The peer review process

When you have submitted your manuscript successfully the next step is peer review.


Types of peer review

BMJ mainly operates the following types of peer review:

  • Open peer review: Reviewer and author are known to each other. These journals publish the reviewer comments and previous versions of the manuscript alongside the accepted paper.
  • Single blind peer review: The names of the reviewers are hidden from the author. This is the traditional method of reviewing and is the most common.
  • Double blind peer review: Both the reviewer and the author are anonymous to each other.
  • Triple blind peer review: The handling editor, reviewer and author are anonymous to each other.

Each journal offers a different type of peer review, so please check on their individual websites for details.


Peer review process

This is a basic outline of the process, each journal has its own characteristics and so procedures and policies vary from title to title. If you are unable to find the answer to your question, our editorial team will be on hand to offer assistance throughout the peer review process. Contact details for the editorial team are on the journal’s Help page. You can also check the status of your manuscript at any time by logging into the journal’s submission site.

  1. The Editor (and if appropriate the Associate Editors) will evaluate the manuscript for scope, fit, quality, originality, interest for the readership, etc. It will then be sent out for external peer review or rejected if it does not meet the criteria.
  2. When the required number of reviews have been received (usually two) the Editor(s) will consider the experts’ opinions and make an initial decision to accept, reject, or request a revision.
  3. If the decision is for revision, the author will be given sufficient time to review comments and revise their manuscript.
  4. When submitting the revision, the author must ensure their response and revised manuscript correctly addresses each of the reviewers’ and/or Editors points (BMJ will require a tracked changes version).
  5. The revised manuscript will be re-evaluated by the original handling editor, who will either make an immediate decision or send the manuscript for further peer review prior to making a decision. Editors may request multiple manuscript revisions.

While we aim to complete the peer review process as quickly as possible, please bear in mind that reviewers give their time voluntarily. There may be occasions where several reviewers are invited before the required number can be arranged, or when a reviewer fails to deliver a review and the invitation process needs to start again. The average time to first decision is published on each journal’s website.


Article provenance

BMJ is committed to transparency. Every article we publish includes a description of its provenance (commissioned or not commissioned) and whether it was internally or externally peer reviewed. Articles described as ‘internally peer reviewed’ will have been assessed by one or more of the journal’s editors.