Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC) is one of the first journals to participate in a new platform that enables journal-independent, “portable” peer review. A research manuscript submitted to the platform, Review Commons, will be reviewed by experts for technical rigor and its contribution to the scientific community, but not for its fit for a particular journal. When they receive the reviews, authors can choose to submit the manuscript and reviews to one of 17 affiliate journals, including MBoC, directly through the Review Commons platform. If they wish, authors may revise their manuscript in response to the reviewers’ comments before submitting it to a journal.
A manuscript may be submitted to up to three affiliate journals successively without being peer reviewed again. By eliminating the need for each journal to begin the review process anew, Review Commons aims to avoid the delay and duplicative effort inherent in the present system of evaluating manuscripts for publication.
Authors may request that Review Commons post the manuscript as a “refereed preprint” on bioRxiv, together with the reviews and the authors’ responses. The availability of refereed preprints will promote openness in peer review and will provide readers with a valuable record of how the dialog between authors and reviewers has improved the manuscript.
“There are many changes underway in scientific publishing, and many exciting opportunities,” said incoming MBoC Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch. “MBoC and ASCB are eager to embrace experiments such as Review Commons that will streamline the publication process and make it more author friendly.” MBoC also participates with Company of Biologists and Rockefeller University Press in a Manuscript Transfer System that permits authors to seamlessly transfer a manuscript that’s been declined by one journal to another journal, together with the peer reviews, if the editor at the original journal thinks such a transfer is appropriate. Like Review Commons, the Manuscript Transfer System serves to decrease time from submission to publication and lighten the load on peer reviewers.
Review Commons is the creation of ASAPbio and EMBO Press. EMBO Press will be responsible for recruiting manuscript reviewers. Besides ASCB and EMBO Press, participating publishers include Company of Biologists, eLife, Life Science Alliance, PLOS, and Rockefeller University Press. More information is available at www.reviewcommons.org.