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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. The journal aims to cover all areas of rheumatology and 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.

There are several international editions of Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases produced by local publishers in specific countries. If accepted for publication, authors should be aware that their paper may be selected for inclusion in one or more international editions of the journal, either in English or translated into another language.


Editorial policy

Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 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.

Articles are published under an exclusive licence (or non-exclusive licence for UK Crown and US Federal Government employees) and authors retain copyright. Articles can also be published under a Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content; please refer to the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases Copyright Author Licence Statement.


Manuscript transfer

BMJ and EULAR have a facility for transferring manuscripts among their journals. Authors submitting to the flagship journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases can choose RMD Open as an ‘alternate journal’.

Once authors agree for their manuscript to be transferred to another BMJ journal, all versions of the manuscript, any supplementary files and peer review comments will automatically be transferred on the author’s behalf. Please note that there is no guarantee of acceptance. Contact the editorial team for more information or assistance.


Clinical trials, including extension studies

Manuscripts on clinical trials are an important source of information and innovation in the therapeutic arena. Therefore it is necessary to report the respective data in a transparent way to allow readers optimal interpretation of the results and systematic reviews or meta-analyses to be done more easily. To this end, EULAR (partly in collaboration with ACR), has provided a number of frameworks, most importantly for reporting on clinical trials as well as extension studies.

These frameworks should guide authors in the preparation of their manuscript and should be regarded as a minimum set of data that need to be reported in the main body of the manuscript or supplementary material. ‘Minimum set’ means that additional data can be reported, provided that the core elements are included. Further, authors should abstain from forcing readers to guess data; in this respect, figures with data points should always include the actual data, either adjacent to the respective data point or in a small table within or beneath the figure, or in supplementary material. In this context, other EULAR or ACR-EULAR criteria and definitions should be considered, such as the RA classification criteria.

See also BMJ’s policies on trial registration.


Previously presented work

Manuscripts reporting on work previously presented at a conference or meeting should include an acknowledgement of prior presentation and full references to any published conference abstracts. Permission for republication of the abstract may be required from the copyright owner, if copyright in the work has been transferred to a third party.


Statistical analysis

  • Describe statistical methods with enough detail to enable the reader to judge its appropriateness for the study and to verify the reported results.
  • When possible, quantify findings and present them with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals). Avoid relying solely on statistical hypothesis testing, such as P values.
  • Distinguish prespecified from exploratory analyses, including subgroup analyses.


Extra resource:
For further information on common statistical errors to avoid, please read the article published by ARD’s Statistical Advisor, Stian Lydersen.


Tables and graphs

Tables and graphs are extremely important elements in scientific communication. Specific guidelines are below.

Extra resources: For further information, please read the articles on tables and graphs by Professor Maarten Boers and view the accompanying video series.

Graphs
  • Consider if the data or message being presented is best conveyed to the reader in a graph rather than in any other form
  • Ensure that the message is easy to visualise and understand, and kept in context
  • Avoid graphical forms that distort the data or are prone to misinterpretation
  • Choose your graph type carefully for best visual clarity, and avoid chart ‘art’
  • Ensure data symbols and lines can be easily distinguished i.e. more prominent than axis lines, use solid greyscale or colour lines rather than pixellated/dashed lines
  • In bar or column graphs or boxplots, use solid greyscale or colour fills rather than patterned fills
  • Avoid non-essential grids, background shading, explanatory text and legends inside the graph
  • Keep axis titles and labels brief
  • Aim to fill the frame to avoid large areas of white space
Tables
  • Consider if the data or message being presented is best conveyed to the reader in a table rather than in any other form
  • Ensure that the data are easy to read and understand, and kept in context
  • Use categories and sub-categories effectively to highlight patterns in the data
  • Keep table titles, labels and footnotes brief
  • Avoid excessive precision in scaling in order to avoid cluttering the table

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.


Article publishing charges

During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 1,950 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). There are no submission, page or colour figure charges

For more information on open access, funder compliance and institutional programmes please refer to the BMJ Author Hub open access 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 can also find general formatting guidelines across BMJ and a formatting checklist.

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 the following sections:

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’.

Keywords: No more than 5. These should be given beneath the Abstract and in the box provided in the online submission process.

Introduction: Brief description of the background that led to the study (current results and conclusions should not be included).

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.

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.

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.

Acknowledgments and affiliations: Individuals with direct involvement in the study but not meeting the criteria for full authorship may be acknowledged. The source of financial support and industry affiliations of all those involved must be stated. If the work was previously presented at a conference or meeting this should be acknowledged, with a reference to the published conference abstract.

References: No formal limit, but usually below 50. Please see References for further style guidance.

Tables and figures: Maximum 6 tables and/or figures. Please see general guidance above and Figures/illustrations for further information.

Key messages: Please summarise the key points of your article in a total of up to 5 bullet points, structured under the following question headings:

What is already known about this subject?
What does this study add?
How might this impact on clinical practice or future developments?


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, Discussion and Key Messages.

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


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

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

Editorials

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

Viewpoints

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

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 600 words.
Abstract: not required.
Tables/Illustrations: Maximum 1 table/figure.
References: Maximum 6.
Letters to the Editor undergo the same review process as full length papers.

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.

Supplements

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