CAPHRI - BMJ PhD programme: Responsible conduct of publishing scientific research

The BMJ has been at the forefront of innovative thinking and practice in healthcare since 1840 and is the fourth most highly cited general medical journal in the world. It's mission is to lead the debate on health and to engage, inform, and stimulate doctors, researchers, and other health professionals in ways that will improve outcomes for patients. For over 20 years The BMJ has been conducting collaborative research into the science of publication including peer review, authorship, conflicts of interest, and publication ethics. The BMJ is now partnering with the group meta-research at Maastricht University in the Netherlands to offer a 4 year PhD program in the responsible conduct of publishing scientific research.

The PhD will be embedded within the Care and Public Health Research Institute (CAPHRI) of Maastricht University. CAPHRI is one of Maastricht University’s largest and oldest schools with a track record to high quality, multidisciplinary research in Public Health and Health Care and with a strong focus on having Societal Impact. The institute attracts top scientists from around the world and offers a comprehensive PhD training programme for young scientists.

This new PhD opportunity is for a self-funded or scholarship-based program with distance-learning. PhD candidates will be supervised by a team of research integrity researchers and BMJ staff on selected topics. Successful students will be reimbursed up to a maximum of 10k euro for the 4 years for travel (for one week annual stays at BMJ and Maastricht University), course and conference participation and consumables. Students will also have free access to selected courses. There will be no University tuition fee.

Current PhD opportunities 
We aim to enrol one candidate each year and are currently selecting the 2020 and 2021 candidates. Applicants should select one of the projects below, but we are also open to other good ideas.

Possible projects:
1) Open peer review
2) Strengthening peer review of observational studies
3) Handling retractions in biomedicine
4) Preprints and post publication peer review in biomedicine
5) Preregistration and registered reports in biomedicine
6) Replication studies in biomedicine
7) Is peer review effective?

Successful candidates are expected to be highly motivated and hold a Masters Degree in a relevant discipline. They will be asked to provide relevant documentation to show they:
• are fluent in English (IELTS>6.5 or equivalent);
• have the necessary time available to do the research (e.g. recommendation letter from current employer); and
• have proven scientific writing ability (e.g. at least one coauthored journal article).

If you are interested in one of the current PhD opportunities above, please indicate which project and send your CV and letter of motivation to Sara Schroter ( Following this you could be asked to write the research proposal, which could lead to an interview. Successful candidates will be selected on the basis of academic potential to reach the highest standards of scientific research.

Supervisory team 
Click here for information about the supervisory team.