BSP operates a rigorous editorial processes and peer-review. In all cases this is a double-blind assessment with at least two independent reviewers and a final acceptance/rejection decision made by the Editor-in-Chief.
The editorial office handles all manuscripts confidential and the peer-review process applied is a double-blind review process. By using the double-blind peer-review principle we can assure maximum confidentiality and minimize bias-orientated peer-review. After the receipt of a manuscript draft for publication, the editorial processes presented below are as follows:
Pre-check (desk-check prior to assignment of manuscript to editor)
After manuscript receipt, the managing editor checks the manuscript draft on:
- Suitability of the manuscript to the journal/section/special issue;
- Desk-rejection of poor technical manuscripts (English language as well layout) or out-of-scope.
Qualitative peer-review needs at least two or three peer-review reports. We invite qualified reviewers from our database or new reviewers identified by web searches for related articles are invited. Authors can also recommend potential reviewers (max. 3). Journal editors will check to make sure there are no conflicts of interest before contacting those reviewers, and will not consider those with competing interests. Peer-reviewers need to confirm that no conflicts of interest exist when submitting the peer-review report.
The following checks apply to all reviewers:
- That they hold no conflicts of interest with the authors
- That they have a PhD
- They must have recent publications in the field of the submitted paper;
- They are reviewing a manuscript for a BSP journal.
Peer-reviewers have 14 days to write their review report. For the review of a revised manuscript, reviewers need to provide their reports within one week. In both cases, extensions are possible on request.
Paper acceptance is only possible by an academic editor. BSP staff can only reject papers: it would create a clear conflict of interest if they were permitted to accept a paper as their salary is paid for by the APC of accepted articles.
Authors can recommend potential reviewers. Journal editors will check to make sure there are no conflict of interests before contacting those reviewers. Reviewers need to declare that they don’t have any conflicts of interest. Authors can also enter the names of potential peer reviewers they wish to exclude from consideration in the peer review of their manuscript, during the initial submission progress. The editorial team will respect these requests so long as this does not interfere with the objective and thorough assessment of the submission.
Only an academic editor is elegible to make acceptance decisions on manuscripts, after peer review. When making an editorial decision on a manuscript, following aspects will be checked:
- The suitability of selected reviewers;
- Adequacy of reviewer comments and author response;
- Overall scientific quality of the paper.
The decision may be as follows: accept, reject and revision (minor or major).
If there is any suspicion that a paper may contain plagiarism, the editorial office will check using the industry standard iThenticate software.
Reviewers make recommendations, and Editors-in-Chief are free to disagree with the reviewer’s view. If they do so, they will justify their choice and inform the corresponding author.
Editorial independence is extremely important. In particular, a paper is not published without the agreement of an academic editor. BSP staff do not advise academic editors about accepting or rejecting articles.
Editorial board members (including Editors-in-Chief) are excluded from processing their own academic work. Their manuscript is always assigned to at least two independent outside reviewers. Other editorial board members that do not have a conflict of interest with the author will make the final decision on the manuscript.
If the recommendation for a manuscript is minor revision, is the author usually requested to revise the paper before referring to the external editor. Articles may or may not be sent to reviewers after author revision, dependent on whether the reviewer requested to see the revised version and the wishes of the Academic editor. Apart from in exceptional circumstances, we allow a maximum of two rounds of major revision per manuscript.
BSP carries out production on all manuscripts, including language editing, copy editing and conversion to PDF, HTML and XML. Language editing is carried out by professional English editing staff or external (native) English professionals. Authors are also free to use commercial English editing service, or hire a native English-speaking individual.
BSP follows the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. All our journals follow COPE’s procedures for dealing with potentially scientific misconduct by authors, reviewers or editors.
Ethical issues raised by readers of the journal will be investigated by the editorial office following procedures recommended by COPE. Disputes on the validity of research reported in published papers can be settled by the editorial board. For disputes around authorship, data ownership, author misconduct, etc., where necessary we will refer to external organizations such as a university ethics committee. We always ask authors to respond to any substantiated allegations made against them.
To manage authorship disputes we follow COPE guidelines, particularly How to spot authorship problems [PDF]. Typically, if all authors agree, the authorship can be updated via a Correction. If not, we require an authoritative statement from the authors’ institution(s) about who qualifies for authorship.
Publishing Standards and Guidelines
BSP follows the following publishing standards and guidelines:
ICMJE: Medically related BSP journals follow the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. The majority of the recommendations are not specific to medical journals and are followed by all BSP journals.
ARRIVE contains guidelines for reporting in vivo experiments. Authors are recommended to verify their work against the checklist and include it with their submission.
Compliance with the standards and guidelines above is taken into account in making a final decision and any discrepancies should be clearly explained by the authors. We recommend that authors highlight relevant guidelines in their cover letter.