BRI follow the following guidelines and standards for its journals:
ICMJE: Medically related BRI journals follow the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. The guidelines comprehensively cover all aspects of editing, from how the journal is managed to details about peer review and handling complaints. The majority of the recommendations are not specific to medical journals and are followed by all BRI journals.
PRISMA covers systematic reviews and meta-analyses of interventional studies and MOOSE for systematic reviews and meta-analyses of observational studies. Authors are recommended to complete the checklist and flow diagram and include it with their submission.
CARE guideline (for CAse REports) was developed by an international group of experts to support an increase in the accuracy, transparency, and usefulness of case reports. View and download the CARE checklist here.
Submission of a manuscript to a journal of BRI implies that all authors have read and agreed to its content and that the manuscript conforms to the journal’s policies.
2.1. Research Involving Humans
Research involving human subjects, human material or human data must be performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.
Prior to starting the study, ethical approval must have been obtained for all protocols from the local institutional review board (IRB) or other appropriate ethics committee to confirm the study meets national and international guidelines for research on humans. A statement detailing this, including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate, must appear in all manuscripts reporting such research.
For non-interventional studies (e.g. surveys), where ethical approval is not required (e.g. because of national laws) or where a study has been granted an exemption by an ethics committee, this should be stated within the manuscript with a full explanation. Where a study has been granted exemption, the name of the ethics committee which provided this should also be included. However, if the researcher is in doubt, they should always seek advice from the relevant department before conducting the study.
Authors reporting the use of a new procedure or tool in a clinical setting, must give a clear justification in the manuscript for why the new procedure or tool was deemed more appropriate than usual clinical practice to meet the patient’s clinical need, and should obtain ethics approval and informed patient consent for participation in the study.
In case of clinical trials, which are defined as "any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes", the trial registration number (TRN) and date of registration should be included in the last line of the manuscript abstract. Suitable publicly available registries are those listed on the ICMJE website and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform. For clinical trials that have not been registered prospectively, BRI encourages retrospective registration to ensure the complete publication of all results. In such cases, the TRN, date of registration and the words ‘retrospectively registered’ should be included in the manuscript.
2.2. Informed Consent
BRI follows the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which emphasizes that patients and study participants have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent.
2.2.1. Consent to Participate
Research that is performed on humans should follow international and national regulations in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki or any other relevant set of ethical principles. For patients or study participants who are not adults, or are considered to be vulnerable or unable to provide informed consent, this must then be obtained from their legal guardians, or next of kin if the participant is deceased. In the case of articles describing human transplantation studies, authors must include a statement declaring that no organs/tissues were obtained from prisoners and must also name the institution(s) / clinic(s) / department(s) via which organs/tissues were obtained.
2.2.2. Consent for Publication
Patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent. Identifying information, including names, initials, date of birth or hospital numbers, images or statements should not be included in a manuscript unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) has provided written informed consent for publication. A statement must be included in the manuscript declaring that the patient, or parent, guardian or next of kin (in case of deceased patients) provided written informed consent for the publication of any associated data and accompanying images. The consent form that will be treated confidentially must be made available to the Editor if requested, and will be treated confidentially.
For case reports or other studies in which case details, personal information or images are included that may enable an individual to be identified, the individual or a parent, guardian or next of kin must consent to its publication, and this consent should be declared in the manuscript. Authors should disclose to patients that personally identifiable material would be available via the Internet under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 as well as in print after publication.
For datasets containing clinical data, authors have an ethical and legal responsibility to respect participants’ rights to privacy and to protect their identity. Ideally, authors should gain informed consent for publication of the dataset obtained from participants at the point of recruitment to the trial. If this is not possible, authors must demonstrate that publication of such data does not compromise anonymity or confidentiality or breach local data protection laws, for the dataset to be considered for publication. Authors must consider whether the dataset contains any direct or indirect identifiers and consult their local ethics committee or other appropriate body before submission if there is any possibility that participants will not be fully anonymous. Authors must state in their manuscript on submission whether informed consent was obtained for publication of patient data.
2.3. Research Involving Animals
Experimental research on vertebrates or any regulated invertebrates must comply with institutional, national or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing compliance with relevant guidelines (e.g. the revised Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in the UK and Directive 2010/63/EU in Europe) and/or ethical approval (including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate) must be included in the manuscript. This also applies to field studies and other non-experimental research on animals.
For experimental studies involving client-owned animals, authors must also document informed consent from the client or owner and adherence to a high standard (best practice) of veterinary care. If a study was granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption and the reasons for the exemption).
The Editor will take into consideration animal welfare issues and reserves the right to reject a manuscript, especially if the research involves protocols that are inconsistent with commonly accepted norms of animal research. When rodents are used as in vivo cancer models, the tumor burden should not exceed the recommendations of the University of Pennsylvania Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee guidelines.
Any euthanasia or anesthesia methods must be described in detail, including information about the agents used. These procedures must be carried out in accordance with applicable veterinary guidelines, such as the American Veterinary Medical Association.
2.4. Research Involving Plants
Experimental research on plants (either cultivated or wild), including collection of plant material, must comply with institutional, national or international guidelines (e.g. IUCN Policy Statement on Research Involving Species at Risk of Extinction and the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Field studies should be conducted in accordance with local legislation, and the manuscript should include a statement specifying the appropriate permissions and/or licenses.
Voucher specimens must be deposited in a public herbarium or other public collection providing access to deposited material. Information on the voucher specimen, and who identified it, must be included in the manuscript.
An example of an Ethical Statement:
Torenia fournieri plants were used in this study. White-flowered Crown White (CrW) and violet-flowered Crown Violet (CrV) cultivars selected from ‘Crown Mix’ (XXX Company, City, Country) were kindly provided by Dr. XXX (XXX Institute, City, Country).
Arabidopis mutant lines (SALKxxxx, SAILxxxx,…) were kindly provided by Dr. XXX , institute, city, country).
2.5. Research Involving Cell Lines
If cell lines are used, authors are strongly encouraged to include the following information in the materials and methods section of their manuscript:
1) Confirm that mycoplasma testing has been done for the cell lines used.
2) Confirm that the cell lines used have been authenticated and state what method was used for the authentication.
3) Provide the source, supplier and, if available, catalogue number of all the specific cell lines used in the study.
The authors are strongly encouraged to submit a detailed methodology stating the maintenance and culture of cell lines according to international guidelines on good cell culture practice (fundamental techniques, mycoplasma contamination, passage number, etc.).
Furthermore, information regarding misidentified or cross-contaminated cell lines must be provided and cross-checked from the International Cell Line Authentication Committee and ExPASy Cellosaurus databases in order to exclude their contamination with other cell lines or their incorrect identification.
If a cell line has previously been reported to be contaminated or misidentified, an STR profile of the cell line used in the study must be available for evaluation by the journal’s editor.
For BRI journals, it is strongly encouraged that all datasets on which the conclusions of a manuscript depend should be available to readers, unless they are already provided as part of the submitted article. Where datasets are included in the study, authors should include an “Availability of data and materials” section in the article, stating where the data supporting their findings may be found. Authors who do not wish to share their data must state this fact, and also provide an explanation as to why the data are unavailable.
Availability of data and materials statements can take one of the following forms (or a combination of more than one if required for multiple datasets):
• The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
• The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are available in the [NAME] repository, [PERSISTENT WEB LINK TO DATASETS].
• All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article.
• The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available due to [REASON WHY DATA ARE NOT PUBLIC] but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
• Data sharing is not applicable to this article, as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study.
• The data that support the findings of this study are available from [THIRD PARTY NAME] but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study, and so are not publicly available. Data are however available from the authors upon reasonable request and with permission of [THIRD PARTY NAME].
• Not applicable. If your manuscript does not contain any data, please state ‘Not applicable’ in this section.
Authors are encouraged to deposit their datasets in publicly available repositories, where available and appropriate. Publicly available datasets must be fully referenced in the reference list with an accession number or unique identifier such as a digital object identifier (DOI). We leave the selection of the repository is left entirely to the author’s discretion, although note that the data must be freely available to readers. A list of recommended repositories is featured below; consulting the Registry of Research Data Repositories may also be useful in this regard.
BRI supports the prospective registration of systematic reviews and encourages authors to register their systematic reviews in a suitable registry (such as PROSPERO), including the registration number as the last line of the manuscript abstract. Authors of systematic reviews should also provide a file describing all details of the search strategy. For an example of how a search strategy should be presented, see the Cochrane Reviewers’ Handbook.
3.1. Statistical Methods
Authors should provide information on the statistical methods and measures used in their research, including the name, version and supplier of the statistical software used, and the P-value considered to be significant.
Authors, reviewers and editors must declare whether there are any competing interests with regard to the publication of a study. A competing interest exists when the authors’ interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by, or may be perceived to be influenced by, their personal, political, academic relationships or financial relationship with other people or organizations, such as reimbursement for salaries, equipment or supplies, or a personal belief that may influence their objectivity and motivation, and consequently affect the data interpretation. This can include competing patents, grants, funding, employment, personal relationships and strong ethical beliefs, among other factors. Such conflicts must be declared, as they may affect the integrity or reliability of the science in the study, as well as that of otherwise unassociated studies in the same journal. The statements of competing interests for public funding sources, including government agencies, charitable or academic institutions, is best to be included.
Full disclosure of the competing interests is to be made in the cover letter and manuscript at the time of submission, even if the author judges that it has not influenced the work. If no conflict exists, this must also be stated clearly in the manuscript as follows: ‘Competing interests’: the authors declare that they have no competing interests’. And all authors should confirm its accuracy. If there is a conflict, please include it in a ‘Competing interest’ section. Examples of conflict of interest statements include ‘The present study was supported by Jones Women’s University, grant no. 12345’, 'XY University provided a graduate scholarship to Dr Jones’, ‘The compound xyz was kindly provided by ABC Company, city, country’. Authors may be asked to confirm or update, or provide further details regarding such disclosure statements following acceptance of the manuscript. Further details regarding requirements for conflict of interest statements are provided in http://www.icmje.org.
External peer reviewers must disclose any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should disqualify themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if they believe it appropriate. Should any such competing interest be declared, the journal editor will judge whether the reviewer’s comments should be recognised or will interpret the reviewer’s comments in the context of any such declaration.
5.1. Author Contributions
An ‘author’ is generally considered to be someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study. According to the ICMJE guidelines, to qualify as an author one should have i) made substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; AND ii) been involved in drafting the manuscript or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND iii) given final approval of the version to be published. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content; AND iv) agreed 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 usually justify authorship.
The individual contributions of authors to the manuscript should be specified, and initials should be used to refer to each author’s contribution (e.g. FC analyzed and interpreted the patient data regarding the hematological disease and the transplant. RH performed the histological examination of the kidney, and was a major contributor in writing the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript).
If any changes to the list of authors of a manuscript are necessary after the initial submission but before publication, the corresponding author must contact the journal staff and provide a clear reason for the change. If the change to the authorship list is appropriate and in keeping with the guidelines given above, the corresponding author will be asked to provide written confirmation that all other authors listed on the manuscript at that time give their consent. BRI will individually inform anyone who is added or removed from the author list.
All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the ‘Acknowledgment’ section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help or writing assistance, or a department chair who provided only general support. The involvement of scientific (medical) writers or anyone else who assisted with the preparation of the manuscript content should be acknowledged, along with their source of funding, as described in the European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) guidelines. The role of medical writers should be acknowledged explicitly in the 'Acknowledgment' section as appropriate.
5.3. Authorship Change
It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to ensure that the list of authors is correct upon first submission. Requests to change authors (for example, adding or removing authors, author names, or contributing changes) must be accompanied by a letter signed by all authors stating that they agree to the changes. New authors must also confirm that they fully meet the journal authorship requirements.
Articles (e.g. Opinion, Review and Commentary articles) must cite appropriate and relevant literature in support of the claims made. Authors should consider the following guidelines when preparing their manuscript:
• Any statement in the manuscript that relies on external sources of information (i.e. not the authors’ own new ideas or findings) should use a citation.
• Authors should not copy references from other publications if they have not read the cited work.
• Authors should ensure that their citations are accurate (i.e. they should ensure the citation supports the statement made in their manuscript and should not misrepresent another work by citing it if it does not support the point the authors wish to make).
• Authors should not cite sources that they have not read.
• BRI journals discourage citation manipulations to inappropriately increase the number of citations of themselves, their Friends etc.
• Authors should cite sources that have undergone peer review where possible.
• Authors should not cite advertisements or advertorial material.
All manuscripts submitted to our journals must be original. Upon submission of a manuscript, it is assumed that no similar manuscript has been or will be submitted to any other journal for publication. It is considered unethical to submit an identical manuscript to more than one journal at the same time. Multiple submissions of the same paper can damage the reputation of journals if published in more than one journal. Duplicate publications or redundant publications (re-packaging in different words of data already published by the same authors) will be rejected.
It is the responsibility of the authors to ensure that they pay particular attention to the originality of their work. Upon submission, all manuscripts are rigorously evaluated to identify any previously published material. BRI utilizes a combination of iThenticate, and searching on titles in PubMed and Google, to screen submitted manuscripts against published studies and other relevant sources. Concerning the submitted figures, images are routinely examined for the presence of duplicated, or otherwise apparently anomalous, data. Authors should therefore retain their unprocessed data and metadata files, as the Editor may request them to aid in the evaluation of the manuscript. Authors should note that, if the unprocessed data are unavailable, this may lead to a delay in manuscript evaluation until the issue is resolved.
If the journal Editor has a reason to suspect that a manuscript is plagiarized or fraudulent, they reserve the right to raise their concerns to the authors’ sponsoring institution and any other relevant bodies. In cases where plagiarism is suspected, a preliminary investigation will be conducted following the guidance offered in the flowcharts of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the guidelines of ICMJE. Every suspected act of unethical publishing behaviour will be looked into. If plagiarism is detected, the manuscript containing the plagiarism will be obviously marked on each page of the PDF. Manuscripts in which plagiarism has been detected will not be considered for publication. In cases where the paper has already been published, depending on the extent of the plagiarism, the paper may also be formally retracted.
All digital images in manuscripts considered for publication will be scrutinized for any indication of manipulation that is inconsistent with the following guidelines. Manipulation that violates these guidelines may result in delays in manuscript processing or rejection, or retraction of a published article:
• No specific feature within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced.
• The grouping of images from different parts of the same gel, or from different gels, fields or exposures, must be made explicit by the arrangement of the figure and in figure legend.
• Adjustments of brightness, contrast or color balance may be acceptable if they are applied to every pixel in the image and as long as they do not obscure, eliminate or misrepresent any information present in the original, including the background. Non-linear adjustments (e.g. changes to gamma settings) must be disclosed in the figure legend.
• Any questions raised during or after the peer review process will be referred to the Editor, who may request the original data from the author(s) for comparison with the prepared figures. If the original data cannot be produced, the manuscript may be rejected or, in the case of a published article, retracted. Any case in which the manipulation affects the interpretation of the data will result in rejection or retraction. Cases of suspected misconduct will be reported to the author(s)’ institution(s).
Peer review is an integral part of scientific publishing that confirms the validity of the science reported. Peer reviewers are experts who volunteer their time to help improve the journal manuscripts they review. BRI follows COPE’s Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers and all journals employs ‘double blind’ reviewing, in which the referees remain anonymous to the author(s) throughout and following the refereeing process, whilst the identity of the author(s) is likewise unknown to the reviewers.
Through the peer-review process, manuscripts should become:
• More robust: Peer reviewers may point out gaps in your paper that require more explanation or additional experiments.
• Easier to read: If parts of your paper are difficult to understand, reviewers can tell you so that you can fix them. After all, if an expert cannot understand what you have done, it is unlikely that a reader in a different field will understand.
• More useful: Peer reviewers also consider the importance of your paper to others in your field and can make suggestions to improve or better highlight this to readers.
Of course, in addition to offering authors advice, another important purpose of peer review is to make sure that the manuscripts published in the journal are of the correct quality for the journal’s aims.
• Manuscripts with contents outside the scope will not be considered for review.
• Manuscripts usually will be refereed by 2 experts as suggested by the editorial board.
• Editors will have the option of seeking additional reviews when needed. Authors will be informed when Editors decide further review is required.
• All publication decisions are made by the journal’s Editors-in-Chief on the basis of the referees’ reports. Authors of papers that are not accepted are notified promptly.
• All submitted manuscripts are treated as confidential documents. Editors, reviewers and editorial stuff involved in the review process should disclose conflicts of interest resulting from direct competitive, collaborative, or other relationships with any of the authors, and remove oneself from cases in which such conflicts preclude an objective evaluation.
• Privileged information or ideas that are obtained through peer review must not be used for competitive gain.
• Our peer review process is confidential.
A reviewer should, therefore, treat a manuscript sent for review as a confidential document. It should neither be shown to nor discussed with others except, in special cases, to persons from whom specific advice may be sought; in that event, the identities of those consulted should be disclosed to the Editor. Reviewers should not use or disclose unpublished information, arguments or interpretations contained in a manuscript under consideration, except with the consent of the author. Reviewers should notify BRI if they have any conflict of interest regarding a specific manuscript, and should not review the article.
Whenever it is recognized that a significant inaccuracy, misleading statement, or distorted report has been published, it must be corrected promptly and with due prominence. Changes to published articles that affect the interpretation and conclusion of the article, but do not fully invalidate the article, will, at the Editor’s’ discretion be corrected via publication of an erratum, correction, or editorial expression of concern at the earliest possible date.
If the scientific information in an article is substantially undermined, it may be necessary for published articles to be retracted. Retraction articles are indexed and linked to the original article.
Click to see details: Policy regarding corrections and retractions.
BRI adheres to COPE guidelines regarding appeals to editorial decisions and complaints. Where an author believes that an editor has made an error in declining a paper, they may submit an appeal. The appeal letter should clearly state the reasons why the author considers the decision to be incorrect and provide detailed, specific responses to any comments relating to the rejection of the review. Further advice from members of the journal’s Editorial Advisory Panel and external experts will be sought regarding eligibility for re-review.
The editor of a journal has complete responsibility and authority to accept a submitted paper for publication or to reject it. The editor may confer with associate editors or reviewers for an evaluation to use in making this decision.
An editor should give prompt and unbiased consideration to all manuscripts offered for publication, judging each on its merits without regard to race, gender, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship or political philosophy of the authors, and respecting the intellectual independence of the authors. Situations that may lead to real or perceived conflicts of interest should be avoided.
The editor and the editorial staff should not disclose any information about a manuscript under consideration to anyone other than reviewers and potential reviewers. Unpublished information, arguments or interpretations disclosed in a submitted manuscript should not be used in an editor’s own research except with the consent of the author.
An editor presented with convincing evidence that the substance or conclusions of a published paper are erroneous should promote the publication of a correction or retraction.
Editorial independence dictates that decision to accept or reject a manuscript is based on the scientific merit of the article but not to any other relations for example pressure from the publisher to the journal editor. This means that Editor is independent in his/her decision and will not be under pressure of any influential body or organization.
Our editorial policy is consistent with the principles of editorial independence presented by the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME).
BRI requires that editorial staff or editors not be involved in processing their own academic work. The Editor or members of the Editorial Board may occasionally submit their own manuscripts for possible publication in the journal. In these cases, the peer review process will be managed by alternative members of the Board. Submissions will be assigned to at least two independent outside reviewers. The submitting Editor/Board member will have no involvement in the decision-making process. Decisions will be made by other Editorial Board Members who do not have a conflict of interest with the author.
Guest Editors should not hold conflicts of interest with authors whose work they are assessing (e.g., from the same institution or collaborate closely). In this case, the Editor-in-Chief or a suitable Editorial Board member will make final acceptance decisions for submitted papers.
This section is required for all papers. If there are no interests to declare, please use the following wording: "Given his/her role as [Guest] Editor [in Chief], <NAME of Editor> had no involvement in the peer-review of this article and has no access to information regarding its peer-review. Full responsibility for the editorial process for this article was delegated to <NAME of delegated editor>".
Journals may choose to publish supplements, special issues, or similar publications that are funded by a third party (for example, a company, society, or charity). Journals should present readers with the names of the organizations that provided funding, and any conflict of interest statements.
Journals should not permit funding organizations to make decisions beyond which publications they choose to fund.
The editorial oversight of all publications is independent of the sponsor or advertiser, including the selection and appointment of Guest Editors for these supplements. The sponsor or advertiser will be prominently disclosed in the publication, including the role of the sponsor or advertiser. For all supplements published by BRI, there will be transparent disclosure of the origin of the content and the role of editors, authors, sponsors and advertisers and any conflicts of interest in relation to the supplement.
BRI journals are modern forums of scientific communication for global researchers, and publish original works without regard to gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, geographic/regional background, religion, or socio-economic status. Our Managing Editors encourage the Editors-in-Chief and Associate Editors to appoint diverse experts to our journal’s Editorial Boards.
Potential disputes over borders and territories may have particular relevance for authors in describing their research or in an author or editor correspondence address, and such issues should be respected. Content decisions are an editorial matter and where there is a potential or perceived dispute or complaint, the editorial team will attempt to come to a resolution that satisfies all parties involved.
BRI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.