Review Policy

The policy outlined on this page applies to Biojournal of Science and Technology. GNP publishes many other journals, each of which has separate publication policies described on its website.

 

General information

The following types of contribution to Biojournal of Science and Technology are peer-reviewed: Articles, Letters, Brief Communications, Communications Arising, Technical Reports, Analysis, Reviews, Perspectives, Progress articles and Insight articles. All forms of published correction may also be peer-reviewed at the discretion of the editors.

Other contributed articles are not usually peer-reviewed. Nevertheless, articles published in these sections, particularly if they present technical information, may be peer-reviewed at the discretion of the editors.

 

Online manuscript review

We ask peer-reviewers to submit their reports via our secure online system by following the link provided in the editor’s email. We ask peer-reviewers to keep in mind that every paper that is accepted means that another good paper must be rejected. To be published in a GNP journal, a paper should meet four general criteria:

  • Provides strong evidence for its conclusions.
  • Should have Novel findings.
  • Important to scientists in the specific field.
  • In general, to be acceptable, a paper should represent an advance in understanding likely to influence thinking in the field. There should be a discernible reason why the work deserves the visibility of publication in a GNP journal rather than the best of the specialist journals.

 

The review process

All submitted manuscripts are read by the editorial staff. To save time for authors and peer-reviewers, only those papers that seem most likely to meet our editorial criteria are sent for formal review. Those papers judged by the editors to be of insufficient general interest or otherwise inappropriate are rejected promptly without external review (although these decisions may be based on informal advice from specialists in the field).

Manuscripts judged to be of potential interest to our readership are sent for formal review, typically to two or three reviewers, but sometimes more if special advice is needed.

The editors then make a decision based on the reviewers’ advice, from among several possibilities:

  • Accept, with or without editorial revisions
  • Invite the authors to revise their manuscript to address specific concerns before a final decision is reached
  • Reject, but indicate to the authors that further work might justify a resubmission
  • Reject outright, typically on grounds of specialist interest, lack of novelty, insufficient conceptual advance or major technical and/or interpretational problems

 

Reviewers are always welcome to recommend a particular course of action, but they should bear in mind that the other reviewers of a particular paper may have different technical expertise and/or views, and the editors may have to make a decision based on conflicting advice.

 

Editorial decisions are not a matter of counting votes or numerical rank assessments, and we do not always follow the majority recommendation. We try to evaluate the strength of the arguments raised by each reviewer and by the authors, and we may also consider other information not available to either party.

We may return to reviewers for further advice, particularly in cases where they disagree with each other, or where the authors believe they have been misunderstood on points of fact.

When reviewers agree to assess a paper, we consider this a commitment to review subsequent revisions. However, editors will not send a resubmitted paper back to the reviewers if it seems that the authors have not made a serious attempt to address the criticisms.

 

Selecting peer-reviewers

Reviewer selection is critical to the publication process, and we base our choice on many factors, including expertise, reputation, specific recommendations and our own previous experience of a reviewer’s characteristics.

 

Writing the review

The primary purpose of the review is to provide the editors with the information needed to reach a decision but the review should also instruct the authors on how they can strengthen their paper to the point where it may be acceptable.

The ideal review should answer the following questions:

  • Who will be interested in reading the paper, and why?
  • What are the main claims of the paper and how significant are they?
  • Are the claims convincing? If not, what further evidence is needed?
  • Are there other experiments or work that would strengthen the paper further?
  • How much would further work improve it, and how difficult would this be? Would it take a long time?
  • Are the claims appropriately discussed in the context of previous literature?
  • If the manuscript is unacceptable, is the study sufficiently promising to encourage the authors to resubmit?
  • If the manuscript is unacceptable but promising, what specific work is needed to make it acceptable?
  • Is the manuscript clearly written? If not, how could it be made more clear or accessible to nonspecialists?
  • Could the manuscript be shortened? (Because of pressure on space in our printed pages we aim to publish manuscripts as short as is consistent with a persuasive message.)
  • Should the authors be asked to provide supplementary methods or data to accompany the paper online? (Such data might include source code for modelling studies, detailed experimental protocols or mathematical derivations.)
  • Have they provided sufficient methodological detail that the experiments could be reproduced?
  • Is the statistical analysis of the data sound, and does it conform to the journal’s guidelines?
  • Are there any special ethical concerns arising from the use of human or other animal subjects?

 

Peer-review publication policies

All contributions submitted to BJST that are selected for peer-review are sent to at least one, but usually two or more, independent reviewers, selected by the editors. Authors are welcome to suggest suitable independent reviewers and may also request that the journal excludes one or two individuals or laboratories. The journal sympathetically considers such requests and usually honors them, but the editor’s decision on the choice of referees is final.

 

Ethics and security

Our journal editors may seek advice about submitted papers not only from technical reviewers but also on any aspect of a paper that raises concerns. These may include, for example, ethical issues or issues of data or materials access. All publishing decisions, the ultimate decision whether to publish is the responsibility of the editor of the journal concerned.