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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.

Copyright and authors’ rights

Articles are published under an exclusive licence or non-exclusive licence for UK Crown employees or where BMJ has agreed CC BY applies. For US Federal Government officers or employees acting as part of their official duties, the terms are as stated in accordance with our licence terms. Authors or their employers retain copyright. Open access articles can be reused under the terms of the relevant Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content; please refer to the Journal of Clinical Pathology Author Licence for the applicable Creative Commons licences. More information on copyright and authors’ rights.

When publishing in Journal of Clinical Pathology, authors choose between three licence types – exclusive licence granted to BMJ, CC-BY-NC and CC-BY (Creative Commons open access licences require payment of an article processing charge). As an author you may wish to post your article in an institutional or subject repository, or on a scientific social sharing network. You may also link your published article to your preprint (if applicable). What you can do with your article, without seeking permission, depends on the licence you have chosen and the version of your article. Please refer to the BMJ author self archiving and permissions policies page for more information.


Preprints foster openness, accessibility and collaboration by allowing authors to make their findings immediately available to the research community and receive feedback on an article before it is submitted to a journal for formal publication.

BMJ fully supports and encourages the archiving of preprints in any recognised, not-for-profit server such as medRxiv. BMJ does not consider the posting of an article in a dedicated preprint repository to be prior publication.

Preprints are reports of work that have not been peer-reviewed; Preprints should therefore not be used to guide clinical practice, health-related behaviour or health policy. For more information, please refer to our Preprint policy page.

Article processing charges

During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 2,200 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 350 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.


Journal of Clinical Pathology mandates ORCID iDs for the submitting author at the time of article submission; co-authors and reviewers are strongly encouraged to also connect their ScholarOne accounts to ORCID. We strongly believe that the increased use and integration of ORCID iDs will be beneficial for the whole research community.

Please find more information about ORCID and BMJ’s policy on our Author Hub.

Data Sharing

Journal of Clinical Pathology adheres to BMJ’s Tier 3 data policy. We strongly encourage that data generated by your research that supports your article be made available as soon as possible, wherever legally and ethically possible. All research articles must contain a Data Availability Statement. For more information and FAQs, please see BMJ’s full Data Sharing Policy 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 will find information on writing and formatting your research through to the peer review process and promoting your paper. You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services.

If your article is accepted you can take advantage of BMJ’s partnership with Kudos, a free service to help you maximise your article’s reach.

Original research

Original research 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 research 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.

Video abstracts

We welcome video abstracts to accompany accepted research articles. These allow authors to personally talk through their work beyond the restrictions of a formal article to improve the user’s understanding. Note that we will not ask you to consider submitting a video abstract until your paper has been accepted. Please do not try to upload a video abstract upon initial submission of your manuscript.

For further information please visit the BMJ Author Hub.

All video abstracts will be assessed for suitability by the editorial team and publication is not guaranteed. In some cases editors may request edits to the video.

Video abstracts are embedded within the research article online and also published separately on the journal’s YouTube channel. They are published under the same copyright terms as the associated article.

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

Virtual case of the month

This section includes clinical cases for self-assessment. These are usually based on a single H&E digitally scanned pathology slide, which is accessible online via an interactive image viewer. These articles are usually commissioned, but unsolicited manuscripts are also welcomed.

The case should be either a good example of a common condition or a rare example of a condition; it should appeal to pathology trainees and established consultant pathologists, and be relevant to an international audience. The structure of your manuscript should follow our template.

The full article will be posted online. In the printed issue of the journal, the article will consist of just the clinical question and a static image of the pathology slide; print readers will be directed to view the image online and then access the answer.

Please submit your educational case with all the relevant information but do not upload the digital slide at initial submission; this will be requested later by the editor. The following scanner file formats can be supported:

Aperio (.svs, .tif)
Hamamatsu (.vms, .vmu, .ndpi)
Leica (.scn)
MIRAX (.mrxs)
Philips (.tiff)
Sakura (.svslide)
Trestle (.tif)
Ventana (.bif, .tif)
Generic tiled TIFF (.tif)

Please note that a signed patient consent form is usually required for cases involving living patients. If the patient is deceased the authors should try to obtain permission from a relative (ideally the next of kin). If consent cannot be obtained, please anonymise the patient’s details as much as possible following our patient consent guidelines.

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 title should not give the final diagnosis but should be presented as a clinical problem. The main text of 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 should be placed after the clinical presentation/description or laboratory investigations. The questions and learning points are included in the total word count.

Please note that a signed patient consent form is usually required for cases involving living patients. If the patient is dead the authors should try to obtain permission from a relative (ideally the next of kin). If consent cannot be obtained, please anonymise the patient’s details as much as possible, e.g. specific age, ethnicity, occupation.

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