BMC Research Notes was launched with the aim of reducing the loss suffered by science (and the potential for publication bias) when sound research goes unpublished. Now, with a welcomed change to our formatting criteria even more "dark data" will be freed.
Since the journal focuses on short reports, small-scale confirmatory studies, negative results, incremental updates to previous work and data-driven publications, we originally envisaged that the vast majority of articles published would be short, less than 2000 words long with up to 30 references.
As the popularity of the journal grows, researchers are increasingly considering BMC Research Notes for full research articles and we are keen to save a valuable resource – our authors’ time and effort. Anecdotally, authors have told us of hours wasted during the process of “doing the rounds” at different journals and publishers – submitting a manuscript to a selective journal, making the manuscript conform to journal style, going through the review process, being rejected, and then starting over. Several times before being eventually published. For this reason, we are changing our formatting criteria for the journal and no longer require BMC Research Notes authors to shorten their articles. Given the nature of much of the journal’s content to date we still encourage brevity, but by relaxing article formatting requirements we hope we are helping the journal better achieve its aims of completing the scientific record.
Similarly, we want to make the most effective use of another resource fundamental to science publishing – our peer reviewers’ time. Authors whose work is not accepted for publication in other, more selective, journals published by BioMed Central may be offered the opportunity to publish in BMC Research Notes (see, for example, ‘portability of peer review‘). With consent of authors, editors and peer reviewers, reviewer reports can be shared between journals and an expedited peer-review process is possible when publishing in BMC Research Notes.