BMC Medicine: authors’ and reviewers’ experiences

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To highlight our 10 year anniversary this week, the editors at BMC Medicine have been discussing the top 10 published articles based on their accesses, citations and social media impact. Today, we focus on the authors’ and reviewers’ experience with the journal.

The high standard of service to all authors and reviewers is a key focus for the journal. Submitted manuscripts that are within the scope of the journal are stringently reviewed by at least two experts in the field. We aim to send authors our editorial decision (after peer review) within 4-6 weeks of submission. Reviewers are required to declare any competing interests and we operate an open peer review process. Compared with closed peer review models, the transparency of this process enables quality assurance, acknowledgement of reviewers’ contributions and accessible scientific communication. The topic of peer review has been debated recently and elaborated in a previous blog.

The quality of peer review, speed of submission and publication processes, and the high visibility we offer to authors are important aims of the journal. As a general medical journal, we cover a wide range of topics, and our processes have encouraged a number of authors to return to us with their research over the last few years.

As part of our 10th anniversary we asked a number of our returning authors to comment on their experiences with us. We have collated a selection of the comments we have received below:

“We submitted to BMC Medicine because it is a high quality, open access journal that maximized the possibility of our papers being read by a wide readership. The submission and editorial process was efficient and highly professional.”

Our experience of publishing the results with BMC Medicine in four papers recently has been highly satisfactory. We deeply appreciated receipt of the reviewers’ comments in due time, to be aware of the identity of reviewers (and they were top investigators in the field!) and also the excellent preparation of press releases by the journal and the good contact with the media that BMC Medicine enabled us to have”.

They were one of the first journals to offer open access, which meant that patients could read about their illnesses and treatments, and students and practitioners could read about educational studies. And BMC’s open access is properly open, not only papers being open to all, but also all the reviews and previous versions of manuscripts are there; and that opens up the realities of the workings of the scholarly, editorial process.”

This feedback emphasizes the importance of the high visibility offered by open access journals, not just for researchers, but for students and patients as well. This topic was previously discussed in our twitter chat on social media in healthcare, and more recently during open access week. Reviewers play a key role in the publication process of manuscripts, and their interaction with a journal can highly influence their decision on where to submit their own manuscripts. Over the last decade, many of our reviewers have indeed gone on to submit their own original manuscripts to us. One previous reviewer in particular mentioned that:

I chose to publish in BMC Medicine as I found their review process to be very thorough. This gave me confidence to suggest BMC Medicine for a journal that my colleagues and I could submit to. We were not disappointed and found the reviewer comments very helpful. Consequently, I would happily recommend BMC Medicine to others”.

We appreciate all the feedback we have received from our authors and reviewers over the last 10 years. This has ensured we have been able to refine our processes to deliver a speedy, thorough and transparent submission and publication process. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our authors and express our gratitude to our reviewers for their valuable time and helpful comments. We aim to continue to maintain the high quality of service we offer to our authors, and are always keen to receive further suggestions or comments that will help us to improve the journal.  Feel free to get in touch if you have some feedback to share with us.