short letters to the editor. These may be related to a recent commentary or article published in EBMH, or may be letters relevant to evidence-based mental health practice, teaching or methodology. Original data may be included if it is relevant and gives added weight to the comment on the previously published article. Authors may wish to note that there is also an e-letter option for responding to content that appears in the journal. Such e-letters will appear online only.

Word count: up to 400 words
Abstract: none
Tables/Illustrations: up to 2
References: up to 5


Authors are responsible for the accuracy of cited references: these should be checked against the original documents before the paper is submitted. It is vital that the references are styled correctly so that they may be hyperlinked. References must be numbered sequentially in superscript as they appear in the text. References cited in figures or tables (or in their legends and footnotes) should be numbered according to the place in the text where that table or figure is first cited. Where more than one reference is cited - for example, 1 4. For sequences of consecutive numbers, give the first and last number of the sequence separated by a hyphen—for example, 22-25. Please note, if your references are not cited in order your article will be returned to you before acceptance for correct ordering. References must be double spaced (numbered consecutively in the order in which they are mentioned in the text) in the [slightly modified] Vancouver style (see example below). Only papers published or in press should be included in the reference list. (Personal communications or unpublished data must be cited in parentheses in the text with the name(s) of the source(s) and the year. Authors should get permission from the source to cite unpublished data).

Electronic citations: you may know of other websites that will interest people reading your article. If you know the web addresses (URLs) of those sites, please include them in the relevant places in the text of your article. We will insert hotlinks in the electronic version so that people can jump directly from your article to those related sites.

References must follow the [slightly modified] Vancouver style:

  1. 12 Surname AB, Surname CD. Article title. Journal abbreviation Year;Vol:Start page–End page.

Use one space only between words up to the year and then no spaces. The journal title should be in italic and abbreviated according to the style of Medline. If the journal is not listed in Medline then it should be written out in full. Check journal abbreviations using PubMed.


BMJ journals are willing to consider publishing supplements to regular issues. Supplement proposals may be made at the request of:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The BMJ itself may have proposals for supplements where sponsorship may be necessary.
  4. 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.

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

For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplements guidelines (PDF).

Plagiarism detection

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. iThenticate checks submissions against millions of published research papers, and billions of web content. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting

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