Aims and scope
The results of research related to science-based risk assessment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are dispersed through an extremely broad range of fields and journals. This interdisciplinary feature makes GMO biosafety research a particularly interesting intellectual topic, but it is difficult to follow new developments across this broad and actively growing domain. The purpose of Environmental Biosafety Research (EBR) is to fill this gap in scientific communication.
All areas pertinent to the biosafety of organisms intentionally or accidentally introduced into the environment will be considered, including: ecological studies of the impact of novel organisms; studies of their interactions with pests, pathogens and non-target organisms; impact of novel organisms on agronomy and farming practice; effect on microbial populations; assessment of horizontal gene flow; means for reducing or managing risk; risk/cost/ benefit analysis; risk governance; socio-economic impact studies; effect of socio-economic behavior on risk and risk management; and bioethical issues. EBR will publish papers on all types of GMOs, including plants, animals and microbes. Studies on non-GMOs that illuminate or parallel GMO issues will also be considered.
Because the underlying objectives are to favor circulation of scientific information and to foster scientific debate, great care will be given to avoid polemical treatment of biosafety questions. In addition, particular attention will be paid to assure the technical and statistical validity of the research data presented (for more on statistical policy, see Environ. Biosafety Res. 2 (2003) 75--80), and the discussion section of research papers will focus not only on pointing out conclusions that can be drawn, but also on limits to interpretation of results, and on questions that remain open in the light of the new results and others previously published. Results showing no difference between GM and non-GM organisms will be considered for publication, provided there was sufficient statistical power to distinguish meaningful differences. Review articles, commentaries, etc. will also be expected to adhere to the highest standards of scientific objectivity.
Types of articles published
The primary focus for EBR is publication of original peer-reviewed research and review articles.
Research articles present previously unpublished results of research. They will undergo anonymous peer review.
Review articles will provide a comprehensive, balanced overview of previously published research in an area of GMO biosafety. It is expected that in their conclusions review articles will present an original perspective on the field, but not a polemical treatment of biosafety questions. Review articles will also undergo anonymous peer review.
Case studies will assemble and present data required for the environmental risk assessment of the field release of a GMO. Unlike research articles, they will not contain appreciable unpublished results, and unlike review articles will not present a comprehensive overview of an area of research. Case studies may present a national or regional perspective on a particular impact of dissemination of a particular GMO. That perspective should be science-based, and not conflict with the journal's editorial policy of scientific objectivity. Case studies will also undergo anonymous peer review.
EBR does to a lesser extent publish articles in which the authors' opinion plays a greater role. For these types of articles, if the initial submission is considered to be of interest to the readership of EBR, the manuscript is not reviewed anonymously, but instead goes through a series of exchanges with one or more members of the Editorial Board, until it is considered to be compatible with the journal's editorial policy of scientific objectivity.
Commentaries are brief presentations of a novel a point of view on a relatively precise question, related to previously published results.
When a Commentary is based on the re-evaluation of data published by another group, it could become the starting point of a Roundtable. In this case the Editors will invite other scientists, usually the authors of the article(s) presenting the initial data, to respond to the Commentary manuscript, or an expanded version of it. Roundtables provide an opportunity for exchange between scientists, which is based on a detailed, carefully thought out consideration of an issue of interest. Roundtable papers on a specific point are published together as a group.
Members of the Editorial Board are invited to write editorials. On some occasions, guest editorials are solicited.