Call for Guest Editors

BMJ Open Science encourages proposals for themed collections of articles or special issues devoted to important and emerging topics in preclinical science related to medicine.

We are particularly interested in collections about:

For sponsored collections/supplements, or collections of abstracts, please see our guidelines for supplements. This is a more suitable option for a collection of papers from one research grant, conference or collaboration. 

What we look for in a collection

BMJ Open Science publishes a range of article types and a themed collection may include any or all of these (e.g. research, reviews, protocols, registered reports). 

Proposals should explain why the topic is of particular interest or importance to preclinical science and scientists. 

Collections should advance the field, ideally bringing together new and established authors to produce an agenda-setting collection. Collections proposing to summarise the ‘state-of-the-art’ must make a strong case for why such a summary is required. 

Collections might be based on or inspired by conferences or symposia. Proposals based solely on content presented at an event will be considered, but we encourage you to think beyond the event as well, to ensure as broad a scope as possible.

We will prioritise collections with an international author base. If the collection includes commissioned articles, editors should demonstrate that they have considered the diversity of potential contributors and looked beyond their immediate collaborators and the ‘usual suspects’. 

The decision on whether to commission a themed collection will be made by the Editor-in-Chief (EiC), possibly in consultation with associate editors from the relevant field. 

What we look for in a guest editor

We are interested to hear proposals from potential editors at any stage of their career, but you should be able to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the field in which you are proposing to publish. Experience as a peer reviewer and published author is required, but previous editorial experience is not. 

You should be able to commit the time required: likely to be equivalent to three-four days/month to begin with, potentially rising closer to publication, and depending on the size of the collection and the number of editors. We would expect proposals to come from a team of at least 2-3 guest editors. 

Vision, persistence and organisational skills are required; in return you will have the satisfaction of being associated with a stand-out collection of articles from one of the world’s leading biomedical publishers. Editing a collection is also a great way to further your knowledge of your field, establish international contacts, grow your profile, develop new skills and demonstrate intellectual leadership to the rest of your community.

Guest editors will typically act as associate editors for the collection. Training on our ScholarOne submission system can be provided. 


Articles must not have been published elsewhere previously. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision on what to publish is final. BMJ Open Science’s editorial policies must be agreed to, including those around open peer review and open data.

Guest editors may be authors of articles in the collection. No more than 20% of the articles may be authored by the guest editors (not including any introduction/editorial). These articles must still undergo peer review, which may be overseen by a BMJ Open Science editor not involved with the collection. 

A collection should consist of at least eight articles. Keep in mind when planning commissioning that as many as half of agreed commissions may not be delivered.

How to submit a proposal

Your time is valuable, so before working up a full proposal we suggest submitting an outline first. This should include

Please contact and mark all proposals for the attention of the Editor-in-Chief


We anticipate a themed collection taking around 9-12 months to publish, depending on how close to completion articles are when an agreement is reached. 


BMJ Open Science is an open access journal and charges an article-processing charge to authors whose work passes peer review and is accepted for publication. 

Commissioned articles will have their APCs waived. Therefore the number of commissioned articles and their topics must be agreed with the journal in advance. 

If the collection involves an open call for submissions, these articles will be expected to pay the regular APC, if accepted, regardless of article type, unless a promotional rate is agreed with the journal.

See also our policies on sponsored supplements for details of how we approach collections or supplements supported by a sponsoring organisation. 

What help is on offer?

Full training on using ScholarOne submission system will be provided. In addition, BMJ will work with you on marketing campaigns to support an open call for papers (if needed) and to promote the issue once published. The BMJ Open Science blog and social media accounts can also be used to promote the issue.