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BMJ Espouses New Publication Format

Posted Oct 09 2009 10:04pm

An email I received through my newsletter subscriptions revealed that the BMJ has espoused a new format to report the research papers they are going to publish. The newsletter says:

From January 2010 all BMJ original research articles will appear in the weekly print journal in a new abridged, single page evidence abstract called BMJ pico. All research articles will continue to be published first on, with no word limit and with open access to the full text.

As I see it, this is an excellent step, as it cuts out the frills and enables the readers (like me) with limited knowledge (and time, for the more erudite crowd) to skim over the article in a bit more details than that provided in the standard structured abstract. And apparently, I am not the only one who thinks in this way, and the BMJ, which conducted a pre-release poll, ended up with the following results:

a. more than two thirds of respondents thought general readers would be more likely to read BMJ research in the print journal if it is in the BMJ pico format (on a single page), rather than the usual abridged format that covers three to five pages.

b. 66% said that reading BMJ picos encouraged them to read the full versions on

c. the majority of respondents thought that the new pico format clearly conveys a study’s research question and primary outcomes.

And the best thing is that all research published online remains open access on the BMJ with no extra author charges and retention of copyright over materials published. And the newsletter also subtly reminds us of the fact that the BMJ has an increasing Impact Factor, tabulated by the ISI to be 12.827.

But, like the two-thirds, I agree that the pico format rockss!!!

(Unfortunately, neither me nor my medical college library has access to the printed version of the BMJ, so I would have to depend on seeing them in the PDF form on the website. A totally different experience than reading the real thing live!)

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