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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. 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.

ADC no longer publishes case reports.

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. The journal operates single blind 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.

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

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 processing charges

During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 2300 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.

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.

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 will find information on writing and formatting your research through to the peer review process and promoting your paperYou may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services.

If your article is accepted you can take advantage of BMJ’s partnership with Kudos, a free service to help you maximise your article’s reach.

Original research

These should report original research and systematic reviews. (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).
  • Our statistics editor’s recommendations for numerical presentation can be found here.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    A checklist of items that should be included in reports of qualitative research. 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.

    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 report

Short reports are brief reports of original research. The maximum length is 1,200 Words. A maximum of 5 references and 2 small figures or tables are allowed. The abstract of a paper of a short report must summarise the essential descriptive elements of the research and indicate the relevance and importance. If more illustrations are required, the text must be reduced accordingly. The title should be no longer than seven words

ADC no longer publishes case reports.

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


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

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.

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


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, Quality improvement or Drug therapy.

Systematic Reviews are classified by the journal as original articles 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


This section includes three main strands: Voices from our patients, Voices from our past and Voices from literature.

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.

Voices… from our patients

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.

An accompanying illustration is not required but may be included.

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.


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 the past

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


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