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Instructions for Authors

For guidelines on policy and submission across our journals, please click on the links below:
Manuscript preparation
Editorial policies
Patient consent forms
Licence forms
Peer review
Submission and production processes

Editorial policy

Articles illustrating basic mechanisms and their application to clinical material will be welcomed. We aim to cover all areas of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and through a system of commentaries and Recent Advances articles to make clear the relevance of scientific advances to clinical practice. The priorities are originality and excellence. We aim to ensure a fair and independent peer review system and to publish articles which follow the highest ethical standards concerning research conduct.

Submission to Gut implies that the work described has not been accepted for publication elsewhere, that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere and does not duplicate material already published.

Open Access

Authors can choose to have their article published Open Access for a fee of £1,950 (plus applicable VAT).

Colour Figure Charges

During submission you will be asked whether or not you agree to pay for the colour print publication of your colour images. This service is available to any author publishing within this journal for a fee of £250 per article. Authors can elect to publish online in colour and black and white in print, in which case the appropriate selection should be made upon submission.

Language Polishing Service

If you are not a native English speaker, we recommend that you have your manuscript edited by a native speaker prior to submission. Professional editing will improve the grammar, spelling and punctuation of your manuscript, providing clear language which will mean that reviewers and editors are better able to concentrate on the scientific content of the paper. Click here for more information.

Fast Track Review Scheme

The Gut Editorial Committee will consider very high quality papers under the Fast Track Review scheme. This scheme, which relies on a dedicated group of top class reviewers, will deliver a final decision on reviewed manuscripts within seven days. The scheme is free to authors. The journal donates money to charity for every completed FTR manuscript. If you think you have a hot paper, why not mention the FTR scheme in your cover letter to the Editor in Chief when you submit through our online Scholar One website.

Article Types and Word Counts

The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements and contributions and the references. For guidance on how to improve your graphs and tables please view these BMJ demonstration videos.

We invite authors to submit potential illustrations for the cover with their paper.

Information on our publication turnaround times and acceptance rates can be found here.

Original Papers

For papers reporting original data (eg, controlled trials and intervention studies):

  1. Word count: up to 4000 words
  2. Structured abstract: up to 250 words
  3. Tables/ Illustrations: up to 6. Images submitted should be those which uniquely display the data and not repetition of information available either in the text or as a table. Figures are not limited, but must be thoroughly justified. Please note that figure legends should be kept as brief as possible.
  4. References: limited to those critical and relevant to the manuscript (around 50)

Authors should also complete a summary 'box' indicating the significance of this study, the below headings must be used and must eb included in the manuscript file following the abstract:

  1. What is already known about this subject: 3-4 bullet points
  2. What are the new findings: 3-4 bullet points
  3. How might it impact on clinical practice in the foreseeable future?

Reports of randomised controlled trials should follow the revised CONSORT statement (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials.) published in JAMA (2001;285:1987-91), as closely as possible. See RCTs for more guidelines.

For primary research manuscripts reporting experiments on live vertebrates and/or higher invertebrates, we recommend following the ARRIVE reporting guidelines when documenting these animal studies. The guidelines were published in the online-only journal PLoS Biology in June 2010 and are now endorsed by over 40 high quality journals (the full list can be found here).

  1. Title Page
    When you choose a title bear in mind that others will have to find your work using bibliographic searches. Check that it represents the content of the paper and is not misleading. Also suggest a short running head.

    The title and authors' names should be typed on the title page and in the journal style. Inconsistency in the number of forenames or initials given for an individual author will mean that several versions of an author's name will appear in the index. Authors' degrees etc are not printed in Gut.
  2. Abstract
    Authors of original scientific papers must supply a structured abstract of no more than 250 words under the following headings:
    1. 1. Objective
    2. 2. Design
    3. 3. Results
    4. 4. Conclusion

Further style guidance.

Leading Articles

These are commissioned only articles. Original papers should not be submitted under this article type.


There are commissioned only articles. Original papers should not be submitted under this article.

  1. Word count: up to 1000
  2. Structured abstract: not required
  3. Tables/illustrations: up to 2
  4. References: up to 10

Case Reports

We rarely publish case reports unless they illustrate a significant advance in our understanding of disease aetiology or pathogenetic mechanisms.

  1. Word count: up to 2000 words
  2. Structured abstract: up to 200 words
  3. Tables/Illustrations: up to 1 table and 2 figures
  4. References: up to 15

Letters to the Editor

Letters should be related to a recent article published in Gut. Original data may be included if it is relevant and gives added weight to the comment on the previously published article. Letters can have up to 6 authors.

  1. Word count: up to 600 words
  2. Structured abstract: not required
  3. Tables/Illustrations: up to 2
  4. References: up to 10

GI Snapshot

This citable category 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, for example, "Recurrent vomiting in 90 year old female".

GI snapshots will appear in two parts:

  1. 1. The first part should contain a very brief clinical introduction to a case (maximum 200 words) followed by an image and a question designed to stimulate the reader to think about what the image shows. The legend should not indicate the diagnosis but should simply describe the nature of the image e.g. 'endoscopic view of second part of duodenum'.
  2. 2. The second part (maximum 200 words) will appear later in the issue 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. GI snapshots will not include more than 5 references.

The quality of the image must be at least 300dpi and in TIFF, JPEG, GIF or EPS format.

Videos are also welcome and should be in .mov, .avi, or .mpeg format. They should be offered as two different files, one for viewing at lower speed connections, and of low resolution; and one for higher speed connections, of high resolution. For a good example of this at work see - click on a [View video] link and you'll see one video for dial-up and one video for fast connections.

Recent Advances in Basic Science/Recent Advances in Clinical Practice

These are commissioned only articles. Original papers should not be submitted under this title.


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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The BMJ itself may have proposals for supplements where sponsorship may be necessary.
  4. 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.

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

For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplements guidelines (PDF).

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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