Editorial threshold

To ensure that all manuscripts receive fair and equal consideration when submitted to our journals, we have a clear editorial threshold against which manuscripts should be measured.  

We value all advances, including incremental ones. Our policy is that editors and reviewers should evaluate the quality of the science in a paper and ensure it is representative of a specific advance, replication, or null/negative result, without assessing the interest or perceived impact. 

Research published in our journals must be: 

  • Scientifically valid – adhering to accepted community standards of research.  
  • Technically accurate in its methods and results.  
  • Representative of a specific advance, or replication, or null/negative result, which is worthy of publication.  
  • As reproducible as possible – sharing underlying data, code, and supporting materials wherever able. 
  • Ethically sound — adhering to best practice with respect to animal and human studies, consent to publish and clear declaration of potential conflicts of interests, both real and perceived.  

In the spirit of sharing findings through our open science mission, emphasis is not placed on novelty, interest, or perceived impact. Additionally, as we are an online journal with no limit on page count, no editor should make a decision based on article length or a consideration of space constraints. 

Clarifying novelty

Novelty should not be confused with quality and should not be the only factor when determining a manuscript's suitability for publication. Research building on existing work can still be of significant interest to researchers and general audiences alike, and we want to ensure that technically accurate and scientifically sound research is shared with our readers. 

When we say that manuscripts should not be rejected due to lack of novelty, we mean that they should not be rejected because they discuss something that has previously been researched. Manuscripts that confirm, solidify, enrich, or replicate known data can have significant impact. We believe any progression, no matter how incremental, is valuable. 

    Out of scope manuscripts

    A manuscript that is not in scope for the journal it has been submitted to should be rejected before peer review, but if it is of otherwise reasonable quality and scientific rigor, editors are encouraged to suggest alternative journals or more relevant subject areas. Authors are then sent a list of appropriate transfer destinations to help ensure that all good quality research is published.

      Article of the Year Award: Outstanding research contributions of 2021, as selected by our Chief Editors. Read the winning articles.