About

Aims and scope

Plant Methods is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal for the plant research community that encompasses all aspects of technological innovation in the plant sciences.

There is no doubt that we have entered an exciting new era in plant biology. The completion of the Arabidopsis genome sequence, and the rapid progress being made in other plant genomics projects are providing unparalleled opportunities for progress in all areas of plant science. Nevertheless, enormous challenges lie ahead if we are to understand the function of every gene in the genome, and how the individual parts work together to make the whole organism. Achieving these goals will require an unprecedented collaborative effort, combining high-throughput, system-wide technologies with more focused approaches that integrate traditional disciplines such as cell biology, biochemistry and molecular genetics.

Technological innovation is probably the most important catalyst for progress in any scientific discipline. Plant Methods’ goal is to stimulate the development and adoption of new and improved techniques and research tools and, where appropriate, to promote consistency of methodologies for better integration of data from different laboratories.

Open access

All articles published by Plant Methods are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication, without subscription charges or registration barriers. Further information about open access can be found here.

As authors of articles published in Plant Methods you are the copyright holders of your article and have granted to any third party, in advance and in perpetuity, the right to use, reproduce or disseminate your article, according to the BioMed Central license agreement.

For those of you who are US government employees or are prevented from being copyright holders for similar reasons, BioMed Central can accommodate non-standard copyright lines. Please contact us if further information is needed.

Article-processing charges

Open access publishing is not without costs. Plant Methods therefore levies an article-processing charge of £1430/$2240/€1820 for each article accepted for publication. If the corresponding author's institution participates in our open access membership program, some or all of the publication cost may be covered (more details available on the membership page). We routinely waive charges for authors from low-income countries. For other countries, article-processing charge waivers or discounts are granted on a case-by-case basis to authors with insufficient funds. Authors can request a waiver or discount during the submission process. For further details, see our article-processing charge page.

BioMed Central provides a free open access funding support service to help authors discover and apply for article processing charge funding. Visit our OA funding and policy support page to view our list of research funders and institutions that provide funding for APCs, and to learn more about our email support service.

Indexing services

All articles published in Plant Methods are included in:

  • Agricola
  • Biological Abstracts
  • CABI
  • CAS
  • Citebase
  • Current contents
  • DOAJ
  • EmBiology
  • Global Health
  • OAIster
  • PubMed
  • PubMed Central
  • Science Citation Index Expanded
  • SCImago
  • Scopus
  • SOCOLAR
  • Zetoc

The full text of all articles is deposited in digital archives around the world to guarantee long-term digital preservation. You can also access all articles published by BioMed Central on SpringerLink.

Plant Methods has an Impact Factor of 3.449.

Peer-review policy

Peer-review is the system used to assess the quality of a manuscript before it is published. Independent researchers in the relevant research area assess submitted manuscripts for originality, validity and significance to help editors determine whether the manuscript should be published in their journal. You can read more about the peer-review process here.

Plant Methods operates a single-blind peer-review system, where the reviewers are aware of the names and affiliations of the authors, but the reviewer reports provided to authors are anonymous. The benefit of single-blind peer review is that it is the traditional model of peer review that many reviewers are comfortable with, and it facilitates a dispassionate critique of a manuscript.

Submitted manuscripts will generally be reviewed by at least two experts who will be asked to evaluate whether the manuscript is scientifically sound and coherent, whether it duplicates already published work, and whether or not the manuscript is sufficiently clear for publication. The Editors will reach a decision based on these reports and, where necessary, they will consult with members of the Editorial Board.

Criteria for Publication

Plant Methods considers the following types of articles:

Methodology articles: present a new experimental method, test or procedure (for further information on criteria see below).
Database articles: (for further information on criteria see below).
Software articles: describe the source code for software applications, tools or algorithm implementations. Typically, an archive of the source code of the current version of the software should be included with the submitted manuscript as a supplementary file (for further information on criteria see below).
Research: reports of data from original research that is principally based on the application of a new experimental method or protocol. The criteria are the same as for a Methodology paper except that there is the additional requirement that the paper sheds significant new light on a biological phenomenon. The method must be described in detail and must be either completely new or must offer a significant advance on what is currently available.
Reviews: comprehensive, authoritative, descriptions of any subject within the scope of the journal. These articles are usually written by opinion leaders that have been invited by the Editorial Board.
Commentaries: short, focused and opinionated articles on any subject within the scope of the journal. These articles are usually related to a contemporary issue, such as recent research findings, and are often written by opinion leaders.
Book reviews: short summaries of the strengths and weaknesses of a book. They should evaluate its overall usefulness to the intended audience.

The main criteria for a Methodology/Database/Software article are that it should (1) describe a significant advance on what has been previously available, (2) be of potential interest to a broad spectrum of plant research scientists and (3) that the methodology/database/software should be properly validated.

We publish a limited number of Protocol articles, where the technique being described is already established but where, in the Editors’ view, there is value in providing detailed step-by-step guidance on how to perform the technique. We would expect Protocol papers to be prepared by labs where the technique is in routine use and that have a strong track record in successful application of the technique. If you are considering writing a Protocol paper it is therefore essential that you contact the Editors (plantmethods@biomedcentral.com) to discuss the idea at an early stage.

For guidance, it follows that the following types of paper will not be considered: papers that simply describe the optimization of an existing technique (e.g. for use with another tissue or plant species); papers that describe a technique that is intended for, or has only been validated with, a single (non-model) species or genus; papers that are primarily of applied or commercial interest. Papers that fall into any of these categories will be returned without peer review. If in doubt, it is therefore recommended to send a pre-submission enquiry to plantmethods@biomedcentral.com, providing a title, abstract and brief covering letter.

Editorial policies

All manuscripts submitted to Plant Methods should adhere to BioMed Central's editorial policies.

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Citing articles in Plant Methods

Articles in Plant Methods  should be cited in the same way as articles in a traditional journal. Because articles are not printed, they do not have page numbers; instead, they are given a unique article number.

Article citations follow this format:

Authors: Title. Plant Methods [year], [volume number]:[article number].

e.g. Roberts LD, Hassall DG, Winegar DA, Haselden JN, Nicholls AW, Griffin JL: Increased hepatic oxidative metabolism distinguishes the action of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor delta from Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor gamma in the Ob/Ob mouse. Plant Methods 2009, 1:115.

refers to article 115 from Volume 1 of the journal.

Appeals and complaints

If you wish to appeal a rejection or make a complaint you should, in the first instance, contact the Editor who will provide details of the journal's complaints procedure. For complaints that cannot be resolved with the Editor, the authors should contact the Publisher.

Why publish your article in Plant Methods

High visibility

Plant Methods's open access policy allows maximum visibility of articles published in the journal as they are available to a wide, global audience. 

Speed of publication

Plant Methods offers a fast publication schedule whilst maintaining rigorous peer review; all articles must be submitted online, and peer review is managed fully electronically (articles are distributed in PDF form, which is automatically generated from the submitted files). Articles will be published with their final citation after acceptance, in both fully browsable web form, and as a formatted PDF.

Flexibility

Online publication in Plant Methods gives you the opportunity to publish large datasets, large numbers of color illustrations and moving pictures, to display data in a form that can be read directly by other software packages so as to allow readers to manipulate the data for themselves, and to create all relevant links (for example, to PubMed, to sequence and other databases, and to other articles).

Promotion and press coverage

Articles published in Plant Methods are included in article alerts and regular email updates. Some may be highlighted on Plant Methods’s pages and on the BioMed Central homepage.

In addition, articles published in Plant Methods may be promoted by press releases to the general or scientific press. These activities increase the exposure and number of accesses for articles published in Plant Methods. A list of articles recently press-released by journals published by BioMed Central is available here.

Copyright

As an author of an article published in Plant Methods you retain the copyright of your article and you are free to reproduce and disseminate your work (for further details, see the BioMed Central license agreement).

For further information about the advantages of publishing in a journal from BioMed Central, please click here.