Submission and peer review

Choosing a publication

The Microbiology Society publishes five journals and an open research platform (Access Microbiology) that cover the breadth of microbiology and allow researchers to publish content in a host of different formats. The scope of each journal or platform can be found in the table below.

These are the primary contact addresses for the journals and platform. We do not engage directly with any intermediaries, and only emails received from @microbiologysociety.org or @editorialmanager.com should be trusted as official communications.

The Microbiology Society does not charge fees for any publishing services other than for Gold Open Access. Details of Gold Open Access fees can be found on our Open Access costs page.

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Submitting your article

For Access Microbiology, authors will be prompted to run their article through the manuscript Review Tool, Penelope.ai, prior to submitting to the peer review system, to check it complies with the platform's editorial and ethical policies. For information on how Penelope.ai works in Access Microbiology, see the About page.

For all journals and the platform, during the submission process, you will be asked to upload your manuscript (and any other files) and be asked a series of questions support the peer review process and to confirm editorial policies are agreed to:

Suggested reviewers: If you would like to suggest reviewers to expedite the peer review process, you may do – these reviewers must not be a recent co-author of yours, nor have any other obvious conflict or collusion of interest. Editors are instructed to use no more than one author-suggested reviewer. 

Opposed reviewers: You may indicate if there are any reviewers you do not wish to review your article. Please provide sufficient detail as to why.

Additional information: If you have been invited to submit, would like you article to be considered for a special collection or have any other comments for the Editorial Staff or Editor, you may provide information here. 

Open Access: If you have submitted to a Gold Open Access journal or platform you will be asked if you agree to this, and in the case of our hybrid journals, you will be asked if you would like to choose the Open Access option. In all cases of Open Access, you will be asked to view the estimated article processing charge (APC), or confirm your eligibly if you are eligible for fee-free Open Access under a Publish and Read deal.

After you submitted your article to the Editorial Office, all co-authors will be emailed to confirm their authorship – and that their details are correct – on the paper. 

The office will conduct a series of checks to ensure all required content is available and easy to follow in your submitted manuscript. If anything crucial is missing, they will return it to the corresponding author to make the requested changes. 

Once all checks are complete, it will be assigned to an Editor who will begin the peer review process. On the open research platform, Access Microbiology, the article is posted onto the platform as a preprint before assignment to the Editor. 

Authors using WeChat can track the progress of their submission via the Microbiology Society's WeChat Gateway on the app. Search "MS Microbiology" on WeChat, follow us and click the "Check my submission" sub-menu. 

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The peer review process

All of our five journals employ a single-blind peer review process, meaning the reviewers will know the identity of the authors, but the authors will not know the identity of the reviewers. As an open research platform, Access Microbiology operates a transparent peer review process, meaning the reviewers know the identity of the authors, and the authors may know the identity of the reviewers if they choose to sign their name to their review. 

For the journals and the Access Microbiology open research platform, once an Editor is assigned a paper, they will invite reviewers to evaluate the paper for scientific rigour and validity. Reviewers are not expected to make significant corrections to language or grammar but may do so at their own discretion. 

Once the reviews have been received, the Editor will make an assessment – taking into account their own evaluation of the paper, and any confidential comments reviewers have sent to them directly. Editor’s will make’ a decision, and authors will then be notified. Possible decisions are either Minor Revision, Major Revision, Accept or Reject.

The open research platform, Access Microbiology, has a completely unique review structure with slightly different decision types to those described above. Please see the platform’s About page for more information.

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Copyright and licenses

For Microbial Genomics, Microbiology and Access Microbiology, and for Open Access articles published in our other journals, we ask that authors sign a Creative Commons CC-BY licence. This means that you retain copyright, and that others are able to re-use the article in line with funder and institution mandates on Open Access. Authors submitting to Access Microbiology also choose a separate Creative Commons licence for their preprints during the submission process. If you are required to publish under an alternative Creative Commons licence please contact the Editorial Office.

Fee-free Open Access is offered by default for corresponding authors of eligible institutions under a Publish and Read licence.

For non-Open-Access articles in Journal of General Virology, Journal of Medical Microbiology, and International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, we do not ask authors to transfer copyright to the Microbiology Society but instead ask them to sign a Licence to Publish form. This gives us an exclusive right to publish your article under one of the following options:

 Copyright owner Use
 Author copyright Used when the authors retain copyright. The published article will include the line ‘© The Authors’.
 Employer copyright Used when copyright is to be retained by an author’s employer, usually the government or state. The published article will include a copyright statement provided by the author or their employer. For example, for UK government employees a ‘© 2018 Crown Copyright’ statement is used.
 Public domain When an article is already in the public domain, copyright cannot be assigned and the article will be published without a copyright notice.

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Depositing copies of your article: preprints and post-prints

As part of our educational remit, we make all subscription articles free-to-read 3 years after publication. You also have a range of options for depositing your article in a subject or institutional repository, often known as Green Open Access. We encourage authors to post on preprint servers such as bioRxiv prior to submission. If you have deposited a preprint of your article in bioRxiv, you will be able to submit it directly to one of our journals without having to go through the usual submission process.

You can read more about our deposition policies on our Publishing Open Access in our journals page.

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Language editing

You may wish to have your article edited before you submit it for peer review, or during revision. This is not compulsory but it may help Editors and reviewers to fully understand your article.

Many language-editing services are available, but we have partnered with Editage to provide publication-focused editing services to our authors at a 15% discount. To take advantage of this offer visit our Editage page, or if you’re an existing Editage customer, please use the code MICSOC10.

Please note that language editing does not guarantee that your article will be sent out for peer review or accepted for publication.

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