Using pictures in the Student BMJ
We want lots of pictures, but have policies on using them ethically. Trish Groves and Jan Croot explain how to submit pictures without infringing privacy
We encourage authors to include pictures in submissions to the Student BMJ to add useful and relevant information. We also use pictures to help the journal to look good, to be well read, to entertain and stimulate readers, and sometimes to cast different perspectives on familiar subjects. Surveys show that readers may lose interest when faced with slabs of unbroken print, so we include some pictures to make articles more engaging and to draw readers in.
But there are pitfalls in publishing pictures in a medical journal, and we receive a handful of complaints each year about ours. Readers have two main concerns - that publishing pictures of patients may compromise privacy and confidentiality and that pictures may be altered and might thereby mislead.
The Student BMJ has strict policies on preserving privacy and confidentiality. We insist that authors obtain patients' written consent before we agree to publish pictures of