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BMJ Group advertising and sponsorship policy

The BMJ Group believes that the sale of display advertising space is a legitimate source of revenue to support the publication of the BMJ, the specialist BMJ Journals, and other publications, both in print and online.

BMJ Group also believes that in well defined circumstances, commercial sponsorship may support themed issues or supplements, subscriptions, seminars and conferences, as well as our international editions programme.

BMJ Group’s policy on advertising and other commercial opportunities is detailed in this document and is based on the following principles and assumptions.

  1. BMJ Group sets high ethical standards in all its activities and above all defends the right to editorial independence. It does not allow advertising or sponsorship to influence in any way the decisions made on editorial content.
  2. Readers must immediately be able to tell what is advertising and what is editorial material.
  3. Readers understand that advertising is different from editorial material. They know that the claims made in advertising are not endorsed by BMJ Group.
  4. Advertising is the United Kingdom is now tightly regulated by British and European legislation and by the Advertising Standards Authority, the Prescriptions Medicines Code of Practice Authority, the Proprietary Authority of Great Britain, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), and the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).
  5. Because advertising is tightly regulated and because readers know it is different from editorial material, BMJ Group has a liberal policy on advertising. The group’s publications will carry virtually all advertisements that are “legal and decent.”
  6. Decisions on the positioning of advertisements are made independently of decisions made in the editorial departments on the content of a specific issue. The unlikely event of an advertisement for a product appearing next to an article about the same product will be entirely coincidental and should not be construed as anything else.
  7. As a medical publisher, BMJ Group occasionally needs to make special rules regarding the advertising of products considered harmful or potentially harmful to health. The rules relating to these products are detailed in this document.
  8. Advertisements are open to criticism just like any other material published in BMJ Group’s publications. Just as the group publishes corrections to editorial material it does the same for advertisements.
  9. Editorial material will not be influenced by advertising. BMJ Group does not publish material to accompany advertising and does not sell advertising in relation to particular articles. The group’s advertising sales teams have no knowledge of particular articles that will appear in any BMJ Group publication. However, like the readers of the group’s publications, the advertising sales teams will sometimes know that the BMJ or other BMJ Group publications will be producing a theme issue on a particular subject or starting as a series of educational articles. The teams can then sell advertising on the general theme but cannot sell against a particular article.
  10. All decisions are at the discretion of the editor. If commercial clients adhere to these guidelines then their advertisement or sponsorship is likely to be accepted. Occasionally decisions may take time.



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