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The BMC Series - Editorial Board Responsibilities and FAQs

About the BMC Series

The BMC Series is a collection of high-quality, peer-reviewed journals covering all scientific and clinical disciplines, focusing on the needs of the research communities which they serve.

The BMC Series subject-specific journals do not make editorial decisions on the basis of the interest of a study or its likely impact. Studies must be scientifically valid; for research articles this includes a scientifically sound research question, the use of suitable methods and analysis, and adherence to community-agreed standards relevant to the research field.

Your responsibilities as an Editorial Board Member:

Our Editorial Boards serve the research community by providing efficient, robust and constructive handling of papers. We believe that the true value of research often exceeds its perceived value and that the entire research community benefits from the publication of scientifically sound, reproducible research. You can contribute to this goal by becoming an Editorial Board member for a BMC Series journal. 

The primary responsibility of our Editorial Board Members is to manage the peer review process. As an Editorial Board Member you are responsible for the scientific quality of the manuscripts that you handle. You adhere to the ethos, editorial standards, policies and scope of the Journal and ensure that manuscripts are handled efficiently and appropriately. 

Manuscript handling

• You typically handle one to two new manuscripts per month and accept/decline invitations promptly, ideally within 1 working day.

• You assess manuscripts for their suitability for peer review and obtain a minimum of two suitable reviews per manuscript that meet the Journal’s requirements.

• You make decisions on the basis of the peer reviewers’ reports and your own assessment. You support the ethos of the BMC Series and ensure that all decisions are based on scientific validity and not perceived importance or impact, unless such comments suggest the paper may not make a valid, original contribution to the literature.

• You handle the manuscripts that you are responsible for efficiently. You invite peer reviewers within 2 working days of agreeing to handle the manuscript, if an out-to-review decision is made. You contact additional reviewers within 2 working days after a prompt by the journal staff, and you process decisions within 3 working days after all peer review reports have been received.

• Continuity in editorial handling is very important; you are expected to handle manuscripts from initial assessment to final decision, including revisions of manuscripts.

• You should decline invitations to handle manuscripts and/or notify journal staff in cases where you feel unable to be objective or where you have a conflict of interest.

• Your role as an Editorial Board Member is to take a broader view than that of a reviewer and therefore you should handle content outside your immediate area of research, calling upon reviewers to advise on specific scientific points.

• You must report any cases of suspected plagiarism, duplicate submission or other unethical practices to journal staff immediately. 


• The in-house Editor may occasionally ask for your advice on additional manuscripts that are within your area of expertise.

• You are an ambassador for the Journal, encouraging submissions and highlighting its ethos, scope and aims.

• You are encouraged to recommend suitable candidates to join the board to the in-house Editor.

• You are responsible for informing Journal staff and the in-house Editor if there are periods when you are not available.

• You are responsible for notifying the in-house Editor if you want to step down so that appropriate action can be taken.

• If you have not accepted to handle a paper in the past 6 months without notification of prolonged absence, you may be contacted by the in-house Editor and removed from the board.

• You are responsible for notifying Journal staff of any changes to contact information or professional positions such as email addresses or affiliations

Benefits - what is in it for you?

Contribute to your community: Our Boards serve the research community by providing efficient, robust and constructive handling of papers. We believe that the true value of research often exceeds its perceived value and that entire research community benefits from the publication of scientifically sound, reproducible research. You can contribute to this goal by becoming an Editorial Board member for a BMC Series journal. We also encourage you to submit your own manuscripts to the BMC Series journals, for which you would receive a 20% discount on our article processing charge.

Dedicated editorial site: You will receive access to a dedicated editorial site, where you can find all the information needed to help you in your role, as well as learn about the workings of the journal and keep up to date with new developments as they happen.

Raise your profile and benefit your career: Being a member of an Editorial Board demonstrates to potential employers and funding bodies that you are an active participant in your field. As a Board Member your profile in the field will be raised through your work on the journal and interactions with authors, reviewers and fellow board members. In addition, by suggesting and coordinating guest edited collections, you can raise awareness in your field and raise your profile within your community. 

Gain experience of editorial processes: Serving as a Board Member enhances your knowledge of how editorial decisions are made and gives insight into the peer review process. This experience can be applied to shape your own research papers to maximize your chances of publication by understanding what peer reviewers and editors are looking for. 

Increase your knowledge of your research field: As a Board Member, you will have the opportunity to read the newest research before it is published, and by assessing reviewer reports you will be able to develop your own scientific knowledge through exposure to the expertise and opinions of your peers. 

Contribute to the development of the journal: As a Board Member, you can help us improve our publication processes and your experience as a board member by providing feedback through the many surveys you will receive throughout the year, and by providing feedback in person to our in house editors by attending editorial board meetings. 

Grow your network: You will have the opportunity to join Editorial Board meetings, webinars, meet fellow Editors and increase your network. We provide online support and forums for our editors to facilitate discussion amongst board members.

Frequently Asked Questions

I would like to join the board. What are the next steps?

To join the board, please complete the response form; you can find the link in your invitation email. Completing this form will ensure that we have all the information we need to complete your profile. You will receive an email with further instructions within 2 weeks of completing the form, and, unless you have specified an alternative start date in the response form, will start receiving invitations to handle papers after we have processed your profile (which can take 1 to 2 weeks). 

How many manuscripts am I expected to handle?

We expect you to handle at least 1 to 2 new manuscripts per month. We will only send you manuscripts we feel you are qualified to handle, but you would be free to decline any of our invitations to handle a paper. If you are unavailable for an extended period, you can let the journal staff know so that they can make a note not to approach you during this period.

What does manuscript handling entail?

You are expected to evaluate the manuscript in light of the ethos of the BMC Series and decide whether it is an original contribution to the literature and then you are expected to recruit appropriate reviewers, interpret their reports, and make a decision on the submission (e.g. reject, revise or accept). You are also expected to handle the revised manuscript and assess whether the author has responded to all the reviewers’ points and seek further reviewer input if new data or analysis has been added to the manuscript. Because the BMC Series does not assess manuscripts based on perceived importance, significance or impact, we expect the vast majority of submissions to undergo peer review.

How many reviewers am I supposed to recruit?

Two to three reviewers is typical. We will provide you with guidelines and instructions on how to select reviewers and will give you access to our Springer Nature Reviewer Finder to facilitate finding reviewers.

How long do I stay on the board?

We consider this a rolling engagement but do appreciate that personal circumstances can change. You can step down at any point by notifying the in-house Editor.

This is my first editorial position, will I receive training and support?

Yes, when you join the board you will receive access to a dedicated editorial site  for the BMC Series where we will run regular webinars and blog posts on key editorial processes relevant to both new and established Editorial Board Members.  In addition, we have a welcome training course to help you in your role. The in-house Editor of the journal will also be in touch to support you. 

Will I be paid? 

There is no remuneration for the position but you would be eligible for a 20% discount on our article processing charge (APC).

I am an Editor for another journal, is there a conflict of interest?

We do not consider editorial positions at other journals as a conflict, but you may wish to check with the other journal.

Will I still be allowed to publish papers in a BMC Series journal?

Yes, you are encouraged to submit your research to the BMC Series journals either as a co-author or corresponding authors. In fact, you will receive a 20% APC discount.

Will you be storing my personal data? 

We are reaching out to you as we expect that the position of Editorial Board Member is of interest to you. We select potential Board Members from a variety of sources, including published authors and recommendations from other Board Members. Personal data of those responding ‘yes, I would like to join the editorial board’  and those responding ‘No, but please consider me for future invitations’ will be stored and used as part of, and to communicate with you about, your role as Editorial Board Member of the BMC Series. The personal data of those declining will be removed within 5 months. For more information view our Privacy Policy.