Most researchers will tell you that, at some point, they have had a bad experience with peer review, which at its worst is a slow, oblique process which “reflects all the civility of being thrown to the lions in the Coliseum.”
Since launching in 2006, Biology Direct has always tried to remove causes of frustration with traditional peer-review models, with progressive policies such as including named reviewer reports as part of published articles, and allowing authors to avoid multiple iterations of review by handing back responsibility for the decision on whether to publish, in light of reviewers’ comments (there’s more on this here).
One of the specific questions that Biology Direct Editors identified was how to publish specific discoveries made by computational analysis, which can be important contributions to the literature and require peer review, but that researchers want to publish quickly and with minimal effort in manuscript preparation and revision.
That’s why they introduced the Discovery Note – short articles of a very simple structure (<1500 words with one figure and table) designed for the straightforward communication of an observation made about proteins, genes or genomes.
One example describes an important development in understanding a type of localised hypermutation in some cancer genomes termed kataegis (Greek for thunderstorm). Described for the first time in only 2012, there was initial speculation that the phenomena could be caused by the APOBEC family of enzymes. This was swiftly followed by this Discovery Note published in Biology Direct, which confirmed that APOBEC PmCDA1 could indeed cause kataegis in a yeast model.
“The findings are straightforward and provide strong support to the hypothesis that unleashed AID/APOBEC may be the causative agents of hypermutations found in cancer genomes.”
Sandor Pongor, as part of open peer review comments included in all Biology Direct articles
Like all articles published in Biology Direct the reviewer’s comments are included in the published article, and authors are invited to respond to comments made, so on top of the article itself this public dialogue between author and reviewer provides an additional guide to the published findings.
As well as being designed for swift review and publication, Discovery Notes published in Biology Direct are eligible for a 50% discount from the Article Processing Charge (by including the code BDdiscovery50 in your cover letter at submission).