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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.

Re-review Opt Out Policy

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.

Transfers and Portable Reviews

For papers that are deemed unsuitable for BMC Biology, we offer easy transfer to other journals within the BMC group. BMC Biology editors will suggest one or more specific BMC journals for which the paper seems in scope, providing a transfer link in the editorial decision letter. During the transfer process, the authors will also have the opportunity to update their submission. For papers that have been reviewed, we also offer the possibility to pass on reviews and reviewer identities – subject to their permission – to editors of the receiving journals. The transfer process is assisted by our Transfers Desk, a service that ensures a seamless move of the manuscript to the destination journal, and can also help authors identify journals that are suitable for their work.

We are also happy to facilitate transfers to journals outside BMC and Springer Nature by sharing reviews and reviewer identities at the authors’ request. Authors can request that reviews are passed on, and inform the receiving journal’s editors that they can contact us for further information. Please note that sharing of reviews and reviewers’ identities is subject to reviewers’ approval.

As part of our goal to improve the efficiency of peer review we are also open to considering manuscripts on the basis of reviews received at other journals, including those outside of BMC and Springer Nature. Authors wishing to transfer papers with reviews to BMC Biology should email us at bmcbiologyeditorial@biomedcentral.com to enquire about the suitability of the manuscript, and provide the previous journal’s identity and all reviews, alongside a point-by-point response to the reviewers’ comments. Our Editors will assess the manuscript and reports, typically in consultation with our Editorial Board, and let authors know whether we’d be happy to proceed with the manuscript. In those cases, we will be able to let authors know whether we can make a decision on publication without further review or need reviewers to comment on the manuscript.  We typically ask the previous journal to share with us the reviews and reviewers’ identities, and - subject to agreement from all parties - original reviewers may be consulted if deemed appropriate. For more information on our portable review policy, please contact us at bmcbiologyeditorial@biomedcentral.com

We are part of the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium, an alliance of journals that aims to reduce the time and effort involved in the peer review by facilitating the sharing of manuscript reviews with other NPRC member journals. Find out more about NPRC here.

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