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About

BMC Biology is an open access journal publishing outstanding research in all areas of biology, with a publication policy that combines selection for broad interest and importance with a commitment to serving authors well.

Hospitable publishing process. BMC Biology offers rapid evaluation and clear and continuous communication on the progress of your manuscript. Upon submission, our in-house editors work with an Editorial Board of leading international experts and carefully selected reviewers to ensure a high quality and constructive editorial and peer review process.

High visibility. All content is open access immediately on publication. Papers that are published in BMC Biology are featured on our website with article-level metrics and promoted via press releases, blogs and social media.

Flexible formatting. To facilitate the submission process, we are flexible with regard to the format, style and length of initial submissions. If it is more convenient to the authors, manuscripts can be uploaded as a single PDF or a Microsoft Word file with high resolution figures, figure legends and supplemental information included. The cover letter is provided separately during the submission process. Journal-specific formatting is required only once manuscripts reach the later stages of the publication process.

Portable peer review. To reduce time spent on serial submissions and iterative reviewing, BMC Biology offers to consider manuscripts on the basis of reviews received at other journals. We also support transfers of reviews obtained at BMC Biology to other journals, including those outside of BMC and Springer Nature. Learn more from our portable reviews page and Editorial.

Scoop protection. BMC Biology offers "scoop protection", meaning that if other researchers publish similar findings after submission, or post them on a preprint server, this will not be a reason for rejection. However, the submission can still be rejected on other grounds.

bioRxiv transfers. BMC Biology is happy to consider manuscripts that have been, or will be, posted on a preprint server. Authors are able to submit their manuscripts directly from bioRxiv, without having to re-upload files.

Presubmission enquiries. Authors who are seeking editorial input on whether their manuscripts would be appropriate for BMC Biology can send us a presubmission enquiry. Please send to bmcbiologyeditorial@biomedcentral.com either the full manuscript in its current form or a link to the manuscript on a preprint server (e.g. bioRxiv).

Aims and scope

BMC Biology is a broad scope journal covering all areas of biology. Our content includes research articles, new methods and tools. BMC Biology also publishes reviews, Q&A, and commentaries.

Open access

All articles published by BMC Biology are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication, without subscription charges or registration barriers. Further information about open access can be found here.

As authors of articles published in BMC Biology you are the copyright holders of your article and have granted to any third party, in advance and in perpetuity, the right to use, reproduce or disseminate your article, according to the BMC license agreement.

For those of you who are US government employees or are prevented from being copyright holders for similar reasons, BMC can accommodate non-standard copyright lines. Please contact us if further information is needed.

Data Availability Policy

BMC Biology follows BMC editorial polices, unless otherwise noted below, which are designed to support our commitment to open data sharing. Inclusion of original, uncropped gels or blots is mandatory at BMC Biology, and the full length original images should be included in the additional files.

Availability of datasets

Authors must deposit all raw data in an appropriate repository prior to peer review. If an appropriate repository does not exist, or if the available repositories do not support a confidential peer-review process, we ask authors to submit their data to a generalist repository such as figshare. A list of recommended repositories by subject area and data type can be found on the Springer Nature Recommended Repositories list. If you have questions as to the suitability of a given repository, please contact the helpdesk at researchdata@springernature.com. Supporting data must be made available to editors and peer reviewers at the time of submission for the purposes of evaluating the manuscript. Authors may use reviewer access tokens at initial submission, but all datasets must be made public prior to acceptance.

If a dataset is not able to be deposited in any of the above repositories due to legal guidelines or ethical reasons, this must be clearly stated in the “Availability of Data and Materials” section and is subject to editor approval.

Availability of research materials

BMC Biology follows the Nature Research policies for the sharing of research materials. Read these policies in full here.

A condition of publication is that authors are required to make unique materials promptly available to others without undue qualifications. It is acceptable to request reasonable payment to cover costs of distribution and reagents may be made available via commercial or non-commercial third party providers. Any restrictions on materials availability, including if materials are to be distributed by a for-profit company, must be clearly stated in the paper. As per our policy on authorship responsibilities, it is expected that the corresponding author (or relevant designated authors) will be responsible for materials availability unless otherwise stated.

Availability of computer code and software

Authors must make available, to editors and reviewers, any previously unreported custom computer code or algorithm used to generate the data presented in the manuscript. All software or methods papers must be shared on a repository such as Github in combination with a DOI-providing repository such as Zenodo to provide permanent access to a usable instance of code (how to archive GitHub code with Zenodohow to archive GitHub code with figshare). Code with an assigned DOI must be formally cited and listed in the References section of the manuscript. License information for the software or method should also be stated clearly in the “Availability of Data and Materials” section and on the repository site.

For all studies using custom code in the generation or processing of the described data, a statement must be included under the Declaration section “Availability of Data and Materials", indicating whether and how the code can be accessed, including any restrictions to access. Authors may supply code as Supplementary Information files, particularly when code must be kept private during peer review. Before final publication, however, authors are encouraged to archive their code in a public repository that can assign it a DOI, such as figshare.

Any reason that would preclude the need for code or algorithm sharing will be evaluated by the editors who reserve the right to decline the paper if important code is unavailable.

Data Citation

BMC endorses the Force 11 Data Citation Principles and requires that all publicly available datasets be fully referenced in the reference list with an accession number or unique identifier such as a digital object identifier (DOI).

Authors are required to formally cite any datasets stored in external repositories that are mentioned within their manuscript before acceptance, including the main datasets that are the focus of the submission, as well as any other datasets that have been used in the work. For previously published datasets, we ask authors to cite both the related research articles and the datasets themselves. All methods, software, and code developed for the manuscript should include a citation on the reference list.

All Springer Nature journals, including BMC Biology, are participants in the Initiative for Open Citations. As such, data citations are included in full in the formal reference list, exported to Crossref and are openly available.

An author list and title for the dataset should be included in the data citation, and should reflect the author(s) and dataset title recorded at the repository. If author or title is not recorded by the repository, these should not be included in the data citation. The name of the data-hosting repository, URL to the dataset and year the data were made available are required for all data citations. For DOI-based (e.g. figshare or Dryad) repositories the DOI URL should be used. For repositories using accessions (e.g. SRA or GEO) an identifiers.org URL should be used where available. For first submissions, authors may choose to include just the accession number. BMC Biology staff will provide further guidance after peer-review and the journal will verify the dataset citation prior to publication. Please refer to the following examples of data citation for guidance:

Zhang, Q-L., Chen, J-Y., Lin, L-B., Wang, F., Guo, J., Deng, X-Y. Characterization of ladybird Henosepilachna vigintioctopunctata transcriptomes across various life stages. figshare https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4064768.v3 (2018).

NCBI Sequence Read Archive https://identifiers.org/ncbi/insdc.sra:SRP121625 (2017).

Barbosa, P., Usie, A. and Ramos, A. M. Quercus suber isolate HL8, whole genome shotgun sequencing project. GenBank https://identifiers.org/ncbi/insdc:PKMF00000000 (2018).

DNA Data Bank of Japan https://trace.ddbj.nig.ac.jp/DRASearch/submission?acc=DRA004814 (2016).

Article-processing charges

Open access publishing is not without costs. BMC Biology therefore levies an article-processing charge of £2290.00/$3290.00/€2690.00 for each article accepted for publication, plus VAT or local taxes where applicable.

If the corresponding author's institution participates in our open access membership program, some or all of the publication cost may be covered (more details available on the membership page). We routinely waive charges for authors from low-income countries. For other countries, article-processing charge waivers or discounts are granted on a case-by-case basis to authors with insufficient funds. Authors can request a waiver or discount during the submission process. For further details, see our article-processing charge page.

BMC provides a free open access funding support service to help authors discover and apply for article processing charge funding. Visit our OA funding and policy support page to view our list of research funders and institutions that provide funding for APCs, and to learn more about our email support service.

For more information on APCs please see our Journal Pricing FAQs

Indexing services

All articles published in BMC Biology are included in:

  • Biological Abstracts
  • BIOSIS
  • CABI
  • CAS
  • Citebase
  • DOAJ
  • Embase
  • EmBiology
  • Global Health
  • MEDLINE
  • OAIster
  • PubMed
  • PubMed Central
  • Science Citation Index
  • Science Citation Index Expanded
  • SCImago
  • Scopus
  • SOCOLAR
  • Zetoc
  • Zoological Record

The full text of all articles is deposited in digital archives around the world to guarantee long-term digital preservation. You can also access all articles published by BioMed Central on SpringerLink.


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.

Editorial policies

All manuscripts submitted to BMC Biology should adhere to BioMed Central's editorial policies.

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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.

Citing articles in BMC Biology

Articles in BMC Biology should be cited in the same way as articles in a traditional journal. Because articles are not printed, they do not have page numbers; instead, they are given a unique article number.

Article citations follow this format:

Authors: Title. BMC Biol [year], [volume number]:[article number].

e.g. Roberts LD, Hassall DG, Winegar DA, Haselden JN, Nicholls AW, Griffin JL: Increased hepatic oxidative metabolism distinguishes the action of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor delta from Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor gamma in the Ob/Ob mouse. BMC Biol 2009, 1:115.

refers to article 115 from Volume 1 of the journal.

Appeals and complaints

Authors who wish to appeal a rejection or make a complaint should follow the procedure outlined in the BMC Editorial Policies.

Benefits of publishing with BMC

High visibility

BMC Biology's open access policy allows maximum visibility of articles published in the journal as they are available to a wide, global audience. 

Speed of publication

BMC Biology offers a fast publication schedule whilst maintaining rigorous peer review; all articles must be submitted online, and peer review is managed fully electronically (articles are distributed in PDF form, which is automatically generated from the submitted files). Articles will be published with their final citation after acceptance, in both fully browsable web form, and as a formatted PDF.

Flexibility

Online publication in BMC Biology gives you the opportunity to publish large datasets, large numbers of color illustrations and moving pictures, to display data in a form that can be read directly by other software packages so as to allow readers to manipulate the data for themselves, and to create all relevant links (for example, to PubMed, to sequence and other databases, and to other articles).

Promotion and press coverage

Articles published in BMC Biology are included in article alerts and regular email updates. Some may be highlighted on BMC Biology’s pages and on the BMC homepage.

In addition, articles published in BMC Biology may be promoted by press releases to the general or scientific press. These activities increase the exposure and number of accesses for articles published in BMC Biology. A list of articles recently press-released by journals published by BMC is available here.

Copyright

As an author of an article published in BMC Biology you retain the copyright of your article and you are free to reproduce and disseminate your work (for further details, see the BMC license agreement).

For further information about the advantages of publishing in a journal from BMC, please click here.

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  • Announcements

    BMC Biology is recruiting new Guest Editors

    We are looking for Guest Editors for our upcoming article Collections in the fields of cell biology, neuroscience and plant pathology. If you are interested in becoming a Guest Editor please see this page.

    Portable peer review

    BMC Biology supports portable peer review by sharing reviews and evaluating papers based on existing reports. Learn more here.

    COVID-19 and impact on peer review

    As a result of the significant disruption that is being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic we are very aware that many researchers will have difficulty in meeting the timelines associated with our peer review process during normal times.  Please do let us know if you need additional time. Our systems will continue to remind you of the original timelines but we intend to be highly flexible at this time.

  • BMC Biology is a member of the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium.

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