Medical Humanities is a leading international journal that offers a platform not only for presenting, but also for shaping the conversation around medicine as practice and philosophy as it engages with humanities and arts, social sciences, health policy, medical education, patient experience and the public at large. We seek scholarly and critical submissions on subjects of interest, including: epidemics and disease, history of medicine, cultures of medicine, disability studies, gender and the body, communities in crisis, bioethics, and public health as they inform and are informed by the humanities. All articles must engage with current scholarship and will be rigorously peer reviewed.

Editorial policy

Medical Humanities 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.

Transitioning to a greener future

From January 2023 Medical Humanities will publish solely online. This brings a number of significant environmental benefits, such as eliminating the use of energy, water and chemicals involved in the production and distribution processes of a print journal. This supports our goals of social and climate justice. Most of our readers already use our website, which offers a far richer experience with more content overall. Here you will find links to our podcast, which offers incredible interviews with medical humanities and disability scholars as well as those working at the forefront of social justice. You can also reach our blog, a vibrant, public-facing companion to the journal where you can find essays, commentaries, multimedia, and lay summaries of published articles.

Plan S compliance

Medical Humanities is a Plan S compliant Transformative Journal. Transformative Journals are one of the compliance routes offered by cOAlition S funders, such as Wellcome, WHO and UKRI. Find out more about Transformative Journals and Plan S compliance on our Author Hub.

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 Medical Humanities Author Licence for the applicable Creative Commons licences. More information on copyright and authors’ rights. When publishing in Medical Humanities, 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.

Peer Review

Medical Humanities operates double-anonymised peer review which requires authors to submit an anonymous version of their manuscript file (to be uploaded as the Manuscript File including abstract). This file should be anonymous and should NOT include:
  • Any author names (including file path in document footer)
  • Author institution details
  • Author contact details
  • Acknowledgements
  • Competing interests (if declared)
  • Ethics approval statements that refer to your institution
  • Please ensure tracked changes are switched off if previously used; this file will be automatically converted to PDF once uploaded through the online submission system and will be made available to the reviewers
Please upload a separate title page. The title page must contain the following information: article title; full name, department, institution, city and country of all co-authors; email address of corresponding author; word count, excluding title page, abstract, references, figures and tables.

Article transfer service

BMJ is 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; there is no need to resubmit or reformat. Authors who submit to the Medical Humanities and are rejected will be offered the option of transferring to another BMJ Journal, such as BMJ Open. 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

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.

Topic Collections

Medical Humanities will consider external proposals for themed or topic collections to be published in the journal. If you are interested in submitting an idea for a topic collection, please read the Topic Collection Guidelines first. For more information on topic collections, or to put forward a proposal, please contact Alice Shuttleworth who will be able to provide you with further details.

Blog and Podcast

Medical Humanities provides three platforms for reaching the public. In addition to the academic journal, the MH Blog provides a public-facing, free-to-access platform for engaging with current events. In addition to promoting articles and providing book and film reviews, the blog showcases unfolding issues in medical humanities, public health policy, and social justice. The blog is open to guest submissions on a range of topics and submissions categories within the field of medical humanities. For more details, visit the blog. The podcast, provides fascinating audiocasts on intersections of the medical humanities, accessibility, and justice. Each episode is coordinated with blog posts to provide links and transcripts.

Article processing charges

During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for 2,704 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. There are no submission or page charges.

Waivers and discounts

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.

Data Sharing

Medical Humanities 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.

Rapid responses

A rapid response is a moderated but not peer reviewed online response to a published article in Medical Humanities; it will not receive a DOI and will not be indexed. Find out more about responses and how to submit a response.

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. Please refer to the Peer Review section for specific submission requirements for Medical Humanities. 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. You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services. Medical Humanities currently uses the Chicago author-date referencing system. Please see the online style manual for details and this published article for examples.

Original research

Original research articles on all topics. We seek scholarly and critical work engaging with current literature in the field of medical humanities as an interdisciplinary field of study. Areas of interest include but are not limited to bioethics, history, sociology, anthropology, praxis and the arts as relates to health and humanities. Following the lead of The BMJ and its patient partnership strategy, Medical Humanities is encouraging active patient involvement in setting the research agenda. As such, we require authors of Research Articles to add a Patient and Public Involvement statement in the Methods section. Please see more details above.
Word count: 5,000-9,000 Unstructured abstract: up to 300 words Tables/Illustrations: up to 5 References: excluded in word count total- please use CMS format.


A commentary may respond to an issue as a whole, as is the case for thematic issue commentaries, or as a specific comment upon an article or series of articles, a debate topic, or a trend in the journal. For work that does not fit within our existing article types, but is of interest to Medical Humanities readership, please submit to the Medical Humanities Blog.
Word count: up to 1,500 References: included in word count total- please use CMS format.

Current controversy

Current controversies highlight an issue of current controversy relevant to the delivery of healthcare, the formulation of public health policy, the experience of being ill and of caring for those who are ill. We welcome different viewpoints on the same subject and encourage dialogue.
Word count: up to 3500 Abstract: up to 250 Tables/Illustrations: at editorial discretion References: included in word count total- please use CMS format.

Review essay

A review essay is a deep engagement with a chosen set of 3-4 texts that offer a thorough critique of a specific subject. The essay should discuss a general subject from a large-scale point of view, using the texts as a foundation supporting a thesis and a theoretical framework in the context of medical humanities. Ideas for review essays should be discussed with the Editor-in-Chief prior to submission to the online system.
Word count: up to 3,500 Abstract: up to 250 Illustrations: at editorial discretion References: included in word count total- please use CMS format.


BMJ 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.
  • BMJ 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