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15 Year Anniversary

From origins to open questions – Ten years of BMC Biology

In November 2003, we published our first article

We committed ourselves to publishing outstanding research in all areas of biology and focusing on ways to serve researchers - all whilst championing the open access model and the benefits we believe it brings to the wider research community. 

Below, you can see our journey through our timeline and key articles, interviews with our authors and reviewers, and the open questions in biology today explored by our Editorial Board Members.

Thank you for getting us to where we are today. 

As the flagship Open Access journal of the BMC Series, BMC Biology provides a home for outstanding research in all fields of biology. Buoyed by the pioneering spirit of BMC and its dedicated editorial team, BMC Biology has shaped itself through innovation in publishing and a commitment to the highest standards of author service.

New Content Item (1)15 years of BMC Biology
Christian Matheou, Graham P. Bell, Penelope Austin, Vitor Sousa and Mirna Kvajo

Read the editorial

Our Editorial Board explores the Open Questions in Biology

​​​​​​​​​​​​​New Content Item (1)BMC Biology has a broad scope that is reflected in the wide-ranging expertise of our Editorial Board. For our 10th anniversary, we launched our popular open questions collection to address interesting questions of debate in their fields. Five years on, we ask our board to tackle some of the big questions still open in biology today.

Perspectives from our authors

New Content Item

Ksenia Krasileva

From plant immunity to food security

David Weinkove

On microbes, ​​​​​​​aging and the worm

Thomas Couvreur

Unraveling​​​​​​​ rain forest biodiversity

Alan Walker

Studying the microbiome and its complexities

Ryohei Terauchi

Dissecting the forces that shape crops

KC Huang

When a physicist wanders into
biology…

Jane Hurst

Communicating through scents

Interviews with our reviewers

New Content Item

William P. Hanage

From bacterial genomics to clinical epidemiology

Emily Troemel

Host-parasite interactions: an interview with Emily Troemel

Angelika Stollewerk

Evolutionary development and morphological modifications of the brain

David Ferrier

Horizons in evolutionary genomics

Teva Vernoux

Systems biology of meristems

Harold Burgess

Startling responses of zebrafish

Joel Dacks

Evolving eukaryotes

New Content Item

Key Articles

First blog

Woodpecker controversy hits headlines

First article

Incorporation of gene-specific variability improves expression analysis using high-density DNA microarrays

First Review

Immune mechanisms of protection: can adjuvants rise to the challenge?

First Q&A

Promise and pitfalls of genome-wide association studies

Most downloaded​​​​​​​ review

Molecular dynamics simulations and drug discovery

Highest cited paper

Reagent and laboratory contamination can critically impact sequence-based microbiome analyses

Initiatives

Re-review Opt-out - 2010

When BMC Biology fused with the Journal of Biology, it carried on what was then an experimental policy of re-review opt-out - the aim of which was to prevent iterative re-review, and unnecessary delays to publication. The policy offers any author whose work is judged publishable subject to important revisions, to choose whether their revised manuscript is seen again by the reviewers, or whether the editors decide whether any concerns have been satisfactorily addressed.
 
Eight years on, it would seem the policy has been a success. Decision times for papers where the authors opt-out decreased, and we see the majority of our authors choosing this route (Ref 1). Policies that provide authors a greater level of control in the peer review process have been later adopted by several other journals, showcasing the value of alternative peer review models, such as this one. 

Standards of Reporting Checklist - July 2015

In response to the increasing awareness of the need for attention to transparency and reporting standards in research and supporting the drive for reproducibility, BMC Biology was one of four BMC journals to introduce a “Minimum Standards of Reporting” checklist. 
 
The checklist addresses three areas of reporting: experimental design and statistics, resources, and availability of data and materials. It built on the accepted standards, such as EQUATOR, PRISMA and MIQE-precis and the principles behind them, formalizing, tailoring and standardizing these efforts across journals.  Since then we’ve continued to ensure reproducibility of research published with us, in other projects (see Registered Reports).

Registered reports - May 2017

In May of 2017, BMC Biology became the first general biology journal to offer Registered Reports, a new article format designed to promote open science, while combatting publication bias. A registered report is structured like a research proposal: it provides a rationale for the research and a description of the intended methodology, which may be provisionally accepted for publication before the data are collected. Once the analysis is completed, the authors finish the article by including results and discussion sections.

Registered Reports are still for the most part found in pre-clinical and social science journals; by offering this format at BMC Biology we wish to broaden the ways findings in biology can be published, while listening carefully to the scientific communities to identify their needs and opportunities for innovation.

Co-submissions to BMC flagships - March 2018

BMC’s flagship journals work closely together, and from March 2018 we’ve enabled authors to submit simultaneously to two journals out of BMC Biology, Genome Biology and Genome Medicine. Co-submitted manuscripts are assessed – independently - by editors at each journal; and if the paper is sent for peer review, reviewers are asked to evaluate the manuscript for both journals, saving authors time and avoiding need for multiple submissions.  

Portable review - 2015, 2018

As a part of BMC’s transfer network, BMC Biology has long offered easy transfers of papers that we decide not to publish – including reviewer reports if applicable - to other BMC journals. We also consider papers rejected from other journals – and other publishers - after peer-review, on the basis of the existing reports, and are part of publishing consortia, such as the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium, that facilitate sharing of reviews.

Our emphasis on peer review practices that save time and reviewers’ effort have been shaped into a formal policy in 2018, supporting progressive practices in publishing including transfers and sharing of reviews with journals within and outside of BMC.

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