Working with Bio-protocol to publish peer-reviewed protocols

Recognising the need for greater reproducibility in scientific research, Bio-protocol enables authors to publish their step-by-step methods.

A contribution to Inside eLife by Marielle Cavrois, Fanglian He and Vivian Siegel

At Bio-protocol, Marielle Cavrois is Editor-in-Chief, Fanglian He is Executive Editor and Vivian Siegel is Senior Editorial Advisor.

Created in 2011 by a group of Stanford scientists, Bio-protocol is an online, peer-reviewed journal curating high-quality research protocols within the life sciences. Bio-protocol provides critical information that enables scientists to be able to reproduce published experiments. Bio-protocol articles complement primary research articles with detailed step-by-step protocols, reagent supplier and catalog number information, videos, and advice for particularly sensitive steps.

In the six years since it launched, Bio-protocol has honed its core expertise of reviewing, editing and publishing detailed protocols in the life sciences. Key to this success is the unique composition of our editorial and reviewing boards that consist mostly of postdocs and junior faculty members. These early-career life-science researchers, who actively and routinely design, conduct and supervise lab experiments, are well positioned to assess the quality and clarity of protocols. As a grassroots organization dedicated to greater transparency in the review process, Bio-protocol now publishes the names of the editors and reviewers for each published protocol.

So far, most of the over 1,900 protocols published in Bio-protocol have been by invitation, after publication of the related/experimental research. To reduce the delay between publication of the research and any accompanying protocols, eLife encourages its authors to submit one or several protocol(s) before or upon acceptance. Both Bio-protocol and eLife believe that such synchronization will be valuable for researchers interested in reproducing published work or applying published protocols to extend their own research. Working together in this way enables bidirectional linking between the protocol published in Bio-protocol and the research article published in eLife, making it easy for readers to access both articles (see, for example, Subramani et al in eLife; Subramani and Morth, 2016, in Bio-protocol).

eLife authors are encouraged to send detailed step-by-step protocols to Bio-protocol at an appropriate opportunity: publishing with Bio-protocol ensures appropriate credit for sharing their technical expertise and knowledge with the research community.

We welcome comments/questions from researchers as well as other journals. Contact staff [at] elifesciences [dot] org.