Thorax is one of the world’s leading respiratory medicine journals, publishing clinical and experimental research articles on respiratory medicine, paediatrics, immunology, pharmacology, pathology, and surgery. Thorax seeks to publish significant advances in scientific understanding, which are likely to impact on clinical practice. This includes articles concerning basic and translational mechanisms with application to clinical material (cell and molecular biology, genetics, epidemiology, and immunology).
Thorax offers a fast-track review service for selected high-quality papers; authors who wish to benefit from this service should discuss this before submission with the Editors (

Editorial policy

Thorax adheres to the highest standards concerning its editorial policies on publication ethics, scientific misconduct, consent and peer review criteria. To view all BMJ Journal policies please refer to the BMJ Author Hub policies page.
Thorax will not consider for publication any study partly or wholly funded by the tobacco industry, see here and below for an explanation.

Plan S compliance

Thorax is a Plan S compliant Transformative Journal. Transformative Journals are one of the compliance routes offered by cOAlition S funders, such as Wellcome, WHO and UKRI. Find out more about Transformative Journals and Plan S compliance on our Author Hub.

Copyright and authors’ rights

Articles are published under an exclusive licence or non-exclusive licence for UK Crown employees or where BMJ has agreed CC BY applies. For US Federal Government officers or employees acting as part of their official duties, the terms are as stated in accordance with our licence terms. Authors or their employers retain copyright. Open access articles can be reused under the terms of the relevant Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content; please refer to the Thorax Author Licence for the applicable Creative Commons licences. More information on .
When publishing in Thorax, authors choose between three licence types – exclusive licence granted to BMJ, CC-BY-NC and CC-BY (Creative Commons open access licences require payment of an article processing charge). As an author you may wish to post your article in an institutional or subject repository, or on a scientific social sharing network. You may also link your published article to your preprint (if applicable). What you can do with your article, without seeking permission, depends on the licence you have chosen and the version of your article. Please refer to the BMJ author self archiving and permissions policies page for more information.


Preprints foster openness, accessibility and collaboration by allowing authors to make their findings immediately available to the research community and receive feedback on an article before it is submitted to a journal for formal publication. BMJ fully supports and encourages the archiving of preprints in any recognised, not-for-profit server such as medRxiv. BMJ does not consider the posting of an article in a dedicated preprint repository to be prior publication.
Preprints are reports of work that have not been peer-reviewed; Preprints should therefore not be used to guide clinical practice, health-related behaviour or health policy. For more information, please refer to our Preprint policy page.

Article transfer service

BMJ and the British Thoracic Society are committed to ensuring that good quality research is published. Our article transfer service helps authors find the best journal for their research while providing an easy and smooth publication process. As part of this service, once authors agree to transfer their manuscript all versions, supplementary files and peer reviewer comments are automatically transferred, without the need to resubmit or reformat. Authors who submit to Thorax and whose work is rejected on the grounds of priority will be offered the option of transferring to BMJ Open Respiratory Research.
BMJ Open Respiratory Research is the open access companion journal to Thorax. It is indexed by Web of Science Core Collection: Emerging Sources Citation Index, MEDLINE, PubMed Central, Scopus, Embase (Excerpta Medica), DOAJ, Google Scholar, and covers all areas of respiratory medicine, critical care and sleep medicine. The journal publishes original articles considered by peer reviewers to be coherent and technically sound, ensuring that the latest research is disseminated rapidly to a global audience. Find out more about BMJ Open Respiratory Research. Please note that the article transfer service does not guarantee acceptance but you should receive a quicker initial decision on your manuscript. Contact the Transfer Editor at

Peer review

Articles submitted to Thorax are subject to peer review. The journal operates single anonymised peer review whereby the names of the reviewers are hidden from the author. When a paper has been submitted from the Editor or Associate Editors’ departments, they have no role in the reviewing or decision making process.  For more information on what to expect during the peer review process please refer to BMJ Author Hub – the peer review process. BMJ requests that all reviewers adhere to a set of basic principles and standards during the peer-review process in research publication; these are based on the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. Please refer to our peer review terms and conditions policy page. Reviewers are now able to share their activity by connecting their review to their ORCID account. As Thorax is a anonymised peer-reviewed Journal, only the Journal title will be uploaded into the reviewer’s ORCID record and the date the record was uploaded; there is no identification of the article’s title or authors. Records are uploaded once a final decision or revision has been made on the article. Please find more information about ORCID and BMJ’s policy on our Author Hub.
BMJ is committed to transparency. Every article we publish includes a description of its provenance (commissioned or not commissioned) and whether it was internally or externally peer reviewed. Plagiarism is the appropriation of the language, ideas or thoughts of another without crediting their true source and representation of them as one’s own original work. 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. BMJ runs manuscripts through iThenticate during the peer review process. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting

Tobacco industry funded work

Thorax will not consider for publication papers reporting work funded, in whole or in part, by a tobacco company or tobacco industry organisation. Nor will the journal consider papers by authors who accept tobacco industry funding, including funding for research costs, for all or part of any author’s salary, or other forms of personal remuneration.
For further information, please read this editorial giving the reasoning behind the journal’s policy. Failure to declare competing interests at submission, or when an article is commissioned, can result in immediate rejection of the paper. If a competing interest comes to light after publication, Thorax will issue a formal correction to or retraction of the whole paper, as appropriate.

Article processing charges

At submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access under a Creative Commons licence for 3,245 GBP (excluding VAT). Publishing open access has multiple benefits including wider reach, faster impact and increased citation and usage. Authors can choose to publish their article in colour for the print edition for 436 GBP. All colour figures are published in colour online free of charge; authors who choose not to pay for print colour should ensure that their figures (graphs, charts, etc) can be understood in greyscale/black & white. There are no submission or page charges.

Waivers and discounts

If authors choose to publish their article open access, an APC waiver may be available. Before applying for an APC waiver please consider: (1) Does your institution have an open access agreement with BMJ? If it does, then this may cover all or part of the APC for your article. Check BMJ’s open access agreements page to find out whether your institution is a member and what discounts you may be entitled to. (2) Have you received funding from a funder with an open access mandate or policy that covers paying APCs? If so, BMJ expects that the APC will be paid in full. If neither (1) nor (2) above apply then consider:
(3) Are all the authors of your article based in low-income countries*? If so, you are eligible to apply for a full or partial waiver from BMJ. Visit our author hub to learn more about our waivers policy and how to request one. Please note that regardless of the funding situation, authors can still choose to publish with us at no cost, and articles will be made available to our subscribers. *This list is reviewed annually and is based upon HINARI Core Offer Groups A and B, and the World Bank Country and Lending Groups.

Data sharing

Thorax adheres to BMJ's Tier 2 data policy. We strongly encourage that data generated by your research that supports your article be made available as soon as possible, wherever legally and ethically possible. We also require data from clinical trials to be made available upon reasonable request.
To adhere to ICMJE guidelines, we require that a data sharing plan must be included with trial registration for clinical trials that begin enrolling participants on or after 1st January 2019. Changes to the plan must be noted in the Data Availability Statement and updated in the registry record. All research articles must contain a Data Availability Statement. For more information and FAQs, please see BMJ's full Data Sharing Policy page.


BMJ has long supported the use of ORCID by integrating ORCID into our submission systems. Thorax mandates ORCID iDs for all submitting authors; this is published on the final article to promote discoverability and credit. Co-authors and reviewers are strongly encouraged to also connect their ScholarOne accounts to ORCID. We are also working with ORCID to recognise the importance of the reviewer community. Reviewers are able to share their activity by connecting their review to their ORCID account to gain recognition for their contributions.
As Thorax is a anonymised peer-reviewed Journal, only the Journal title will be uploaded into the reviewer’s ORCID record and the date the record was uploaded; there is no identification of the article’s title or authors. Records are uploaded once a final decision or revision has been made on the article. Please find more information about BMJ's ORCID policy on our Author Hub.

Rapid responses

A rapid response is a moderated but not peer reviewed online response to a published article in Thorax; it will not receive a DOI and will not be indexed. Find out more about responses and how to submit a response.

Cover letter

In the covering letter, authors should highlight whether the work has been presented at a conference and include the abstract reference if applicable. This will not affect the peer review process in any way but is helpful for the editorial team.
In addition a brief statement detailing the results and placing the data in clinical context is required.

Submission guidelines

Please review the below article type specifications including the required article lengths, illustrations, table limits and reference counts. The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements, contributions and references. Manuscripts should be as succinct as possible. For further support when making your submission please refer to the resources available on the BMJ Author Hub. Here you will find information on writing and formatting your research through to the peer review process and promoting your paper. You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services.

Statistics guidelines

All manuscripts elected for full peer review will be assessed by a statistical editor and their comments must be addressed in full. Please pay close attention to the following when including your statistical analyses:
  • p values should be described in full if they are p>0.0001
  • Any experimental replicate with an n < 6 should undergo non-parametric statistical evaluation
  • Technical replicates should not undergo statistical evaluation
  • All studies evaluating multiple endpoints from a single experiment must be controlled for multiplicity.

Reporting guidelines

The guidelines listed below should be followed where appropriate. Please use these guidelines to structure your article. Completed applicable checklists, structured abstracts and flow diagrams should be uploaded with your submission; these will be published alongside the final version of your paper.
For reporting of randomised controlled trials: please use the appropriate extension to the CONSORT statement, including the extension for writing abstracts
For reporting qualitative research
For reporting qualitative research
For reporting of diagnostic accuracy studies
For reporting of systematic reviews
For reporting of systematic review and meta-analysis protocols
For reporting of scoping reviews
For reporting of meta-analyses of observational studies
For reporting protocols for RCTs
For reporting of gene-disease association studies
For reporting of studies developing, validating, or updating a prediction model, whether for diagnostic or prognostic purposes.
For reporting of health economic evaluations The Equator Network (Enhancing the Quality and Transparency Of health Research) provides a comprehensive list of reporting guidelines.

Original research

Original research articles report original data. Word count: up to 3,500: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion Title: maximum of 20 words Structured abstract: up to 250 Figures: are not limited, but must be justified References: up to 40 Please include the key messages of your article after your abstract using the following headings. This section should be succinct, specific, and accurate, consisting of no more than 3-5 sentences and should be distinct from the abstract.
  • What is already known on this topic - summarise the state of scientific knowledge on this subject before you did your study and why this study needed to be done
  • What this study adds - summarise what we now know as a result of this study that we did not know before
  • How this study might affect research, practice or policy - summarise the implications of this study
This will be published as a summary box after the abstract in the final published article.
  Thorax accepts various original research articles including:
  • Fundamental science - Statistical analyses must be carried out on all available data and not just on data from a representative experiment. Please see our statistics guidelines for more information. Statistics and error bars should only be shown for independent experiments and not for replicates within a single experiment. A more detailed discussion of error bars in experimental biology is described by Cumming et al., J. Cell Biol. 177:7–11. All animal studies must conform to the ARRIVE guidelines. Ensure that you include a scale bar in all photomicrographs.
  • Observational clinical studies -Retrospective observational studies which derive a scoring system (e.g. prognostic or diagnostic score) or evaluate a biomarker should have both a training and a validation cohort. Where these studies do not have a validation cohort they will be considered for publication as a short report only. For observational research, priority will be given to large prospective studies. Authors are instructed to follow ‘Control of Confounding and Reporting of Results in Causal Inference Studies. Guidance for Authors from Editors of Respiratory, Sleep, and Critical Care Journals’. Epidemiological studies must follow STROBE guidelines (or STREGA guidelines for genetic association studies).
  • Randomised controlled trials - The clinical trial protocol must have been publicly available before the trial commenced (eg on or ISRCTN). The trial must have appropriate ethical approval and must be reported according to the CONSORT guidelines.
  • Systematic Reviews - Systematic reviews must be reported according to the PRISMA guidelines and the protocol for the review must have been publicly available before the review commenced (eg on the Cochrane Library or on PROSPERO). Systematic reviews of epidemiological studies should be reported in accordance with the MOOSE guidelines (Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology). There should be no financial support for the review from manufacturers of the drugs considered in the review, or their competitors.
  • 'Omic studies - In ‘omic studies, assessing large transcriptomic, proteomic or metabolomics datasets where multiple statistical comparisons have been made, correction for multiple hypothesis testing is an absolute requirement. For transcriptomic studies we would expect a threshold of twofold change in variables of interest in most circumstances. For mechanistic studies we require detailed validation experiments in cells or organisms that support the conclusions drawn from the ‘omic studies.

Short reports

Short reports (previously known as Brief communications) are suited for single observation mechanistic studies, observation studies that do not delineate a mechanism and observational clinical studies, such as biomarker studies, which do not have a validation cohort (see observational clinical studies above). Word count: up to 1,000 Title: maximum of 20 words Unstructured abstract: 100 words Tables/illustrations: 3 References: up to 10


Editorials are commissioned by the Editors. They should discuss important issues in papers published in Thorax and identify areas where more information is needed. Authors should ensure they cite in the references the Thorax paper(s) which the editorial is designed to highlight using the below format: “Author AN. An excellent paper requiring an editorial. Thorax 2019 (epub ahead of print)”.
Word count: up to 1000 Structured abstract: not required Tables/illustrations: up to 2 References: up to 20

State of the art review

State of the art reviews encompass important and topical subjects with a particular focus on recent advances and can detail the full translational nature of a disease. State of the art reviews are usually commissioned (invited by the editors) but the journal will consider unsolicited submissions. All reviews (whether invited or unsolicited) are subject to peer review and acceptance is not guaranteed. Word count: up to 4,000 Structured abstract: up to 500 Tables/illustrations: no specific limit References: up to 100

Controversies and challenges in respiratory medicine

‘Controversies and challenges in respiratory medicine’ articles focus on areas where the data to support a current clinical practice are limited and areas where there is contrasting evidence of the best clinical practice. These articles are intended to stimulate debate. They are usually commissioned (invited by the editors) but the journal will consider unsolicited submissions. Please note that all ‘controversies and challenges’ articles (whether invited or unsolicited) are subject to peer review and acceptance is not guaranteed.
Word count: up to 2500 words Structured abstract: not required Tables/Illustrations: up to 2 References: up to 5 (e.g. policy, guidelines, high impact randomised controlled trials)

Guidelines in context

‘Guidelines in context’ should either highlight a new guideline or compare existing clinical practice guidelines where there is more than one guideline for a single condition. Authors should highlight common themes between guidelines and discussing why guideline recommendations might be divergent (e.g. differing healthcare systems of absence of high-quality evidence). Authors should include a ‘Key Messages’ section, as described under original research. These articles are usually commissioned but the Editors are open to suggestions around potential titles.
Word count: up to 2,000 Title: maximum of 20 words Abstract: None Tables/illustrations: 1 figure and 1 table References: up to 40

Pulmonary puzzle

Pulmonary puzzles report unusual and classical cases 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. Pulmonary puzzles have two parts:
Introduction A brief clinical introduction to a case (maximum 250 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. Answer Appears later in the issue (maximum 250 words) and outlines a brief description of the key diagnostic features of the image, the outcome, and a teaching point. Pulmonary puzzles 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.

Images in Thorax

Images in Thorax may be radiological, pathological or both. Ensure that you include a scale bar in all images. Patient consent must be obtained.
Word count: up to 500 Tables/illustrations: up to 2 Author Limit: up to 5 References: up to 3

Journal club

For information on being an author for Journal Club please contact Dr Patrick Murphy at

BTS Clinical statements

BTS Clinical statements are commissioned articles providing a snapshot of knowledge and best practice in a topical clinical area. These will be exclusively published on-line.
Word count: no fixed word count: a guide, depending on the topic, will be given to the statement group at the time of commissioning References: no fixed number of references

BTS Guidelines

These are commissioned by the BTS and produced by a guideline development group according to GRADE guidelines. BTS guidelines will be exclusively published on-line.
Word count: not fixed References: number not fixed

Guideline summary

Guideline summaries are commissioned articles from the authors of BTS guidelines published in the journal. They should be up to 1000 words and will consist of a summary of the full guidelines published in Thorax.


Thorax no longer reviews or publishes protocols. We encourage authors of protocols to submit to BMJ Open Respiratory Research, the online companion journal to Thorax, which publishes high quality respiratory and critical care research and offers rapid editorial and production time. BMJ Open Respiratory Research is an open access journal and the costs of publication are met by Article Processing Charge (APC). The APC for a protocol is GBP 1,082 (+ VAT where applicable).


BMJ is willing to consider publishing supplements to regular journal issues. Supplement proposals may be made at the request of:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • BMJ itself may have proposals for supplements where sponsorship may be necessary.
  • 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.
For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplements guidelines. 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