Heart is an international peer reviewed journal that keeps cardiologists up to date with important research advances in cardiovascular disease. New scientific developments are highlighted in editorials and put in context with concise review articles. There is one free Editor’s Choice article in each issue, with open access options available to authors for all articles. Education in Heart articles provide a comprehensive, continuously updated, cardiology curriculum.
Heart promotes active interchange among researchers and readers to come together as a community to advance science and improve patient care via regular free audio podcasts, letters to the Editor, and news via Twitter and Facebook.
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 Heart Author Licence for the applicable Creative Commons licences".
When publishing in Heart, 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Preprints are reports of work that have not been peer-reviewed; Preprints should therefore not be used to guide clinical practice, health-related behaviour or health policy.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. If your manuscript has been published as a preprint prior to submission to Heart, please indicate this in your cover letter and provide the reference to the preprint.
BMJ and the British Cardiovascular Society are 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. If 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 Heart and are rejected will be offered the option of transferring to Open Heart.
Open Heart is the open access companion journal to Heart. It is indexed by Web of Science Core Collection: Emerging Sources Citation Index, Medline, PubMed Central, Scopus, Embase (Excerpta Medica), DOAJ, Google Scholar, and covers all disciplines and therapeutic areas of cardiovascular medicine. Find out more about Open Heart. Please note that the article transfer service does not guarantee acceptance, but you should receive a quicker initial decision on your manuscript. Contact the Transfer Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Heart adheres to BMJ's Tier 2 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. We also require data from clinical trials to be made available upon reasonable request. To adhere to ICMJE guidelines, we require that a data sharing plan must be included with trial registration for clinical trials that begin enrolling participants on or after 1st January 2019. Changes to the plan must be noted in the Data Availability Statement and updated in the registry record. All research articles must contain a Data Availability Statement. For more information and FAQs, please see BMJ's full Data Sharing Policy page.
BMJ encourages active patient and public involvement in clinical research as part of its patient and public partnership strategy. To support co-production of research we request that authors provide a Patient and Public Involvement statement in the methods section of their papers, under the subheading ‘Patient and public involvement’. We appreciate that patient and public involvement is relatively new and may not be feasible or appropriate for all papers. We therefore continue to consider papers where patients were not involved. The Patient and Public Involvement statement should provide a brief response to the following questions, tailored as appropriate for the study design reported (please find example statements here):
- At what stage in the research process were patients/the public first involved in the research and how?
- How were patients/the public involved in the design of this study?
- How were they involved in the recruitment to and conduct of the study?
- Were they asked to assess the burden of the intervention and time required to participate in the research?
- How were (or will) they be involved in your plans to disseminate the study results to participants and relevant wider patient communities (e.g. by choosing what information/results to share, when, and in what format)?
Heart 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.
- Tips for publishing clinical cardiology research: paper and podcast
- Presenting tables, graphs and statistics: videos and an article series: Designing effective tables Designing effective graphs Comparing categorical and continuous variables Survival analysis Data visualisation for meta-analysis Clinical prediction rules
- Ethical approval for studies involving human participants and animals
Heart's Editor-in-Chief has written some guidelines for reviewers, aimed primarily at individuals that are new to reviewing manuscripts. If you would like to register your interest in becoming a reviewer for Heart, please contact the Editorial Office.
Heart will not consider for publication papers reporting work funded, in whole or in part, by a tobacco company or tobacco industry organization. Nor will the journal consider papers by authors who accept tobacco industry funding, including funding for research costs, for all or part of any author’s salary, or other forms of personal remuneration. Failure to declare competing interests at submission, or when an article is commissioned, can result in immediate rejection of the paper. If a competing interest comes to light after publication, Heart will issue a formal correction to or retraction of the whole paper, as appropriate. For further information, please read this editorial.
During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 3,000 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. Authors can also choose to publish their article in colour for the print edition - instead of the default option of black and white - for 400 GBP (NB this charge does not apply to Image Challenge articles). There are no submission, page or online-only colour figure charges for any article types.
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.
A rapid response is a moderated but not peer reviewed online response to a published article in Heart; it will not receive a DOI and will not be indexed. Find out more about responses and how to submit a response.
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 paper. You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services.
Authors submitting papers reporting original research data (for example, clinical research, meta-analyses, translational science) should not exceed a limit of 3000 words, eight figures and/or tables, and 30 references (up to 50 references are permitted for a meta-analysis). Articles that significantly exceed this word limit may be returned for revision before peer review. Research reviews that systematically synthesise evidence (e.g. Systematic reviews, Meta-analysis, Scoping reviews, Mixed methods reviews, etc) should be submitted as Systematic reviews. Following the lead of The BMJ and its patient partnership strategy, Heart is encouraging active patient involvement in setting the research agenda. As such, we require authors of original research articles to add a Patient and Public Involvement statement in the Methods section. Please see more details above. General guidelines on manuscript preparation Pre-submission checklist
Title Use a short title that describes the key elements of your paper. Use a subtitle to indicate the study type only for a randomized clinical trial, meta-analysis, or systematic review. Other subtitles are discouraged. Abbreviations, acronyms, and brand or device names are not allowed in titles. The total title length is limited to 100 characters.
Abstract Authors of original scientific papers must supply a structured abstract of no more than 250 words under the following sub-headings:
- Objective - include the specific study aims or hypothesis
- Methods – include study design, setting, patients, interventions and 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. Include absolute as well as relative risk numerical data.
- Conclusions - do not make any claims that are not supported by data in the paper.
Section head You will be asked to choose the most relevant topic area for your article from the list of sections published in Heart.
Keywords Supply up to 5 keywords from the list provided.
Research checklist Authors are encouraged to use the relevant research reporting guidelines for the study type provided by the EQUATOR Network. The key reporting guidelines are:
- Randomised controlled trials (RCTs): CONSORT guidelines
- Systematic reviews and meta-analyses: PRISMA guidelines and MOOSE guidelines
- Observational studies: STROBE guidelines and MOOSE guidelines
- Diagnostic accuracy studies: STARD guidelines
- Quality improvement studies: SQUIRE guidelines
- Multivariate prediction models: TRIPOD guidelines
- What is already known on this topic – summarise the state of scientific knowledge on this subject before you did your study and why this study needed to be done
- What this study adds – summarise what we now know as a result of this study that we did not know before
- How this study might affect research, practice or policy – summarise the implications of this study
Introduction Brief description of the background that led to the study (current results and conclusions should not be included). The study specific aims or hypothesis should be clearly stated.
Methods Provide details of the study population as detailed in the key reporting guidelines on the Research Checklist. In addition:
- Describe statistical methods with enough detail to enable the reader to judge its appropriateness for the study and to verify the reported results.
- When possible, quantify findings and present them with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals). Avoid relying solely on statistical hypothesis testing, such as P values.
- Distinguish prespecified from exploratory analyses, including subgroup analyses.
Results Undue repetition in text and tables should be avoided. Comment on validity and significance of results is appropriate but broader discussion of their implication is restricted to the next section. Subheadings that aid clarity of presentation within this and the previous section are encouraged.
- Use tables to summarise data when possible, rather than text.
- Ensure that the data are easy to read and understand, and kept in context.
- Use categories and sub-categories effectively to highlight patterns in the data.
- Keep table titles, labels and footnotes brief.
- Tables may be no longer than 2 pages in length.
- Use graphical displays of quantitative data if this is the best way to present the information.
- Ensure that the message is easy to visualise and understand, and kept in context.
- Avoid graphical forms that distort the data or are prone to misinterpretation.
- Choose your graph type carefully for best visual clarity, and avoid chart ‘art’.
- Ensure data symbols and lines can be easily distinguished i.e. more prominent than axis lines, use solid greyscale or colour lines rather than pixellated/dashed lines.
- Avoid bar or column graphs; instead use boxplots or other graphical displays to show the data distribution, as well as mean values. Use solid greyscale or colour fills rather than patterned fills.
- Avoid non-essential grids, background shading, or explanatory text inside the graph. Avoid legends in the graph itself; instead put labels next to the data line or include this information in the text figure legend.
- Keep axis titles and labels brief. Use clear labels for units of measure on each axis.
- Aim to fill the frame to avoid large areas of white space.
- On life-table graphs, include the number of subjects at risk in each group at several time points along the x-axis.
Discussion The nature and findings of the study are placed in context of other relevant published data. Caveats to the study should be discussed. Avoid undue extrapolation from the study topic. Ensure wording is appropriate to the study type. A cause-effect relationship can be inferred only from randomized controlled clinical trials. Studies showing an association should avoid wording that implies causality.
References Up to 30 references are permitted in the main manuscript (or up to 50 references for a meta-analysis). All of these references must be cited in the main text. Additional references that relate only to any supplemental material should be cited in the supplemental material.
Supplemental material Additional information such as figures, tables, raw data and methodology statements, may be submitted and published alongside your manuscript as ‘supplemental material’. This will be published only, in the format supplied by the author. Further information is provided on the Author Hub. Additional references that relate only to any supplemental material should be cited in the supplemental material.
Acknowledgments and affiliations Individuals with direct involvement in the study but not included in authorship may be acknowledged. The source of financial support and industry affiliations of all those involved must be stated.
Measurements and abbreviations Restrict the use of abbreviations (apart from conventional units of measurement) to two or three per paper. Spell out each abbreviation at first mention in the abstract and paper. All acronyms of trials referred to in a paper should be listed alphabetically and explained in a separate glossary. Measurements must be given in SI units. Blood pressure should be given in mm Hg.
This article type includes all research reviews that systematically synthesise evidence (e.g. Systematic reviews, Meta-analysis, Scoping reviews, Mixed methods reviews, etc). Please include the research type in your title to make the nature of your study clear. Authors of systematic reviews should follow the PRISMA guidelines and upload their completed research checklist when submitting their manuscript.
Please see Original research for more guidance on article requirements.
Reviews are balanced accounts of all aspects of a particular subject including the pros and cons of any contentious or uncertain aspect. Research reviews that systematically synthesise evidence (e.g. Systematic reviews, Meta-analysis, Scoping reviews, Mixed methods reviews, etc) are classified by the journal as Systematic reviews and must be submitted as such. Although these are usually commissioned, authors are invited to discuss possible topics directly with the Editor-in-Chief.
Word count: up to 3000 words Abstract: up to 250 words Tables/illustrations: up to 8 References: up to 50
Education in Heart provides a structured comprehensive curriculum aligned with educational goals and objectives. All articles are commissioned.
These are commissioned only articles. Original papers should not be submitted under this category.
Word count: up to 1500 words Tables/illustrations: up to 2 References: up to 8
This section is for unusual images that make an educational point. Since the aim of these articles is to stimulate the reader to think about the case, the title should be ambiguous and not give away the final diagnosis immediately, e.g. "Atypical chest pain in a young woman". Each image challenge will be presented in two parts. The first part should contain a very brief clinical introduction to a case (maximum 200 words), followed by an image (ideally in colour) and a board-review format multiple choice question designed to stimulate the reader to think about what the image shows. In addition to cardiovascular imaging, other images, such as an ECG or histology, are appropriate. The legend should not indicate the diagnosis but should simply describe the nature of the image e.g. “3D echocardiographic image of the mitral valve”. The image should be cited in the text. The second part (maximum 200 words) will appear separately from the case and should contain the answer. The answer should include a brief description of the key diagnostic features of the image, the outcome, and a teaching point. The answer should explain why the correct answer is correct and why the incorrect answers are not.
The quality of the image must be at least 300dpi and in .tif, .jpeg, .gif or .eps format. There are no charges for colour figures in print for Image Challenge articles. Videos for online presentation are also welcomed and should be in .mov, .avi, or .mpeg format. Image Challenge articles must adhere to BMJ's patient consent policy. All identifying information must be removed from the images, and the text also cannot contain any identifying information (including a specific age). If the article cannot be sufficiently anonymised, patient consent will be required. Further information on how to write an image challenge multiple choice question. Number of authors: 3 maximum Word count: up to 400 words References: up to 5
Responses to articles published in Heart are welcomed and should be submitted online via the journal’s website. Contributors should go to the abstract or full text of the article in question and click on the ‘Responses’ tab. Contributors will be asked to agree to our response terms and conditions. Responses relating to previously published items in the journal will be reviewed by the editor. They may be sent to the authors of the original article, who will be invited to reply. Responses are moderated but not peer reviewed; they do not receive a DOI and are not indexed. Occasionally Heart publishes selected responses in journal issues, together with the author’s response where applicable. If a response is selected for publication in an issue, the contributor will be notified and asked to upload this to the journal’s submission system as Correspondence. Correspondence articles will receive a DOI and be indexed. The title of your submission should follow this format: ‘Correspondence on “Article title” by “Author(s)”‘.
Word count: up to 600 words Abstract: not required Tables/illustrations: none References: maximum 10
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.
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
Articles submitted to Heart 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 www.ithenticate.com.