Bioscience Hypotheses' editorial policies

Bioscience Hypotheses' aim is to stimulate innovation. To that end, we chose work that we believe is interesting and challenging, and provides a clear and coherent argument with a testable conclusion. Bioscience Hypotheses is a general journal and articles need to be intelligible to a wide audience in the life sciences, including those who may not be specialists in the field. Clear and concise presentation are very important.

Bioscience Hypotheses publishes hypotheses, not reviews or new data. Roughly speaking, a hypothesis should be an organized logical structure (or model) that accounts for (some) known facts, and which has real world consequences that are (in principle) observable. A new hypotheses should account for the known facts better than the previous ones, and should not be any worse at fitting in with other facts. The consequences of a hypothesis constitute predictions that may be tested against observations and experiments to determine whether some of them are (apparently) fulfilled.

Most articles for Bioscience Hypotheses should fulfil the requirements of a hypothesis, and the logic of the proposals should be clearly stated and evaluated. Specifically, we expect all papers to

  • provide new insight into the understanding or application of biology that could be of interest to a wide life science readership
  • be clear, coherent, and lay out an argument that is easy to follow (without wishing to be prescriptive, authors might liketo read this editorial from Medical Hypotheses on presenting hypotheses.)
  • be compatible with known fact (although it may contest the interpretation of those facts), or, if you think the 'facts' are wrong, explains why you think that.
  • provide an interpretation, hypothesis or solution that is testable.

The proposed hypothesis should be evaluated in the light of known and published information. Generally, this entails an evaluation of both evidence in support and evidence (apparently) against the hypothesis. Only relevant, and critically evaluated, papers should be cited.

A hypothesis should, if correct, have implications and make predictions. These predictions are (in principle) amenable to further observation and experimentation that could tend to confirm or refute the hypothesis. Typically, authors would be expected to indicate how their hypothesis might be tested. Authors do not have to go into the detail of experimental protocols, unless those details are critical aspects of proving the hypothesis.However papers that do not provide at least the outline of how the authors might test their conclusions, or differentiate their conclusion from other explanations, will be rejected.

Papers that provide some preliminary data (itself perhaps not sufficiently robust to be published as an independent paper, but nevertheless rigorously collected) will be welcomed, but preliminary data is not a requirement for publication, and Bioscience Hypotheses is not a forum the publication of new experimental results unless they are supporting a broader theoretical structure.

The journal explicitly does not publish papers providing solutions to medical problems, unless those are consequences of wider or more fundamental biological ideas. Our sister journal Medical Hypotheses is the appropriate forum for strictly medical ideas. We also do not usually publish papers on suggestions for novel drug targets (unless they have deeper biological implications that just the discovery of a new drug) or suggestions for new biomarkers (again, unless the suggestion has deeper biological implications.)