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OEM - 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 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, Occupational and Environmental Medicine  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, Occupational and Environmental Medicine  does not publish reports of single clinical cases or results of laboratory-based research that does not include human subjects, unless of extraordinary interest.

Submission to Occupational and Environmental Medicine implies that the work described has not been accepted for publication elsewhere, that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere and does not duplicate material already published.

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.

Language Polishing Service

If you are not a native English speaker, we recommend that you have your manuscript edited by a native speaker prior to submission. Professional editing will improve the grammar, spelling and punctuation of your manuscript, providing clear language which will mean that reviewers and editors are better able to concentrate on the scientific content of the paper. Click here for more information.

Article Types and Word Counts

The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements and contributions and the references. For guidance on how to improve your graphs and tables please view these BMJ demonstration videos.

Supplementary material (e.g. additional tables, figures and text files) can be published online only and is not included in the word count. We advise that supplementary files are kept to a minimum and your cover letter must justify why you think its appropriate to be included with your submission.

Information on our publication turnaround times and acceptance rates can be found here.

Original Article

Original articles should follow the following guidelines:

  1. Word count: up to 4500 words
  2. Structured abstract: up to 250 words (use the headings Objectives, Methods, Results, and Conclusions)
  3. Tables/Illustrations: up to 5
  4. References: up to 40 (more may be allowable for systematic reviews)
  5. Keywords: up to 3 to assist with indexing
  6. Please consult the journal's guidelines regarding the presentation of statistical data

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.


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. Novel preliminary data or findings from a setting not studied previously are often appropriate for reporting in letter form. 

  1. Word count: up to 500 words
  2. Tables/Illustrations: 1 table of figure
  3. References: up to 6

Letters reporting research results are peer reviewed and will be published online. Letters may be published in print at the Editors discretion.

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.


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.

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

Short Reports

Short reports should comprise sections of Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion.

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

Please also 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
  • 1 sentence noting any important policy or practice implications of the research


For some accepted original articles and reviews we commission a Commentary to be published in the same print edition as the original article. Such Commentaries are limited to 1000 words and 12 references and they are written to highlight important points about the article and wider implications of the findings. Therefore, their purpose is to help readers to interpret the paper and place the findings 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; statement of competing interests and - if appropriate - contributorship; and funding. We do not accept unsolicited Commentaries.

Editorials / Leaders

Editorials and Leaders 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.

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.

As a general guide:

  • Subject material needs to be of topical interest and clear importance to the field of occupational and environmental medicine
  • Contributions need to have an evidential basis
  • Areas of debate need to be dealt with in a balanced way and unanswered questions clarified

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


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.


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

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

  • 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.
  • Epidemiologic measures of association (the rate ratio, odds ratio, risk difference, and so on) are preferred for contrasts of disease frequency.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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

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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