With over 50% take-up Springer Nature’s new author service rolled out early after response exceeds expectations

In Review is opening up the black box of the peer review process and leading the way in next generation of pre-publication platforms

After a successful pilot, Springer Nature has taken the early decision to roll out In Review, its new author submission service, across the BMC series journals.

At the end of October 2018 Springer Nature piloted In Review, a new first-of-its-kind author service which provides a pre-publication platform, along with other author services and benefits, to open up the submission, review and editorial process.  In Review offers a detailed peer review timeline so that authors can easily track the status of their manuscript while it’s out for review, as well as share it with the wider community earlier in the submission and peer review process.

The service had been trialled on four BMC journals but received such positive take-up and feedback that the decision has been taken to roll it out and offer it as an option for all authors across more BMC journals, starting with the 50 BMC series journals.  

Results from the pilot saw an opt-in rate across the four journals of 55%; for BMC Anesthesiology 64% of authors submitting papers to that journal chose to use the service.  This is in comparison to under 20% take-up from other publisher / platform initiatives and 2% industry average for preprints more generally. 

Commenting, Steven Inchcoombe, Chief Publishing Officer at Springer Nature, said: “We know that authors want greater transparency and control over their manuscripts.  The black box of peer review can sometimes leave authors in the dark as to what is going on with their research.  In Review, as shown by the feedback to date, has tapped into something authors are finding incredibly valuable and shining a light into the assessment and peer review process. 

“Importantly, though, authors feel many of their goals are put on hold as they wait for their manuscript to be published so that they can share it with the world, cite it, and add it to grant applications and more. In Review solves this problem and empowers authors without having to give up their publication outlet of choice. At the same time the wider academic community get earlier access to new findings and an opportunity to challenge or contribute to them.”

Further information

In Review allows authors to:

  • Share their work while it is under review and engage the wider community in discussion (through the Hypothes.isopen annotation tool)
  • View the status of their manuscript in real time – the details of reviewer invitations, number of reports received, and editorial decisions throughout the process
  • Demonstrate the integrity of their work with a transparent editorial checklist
  • Benefit from early sharing, including potential for earlier citations and collaboration opportunities

In Review allows the wider research community to:

  • Follow, and comment on, emerging science
  • Find new discoveries with fully-indexed search
  • Note which editorial checks the manuscript has already passed
  • Gain insight into the peer review pipeline of a particular manuscript

Author opt-in rates for journals in the pilot since October 2018.

Total submissionsTotal opt ins%
BMC Anesthesiology36723564%
BMC Neurology44925657%
BMC Ophthalmology47627157%


About Springer Nature

For over 175 years Springer Nature has been advancing discovery by providing the best possible service to the whole research community. We help researchers uncover new ideas, support librarians and institutions with innovations in technology and data, and provide quality publishing support to societies.  We make sure all the research we publish is significant, robust and stands up to objective scrutiny, that it reaches all relevant audiences in the best possible format, and can be discovered, accessed, used, re-used and shared.   

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