Peer review in scientific publications - Science and Technology Committee Contents

Supplementary written evidence submitted by BioMed Central (PR 74a)

"What training does BioMed Central provide for its editors and how often is this refreshed?"


In-house professional editorial staff who make decisions on manuscripts, including the Editors responsible for BMC Biology, BMC Medicine, Genome Biology and Genome Medicine, are trained as scientists or clinicians, usually educated to PhD or MD level, and have extensive editorial experience with decision-making on peer-reviewed content. They work closely with editorial boards and leading scientists across various biomedical disciplines in order to stay abreast with key scientific developments and initiatives that might affect editorial policies, including for example data deposition policies. Junior editors on those teams are trained and closely supervised by experienced colleagues on an ongoing basis; decisions on manuscripts on the basis of referees' advice usually involve several members of the team.

BioMed Central's academic Editors-in-Chief usually have had previous editorial experience with other journals before they are recruited to lead a journal within the so-called independent journal portfolio; some might have been editors of their journals for some time before they were transferred to BioMed Central from another publisher. Training for academic editors is provided in the form of extensive written guidelines detailing basic steps and criteria that need to be applied in order to ensure a thorough peer-review process (see for a general overview of basic criteria), as well as various documents illustrating BioMed Central's editorial policies. These documents are continuously updated, and changes in editorial policies or the availability of new guidelines, such as those developed by the Committee of Publication Ethics, of which BioMed Central is an active member, are communicated regularly to external editors via their contacts within the in-house editorial teams. The in-house editorial staff also support and advise external editors on specific issues, such as ethical concerns, arising during the peer review. An annual conference for external editors offers presentations and workshops that provide further training; presentations and training material developed at this conference are made available to all editors after the conference.

Dr Michaela Torkar

Editorial Director

BioMed Central

June 2011

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© Parliamentary copyright 2011
Prepared 28 July 2011