BMC Biology has become the first dedicated biology journal to accept Registered Reports. This innovative approach to publishing allows authors to submit their rationale and methods for peer-review before any experiments are conducted. Articles that pass peer-review will be accepted in principle meaning that, as long as the study is completed in accordance with the pre-registered methodology, the article will be published following a second round of peer-review.
Miranda Robertson, Chief Editor of BMC Biology, said: “BMC Biology has made the decision to publish Registered Reports because we believe the journal has a part to play in making science more robust and transparent. Acceptance in principle ahead of the experiments is an acknowledgement that if the question is important enough, a negative result is as important as a positive one.”
Registered Reports shift the emphasis from research results, to the scientific questions being asked and the strength of the study design. The goal is to make it easier for high-quality research to be published regardless of the outcome, allowing researchers to take a proactive approach towards improving transparency and reproducibility in science. Authors will also benefit from having their experimental designs peer-reviewed, providing the opportunity to respond to expert feedback prior to conducting experiments.
Registered Reports differ from initiatives such as results-free peer review, which is being piloted with the journal BMC Psychology, where the experiments are conducted as usual but the peer reviewers are blinded to the results. Both of these initiatives are important options that BioMed Central is testing through specific journals to better understand their impact on the scientific record.
BMC Biology will be the first of five BioMed Central journals to embrace Registered Reports, with four other journals to follow later this year. The Registered Reports publishing format is supported by the Center for Open Science (COS).
Chris Chambers, Chair of the COS Registered Reports Committee, said: “We are delighted that BMC Biology has opted to include registered reports as part of their publishing model. As the first specialised biology journal to do so, this is a great step forward for reproducibility and transparency in the life sciences. The Registered Reports initiative minimises bias by embracing the simple philosophy that the results of a scientific study should be irrelevant to whether or not the study gets published.”
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1. BMC Biology is the flagship biology journal of the BMC series, pioneer of open access publishing. Our scope includes research and methodology articles, review, Q&A and comment, across all of biology and with a publication policy that combines selection for special interest and importance with a commitment to serving authors well.
2. BioMed Central is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Nature, a major new force in scientific, scholarly, professional and educational publishing, created in May 2015 through the combination of Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Macmillan Education and Springer Science+Business Media. www.biomedcentral.com