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About Patient Safety in Surgery

This page includes information about the aims and scope of Patient Safety in Surgery, editorial policies, open access and article-processing charges, the peer review process and other information. For details of how to prepare and submit a manuscript through the online submission system, please see the instructions for authors.

Aims & scope

Patient Safety in Surgery is an open access, online journal that publishes articles on all issues related to safety and quality of patient care in surgery and surgical subspecialties.

The journal provides a scientific platform for specialists from all surgical fields and for other healthcare professionals to report, discuss, debate, and critically review all aspects related to errors, complications, and other safety issues in the management of patients undergoing surgical procedures.

Morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing surgical procedures may, in large part, be preventable. The key to improving the management of adverse events in surgery is understanding their causes. These range from “simple” individual errors in surgical technique and perioperative decision making to system errors in hospitals, and extend as far as to general healthcare issues in politics.

An evidence-based approach to quality improvement in surgical care must include the analysis of incidence and pattern of adverse events. This is particularly true for the analysis of procedures that did not result in an adverse event but had strong potential to, thus bearing the risk of these cases being neglected or trivialized, instead of being reported and reviewed as a “true” complication.

Open access

All articles published by Patient Safety in Surgery are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication, without subscription charges or registration barriers. Further information about open access can be found here.

Authors of articles published in Patient Safety in Surgery are the copyright holders of their articles and have granted to any third party, in advance and in perpetuity, the right to use, reproduce or disseminate the article, according to the BioMed Central copyright and license agreement.

For authors who are US government employees or are prevented from being copyright holders for similar reasons, BioMed Central can accommodate non-standard copyright lines. Please contact us if further information is needed.

Article-processing charges

Open access publishing is not without costs. Patient Safety in Surgery therefore levies an article-processing charge of £1240/$1940/€1580 for each article accepted for publication. If the corresponding author's institution is a Member, the cost of the article-processing charge is covered by the membership, and no further charge is payable. In the case of authors whose institutions are Supporter Members, however, a discounted article-processing charge is payable by the author. We routinely waive charges for authors from low-income countries. For other countries, article-processing charge waivers or discounts are granted on a case-by-case basis to authors with insufficient funds. Authors can request a waiver or discount during the submission process. For further details, see our article-processing charge page.

Indexing services

All articles published in Patient Safety in Surgery are included in:

  • Cinahl
  • Citebase
  • DOAJ
  • Google Scholar
  • OAIster
  • PubMed
  • PubMed Central
  • Scopus
  • Zetoc

The full text of all research articles is deposited in digital archives including e-Depot (The Netherlands).

The full text of all research articles published by BioMed Central is also available on SpringerLink.

BioMed Central is working closely with Thomson Reuters (ISI) to ensure that citation analysis of articles published in Patient Safety in Surgery will be available.

Publication and peer review process

Content overview

Patient Safety in Surgeryconsiders the following types of articles:

  • Research: reports of data from original research.
  • Case report: reports of clinical cases that can be educational, describe a diagnostic or therapeutic dilemma, suggest an association, or present an important adverse reaction. All case report articles should be accompanied by written and signed consent to publish the information from the patients or their guardians.
  • Debate: present an argument that is not essentially based on practical research. Debate articles can report on all aspects of the subject including sociological and ethical aspects.
  • Hypothesis: short articles presenting an untested original hypothesis backed solely by previously published results rather than any new evidence. They should outline significant progress in thinking that would also be testable, and be about 1500 words.
  • Letter to the Editor: they can take three forms: a substantial re-analysis of a previously published article, or a substantial response to such a re-analysis from the authors of the original publication, or an article that may not cover 'standard research' but that may be relevant to readers.
  • Review: comprehensive, authoritative, descriptions of any subject within the journal's scope. Reviews can cover any topical themes such as basic science and clinical reviews, ethics, pro/con debates, equipment reviews and thematic series to highlight specific topics in the field.
  • Short report: brief reports of data from original research, usually about 1500 words.

Peer-review policy

All peer review for Patient Safety in Surgery is closed, meaning that referees' confidentiality is maintained and referees reports are not made publicly available.

  • Each submitted article will first be screened by the Editors-in-Chief for suitability for peer review.
  • All manuscripts that are deemed suitable for peer review will be assigned to at least two expert reviewers. Authors will be requested to answer all reviewers’ comments on a point-by-point analysis. The Editors-in-Chief will decide on whether to accept or reject a manuscript based on reviewer recommendations.
  • If required, manuscripts will be sent to a statistician.
  • Where reviewer’s comments are conflicting, the Editorial Board or an additional independent reviewer will be consulted to help reach an editorial decision.
  • Should an author be unsatisfied with the editorial decision, members of the Editorial Board will analyze the authors’ justification and additional reviewers may be sought, if appropriate.

Edited by Philip F. Stahel and Pierre-Alain Clavien, Patient Safety in Surgery is supported by an expert Editorial Board.

Authors will be able to check the progress of their manuscript through the submission system at any time by logging into My Patient Safety in Surgery, a personalized section of the site.


High-quality, bound reprints can be purchased for all articles published. Please see our reprints website for further information about ordering reprints.


Patient Safety in Surgery will consider supplements based on proceedings (full articles or meeting abstracts), reviews or research. All articles submitted for publication in supplements are subject to peer review. Published supplements are fully searchable and freely accessible online and can also be produced in print. For further information, please contact us.

Editorial policies

All manuscripts submitted to Patient Safety in Surgery should adhere to BioMed Central's editorial policies.

Citing articles in Patient Safety in Surgery

Articles in Patient Safety in Surgery should be cited in the same way as articles in a traditional journal. Because articles are not printed, they do not have page numbers; instead, they are given a unique article number.

Article citations follow this format:

Authors: Title. Patient Saf Surg [year], [volume number]:[article number].

e.g. Roberts LD, Hassall DG, Winegar DA, Haselden JN, Nicholls AW, Griffin JL: Increased hepatic oxidative metabolism distinguishes the action of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor delta from Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor gamma in the Ob/Ob mouse. Patient Saf Surg 2009, 1:115.

refers to article 115 from Volume 1 of the journal.

Why publish your article in Patient Safety in Surgery?

High visibility

Patient Safety in Surgery's open access policy allows maximum visibility of articles published in the journal as they are available to a wide, global audience. Articles that have been especially highly accessed are highlighted with a 'Highly accessed' graphic, which appears on the journal's contents pages and search results.

Speed of publication

Patient Safety in Surgery offers a fast publication schedule whilst maintaining rigorous peer review; all articles must be submitted online, and peer review is managed fully electronically (articles are distributed in PDF form, which is automatically generated from the submitted files). Articles will be published with their final citation after acceptance, in both fully browsable web form, and as a formatted PDF; the article will then be available through Patient Safety in Surgery and BioMed Central.


Online publication in Patient Safety in Surgery gives authors the opportunity to publish large datasets, large numbers of color illustrations and moving pictures, to display data in a form that can be read directly by other software packages so as to allow readers to manipulate the data for themselves, and to create all relevant links (for example, to PubMed, to sequence and other databases, and to other articles).

Promotion and press coverage

Articles published in Patient Safety in Surgery are included in article alerts and regular email updates. Some may be included in abstract books mailed to academics and are highlighted on Patient Safety in Surgery's pages and on the BioMed Central homepage.

In addition, articles published in Patient Safety in Surgery may be promoted by press releases to the general or scientific press. These activities increase the exposure and number of accesses for articles published in Patient Safety in Surgery. A list of articles recently press-released by journals published by BioMed Central is available here.

Authors of articles published in Patient Safety in Surgery retain the copyright of their articles and are free to reproduce and disseminate their work (for further details, see the BioMed Central copyright policy and license agreement).

For further information about the advantages of publishing in a journal from BioMed Central, please click here.