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Instructions for Authors

For guidelines on policy and submission across our journals, please click on the links below:
Manuscript preparation
Editorial policies
Patient consent forms
Licence forms
Peer review
Submission and production processes

Editorial policy

Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) is an international, peer-reviewed scientific journal covering the broad, multidisciplinary fields of occupational medicine and environmental health. Our goal is to help clinicians, researchers and others keep up to date with the latest developments in occupational and environmental health throughout the world. We publish high-quality original research and peer-assessed reviews in the areas of occupational and environmental epidemiology, medicine, exposure assessment, hygiene, ergonomics, and psychology; and the evaluation of interventions in controlling risks to the health of workers.

Although the journal's main focus is primary research, we also seek to further the professional education of occupational physicians and other practitioners and to provide a lively forum for discussion of current concerns related to occupational and environmental health.

Because the scope of occupational and environmental health is extraordinarily broad, OEM welcomes original research and systematic reviews on a wide range of health outcomes and their potential determinants. Industry- and population-based epidemiologic studies are considered relevant, as are assessments of workplace or ambient exposures. Clinical trials and other human experimental research into questions relevant to occupational and environmental health are also welcome. Methodological investigations and applications of mathematical modeling are considered, as well. In general, OEM does not publish reports of single clinical cases or results of laboratory-based research that does not include human subjects, unless of extraordinary interest.

Open Access

Authors can choose to have their article published Open Access for a fee of £1,950 (plus applicable VAT).

Colour figure charges

During submission you will be asked whether or not you agree to pay for the colour print publication of your colour images. This service is available to any author publishing within this journal for a fee of £250 per article. Authors can elect to publish online in colour and black and white in print, in which case the appropriate selection should be made upon submission.

Article types and word counts

The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements and contributions and the references. If you are not a native English speaker there is a professional editing service available.

Original Article

As a guide, papers should not normally exceed 4500 words or have more than five tables or figures or 40 references (more may be allowable for systematic reviews - see guidance below).

They should include a structured abstract of not more than 250 words, under the headings Objectives, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. Please include up to three keywords or key terms to assist with indexing.

Additional information on formatting your paper:

  • Papers are considered on the understanding that they are submitted solely to this Journal and do not duplicate material already published elsewhere. In cases of doubt, where part of the material has been published elsewhere, the published material should be included with the submitted manuscript to allow the editor to assess the degree of duplication.
  • Papers should follow the requirements of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (BMJ 1991;302:338-41). Papers and references must be typed in double spacing. SI units should be used.
  • Please include a box offering a thumbnail sketch of what your article adds to the literature, for readers who would like an overview without reading the whole article. This box should be titled 'What this paper adds' and should consist of 3-5 single-sentence bullet points, as follows: 1-2 sentences summarising the state of scientific knowledge on the subject before the study was done and why the study was needed; 1-2 sentences summarising what we know as a result of this study that wasn't known before, and, where appropriate, 1 sentence noting any important policy or practice implications of the research.

 

View an example paper (PDF).

Word count: up to 4500 words.
Structured abstract: up to 250 words.
Tables/Illustrations: up to 5.
References: up to 40 (more may be allowable for systematic reviews).
Please consult the journal's guidelines regarding the presentation of statistical data.

Correspondence

We are interested in letters to the editor that relate to recent journal content and which help readers to interpret and place it in context. We also welcome short summaries of novel research contributions in the form of letters to the editor, as well as correspondence that stimulates discussion and debate on current topics in occupational and environmental medicine.

Letters that respond to an article published in OEM are best submitted as a rapid response via the Journal's website. Contributors should go to the abstract or full text of the article in question. At the top right corner of each article is a "contents box". Click on the "eLetters: Submit a response to this article" link. Responses to published articles should be under 300 words, with up to five references, including one to the OEM article to which they relate. Please supply each author's current appointment and full address and declare any competing interests.

Letters that present research findings should be under 500 words with up to 6 references and one simple table or figure. Novel preliminary data or findings from a setting not studied previously are often appropriate for reporting in letter form. Letters reporting research results are peer reviewed and may be published in the print journal, as well as online.

Research letters and all others that are not direct responses to an article published in OEM may be submitted online via the Journal's website by following the procedure for contributing new papers.

We aim to post most rapid responses on our website within seven days of receipt. Posted responses are eligible for publication in the print journal and may be reviewed for this purpose. Authors will be contacted by email if their response has been accepted for publication in the print journal and will receive a proof for checking before publication.

We cannot post or publish letters that give information on patients without their written consent or that are rude, obscene, libellous or illegal. As a policy, we do not publish those that are trivial or incomprehensible or which represent blatant advertising. The editor has discretion to choose contributions that are likely to be informative and interesting to readers; the editor also reserves the right to edit letters for length or inappropriate or offensive content. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of what they say in correspondence: with rapid responses, in particular, we cannot check facts or references, undertake extensive editing or enter into lengthy correspondence.
Please consult the journal's guidelines regarding the presentation of statistical data.

Reviews

We welcome well conducted evidence-based systematic reviews and meta-analyses on topics of importance to occupational and environmental medicine. The manuscript should include a methods section describing the search procedure and methods of analysis and summarization. Review articles are peer-reviewed.

General narrative reviews, although not excluded by policy, are considered less competitive. Fewer of these tend to get published.

View an example review (PDF).

Word count: up to 5000 words.
Tables/Illustrations: up to 5.
References: up to 60.
Please consult the journal's guidelines regarding the presentation of statistical data.

Short reports

Normally, short reports should not exceed 1500 words including a brief abstract (no more than 250 words). They should comprise sections of Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion with not more than one table or figure and up to 12 references.

Please include a box offering a thumbnail sketch of what your article adds to the literature, for readers who would like an overview without reading the whole article. This box should be titled 'What this paper adds' and should consist of 3-5 single-sentence bullet points, as follows: 1-2 sentences summarising the state of scientific knowledge on the subject before the study was done and why the study was needed; 1-2 sentences summarising what we know as a result of this study that wasn't known before, and, where appropriate, 1 sentence noting any important policy or practice implications of the research.

View an example short report (PDF).

Word count: 1500 words.
Abstract: 250 words.
Illustrations: 1 table or figure.
References: up to 12.
Please consult the journal's guidelines regarding the presentation of statistical data.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

In our educational or CPD series we publish articles by leading experts in their field, dealing with the major topics of established importance in occupational and environmental medicine as well as newly emerging themes. The aim is to educate and to help our readers in their Continuing Professional Development.

The target audience is international and practices in a variety of occupational and environmental disciplines, including: medicine, hygiene, nursing, toxicology, safety, epidemiology, public health, environmental health, psychology and ergonomics.

Contributions should provide an authoritative up to date assessment of a topic, based on published evidence and guidelines, with appropriate theoretical background, a current state of the art exposition and an expert's glimpse of the future. We like areas of debate to be highlighted in a balanced way and unanswered questions to be clarified.

Contributions are usually commissioned, with a strong preference for single authorship. Specific guidelines are issued with letters of invitation, but in general terms:

  • Normally, as a guide, manuscripts should not exceed 3500 words; they should include up to three figures and three tables.
  • We encourage their illustration with photographs, graphs, diagrams, summary boxes with bullet statements and key points etc.
  • We edit contributions rather more heavily than usual, to achieve a uniform style of grammar, writing, and design.
  • We request references in three categories: "key" (10 seminal or groundbreaking studies, or excellent recent reviews); "easily accessible and useful" (10 references); and "relevant" (up to 50 references, web-listed for interested readers)
  • Authors need to contribute five questions and answers in MCQ style, based on their article which can be included as a readers’ quiz.
  • All articles for the series are peer reviewed. The editor will, as always, make the final decision about publication.

 

For informal discussion with the Commissioning Editor about potential contributions, please contact the editorial office.

Contributions are usually commissioned, with a strong preference for single authorship.

View published CPD articles.

View an example CPD article (PDF).

Word count: up to 3500 words.
Illustrations: up to 3 figures and 3 tables.
References: 3 categories for references.
Please consult the journal's guidelines regarding the presentation of statistical data.

Commentaries

Papers may be published with an accompanying commentary of 800 words and 12 references, highlighting important points about the article. In addition, from time to time we publish commentaries that relate more generally to recent content and topics of interest. We are especially interested in commentaries that relate to recent journal content and that help readers to interpret and place it in context.

If we ask you to write a commentary, please provide in the manuscript a title for your piece; a title page giving your name, position, and contact details including email address; statements of competing interests and - if appropriate - contributorship; and funding.

If you have a good idea for an unsolicited commentary, and would like to discuss it informally with the Commissioning Editor, please contact the editorial office.

View an example Commentary (PDF).
Please consult the journal's guidelines regarding the presentation of statistical data.

Editorials / Leaders

Editorials and Leaders are peer-reviewed before acceptance. They are usually commissioned, but we are happy to consider unsolicited submissions. We are keen to consider contributions, or ideas for contributions, from a broad international authorship.

For informal discussion with the Commissioning Editor about potential submissions, please contact the editorial office.

As a general guide:

  • Subject material needs to be of topical interest and clear importance to the field of occupational and environmental medicine.
  • We are especially interested in commentaries that relate to recent journal content and which help readers to interpret and place it in context.
  • Contributions need to have an evidential basis.
  • Areas of debate need to be dealt with in a balanced way and unanswered questions clarified.

 

Editorials should be about 1000 words long with no more than 12 references. They should include all authors' names, addresses, email addresses, phone and fax numbers.
Please consult the journal's guidelines regarding the presentation of statistical data.

Obituary

Occasionally the Journal publishes the obituaries of distinguished specialists in the field of occupational and environmental medicine. In each case we need to know the full name of the deceased, main job title, date of birth, date and place of qualification, and exact date of death. We also encourage authors to include the cause of death.

Obituaries will be considered by an editorial committee and may be shortened. We consider it appropriate for authors of obituaries to have consulted the next of kin of the deceased about its content prior to submission.

World at work

OEM welcomes submitted articles for its World at Work series. The aim of each of these articles should be to provide an overview of a job and/or workplace of interest to the occupational health community. This could relate to an emerging job resulting from new technology, changes over time to a traditional job, a small industry with unusual hazards or a job that is specific to a country or region.

World at Work articles should be limited to 2000 words and are not expected to include comprehensive reviews of the literature. The content of the article may vary depending on the job being described and the availability of information, but the following areas are usually covered:

  1. Tasks of the job - What do people actually do in this job? Where is the job done, in which industries, and what sort of people do it?
  2. Hazards of the job and the workplace - What are the main hazards? How much of a risk to the worker do they pose? If there are specific types of injury or ill health associated with this job, what are they? If there are occupational exposure limits related to this job, they can be briefly mentioned. Figures or tables can be used to list hazards and health effects.
  3. Measures to protect workers - What measures are needed and available? This might include controls at source, protective equipment, etc. If health surveillance is recommended, this can be briefly described.

 

World at Work articles do not require an abstract and there should be no more than 12 references. We encourage the inclusion of photographs depicting the job or workplace.
Please consult the journal's guidelines regarding the presentation of statistical data.

Supplements

BMJ journals are willing to consider publishing supplements to regular issues. Supplement proposals may be made at the request of:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The BMJ itself may have proposals for supplements where sponsorship may be necessary.
  4. 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.

When contacting us regarding a potential supplement, please include as much of the information below as possible.

  • Journal in which you would like the supplement published
  • Title of supplement and/or meeting on which it is based
  • Date of meeting on which it is based
  • Proposed table of contents with provisional article titles and proposed authors
  • An indication of whether authors have agreed to participate
  • Sponsor information including any relevant deadlines
  • An indication of the expected length of each paper Guest Editor proposals if appropriate

 

For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplements guidelines (PDF).

Presentation of Statistical Data in OEM

The Journal does not have fixed policies regarding the presentation of statistical data, but we strongly encourage authors to observe some simple guidelines to ensure that numerical information is presented in a clear and informative manner, as follows:.

  1. In general, measures of the estimated magnitude of effect or association (for example, rate ratios or differences in means) should be used to present the results of analyses that contrast groups or samples. The presentation of statistical test results without an estimate of effect size is less informative and is therefore discouraged.
  2. Epidemiologic measures of association (the rate ratio, odds ratio, risk difference, and so on) are preferred for contrasts of disease frequency.
  3. The presentation of regression coefficients is discouraged except in certain circumstances involving data (for example, lung function) measured on a continuous scale. Units for regression coefficients should always be given.
  4. Confidence intervals should be presented for measures of association whenever possible. P-values for tests of no association are generally not necessary when confidence intervals are provided.
  5. When presented, p-values should be given as quantitative values rather than relative to a cutpoint for statistical significance (for example, p=0.032, rather than p
  6. Other types of statistical tests, including goodness of fit tests, tests of homogeneity and tests for trend, may be informative in some situations. Where such tests are considered appropriate, reporting their results and the associated p-values is necessary.
  7. The number of significant digits that should be reported in numerical data is rarely the default number provided by statistical software. The number of decimal places or significant digits that is appropriate for a given analysis is a matter of judgment, but it should be consistent with the size of the sample, the analytical precision of the measurements and the nature of the data. For example, a response rate of 64.7% could be misleading if reported from a study of 20 people, but a rate ratio of 1.017 might be entirely appropriate in a study on the effects of air pollution in a large city with several million exposed residents.

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 www.ithenticate.com.

Free sample

This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of OEM.
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