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Archives of Disease in Childhood (ADC) focuses on all aspects of child health and disease from the perinatal period (in the Fetal and Neonatal edition) through to adolescence. ADC includes original research reports, short reports and scientific letters. There are also regular features on: commentaries (editorials), reviews of clinical and policy issues, clinical problem solving (Archimedes), international health, patients’ experience with the healthcare system, abstracts from Journal Watch Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and summaries of important articles from other journals (Archivist and Lucina).

Editorial policy

Archives of Disease in Childhood adheres to the highest standards concerning its editorial policies on publication ethics, scientific misconduct, consent and peer review criteria. To view all BMJ Journal policies please refer to the BMJ Author Hub policies page.

Articles are published under an exclusive licence (or non-exclusive licence for UK Crown and US Federal Government employees) and authors retain copyright. Articles can also be published under a Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content; please refer to the Archives of Disease in Childhood Copyright Author Licence Statement.

Manuscript transfer

BMJ and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have a facility for transferring manuscripts among their paediatric journals. Authors submitting to the flagship journal Archives of Disease in Childhood can choose BMJ Paediatrics Open as an ‘alternate journal’.  

Once authors agree for their manuscript to be transferred to another BMJ journal, all versions of the manuscript, any supplementary files and peer review comments will automatically be transferred on the author’s behalf. Please note that there is no guarantee of acceptance. Contact the editorial team for more information or assistance.

Article publishing charges

During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 1950 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). There are no submission, page or colour figure charges.

For more information on open access, funder compliance and institutional programmes please refer to the BMJ Author Hub open access page.

Paediatric and Perinatal Drug Therapy

Articles for the Paediatric and Perinatal Drug Therapy section should follow the same submission guidelines as the relevant article type, ie, if you are submitting a full original report for the PPDT section it should adhere to the “Original reports” instructions as outlined below.

Submission guidelines

Please review the below article type specifications including the required article lengths, illustrations, table limits and reference counts. The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements, contributions and references. Manuscripts should be as succinct as possible.

For further support when making your submission please refer to the resources available on the BMJ Author Hub. Here you can also find general formatting guidelines across BMJ and a formatting checklist.

Original reports

These should report original research. (max 2500 words, excluding abstract, tables and figures and references). The body of the report should be double spaced. The tables should be single spaced and the tables and figures should be at the end of the submission after the references. Please note that all RCT must be appropriately registered and this should be noted on the cover page.


The title should have no more than 10 words. If relevant, the title should include information as to whether the paper is a randomised control trial, meta-analysis, audit, observational study, etc.


The abstract of an experimental or observational study must clearly state in sequence and in not more than 250 words (i) the main purpose of the study, (ii) the essential elements of the design of the study, (iii) the most important results illustrated by numerical data but not p values, and (iv) the implications and relevance of the results.

We require a structured abstract of up to 250 words for reports of randomised controlled trials and meta-analyses, and we encourage it for other studies, where appropriate. The following headings should be used for original research:

  • Objective
  • Design
  • Setting
  • Patients
  • Interventions
  • Main outcome measures
  • Results: give numerical data rather than vague statements that drug x produced a better response than drug y. Favour confidence intervals over p values, and give the numerical data on which any p value is based.
  • Conclusions: do not make any claims that are not supported by data in the paper in the abstract.

Important considerations

  • All research reports involving human subjects must contain a statement about ethics committee approval (or equivalent) at the end of the methods section.
  • On a separate page (before the references) all original papers should include:
    • “What is already known on this topic” – followed by a maximum of 3 brief statements (no more than 25 words per statement);
    • “What this study adds” – followed by a maximum of 3 brief statements (no more than 25 words per statement).
  • Illustrations should be used only when data cannot be expressed clearly in any other way. When graphs are submitted the numerical data on which they are based should be uploaded to ScholarOne as a supplementary file.
  • Research checklists should be uploaded during the submission process, if these are not applicable to your research please state the reason in your cover letter.

    Further details of RCTs and systematic reviews.

    Word count: up to 2500 words (excluding title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
    Structured abstract: up to 250 words
    Tables/Illustrations: up to 5
    References: up to 40
    Additional material may be considered as data supplements.

Short reports / Case reports

Short reports are brief reports of original research and case reports are any report/case history of four cases or less. ADC only rarely publishes case reports/series and to be successful, the paper must have either exceptional hypothesis generating strength or a powerful and novel clinical message. The abstract of a paper that focuses on a case report(s) must summarise the essential descriptive elements of the case(s) and indicate their relevance and importance. If more illustrations are required, the text must be reduced accordingly. The title should be no longer than seven words. All case reports must be submitted with a scanned patient consent form uploaded as a supplemental file. Please click here for the Patient Consent Form.

Word count: up to 1200 words (excluding title page, abstract, tables, figures, and references)
Abstract: up to 150 words
Tables/Illustrations: up to 2 small tables or images
References: up to 5

Letters to the editor

The editor encourages submissions of important and topical observations or original exploratory research as a letter to the editor.

Word count: up to 500 words
Abstract: not required
Tables/Illustrations: up to 2
References: up to 4


To register a question, and to submit completed Archimedes topics, please email first. The creation of such a topic summary follows this process:

  • Selection of a clinical scenario
  • Definition of the clinical question
  • Search for answers
  • Appraise the evidence
  • Create a critically appraised topic (CAT)
  • Summarise as a best evidence topic (BET)

The best evidence topic is the final accumulation of the critical appraisal. The strict format allows the casual reader to extract important information quickly and easily. An example template is available here.

Images in Paediatrics/Images in Neonatal Medicine

This is a really useful format for trainees, and those who are keen to start publishing, as well as established authors. We would welcome submissions to the above categories should take the form of a striking or clinically important image, as well as up to 250 words of text (and up to 5 references). The text should carry a brief clinical outline, and a clear clinical message or learning point. Two images can be submitted simultaneously, but this will require reducing the word count.

One tip is perhaps to compare the clinical image with Google Images, to ensure that the image is not replicating a well-known appearance. Please ensure that for all Image submissions, you also upload a scanned patient consent form as a supplemental file. Please click here for the Patient Consent Form. If an image is good but describing a well-known appearance: consider the criteria for submitting an Epilogue instead. The image quality should be 300x300dpi

Rapid responses to articles published

Letters in response to articles published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood are welcome and should be submitted electronically via the journal’s website and NOT to Scholar One. 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.

Letters relating to or responding to previously published items in the journal will be shown to those authors, where appropriate.

Word count: up to 300 words
Abstract: not required
Tables/Illustrations: up to 2 (but must be essential)
References: up to 5


These are commentaries commissioned by the editors to provide background and context for published articles.

Word count: up to 1200 words
Abstract: not required
Tables/Illustrations: up to 2
References: up to 5

Leading Articles/Reviews

These are generally commissioned. Leading articles and reviews can be discussed with either the Editor in Chief or Commissioning Editor. Editors will make the final decision regarding whether an article is classified as a leading article or review. In general reviews focus on clinical issues, whereas leading articles reflect on issues that are broader in scope than a specific clinical entity. Reviews should be no longer that 2500-3000 words (exclusive of titles, tables, figures, and references), and the word count for leading articles is at the discretion of the editor but generally 1500 – 2500

For Leading Articles the title should have no more than 10 words. No abstract is required.

For Reviews an abstract is required and should be a brief summary of the article.

Word count: 2500 – 3000 (review) and 1500-2500 (leading article)
Figures/tables: are encouraged
References: 30-40 should suffice

E&P: Self-assessment questions: Epilogue

The merit of this section is in using high-quality image(s) to remind the readers about the important features of a common clinical problem and using MCQs to produce useful learning points and take-home messages. This is also a useful format for trainees as well as established authors.

We invite readers to submit cases accompanied by questions. The text should be no more than 600 words, and might be accompanied by one or two figures, preferably clinical images, though good-quality radiology figures will be considered, and 4 or 5 MCQs. Radiology images should be of a standard that paediatricians would be able to identify the important feature and should be 300×300 dpi. Real-life cases must have parent/patient consent and be anonymised. Answers should be given, with a punchy learning point: 1 sentence each. Submissions will be peer-reviewed before publication. Authors will be credited in the journal.

If you want to know more please contact us via or, or to submit a question to and submit under the ‘Epilogue’ category.

Word count: 600 words
Tables/Illustrations: 1-2

E&P: Equipment QI Reports

The aim of these reports is to showcase good practice in paediatric QI and to share experiences and learning. We are particularly keen to highlight both successes and failures, as it is often from the failures that we learn the most. The emphasis may be on small achievable projects led by frontline staff, not just large scale change.

Intended audience

Reports are intended for anyone interested in improving child health. We particularly hope this will inspire frontline clinicians to undertake their own QI projects. The focus is on learning and understanding the process of QI.

Style of the paper

The papers should be brief, to the point and informative, and they should be limited to one side of paper in the journal (700 words max). Our hope is that the paper would provide enough information to allow the QI work to be spread and others to make use of it.

Article structure

Please use the following headings (in capitals) and address the points within each:

  • SUMMARY: Summarise your project and the clinical setting (one sentence) e.g. Implementation of a PEWs chart in a rural district general paediatric inpatient ward.
  • THE PROBLEM: Why did you choose this project, what was the quality/safety issue? How did you identify the problem?
  • AIMS: What were the aims of your project? Be as specific and as SMART as possible.
  • MAKING A CASE FOR CHANGE: How did you communicate the need for change? Who did you need to involve in your project and how did you do this?
  • YOUR IMPROVEMENTS: Outline the changes and how you implemented them, including the QI tools/techniques used e.g. PDSA cycles. How do you know the changes you made resulted in improvement? What were the outcomes of your project and how will you ensure that they are sustained?
  • LEARNING AND NEXT STEPS: What would you do differently next time and what were the secrets to success (where did you find support)? What are your next steps in this project- where next?

Equipped commissioning guide

The Equipped series of articles aims to introduce readers to core Quality Improvement concepts. Using Child Health examples, change theories, improvement models and relevant resources can be demonstrated and shared. There is a strong emphasis on practical suggestions to enable readers to embark upon their own projects.

Intended audience

All child health professionals looking to undertake quality improvement work and looking for an introduction to core QI themes with examples.

Good examples are:

Patient involvement in quality improvement: is it time we let children, young people and families take the lead?

Patient involvement in quality improvement: is it time we let children, young people and families take the lead?
Robertson S, et al.
Arch Dis Child Educ Pract Ed 2014;

Using Data to Improve Care
Cheung CRLH, et al.
Arch Dis Child Educ Pract Ed 2013;

These are good because:

  • They use specific examples to highlight a QI theory or model
  • The underlying theory is clearly explained in a practical way
  • They are focused on supporting readers to undertake similar work
  • They use illustrations and text boxes for clarity

Specific Instructions:

Please feel free to include other authors provided their contribution is significant and adds value. Please include at least two, and preferably more, boxes, table and figures, and make use of full colour. Colour charges are not applicable in E&P. A common pitfall is to write a textbook chapter. Clues that you are doing this will include an overlong article, getting stuck in detail that only very expert readers need to appreciate, and the need for very many references. If you’re falling into this trap, and want help, then your commissioning editor should be able to assist you. Many authors find this advice helpful. Your article will need to be submitted through the ScholarOne system. If you have been commissioned, please follow the instructions. Please note that as a peer reviewed journal, your article will undergo peer review. This allows us to ensure we are publishing high quality work, and our peer reviewers almost invariably help to improve papers.

Word count: maximum 3000 words excluding references, boxes, tables and diagrams. Please take a look at this paper which changed the world in around 650 words
Figures/tables: are encouraged
References: 30-40


The BMJ Publishing Group journals are willing to consider publishing supplements to regular issues. 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.
  • The BMJPG 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.

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

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