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Journal of Clinical Pathology (JCP) is committed to the advancement of all disciplines within the broader remit of human pathology. This also encompasses molecular biology and its applications in the understanding of human biology and pathology. The journal is intended to have world-wide readership and will publish articles that have a wide appeal even though they are regionally based.

Issues with a narrower restricted focus may be submitted as Letters to the Editor or as correspondence. JCP wishes to publish cutting edge, original clinical and laboratory-based articles, especially those with a clear clinical relevance. Provision of an educational platform for trainees, scientists and pathologists is an important function and aim of the journal. As such, state of the art reviews, viewpoints and editorials will be published.

The editorial team wishes to produce a balanced, informative and meaningful journal that is sensitive to the needs of its readership and the specialty at large, as well as being in tune with contemporary issues.

In pursuit of these goals we wish to publish work that is ethical (morally and scientifically), of a high quality and governed by a fair, independent peer review system.

Editorial policy

Journal of Clinical Pathology adheres to the highest standards concerning its editorial policies on publication ethics, scientific misconduct, consent and peer review criteria. To view all BMJ Journal policies please refer to the BMJ Author Hub policies page.

Articles are published under an exclusive licence (or non-exclusive licence for UK Crown and US Federal Government employees) and authors retain copyright. Articles can also be published under a Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content; please refer to the Journal of Clinical Pathology Copyright Author Licence Statement.

Article publishing charges

During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 1950 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). Authors can also choose to publish their article in colour for the print edition – instead of the default option of black and white – for 250 GBP. There are no submission, page or online-only colour figure charges.

For more information on open access, funder compliance and institutional programmes please refer to the BMJ Author Hub open access page.

Submission guidelines

Please review the below article type specifications including the required article lengths, illustrations, table limits and reference counts. The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements, contributions and references. Manuscripts should be as succinct as possible.

For further support when making your submission please refer to the resources available on the BMJ Author Hub. Here you can also find general formatting guidelines across BMJ and a formatting checklist.

Original article

Original articles should report original research of relevance to the understanding and practice of clinical pathology. They should be written in the standard form: abstract; introduction; methods; and discussion.

The journal uses a structured form of abstract in the interests of clarity. This should be short (no more than 250 words) and include four headings:

  • Aims – the main purpose of the study
  • Methods – what was done, and with what material
  • Results – the most important results illustrated by numerical data but not p values
  • Conclusions – the implications and relevance of the results

Authors of original articles are required to comply with one of the appropriate reporting guidelines endorsed by the EQUATOR Network. The following are the most commonly used guidelines for this journal. Authors are expected to submit the checklist that is most appropriate for their manuscript type:

If none of the above listed guidelines are suitable for the manuscript, the author is requested to either search for the most relevant set of guidelines supplied by the EQUATOR Network or explain during the submission process why none of the guidelines are appropriate for their study type.

Word count: up to 3000 words
Structured abstract: up to 250 words
Tables/Illustrations: at editorial discretion
References: up to 150

Key messages

To aid understanding and clarity of their paper, authors are asked to provide three to four key messages that summarise the essence of their work and/or what they intend the reader to focus on. These should be placed at the end of the manuscript, before the references. Please see the current issue for examples.

Abstracts in other languages

For publications originating from countries where English is not the primary language, authors will be encouraged to also supply the abstract of their paper in their native language. This will be requested upon acceptance and published online only as a supplementary file alongside the English version. Authors should be aware that the translated abstract will not be copyedited or typeset and BMJ takes no responsibility for any errors in the non-English version.

Short report

Short technical notes and brief investigative studies are welcomed and usually published in the form of a Short/Technical report. At the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief some short reports will be published in the Correspondence section but will undergo the usual peer review process.

Word count: up to 2000 words
Abstract: up to 150 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 6. If more are required the text must be reduced accordingly
References: up to 20


Review articles are usually commissioned, but suggestions are welcomed. Proposals for reviews articles should be discussed with the Reviews Editor before submission.

Word count: up to 4000 words (negotiable)
Abstract: up to 250 words
Tables/Illustrations: at editorial discretion
References: up to 150

Gene of the month

This section includes short reviews on the role of specific genes in disease pathogenesis. These articles are usually commissioned, but unsolicited manuscripts are also welcomed.

Word count: up to 2000 words
Abstract: up to 150 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 6
References: up to 50

Molecules in pathogenesis

This section includes short reviews on the role of specific molecules in disease pathogenesis. These articles are usually commissioned, but unsolicited manuscripts are also welcomed.

Word count: up to 2000 words
Abstract: up to 250 words
Tables/Illustrations: minimum of 2, maximum of 6
References: up to 50

Grand rounds

Grand rounds are intended to provide educational value to readers through multidisciplinary clinicopathological discussions of interesting cases. Interesting clinical cases that combine the findings of several disciplines to integrate pathophysiology and diagnosis are particularly welcome. The extended multidisciplinary case discussions should place an emphasis on pathology/laboratory diagnostic findings and on information that helps understand pathophysiology.

The manuscript should consist of a clinical presentation or description, laboratory investigations, discussion and final diagnosis, and up to 5 key messages/learning points. There should be 3-5 questions about the case to stimulate discussion; these could be placed after the clinical presentation/description or laboratory investigations. The questions and learning points are included in the total word count.

The handling editor will commission two expert commentaries to be published with the case. These will be limited to 500 words, with no abstract, tables or figures. These commentaries will discuss additional information useful to the understanding of the case or diagnosis, as well as comments about the features of the case.

Word count: up to 2000 words
Abstract: not required
Tables/Illustrations: maximum of 5 tables and 2 figures
References: up to 10

Best practice

Best practice articles are published by editorial invitation but the Best Practice Reviews Editor is always pleased to receive suggestions. The ‘Best Practice’ series is geared to practising pathologists as well as trainees on how to approach some of the more difficult/contentious issues in Pathology. We are looking for diagnostic algorithms, investigative trees and/or any other useful hint(s) that will facilitate making the best/right diagnosis. These can include molecular techniques which may not be within the remit of every laboratory but certainly something that can be performed.

Word count: up to 3000 words
Abstract: up to 250 words
Illustrations: at editorial discretion
References: up to 150


These articles are usually commissioned, but unsolicited manuscripts are also welcomed.

Word count: up to 1500 words
Abstract: not required
Tables/Illustrations: up to 2
References: up to 20


Editorials are usually published by editorial invitation. Unsolicited editorials are unlikely to be accepted but the Editor-in-Chief is always pleased to receive suggestions.

Word count: at editorial discretion
Abstract: up to 250 words
Tables/Illustrations: at editorial discretion
References: up to 150


Significant preliminary research findings and single case reports of outstanding interest or clinical relevance may be submitted as a Correspondence article. The title should be brief. No abstract, keywords or subheadings are needed. A brief introduction of a few sentences followed by a succinct report and discussion is all that is required. Correspondence may be included in the print edition of the Journal at the Editor’s discretion.

Word count: up to 1000 words
Abstract: Not required
Tables/Illustrations: up to 4
References: up to 8


Letters in response to articles published in Journal of Clinical Pathology are welcomed and should be submitted electronically as eLetters via the journal’s website. Contributors should go to the abstract or full text of the article in question and click on ‘Responses’.

Letters relating to or responding to previously published items in the journal will be reviewed by the editor and shown to the authors of the original article, when appropriate.

At the discretion of the editor, selected eLetters may be included in the Correspondence section of the print edition of the journal.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

An invitation to submit accompanying MCQs for publication on the BMJ Learning website may be extended to the corresponding author at the time of acceptance of the manuscript. The questions need to be submitted to the journal within 2 weeks, otherwise this may cause delays in the publication of the article. Please see below for some guidelines on what to provide in your MCQ document:

  • The title, authors and manuscript ID number of the article with which the MCQs are associated.
  • The author of the MCQs (even if the same) must be clearly stated.
  • The MCQ set must contain at least 5 questions.
  • Each question must have 5 possible answers, with only *one* answer being correct (the correct answer must be marked with an asterisk)
  • Additional explanation text (for the user to see after taking the test) can be submitted for *each individual answer* if appropriate. It is allowable to have some answers with an explanation and some without, but an explanation for every answer is preferred.
  • Figures can be included in questions (must be submitted as gif/jpeg files).


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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The BMJPG itself may have proposals for supplements where sponsorship may be necessary.
  • 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.

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

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