1. Peer review process
On submission, papers are assessed by the Editorial Office to ensure that they are suitable for the full peer-review process. If there are any aspects of the submission that are not complete or require clarification (for example, incomplete figures, author list not complete) then the submission will be returned to the authors at this stage for completion.
If a paper is ready for full peer review, the Editorial Office assigns the paper to an Associate Editor (on the basis of expertise). At this stage the Associate Editor can decline the paper without full peer review (this could occur if the paper is not within the scope of the journal). If the Associate Editor considers that the paper warrants full peer review, then they assign two independent reviewers (who can come from the journal’s Editorial Board, although this is not an absolute requirement).
All Portland Press journals follow a single-blinded process of peer review (i.e. the reviewers know the identity of the authors, but the authors do not know the identity of the reviewers). Reviewers assigned to papers do not see each others’ comments prior to writing their own, and the reviews received are completely independent.
Once reviewer reports have been received (usually in two weeks), the Associate Editor assesses the reports, and the Associate Editor makes the decision on the paper, writing the decision letter to the authors. On a rare occasion, if reviewer reports are conflicting, the Associate Editor at this stage can solicit the opinion of a third reviewer.
The decisions that can be made by the Associate Editor are:
Accept as it stands
Accept with minor revisions
Provisional acceptance with major revisions
Revise and submit as a new paper (papers that have this decision require substantial revision, and the paper would be considered as a new submission and undergo the full peer review process if submitted again)
Reject and transfer
Authors are given either 1 month (minor) or 3 months (major) to revise their papers. Authors can request longer if needed. If a revised paper has not been received after 1 year (and there has been no contact from the authors requesting additional time), then the paper will be considered a new submission if submitted after this time.
If a revised version of a paper has been invited, on resubmission the paper will be assessed by the Editorial Office to ensure that it is suitable for full peer review. For revised papers, a point-by-point response to the reviewer reports received should be submitted, along with the revised paper.
Once a revised paper has entered peer review, it will be assessed by the Associate Editor who handled the peer review of the original version. At this point, the Associate Editor is able to assess the revised version of the paper themselves if they wish, without having to send to reviewers. Alternatively, the Associate Editor can assign the revised paper to the reviewers who saw the original version for their comments. A final decision is then made on the paper and sent to the authors by the Associate Editor.
If you wish to appeal a decision that has been made on a paper, the process followed is set out below (and is according to the Code of Conduct and Best Practice for Editors and Publishers, published by COPE).
Author contacts the office appealing a decision
The paper will be sent to an independent member of the Editorial Board for assessment of the original reviewer reports and the original decision. In some cases, the person handling the paper can be the Editor-in-Chief (if noone else is available).
During independent assessment, the adjuducating member of the Editorial Board may consult with the original reviewers and/or authors.
Following independent assessment, a final decision on the appeal will be sent to the authors.
Note that if there is further dispute, the Editor-in-Chief will be called upon to make the final decision. The Biochemical Society as a whole has the responsibility to ensure that their Society-owned publications are run in line with scholarly publishing best practice in terms of ethics. In the rare event of any serious dispute, the Biochemical Society can also act as a final arbiter.
3. Ethical processes
(i) Animal experimentation
Experiments with animals should comply with national legislation and local Institutional Review Board requirements and there should be a statement to this effect in the paper. In the absence of any national regulations, authors/reviewers can seek advice from the Editorial Office. For additional information on the reporting of work in animals, please see the ARRIVE Guidelines.
(ii) Human experimentation
Papers describing any experimental work with humans should include a statement that the research has been carried out in accordance with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki. Research should comply with national and Institutional Review Board requirements for ethical approval and informed consent. In the absence of any national regulations, authors/reviewers can seek advice from the Editorial Office.
(iii) Scientific publication
Portland Press is a member of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) and endorses its guidelines, including the Code of Conduct for Editors, which are available at http://www.publicationethics.org/. Complaints against the Journal must be submitted in writing to the Editor-in-Chief; if a complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant they have the option of referring the matter to COPE.
Authors may like to refer to the Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research formulated by the American Chemical Society [see Biochemistry (1986) 25, 9A–10A].
Notwithstanding, the Editorial Board will not accept papers where the ethical aspects are, in the Editorial Board's opinion, open to doubt.
Portland Press believes that the Editorial Boards of its journals has a duty to protect the scientific record. Therefore it will always investigate fully any matter of apparent misconduct that it becomes aware of with respect to both published and unpublished papers, in conjunction with the institution where the work was performed or with funding bodies as appropriate.
Portland Press journals follow the guidelines published by COPE in respect of the retraction of articles.
Plagiarism and duplication submissions
Portland Press will not tolerate plagiarism in manuscripts submitted to its journals. Passages quoted or closely paraphrased from other authors (or from the submitting authors' own published work) must be identified as quotations or paraphrases, and the sources of the quoted or paraphrased material must be acknowledged. Use of unacknowledged sources will be construed as plagiarism. If any manuscript is found to contain plagiarized material the review process will be halted immediately.
Portland Press defines duplicate and prior publication as set out in the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors' (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals. This does not preclude Portland Press from considering a paper that is an extension of preliminary work or work previously presented in abstract form; however, this should be clearly stated in any cover letter. For example, content published on forums such as BioRxiv do not constitute prior publication.
Images will be checked for manipulation when a paper is accepted. The Editorial Board may request that authors supply the original data for comparison against the prepared figures. If authors are unable to comply with such a request, the acceptance of the paper may be withdrawn. The interpretation of this policy is in the hands of the Editorial Board, who judge whether each paper submitted is acceptable in terms of science and presentation.
Submission of a paper to the Portland Press journals implies that it has been approved by all of the named authors, that all persons entitled to authorship have been so named, that it reports unpublished work that is not under consideration for publication elsewhere in any language, that conflicts of interest are declared and that, if the paper is accepted for publication, the authors will grant the Biochemical Society an exclusive licence to publish the paper. Portland Press endorses the Vancouver Guidelines on authorship as defined in the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors' (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, namely that entitlement to authorship should be based on all of the following criteria: (1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; (2) drafting the article or revising it for important intellectual content; (3) final approval of the version to be published; (4) agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, alone, does not justify authorship. All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgements. On acceptance, a paragraph outlining the contribution of each author to the study will be requested and published as part of the paper.
4. Conflicts of interest
Authors/reviewers should clearly declare any conflicts of interest. Examples of conflicts of interest that should be declared are (but not limited to):
employment (where you will receive financial gain)
consultancy (where you will receive financial gain)
5. Open access
Portland Press provides a number of open-access options to ensure that authors are compliant with their funder mandates.
During the peer review process, all reviewers are blinded to selection or not of open access that may be chosen by authors.
For full details of the open access options available, please take a look at our open access policy.
6. Reuse and permissions
For full details of the policy around reuse of work, please take a look at our Rights and Permissions information.
Click here for information on sharing and public posting of articles.
7. Pre-publication policy
Portland Press welcomes submissions of work that was previously presented as a poster and/or work that has been posted to a pre-prints server.
Placing a pre-submission version of an article on a pre-prints server and/or publishing and presenting research as a poster does not constitute prior or duplicate publication.
Extensions of preliminary work or work previously presented in abstract form are welcomed. For example, we welcome as new submissions any content published on forums such as BioRxiv.