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

Editorial policy

Open 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.

As an open access journal, Open Heart adheres to the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition of open access. 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. Such 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 Open Heart Author Licence.

More information on copyright and authors’ rights.

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

Open Heart 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.

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

Article processing charges

Open Heart is an open access journal and levies an Article Processing Charge (APC) of 1,700 GBP (exclusive of VAT for UK and EU authors). The APC for a study protocol or viewpoint is 1,000 GBP. There are no submission, colour or page charges.

No payment information is requested before an article is accepted, so the ability to pay cannot affect editorial decisions. Accepted articles will not be published until payment has been received. BMJ does not refund APCs once paid.

There is a 25% discount for articles where the corresponding author is a British Cardiovascular Society member or where the corresponding author has reviewed for Open Heart within the previous 12 months. These discounts cannot be combined.

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


Open 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.

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. HHere 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.

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

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:

  • 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.


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:

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

Abstract: 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.

Introduction: 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.


Unsolicited viewpoint articles on interesting topics in cardiology are considered for publication. These differ from editorials in that they provide authors with an opportunity to express their own personal views and opinions on a specific topic or theme, which may be controversial.

An abstract is optional but should not exceed 300 words. We recommend your article does not exceed 2500 words, with up to 30 references and up to three figures and/or tables. This is flexible, but exceeding this will impact upon the paper’s readability.

Editorial and Review

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 response

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.


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