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“Preprints, open access, Editorial Board Members, peer review options, decision times… so many factors can affect what publishing route you opt for. The question is, where do you start?”

The Biology Letters team have been in the publishing game long enough to know that choosing where to submit your paper can lead to seemingly endless possibilities. Preprints, open access, Editorial Board Members, peer review options, decision times… so many factors can affect what publishing route you opt for. The question is, where do you start?

In this blog post we hope to answer that question for you by giving you reasons why you should consider Biology Letters! We cover some of the points researchers have raised with us over the years. So, in no particular order, here is the top 10:

1. Decision times

Over the past two years researchers have had more to think about other than decision times, but we know they remain important. Understandably, you want a decision as quickly as possible. Not only do we disclose our decision times on the PDFs of our published articles, but we also provide decision times on our website. Our current median times are around 22 days to reach a first decision.

2. Friendly customer service

With only a few in-house staff, the editorial office is a smaller one compared to other publishers but we still pack a punch! Contributors appreciate our speedy and helpful replies, and we understand that a variety of questions can come up at any point. We always ask if we can provide additional help, and we really mean it too.

3. Great for early-career researchers

We know that getting started in the publishing aspect of your career can be daunting. Starting off in a short-format journal like Biology Letters might be beneficial. Our word counts can lead to developing a concise writing style, which will be useful wherever you submit your manuscripts to. If you have a study that doesn’t require much unpacking of ideas then we are ideally suited for you too. We’ve heard that students have been taught using our articles and formatting styles, and that might be something you use as well.

4. Over 350 years of publishing experience

Our title says “Biology Letters” but perhaps our full title could be “Biology Letters of the Royal Society”. It sometimes gets missed that we are a part of this incredible institution whose publishing legacy has lasted since 1665 but we are and we have learned so much along the way. We continue to develop and you can take a look at our infographic for just some of the milestones we have reached.

5. Be a part of a charity supporting researchers like you

Although the fundamentals remain important, researchers may also have their own personal reasons on selecting one journal over another. As we are a part of the Royal Society, a charity, authors know that their article is contributing to the efforts we make in supporting and promoting excellence in science.

6. Promotion

Getting your paper published is a huge achievement but our work continues in promoting your final article. Our Press Office send our articles to journalists all over the world, and, with our Twitter and Facebook accounts, there are so many ways for us to reach new and intended audiences.

7. Open access options

Do you want to publish open access? Simply choose that option. We are compliant with all funder mandates and with deals such as Read & Publish, it could be easier than you think. 

What’s more, Biology Letters is a Transformative Journal and is committed to eventually becoming completely open access, so you can be completely assured about meeting any mandates you may have. We have data showing much higher usage of open access articles.

8. Peer review transparency

At the moment we have single-blind peer review for all manuscripts but we will soon be launching optional Transparent Peer Review (TPR). This will mean that where authors opt for TPR, all reviewer reports, decision letters and author responses to the reviewer comments will be available alongside published articles through our partner Publons. Reviewers can disclose their identity (or not) and claim credit for their contributions through Publons, while authors and readers will benefit from increased transparency. 

9. Range of article-types

Research articles remain the article-type that gets submitted to us the most but there are other ways to publish your work with us. We also consider opinion pieces and reviews. If you’ve thought about guest editing a set of articles on a specific theme then maybe you have a Special Feature in mind that you can send us a proposal for. Our Reviews Editor covers what we look for in different article types in a recent post but if you have an idea you can always email the editorial office at any time. 

10. Preprint options

It’s not always clear how preprints fit in with journal publishing. To make things easier, Biology Letters has partnered with bioRxiv to allow authors to transfer their preprint directly to us. Going further, we encourage researchers to upload their preprint to a recognised preprint server.


We hope this post helps you in deciding where you submit your work and that you choose to submit with us. Visit our website to read more about the journal and submit your work to us using our handy checklist. We look forward to working with you soon!

Image credit: Baboon, David Gaglio.

 
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