Case Study - BMJ Open

In this article we will share how BMJ Open included into its author workflow as part of a larger pilot where we aim to capture the majority of their submitting authors. 


We reviewed BMJ Open’s author guidelines and customised Penelope’s checks and feedback to reflect BMJ Open’s policies and author resources. The Editor could adjust  our customisation where necessary using our journal dashboard. 


To integrate the tool, the Editor altered their “Submit article”  button, to divert it to a page giving authors the option either to check their manuscript using Penelope first, or to submit via Manuscript Central without a check. 

Author flow

Authors that choose to use Penelope are invited to upload their manuscript. Within two minutes, they receive an email with a link where they can view the feedback. 

The feedback indicates what they need to change to comply with  journal guidelines. The tool verifies article structure, abstract structure, title page completion, declarations, tables, figures and referencing. It also flags up  whether a reporting checklist is applicable to their work. You can see an example here

Monitoring and Evaluation

BMJ Open’s Editor can use the dashboard to view how many authors use the tool, and any feedback they leave. Within the first 2 weeks, 300 authors used the tool and rated it an average of 9/10. 

At the end of a month we will compare manuscripts before / after Penelope usage, and compare manuscripts that were checked with with those that weren’t. We will investigate Penelope’s effect on submission processing times and desk rejections. 
For research articles, we will measure whether the tool increases the usage of reporting guidelines when applicable.