News from Biology Open
The Forest of Biologists — a bio-positive publishing initiative from The Company of Biologists
The Company of Biologists is excited to announce a new biodiversity initiative — The Forest of Biologists — creating, restoring and preserving important woodland habitats in the UK.
For each Research Article and Review article published in the five Company journals (Development, Journal of Cell Science, Journal of Experimental Biology, Disease Models & Mechanisms, Biology Open), a tree is planted in a UK forest. For each peer review completed, a piece of ancient woodland is being preserved. All of these trees are represented together in a virtual forest.
13 March 2023
Biology Open uses Proofig to aid image manipulation checks
The Company of Biologists has chosen Proofig to help with image manipulation checks across its portfolio of journals in the biological and biomedical sciences field.
All articles accepted by Biology Open and its sister journals undergo rigorous ethics checks, including screening for plagiarism and image manipulation. We use a combination of tools and technology alongside a team of people for best practices in our ethics checks procedures. Proofig will aid our team to analyse a wide variety of images, including western blot bands, all types of microscopies (confocal, light or electron), plates, plants, in vitro and in vivo images.
Find out more about image manipulation on our journal policy page.
1 March 2022
Biology Open now included in many Read & Publish agreements
From 2022, Biology Open is included in many of the Read & Publish agreements offered by The Company of Biologists. This enables discounted or fee-free publication of an uncapped number of Research Articles in BiO for corresponding authors at participating institutions (including, among others, the Max Planck Digital Library and University of California).
The Company of Biologists has been committed to OA publishing since 2004 as we believe it benefits science through wider and faster dissemination, higher readership and an acceleration in the sharing of quality research. Read more about our Open Access journey in our post Democratising access to research – our long-standing commitment to Open Access publishing.
13 January 2022
The Company of Biologists joins the UKRN as an affiliate stakeholder
The Company of Biologists, the publisher of Biology Open and its four sister journals, has joined the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN) as an affiliate stakeholder.
The UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN) is a national peer-led consortium that aims to ensure the UK retains its place as a centre for world-leading research. They do this by investigating the factors that contribute to robust research, promoting training activities, and disseminating best practice. They also work collaboratively with various external stakeholders to ensure coordination of efforts across the sector.
The Company of Biologists is proud to join a long list of prestigious organisations who together make up the group of UKRN external stakeholders.
1 November 2021
Biology Open joins the Preprint Reviewer Recruitment Network
Preprint feedback has the potential to not only help authors and readers, but also to identify potential reviewers and editorial board members for journals. Unfortunately, finding preprint reviews authored by a particular individual and linking them to other useful information (such as disciplinary keywords) remains challenging. The Preprint Reviewer Recruitment Network, organised by ASAPbio, addresses these issues by enabling willing researchers to share preprint feedback as work samples for review by participating journals.
Along with its sister journals Development and Journal of Cell Science, Biology Open has joined this exciting initiative, which will initially run as a 6-month long pilot. To find out more, including information on how to sign up as a researcher, visit the Preprint Reviewer Recruitment Network.
6 September 2021
FocalPlane turns 1
FocalPlane is celebrating its first birthday on 1 July. Over the past year the microscopy community site has gone from strength to strength and received great feedback from the community, with 50 contributors and more than 500 registered users. FocalPlane has continued to develop its offering over the past 12 months, introducing two blog series, Journal Clubs and the FocalPlane features… webinar series. Read the review of FocalPlane's first year and watch the how-to video to learn how to access content and contribute to the site.
To celebrate its birthday, FocalPlane is running a new image competition to feature on the cover of Journal of Cell Science. As a special thank you to all those who have registered on the site, FocalPlane is also offering two goody bags. If you haven't already, register by Thursday 8 July for your chance to win.
1 July 2021
Biology Open facilitates author name changes retrospectively
The Company of Biologists recognises that there are many reasons why an author might want to change their name, including but not limited to marriage, divorce, change in gender identity or change in religion. Having your name changed on academic papers retrospectively means that you are still correctly linked to those papers and your contribution to science is traceable. To support this process, The Company of Biologists, the publisher of Biology Open, facilitates retrospective name changes on all its journals. Authors can choose to have name changes made with or without a public notification in the journal and it will not require a formal correction of the article in question.
To learn more, visit our journal policy page.
1 June 2021
The Company of Biologists has migrated its leading journals to the hosting platform of Silverchair, improving user experience and maximising the discoverability of their content for the biological community.
The Silverchair Platform now hosts The Company of Biologists' five influential journals: Development, Journal of Cell Science, Journal of Experimental Biology, Disease Models & Mechanisms, and Biology Open. The journal websites, available via journals.biologists.com have been given an updated, modern design, with additional functionalities, such as split-screen view for easy data reference. Moving platforms has also given the Company’s journals access to a range of partner integrations via the Silverchair Universe.
Read the full press release.
16 April 2021
The COVID-19 outbreak, declared as a pandemic by the WHO in March 2020, has had an unprecedented impact on researchers worldwide. With many labs, institutes and universities now reopening, the Editors of The Company of Biologists’ journals have reviewed the actions announced in March aimed at alleviating concerns that members of our community may have had at that time.
We are sure that everyone will recognise the need for ongoing flexibility as the impact of the evolving pandemic continues to be felt at both home and work.
- Any reviewer or author unable to meet deadlines set by the journal should contact the Editorial Office for advice on deadline extension.
- Many authors are likely to still be experiencing disruption to the normal running of their lab that makes experimental revisions challenging. The journal needs to ensure that submissions are held to the same standards as usual and that all conclusions drawn in a paper are supported by the data presented. However, we remind reviewers to limit requests for experimental revisions to those they deem essential for publication in the journal.
- Where authors are concerned about their ability to respond to reviewers’ reports, we encourage them to contact the Editorial Office to discuss their revision further.
We hope these policies will continue to support our communities. Please contact the Editorial Office if you have any questions or concerns.
29 September 2020
Transparency is important for scientific publishing, particularly for Open Access journals. BiO now shares key metrics for published articles (including waivers) and provides greater transparency on the services covered by the article processing charge (APC). This is in line with the Plan S Price and Transparency Framework developed by Information Power. Find out more here.
10 August 2020
The Company of Biologists and Journal of Cell Science launch FocalPlane, a new microscopy community site
FocalPlane is the third community site launched by The Company of Biologists, following in the successful footsteps of the Node and preLights.
For anyone with an interest in microscopy, FocalPlane will host news, interviews, opinions, images, tools, job listings and events to help promote interactions and foster connections. The site is free to access and users can register for a free account to post their own contribution.
A Scientific Advisory Board has been appointed to support the site alongside its own dedicated Community Manager.
“We encourage you to make the site part of your online routine, and look forward to many interactions with you all,” says Sharon Ahmad, Executive Editor, Journal of Cell Science.
1 July 2020
Silverchair and The Company of Biologists today announced a new partnership to host the leading, peer-reviewed journals published by The Company of Biologists, improving user experience and maximizing the discoverability of their content for the biological community.
The Silverchair Platform will host The Company of Biologists' five influential journals: Development, Journal of Cell Science, Journal of Experimental Biology, Disease Models & Mechanisms, and Biology Open. In addition to receiving an updated, modern design, The Company of Biologists will gain access to powerful, easy-to-use tools for site creation and updating, as well as a range of simplified partner integrations via the Silverchair Universe, all on a single responsive platform.
“The Company of Biologists joins a growing group of nonprofit publisher peers who desire a cost-effective, independent platform that offers them the agility to create new sites, collections, and products as quickly as their needs change and new opportunities emerge”, said Thane Kerner, Silverchair CEO. “We look forward to collaborating with The Company of Biologists' team to serve the needs of scientists and researchers.”
“We are excited to partner with Silverchair for the hosting of our journals”, said Claire Moulton, Publisher at The Company of Biologists. “We believe that joining this platform gives us greater flexibility as we evolve the ways in which we present content to our communities, enhancing our service to readers and authors.”
For further details, see the full press release.
31 March 2020
We are, of course, aware that the COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on researchers worldwide, with many labs shutting down either partially or fully. The Editors of all The Company of Biologists’ journals have been considering ways in which we can alleviate concerns that members of our community may have around publishing activities during this time. Here, we detail the actions we are taking at this point:
- Any reviewer or author unable to meet deadlines set by the journal should contact the Editorial Office and we will be able to extend your deadline. Our Academic Editors may also be somewhat delayed in handling papers as they deal with pressing matters – we hope that all parties will recognise the need for increased flexibility with timelines during this period. Please note that reviewers will still receive automated reminders from our system, but these are not intended to put you under increased pressure, so please just let us know if you need extra time.
- We ask that reviewers bear in mind that authors may be unable to conduct experimental revisions for a paper. Obviously, the journal needs to ensure that submissions are held to the same standards as usual, and that all conclusions drawn in a paper are supported by the data presented, but we remind reviewers to limit requests for experimental revisions to those they deem essential for publication in the journal.
- Where authors are concerned about their ability to respond to reviewers’ reports, we encourage them to contact the Editorial Office to discuss their revision further. Please send us a point-by-point response indicating where you are able to address concerns raised (either experimentally or by changes to the text) and where you will not be able to do so within the normal timeframe of a revision. The Editor will then provide further guidance.
- BiO will waive the Article Publication Charge for Research and Methods & Techniques papers that present data relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We hope these policies will help to support authors during these difficult times; we will continue to review the situation going forwards. Please don’t hesitate to contact the Editorial Office if you have any questions or concerns.
23 March 2020
Biology Open, along with other journals of The Company of Biologists, is delighted to be part of Review Commons, an exciting new initiative facilitating journal-independent peer review.
Review Commons is a platform for high-quality, journal-independent peer review of manuscripts from the life sciences before submission to a journal. Authors can submit preprints or unpublished manuscripts to Review Commons for expert peer review. The resulting Refereed Preprint empowers authors to make an informed decision on the best home for their paper. Authors can direct Review Commons to post reviews and their own responses to bioRxiv through bioRxiv’s new Transparent Review in Preprints (TRiP) project. The Review Commons platform expedites submission to 17 affiliate journals that have agreed to consider the transferred reviews without restarting the review process.
For more information, visit Review Commons.
9 December 2019
Biology Open is pleased to announce a new partnership with Publons, part of the Web of Science Group (a Clarivate Analytics company). Publons gives reviewers formal recognition of their peer review contributions using the Reviewer Recognition Service.
Our partnership with Publons allows reviewers to easily track and verify every review by choosing to add the review to their Publons profile when completing the review submission form. Publons makes it simple for reviewers to showcase their peer review contributions in a format that can be included in job and funding applications (without breaking reviewer anonymity). Reviews completed previously can also be added by forwarding review receipts (i.e. ‘Review received’ emails) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are genuinely grateful for the time and expertise volunteered by our reviewers each year. We regularly acknowledge their contributions and support by publishing a list of reviewers who have provided reports in the previous year.
1 August 2019
As part of the Society Publishers’ Coalition, The Company of Biologists, publisher of BiO, submitted a joint Plan S consultation response. Please find our response here.
8 February 2019
Journals must comply with the following seven criteria to receive the seal:
- use DOIs as permanent identifiers
- provide DOAJ with article metadata
- deposit content with a long-term digital preservation or archiving programme
- embed machine-readable CC licensing information in articles
- allow generous reuse and mixing of content, in accordance with a CC BY, CC BY-SA or CC BY-NC license
- have a deposit policy registered with a deposit policy registry
- allow the author to hold the copyright without restrictions
Biology Open, along with the other journals of The Company of Biologists, has recently introduced the option of playing movies in place on the full-text online version of its articles. This means that videos can now be an integral part of any article and that they are placed into the full-text online version of the article, making it easier and quicker for readers to access this type of content. In order to provide this service, we have partnered with Glencoe Software.
For an example of an article with a play-in-place movie, please click here.
20 March 2018
The Company of Biologists, the publisher of Biology Open, has launched preLights, a new preprint highlights service, run by the biological community.
preLights has a dedicated team of scientists from the community who regularly select, highlight and comment on preprints they feel are of interest to the biological community. You’ll find a summary of each preprint, the reasons it was selected and the selector’s thoughts on its significance. You might also see relevant comments from the preprints’ authors and we strongly encourage website visitors to join in the conversation.
For the latest posts and more information visit https://prelights.biologists.com.
20 February 2018
We are very pleased to announce that The Company of Biologists’ journals, including Biology Open, are introducing continuous publication. This means that as soon as an article is ready to be published, it will be immediately released online rather than waiting for other articles in the issue to be completed, resulting in faster access to the final version of the article.
By moving to a continuous publication model, we are making research available for the community as quickly as possible, which is beneficial for both readers and authors.
To learn more about continuous publication, please visit our FAQ page.
4 January 2018
At The Company of Biologists, the publisher of Biology Open, we realise how important citations are within a scientific article. Not only do they serve to give credit where credit is due, but they are also key in helping us understand the developments within a scientific field, and encourage the reproducibility and evaluation of research. As The Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) puts it: ‘Citations are the most important vehicle for the discovery, dissemination, and evaluation of all scholarly knowledge.’
This is why we choose to support this important initiative I4OC and ensure that the citation data in all of our journals is freely accessible. It means that everyone can access the citation data for all articles, even if they cannot access the scientific article itself. This is done by depositing reference lists with Crossref and ensuring the citation data is open, both for future articles, and also for all articles in our online archives.
For more information on this initiative and the publishers who support it, visit https://i4oc.org/.
6 October 2017
At Biology Open, we are committed to making submission as easy as possible for our authors. We realise that submitting a paper to any journal can be a lengthy process: authors are asked to comply with detailed journal-specific guidelines without knowing whether the paper will be accepted or even peer-reviewed. We are therefore delighted to announce our new format-free submission policy.
Authors can now submit a paper to Biology Open in any format. We will only ask what is absolutely necessary at submission. This means that, as long as an article adheres to our guidelines on length and the text and figures are easily viewable by reviewers, we only require information that is necessary to confirm the identities of all authors. This does mean that other requirements, such as file formats and sizes, our submission checklist, and provision of funding information, will move to the revision stage – at which point over 95% of papers will be accepted for publication.
As part of this change, and recognising the importance of comprehensive Materials and Methods sections to aid transparency and reproducibility, we are also removing the Materials and Methods section from our length limit to an article. The aim is to allow authors the space they need to describe their methods in sufficient detail for readers to fully understand and replicate the experiments conducted.
19 April 2017
The Company of Biologists and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s preprint server bioRxiv are delighted to announce two-way integration of their manuscript submission systems, operated by Bench>Press (HighWire Press).
Authors depositing a manuscript in bioRxiv can now transfer their paper directly to any of The Company of Biologists’ journals (Development, Journal of Cell Science, Journal of Experimental Biology, Disease Models &Mechanisms and Biology Open) through a simple transfer portal – avoiding the need to re-enter information or upload files in multiple submission systems.
In addition, authors submitting a manuscript to any of The Company of Biologists’ journals can deposit their article in bioRxiv through a simple one-click process in the journal's submission system. Once deposited through this optional service, the unrefereed manuscript will become free for anyone to read almost immediately, regardless of the editorial decision made at the journal. It will be citable with a bioRxiv DOI, and its usage can be tracked. This system has been in place at Development for several months. Feedback has been positive and the service is now being extended to all the Company’s journals.
Through these services, The Company of Biologists aims to support authors in making their research available to the community at an early stage – before peer review and formal publication.
17 November 2016
We have recently signed the ORCID agreement, joining the growing number of publishers who recognize the value of widespread ORCID adoption and require ORCID iDs to be provided at submission by their authors.
ORCID provides a unique identifier for all researchers that can be linked to their different research works and activities across multiple platforms. It also serves to distinguish authors with similar names and simplify searching of publications databases (such as PubMed, Scopus, etc.) to avoid retrieving articles by authors with the same name.
During the submission process, the corresponding author will be required to provide an ORCID iD and we encourage authors to use ORCID iDs to identify each researcher.
Register for a free ORCID iD here.
16 March 2016
We are delighted to announce that The Company of Biologists journals, including Biology Open, are partnering with the Dryad data repository to support authors in making the data underlying their research available to the community, and to better integrate data accessibility with manuscript submission.
For many years, Biology Open has encouraged authors to make data that cannot be included as ‘flat’ figures available to readers upon publication. Several appropriate field-specific repositories exist where authors can deposit data for community access. Biology Open requires that such data are made available at the time of publication, and encourages authors to deposit at an early stage so that referees can review the data behind the paper.
However, issues of data availability apply across all fields and data types and, in many cases, there is no specific repository for the deposition of data. In some cases, relevant data can be made available as part of the Supplementary Information, but this is not always appropriate (particularly given the large file sizes that are often involved). To overcome this problem, a number of general purpose data repositories have been developed that allow researchers to submit data packages in almost any format, and can be accessed and cited by the community. In addition, they allow your files to be permanently and safely archived. Where appropriate, Biology Open encourages authors to submit data to repositories such as Dryad and figshare.
Our partnership with Dryad will now allow authors to submit their data packages at the time of manuscript submission, so that the data can be made securely available to referees and then automatically made public, if and when the paper is published. Dryad charges a small fee, but waivers are available for submissions from low-income or lower-middle-income economies. Data packages are given a permanent, citable DOI and bidirectional linking between the data and the paper will help readers easily access the relevant files. We are not changing our policies regarding deposition, but hope to make it easier for authors to deposit data where they wish to do so. Our staff and editors can provide advice to authors on what types of data should ideally be made available, so please feel free to get in touch with any queries. More information on Dryad can also be found here. We welcome your feedback on this new partnership.
11 February 2016