Policies

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.

BMJ Open Science follows TOP Guidelines.

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.

There is an article publishing charge of £1500 (+VAT if applicable) for accepted papers.

Article fees have been waived during the launch period.

After the launch period, our standard waiver policy will apply.

Open data & methods

BMJ Open Science has an open data policy and follows the TOP (Transparency and Openness Promotion) guidelines. This means the datasets, analytical methods (including statistical code) and research materials used in your study should be openly available.


Our submission system will prompt you to complete one of the following Data Availability Statements:

  1. Data available in a public, open access repository 
  2. Data is uploaded as supplementary information (Please consider option 1 instead)
  3. Data available upon request
  4. Data available from a third party and not publicly available
  5. Data Sharing not applicable (there is no data in this work)

For options 1, 3, and 4 we will ask you to declare access information for the data sets.

We will also ask, “Is there sufficient information in the data for an independent researcher to reproduce the reported results”? If you answer ‘Yes’ to this question and your data is in a public, open access repository then we will award you with an Open Data Badge from the Center for Open Science. We offer an Open Materials Badge for applying the same criteria to your methods.

Data should be deposited in a recognised, subject-specific repository and have a persistent identifier (e.g. a DOI or accession number). Fairsharing.org provides a useful list of repositories. Supplementary files should not be used for original datasets.

Datasets, code, etc., deposited externally should be cited in the references as well as in the data availability statement.

Exceptions to this policy will be rare and will be granted only at the Editor-in-Chief’s discretion. Please include a request for an exemption from the policy with your submission or contact the editorial office before submitting your paper for further advice if you think you cannot meet our policy. If there are any restrictions on the reuse of the data please state these during submission and in the data availability statement.

Open review

BMJ Open Science operates under open peer review. This means reviewer reports and names are published alongside accepted articles. 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 kindly ask 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. To read the Journal’s detailed guidelines please see our policies page.

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?