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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.


Editorial policy

Heart 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.

More information on copyright and authors’ rights


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 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

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.


Manuscript transfer

BMJ and the British Cardiovascular Society have a facility for transferring manuscripts between their cardiology journals. Authors submitting to the flagship journal Heart can choose Open Heart 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.

Data sharing

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.

Reporting patient and public involvement in research

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 the research question(s) and outcome measures developed and informed by their priorities, experience, and preferences?
  • 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)?

If patients were not involved please state this.

In addition to considering the points above we advise authors to look at guidance for best reporting of patient and public involvement as set out in the GRIPP2 reporting checklist.

If the Patient and Public Involvement statement  is missing in the submitted manuscript we will request that authors provide it.

ORCID

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.


Author resources


Reviewer resources

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.

Tobacco industry funded work

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.


Article processing charges

During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 2,300 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). Authors can also choose to publish their article in colour for the print edition – instead of the default option of black and white – for 350 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.

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


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 paper. You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services.

Original research

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.

Following the lead of The BMJ and its patient partnership strategyHeart 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:

Completed research checklists should be uploaded during the submission process. If blank checklists are submitted, they will be returned to authors to complete with the required information. If there is no relevant checklist for your study type, please use the STROBE checklist and complete as much information as is relevant.

Key questions

Authors should also complete a summary explaining the significance of their study by providing a short statement answering each of the following key questions:

  • What is already known about this subject?
  • What does this study add?
  • How might this impact on clinical practice?

The above headings must be used. Please add this in the manuscript file following the abstract.

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.

Tables

  • 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.

Graphs

  • 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.

Please ensure that any text included in figures is written in British English; if not, you will be requested to amend these at proof stage.

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.

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.

Review

Reviews are balanced accounts of all aspects of a particular subject including the pros and cons of any contentious or uncertain aspect. Although these are usually commissioned, authors are invited to discuss possible topics directly with the Editor-in-Chief.

Systematic reviews of topics of current interest are particularly encouraged. If your systematic review is part of a meta-analysis, please submit your manuscript as an original research article. Authors of systematic reviews should follow the PRISMA guidelines and upload their completed research checklist when submitting their manuscript.

Word count: up to 3000 words
Abstract: up to 250 words
Tables/illustrations: up to 8
References: up to 50

Education in Heart

Education in Heart provides a structured comprehensive curriculum aligned with educational goals and objectives.  All articles are commissioned.

Editorial


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

Image challenge

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.

Number of authors: 3 maximum
Word count: up to 400 words
References: up to 5

Correspondence

Letters in response to articles published in Heart are welcomed and should be submitted electronically as eLetters 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.

Letters relating to or responding to previously published items in the journal will be reviewed by the editor and shown to those authors of the original article, where appropriate. The authors will be invited to submit a response.

Heart will publish selected eLetters in the print journal alongside the authors’ responses.

Word count: approximately 350 words
References: up to 4, with reference 1 being the Heart paper to which the letter refers
Figures: not permitted at submission (although one figure may be included if the letter is selected for publication in print)


Supplements

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