Guide to Authors
All of the information below, plus BJC editorial policies, is available in the Guide to Authors PDF
About the journal
Aims and Scope
The British Journal of Cancer is one of the most-cited general cancer journals, publishing significant advances in translational and clinical cancer research. It also publishes high-quality reviews and thought-provoking comment on all aspects of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
The British Journal of Cancer is owned by Cancer Research UK, the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
The journal is separated into six general categories:
Genetics and Genomics
Cellular and Molecular Biology
5.922 (2017 Journal Citation Reports® Science Edition (Clarivate Analytics, 2018))
Adrian L Harris
University of Oxford, UK
Article type specifications
| Article (please see preparation of articles below for further details)
Research describing novel findings that are of broad interest to cancer research and/or oncologists.
Systematic Reviews, Meta-analyses and Clinical Trials are classified as Articles. These are peer reviewed.
|Structured abstract; max 200 words||5,000 words (excluding abstract, references and figure legends)||
Max of 6
|Typically max 60|
| Brief Communication
Brief Communications are concise, novel reports representing a significant and timely contribution to cancer research. A Brief Communication is not intended to convey preliminary results. These articles are peer reviewed.
|Unstructured abstract; max 150 words||1,200 words (excluding abstract, references and figure legends)||Max of 1||Max of 10|
| Review Article
Reviews are focused articles on topics of interest to a broad audience. Submissions are typically invited by the Reviews Editor, but potential authors are encouraged to approach the journal with suggestions at email@example.com. These articles are peer reviewed.
|Unstructured abstract; max 200 words||5,000 words (excluding abstract, references and figure legends)||Max of 4||Typically max 100|
Perspective articles are focused articles on topics of interest to a broad audience, but are written from a personal viewpoint. They are intended to provide a forum to be more speculative than Reviews, but should remain balanced and are intended to cover timely and relevant topics in oncology. Submissions are typically invited by the Reviews Editor, but potential authors are encouraged to approach the journal with suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. These articles are peer reviewed.
|Unstructured abstract; max 200 words||1,500-3,000 words (excluding abstract, references and figure legends)||Max of 4||Typically max 60|
| Consensus Statements
BJC considers Guidelines and Consensus Statements on clinical or laboratory practice that are of international significance. Please contact the main editorial office with a presubmission query at email@example.com.
|Unstructured abstract; max 200 words||Typically 5,000 words (excluding references and figure legends)||Max of 4||Max of 100|
Editorials are invited by editors to accompany the publication of key articles. They may also highlight recent advances not published in BJC. For presubmission queries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. These articles are not usually peer reviewed.
|Unstructured abstract; max 50 words||1,000 words (excluding references and figure legends)||Max of 1||Max of 10|
Correspondence should relate to articles recently published in BJC (within the last 6 months). These articles are not usually peer reviewed.
|No abstract||750 words (excluding references and figure legends)||Max of 1||Max of 10|
Journal Cover Images
Interesting cancer-related images may be supplied for consideration for the journal’s front cover. These should be either sent to the Main Editorial Office at email@example.com or supplied as part of a manuscript submission as ‘Cover Art’.
Each image must be supplied with a title and ownership details (name and institution) and conform to the following formatting requirements:
- Colour mode = CMYK (not RGB)
- File format = .tif, .eps, or .jpg
Minimum resolution = 300 dpi at 21 cm wide by 12 cm high
Preparation of articles
Please note that articles must contain the following components. Please see below for further details.
- Cover letter
- Title page
- Materials and Methods
- Additional Information
- Figure legends
Cover Letter: The cover letter must state that the material is original research, has not been previously published (except as a preprint; see Editorial Policies for more details) and has not been submitted for publication elsewhere while under consideration. Please also include a Conflict of Interest statement, see Editorial Policies for more details.
Title Page: The title page must contain the title of the paper, the running title, the full names of all the authors and their affiliations, together with the name, full postal address, telephone and e-mail address of the corresponding author (this information is also asked for on the electronic submission form).
- The title should be brief, informative, and of 150 characters or less.
- The running title should consist of no more than 50 letters and spaces. It should be as brief as possible, convey the essential message of the paper and not contain any abbreviations.
- The corresponding author should be indicated.
- If authors regard it as essential to indicate that two or more co-authors are equal in status, they may be identified by an asterisk symbol with the caption ‘These authors contributed equally to this work’ immediately under the address list.
- Please note that if you wish to include additional authors/collaborators/ groups/consortiums in the list of authors that aren’t part of the core list of authors as ‘on behalf of’, ‘for the’ or ‘representing the’ you must ensure you list the authors correctly within the paper to ensure these are deposited correctly in PubMed:
- Groups where there is an ‘on behalf of’, or ‘representing the’, or ‘for the’, will appear in the HTML/PDF as follows: Author A, Author B, Author C and Author D on behalf of…
The list of individual members should then appear in the Acknowledgements section and not under Notes or Appendix.
- A Group name who is an author in its own right should have the list of authors as usual and then all the individual authors of the group listed in their own section at the end of the article, not in Acknowledgement/Appendix or Notes
- Groups where there is an ‘on behalf of’, or ‘representing the’, or ‘for the’, will appear in the HTML/PDF as follows: Author A, Author B, Author C and Author D on behalf of…
Abstract: Articles must be prepared with a structured abstract designed to summarise the essential features of the paper in a logical and concise sequence under the following mandatory headings: Background, Methods, Results, Conclusions, Clinical Trial Registration (if appropriate).
Background: The Background should assume that the reader is knowledgeable in the field and should therefore be as brief as possible but may include a short historical review where desirable.
Methods: This section should contain sufficient detail so that all procedures can be reproduced, and should include references. Methods that have been published in detail elsewhere should not be described in detail. Authors should provide the name of the manufacturer and their location for any specifically named medical equipment and instruments, and all drugs should be identified by their pharmaceutical names, and by their trade name if relevant. See Editorial Policies for more details.
Results: The Results section should present the experimental data in text, tables or figures. Tables and figures should not be described extensively in the text.
Discussion: The discussion should focus on the interpretation and the significance of the findings with concise objective comments that describe their relation to other work in the area. It should not repeat information in the results. The final paragraph should highlight the main conclusion(s), and provide some indication of the direction future research should take.
Additional Information: All manuscripts must contain an Additional information section and should include each of the headings from the list below:
- Ethics approval and consent to participate
- Consent for publication
- Data availability
- Conflict of interest
- Authors' contributions
Please see below for details on the information to be included in these sections.
Ethics approval and consent to participate: Manuscripts reporting studies involving human participants, human data or human tissue must::
- Include a statement on ethics approval and consent (even where the need for approval was waived).
- Include the name of the ethics committee that approved the study and the committee’s reference number if appropriate.
- Include a statement that the study was performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.
Studies involving animals must include a statement on ethics approval. See Editorial Policies for more information.
Consent for publication: If your manuscript contains any individual person’s data in any form (including individual details, images or videos), consent for publication must be obtained from that person, or in the case of children, their parent or legal guardian.
Data availability: All manuscripts must include an ‘Data availability’ statement. Data availability statements should provide information on where data supporting the results reported in the article can be found including, where applicable, hyperlinks to publicly archived datasets analysed or generated during the study. The British Journal of Cancer has a Type 3 Springer Nature data policy (for further details, see Editorial Policies).
Conflict of Interest: Authors must declare whether or not there are any competing interests, financial and non-financial, in relation to the work described. This information must be included at the submission stage and will be published as part of the paper. Please see the Conflict of Interest documentation in the Editorial Policy section for detailed information. If the authors do not have any conflict of interest, then please write “The authors declare no conflict of interest”.
Funding: The funding section is mandatory. Authors must declare sources of study funding including sponsorship (e.g. university, charity, commercial organization).
Authorship: The authorship section is mandatory. Authors must list the contributions of each author in general terms (for example, ‘JS designed experiments and helped write the manuscript’).
Acknowledgements: These should be brief, and should include sources of material (e.g. novel drugs) not available commercially.
References: References should follow the Vancouver format. References should be numbered sequentially first throughout the text, then in tables, followed by figure legends and, finally, boxes; that is, references that appear only in tables, figure legends or boxes should be last in the reference list. Only one publication is given for each number. When cited in the text, reference numbers are superscript, not in brackets, unless they are likely to be confused with a superscript number.
Only articles that have been published or accepted by a named publication, or that have been uploaded to a recognized preprint server (for example, arXiv, bioRxiv), should be in the reference list; papers in preparation and personal communications should be mentioned in the text with a list of authors (or initials if any of the authors are co-authors of the present contribution).
Published conference abstracts, numbered patents, preprints on recognized servers (preprints of accepted papers in the reference list should be submitted with the manuscript) and research datasets that have been assigned a digital object identifier may be included in reference lists.
All authors should be listed for papers with up to six authors; for papers with more than six authors, the first six only should be listed, followed by et al. Abbreviations for titles of medical periodicals should conform to those used in the latest edition of Index Medicus. The first and last page numbers for each reference should be provided. Abstracts and letters must be identified as such. Papers in press may be included in the list of references.
Cross AJ, Wooldrage K, Robbins, EC, Pack K, Brown JP, Hamilton W et al. Whole-colon investigation vs. flexible sigmoidoscopy for suspected colorectal cancer based on presenting symptoms and signs: a multicentre cohort study. Br J Cancer 2019, 120, 154–164
Journal article, e-pub ahead of print:
Metcalfe K, Lynch HT, Foulkes WD, Tung N, Olopade OI, Eisen A et al. Oestrogen receptor status and survival in women with BRCA2-associated breast cancer. Br J Cancer 2019; e-pub ahead of print 6 February 2019; doi.org/10.1038/s41416-019-0376-y
Journal article, in press:
Breast cancer mortality in synchronous bilateral breast cancer patients. Br J Cancer (in press).
Atkinson K, Champlin R, Ritz J, Fibbe W, Ljungman P, Brenner MK (eds). Clinical Bone Marrow and Blood Stem Cell Transplantation, 3rd edn. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, 2004.
Chapter in book:
Coccia PF. Hematopoietic cell transplantation for osteopetrosis. In: Blume KG, Forman SJ, Appelbaum FR (eds). Thomas' Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, 3rd edn. Blackwell Publishing Ltd: Malden, MA, USA, 2004, pp 1443–1454.
Syrjala KL, Abrams JR, Storer B, Heiman JR. Prospective risk factors for five-year sexuality late effects in men and women after haematopoietic cell transplantation. Bone Marrow Transplant 2006; 37(Suppl 1): S4 (abstract 107).
Zhu M, Li M, Liu J and Lu B. Comment on 'Addition of ultrasound to mammography in the case of dense breast tissue: systematic review and meta-analysis' [letter]. Br. J. Cancer (2018) 119, 1443
Barthel F, Wesseling P, Verhaak T. Reconstructing the Molecular Life History of Gliomas. Preprint at https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/09/29/192369 (2017).
References to websites should provide authors, if known, title of cited page, URL in full, date of access, and year of posting in parentheses.
Figure Legends: These should be brief, specific and appear on a separate manuscript page after the References section.
Tables: Tables should only be used to present essential data; they should not duplicate what is written in the text. It is imperative that any tables used are editable, ideally presented in Excel. Each must be uploaded as a separate workbook with a title or caption and be clearly labelled, sequentially. Please make sure each table is cited within the text and in the correct order, e.g. (Table 3).
Figures: Figures and images should be labelled sequentially and cited in the text. Figures should not be embedded within the text but rather uploaded as separate files. Detailed guidelines for submitting artwork can be found by downloading our Artwork Guidelines. The use of three-dimensional histograms is strongly discouraged unless the addition of the third dimension is necessary for conveying the results.
Please note: composite figures containing more than three individual figures will count as two figures. All parts of a figure should be grouped together.
Where possible, large figures and tables should be included as supplementary material.
Graphs, Histograms and Statistics:
- If error bars are shown, they must be described in the figure legend.
- Statistical analyses (including error bars and p values) should only be shown for independently repeated experiments, and must not be shown for replicates of a single experiment.
- The number of times an experiment was repeated (N) must be stated in the legend.
Standard abbreviations: Abbreviations should be defined avoided where possible in the Abstract, and should be defined at their first usage in the body of the manuscript. Terms used fewer than three times should not be abbreviated.
Reuse of Display Items: See the Editorial Policy section for information on using previously published tables or figures.
Supplementary Information: Supplementary information is material directly relevant to the conclusion of an article that cannot be included in the printed version owing to space or format constraints. The article must be complete and self-explanatory without the Supplementary Information, which is posted on the journal's website and linked to the article. Supplementary Information may consist of data files, graphics, movies or extensive tables. Please see our Artwork Guidelines for information on accepted file types.
Authors should submit supplementary information files in the final format as they are not edited, typeset or changed, and will appear online exactly as submitted. When submitting Supplementary Information, authors are required to:
- Include a text summary (no more than 50 words) to describe the contents of each file.
- Identify the types of files (file formats) submitted.
- Include the text “Supplementary information is available at the British Journal of Cancer’s website” at the end of the article and before the references.
Please note: We do not allow the resupplying of Supplementary Information files for style reasons after a paper has been exported in production, unless there is a serious error that affects the science and, if by not replacing, it would lead to a formal correction once the paper has been published. In these cases we would make an exception and replace the file, however there are very few instances where a Supplementary Information file would be corrected post publication.
Subject Ontology: Choosing the most relevant and specific subject terms from our subject ontology will ensure that your article will be more discoverable and will appear on appropriate subject specific pages on nature.com, in addition to the journal’s own pages. Your article should be indexed with at least one, and up to four unique subject terms that describe the key subjects and concepts in your manuscript. Click here for help with this.
- Text should be double spaced.
- All pages and lines are to be numbered.
- Use a coarse hatching pattern rather than shading for tints in graphs.
- Spaces, not commas should be used to separate thousands.
- At first mention of a manufacturer, the town (and state, if in the USA) and country should be provided.
- Units: Use metric units (SI units).
Language Editing: The British Journal of Cancer is read by scientists from diverse backgrounds and many are not native English speakers. In addition, the readership of British Journal of Cancer is multidisciplinary; therefore, authors must ensure their findings are clearly communicated. Language and concepts that are well known in one subfield may not be well known in another. Thus, technical jargon should be avoided as far as possible and clearly explained where its use is unavoidable. The background, rationale and main conclusions of the study should be clearly explained and understandable by all working in the field. Titles and abstracts in particular should be written in language that will be readily understood by all readers.
Authors who are not native speakers of English sometimes receive negative comments from referees or editors about the language and grammar usage in their manuscripts, which can contribute to a paper being rejected. To reduce the possibility of such problems, we strongly encourage such authors to take at least one of the following steps:
- Have your manuscript reviewed for clarity by a colleague whose native language is English.
- Visit the English language tutorial which covers the common mistakes when writing in English.
- Use a professional language editing service where editors will improve the English to ensure that your meaning is clear and identify problems that require your review.
Please note that the use of a language editing service is at the author's own expense and does not guarantee that the article will be selected for peer review or accepted.
How to submit
Online Submission: We only accept manuscript submission via our online manuscript submission system. Before submitting a manuscript, authors are encouraged to consult our Guide for Authors which contains our Editorial Policies and Submission Instructions for our online manuscript submission system. If you have not already done so, please register for an account with our online manuscript system. You will be able to monitor the status of your manuscript online throughout the editorial process.
Submission of Revisions: Authors submitting a revised manuscript after review are asked to include the following:
- A rebuttal letter, indicating point-by-point how you have addressed the comments raised by the reviewers. If you disagree with any of the points raised, please provide adequate justification in your letter.
- A marked-up version of the manuscript that highlights changes made in response to the reviewers' comments in order to aid the Editors and reviewers.
- A 'clean' (non-highlighted) version of the manuscript.
Once a manuscript is accepted, the corresponding author must complete and sign a Licence to Publish form on behalf of all authors and return it to the editorial office.
Springer Nature does not require authors of original research papers to assign copyright of their published contributions. Authors grant Springer Nature an exclusive licence to publish, in return for which they can re-use their papers in their future printed work. Springer Nature's author licence page provides details of the policy.
Manuscripts published under the standard method of publication will be behind a paywall. Readers will be able to access manuscripts through their institutional or personal subscriptions or on a pay-per-view basis. Please click here for a copy of the standard Licence to Publish form.
Government employees from the United States, Canada and the UK are required to sign and submit the relevant form below:
Open Access Publication (gold open access)
Upon acceptance, authors can indicate whether they wish to pay an optional article processing charge (APC) for their article to be made open access online immediately upon publication. Open access articles are published under the CC-BY Creative Commons licence, which allows authors to retain copyright of their work while making it open to readers.
To facilitate self-archiving we deposit open access articles in PubMed Central and Europe PubMed Central on publication if the article meets the PMC deposition guidelines; full details of our deposition policies are found under the “Self-archiving, manuscript deposition, and digital preservation” information here. Authors are also permitted to post the final, published PDF of their article on a website, institutional repository or other free public server, immediately on publication.
Visit our open research site for further information about licences, APCs, and our free Open Access funding support service:
- About Creative Commons licensing
- APC payment FAQs
- Help in identifying funding for APCs
- Self-archiving and deposition of papers published OA
If authors opt to publish via the open access route then the corresponding author must complete and sign the Article Processing Charge (APC) payment form and an open access License to Publish (LTP) form on behalf of all authors, and return these to the editorial office.
Please note with regards to payment that usual credit terms are 30 days from receipt of invoice. Failure to pay your invoice within the stated credit term may result in the Open Access status of the paper being rescinded, with the paper being placed behind the paywall. You may also be subject to such penalties as restrictions on your ability to publish with Springer Nature in the future, involvement of a third party debt collection agency and legal proceedings.
Compliance with open access mandates
The British Journal of Cancer’s open access policy allows authors to comply with all funders' open access policies worldwide. Authors may need to take specific actions to achieve compliance with funder and institutional open access mandates, including COAF. Learn more about open access compliance.
Waiver of institutional open access policies
Please note that Harvard University FAS, MIT, Princeton, UCSF, University of Hawaii at Manoa, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and the Georgia Institute of Technology have enacted Open Access policies that conflict with our own policy for articles published via the subscription route. If any corresponding or contributing authors are from these institutions, you will need to provide a waiver from the institution of every affected author, which can be obtained from the institution. This waiver should be submitted at the same time as the Licence to Publish form. This requirement does not apply to articles published via the open access route.
Self-archiving and manuscript deposition (green open access)
Authors of original research articles are encouraged to submit the author’s version of the accepted paper (the unedited manuscript) to a repository for public release six months after publication. Springer Nature also offers a free, opt-in Manuscript Deposition Service for original research articles in order to help authors fulfil funder and institutional mandates. Learn more about self-archiving and manuscript deposition
The Springer Nature e-proofing system enables authors to remotely edit /correct your article proofs.
The corresponding author will receive an e-mail containing a URL linking to the e-proofing site. Proof corrections must be returned within 48 hours of receipt. Failure to do so may result in delayed publication. Extensive corrections cannot be made at this stage. For more information and for instructions on how to use the e-proofing please see here.
Advance Online Publication
The final version of the manuscript is published online in advance of print. AOP represents the official version of the manuscript and will subsequently appear, unchanged, in print.
There is a charge if authors choose to publish their figures in colour in the print publication (which includes the online PDF). Please complete the Colour Artwork Form if your original manuscript has colour figures (even if you want them reproduced in black and white).
|Number of colour illustrations||
Rest of World
£680 maximum fee, no further charge for additional figures
Colour charges will not apply to authors who choose to pay an article processing charge to make their paper Open Access.
Open Access Publication
If the authors choose to publish their manuscript Open Access, the article processing charge is £2,500/ $3,300/ €2,700 (VAT or local taxes will be added where applicable) for papers published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.
Offprints may be ordered upon acceptance of your article, using the form provided by the production office. Charges are necessarily higher if orders for offprints are received after the issue has gone to press.
Full information regarding BJC editorial policies can be found in the Guide to Authors PDF