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ESMO Open is an online-only, peer-reviewed, open access oncology journal published by BMJ on behalf of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). The journal aims to operate a fast submission process with continuous publication online, to ensure that timely, up-to-date research is available worldwide. The journal adheres to a rigorous and transparent peer review process.

Editorial policy

ESMO Open adheres to the highest standards concerning its editorial policies on publication ethics and scientific misconduct. The journal follows guidance produced by bodies that include the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), the Council of Science Editors and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).To view all BMJ Journal policies please refer to the BMJ Author Hub policies page, including information about our Editors’ roles and responsibilities.

Authors are required to submit a statement that their study obtained ethics approval (or a statement that it was not required and why) and that participants gave informed consent. Our Editors will consider whether the work is morally acceptable as determined by the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki. In addition to this, in line with General Medical Council guidelines, an article that contains personal medical information about an identifiable living individual requires patients explicit consent (in the format of a signed BMJ patient consent form) before we will publish it. Please find further details on BMJ research ethics policies (human participants and animals) and consent for publication; including a link to the downloadable consent form.

To make the best decision on how to deal with a manuscript ESMO Open needs to know about any competing interests authors may have; this includes any commercial, financial or non financial associations that may be relevant to the submitted article. Authors must download and complete a copy of the ICMJE Conflict of Interest disclosure form. In addition to this ESMO Open ensures that all advertising and sponsorship associated with the journal does not influence editorial decisions, is immediately distinguishable from editorial content and meets all other BMJ guidelines. Please find more information about competing interests and a link to the form.

We take seriously all possible misconduct. If an Editor, author or reader has concerns that a submitted article describes something that might be considered to constitute misconduct in research, publication or professional behaviour they should forward their concerns to the journal. The publisher will deal with allegations appropriately following ICMJE and COPE guidelines. Corrections and retractions are considered where an article has already been published; corrections, expressions of concern or a retraction notices will be published as soon as possible in line with the BMJ correction and retraction policy.

Copyright and authors’ rights

As an open access journal, ESMO Open adheres to the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition of open access. Articles are published under a Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content and authors retain copyright; please refer to the the ESMO Open Copyright Author Licence Statement.

When publishing in ESMO Open, authors choose between two licence types – 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.

Provenance and peer review

ESMO Open accepts unsolicited submissions but also commissions Review articles and Editorials. Articles submitted to ESMO Open are subject to peer review. The journal operates single blind peer review whereby the names of the reviewers are hidden from the author; usually two external reviewer reports are obtained before an Original research or Review article is accepted for publication. Articles authored by a member of a journal’s editorial team are independently peer reviewed; an editor will have no input or influence on the peer review process or publication decision for their own article. 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.

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

Reader responses, questions and comments to published content is welcomed by ESMO Open; these should be submitted electronically via the journals website. Please find further details on how to publish a response and the terms and requirements.

Article processing charges

ESMO Open is an open access journal and levies an article processing charge (APC) of 2,550 EUR (+ VAT).  There are no submission, colour or page charges.

Please see our Author Hub for detailed information on discounts and waivers. Applications for waivers or discounts should be made during initial submission and not after an article has been accepted. Editors are not involved in this process and the ability to pay has no bearing on editorial decisions. Payment will not be required unless your article is accepted. Accepted articles will not be published until payment has been received. BMJ does not refund APCs once paid.

There is a 25% discount available for articles where the corresponding author has completed a review for ESMO Open within the previous 12 months. This cannot be combined with any other discount.

For more information on open access, funder compliance, discounts and waivers please refer to the BMJ Author Hub open access page.

Affiliated Societies Discount

Members of the European Society for Medical Oncology will receive an introductory discounted APC as part of their benefit package. The ESMO rate is 1,100 EUR. ESMO members will need to provide their membership number when submitting their article, and only members in good standing will qualify for the discount. For more information on ESMO Membership please visit the society’s website.

Members of the societies listed below are entitled to a discounted APC of 2,000 EUR. Members will be asked to confirm their membership status when submitting their article online; this will be verified with the society’s Membership Office:

  • Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM)
  • Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology (CSCO)
  • Korean Society of Medical Oncology (KSMO)
  • Japanese Society of Medical Oncology (JSMO)
  • Russian Society of Clinical Oncology (RUSSCO)

Manuscript transfers

You can opt to have your article transferred to ESMO Open if rejected from Annals of Oncology or another BMJ journal. Once authors agree for their manuscript to be transferred to ESMO Open, there will be no need for resubmission and any reviewer comments will also be shared, resulting in a reduced time to decision.

Manuscripts will be evaluated separately by ESMO Open’s editorial team, with different criteria for acceptance. Transfer to ESMO Open does not guarantee acceptance. Please note that ESMO Open charges an article processing charge (APC), see below for more information.


ESMO Open mandates ORCID iDs for the submitting author at the time of article submission; co-authors and reviewers are strongly encouraged to also connect their ScholarOne accounts to ORCID. We strongly believe that the increased use and integration of ORCID iDs will be beneficial for the whole research community.

Please find more information about ORCID and BMJ’s policy on our Author Hub.

Data Sharing

ESMO Open adheres to BMJ’s Tier 3 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. All research articles must contain a Data Availability Statement. For more information and FAQs, please see BMJ’s full Data Sharing Policy page.

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. We encourage authors to ensure that research articles are written in accordance with the relevant research reporting guideline.

You may also wish to use the language editing and translation services provided by BMJ Author Services.

Original research

Full papers should follow the basic structure of abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, references, and tables and figures as appropriate. There is an online data repository for extra information, tables, figures and appendices. However, we would encourage as much methodology and data to be contained in the manuscript as possible.

Authors should also complete a summary explaining the significance of their study by providing a short statement answering each of the following key questions:

  • What is already known about this subject?
  • What does this study add?
  • How might this impact on clinical practice?

The above headings must be used. Please add this in the manuscript file following the abstract.

Word count – up to 4000
Structured abstract – up to 300 words
Key questions – (see above)
Tables/illustrations – up to 5
References – up to 100


Reviews are usually commissioned. Reviews focus on important and topical subjects with a particular focus on recent advances. The Editor may occasionally accept uncommissioned reviews; if you are considering submitting a review, please email a brief outline (up to 500 words) to the Editor indicating the importance and novelty prior to submission. All reviews will be peer reviewed and an invitation to submit will not guarantee acceptance.


Editorials are usually commissioned. Editorials critically discuss original research papers highlighting important issues and identifying areas where more information is needed. The Editor may occasionally accept uncommissioned Editorials; please discuss this with the Editor prior to submission. All editorials will be peer reviewed and an invitation to submit will not guarantee acceptance.


Letters addressed to the Editor in response to articles published in ESMO Open are welcome.

In addition, authors may submit letters discussing case studies on specific topics (for example, precision medicine); these letters will be subject to peer review.

Word count – up to 500
Tables/illustrations – 1
References – up to 5


News items should be articles of up to 500 words highlighting news and events of relevance to the journal’s readership; for example, reports of clinical trials in progress or being planned. The journal will also consider reviews of books, films, plays, etc with an oncology connection. Highlights of relevant meetings/conferences will also be considered; generally, these will be done as a podcast, accessible from the journal website, but a brief summary provided by the authors can be published in the journal itself.

All news items will be subject to editorial review.

Word count – up to 500
Tables/illustrations – 1
References – none


BMJ journals are willing to consider publishing supplements to regular 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.
  • The BMJPG 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