￼￼￼Inside scientific publishing
Scooping protection and rapid publication
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Earlier in the year, we started a series of arti- cles in EMBOencounters to inform readers about some of the developments in scientif-
ic publishing. The previous article described the ‘Transparent Review’ process used by The EMBO Journal, EMBO reports, Molecular Systems Biology and EMBO Molecular Medicine. It emphasized how the journals use referee cross-commenting to ensure informed and fair editorial decisions that are transparent and helpful for authors. It also explained the value of publishing referee reports
All the EMBO papers where authors opted for
this process are now marked with a diamond.
These and other key procedures have been included in a formal description of The EMBO Transparent Publishing Process for all four EMBO publications (see Figure 1 and journal websites). Here, I describe the processes developed and used by the EMBO publications that allow authors to publish their best work fast, efficiently and without the constant concern of losing out to competitors.
An important issue for authors in the biosciences is often pressure from competition with other research groups. Several components of The EMBO Transparent Publishing Process address this: a scooping protection policy, and
various steps to ensure rapid handling of the manuscript and to avoid protracted revisions. EMBO editors rapidly respond to submissions. The initial editorial decision ensures that only those manuscripts enter full peer review that have a high chance of acceptance in a timely manner, and referees are asked to judge the work that has been submitted, rather than to suggest what other experiments could have been done, or what follow-up work should be performed. If additional experimental evidence is required to support the claims, we request that referees focus on essential changes and consider the feasibility of the experiments that they suggest. Revisions are invited only if they are possible in a realistic time frame. Indeed, almost all of the manuscripts returned to authors for revision end up being published, usually within four months, which includes revision and publication time. Very few manuscripts undergo more than one major round of revision, as the editors request and moni- tor that referees do not raise new non-essential points after the first revision.
It may happen during the course of the review process or during revision that a similar study appears elsewhere. At EMBO publications, simi- lar findings published by others during review or revision are not a criterion for the rejection of a paper. This allows authors to receive the credit they deserve for the independent scientific find- ings reported. Note that while we suggest revi- sion times these can be discussed with the editors
– the overriding goal is to ensure time for thor- ough, essential revision.
The EMBO Transparent Publishing Process helps ensure that excellent research can be shared with colleagues in a timely manner. It is the role of scientific journals to aid the scientific community, not to slow down research progress, and we hope that other journals will adopt simi- lar strategies.
EMBO Head of Scientific Publications
Further information on the EMBO Transparent Editorial Process is available at www.nature.com/emboj/about/process.html
The EMBO Transparent Publishing Process
￼10 Core Principles
Papers rarely undergo more
than one major round of revision; more than 90% of invited revisions are published.
Similar findings published by others during review or revision are not a criterion for rejection.
Authors can elect to transfer manuscripts with referee reports between the EMBO publications.
Authors can publish source data alongside figures. Supplementary information is restricted to essential data supporting key claims.
Detailed editorial decisions supported by the Editorial Board. Authors can discuss manuscripts with editors at any stage in the process.
Cite the Source
Reference to specific findings should cite the primary literature, not reviews. Journals have unlimited reference lists.
Referee reports are published in full; no confidential comments; authors can exclude referees.
Referees comment on each other’s report before the editor makes
No journal-specific formatting is required at submission.
Editorial decisions on average within a week, referee comments within a month, publication possible in 2 weeks.
EMBOencounters | Autumn 2012 | firstname.lastname@example.org