Rapid responses

Responsible debate, critique and disagreement are important features of science. BMJ welcomes reader responses, questions and comments to published articles in its journals to allow a range of opinions to be expressed and to promote debate.

A rapid response is a moderated but not peer reviewed online response to a published article in a BMJ journal. Anyone can submit a rapid response on the journal website and they are free to access. Rapid responses should be no longer than 600 words (excluding references), they should not include original data, tables, figures, images or patient information. Responses do not receive a DOI and are not indexed in third party databases.

Many BMJ journals publish Letters or Correspondence; these are peer reviewed articles submitted to the journal’s submission system. These articles receive a DOI and are indexed in the applicable indices associated with the journal. Some rapid responses may be selected for publication in the journal as Letters or Correspondence; in these cases the author will be informed of the required steps.

All rapid responses are reviewed by a journal editor and may be edited before posting. In some circumstances rapid responses will not be posted. The editor’s and publisher’s decision is final in all cases. Due to the high volume of responses we receive, you may not get a notification if we choose not to publish your response. See our terms and conditions here.

As authors have an academic duty to respond to substantive criticism of their work, BMJ expects authors to post their own rapid response in reply to any such comments.


How to send a rapid response

We’re updating our article webpages and moving them to a new system. Because of this, you might not be able to submit or see rapid responses on some journals. If you have comments or suggestions for the editorial team, please visit our Contact us page.

Submitting a rapid response to The BMJ

When you have found the article on The BMJ that you would like to respond to, click on “Respond to this article” in the “Article Tools” section. You will need to complete the form, accept the terms and conditions and click ‘Submit rapid response’.

You should receive a message on the screen thanking you for sending your response, as well as an automatic acknowledgement to your email address. These two measures confirm that your rapid response has arrived at thebmj.com to be considered for posting.


Submitting a rapid response to a BMJ Journal

When you have found the article on the journal website that you would like to respond to, click on ‘Responses’ in the left hand column on the article webpage, then click on ’Compose a response to this article’. You will need to complete the form, accept the terms and conditions, and declare any competing interests when submitting your response.