Editorial policies

Publication ethics

The Pharmaceutical Journal adheres to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers, and our editors follow the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors.

Allegations of misconduct will be investigated in accordance with the COPE Best Practice Guidelines.


We expect all published articles to contain clear and accurate attribution of authorship and support the ICMJE definitions of authorship. It is the responsibility of the author to ensure that all authors that contributed to the work are fairly acknowledged and that the published author list accurately reflects individual contributions.

Where disputes and requests for changes in authorship arise, we follow the COPE guidelines to resolve these.

Artificial intelligence tools

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in research and writing is evolving. These AI-based tools include, but are not limited to generative AI, large language models and chatbots (e.g. ChatGPT).

While we recognise the increased use of AI tools in academic research, these tools do not meet the requirements for authorship, as they cannot:

Where authors use AI tools to write an article, produce images or graphics, or to collect and analyse data, relevant disclosures and/or statements should be included in the article that describe how the AI tool was used and which tool was used.

As outlined in the COPE position statement, authors are responsible for the content of their article, including parts produced by AI tools, and are therefore liable for any breach of publication ethics.


All articles submitted to The Pharmaceutical Journal are considered for publication on the understanding that they have not been published previously elsewhere or are under consideration for publication elsewhere. Authors will be asked to certify that the article represents valid work and that neither the article, nor one with substantially similar content under their authorship, has been published or is being considered for publication elsewhere, except as described in an attachment, and copies of closely related manuscripts are provided.

References made in an article to another person’s work or idea must be credited appropriately and we expect authors to gain appropriate permissions prior to publication. Please contact the editor directly if you require help or assistance in obtaining permissions, as these may be able to be obtained on your behalf.

Pharmaceutical Press, the publisher of The Pharmaceutical Journal, is a signatory of the STM Permissions Guidelines, which may lower any permissions fees.

The use of published or unpublished ideas, words or other intellectual property derived from other sources without attribution or permission, and representation of such as those of the author(s) is regarded as scientific misconduct and will be addressed as such. All allegations of plagiarism will be investigated thoroughly and in accordance with COPE guidelines.

Disclosures and conflicts of interest

Authors must state explicitly whether potential conflicts do or do not exist (e.g. personal or financial relationships that could influence their actions) and any such potential conflict of interest (including sources of funding) should be summarised in a separate section of the published article and at the point of submission. Authors must disclose whether they have received writing assistance and identify the sources of funding for such assistance. Authors who declare no conflict of interest are required to publish a statement to that effect within the article.

Authors must certify that all affiliations with or financial involvement with any organisation or entity with a financial interest in or financial conflict with the subject matter or materials discussed in their article have been disclosed. Please note that examples of financial involvement include: employment, consultancies, honoraria, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending and royalties. This list is not exclusive of other forms of financial involvement. Details of relevant conflicts of interests (or the lack of) must be declared in the article for all listed authors.

Peer reviewers must disclose any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should disqualify themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if they believe it appropriate. Should any such conflict of interest be declared, the commissioning editor will judge whether the reviewer’s comments should be recognised or will interpret the reviewer’s comments in the context of any such declaration.


All articles will subedited for style, grammar and spelling before publication on the PJ website. We aim to process articles as soon as possible.

Authors will be informed of the production schedule, a likely publication date and informed of any delays during this process. Authors will need to be available to receive proofs for approval.

Peer review

Some articles in The Pharmaceutical Journal are peer-reviewed in order to ensure they are unbiased, scientifically accurate and clinically relevant. All articles are reviewed by at least two specialists, selected on based on experience and expertise, and this process usually takes three to four weeks.

The end goal is to provide a constructive critique of the article and to recommend where there are opportunities to add additional value to the manuscript. Review is performed on a double-blind basis, whereby the identity of the peer reviewers and author(s) are kept confidential. Peer reviewers must disclose potential conflicts of interests that would prevent or may affect their ability to provide an unbiased review of the manuscript (see conflict of interest policy).

Peer reviewers are asked to complete a template report form, to provide general comments to the commissioning editor and both general and specific comments to the author(s). A detailed response to the reviewer comments are also required (authors should include these sections on the report form supplied). Manuscripts may be accepted at this point, however, depending on the nature of the comments and amount of revision necessary, articles may be subject to further peer review. The final decision regarding the acceptance of an article for publication lies with the journal commissioning editor.

If an author believes that a commissioning editor has made an error in declining a paper, they may submit an appeal. The appeal letter should clearly state the reasons why the author(s) considers the decision to be incorrect and provide detailed, specific responses to any comments relating to the rejection of the article. Further advice from the commissioning editor and/or other external experts will be sought in order to determine the eligibility for re-review.

Patient’s right to privacy

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information should not be included unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or legal guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that the patient be shown the manuscript to be published. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the manuscript.

To maintain patient anonymity, identifying details should be omitted where they are not essential. However, patient data should never be amended or falsified. Informed consent should be obtained whenever there is any doubt that anonymity can be assured, and authors should contact the named editor, who will be able to provide advice and the required consent forms for completion.

Scientific misconduct and retraction

If misconduct by authors or reviewers is suspected, either pre-publication or post-publication, action will be taken in accordance with COPE guidelines. An explanation will be sought from the party or parties considered to be involved. If the response is unsatisfactory, then an appropriate authority will be asked to investigate fully. The Pharmaceutical Journal editors will make all reasonable attempts to obtain a resolution in any such eventuality and correct the record or archive as necessary (publishing a retraction of the article if required).

By accepting an invitation to write an article, or by submitting your article to The Pharmaceutical Journal, you will have read and understood the Terms of Licence to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain to Publish in PJ Publications, a copy of which appears on the website of The Pharmaceutical Journal. Having agreed to contribute and on acceptance of the Terms of Licence, you will (on behalf of all authors) grant, on acceptance of the submitted article for publication, an exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, sub-licensable licence in respect of the article [or a non-exclusive licence for Government employees], to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and its licensees.

Readers may make single copies of items for their personal use. Permission should be sought from the publisher to make multiple copies or to republish material, for which a charge may be made.


Pharmaceutical Journal Publications support authors in making their article publicly and freely available. You may self-archive versions of your work on your own webpages, on institutional webpages, and in other repositories in the form of a Word version of the, accepted article. Your document should indicate the article’s citation and a link to the published article on pharmaceutical-journal.com website.

Pharmaceutical Journal Publications’ publishing policies ensure that authors can fully comply with the public access requirements of the major funding bodies worldwide. However, it is the author’s responsibility to take the necessary actions to achieve compliance.

Privacy policy

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society respects your privacy and is committed to protecting your personal data. This privacy notice will inform you as to how we look after your personal data when you visit our website (regardless of where you visit it from) and tell you about your privacy rights and how the law protects you.