The Research & Reviews: Research Journal of Biology editors may seek advice about submitted papers not only from technical reviewers but also on any aspect of a paper that raises concerns. These may include, for example, ethical issues or issues of data or materials access. Very occasionally, concerns may also relate to the implications to society of publishing a paper, including threats to security. In such circumstances, advice will usually be sought simultaneously with the technical peer-review process. As in all publishing decisions, the ultimate decision whether to publish is the responsibility of the editor of the journal concerned.
Authors of any paper describing agents or technologies whose misuse may pose a risk must complete the dual use research of concern section. This provides an opportunity not only to highlight potential hazards, but also to explain the precautions that have been taken and the benefits of publishing the research. The Reporting Summary is made available to editors, reviewers and expert advisors during manuscript assessment, and is published with all accepted manuscripts.
We have established an editorial monitoring group to oversee the consideration of papers with biosecurity concerns. The monitoring group includes the Editor-in-Chief of the journal; the Head of Editorial Policy is responsible for maintaining a network of advisors on biosecurity issues.
Duties of Editors:
Editors and editorial staff will not reveal any details about a submitted manuscript to anyone, other than the corresponding author, reviewers, prospective reviewers, other editorial advisors and the publisher, as necessary.
Disclosure and conflicts of interest:
Unpublished materials contained in a submitted manuscript must not be used in the own research of an Editor without explicit written permission of the authors. Privileged information or ideas that editors receive as a result of manuscript handling would be kept confidential and not used for their personal benefit. Editors will refuse to act as an editor for manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest arising from financial, competitive, collaborative or other relationships/association with any of the authors, companies or organisations linked to the papers; instead, they will ask another board member to handle the manuscript.
Standards of objectivity:
Reviews should be carried out objectively, and suggestions should be clearly articulated with supporting reasons, so that authors may use them to refine the manuscript. Personal criticism of the authors is inappropriate and must be avoided. Referees should clearly express their opinions with suitable and reasonable supporting arguments.
The journal's editor is responsible for determining which of the submitted papers should be published. The editor may be guided by the policy of the editorial board of the journal and limited by such legal provisions as are then in place in respect of libel, violation of copyright and plagiarism. When making this decision, the handling editor can consult with other editors or reviewers.
Acknowledgement of sources:
Reviewers should also identify relevant published work which the authors have not cited. Every statement that is an observation, derivation or argument that has been published in previous publications should be followed by the relevant citation. The reviewer should also inform the editors of any apparent resemblance or similarity between the manuscript under consideration and any other manuscripts (published or unpublished) about which they have personal knowledge.