BioMed Central – a home for all research

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Enhanced support for manuscript transfers

We understand the importance of a fast and easy publication process to our authors, and so from today we are offering enhanced functionality to support manuscript transfers between our journals. Manuscripts that report sound research, but have been rejected from a journal for reasons of scope or novelty, can now benefit from saved time and effort if they are transferred to a journal which has a more relevant scope or a more inclusive publication policy. Many of our journals have offered manuscript transfers for some time, and we are now offering this across our portfolio in order to facilitate a smooth publication process for our authors.

BioMed Central has always asked peer reviewers to comment on the soundness of a particular manuscript as well as its perceived interest level. By doing so, we aim to ensure that peer review fulfills its double role – to confirm the basic soundness of publishable research and help to identify the most interesting research. If a manuscript does not reach the interest criteria of a given journal, but is sound and in scope for another, we are able to offer authors the option to transfer the manuscript together with the reviewer reports to another journal within BioMed Central’s portfolio. Where authors have been offered a transfer, they can now access full details of the offer including key information about the destination journal in their ‘My manuscripts’ page.

Portability of peer review across open and closed peer reviewed journals

Where a manuscript is transferred along with existing reviewer reports, it may be accepted without further delay, or the review process continued. This ‘portability of peer review’ has two key benefits: it saves reviewers’ precious time being squandered and it reduces the time authors spend on a merry-go-round between journals, thereby improving the speed and efficiency with which research is communicated.

The journals published by BioMed Central operate a range of different peer review processes. These span closed and confidential, where reviewers, and in some cases authors, remain anonymous, to open and transparent, where reviewers sign their reports, and all versions of the manuscript together with the reviewers’ reports are published as an accompanying ‘pre-publication history’ for all to see.

Where a manuscript is transferred following review we will notify the reviewers of the transfer. However, what if a manuscript was initially reviewed on a closed peer review journal and subsequently transferred to an open peer review journal? Ideally, we would like our peer reviewers to agree to make their identities and reports available for publication. While we will ask our reviewers to do this, we do understand that on occasion reviewers writing for closed peer review journals will prefer to maintain this confidentiality and their anonymity. In such rare cases we will publish an Editor’s Note on the pre-publication history of the manuscript to explain the circumstances of peer review for that particular case. We believe this is the best way for our peer reviewers and authors to enjoy the benefits of portability of peer review while still honoring our obligation to maintain reviewer confidentiality if the review process started on a closed peer review journal. Where a manuscript was initially reviewed on an open peer review journal and subsequently transferred to a closed peer review journal and published, the reviews will not be published alongside the article as in the original journal. However, if reviewers wish to make their report available on the article, they have the option of posting it as a comment on the article upon publication.