Editorial Policies

Submission policy

Duplicate submission or publication

A manuscript is considered on the understanding that it has been submitted exclusively to BJOG, the data presented have not been published elsewhere and that no additional submission will be made elsewhere unless the paper is rejected.

If there is any overlap with a previous publication this should be disclosed on the electronic submission form in Allen Track in the ‘Dual Publication’ section. If the work has been previously submitted in abstract form at a conference, this should be detailed here. If you are unsure whether a planned dissemination constitutes publication, please include the details here.

Consent for the manuscript to be submitted to BJOG should be gained by the corresponding author from all co-authors. This avoids two authors submitting the same paper to different journals without each other’s knowledge. Not gaining consent from each author for submission to BJOG could lead to inadvertent misconduct in the form of duplicate submission.

Has the manuscript been previously submitted to another journal?

If the manuscript has been submitted previously to another journal, it is helpful to submit the previous editor's and reviewers' comments as part of your submission, along with the authors' responses to those comments. BJOG encourages authors to submit these previous communications as supplementary data or as part of the cover letter.

Similar manuscripts

If you have recently submitted or published (within two years) another paper on the same subject or subjects, please let us know, and if possible, attach a copy, explaining how your current submission is different. All similar papers must be referred to and referenced in the new paper.

Clinical trial registration- protocols

Relying on published trials alone can provide a biased view of effectiveness and safety when assessing medical interventions. Therefore, all trials should be deposited in a public Clinical Trials Registry such as:

The requirement for trial registration is dependent upon when the study took place:

  • If the study commenced before 1st July 2005, the trial must have been registered, but registration can be retrospective (i.e. registration can be done after the trial has been completed).

  • If the study commenced after 1st July 2005 but before 1st July 2008 and is a randomised phase III trial (trials that compare new treatments with the best, currently available (standard) treatment) then it must have been registered prospectively (i.e. before or at commencement).

  • If the study commenced after 1st July 2005 but before 1st July 2008 and is a Phase I trial (no more than 50 participants, often called 'pilot studies') or a Phase II trial (randomised but no more than 100 participants) then prospective registration is not required, but trials should still be registered retrospectively.

  • If the study commenced after 1st July 2008 then it must have been registered prospectively. This includes any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes (includes phase I and phase II trials and non-randomised studies of interventions).

  • If the above criteria dictate that your trial should have been prospectively registered, and it was not, then it is unlikely that we shall be able to consider your paper for publication in BJOG. However, if there were extenuating circumstances then these should be detailed in the cover letter.

BJOG no longer publish protocols (including those for meta-analyses).

BJOG does not consider the posting of trial results in the above registries as prior publication, if the results are limited to a brief (500 word) structured abstract. This is in accordance with guidance from the ICMJE. 

BJOG supports the AllTrials initiative, which calls for all clinical trials to be registered and reported. However, for a trial to be published in BJOG it must be prospectively registered, as detailed above.

If you are commencing a trial and wish to alert BJOG readers for the purpose of patient recruitment, your trial may be signposted in the Insights from Outside BJOG month column. To have your trial considered for inclusion in the column please contact Shona Kirtley with the trial registration number and link to the protocol online: bjog@rcog.org.uk.

Disclosure of interests

Authors must include financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership or options, honoraria, patents, and paid expert testimony), personal, political, intellectual (organizing education) or religious interests.
A competing interest should not prevent someone from being listed as an author if they qualify for authorship (see below).
If there is doubt about whether interests are relevant or significant, it is prudent to disclose.
All authors of accepted manuscripts are required to complete the ICMJE disclosure of interests form to be uploaded as supporting (online only) information to their article.

Authorship criteria

Authorship is a way of making explicit both credit and responsibility for the contents of published articles. 
Please note that to qualify for authorship an individual should meet all of the following criteria:

(a) Substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; AND
(b) Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
(c) Final approval of the version to be published; AND

(d) Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are     appropriately investigated and resolved.

Contributors who do not qualify for authorship should be included in the ‘Acknowledgements’ section.

Authors are required to confirm during the submission process that all individuals that qualified for authorship have been included (to prevent ghost authorship) and that all those included qualify for authorship (to prevent gift/guest authorship).

For more information see ICMJE's 'Defining the role of authors and contributors' guidance.


BJOG considers ghost writing of manuscripts to be dishonest and unacceptable. Therefore, medical writers who do not qualify for authorship must be included in the ‘Acknowledgements’ section and their roles and affiliations should be described in full.

Order of Authorship

The authors themselves should decide the order in which authors are listed in an article. Many different criteria are used to decide order of authorship. Among these are relative contributions to the work and, in situations where all authors have contributed equally, alphabetical or random order. Readers cannot know, and should not assume, the meaning of order of authorship unless the approach to assigning order has been described by the authors. Authors may want to include in the ‘Contribution to authorship’ section, a description of how order was decided.

Change in authorship

If the list of authors needs to be amended after submission, an explanation should be provided in addition to email permission from all authors including the author that is to be added/ removed. Please send to Dave Atha: bjog@editorialoffice.co.uk.

Authors employed by the Government of Iran

Following sanctions imposed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury, US persons should not handle publishing services for written publications if any of the authors of the manuscript are employed by the Government of Iran (Regulation 560.538). The Government of Iran is defined in Regulation 560.304

The BJOG Editorial Office will check for authors employed by the Government of Iran and, where possible, process their papers without involving US persons. However where this is not possible, the article will be rejected on the grounds that OFAC sanctions prohibit the handling of manuscripts which are authored by persons employed by the Government of Iran.


Ethical approval

Any reports of studies or trials involving human or animal subjects, or medical records, should contain a statement that the procedures of the study received ethics approval from the relevant regional or institutional ethics committee responsible for human experimentation or complied with regulations governing experimentation using animals.

Authors may wish to include statements to confirm that trials conformed to Good Clinical Practice (for example, US Food and Drug Administration Good Clinical Practice in FDA-Regulated Clinical Trials; or, UK Medicines Research Council Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice in Clinical Trials).

No ethics committee or IRB available locally

If a paper has been submitted from a country where there is no ethics committee, institutional review board, or similar review and approval, authors should explain how the study adhered to the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki.

Editors will use their own experience to judge whether a paper should be published, and if deemed necessary by the Editors, cases will be submitted to either the BJOG ethics committee or the Committee on Publications Ethics (COPE). If the decision is made to publish a paper in these circumstances a short statement will be included in the manuscript to explain the situation.

Patient consent and confidentiality: Case reports

A case report submitted to BJOG should always have consent from the patient before publication. If consent cannot be obtained, then the author should provide evidence that steps have been taken to obtain consent and the case report should be sufficiently anonymised. If the patient is deceased then the Data Protection Act does not apply. However, authors’ should seek permission from the patient’s next of kin where possible.

In case reports where it has not been possible to obtain patient consent the BJOG Ethics Committee will assess that all necessary steps to obtain consent have been taken and that the case has been sufficiently anonymised.

Declaration of transparancy

From October 2013, articles will not be accepted for consideration unless the lead author has affirmed that their manuscript is an honest, accurate, and transparent account of the study being reported; that no important aspects of the study have been omitted; and that any discrepancies from the study as planned (and, if relevant, registered) have been explained. This follows from an editorial published in the BMJ.

Peer review

Peer review process

All BJOG articles are subject to initial appraisal by one of the three Deputy Editors-in-Chief (and sometimes additional editors) before peer review. We reject a number of articles without external peer review with the aim of giving authors rapid decisions (usually within 7 days).

If a submission is assigned to a Scientific Editor to process, he/she usually obtains reviews from two external referees to ensure the scientific quality and importance of the research. The Editor may use one referee for a manuscript, particularly where a reviewer has failed to provide a review that was promised, proving it difficult to obtain a second review within a reasonable time frame.

After review, editorial decisions are usually supported by consultation sessions among other Scientific Editors, and Statistical reviewers as required. If two reject reviews are received, the Scientific Editor is able to reject outright after review. Where referees are split, or both referees recommend accept, a consultation will take place. In order to proceed to a decision, editors can reject manuscripts if they receive three other votes of support to do so (including reviewers), and accept a paper if they receive five other votes of support to do so (including reviewers) plus Editor-in-Chief approval. If a decision cannot be reached, the Editor-in-Chief has the casting vote.

Commentaries submitted without invitation are reviewed in the standard way, as described above. Invited commentaries and editorials, will be reviewed formally by two additional Editors, as well as being edited by the commissioning Editor. A mini commentary will be reviewed by a consult involving at least two Editors in addition to the commissioning editor. Letters and journal club discussion points are not peer reviewed, but are edited by the Editor-in-Chief and Journal Club Editor. Journal club PowerPoint slides are reviewed by the Journal Club Coordinator or Editor.



Referees are encouraged to provide their identity by adding their name to the ‘Additional Remarks for the Author’ box in the online peer review form. Unless referees add their name to this box they will remain anonymous.

We request that BJOG referees do not include unprofessional, derogatory or potentially libellous comments. Although text added to the ‘comments to editor’ box are considered confidential, disclosure may be required in rare circumstances.

As a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), BJOG would like all its peer reviewers to read and follow the 'COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers'.

If you are interested in becoming a BJOG referee, please obtain a login for our online submission system: http://bjog.allentrack.net/ and modify your profile completing your area of expertise. Once you have done this email us: bjog@editorialoffice.co.uk to explain that you are keen to begin reviewing manuscripts.

If you have submitted reviews for BJOG and would like an official letter of recognition, (for example, for your logbook for CPD/CME points), please email bjog@rcog.org.uk.

Post-publication peer review

We are keen to hear readers' views on papers recently published in the journal. We encourage readers to submit their views in the form of a letter to the editor, which could then be published in BJOG. To find out more see BJOG Exchange

BJOG supports a monthly online journal club to promote post-publication peer review. Follow @BJOGTweets or search #BlueJC on Twitter to find out more.

Special issues


BJOG supplements are issues created by external organisations.

Supplements are not subjected to the usual BJOG peer review processes. The Guest Editor(s) are responsible for the processes of selection and editing. Their appointment will be subject to approval of the Editor-in-Chief. A statement at the beginning of the supplement will explain how it was funded and state that the content has not been peer-reviewed by BJOG but has been reviewed by the Guest Editor(s). If a peer review process has been used this will be outlined and will be followed by the Guest Editor(s) disclosure of interests.

The contents of a supplement will be approved by the Editor-in-Chief, and must be in accordance with the purpose of the journal to discuss scientific, clinical and ethical aspects of obstetrics and gynaecology.

Supplements have a different front cover to the standard journal to enable readers to differentiate it from a regular monthly or themed issue. The pagination and citation information will clearly indicate that the publication is a supplement.

Editing or influence over content by the sponsoring organisation(s) will not be permitted. Sponsoring organisations may advertise within the supplement subject to editorial approval. Financial negotiations and transactions will be carried out only by the publisher.

Download the full BJOG supplement guidelines here [pdf]

Download the BJOG supplement proposal form [docx]


Themed Issues

Every year BJOG publishes a themed issue in January. The theme of the issue is determined by the BJOG Editorial Board and a team Guest Editor(s), selected from the current team of editors as well as external experts, will oversee the issue. Papers are still subject to the same peer review process, and content is made up of commissioned and non-commissioned papers.

Virtual Issues

Virtual issues usefully compile previously published BJOG papers into common topics and themes. This allows for connections to be made across issues and highlights useful content to readers. Virtual issue are available online only.

Complaints and appeals


The purpose of an appeal is for the Editor-in-Chief or a Deputy Editor-in-Chief to examine the editorial process. If it is found not to have been in line with our policies, remedial action will be taken to reinstate correct procedure.

Please note that the purpose of an appeal is not to revisit the opinions/decisions of the referees or editors. It would be inappropriate for a single individual (i.e. the Editor-in-Chief or a Deputy Editor-in-Chief) to overturn the majority view of referees and consulted editors. Commonly, two referees and three to five editors express an opinion and six votes supporting publication are required to accept a paper in addition to Editor-in-Chief approval. For editors to reject a paper, they require four votes against the paper. Therefore we are not willing to obtain further opinions because it would not be practical to seek the required opinions to change the decision.

If a manuscript is rejected an option to ‘Appeal Manuscript’ appears on the author's home page, from which the author can write to the Editor-in-Chief explaining the reasons for disagreeing with the editorial process. The Editor-in-Chief or a Deputy Editor-in-Chief may uphold the decision, or may request further information or consult again on the manuscript prior to making a decision regarding whether to reject or uphold the appeal.

Complaints procedure

Other complaints should be addressed in writing to the Editor-in-Chief for consideration and any necessary action. Where a complaint remains unresolved, the complainant can refer the matter to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Potential author misconduct

BJOG takes signs of possible scientific misconduct seriously and is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

If the team of editors have concerns about the publication ethics/research ethics of a submitted manuscript, in the first instance they will contact the author(s) to request further clarification.

The editor will progress the situation by following the appropriate COPE flowchart.

If the editors still have concerns after discussion with the author(s) and the case is novel they may pass it to the BJOG ethics committee or present it as an annonymised case for discussion at COPE.


Plagiarism is defined as taking the work of another, and presenting it as one’s own without crediting the source.


We check all papers due for acceptance on CrossCheck which is powered by iThenticate. iThenticate is a plagiarism screening service that verifies the originality of content submitted before publication. The iThenticate software checks submissions against millions of published research papers, documents on the web, and other relevant sources.

It is important that all sources are properly referenced and reworded prevent copyright infringement.


Self-plagiarism is defined as a form of plagiarism where the writer republishes their own work in its entirety or reuses portions of a previously written text while authoring a new work. In particular self-plagiarism constitutes presenting one’s own previously published work as new. Self-plagiarism is considered to be a significant issue, especially because it can infringe upon a publisher’s copyright.

It is recommended that authors declare and explain if their manuscript relates to a previously published paper.

For more information see The Ethics of Self-Plagiarism.

Image Manipulation Policy

No specific feature within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed or introduced. Adjustments of brightness, contrast or colour balance are acceptable if they are applied to the whole image and as long as they do not obscure, eliminate, or misrepresent any information present in the original.

The grouping of images from different parts of the same gel, or from different gels, fields, or exposures must be made explicit by the arrangement of the figure (e.g. dividing lines) and in the text of the figure legend.

Original data

If the editor thinks that it is necessary to view the raw data described in a paper, the authors will be expected to provide these data on request (with details of patients removed). If the original data cannot be produced by an author when asked to provide it, the acceptance of the manuscript may be revoked.

Online Open: The open access option for BJOG

OnlineOpen is available to authors of articles who wish to make their article available to non-subscribers on publication, or whose funding agency requires grantees to archive the final version of their article.

With OnlineOpen, the author, the author's funding agency, or the author's institution pays a fee to ensure that the article is made available to non-subscribers upon publication via Wiley Online Library, as well as being deposited in the funding agency's preferred archive. For more information please see NIH Mandate and other Funders' Requirements.

Any authors wishing their paper to be OnlineOpen will be required to complete the payment via Wiley Author Services. Registration details to this service are sent to the corresponding author when the article is received in production (after acceptance).

Prior to acceptance there is no requirement to inform the Editorial Office that you intend to publish your paper through OnlineOpen. All OnlineOpen articles are treated in the same way as any other article. They go through the journal's standard peer-review process and will be accepted or rejected based on their own merit.

BJOG Editors

For a full profile for each of our editors, including their disclosure of interests, please visit our Editors and Editorial Board webpage.


Editors are recruited as full scientific editors if they hold a consultant (or equivalent) post. Those who are still in specialist training are recruited as trainee editors. Trainee editors are mentored by an appropriate scientific editor who will oversee their editorial activities and decisions.

Trainee editors can be considered for promotion to full scientific editorship if they meet the criteria for scientific editors. If trainee editors meet all the criteria apart from holding a consultant post or equivalent, they are eligible to be considered for a promotion after having held a trainee editor post for at least 2 years and processed at least 100 manuscripts for BJOG. All other criteria are essential for promotion.

If you are interested in applying to join the team, please contact Elizabeth Hay (ehay@rcog.org.uk), Managing Editor in the first instance.


Embargo policy

BJOG papers are embargoed until the day of online publication. If press enquiries are received or if authors inform press contacts of their study the author/press office are required to inform the journalist of the strict embargo date, which is the day of online publication. The BJOG press team will contact some authors about their studies to prepare press releases which are circulated with the strict embargo date clearly marked. Authors can find out the date their paper will be published online by contacting the Production Manager, Angela Miguel: BJOG@wiley.com

Author material archive policy

Please note that unless specifically requested, Wiley-Blackwell will dispose of all hardcopy or electronic material submitted two months after publication. If you require the return of any material submitted, please inform the editorial office or production editor as soon as possible if you have not already done so.

Social media

The role of BJOG's social media is to promote the journal's content, and not to offer personal views. Editors and participants of #BlueJC may wish to use the GMC's advice on Doctors' use of social media.


The Publisher, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and Editors cannot be held responsible for errors or any consequences arising from the use of information contained in this journal; the views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Publisher, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Editors, neither does the publication of advertisements constitute any endorsement by the Publisher, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Editors of the products advertised.


This journal is a member of and subscribes to the principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics. The standards for the editorial process are in accordance with the Committee on Publications Ethics Code of Conduct.


This journal is a member and subscribes to the principles and recommendations of the International Council of Medical and Journal Editors.


BJOG is currently leading the CROWN initiative.
For more information, visit www.crown-initiative.org


Page updated: 12 November 2015

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