Submit a paper here

RMD Open is an online-only Open Access journal dedicated to publishing research on musculoskeletal disorders, rheumatism and connective tissue diseases, including osteoporosis, spine and rehabilitation. The journal aims to provide rapid publication of research through a continuous publication model.

Submissions should be made through the journal’s online submission system. All submissions are subject to single blind peer review and will only be published after peer review. Articles should not be under review by any other journal when submitted to RMD Open. This includes other BMJ journals.

Authors retain copyright in their work and articles are published under a Creative Commons licence. Publishing in RMD Open enables you to fulfil the open access requirements of funders such as the Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK, including using their preferred CC-BY licence.

General information about BMJ’s Open Access programme, including copyright policies and institutional memberships, is available via our author website.

Submission guidelines

For guidelines on submission and editorial policies for Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases please refer to the BMJ Author Hub. Here you will find information on planning your research through to submitting and promoting your research.

Article publishing charges

RMD Open levies an Article Publishing Charge (APC) that reflects the true cost of the services provided. The standard APC for original articles and review articles (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors) is GBP 1700. A 50% discount will be given to authors of short reports, clinical cases, editorials and viewpoints.

There are no submission or page charges, and no colour charges. Payment of the APC may be made online by credit card, or by bank transfer following receipt of an invoice.

Unless a waiver has been granted, accepted articles will not be published until payment has been received. We aim to publish articles online within approximately 30 days following acceptance. BMJ does not refund APCs once paid.

Waivers and discounts

We appreciate that some authors do not have access to funding to cover publication costs. The journal will accept part payment where only limited funds are available, and offers a waiver to authors unable to pay on request. No payment information is requested before an article is accepted, so the ability to pay cannot affect editorial decisions.

RMD Open offers a 100% waiver to corresponding authors from institutions based in Hinari Group A countries, and a 50% waiver to authors from institutions based in Hinari Group B countries.

In recognition of reviewers’ support, any reviewer that returns a full review on time can receive a 25% discount on the article processing charge for a paper for which they are the corresponding author, if submitted within 12 months of completing the review.

Manuscript transfer

BMJ and EULAR have a facility for transferring manuscripts between journals. Authors submitting to the flagship journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (ARD) will, where appropriate, be given the option for their manuscript to be considered by RMD Open if ARD is unable to accept their manuscript for publication. Authors can choose RMD Open as an ‘alternate journal’ when submitting to ARD.

The transfer process is easy and any reviews obtained by ARD will be shared with RMD Open, resulting in a reduced time to decision.

Data sharing

Authors of original research articles are encouraged to include a data sharing statement when submitting their article. The statement should explain which additional unpublished data from the study—if any—are available, to whom, and how these can be obtained.

At present there is no major repository for clinical data, but Dryad has declared its willingness to accept medical datasets. Authors can start the deposition process while submitting to any BMJ journal. Dryad provides authors with a DOI for the dataset to aid citation and provide a permanent link to the data. Note that Dryad hosts data using a CC0 licence so authors should check that this is suitable for the data that they are depositing. The DataCite organisation has a growing list of other repositories for research data.

General guidelines

  • When submitting your manuscript you will be asked to choose one subject area from the list provided that most closely relates to the topic of your article. Your paper will be published under this section heading on the journal’s table of contents.
  • You will also be asked to select up to five specific keywords to assist in the identification of suitable reviewers.
  • Authors are encouraged to submit figures and images in colour as there are no colour charges.

Article types

Original article

Full original research papers should follow the basic structure of abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, references, and tables and figures as appropriate. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses should also be submitted as original articles.

Please also include a section entitled ‘Key messages’ consisting of 4-5 bullet points (of no more than one sentence each) summarising the key points of your article under the following question headings:

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

Word count: usually up to 5000 words (although this is negotiable and can be extended in specific circumstances)
Abstract: up to 250 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 6 tables and/or figures
References: up to 50

Short reports

Short clinical or laboratory investigations may be presented as a short report. Short reports do not require an abstract or key messages and do not need to be structured into sections. They undergo the same review process as original articles.

Word count: up to 1000 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 2 tables and/or figures
References: up to 10

Clinical cases

Case reports may be published if the case is original, rare, or of educational value. Cases should be presented in the following sections: abstract/summary, introduction, case report, discussion and key messages.

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


Although these are usually commissioned, authors are invited to discuss possible topics directly with the Editor. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses should be submitted as original articles.

The structure of the article is at the author’s discretion, but please include a section entitled ‘Key messages’ consisting of 3-4 bullet points (of no more than one sentence each) summarising the key points of the article.

Word count: usually up to 5000 words (although this is negotiable and can be extended in specific circumstances)
Abstract: up to 250 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 6 tables and/or figures
References: up to 50

Editorials and viewpoints

Occasional editorials and viewpoints will be published, and will usually be commissioned by the Editor. Authors wishing to publish unsolicited articles are invited to contact the Editor prior to submission to discuss their manuscript.

Rapid responses and online comments

Letters in response to articles published in RMD Open 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.


BMJ journals are willing to consider publishing supplements. 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.
  • BMJ 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. All supplements are fully peer-reviewed. For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the BMJ supplement guidelines.

Plagiarism detection

BMJ is a member of CrossCheck by CrossRef and iThenticate. iThenticate is a plagiarism screening service that verifies the originality of content submitted before publication. iThenticate checks submissions against millions of published research papers, and billions of web content. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting

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