Reviewer guidelines

Open peer review

BMJ Open Science uses open (non-blind) peer review. As a reviewer for BMJ Open Science you will know whose work you are reviewing and you must agree to your reviews being provided in full to the authors with your name. Reviews of published papers will be posted online alongside the article. Confidential comments to the editor are only permitted when a reviewer has a serious concern about an ethical aspect of the work.

The role of reviewers

BMJ Open Science asks reviewers to complete structured review forms with space for further comments also provided. We expect reviewers to focus on the standard of the scientific reporting and analysis. Reviewers will not be asked for your judgement on the novelty or importance of the article nor will you be asked to predict its future impact or citations.

Consensus peer review and reviewer acknowledgement

BMJ Open Science editors have the option to invite reviewers to collaborate on a discussion of the article when they have further questions or would like to reconcile divergent reviews. We hope that reviewers will find this an engaging and stimulating aspect of reviewing for BMJ Open Science. To further help reviewers receive acknowledgement for their work, reviews of published papers will have DOIs assigned for ease of linking from online profiles, CVs, etc.

Animal studies

When reviewing animal studies, reviewers should 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?