General Psychiatry is an open access journal that covers all topics of interest to psychiatrists and other mental health professionals internationally. The journal includes original research, systematic reviews, meta-analyses (that, unlike meta-analyses in other journals, pool results from studies published in Chinese and English), forums on topical issues (with commentaries from Chinese and international authors), case reports, research methods in psychiatry, and a unique section on ‘Biostatistics in Psychiatry’. Original articles on basic research, clinical research, community-based studies, and ecological studies are all considered for publication.

General Psychiatry considers manuscripts on the full range of topics relevant to mental health, including research in the basic neurosciences, clinical practice, epidemiology, and health services. We welcome original papers on new research and secondary analyses that report on new aspects of high-quality studies that have been published previously. We also consider systematic reviews, meta-analyses, papers on biostatistical and methodological issues relevant to psychiatry, commentaries, letters about previously published research, and forum pieces that discuss different viewpoints on controversial issues of interest to mental health professionals.

Editorial policy

General Psychiatry adheres to the highest standards concerning its editorial policies on publication ethics, scientific misconduct, consent and peer review criteria. 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, General Psychiatry 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 General Psychiatry 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, General Psychiatry 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 General Psychiatry Author Licence. More information on copyright and authors’ rights.

When publishing in General Psychiatry, authors choose between two licence types – CC-BY-NC and CC-BY. 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 is committed to ensuring that all 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. If authors agree to transfer their manuscript, all versions, supplementary files and peer reviewer comments are automatically transferred; there is no need to resubmit or reformat.

Authors who submit to the General Psychiatry and are rejected will be offered the option of transferring to another BMJ Journal, such as BMJ Open.

Please note that the article transfer service does not guarantee acceptance but you should receive a quicker initial decision on your manuscript.

Contact the Product Owner of BMJ’s Article Transfer Service for more information or assistance.

Article processing charges

General Psychiatry is an open access journal that does not levy an Article Processing Charge (APC). There are no submission, colour or page charges.

Provenance and peer review

General Psychiatry submissions are predominantly unsolicited, all articles submitted are subject to peer review. General Psychiatry operates double-blind peer review which requires authors to submit an anonymous version of their manuscript file (to be uploaded as the Manuscript File including abstract):

This file should be anonymous and should NOT include:

  • Any author names (including file path in document footer)
  • Author institution details
  • Author contact details
  • Acknowledgements
  • Competing interests (if declared)
  • Ethics approval statements that refer to your institution
  • Please ensure tracked changes are switched off if previously used; this file will be automatically converted to PDF once uploaded through the online submission system and will be made available to the reviewers

When a paper has been submitted from the Editor, Deputy or Associate Editors’ departments, they have no role in the reviewing or decision making process, usually two external reviewer reports are obtained before an Original research or Review article is accepted for publication. This also applies to any Associate Editors who are authors, in which instance the reviewing process is handled by the Editor-in-Chief. 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 are welcomed by General Psychiatry; these should be submitted electronically via the journals website. Please find further details on how to publish a response and the terms and requirements.


General Psychiatry 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

General Psychiatry 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.

Rapid responses

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

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.

All manuscripts published in the journal include a head and shoulders picture of the first author and a 100-200 word biography of the first author. This should be submitted with the manuscript.

All figures and images should have a resolution of at least 300 DPI. More instructions on formatting your figures can be found on the Author Hub.

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

Original research
Systematic review and Meta-analysis
Case report
Research methods in psychiatry
Biostatistical methods in psychiatry

Original research

Original research papers should follow the basic structure of abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, references, and tables and figures as appropriate. A flowchart for the enrolment and follow-up of subjects in the study is required for all original articles. The flowchart should show the sampling frame from which the subjects were selected, reasons for non-inclusions, and the numbers and reasons subjects drop out during the course of the study. Please include the flowchart as a figure in the submission.

Supplementary and raw data can be placed online separately from the text, and we may request that you separate out some material into supplementary data files to make the main manuscript clearer for readers

Word count: up to 5500 words
Abstract: up to 350 words
Tables/illustrations: up to 5
References: up to 30

Systematic review and Meta-analysis

These are comprehensive reports on the current state of knowledge about a topic of current theoretical, clinical, or public health significance. Transparency about the material included in systematic reviews is essential, so all reviews should include a flowchart of the search strategy to identify included papers and a separate section in the methods section entitled ‘Search strategy and selection criteria’ stating the sources of the material covered, the search strategy used to identify potential articles, and the criteria used to include or exclude studies. League tables of the characteristics of included studies, and a formal critical appraisal of the quality of each study is desirable.

Additionally, meta-analyses’ need to include a league table with a description of the characteristics of the included studies (sorted by year of publication), forest plots of the main results and (if there are 10 or more included studies) a funnel plot of the distribution of results to identify potential publication bias. These papers also need to include a formal critical appraisal of the quality of the evidence in the included studies; we recommend authors use the GRADE approach (Guyatt GH et al. GRADE: an emerging consensus on rating quality of evidence and strength of recommendations. BMJ 2008; 336(7650): 924-926). It is also important to include an assessment of the heterogeneity of the reported results and a sensitivity analysis to identify outlier results.

Authors interested in preparing systematic reviews may contact the Systematic Reviews Editor, Professor Chunbo Li before writing the review to ensure that the topic will be of interest to our readership.

Word count: up to 6500 words
Abstract: up to 250 words
Tables/illustrations: up to 5
References: from 50 to 100


Reviews are balanced accounts of all aspects of a particular subject including the pros and cons of any contentious or uncertain aspect. Although these are usually commissioned, authors are invited to discuss possible topics directly with the Editor-in-Chief.

Word count: up to 6500 words
Abstract: up to 300 words
Tables/illustrations: up to 6
References: from 50 to 100


These are detailed discussions about research articles published in the journal. They can consider the methodological issues raised by the original article, the implications of the report, or provide the details of other ongoing research projects related to the original report.

Word count: up to 2500 words
Tables/illustrations: up to 2
References: up to 15


These papers present a particular point of view on a controversial topic in mental health. They can involve scientific, clinical, or policy issues. Authors interested in preparing a manuscript for the Forum section should contact Professor Jinhong Chen before preparing the paper. If we think the topic of sufficient interest we will recruit other experts to write papers with alternative viewpoints about the topic.

Word count: 1500 to 4000 words
References: up to 30

Case Report

These are single cases or case series that highlight an interesting or important clinical or theoretical issue. We are particularly interested in case reports that highlight specific characteristics of patients in China or specific aspects of the Chinese mental health care system.

Word count: up to 2000 words
Tables/illustrations: up to 1
References: up to 10

Research methods in psychiatry

Our journal is committed to continually improving research methods in psychiatry, to promoting the use of evidence-based methods in the treatment of mental disorders, and to introducing novel methodological approaches to the psychiatric research community. To this end we encourage submissions that describe new research methods or novel approaches to resolving long-standing problems in current research methods. These papers can be focused on any aspect of mental health research including basic animal studies, clinical studies, large-scale epidemiological studies, and policy studies. Articles about the development and evaluation of questionnaires or other instruments and articles that present the methodological background for large multi-centered studies will also be included in this section.

Authors interested in contributing papers to the section should contact the Research Corner Editor, Manfei Xu.

Word count: up to 3000 words
References: up to 30

Biostatistical methods in Psychiatry

The ‘Biostatistics in Psychiatry’ section is coordinated by our three biostatistics editors: Hua He, Changyong Feng and Xin M TU . The section describes different statistical methods relevant to psychiatric research.

The articles should include practical examples of how to conduct the analytic methods being described, and be written for a general research audience (not solely for biostatisticians). Individuals interested in contributing to this section should contact one of the biostatistical editors.

Word count: up to 3000 words
References: up to 30


Letters will usually discuss some aspect of the research, commentaries, forums, or other content previously published in the journal, but they can also briefly present data from studies or raise other areas of interest to readers.

Word count: up to 2000 words
References: up to 30
Tables/illustrations: up to 1


The BMJ Publishing Group 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