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Peer-review policy

Peer-review is the system used to assess the quality of a manuscript before it is published. Independent researchers in the relevant research area assess submitted manuscripts for originality, validity and significance to help editors determine whether the manuscript should be published in their journal. You can read more about the peer-review process here.

BMC Biology operates a single-blind peer-review system, where the reviewers are aware of the names and affiliations of the authors, but the reviewer reports provided to authors are anonymous. The benefit of single-blind peer-review is that it is the traditional model of peer review that many reviewers are comfortable with, and it facilitates a dispassionate critique of a manuscript.

BMC Biology considers articles across all fields of biology that are of interest to a broad readership of biologists and/or represent an exceptional advance within a specific field. Manuscripts are initially assessed by our in-house editors and, if appropriate, in consultation with relevant members of our authoritative Editorial Board, and those that are deemed of interest are sent for peer review. Peer reviewers are asked to assess the scientific soundness of articles, with special attention to whether sufficient detail is provided for a proper assessment, and they may also comment on the interest levels and the extent of the advance reported. Editorial Board Members may provide advice on manuscripts submitted but are not involved in the final decisions. The overall editorial responsibility for the journal is with the Chief Editor.

We operate a re-review opt out policy whereby authors can choose whether reviewers see their revisions. Authors whose research papers are judged to be publishable in BMC Biology subject to revisions-which may include additional experimental analyses-are given the choice whether the revised version is sent back to the reviewers. If not, the revisions will be assessed by the in-house editorial team. This possibility is communicated in the decision letter, for invited revisions, after the first round of reviews. The policy was designed to reduce frustration at widespread delays to publication due to iterative reviewing, and was introduced to the journal in 2009. Almost 10 years later, this initially experimental policy has proved to be widely popular, with 80% of authors who are offered the chance to opt out from re-review choosing to do so. Our analyses has shown that the policy significantly shortened the time papers spend in peer review, bringing manuscripts to publication faster. For any questions regarding the policy, please contact us at bmcbiologyeditorial@biomedcentral.com.

For those papers that we cannot publish, a broad portfolio of subject-specific sister journals and portable peer review policy allows us to help authors find the right journal for their papers with a minimum of delay.

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