Submit a paper here

Journal of Medical Ethics is a leading international journal that reflects the whole field of medical ethics. The journal seeks to promote ethical reflection and conduct in scientific research and medical practice. It features articles on various ethical aspects of health care relevant to health care professionals, members of clinical ethics committees, medical ethics professionals, researchers and bioscientists, policy makers and patients.

Authors can choose to have their article published Open Access for a fee of £1,950 (plus applicable VAT). Authors can also choose to publish their article in colour for the print edition for a fee of £250.

Submission to Journal of Medical Ethics 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.

Peer review

Journal of Medical Ethics operates double-blind peer review which requires authors to submit an anonymous version of their manuscript file (to be uploaded as the Manuscript File including abstract):

This file should be anonymous and should NOT include:

  • Any author names (including file path in document footer)
  • Author institution details
  • Author contact details
  • Acknowledgements
  • Competing interests (if declared)
  • Ethics approval statements that refer to your institution
  • Please ensure tracked changes are switched off if previously used; this file will be automatically converted to PDF once uploaded through the online submission system and will be made available to the reviewers

Conflicts of interest

Authors are asked to declare any competing interests on submission to the journal. Associate editors are also asked to declare any potential conflict of interest when handling a paper, such as authorship by an author in the same institution or other relationships where there may be an appearance of a conflict of interest. These papers are handled by Professor Kenneth Boyd, Conflict of Interest editor for the journal, who may seek advice from other members of the editorial committee as appropriate. In these cases, the Conflict of Interest Editor may seek advice from a sub-committee of Associate Editors who are not affiliated to the authors. Other parts of the editorial process, which do not involve decisions about publishing the paper are not affected.

Submission guidelines

For guidelines on submission and editorial policies for Journal of Medical Ethics please refer to the BMJ Author Hub. Here you will find information on planning your research through to submitting and promoting your research.

Article types

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

Journal of Medical Ethics does accept footnotes at the end of each page which should be denoted in superscript Roman numerals. There should be no more than around 30 words per footnote.


Editorials are commissioned only articles.


Commentaries are commissioned only articles.

Word count: up to 1,000
Tables/illustrations: up to 2
References: up to 10

Original research

Original research includes both philosophical papers and empirical studies.

Word count: up to 3,500
Abstract: up to 250
Tables/Illustrations: up to 5
References: up to 25

Original research – extended essays

Original research – extended essays employ in-depth philosophical analysis in order to address an important policy- or practice-related normative question. Predominantly empirical papers will not be considered in this category.

Note that because of space considerations, the acceptance rate for extended essays is very low. We would recommend to authors (to maximise their chance of successful submission) that they submit their work as a standard length article unless there is a clear and compelling justification for the higher word count. Predominantly empirical papers will not be considered in this category.

Word count: up to 7,000
Abstract: up to 250 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 5
References: up to 50

Feature article

Feature articles are mainly commissioned (non-commissioned proposals may be discussed in advance) and express the authoritative and perhaps even provocative arguments of the authors. They should deal with subject matter where there has been important new advances which have implications for both research, clinical practice or society at large. While authors need not be systematic in their approach to the literature, they should aim to develop a theme, with clear, logical argumentation, with some vision of the future or practical import for medical ethics, broadly construed.

Word count: up to 7,000
References: up to 30

We will generally run several 1,000 word commentaries around the Feature article; you are invited to suggest potential commentators. You will have the right to write a short response to commentators of less than 500 words.


Reviews are mainly commissioned; non-commissioned proposals may be discussed in advance.

Word count: up to 3,500
Abstract: up to 250
Tables/illustrations: up to 5
References: up to 25

Brief report

Brief reports include summarised Original research arguments or results of empirical studies that can be stated succinctly.

Word count: up to 1,500
Abstract: up to 250
Tables/Illustrations: up to 2
References: up to 25


Response articles are responses to articles previously published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. They may be peer-reviewed at the editors’ discretion, peer-reviewed responses will be reviewed on a fast track for timely publication. This may include responses from authors who have been criticised in the Journal.

Abstract: up to 250
Word count: 1,500 words
Illustrations: at editorial discretion
References: up to 10

Ethics abstract

Ethics abstracts are commissioned only articles offered to authors following submissions where the topic or findings are considered to be of some interest to Journal of Medical Ethics readership but not at the level of a peer-reviewed article.

Word count: up to 500
Tables/illustrations: up to 1
References: up to 3

Student essays

Student Essays aim to encourage medical and other related students to consider ethical issues. To qualify as a student essay, all the authors must be current students at the time of submission, usually on a medical or undergraduate course rather than at doctoral or other postgraduate level; information about your current course of study should be included in your cover letter.

Word count: up to 3,500
Abstract: up to 250
Tables/Illustrations: up to 5
References: up to 25

Current controversy

This article should cover some current news item, legal case or recent advance of ethical significance, together with identification and some analysis of ethical issues involved. Articles in this category undergo peer review, though where they discuss urgent issues the review process may be fast-tracked to ensure early publication.

Word count: up to 3500 words
Abstract: up to 250 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 5, any more at editorial discretion
References: up to 25

View point

View points include academic papers which address an issue of current public or professional debate and/or approach an issue from a personal perspective than standard academic writing.

Word count: up to 3,500
Abstract: up to 250
Tables/Illustrations: up to 5
References: up to 25

Author meets critics

The author meets critics commissioned only series consists of a summary of a new book (monograph) in medical ethics by the author, plus responses from 2 to 3 critics, each of no more than 1,000 words and an author response.


Journal of Medical Ethics is willing to consider publishing supplements to regular issues. For more information on supplement proposal please see the BMJ Author Hub.