Most articles accepted for publication in a BMJ journal are published Online First within 2-3 weeks, often months ahead of publication in a printed journal issue. Advanced publication establishes primacy for the work and, for journals that are MEDLINE-indexed, Online First articles are indexed by PubMed for improved discoverability.
Online First articles are copyedited, typeset and approved by the author before being published as both typeset PDFs and searchable full text. The only difference between Online First and issue publication will be the citation details. Online First articles can be cited using the article’s Digital Object Identifier (DOI). Every article has a unique DOI which is the permanent identifier of all versions of that article. A DOI will always resolve to the latest version.