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Journal of Clinical Pathology - 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

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.

Open Access

Authors can choose to have their article published Open Access for a fee of £1950 (plus applicable VAT).

Colour figure charges

During submission you will be asked whether or not you agree to pay for the colour print publication of your colour images. This service is available to any author publishing within this journal for a fee of £250 per article. Authors can elect to publish online in colour and black and white in print, in which case the appropriate selection should be made upon submission.

Article types and word counts

The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements and contributions and the references.

Abbreviations and symbols must be standard and SI units used throughout, except for blood pressure values which are reported in mm Hg.

For non-native English speakers we now offer a professional editing service.

Authors may find it useful to consult our pre-submission checklist.

Original articles

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 reports

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 runjan.chetty{at} before submission. 

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

Best Practice

Best Practice articles are published by editorial invitation but the Nacs.Wong{at} 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.

My Approach / Demystified

"My Approach" and "Demystified" articles are published by editorial invitation. Unsolicited demystified articles are unlikely to be accepted, and intending authors are advised to contact the soon.lee{at} in the first instance to discuss the proposed topic.

"My Approach" articles are aimed at practising pathologists and trainees on how to approach some of the more difficult/contentious issues in Pathology.

"Demystified" articles are usually related to complex topics with the intention to simplify the content for the readership.

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

Leading articles / Editorials

Leading articles and Editorials are usually published by editorial invitation. Unsolicited leaders or editorials are unlikely to be accepted but the soon.lee{at} 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. 

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. In the right hand column on the article webpage is a section entitled ‘Responses’. Click on ’Submit a response’ and complete the online form.

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)

MCQs based on submitted manuscripts may be solicited by the editor for publication on the BMJ Online Learning site. An invitation to submit MCQs may be extended to the corresponding author by the editor 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).


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

Free sample
This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of JCP.
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