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.
In cases where the journal is unable to find sufficient peer reviewers, the services of a publishing partner, Research Square, may be used to identify suitable reviewers and provide reports to avoid further delays for authors. Reviewers recruited by Research Square are paid a small honorarium for completing the review within a specified timeframe. Honoraria are paid regardless of the reviewer recommendation. With Research Square, a double-anonymous peer review system is in operation.
In cases where reports have been obtained by Research Square, the peer review reports will be unsigned unless the reviewer opts in to sign the report.
BMC Health Services Research operates a transparent peer-review system, where, if the article is published, the reviewer reports are published online alongside the article under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 but the reviewer is not named.
The benefit of transparent peer review is that it increases transparency. In addition, published reports can serve an educational purpose in helping facilitate training and research into peer review.
Manuscripts submitted to BMC Health Services Research are assessed by our Editors and/or peer reviewers. Editor(s) are expected to obtain a minimum of two peer reviewers for manuscripts reporting primary research or secondary analysis of primary research. It is recognized that in some exceptional circumstances, particularly in niche and emerging fields, it may not be possible to obtain two independent peer reviewers. In such cases, Editor(s) may wish to make a decision to publish based on one peer review report. When making a decision based on one report, Editor(s) are expected to only do so if the peer review report meets the standards set out in the Springer Nature Code of Conduct (section Peer-Review). Overall editorial responsibility for the journal is with the Editor, with Editorial Board Members acting as handling editors.
BMC Health Services Research is part of the BMC series which publishes subject-specific journals focused on the needs of individual research communities across all areas of biology and medicine. We do not make editorial decisions on the basis of the interest of a study or its likely impact. Studies must be scientifically valid; for research articles this includes a scientifically sound research question, the use of suitable methods and analysis, and following community-agreed standards relevant to the research field.
Specific criteria for other article types can be found in the submission guidelines.