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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

Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases seeks to publish significant scientific advances which are likely to impact on clinical practice within the medium term. Articles illustrating basic mechanisms and their application to clinical material will be welcomed. We aim to cover all areas of Rheumatology and the journal has two main sections for original research articles - one for clinical and epidemiological research and one for basic and translational research. The priorities are originality and excellence. We aim to ensure a fair and independent peer review system and to publish articles which follow the highest ethical standards concerning research conduct.

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 references. Supplementary material (eg additional tables, figures and text files) can be published online only and isn't included in the word count. If you are not a native English speaker there is a professional editing service available.

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

Papers reporting on animal studies should follow the ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) guidelines.


The aim of an Editorial is to stimulate thought (often with more questions than answers) rather than review the subject exhaustively. Editorials are usually linked to one or more articles published in the same issue. Personal opinion and comment are perfectly legitimate since the Editorial is not anonymous, though of course such opinion needs to be reasonable and backed up by appropriate evidence.

Word count: up to 1200-1500 words.
Illustrations/Tables: Maximum 2 tables and/or figures.
References: up to 30.


The aim of a viewpoint article is to communicate personal opinions and interpretation of available scientific data within a certain area. The viewpoint article can for example provide an interpretation of data that is relevant for clinical practice or clinical decision making or present a research agenda within a specific area based on available evidence.

Word count: up to 1200-1500 words
Illustrations/Tables: Maximum 2 tables and/or figures
References: up to 30.

Review articles

Although these are usually commissioned, authors are invited to discuss directly with the Editor possible topics for review.

Word count: the length will be indicated by or will be discussed with the editor, but will usually be less than 3000 words.
Abstract: up to 250 words.
Tables/Illustrations: Maximum 6 tables and/or figures
References: to be discussed with the Editor.

Recommendations and criteria articles

Recommendations for management of rheumatic diseases or new disease criteria are published in a separate section of the journal.

Word count: the length will be indicated by or will be discussed with the editor, but will usually be less than 3000 words.
Abstract: up to 250 words.
Tables/illustrations: Maximum 6 tables and/or figures.
References: to be discussed with the Editor.

Original research articles - Extended reports

These represent a substantial body of laboratory or clinical work. Extended reports should not exceed 3000 words; articles that exceed this word limit may be returned for revision before peer review. Additional data may be presented as supplementary information, which will be published online only should the article be accepted (this can be in any format: text, tables, images, videos, etc.). Extended reports should be presented in sections - namely:

  1. Abstract
    No more than 250 words, summarising the problem being considered, how the study was performed, the salient results and the principal conclusions under subheadings 'Objectives', 'Methods', 'Results', and 'Conclusions'.
  2. Keywords
    No more than 5. These should be given beneath the Abstract and in the box provided in the online submission process.
  3. Introduction
    Brief description of the background that led to the study (current results and conclusions should not be included).
  4. Methods
    Details relevant to the conduct of the study. Wherever possible give numbers of subjects studied (not percentages alone). Statistical methods should be clearly explained at the end of this section.
  5. Results
    Work should be reported in SI units. Undue repetition in text and tables should be avoided. Comment on validity and significance of results is appropriate but broader discussion of their implication is restricted to the next section.
    Subheadings that aid clarity of presentation within this and the previous section are encouraged.
  6. Discussion
    The nature and findings of the study are placed in context of other relevant published data. Caveats to the study should be discussed. Avoid undue extrapolation from the study topic.
  7. Acknowledgments and affiliations
    Individuals with direct involvement in the study but not included in authorship may be acknowledged. The source of financial support and industry affiliations of all those involved must be stated.
  8. References (no limit - but usually below 50).
    Please see References for further style guidance.
  9. Figure legends Maximum 6 tables and/or figures.
    Please see Illustrations and tables for further style guidance.

Original research articles - Concise reports

The format is identical to that of an Extended Report (see above) and should include an Abstract, Keywords, Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion (for cases, 'Case Reports' will substitute for Methods and Results).

Word count: up to 1500 words.
Abstract: up to 200 words.
Tables/illustrations: Maximum 3 tables and/or figures.
References: up to 20.

Letters to the editor

Short clinical or laboratory observations (eg preliminary or confirmatory data) may be presented as a Letter to the Editor. Letters are not divided into sections, while instructions for references, tables, and figures are the same as for full length articles. Case reports may be published as a letter if the case is of exceptional importance and interest.

Word count: up to 500 words. Abstract: not required. Tables/Illustrations: Maximum 2 tables and/or figures. References: Maximum 10.

Letters to the Editor undergo the same review process as full length papers.

eLetter correspondence

Letters in response to articles published in ARD 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.

eLetters will not be included in the print edition of the journal, but will be published online only.


Journals from BMJ 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. 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


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