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. The journal follows guidance produced by bodies that include the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).To view all BMJ Journal policies please refer to the BMJ Author Hub policies page. We take seriously all possible misconduct. If an Editor, author or reader has concerns that a submitted article describes something that might be considered to constitute misconduct in research, publication or professional behaviour they should forward their concerns to the journal. The publisher will deal with allegations appropriately.
As a principle the journal encourages genuine academic and scientific collaborations between investigators from low and middle income countries (LMIC) and those from high income countries (HIC). In research that is conducted in LMIC, the journal expects that these collaborations are reflected with local authors appearing high on the author listing, ideally as first and/or second, and for the contribution of contributors from LMIC to be properly recognised, in terms of author numbers and seniority. Too many papers on studies conducted in LMIC have not adequately involved local investigators in the primary research and thus often have only one or two local authors buried deep in the author lists, and a predominance of authors in the senior author positions from HIC that are remote from where the research was conducted. Any statement that relies on a preprint for its evidence should state clearly in the text that the reference cited is a preprint

Plan S compliance

Archives of Disease in Childhood is a Plan S compliant Transformative Journal. Transformative Journals are one of the compliance routes offered by cOAlition S funders, such as Wellcome, WHO and UKRI. Find out more about Transformative Journals and Plan S compliance on our Author Hub.

Copyright and authors’ rights

Articles are published under an exclusive licence or non-exclusive licence for UK Crown employees or where BMJ has agreed CC BY applies. For US Federal Government officers or employees acting as part of their official duties, the terms are as stated in accordance with our licence terms. Authors or their employers retain copyright. Open access articles can be reused under the terms of the relevant Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content; please refer to the Archives of Disease in Childhood Author Licence for the applicable Creative Commons licences. More information on copyright and authors’ rights.
When publishing in Archives of Disease in Childhood, authors choose between three licence types – exclusive licence granted to BMJ, CC-BY-NC and CC-BY (Creative Commons open access licences require payment of an article processing charge). As an author you may wish to post your article in an institutional or subject repository, or on a scientific social sharing network. You may also link your published article to your preprint (if applicable). What you can do with your article, without seeking permission, depends on the licence you have chosen and the version of your article. Please refer to the BMJ author self archiving and permissions policies page for more information.


Preprints foster openness, accessibility and collaboration by allowing authors to make their findings immediately available to the research community and receive feedback on an article before it is submitted to a journal for formal publication. BMJ fully supports and encourages the archiving of preprints in any recognised, not-for-profit server such as medRxiv. BMJ does not consider the posting of an article in a dedicated preprint repository to be prior publication.
Preprints are reports of work that have not been peer-reviewed; Preprints should therefore not be used to guide clinical practice, health-related behaviour or health policy. For more information, please refer to our Preprint policy page.

Peer review process

Articles submitted to Archives of Disease in Childhood are subject to peer review. In most instances we aim for two external opinions (and often additional statistical assessment) for reasons of fairness and science. The journal is not prepared to compromise on this stance. The journal operates single anonymised peer review whereby the names of the reviewers are hidden from the author; Manuscripts authored by a member of a journal’s editorial team are independently peer reviewed; an editor will have no input or influence on the peer review process or publication decision for their own article. For more information on what to expect during the peer review process please refer to BMJ Author Hub – the peer review process. BMJ requests that all reviewers adhere to a set of basic principles and standards during the peer-review process in research publication; these are based on the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. Please refer to our peer review terms and conditions policy page.
BMJ is committed to transparency. Every article we publish includes a description of its provenance (commissioned or not commissioned) and whether it was internally or externally peer reviewed. During the submission process, authors must not suggest reviewers who are current or recent colleagues of themselves or their co-authors. For more information about suggesting reviewers please visit our Author Hub. Plagiarism is the appropriation of the language, ideas or thoughts of another without crediting their true source and representation of them as one’s own original work. 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. BMJ runs manuscripts through iThenticate during the peer review process. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting

Article transfer service

BMJ is committed to ensuring that all good quality research is published. Our article transfer service helps authors find the best journal for their research while providing an easy and smooth publication process. As part of this service, once authors agree to transfer their manuscript all versions, supplementary files and peer reviewer comments are automatically transferred; without the need to resubmit or reformat. Authors who submit to Archives of Disease in Childhood and are rejected will be offered the option of transferring to BMJ Paediatrics Open.
BMJ Paediatrics Open is the open access companion journal to Archives of Disease in Childhood. It is indexed by PubMed Central, Scopus, Embase, DOAJ, and Google Scholar, and publishes articles dealing with any aspect of child health. The peer review process focuses on quality of methods and completeness of reporting. Open access publishing means articles are disseminated rapidly to a global audience. Find out more about BMJ Paediatrics Open. Please note that the article transfer service does not guarantee acceptance but you should receive a quicker initial decision on your manuscript. Contact the Article Transfer Service Manager for more information or assistance.

Article processing charges

During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 3,885 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). Publishing open access has multiple benefits including wider reach, faster impact and increased citation and usage. There are no submission, page or colour figure charges.

Waivers and Discounts

If authors choose to publish their article open access, an APC waiver may be available. Before applying for an APC waiver please consider: (1) Does your institution have an open access agreement with BMJ? If it does, then this may cover all or part of the APC for your article. Check BMJ’s open access agreements page to find out whether your institution is a member and what discounts you may be entitled to. (2) Have you received funding from a funder with an open access mandate or policy that covers paying APCs? If so, BMJ expects that the APC will be paid in full. If neither (1) nor (2) above apply then consider (3) Are all the authors of your article based in low-income countries*? If so, you are eligible to apply for a full or partial waiver from BMJ. Visit our author hub to learn more about our waivers policy and how to request one. Please note that regardless of the funding situation, authors can still choose to publish with us at no cost, and articles will be made available to our subscribers. *This list is reviewed annually and is based upon HINARI Core Offer Groups A and B, and the World Bank Country and Lending Groups.

Data sharing

Archives of Disease in Childhood adheres to BMJ’s Tier 3 data policy. We strongly encourage that data generated by your research that supports your article be made available as soon as possible, wherever legally and ethically possible. All research articles must contain a Data Availability Statement. For more information and FAQs, please see BMJ’s full Data Sharing Policy page


Archives of Disease in Childhood mandates ORCID iDs for the submitting author at the time of article submission; co-authors and reviewers are strongly encouraged to also connect their ScholarOne accounts to ORCID. We strongly believe that the increased use and integration of ORCID iDs will be beneficial for the whole research community.
Please find more information about ORCID and BMJ’s policy on our Author Hub.

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.

Rapid responses

A rapid response is a moderated but not peer reviewed online response to a published article in Archives of Disease in Childhood; it will not receive a DOI and will not be indexed. Find out more about responses and how to submit a response.

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. The journal prefers titles to follow the format ‘field of study: study design’. For example, ‘Early micronutrient intake and cognitive function: a cohort study’. For further support when making your submission please refer to the resources available on the BMJ Author Hub. Here you will find information on writing and formatting your research through to the peer review process and promoting your paper. You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services. BMJ requires that all those designated as authors should meet all four ICMJE criteria for authorship. ADC no longer publishes case reports.

Original research

These should report original research. Research reviews that systematically synthesise evidence (e.g. Systematic reviews, Meta-analysis, Scoping reviews, Mixed methods reviews, etc) should be submitted as Original research. Please include the research type in your title to make the nature of your study clear. 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. Title The journal prefers titles to follow the format ‘field of study: study design’. For example, ‘Early micronutrient intake and cognitive function: a cohort study’. Abstract 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.
Global Child Health Format as for original articles. We prefer (but do not require) first authors to be from the low or middle income country (LMIC). Authors may provide a translation of the abstract in their local language. The translated abstract will need to be uploaded as a separate file when the paper is submitted; authors are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the abstract, and may need to provide an updated version if the abstract needs to be revised following peer review of the paper. If the paper is accepted, the translated abstract will be available as an online supplementary file alongside the published paper Authors from low-income countries who wish to publish their paper open access may be eligible for a waiver of the article processing charge (APC). All waiver applications must be made at submission under BMJ's Waiver policy.
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.
  • Our statistics editor’s recommendations for numerical presentation can be found here.
  • Authors are strongly encouraged to include a Directed Acyclic Graph showing postulated relations between exposures and outcomes - this is most relevant for observational studies. This study provides a useful example.
  • 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. Please include the key messages of your article after your abstract using the following headings. This section should be no more than 3-5 sentences and should be distinct from the abstract; be succinct, specific and accurate.
    • What is already known on this topicsummarise the state of scientific knowledge on this subject before you did your study and why this study needed to be done
    • What this study addssummarise what we now know as a result of this study that we did not know before
    • How this study might affect research, practice or policysummarise the implications of this study
This will be published as a summary box after the abstract in the final published article. It is a journal requirement that the EQUATOR checklist relevant to the study is supplied. 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 required reporting checklists for all research can be found via this link. Qualitative research should use the COREQ checklist. You must report the page number in your manuscript where you consider each of the items listed in this checklist. If you have not included this information, either revise your manuscript accordingly before submitting or explain in a covering note why you do not feel this item is applicable to your research note. The journal expects online questionnaire-based surveys of opinion and/or practice to be submitted in 500-word letter form (see below) and only when a denominator is provided and the response rate a minimum of 60% to provide reassurance against participation bias. In addition, there must be a very clear clinical message for further consideration. These requirements currently apply to ADC only. Word count: up to 3000 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.


The editor encourages submissions of important and topical observations or original exploratory research as a letter to the editor. Surveys should be submitted as letters with a denominator and 60% response rate.
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

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. 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.


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


These are usually commissioned. Short proposals can be sent in advance to the Editor-in-Chief or Commissioning Editor. Viewpoints should be argument-led but evidence-based. They reflect on issues broader in scope than a specific clinical entity. These issues may be clinical, but Viewpoints can also cover issues in: public health; health policy and law; workforce, education and training; research and research methods; global health; ethics. These articles should not present original research data.
Authors: max three Abstract: None Word count: max 1200 Figures/Tables: max one, small References: max seven


Reviews should provide a balanced account of all aspects of a subject related to paediatrics or child health. Reviews are usually clinical. The pros and cons of any contentious or uncertain aspect should be described. Reviews may be submitted on general topics or within our ‘banner’ sections: Global child health, Adolescent health, Health policy, Pediatric emergency medicine, Quality improvement or Drug therapy. Research reviews that systematically synthesise evidence (e.g. Systematic reviews, Meta-analysis, Scoping reviews, Mixed methods reviews, etc) are classified by the journal as Original research and must be submitted as such. Reviews are often commissioned. Please contact the Commissioning Editor or the relevant section editor to discuss ideas. They are listed on the Editorial Board.
Authors: no limit, international collaborations encouraged Abstract: max 250 words Word count: max 3000 Figures/Tables: encouraged References: max 40

Patient voices…

No Voices articles will be published without passing peer review. Some submissions may be rejected without peer review and the rejection letter will explain why. Reasons for rejection will include substantial deviation from the guidance below, recent publication of a similar article, or editorial judgement on interest and relevance to the audience. Peer review may mean the article needs to be revised; editorial support will be provided if required and practicable. Articles should be submitted online and will need to be in the format required by the system.
These articles can be written by young people who are or have been patients; their parents or carers; or jointly. They should contain messages that are thought-provoking and challenging for readers of ADC, along the lines of “What I wish you knew, and why.” Articles can be about any aspect of patient care and experience. From lessons for doctors from a single healthcare appointment to those from a lifetime of managing a chronic disease. They can be issue based, offer a new angle on a familiar situation, or ask controversial questions from the patient or parent’s perspective. They need not be about incidents where care and understanding was not optimal. They can also be about things that have gone well. Above all, they should give healthcare professionals and policy-makers something to take away and put into practice. It is important for authors to be as specific as possible about the recommendations that flow from their experience. “Communicate well” is not as useful as “when the doctor said xyz it made it easier for me to do abc”. What to include Summary box “What you need to know”. Three short bullet points to list the practical things health professionals might consider doing after reading the article. Other boxes We are happy to consider a second box containing, for example, useful websites or other learning resources for health professionals. Illustration An accompanying illustration is not required but may be included. References We can include up to five relevant references, which do not need to be to academic papers. They could include similar articles written elsewhere. These articles should not include complaints about or praise of a named healthcare professional or clinic/hospital; legal cases which are not resolved; a personal anecdote or journey through the healthcare system with no learning points; promotion of a particular treatment or style that other healthcare professionals cannot access/emulate; messages for patients.
Style Write in plain English, not academic-sounding language, and avoid an over-prescriptive tone. For example, use ‘suggest’, ‘might’ or ‘offer’ when describing how readers might change their practice (rather than ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘must’ or ‘should’). Who can write? Children and parents/carers Any child or parent/carer of a child who is using or has used a healthcare system. Authors should bear in mind that our readership is international and avoid detailed comments about specific national policies. Health professionals as patients or parents We would welcome submissions from child health professionals whose own children have experienced significant illness, or who might want to record memories of their own childhood experiences. Confidentiality and anonymity There are special considerations when writing about children in an article that will always be widely accessible through the internet. Even if the parents are happy to have their identity disclosed, children are not competent to consent to this. Our default position will therefore be to publish all articles anonymously, or with pseudonyms. Likewise, names of health professionals, hospitals, institutions and locations must not be included. The only exception might be a former patient now aged over 18 years, who is prepared to waive anonymity by giving signed consent. Other considerations We will need authors to declare any competing interests. If you need help with this please let us know. Word count Up to 1200 words. This includes a summary box at the end of each piece: “What you need to know”.

Voices… from literature

Articles should be well-informed and entertaining observations on works of literature, and how they reflect or relate to any aspect of child health or illness. As well as novels, poems and plays, we will consider submissions relating to film or music. The works can be historic or contemporary. Articles should be preceded by a brief summary of no more than 100 words, which does not need to be in any standard abstract format.
Word count: 700-1200 words References: Up to five references can be included at the end. The work(s) in question should be adequately referenced, including edition and where relevant, translation Illustrations: are encouraged

Voices… from history

This historical strand includes two types of article:
1) Articles based on ADC’s archive. Articles will trace the changes and development of specific conditions or themes over the years, as described in the pages of the journal. Word count: 700-1200 words References: up to ten references Illustrations: are encouraged. Up to three can be included, ideally from the ADC archive
2) Articles on a more general historical theme. These may be an account of the life’s work of a distinguished child health professional, but should not be written as an obituary. These should be preceded by a brief summary of no more than 100 words, which does not need to be in any standard abstract format. Word count: 700-1200 words References: up to ten references Illustrations: are encouraged; up to two


ADC is interested in and will consider sending statement guidance from specialist groups out for review. Prerequisites for guidelines include: that they provide current or evolving neonatal and paediatric clinical practice updates; that they include consensus statements and guidance to improve clinical decision making process; that their development involved peer review; that the author groups include relevant professional groups; that they include parent and/or patient representatives and that a recognised process (for example, Delphi) has been used during the process.
Word count: unlimited; will be determined by the editor Abstract: 250-350 words Tables/Illustrations: unlimited; will be determined by the editor References: unlimited; will be determined by the editor


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