biOverlay is similar to an overlay journal for the natural sciences. Like academic journals, we perform peer review of scientific literature. However, our overlay doesn’t publish papers. Authors do not know that papers are selected and sent out for review, and journals should not consider manuscripts that we selected for biOverlay as published. Because our process directly mirrors academic peer review other than the stage of submission, one could imagine that our assessments may be useful to journals when they select which papers to send out for review.
Associate editors identify literature that they consider to be of particular interest. They then contact a set of scientists who they feel are well-suited to evaluating one or more aspects of the work and request that they serve as referees. Individuals who agree to referee the work are asked to review one or more aspects of the work. These individuals are allowed to share their own name or review anonymously.
Once the reviews have been performed, the associate editor compiles the reviews and summarizes the contribution of the work.
Having a Manuscript Reviewed by biOverlay
There is no way to directly submit work to us for review. Our volunteer team of associate editors decides which manuscripts will be reviewed based on their own interests. Note that we are able to review only a very small fraction of the number of preprints and peer reviewed publications from each month. The fact that we have or have not reviewed a manuscript is not a judgement of quality or of the broad importance of the work.
Becoming an Associate Editor
Associate editors guide each manuscript through the review process. They are responsible for selecting work to review, obtaining reviews from appropriate scientists, and summarizing reviews as well as each manuscript’s contributions. Associate editor positions are unpaid; however, they do provide an opportunity to ask peers that you respect for their formal thoughts on scholarly contributions. We ask each associate editor to handle one paper every two months. Though this work load is higher than some journals, note that associate editors are selecting work that can be of immediate interest.
Associate editors will need to be somewhat familiar with GitHub and will need to have an account with the service. They will also need to be able to edit plain text files. If you are interested in becoming an associate editor, please send an email to Casey Greene.
Conflicts of Interest
biOverlay expects its reviewers and editors to uphold the highest standards with regards to conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest with the authors of manuscripts must be disclosed. In the event that a reviewer has a conflict of interest, that reviewer may still review only if the nature of the conflict is prominently disclosed alongside the review. Reviewers with conflicts of interest thus may not review anonymously. Editors are expected to avoid handling papers where they could be perceived to have a conflict of interest. If you have questions about this policy, please send an email to Casey Greene.