The following information will help you to prepare your manuscript in the style of the BDJ. It's important to read these guidelines carefully before submitting your paper.

We publish research, clinical, education and opinion papers, all of which undergo rigorous peer review. Whilst writing your paper, bear in mind the following:

  • Check the word limit* — papers are often rejected on the basis of being too short, or too long
  • Ensure your writing is precise and accurate throughout
  • Ensure that the paper includes an abstract
  • Include three 'In brief' points which summarise the benefits of the findings of the paper
  • Consider whether supplementary material would be beneficial
  • Make sure your references are in the Vancouver reference style with superscript in-text citations
  • If you are not a native English speaker, would language editing be beneficial?
  • Critique your own work throughout; no one is a tougher reviewer!
  • Include a cover letter when submitting your article
  • Prepare and submit the article in a word document
  • Ensure conflicts of interest and author contributions statements are included in your manuscript.

*Ideally contributions should be no more than 3000 words, including tables and figures. Please note that tables and figures count as 100–500 words each, depending on size.


Follow these structural guidelines to organise your paper into the most appropriate format.


Abstracts should be able to stand alone. They should be up to 200 words in length and contain no references and few abbreviations.

Research papers should be submitted with an abstract up to 200 words in length, structured under the following headings, as appropriate: introduction, aims, design, setting, materials and methods, interventions, main outcome methods, results, discussion, conclusion(s).

Reports of reviews, including meta-analyses, should be submitted with an abstract up to 200 words in length, structured under the following headings: objectives, data sources, data selection, data extraction, data synthesis, conclusion(s).

Where possible, we advise that you try and use the same headings used in the abstract in the main body of text. Additional headings can of course be added.


This is a brief introductory statement, placing your work in perspective and explaining its intent and significance.

Materials and methods

This section should be sufficiently detailed, with references, so that all experimental procedures can be reproduced. Methods that have been published in great detail elsewhere don't need to be described to such an extent.

Papers involving clinical research should adhere to guidelines in the Declaration of Helsinki, with a statement in the text confirming that these protocols were followed and that patients gave their written, informed consent, as well as the trial registration number of the study. Trials also require ethical committee approval. For further review of the subject see Br Med J 1991; 302: 338-341.

For primary research manuscripts that document animal studies, we ask you to follow the ARRIVE reporting guidelines (PLoS BIO 2010; 8: e1000412).

We ask that reports of clinical trials conform to the CONSORT statement and reports of systematic reviews of clinical trials to conform to the PRISMA statement. The BDJ is a member of, and subscribes to the principles of, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).


This is where you can present your results without interpretation, in a logical and clear order. You can choose to present your results in table format, graphs, pie-charts, or any other way that best portrays the work.


This section should focus on the interpretation and significance of the findings of your work, with comments that describe their relation to other work in the area.


The final paragraph! This should highlight the main conclusions of your work and indicate the direction future work could take.

Declaration of interests

As mentioned above, we do ask that you declare any possible conflicts of interest in your paper. This can include any of the following:

  • Funding from an organisation or company directly for the research
  • Funding you have received for any work you have been involved in from an organisation or company that could be linked to the research
  • Consultation of advisory positions you may hold in an organisation or company involved in the research/similar research

Author contributions statements

Authors are required to include a statement of responsibility in the manuscript that specifies the contribution of every author. The level of detail varies; some disciplines produce manuscripts that comprise discrete efforts readily articulated in detail, whereas other fields operate as group efforts at all stages. Author contribution statements are included in the published paper.


When thanking people, we do ask that permission and approval of the wording is obtained. If a research project was supported by industry, we ask that this is acknowledged in the covering letter to the Editor at submission.


Articles that have already been published or are in press should be included in the reference list. Unpublished results or personal communication can be cited as such in the text, in parentheses.

Our reference style is the Vancouver style, and references should be numbered in the order in which they appear in the text. We ask that reference numbers are inserted as superscripts, after punctuation. For example, '...true.3,4,5 Jones et al.demonstrated...'. Note that ranges of references should be given by including each individual citation number NOT by using a hyphen (eg '...true.3,4,5,6 ' is correct but '...true.3-6 ' is incorrect). 

The full list of references should give the names and initials of all authors, unless there are more than six, in which case only the first three should be given, followed by et al.

For example:

Reference to an article
1. Field J V, Balfour-Paul A, Wright D W. Perimandibular space infections. Br Dent J 1981; 150: 255-258.

Reference to a book
4. Hargreaves I A, Craig J W. The management of traumatised anterior teeth of children. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1981.

Reference to a book chapter
7. Harding S R, Fryer J I. Recurrent oral ulceration in Greenland natives. In Casselli G (ed) Coeliac diseases. 3rd ed. pp 307-324. London: Stoma Press, 1982.

Reference to a report
2. Committee on Mercury Hazards in Dentistry. Code of practice for dental mercury hygiene. London: Department of Health and Social Security, 1979, publication no. DHSS 79-F3 72.

Reference to a webpage
3. General Dental Council. Scope of practice. 2009. Online information available at (accessed April 2012).

Figures and tables

Any figures or tables taken from someone else's work requires permission to be obtained. Should you have any queries regarding permissions, you can contact the editorial office and we will help as much as possible. Obtaining permission also applies to quotes, adapted material and any other content taken from previously published works or unpublished but owned by a third party. The original source should be cited in the figure or table caption.

It's helpful for us if all figures are submitted separately in TIFF, JPEG or EPD formats, in either greyscale or colour, and that tables are submitted as separate word documents.

When photos of patients are used in which the patient is recognisable, written consent of the patient for publication should be obtained by the author.

Colour figures are published free of charge.

Statistical guidelines

When reporting statistical information, we've put together some guidelines to help you communicate your information. These guidelines can be found here.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material can be a useful addition to a manuscript to convey material relevant to the conclusion that cannot be included in the main article due to space or format constraints. As such, the main article must be complete and self-explanatory without the supplementary material. All supplementary material is peer reviewed along with the main article.

We don't subedit supplementary material, so it will be displayed online exactly as submitted. Therefore, please make sure any supplementary material is submitted in its final form as a single combined PDF, not exceeding 25 MB.

Language editing

As an international journal, we receive submissions from all over the world. Papers can be rejected based on the quality of the written English, therefore if you aren't a native English speaker we strongly encourage you to take up some of the following options:

Ask a colleague who is a native English speaker to review your manuscript for clarity.

Use an English language editing service to help ensure your meaning is clear, such as Nature Research Editing Service. The use of a language editing service, including Nature Research Editing Service, is at the author's own expense and in no way implies that the article will be selected for peer review or accepted by the BDJ.

When you've prepared your manuscript and are happy with it, have a look at our submission section for further information on how to submit.