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How To Assess a New Manuscript

Here are some of the key things to look out for in a new submission.

1. Do you have a competing interest that prevents you from handling the manuscript?
If you have a competing interest with the manuscript or someone on the author list, please declare this to the Editorial Office when first assigned and the manuscript will be reassigned. More information on identifying competing interests can be found in our editorial policies.

2. Does the manuscript appear sufficiently sound to proceed to peer review?
If not, please provide comments to the authors to explain your decision to reject without peer review. If you feel that a manuscript could be revised to address your concerns then you can request that the authors revise the manuscript before sending for peer review.

3. Is the submission within the scope of your journal?
The full scope for the journal can be viewed on your journal's 'About' page. 

If a manuscript is deemed out of scope but still scientifically valid, upon rejection it will usually be sent to the Transfer Desk, where our editorial staff will reach out to the author and try to find a more suitable journal for it, or sometimes you can select to transfer to a specific alternative journal. More information on this process can be found here.

4. Does the manuscript appear to fulfil the interest criteria for the journal? Journals have varying interest criteria, with some focusing on articles that present a significant advance or research that has broad impact, while others such as the BMC Series do not make editorial decisions on the basis of the interest of the study or its likely impact.

5. Is the article type correct for the content?
You can view the article types available for your journal within its submission guidelines.

Occasionally, a submission will not fall into one of the article types available on the journal but still may be suitable to consider for peer review. Please let us know in this instance and we can provide more advice.

6. Does the manuscript adhere to the journal’s editorial policies?
All manuscripts must adhere to BMC's editorial policies. If you have any concerns with a manuscript, please discuss this with your journal contact or inform the Editorial Office and we can investigate this further.

The following points in particular should be considered prior to sending a manuscript for peer review:

  • Do you perceive any ethical problems with the manuscript?
  • Does the manuscript include consent if any data relating to individual patients is included?
  • Does the manuscript adhere to relevant standards for deposition of data and reporting?
  • If the manuscript reports the results of a clinical trial does the manuscript include a Trial Registration Number?
  • Are there any concerns with plagiarism or duplicate publication?

Further information regarding BMC's editorial policies can be found here, including where to find additional resources.

7. Does the quality of the English Language affect your ability to assess the scientific content?
If you receive a new manuscript that requires English copy editing before you can sufficiently assess the scientific content, this can be requested from the authors as a pre-review revision. Further information on handling language concerns can be found within the Making a Decision page.

If you are unsure on any of the points above, please get in touch with your journal contact who will be able to provide further information specific to your journal.