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 anonymised 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 anonymised peer review: Both the reviewer and the author are anonymous to each other.
  • Triple anonymised 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

1. Awaiting Editorial Production Assistant Processing

The Editorial Production Assistant will carry out quality checks on your article at which point you may need to provide further information before your article is sent for Peer Review.

2. Awaiting Editor Assignment: 

Your article has passed initial quality checks by the Editorial Production Assistant and is in the process of being assigned to an appropriate Editor who will evaluate your article for scope, quality, and fit for the journal. Papers that do not meet these criteria will be rejected.

3. Awaiting Reviewer Selection

Your article meets the Journal’s scope and has been approved for peer review. The Editorial Team are in the process of finding suitable external expert reviewers that are available to review your article. Your article may also be sent to relevant Associate Editor’s for internal review. For most articles, a minimum of two reviews are required. Articles can be sent to multiple prospective reviewers before the required number are secured.

4. Peer Review in Progress

Your article has secured the minimum number of required reviewers. Peer reviewers are given 2 weeks to submit their review of your article. On the occasion that a reviewer withdraws from the process, the Editorial Team will begin the reviewer selection process again.

 5. Awaiting Editor Decision

Your article has now received the minimum number of reviews required to make a decision. The Editor will take into account the expert reviewers’ opinions to make an informed decision of accept, reject or revise.

6. In Production

Your article has been accepted and you will receive an email to confirm. Your article will move through the final quality checks and in to Production where it will be processed for publication. You will be emailed by the Production Editor with a timeline and be provided with a link to a platform called Publishing at Work where you can continue to track your article’s progress. More information about the Production process can be found here.


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.