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EMBO enhances peer review of four molecular life science journals


Transparent editorial process at The EMBO Journal to be introduced at EMBO reports, Molecular Systems Biology and EMBO Molecular Medicine


Heidelberg, 1 December 2010 – A transparent editorial process will be implemented across all four molecular life science journals published by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). The decision follows the acceptance by authors and referees of the online publication of peer review process files in the organization's leading publication The EMBO Journal.


"The assessment of research findings by peer review ensures fair and informed decision-making prior to broad dissemination of scientific advances," said Prof. Maria Leptin, EMBO Director. "We are pleased that scientists are in favour of the changes introduced at The EMBO Journal and look forward to employing the same transparent editorial process in all four of the EMBO molecular life science journals."


EMBO publishes four journals [1]: The EMBO Journal since 1981; EMBO reports since 2000; Molecular Systems Biology since 2005; and EMBO Molecular Medicine since 2009. Teams of in-house research editors for each journal manage the editorial processes.


Since its introduction at The EMBO Journal almost two years ago, more than 400 primary papers have been published using the transparent editorial process. The papers published online have included referee comments from each revision, editorial decision letters, author responses, and timelines of submissions, decisions, revisions and publications. The number of submissions to the journal and expert referee willingness remain unchanged, as do the quality of referee reports and author responses. Online access to peer-review process files is about one-tenth the access to the published paper.


In the editorial of the current issue of The EMBO Journal, chief editor and head of EMBO Scientific Publications, Bernd Pulverer outlines further enhancements at each of the four journals, including cross-comments by refeeres. He concludes: "We hope that these measures collectively serve to enhance the peer review process. Peer review is here to stay and we will continue to optimize its practice."


Visible manuscript evaluations encourage constructive referee and author argumentation. They also play an educational role for younger scientists who gain insight into how to publish their research findings, how to deal with critique, and how to referee papers.


From December, transparent peer-review process files will be added online to EMBO reports, Molecular Systems Biology and EMBO Molecular Medicine.


Read the editorial at: www.nature.com/emboj/journal


[1] The EMBO Journal and EMBO reports are published by Nature Publishing Group on behalf of EMBO.

Molecular Systems Biology is jointly owned by EMBO and Nature Publishing Group.

EMBO Molecular Medicine is published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of EMBO.


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Tilmann KießlingTilmann Kießling
Head, Communications
T. + 49 160 9019 3839