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Aims and scope

Biology Direct serves the life science research community as an open access and author driven open peer review journal, providing authors and readers with an alternative to the traditional model of peer review. Biology Direct considers original research articles, hypotheses, comments, discovery notes, application notes and reviews in subject areas currently identified as those most conducive to the open review approach, primarily those with a significant non-experimental component.

The key aim of Biology Direct is to provide authors and readers with a novel system of peer review. This includes making the author responsible for selecting potentially suitable reviewers for their manuscript, from the journal's Editorial Board; making the peer review process open rather than anonymous; and making the reviewers' reports public, in an aim to bolster productive scientific debate.

Open access

All articles published by Biology Direct are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication, without subscription charges or registration barriers. Further information about open access can be found here.

As authors of articles published in Biology Direct you are the copyright holders of your article and have granted to any third party, in advance and in perpetuity, the right to use, reproduce or disseminate your article, according to the BMC license agreement.

For those of you who are US government employees or are prevented from being copyright holders for similar reasons, BMC can accommodate non-standard copyright lines. Please contact us if further information is needed.

Article-processing charges

Open access publishing is not without costs. Biology Direct therefore levies an article-processing charge of £1690.00/$2390.00/€1990.00 for each article accepted for publication, plus VAT or local taxes where applicable.

If the corresponding author's institution participates in our open access membership program, some or all of the publication cost may be covered (more details available on the membership page). We routinely waive charges for authors from low-income countries. For other countries, article-processing charge waivers or discounts are granted on a case-by-case basis to authors with insufficient funds. Authors can request a waiver or discount during the submission process. For further details, see our article-processing charge page.

BMC provides a free open access funding support service to help authors discover and apply for article processing charge funding. Visit our OA funding and policy support page to view our list of research funders and institutions that provide funding for APCs, and to learn more about our email support service.

For more information on APCs please see our Journal Pricing FAQs

Indexing services

All articles published in Biology Direct are included in:

  • Biological Abstracts
  • CAS
  • Citebase
  • DOAJ
  • Embase
  • EmBiology
  • OAIster
  • PubMed
  • PubMed Central
  • Science Citation Index Expanded
  • SCImago
  • Scopus
  • Zetoc

The full text of all articles is deposited in digital archives around the world to guarantee long-term digital preservation. You can also access all articles published by BioMed Central on SpringerLink.

Biology Direct has an Impact Factor of 2.193 (2019) .

Peer-review policy

Peer-review is the system used to assess the quality of a manuscript before it is published. Independent researchers in the relevant research area assess submitted manuscripts for originality, validity and significance to help editors determine whether the manuscript should be published in their journal. You can read more about the peer-review process here.

Biology Direct aims to provide a unique service to authors and readers of research articles, with a novel system of peer-review. Key peer-review aims are:

  • To remove the journal's role in reviewer selection, making the author responsible for suggesting suitable reviewers from the journal's Editorial Board.
  • To make the process of peer-review open, rather than anonymous, thus eliminating the principal sources of abuse in the refereeing process.
  • By making the reviewers' reports public, to increase the responsibility of the referees and to provide readers with pointers as to the content and value of a publication.

These aims are put into practice as follows.

  1. The Editors-in-Chief and Section Editors have assembled, for each subject area, a panel of potential reviewers who have agreed in advance to serve the journal and will form the Editorial Board.
  2. An author submitting a manuscript to the journal will consult the relevant subject panel and suggest appropriate Editorial Board members to peer-review their manuscript. The peer-review process will then be coordinated by BioMed Central staff, who will invite the reviewers on the author's behalf. In order to be eligible for publication in Biology Direct, a minimum of two Editorial Board members are required to agree to assume responsibility for reviewing the manuscript.
  3. The journal will insist that the initially requested reviewers are drawn from the Editorial Board, however Editorial Board members can nominate a reviewer in their place. Only reviewers directly nominated by an Editorial Board member or Section Editor are eligible for review.
  4. In essence, an article is rejected from the journal if at least two Editorial Board members do not agree to review it.
  5. Any reviewer-author pair (both directions) will be allowed to appear in the journal no more than four times a year.
  6. Any author will be allowed to publish no more than two articles per year with the same three reviewers.
  7. Reviewers are asked to undertake a two-stage review, because once they agree formally to review an article they are essentially recommending eventual acceptance and publication. The first step for a reviewer is to skim-read the article so as to allow the reviewer to form an overall opinion of the article; if they feel they cannot have their name associated with the publication of this article, they can decline to provide a formal review. But if they agree to review, the second step is for the reviewer to prepare comments for the author which, however critical, will appear alongside the final version of the article if it is published. The reviewer can also choose to publish no comments with the manuscript in which case it will be indicated, under the reviewer's name, that "This reviewer made no comments for publication".
  8. There will be a fairly tight time frame for the review process: if an Editorial Board member does not respond to a request for review within 72 hours, this will be considered to be a 'decline to review' and another reviewer will be sought. However, once an Editorial Board member agrees to review a manuscript, s/he will have 2 weeks to deliver the review. If the reviewer does not deliver comments promptly, the author will be in a position to elect to publish the manuscript accompanied by the name of the reviewer but without comments.
  9. The authors will be in a position to withdraw the manuscript if they do not wish to see it published alongside the reviews that have been received. The same article may not then be submitted through other Editorial Board members.
  10. As a safeguard against pseudoscience as well as manuscripts that have no significant scientific substance, an Editorial Board member reviewing a manuscript will have the option, in addition to writing a negative review, to alert the Section Editors that, in his/her opinion, a particular manuscript is not a legitimate scientific work and therefore should not be published in any form.

    The Section Editors will make the final decision in such cases, in consultation with the Editors-in-Chief when deemed necessary. For further information for both authors and reviewers, please click here.

Authors will be able to check the progress of their manuscript through the submission system.


Editorial policies

All manuscripts submitted to Biology Direct should adhere to BioMed Central's editorial policies.

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Citing articles in Biology Direct

Articles in Biology Direct  should be cited in the same way as articles in a traditional journal. Because articles are not printed, they do not have page numbers; instead, they are given a unique article number.

Article citations follow this format:

Authors: Title. Biol Direct [year], [volume number]:[article number].

e.g. Roberts LD, Hassall DG, Winegar DA, Haselden JN, Nicholls AW, Griffin JL: Increased hepatic oxidative metabolism distinguishes the action of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor delta from Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor gamma in the Ob/Ob mouse. Biol Direct 2009, 1:115.

refers to article 115 from Volume 1 of the journal.

Appeals and complaints

Authors who wish to appeal a rejection or make a complaint should follow the procedure outlined in the BMC Editorial Policies.

Benefits of publishing with BMC

High visibility

Biology Direct's open access policy allows maximum visibility of articles published in the journal as they are available to a wide, global audience. 

Speed of publication

Biology Direct offers a fast publication schedule whilst maintaining rigorous peer review; all articles must be submitted online, and peer review is managed fully electronically (articles are distributed in PDF form, which is automatically generated from the submitted files). Articles will be published with their final citation after acceptance, in both fully browsable web form, and as a formatted PDF.


Online publication in Biology Direct gives you the opportunity to publish large datasets, large numbers of color illustrations and moving pictures, to display data in a form that can be read directly by other software packages so as to allow readers to manipulate the data for themselves, and to create all relevant links (for example, to PubMed, to sequence and other databases, and to other articles).

Promotion and press coverage

Articles published in Biology Direct are included in article alerts and regular email updates. Some may be highlighted on Biology Direct’s pages and on the BMC homepage.

In addition, articles published in Biology Direct may be promoted by press releases to the general or scientific press. These activities increase the exposure and number of accesses for articles published in Biology Direct. A list of articles recently press-released by journals published by BMC is available here.


As an author of an article published in Biology Direct you retain the copyright of your article and you are free to reproduce and disseminate your work (for further details, see the BMC license agreement).

For further information about the advantages of publishing in a journal from BMC, please click here.

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