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Unbiased independent critical assessment is of vital importance in scholarly publishing, and BiO adheres to The Company of Biologists' editorial principles and to the guidelines on publishing objective and unbiased scientific information set by COPE (the Committee on Publication Ethics). For more information on the principles that are of relevance to reviewers (including confidentiality and competing interests), please visit our journal policies page. Information on our editorial process can be found here. Further details on different article types can be found here.
BiO encourages the involvement of postdocs and other early career scientists in the peer review process. We simply ask that: the name of the co-reviewer is reported to the Editor; the same rules of confidentiality and conflict of interest be applied; there is a genuine mentoring process; and the senior invited reviewer takes responsibility for the report delivered to the journal.
To make manuscript submission as easy as possible for authors, BiO has recently introduced a format-free submission policy, meaning that authors no longer have to adhere to journal formatting guidelines when they first submit a manuscript for peer review. We still encourage authors to format their manuscripts for ease of viewing by reviewers and editors by using double-line spacing and inserting line numbers but this is no longer a mandatory requirement. As an author, we are sure you will appreciate this new policy; however, as a reviewer, if you have trouble viewing a specific manuscript, please contact the Editorial Office and we will ask the authors to provide a more user-friendly version.
We are always glad to receive comments and suggestions from reviewers. Thank you for generously contributing to the reviewing process, and for your time and effort in sustaining BiO as a high-quality research journal.
Guidelines for reviewing Research Articles and Methods & Techniques papers
With your help, BiO aspires to promote a peer-review system that is timely, thorough, constructive and fair. It aims to provide rapid peer reviewed publication of scientifically sound observations and conclusions. Reviewers are asked to confirm that the experimental work is properly conducted and that the conclusions are adequately supported by the data. We do not require any assessment of the significance, relative importance or impact of a paper. However, the paper should clearly address a non-trivial scientific question.
To enable a rapid and straightforward decision on each manuscript, we ask reviewers to simply address the following criteria:
- The experimental research component is technically and ethically sound. The Materials & Methods, including statistical analysis, are appropriate to the investigation and have been correctly conducted and described such that they could be independently reproduced. The paper should clearly address a non-trivial scientific question. Experiments reporting only preliminary data or with insufficient sample sizes will not be published. Similarly, the work should adhere to all ethical standards for the conduct of research that involves animal or human subjects.
- The conclusions are each supported by the data. The conclusions drawn are a logical and realistic interpretation of the results obtained.
- The title and the summary of the manuscript are supported by the conclusions. There are no 'eye-catching' headline claims that mislead the reader in regard of the detailed content of the paper.
- The figures and tables are adequate. The reader can understand the content and purpose of all graphical and tabular elements, and these are appropriately referenced within the text.
- The language is clear and accessible. The reader can understand the aims, scope and outcomes of the research as written.
BiO asks reviewers of Methods & Techniques papers to assess whether the technique is sound. It should, at minimum, describe the advance of an existing technique. Methods should be described in sufficient detail to allow others to replicate and verify the protocol. Validation of the approach can be included, as can application of the technique to an area of research. All other standard reviewing guidelines that relate to Research Articles, including the article’s length, supplementary material and statistical analysis, also apply to Methods & Techniques papers.