Instructions for contributors

Bioethica Forum is an interdisciplinary journal focussing on ethical issues in health care, research, biotechnologies, and public health. These questions are considered in relation to concrete ethical, legal and policy problems, or in terms of the fundamental concepts, principles and theories used in discussions of such problems. The journal aims to publish high-quality academic papers that will stimulate debate about these issues. It also aims to provide a discussion forum on ethical issues for health care providers, researchers, and members of research ethics and clinical ethics committees, and offers special sections for this purpose. Although specific relevance to current Swiss debates is an advantage, it is not a pre-requisite as the journal aims for an international readership. The journal's languages are German, French, and English. Abstracts are published in all three languages. Manuscripts are accepted for publication on the understanding that they have been submitted solely to Bioethica Forum and that they have not been previously published either in whole or in part. Bioethica Forum is the official journal of the Swiss Society for Biomedical Ethics.

Bioethica Forum follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.

Article types:

Manuscript lengths include abstract, references, and footnotes. Spaces are included.

Articles should be up to 30'000 characters, with up to five tables and figures. Manuscripts reporting empirical studies should be submitted with a structured abstract of up to 250 words. Manuscripts presenting a conceptual exploration, analysing a current controversy, or critically appraising a method in bioethics, should be submitted with an unstructured abstract of up to 150 words. Articles are peer-reviewed.

Ethics case commentaries should be should be up to 20'000 characters, with a brief summary of up to 100 words, and up to three tables and figures. Interdisciplinary commentaries from multiple authors are encouraged. Case commentaries are peer-reviewed.

Letters to the editor should be no more than 3'000 characters, with up to 5 references and one table or figure. Letters in response to a published article may be submitted for up to 2 months after publication.

Review articles should be up to 30'000 characters, with up to three tables and figures. Manuscripts reporting the state of the art on a topic of interest to bioethics should be submitted with an unstructured abstract of up to 150 words. Review articles will be reviewed internally.

Viewpoints, or dEthical narratives, (personal vignettes or narratives exploring an aspect of clinical ethics, research ethics, or public health ethics) should be no more than 10'000 characters. Viewpoints and narratives will be reviewed internally. Please contact to discuss your proposal.

Book reviews should be no more than 3'000 characters and include the following elements: title, field, audience, purpose, content, highlights, limitations, and related reading. Please contact to discuss your proposal.

Committee reports: Clinical ethics committees and research ethics committees can submit an argued summary of one of their guidelines or opinions, or an argued position on a practical point of research review. Please contact to discuss your proposal.

Manuscript preparation

Submissions are accepted in German, French, or English. Manuscripts should be double-spaced. All self-identifying information should be removed from manuscripts and should appear on the title page only. Abbreviations should be explained at the first occurrence.

  • The title page of the manuscript should include the following information: article type, manuscript title, running title (maximum 40 characters), name and affiliation of all contributing authors, full address for correspondence, including telephone and fax number, and email address, word count (not including abstract and references), and up to five key words.
  • Section headings within the manuscript should be distinguishable, but not numbered.
  • Footnotes should be indicated in the text by superscript numbers.
  • References should be in Vancouver style with square brackets [ ], and placed at the end of the manuscript.

Manuscript submission

All manuscript submissions and queries should be sent electronically to . Please indicate in your cover letter if your submission applies to an announced theme issue.
Please include in your cover letter:

  • Description of each author's contribution in the preparation of the study, manuscript, and/or decision to submit.
  • Details of all funding sources and their role, if any, in the preparation of the study, manuscript, and/or decision to submit.
  • Acknowledgments
  • Conflict of interest declaration for all authors. If there is no conflict of interest, please indicate this.
  • When reporting research with human participants, authors should indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation, or if no formal ethics committee is available, with the Declaration of Helsinki in its most recent revision. Any person who is described in a way that makes her identifiable should be shown the manuscript before submission as their consent will be required for acceptance of the manuscript.

How we handle your paper

Peer review:

  • All original articles and ethical case commentaries published in Bioethica Forum have been peer reviewed.
  • On submission, your manuscript will be read by two members of the editorial committee.
  • Papers that receive positive in-house reviews are peer reviewed by at least two reviewers, usually from two different disciplinary backgrounds.
  • Based on reviewer comments and editorial agreement, a manuscript will be either accepted, rejected, or sent back to the authors for revision. The editorial committee makes a final decision if the section editors fail to reach consensus.
  • If the author(s) is/are invited to send revisions, two copies of the revised manuscript should be sent back: one should be highlighted to show changes. A point-by-point response to reviewers' comments in a cover letter should be sent with the revised manuscript.

In house review:

  • All review papers, viewpoints, narratives, book reviews, and committee news are reviewed in-house by the two editors of each section. The editorial committee makes a final decision if the section editors fail to reach consensus.


  • Even editors sometimes make mistakes. If an author believes that Bioethica Forum has made an error in declining a paper, an appeal can be made in writing to , explaining why you think the decision is mistaken. Please include a specific response to peer reviewers' comments if you believe they played a role in the rejection.

Authorship is reserved for persons who make a substantial contribution to and who accept responsibility for a published work, according to the criteria outlined in the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommendations and by the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.

Conflict of interests
Bioethica Forum complies with the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors ("Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals") which states that :

«Conflict of interest exists when an author (or the author's institution), reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence (bias) his or her actions (such relationships are also known as dual commitments, competing interests, or competing loyalties). These relationships vary from those with negligible potential to those with great potential to influence judgment, and not all relationships represent true conflict of interest. The potential for conflict of interest can exist whether or not an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her scientific judgment. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion.»