BioMed Central Editor Tutorials

Learn the ins and outs of being a journal Editor, from peer review to research ethics.


Each tutorial is split into several modules. Each module comprises some reading and a small interactive exercises to test your understanding. You can complete the modules in any order. At the end of the course is a final quiz. You can re-visit earlier modules at any time – even after you have finished the tutorial. We estimate that each tutorial will take about 2 hours – but you do not have to do it all at once! You can access the tutorial as often as you want, and spend as long as you wish on the site.

The tutorials

Dos and Don'ts of Peer Review

Although peer review is the established method of assessing quality it is not without its flaws – protracted peer review processes can severely delay the publication of articles, reviewers do not always spot problems, and reviewers may have their own bias (subject, findings, etc.) which will cloud their ability to make impartial judgments. However, peer review remains the best way of assessing the suitability of a manuscript for publication.

Objective: By the end of this tutorial, you should understand what options you have in regard to quality evaluation of submissions and how to facilitate peer review.

​​​​​​​Peer Review: How to Make a Decision

It is important to remember that while peer reviewers advise on the validity of the manuscript, the decision to accept or reject lies with you, the Editors. In this module we will be considering how you, as Editors, make good judgments using the peer review system to assist you.

Objective: By the end of this tutorial you will feel more confident in using peer review to advise (but not determine) your editorial decisions.

Post-publication Issues

Although we hope that all problems will be identified and dealt with prior to acceptance and publication, there are sometimes issues that slip through.

Objective: By the end of this tutorial you will appreciate what happens after a manuscript is accepted for publication, and know how to respond to problems that may arise after publication.

Publication Research Ethics and Misconduct

This tutorial covers the different types of ethical issues that you are likely to encounter while you are the Editor of a journal, and how you should best respond to problems when they arise.

Objective: By the end of this tutorial you will appreciate the different types of ethical problems that you may encounter, and know how to deal with them.