Sitting on the frontiers of biology, physics and engineering, BPEX provides a home for scientifically sound, but conceptually marginal, studies. Interdisciplinary research is fast becoming the norm and, according to Dr Samuel Pichardo, from the Sunnybrook Research Institute in Canada, BPEX is gaining ground as an attractive journal for cross-disciplinary approaches.
Helping to promote interdisciplinarity is not the only reason Dr Pichardo reviews for BPEX. As politicians begin to question the reliability of scientific studies, he sees it as his responsibility to uphold scientists’ integrity through peer review. Therefore, when refereeing, he looks for robust research, clear biomedical applications and good descriptions of the engineering methods employed.
Dr Pichardo is also a fan of open access software, citing an article on numerical modelling as an excellent example of scientists disclosing their methods: ‘TIGRE: a MATLAB-GPU toolbox for CBCT image reconstruction’ (Biguri et al 2016 Biomed. Phys. Engin. Express 2 055010). Full disclosure of software methods is a step in the right direction for reproducible research, he says.
Overall, in terms of reviewing, Dr Pichardo advocates a double-blind review process to help mitigate bias, although he realises this would not eradicate it completely. He also thinks it would be useful to be able to score manuscripts according to the degree to which authors disclose their methods.
Reminding first-time reviewers that a sound paper balances innovation with an adequate disclosure of methods, Dr Pichardo’s advice is to remain humble and to bear in mind that all reviewers generally want the same thing: the publication of high-quality research.