Policies

Open access
Article publishing charge (APC)
Open data
Data sharing FAQs
Open materials and methods
Open review
ORCID®
Preprints
Publication and research ethics
Animal studies

Biomedical journals are a pivotal stakeholder in the research cycle and have the potential to improve substantially the reproducibility of methods, data and interpretations of biomedical research. We are committed to these improvements.


Open access

All articles will be published under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY). We ask authors to agree to our Licence to Publish in our article submission system.


Article publishing charge (APC)

There is an article publishing charge of £1500 (+VAT if applicable) for accepted papers. This covers the cost of publishing articles and enables us to grant a number of requested waivers, where publishing funds are not available.

We are also proud to waive the Registered Reports publishing charge for PhD students as a way of embedding preregistation into the preclinical research workflow.


Open data

BMJ Open Science promotes data sharing and has an open data policy. This means that the data underlying the findings in your article should be made publicly available no later than when the article is published.

In exceptional circumstances, where there are restrictions on the availability of data, the Editor may agree to publish an article without publicly available data so long as the location, availability, and reason for restriction of the data is made clear in the article. A request for an exception must be made at submission or by contacting our editorial office in advance if you think you cannot comply with our policy.

The journal follows the TOP (Transparency and Openness Promotion) guidelines and promotes the FAIR data principles.

Data sharing FAQs

What data do I need to share?

We ask that the minimum data required to reproduce the results presented in the associated article should be made available. This may be raw or processed data and examples include (but are not limited to) gene sequences, microarray data, spreadsheets, survey results, interviews, etc. Please use open file types where possible e.g. CSV rather than XLSX.

We request that all code needed to reproduce the results are made available. We encourage deposition in a publicly available repository, such as GitHub or Code Ocean, which will provide a persistent link. This should be referenced in the text and included as part of the Data Availability Statement.

We strongly encourage analysis methods that utilize a command line, as this captures every step of an analysis. However, if code is not available (for example, the analysis was completed within a point and click system, such as GraphPad), then in addition to a detailed description of the analysis, files generated with point and click systems should be made available and be deposited in general repositories such as those detailed below.

Where can I deposit my data?

Data should be deposited in recognised, subject-specific repository, which provides a persistent identifier (e.g. a DOI or accession number), such as GenBank or OpenNeuro, where relevant and available.  

There are also a number of recognised, general repositories in which to deposit data, for example, DRYAD, OSF, FigShare and Zenodo. FAIRsharing and re3data.org provide a useful list of repositories.

Can I upload data as supplementary information?

Data files may not be uploaded as supplementary material. Data hidden in supplementary files are not easily discoverable, do not have unique permanent identifiers, and are not protected in perpetuity, unlike the article.

Can I embargo my data?

We acknowledge researchers’ rights to reasonable first use of data and so we are happy to support an embargo of the data up to the point of publication. However, the data must be seen by the Editors and referees prior to acceptance of the article and the author must undertake to make the data publicly available prior to publication of the article.

Data availability statement

Upon submission you will be asked to choose from the following data availability statements:

  • Data are available in a public, open access repository
  • There are no data in this work

You will be also be asked to add in the name of the repository(/ies) containing the data and the associated persistent links to the data. The Data Availability Statement will automatically be placed at the end of the article for you.

The following choices are to be used only in exceptional circumstances, as agreed with the Editor, and should include a full description of why the data are not available.

  • Data are available upon request
  • Data obtained from a third party

How to cite data?
Please follow the Datacite advice when citing datasets in reference lists and use the following format:
Creator (Publication Year). Title. Version. Publisher. ResourceType. Identifier
All data should be cited, where appropriate, in the text of the article.

Open Science Foundation (OSF) Open Data Badges

If you have made your data publicly available, and you and one of our Editors are satisfied that you have shared sufficient information in the data for an independent researcher to reproduce the reported results then you will receive an OSF Open Data badge.

Enforcement of the policy

All articles should have associated publicly available data, unless an exception has been granted. Editors check that the data are available but we do not currently perform peer review on that data. In the event of embargo, data must still be made available to the reviewers/editorial team prior to review. Authors must agree to make the data publicly available no later than the time of online publication.


Open materials and methods

To encourage the replicability and reproducibility of the literature we encourage  that the materials and methods used to be made publicly available.

Materials

BMJ is pleased to be part of the Resource Identification Initiative, a project aimed at clearly identifying key biological resources used in the course of scientific research. This project helps address concerns of reproducibility by providing unique searchable identifiers, Research Resource Identifiers (RRIDs), for critical reagents and tools. RRIDs can be used to link readers to external resources, and they also enable search engines to return all papers in which a particular antibody, organism, or tool was used. We see these as important steps toward ensuring reproducible methods and providing critical data to help researchers identify suitable reagents and tools. We encourage authors to include RRIDs in their manuscripts.

Methods

We encourage authors to deposit laboratory protocols in protocols.io or other recognised repositories, where they will be assigned their own DOIs. Please cite this DOI both in your Methods section and as a reference at the end of the article.


Open review

BMJ Open Science operates under open peer review. This means reviewer reports and names are published alongside accepted articles under the same licence as the article (CC BY). Open peer review promotes transparency and accountability for peer reviewers, editors, and authors.

We designate reviews with a DOI and reviewers have the ability to upload the review to their ORCID profile. For more information about reviewing for BMJ Open Science please see here.


ORCID ®

It is mandatory for submitting authors to have an ORCID upon revision. We believe that connecting researchers, articles, and institutions through linked open data will have many benefits for scholarly communications. We fully support the ORCID initiative.


Preprints

BMJ Open Science fully supports and encourages the archiving of preprints (early versions/first drafts of manuscripts) in any recognised, not-for-profit, preprint server. We have a partnership with bioRxiv that allows authors to directly submit to the journal from bioRxiv. We are also currently developing the ability for authors to be able to deposit a preprint to bioRxiv directly from the submission system of BMJ Open Science

Upon submission to a preprint server, authors are sometimes asked to choose a licence, for example, CC BY or CC BY NC. At BMJ Open Science we place no restrictions on the licence chosen when posting a preprint version of work.

To create a linked, transparent journey for readers, if your article is accepted for publication in BMJ Open Science we request that you add the following statement to your preprint version:

“This article has been accepted for publication in [insert full citation] following peer review and can also be viewed on the journal’s website at [insert DOI].”

In return, as part of our commitment to transparency, we will also point from our articles to any preprint version that we are made aware of, so long as it has a persistent identifier (e.g. a DOI).

For more information on self-archiving, please see our policy here.


Publication and research ethics

BMJ Open Science and its Editorial Board adhere to the highest possible industry standards concerning publication ethics. BMJ is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics. Please see here for our group publication and research ethics policies.


Animal studies

All material published in BMJ Open Science must adhere to high ethical standards concerning animal welfare.

Manuscripts will be considered for publication only if the work described:

  • Follows international, national and institutional guidelines for the humane treatment of animals and complies with relevant legislation.
  • Has been approved by the ethics review committee at the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted where such a committee exists;
  • For studies involving non-human primates, demonstrates that the standards meet those of the NC3Rs primates guidelines

Before acceptance of a manuscript, to verify compliance with the above policies, the authors must:

  • Confirm that legal and ethical requirements have been met with regards to the humane treatment of animals described in the study;
  • Specify in the Materials and Methods section the ethical review committee approval process and the international, national, and/or institutional guidelines followed.

The Editor retains the right to reject manuscripts on the basis of ethical or animal welfare concerns. Papers may be rejected on ethical grounds if the study involves unnecessary pain, distress, suffering or lasting harm to animals, or if the severity of the experimental procedure does not appear to be justified by the value of the work presented. We ask if the work would be likely to gain approval in Europe under the European Directive 2010/63/EU ‘protection of animals used for scientific purposes’.

Manuscripts describing animal research must include a justification for the use of animals, and for the particular species used. It should also provide details of animal welfare, including information about housing, feeding and environmental enrichment, a description of steps taken to minimise suffering, humane endpoints, and method of euthanasia. If the study has any implication for the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement), these should be discussed in enough details so that readers can implement the 3Rs in similar experiments

Assuming that the minimum standards for consideration have been reached, peer reviewers will be encouraged to consider the following:

  • Are the benefits of the research on human health clear?
  • Could the information provided by the study have been obtained by any other methods?
  • Were the optimum number of animals used to address the research question?
  • Was pain, suffering and distress (if any) reduced to the minimum possible?