Submitting an article


Submitting to BJC

What we publish

BJC welcomes the submission of high quality original and innovative research findings that are relevant to understanding the etiology of cancer and to improving the treatment and survival of patients.

  • Full-length papers (5-6 printed pages) and short communications (2-4 pages) are published across the entire spectrum of cancer research. There are additional facilities for publishing supplementary material and colour figures online.
  • Single case reports are very rarely accepted and only if they illustrate a point of general interest.
  • Minireviews on current topics, some longer reviews and book reviews are usually invited by the editor, but potential authors are encouraged to approach the journal with suggestions for these and other relevant articles.
  • Editorials and letters to the editor on matters arising from published material are published at the editor's discretion.
  • BJC has no submission charges.

Before you submit


BJC does not accept work that is funded in any part by tobacco industry sources.

Typescripts that contain the results of human and/or animal studies will be accepted for publication only if it is made clear that a high standard of ethics was applied in carrying out the investigations.

Papers reporting clinical studies should, where appropriate, contain a statement that they have been carried out with ethical committee approval. Papers disregarding the welfare of experimental animals will be rejected. Authors may find the UKCCCR 'Guidelines for the Welfare of Animals in Experimental Neoplasia' helpful in this regard. These were published in British Journal of Cancer (1998) 77(1): 1 - 10. Printed copies may be obtained from: UKCCCR, PO Box 123, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PX, UK.


A paper is accepted for review by BJC on the understanding that:

  • it has not been and will not be submitted simultaneously to another journal, in whole or in part
  • it reports previously unpublished work
  • all named authors have agreed to submit the paper to BJC in its present form
  • if the paper is accepted, all the authors will observe the terms of the Licence to Publish, and will seek the consent of the publishers acting for the owners of the journal, in any other circumstance.

A signed statement that all named authors have agreed to the submission and have participated in the study to a sufficient extent to be named as authors should accompany submitted manuscripts. If the authorship of a paper is changed in any way after it has been reviewed, the Editor will require a letter, signed by all authors named on the original or on the revised submission, explicitly agreeing to the change.

The Editors reserve the right to make literary corrections

BJC's Licence to Publish (LTP)

From the beginning of Volume 97 (July 2007) BJC adopted a new Licence to Publish (LTP) This agreement has many benefits for authors. It allows authors to retain their copyright, whilst transferring to Cancer Research UK, the owners of BJC, all the rights that it and NPG, the publisher of the journal, need in order to protect, publish, distribute and market papers to maximum effect.

Under the terms of this LTP, authors will retain the rights to reuse material taken from their papers in their own future publications and for teaching purposes within their own institutions. If the acknowledgements specified in the LTP are made and a link is provided to the published paper, the new licence allows authors to post a copy of the final accepted manuscript to their own website, to their employer's website or to that of the funder of the work described. The final accepted manuscript may be made available in this way, six months after the date of publication of the print issue in which the paper appears. The LTP also allows the deposit of final accepted manuscripts in repositories such as PubMed Central, six months after the date of publication of the print issue in which the finished paper appears.

The LTP will be granted on an exclusive basis unless authors choose the option of paying a fee to publish their paper under the terms of BJC OPEN. Please note that BJC will not discuss BJC OPEN with authors until their paper has been formally accepted for publication, at which time they may contact the Editorial Office.

For further details authors should consult the current version of our Licence to Publish (LTP) which is available on this website. If requested, it will be sent to the corresponding author, who is asked to follow precisely the instructions given.

Authors who signed our previous copyright transfer should continue to observe its conditions.

It is our intention to open the archives of BJC for all papers that have been published for more than a year. This will begin some time during 2008 and will be announced on this website. The new licence (LTP) also sets out the terms under which papers will then be made available.


Authors of accepted peer-reviewed original articles may choose to pay a fee in order for their published article to be made freely accessible to all immediately upon publication.

BJC OPEN articles will be identified online and in print by the BJC OPEN logo:

The BJC OPEN charge you will be required to pay will depend on whether you are based at an institution with an active site licence to BJC:

BJC OPEN prices:

Authors at an institute with no site licence
Sterling (£) US dollars ($) Euros (€)
1,500 2,980 2,190
Authors at an institute with a site licence
Sterling (£) US dollars ($) Euros (€)
1,000 1,990 1,460

To check whether you are entitled to reduced-rate charges, please click on the Subscriber Test link.

For further information about BJC OPEN, please see the BJC OPEN FAQs.


Written permission to reproduce borrowed material (illustrations, tables and photographs) must be obtained. Authors must ensure that appropriate permission has been obtained for the publication of identifiable clinical photographs.

Borrowed and previously published material should be acknowledged in the captions in this style: 'Reproduced by kind permission of . . . (publishers) . . . from . . . (reference).' It is the responsibility of the author to obtain all such permissions from the original publishers and authors, and to submit them with the manuscript.

Availability of materials

It is understood that, by publishing a paper in BJC, authors agree that, wherever possible, they will make available to colleagues in academic research any of the cells, nucleic acids, antibodies, etc. used in the research reported and not available from commercial suppliers.


How to submit

Manuscripts should be submitted to:

BJC Main Editorial Office
UCL Cancer Institute
Paul O'Gorman Building
72 Huntley Street

A printed original and one good copy are required of both text and illustrations. Duplicates of photographs must be of the same standard as the originals.

It would be helpful if you could enclose a CD-ROM containing all files and the text of the covering letter. Please ensure that the disk and typescript match exactly. Indicate on the label attached to your disk, your name, typescript title and name of the word processing package used. Please ensure that all sections of the text your article are in a single file in the order set out below and that the references are in the correct style. Tables, with their captions, and figure legends should be supplied on disk in a separate file. Line illustrations should also be on the disk, but must be in a separate file and not embedded in the text. It is helpful if electronic versions of photographs are also included on the disk, in addition to the prints submitted with the manuscript.

BJC will make every effort to return photographic material after refereeing, but will not normally return manuscripts.

Manuscript format

Manuscripts, which must be written in English, should be typed using double spacing and printed out on one side only of good quality paper. To assist the reviewing of your manuscript, you should provide a wide margin (at least 3cm) all round the text. Manuscripts must be concise and should not normally exceed approximately 5 printed pages. This is equivalent to approximately 5000 - 5500 words. This total should be reduced when non-text material is included. As a rough guide, assume one figure, one table and 10 references are each equivalent to 200 words.

Overly long manuscripts may be rejected on that basis.

  • Full papers should be divided into sections: Abstract; Introduction; Materials and methods; Results; Discussion; Acknowledgements; and References.
  • Short communications of approximately 1500 words, should have the section headings above and a briefer abstract.
  • Minireviews should have 3000-3500 words, with appropriate reductions for one or two figures or tables, and should include a brief abstract, an introduction, a conclusion, and no more than 30 references.

Title page

Your title page, numbered as 1, should give the title in bold letters (not normally exceeding 100 letters), a running title (not to exceed 50 letters) and the authors' names (as they are to appear), affiliations and complete addresses, including postal (zip) codes. Indicate the corresponding author clearly. Both an e-mail address and a full postal address are required for the corresponding author.

Abstracts and keywords

A summary of the content of your manuscript, a maximum of 200 words (or 50 words for a short communication or minireview), should be provided on a separate sheet following the title page. A list of three to six keywords should follow the summary.

Units & abbreviations

Avoid abbreviations in the title and abstract. All unusual abbreviations should be fully explained at their first occurrence in the text. All measurements should be expressed in SI units. For more detailed recommendations, authors may consult Baron DN. (1988). Units, Symbols, and Abbreviations: a guide for biological and medical editors. 4th ed. London: Royal Soc Med.

Drug names

Generic drug names should be used.

Reference format

Only papers closely related to the author's work should be quoted, and these should wherever possible be original papers rather than reviews. Exhaustive lists should be avoided. Citation of conference proceedings or meeting abstracts should also be avoided unless there is no other reference. References in the text should be made by giving, in brackets, the author's surname, with the year of publication. When the reference is to a specific part of a book, the page number should also be cited. When reference is made to a work by three or more authors, the first name followed by et al, should be used for all citations in the text (Weiss et al, 2001). If several papers by the same first author and from the same year are cited, a, b, c, etc, should be added after the year of publication. Authors are asked to check the accuracy of all references before submitting a manuscript. References should be brought together at the end of the paper in alphabetical order, where titles of papers and all authors names should be given in full. Names of journals should be abbreviated as in Index Medicus, followed by the volume number and the initial and final page numbers, e.g.:

Nagai H, Pineau P, Tiollais P, Buendia MA, Dejean A (1997) Comprehensive allelotyping of hepatocellular carcinoma. Oncogene 14: 2927 - 2933

Wherever possible, include the digital object identifier (DOI), from the article's title page. Please note the following example:

Nanduri and Zimniak P (1999) Arch Biochem Biophys 362: 167 - 174, doi:10.1054/abbi.1998.1009

References to books and monographs should appear as in the following examples:

Means JH (1984) The Thyroid and its Diseases. Lippincott: Philadelphia

Stevenson AC (1966) Sex chromatin and sex ratio in man. In Sex Chromatin, Moore A. (ed) pp 405 - 425. W. B. Saunders: Philadelphia


All line drawings and photographic prints should be submitted on separate sheets and be of a reproducible quality (not photocopies). They must be clearly marked (by a label pasted on the back or in soft pencil) with the figure number (Arabic numeral). The top of the figure should be indicated with an arrow. Please make sure each figure is cited in order within the text, e.g. (Figure 2). Captions must be typed, double spaced on a separate sheet.

Photographs and photomicrographs

should be submitted unmounted. Glossy prints should not be retouched, and should be chosen to exclude technical artefacts. Magnification should be indicated by a line, representing a defined length, included within the photograph. Areas of key interest and/or critical reproduction should be indicated on a photocopy. All annotation and lettering should also be indicated on a photocopy and should not be added to the original print. Clearly contrasted and focused prints are essential for adequate reproduction. Two originals of all photographs must be submitted, or four where photocopies are likely to prove unsuitable for refereeing purposes.

Colour in print

Full colour illustrations may be included in the printed text, at the discretion of the editor. However, a charge may be made to the author to cover the extra costs incurred in originating and printing colour illustrations. It is helpful if authors who submit colour figures indicate in their covering letter whether they are willing, in principle, to meet these costs. Prior to publication, authors will be advised of the costs, which depend on the size and quantity of colour illustrations.

Colour online

We are usually able to substitute colour versions of illustrations in the online journal at no additional cost. Authors wishing to take advantage of this facility are asked to submit both a high contrast black and white print for the printed journal and a colour print and file for the electronically published version.


Tables should be as few as possible and should present only essential data. Each must be typed on a separate sheet with a title or caption and clearly numbered. Please make sure each table is cited within the text, e.g. (Table 3).

Supplementary online material

Authors wishing to include additional material supporting a paper for which there is no space in the printed journal, may wish to have this made available online with the paper on the BJC website. These supplementary materials must be submitted with the original manuscript and will be shown to referees.

This allows papers to have greater depth, online enhancements, such as video clips and additional data sets, making them more useful to fellow specialists in the field who require detail, without distracting more general readers.

Authors should ensure that supplementary information is supplied in its FINAL format because it is not subedited and will appear online exactly as submitted. It cannot be altered, nor can new supplementary information be added, after the paper has been accepted for publication.


What you can expect

Efficient, fast review and publication

Authors who choose to publish in BJC can be assured that its own editorial team and the staff at NPG are committed to maintaining the highest possible quality and standards at all stages of review and then in processing accepted papers for publication.

BJC is using a web-based manuscript handling system for handling submitted papers during the review stages and is committed to reducing the time it takes to reach a decision about a manuscript as far as is consistent with good decision making. All submissions (provided there are no overriding problems of format) are assessed by BJC's specialist editors. Those papers that are judged unlikely to meet BJC's acceptance criteria are returned promptly, so that their authors may submit them elsewhere.


Page proofs are usually sent electronically as email attachments to the corresponding author for checking. The proofs plus any minor corrections must be returned to the Production Editor by fax or post within 48 hours of receipt. Failure to do this will result in delays in publication.


Offprints may be ordered on a form that will accompany your page proofs.

Fast track publication

BJC has a fast-track system for publication of recent, important findings. After review, and at the discretion of the editor, this material will appear in the next available issue.

Online publication

Papers published in BJC are released online several days ahead of the mailing of the printed issue. The online version of the paper is identical to the printed version and is not a preliminary, unedited version, thus maintaining BJC's tradition of excellence and also the integrity of the published record.

Digital Object Identifier

Nature Publishing Group assigns a unique digital object identifier (DOI) to every article it publishes. The DOI initiative is an international effort for electronic content identification and is guided by the International DOI Foundation, composed primarily of academic publishers and societies. The DOI appears on the title page of the article. It is assigned after the article has been accepted for publication and persists throughout the lifetime of the article. It is important to include the article's DOI in the reference as volume and page information is not always available for articles published online. The DOI should be cited in a reference as follows:

Clayton, JD, Kyriacou, CP, Reppart SM (2000) Keeping time with the human genome. Nature 409: 829 - 831, doi:10.1038/35057062

Exposure - widest possible readership

NPG journals, including BJC, are available online via site licences to academic, corporate and government institutions and consortia. BJC is available to members of these institutions at the click of a mouse, adding speed and visibility to authors' research papers.

Regular free e-mail alerts

NPG now reaches half a million scientists and researchers globally, via e-alerts sent when new issues go live on journal websites. E-alerts are sent to all who have signed up to receive them for BJC, currently many tens of thousands, thus ensuring additional exposure for BJC authors.
Recipients click through to the full article if they subscribe or work at an institution with a site licence, or can click through to the article's abstract.

Cancer portal

Nature Cancer Update is a one-stop resource for cancer news, providing highlights of the latest research and policy developments from the Nature Publishing Group titles, including BJC, and cancer news from elsewhere.

Abstracting and indexing

BJC is included in the leading abstracting and indexing services including ISI, MEDLINE, EMBASE and BIOSIS. Extensive reference linking to MEDLINE, ISI, Chemport and others via services such as Crossref and DOI numbers provide seamless online linking between articles and databases.

Media coverage

BJC features several of the papers and reviews from each of its issues on its own website, thus increasing their exposure. Cancer Research UK occasionally issues press releases about BJC articles. Authors who wish to feature their work in local media are invited to contact the Main Editorial Office.

Extending science further - global collaborations

BJC has enthusiastically joined NPG in supporting projects aimed at making current research available to a broader community of scientists and practitioners.

The HINARI project

BJC (and all NPG journals) are in WHO's HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative) scheme which provides free access to public institutions in developing countries.

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