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Open Heart is an online-only open access journal dedicated exclusively to publishing cardiology research. The journal aims to provide rapid publication of research through a continuous publication model. As well as publishing definitive articles, Open Heart will consider protocols.

All submissions are subject to peer review and will only be published after peer review. Articles should not be under review by any other journal when submitted to Open Heart. This includes other journals published by BMJ.

Authors retain copyright in their work and articles are published under a Creative Commons licence. Publishing in Open Heart enables you to fulfil the open access requirements of funders such as the Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK, including using their preferred CC-BY licence.

General information about BMJ’s open access programme, including copyright policies and institutional memberships, is available via our author website.

Submission guidelines

For guidelines on submission and editorial policies for Open Heart please refer to the BMJ Author Hub. Here you will find information on planning your research through to submitting and promoting your research.

Planning your research
Writing your paper
Choosing a journal
Submitting your paper
After submitting
Promoting your paper
Open Access
Reviewing manuscripts

Article publishing charges

Open Heart levies an article publishing charge (APC) that reflects the true cost of the services provided. The standard charge (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors) is £1700. Charges for publishing a study protocol are 1000 GBP.

Unless a waiver has been granted, accepted articles will not be published until payment has been received. We aim to publish articles online within approximately 30 days following acceptance. BMJ does not refund article publishing charges once paid.

There are no submission or page charges, and no colour charges.

Waivers and discounts

We appreciate that some authors do not have access to funding to cover publication costs. The journal may accept part payment where only limited funds are available. No payment information is requested before an article is accepted, so the ability to pay cannot affect editorial decisions. We expect authors to exhaust all funding sources, including personal funds, before requesting a discount.

Requests for discounts will be considered using the following criteria:

In recognition of reviewers’ support, any reviewer that returns a full review on time can receive a 25% discount on the article processing charge for a paper for which they are the corresponding author, if submitted within 12 months of completing the review. Members of the British Cardiovascular Society are also entitled to a 25% discount on article publishing charges, as are authors that agree to deposit their research data.

Manuscript transfer

BMJ and the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) have a facility for transferring manuscripts among all three of their cardiology journals. Authors submitting to the flagship journal Heart will, where appropriate, be given the option for their manuscript to be considered by Open Heart and Heart Asia if Heart is unable to accept their manuscript for publication. Authors can choose either of these titles as an ‘alternate journal’ when submitting to Heart.

Once authors agree for their manuscript to be transferred to another BMJ journal, there will be no need for re-submission and any reviewer comments will also be shared, resulting in a reduced time to decision.

Data sharing

Authors of original research articles are encouraged to include a data sharing statement when submitting their article. The statement should explain which additional unpublished data from the study—if any—are available, to whom, and how these can be obtained.

At present there is no major repository for clinical data, but Dryad has declared its willingness to accept medical datasets. Authors can start the deposition process while submitting to any BMJ journal. Dryad provides authors with a DOI for the dataset to aid citation and provide a permanent link to the data. Note that Dryad hosts data using a CC0 licence so authors should check that this is suitable for the data that they are depositing. The DataCite organisation has a growing list of other repositories for research data.

Authors that agree to share their data are eligible for a 25% discount on the Open Heart article publishing charge.

Article types

Original research articles

Full research papers should follow the basic structure of abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, references, and tables and figures as appropriate. The abstract should not exceed 300 words. We recommend your article does not exceed 4000 words (excluding references), with up to five figures and tables. This is flexible, but exceeding this will impact upon the paper’s readability.

Supplementary and raw data can be placed online separately from the text, and we may request that you separate out some material into supplementary data files to make the main manuscript clearer for readers. We also recommend, but do not insist, that the discussion section is no longer than five paragraphs.

Authors are encouraged to submit figures and images in colour as there are no colour charges.

When submitting your manuscript you will be asked to choose one subject area that most closely relates to the topic of your article. Your paper will be published under this section heading on the journal’s table of contents. You will also be asked to select specific keywords to assist in the identification of suitable reviewers.

Authors of accepted manuscripts will be asked to supply a 1-2 paragraph summary of their article for dissemination via the journal’s blog. This should include a brief title (e.g. the running title of the paper), a brief description of the importance of the problem, the key research question, the result and a conclusion, as well as the main limitation(s) if appropriate. A very short summary of no more than 125 characters will also be requested for promotion via Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels.

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:

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


Protocol manuscripts should report planned or ongoing studies. If data collection is complete, we will not consider the manuscript. Open Heart will consider for publication protocols for any study design, including observational studies and systematic reviews.

Publishing study protocols enables researchers and funding bodies to stay up to date in their fields by providing exposure to research activity that may not otherwise be widely publicised. This can help prevent unnecessary duplication of work and will hopefully enable collaboration. Publishing protocols in full also makes available more information than is currently required by trial registries and increases transparency, making it easier for others (editors, reviewers and readers) to see and understand any deviations from the protocol that occur during the conduct of the study.

Protocols should follow the following structure:


this should include the specific study type, e.g. randomised controlled trial.


this should be structured with the following sections. Introduction; Methods and analysis; Ethics and dissemination. Registration details should be included as a final section, if appropriate.


explain the rationale for the study and what evidence gap it may fill. Appropriate previous literature should be referenced, including relevant systematic reviews.

Methods and analysis:

provide a full description of the study design, including the following. How the sample will be selected; interventions to be measured; the sample size calculation (drawing on previous literature) with an estimate of how many participants will be needed for the primary outcome to be statistically, clinically and/or politically significant; what outcomes will be measured, when and how; a data analysis plan.

Ethics and dissemination:

ethical and safety considerations and any dissemination plan (publications, data deposition and curation) should be covered here.

Full references.
Authors’ contributions:

state how each author was involved in writing the protocol.

Funding statement:

preferably worded as follows. Either: ‘This work was supported by [name of funder] grant number [xxx]’ or ‘This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors’.

Competing interests statement.

Editorials and reviews

Occasional editorials and reviews will be published, and will usually be commissioned by the Editor. Authors wishing to publish unsolicited review articles are invited to contact the Editor prior to submission to discuss their manuscript.

Rapid responses and online comments

Letters in response to articles published in Open 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. In the right hand column on the article webpage is a section entitled ‘Responses’. Click on ‘Submit a response’ and complete the online form.

Letters relating to or responding to previously published items in the journal will be reviewed by the editor and shown to the authors of the original article, when appropriate.

Supplementary data

Additional material (figures, video clips, references, tables etc.) can be published online as supplementary data for any article type.

Peer review process

All articles published in Open Heart will have been sent for peer review. Reviewers will not be asked to judge importance or breadth of appeal. Readers will be able to make these judgements for themselves.


Journals from BMJ are willing to consider publishing supplements to regular issues. Supplement proposals may be made at the request of:

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 supplement guidelines .

Plagiarism detection

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. iThenticate checks submissions against millions of published research papers, and billions of web content. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting

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