What is mSphereDirect™ ?
mSphereDirect is a new publishing pathway in mSphere, a multidisciplinary open-access journal spanning the microbial sciences. mSphereDirect facilitates a fundamental shift from traditional peer review by putting authors in control and allowing them to secure reviews from recognized experts as quickly as possible. This pathway guarantees a decision within five business days. Authors select their own reviewers and submit scientific reviews simultaneously with the original research. mSphere Senior Editors validate the reviewers' credentials and evaluate the quality of the submitted reviews and research. This pathway puts authors in control and allows for rapid decisions, speed to publication, and transparency in review.
When can I submit my manuscript via the mSphereDirect pathway?
You can submit your mSphereDirect manuscript to mSphere today!
What is the process?
Authors invite at least two qualified experts to review their work, respond to reviewers’ comments as appropriate, and submit the final manuscript along with at least two mSphereDirect external review forms supporting publication. If more than two reviews are solicited, all must be submitted with the manuscript. Manuscripts may also be submitted easily and directly from bioRxiv. Since authors direct the peer review process, the authors must also ensure that the reviewers have approved the final, submitted manuscript.
What areas of research does the mSphereDirect pathway include?
The scope of work that may be submitted via mSphereDirect is the same as for mSphere: all basic, clinical, and applied original research on bacteria, viruses, parasites, and simple eukaryotic organisms, including host-microbe interactions. The objective of introducing mSphereDirect is to provide the global scientific community with a rapid and fair publishing venue that allows the author to direct the peer review process.
How should you prepare your manuscript?
All manuscripts must be prepared according to the mSphere Instructions to Authors. All mSphereDirect submissions will be formatted as Research Articles, including an abstract and an importance paragraph written for nonspecialists. See the mSphereDirect Author Checklist for more information.
What are the criteria for soliciting reviewers?
Authors should solicit at least two reviewers and provide them with the external review form prior to submission. The form should be completed in its entirety. All solicited reviews must be submitted with the manuscript.
What are mSphereDirect's reviewer requirements?
- Must have published at least five scientific articles, within the corresponding area of expertise and within the past 5 years, in established peer-reviewed, international, English-language journals that are indexed in PubMed, as a first or corresponding author in at least two of the publications
- Must be affiliated with an established nonprofit or for-profit institution and must have an institutional e-mail address
- May not be from the same institution as the author(s)
- May not have coauthored articles or otherwise collaborated with the author(s) within the last 5 years
- Must not have trained with or mentored (i.e., as a doctoral or postdoctoral advisor) the author(s) at any time
- Must have completed postdoctoral training
- Must have agreed to be identified by name and institutional affiliation in the published paper if the manuscript is accepted
Reviewer names and institutional affiliations will be published with the manuscript if the manuscript is accepted. This will increase transparency in the mSphereDirect pathway review process and create incentive for authors to secure expert reviewers who are recognized as such in their fields and who have no conflict of interest in the review process. Reviewers are asked to acknowledge this policy on the reviewer form. If the reviewer does not wish to disclose his or her name, the review will not be considered.
How should you modify your manuscript?
Authors should make any necessary modifications in response to the reviewers’ comments. A summary cover letter outlining how the review process was undertaken and point-by-point responses to reviewers’ comments must be provided. Authors must share the revised manuscript with the reviewers prior to submission and provide e-mail confirmation from the reviewers that they are satisfied with the revisions.
Can you submit from a preprint depository?
Authors may deposit a PDF of the manuscript, including the text and all figures/tables, in bioRxiv, the online archive and distribution service for preprints in the life sciences operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a not-for-profit research and educational institution. Direct submission from bioRxiv to mSphereDirect is available. Upon acceptance of a manuscript, bioRxiv will tag the preprint version as accepted for publication in mSphere on their website.
How does one submit via mSphere?
Final manuscripts may be submitted directly to the mSphere submission system or via bioRxiv’s direct submission feature. Please consult the mSphereDirect Instructions to Authors and the mSphereDirect Author Checklist.
What is the mSphereDirect editorial review process?
After the manuscript is received by mSphereDirect, the Senior Editorial team will first validate the appropriateness of the reviewer selection and subsequently examine the quality of the manuscript as indicated by the reviews. The editors have the prerogative to decide whether or not the submitted reviews are sufficient to support publication.
Editors will not send submitted mSphereDirect manuscripts out for additional review. Rejected manuscripts may not be resubmitted to this pathway but may be resubmitted to the regular mSphere pathway or to another ASM Journal. Manuscripts accepted through the mSphereDirect path will be of the same quality and significance as those vetted through the standard mSphere publication path. Published papers will include the names and institutional affiliations of the reviewers.
What will it cost to publish via the mSphereDirect pathway?
Accepted articles will be copyedited and final articles (HTML and PDF) will be published online as quickly as possible. The maximum time is expected to be four weeks after acceptance. All articles will be published open access using the CC-BY license. For the first year of mSphereDirect, authors will receive a $500 discount off the Article Processing Charge of $2,250 for ASM members at the Contributing or Premium level and $3,000 for nonmembers or ASM members at the Supporting level. Nonmember corresponding authors or supporting members may join ASM and renew or upgrade their membership online to obtain discounts on publication fees.
Advice for mSphereDirect authors soliciting reviewers.
Make sure that reviewers are qualified to review your manuscript. Please see the criteria our Senior Editors will consider when judging the appropriateness of the reviewers.
Make sure that reviewers are aware that their names and institutional affiliations will be published with the manuscript if the manuscript is accepted. If the reviewer does not wish to disclose his or her name, please use another reviewer. ASM has created Reviewer FAQs and a review form to assist authors.