A condition of publication for any research article in all Biochemical Society journals is that others should be able to replicate and build upon the published findings. Editors, therefore, reserve the right to decline publication of or reject a manuscript if data, experimental reporting or figures do not meet Portland Press’ data integrity, transparency, ethical or reproducibility standards.
1. Data deposition and accessibility
Portland Press and the Biochemical Society encourage Authors to share their data and upload raw data and datasets to open data repositories on formal acceptance of their article for publication. We do not stipulate a particular repository but encourage Authors to find a suitable repository by visiting the Registry of Research Data Repositories.
2. Availability of data and materials
- A condition of publication in the Society’s research journals is that Authors agree to make any materials, data, code and associated protocols (relating to their published research) available to bona fide researcher or reader requests without undue delay or qualifications.
- Data should be stored for a minimum of 10 years.
- For peer review/during assessment/as required by Editors anytime pre or post publication:
- Any restrictions on the availability of materials or information must be disclosed to the Journal at the time of submission
- Supporting data must be made available to Editors and peer reviewers at the time of submission for the purposes of evaluating the manuscript
- Portland Press Editors should have the right to request any original data from Authors at any point in the review or publication process, including after publication. Failure to provide such information on request could result in publication delays or revocation of acceptance, or formal publication of an Expression of Concern around the published article, or even formal retraction of the article if deemed necessary.
- At the time of publication, relevant datasets should be available (except for cases where an embargoed dataset has been agreed with the journal – see above section on data deposit) and there should be an adequate description of how the dataset has been processed (if relevant).
- If readers/researchers are meeting with resistance when seeking input from Authors on unique materials/protocol details in published articles they should contact the Journal Editorial Office
If questions are raised about published articles, these will be dealt with according to our ethical policies and in line with COPE guidelines.
3. Reporting of experimental design and details
- A condition of publication in the Society’s research journals, is that that all information necessary for independent replication of the experiment should be provided within the body of the article (in the Methods section).
- The Methods section should include:
- Full description of all critical variables required for independent replication
- Information on the precise statistical tests used (including mention of any statistical software);
- Full information on controls (control experiments must be included in the body of the manuscript not as supplementary data or similar);
- Mention of all and any datasets that have been deposited elsewhere together with accession codes and with a citation in the reference section of the article including, wherever possible, a persistent identifier such as a DOI
- Although supplementary data is allowed, control experiments should not be published in supplementary material and should appear within the Figures of the main article. (If indirect controls are presented, these may, on occasion, be more suited to appearing as supplementary material.)
4. Policy on figures: preparation and presentation
- Wherever possible, authors should use full-data distributions that represent the variability and complexity of the data; box or scatter plots should be used rather than single-line representations such as bar graphs.
- Images should be minimally processed and should accurately and faithfully reflect and represent the original data. Any image processing that has taken place should be clearly stated in the Figure legend.
- Adjustments, if unavoidable, should not enhance, erase, or misrepresent any information present in the original, including the background
- Adjustments of brightness, contrast or colour balance, if impossible to avoid, need to be applied to the entire image and not select to areas, parts or features of the image
- No specific feature within an image should be selectively enhanced, obscured, moved, removed or introduced
- Combining images that should otherwise be presented separately is strongly discouraged as this may misrepresent the original data. If a composite figure cannot be avoided, dividing lines must be added between all relevant sections/lanes, and the composite nature of the image should also be described in the figure legend
- Duplicated images within the manuscript should be called out so that any reuse of images, including control data, across multiple figures are explicitly stated and justified in the legend(s).
- During peer review, authors may be required to submit uncropped images of complete gels or other images for comparison to prepared figures. If original data cannot be produced, the article may be rejected.
- Any manuscript where the Editors are unconvinced of the integrity of the figures may be rejected/may not be considered further for publication.
- More specific/detailed points:
- Immunoblots should be presented in a way that retains information about antigen size and antibody specificity. Cropped images should retain sufficient area around the band(s) of interest, ideally including the positions of at least one molecular weight marker above and below the band(s). Immunoblot bands should be non-saturated, i.e. suitable for quantitation by densitometry. In addition, each immunoblot should be presented with an appropriate loading control, preferably from the same original gel.
- Please ensure appropriate controls are provided in immunoprecipitation experiments. Negative and positive controls are required, with the negative control being an antibody directed against a different antigen, and the positive control being a known interactor of the immunoprecipitated molecule.
- Nonlinear adjustments (e.g., changes to gamma settings) must be disclosed in the figure legend or in the Methods section.
- For microscopy and other relevant images, a scale bar should be included to indicate the scale.
- FACS data should be presented at a resolution that enables a reader to see and understand the points and information, without blurring.