Skip to content


Research Integrity Group

The Research Integrity Group promotes the ethical conduct, reporting and evaluation of scientific research, based on the principles of trust and transparency.

Collectively, we have a wealth of experience as professional journal editors and diverse backgrounds in research, clinical medicine and the biological sciences.

We are responsible for maintaining best practice in peer review and lead in defining core editorial policies. We work closely with academic editors, key opinion leaders and the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and provide support and advice to editors of the BMC series and Open Research Group academic journals on all aspects of research and publication ethics.

Caroline Black – Associate Publishing Director, BMC series

Caroline has responsibility for the BMC series of community-focused, inclusive, open access journals and the Research Integrity Group. Previously she was Managing Director of Portland Press and Group Head of Publishing for the Biochemical Society, and has also held senior positions at Mac Keith Press, Blackwell Publishing, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and Thomson Science.

Jigisha Patel – Head of Research Integrity, BMC series and ORG academic journals

Jigisha earned her first degree in Medicine and her PhD on postprandial physiology from Queen Mary, University of London. As well as spending several years in hospital clinical practice and a year at the National Institutes of Health for her PhD, Jigisha has taught on the Professional Development course for medical students at University College London Medical School and human biology at the Open University. Jigisha joined BioMed Central in 2007 and had editorial responsibility for over 30 medical journals in the BMC series. Jigisha leads the Research Integrity Group, with overall responsibility for BioMed Central’s strategy, standards and expertise in publication ethics and in high-quality, rigorous peer review.

Elizabeth Moylan – Senior Editor (Research Integrity)

Elizabeth has a PhD and post-doc from the University of Oxford, UK. In 2004, she moved into publishing as an in-house Editor handling peer review on the, then fledgling, BMC series of journals in the early days of the open access movement. In subsequent roles as Deputy Biology Editor and Biology Editor she has also been involved in journal development activity across a number of BMC series titles including overseeing the launch of BMC Biophysics and BMC Pharmacology & Toxicology. In her present role as Senior Editor (Research Integrity), Elizabeth has oversight of editorial policies and peer review processes and is particularly interested in new models of peer review.

Maria Kowalczuk – Biology Editor

Maria obtained a PhD in Biology at the University of Wroclaw, Poland where she researched the coding properties of microbial genomes. In 2006 Maria joined BioMed Central as an in-house Editor managing the peer review process for a number of BMC series biology journals including the flagship BMC Biology (2008). In 2010 Maria was appointed the Deputy Biology Editor responsible for the content of all biology journals within the BMC series of journals. The role expanded in 2012 to cover all aspects of policy and ethical issues across all BioMed Central’s biology journals. In her current role as Biology Editor, Maria continues to pursue research and take part in debates, meetings and conferences related to research integrity and publication ethics. Maria is also a co-Editor-in-Chief of the Research and Publication Ethics section of Research Integrity and Peer Review.

Stephanie Boughton – Medical Editor

Stephanie has a degree in Medicine from Brighton and Sussex Medical School. After graduating, she worked in hospital clinical practice as a junior doctor. She joined BioMed Central in 2010 as Deputy Medical Editor. In her current role as Medical Editor, Stephanie advises on publication ethics and best practice in peer review. Stephanie has a keen interest in developing editorial policy and co-ordinated a re-write of BioMed Central’s editorial policies. She has also developed guidelines for Editors on dealing with cases of text recycling in conjunction with COPE. Stephanie participates in events relating to peer review, research integrity and publication ethics and is co-Editor-in-Chief of the Research and Publication Ethics section of Research Integrity and Peer Review.

Magdalena Morawska – Associate Editor (Research Integrity)

Magda has a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Göttingen, Germany. She then did a postdoc at Cancer Research UK, working with Helle Ulrich on understanding how cells control DNA damage response during DNA replication. She joined BioMed Central in 2013 as an Executive Editor, managing the peer review and development for a number of BMC-series journals. She has now taken the role of Associate Editor for Research Integrity. In her current role she is involved in maintaining and enforcing editorial and ethical policies. She provides advice and support for in-house and external expert editors on matters relating to publication and research ethics.

Pauline Starley – Associate Editor (Research Integrity)

Pauline joined the Research Integrity Group at BioMed Central in February 2015 as an Associate Editor and provides advice and support to in-house and external Editors on editorial policy and ethical issues in research and publication. Previously she held senior editorial roles at Portland Press Limited (the wholly owned publishing subsidiary of the Biochemical Society) working with the Editorial Boards of the Biochemical Journal and Clinical Science on peer review and editorial policies, journal development and editorial office management. She also has experience of launching open access journals and converting subscription journals to open access. She has a degree in Physiology and Biochemistry from the University of Reading.

Maja Choma (1)Maja Choma – Associate Editor (Research Integrity)

Maja gained a PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Cambridge.  She then went on to do a postdoc at A* STAR Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore working on the Golgi apparatus.  She joined the Research and Integrity Group at BioMed Central in November 2016 as Associate Editor.  She provides advice and support to in-house and external Editors on editorial policy and ethical issues.


Ashley is a recent graduate from the University of Bristol where she gained an MSc in Palaeobiology and a BSc in Environmental Geoscience.  She joined the Research Integrity Group at BioMed Central in November 2016 and took on the role of Editorial Assistant.  She provides assistance and support to the Associate and Senior Editors and maintains the Research Integrity website.

Jo Appleford-Cook – Editorial Training Manager

Jo has a PhD in neuroscience from Imperial College, UK (working with Robert Lucas and Russell Foster on circadian photoreception). In 2005 she joined the BMC-series journals as an Assistant Editor, handing manuscripts through the peer review process. In 2006-2007 Jo worked as a Senior Editor for The Lancet Neurology, before re-joining BioMed Central, and then in 2010 became Publisher for the BMC series. She has now taken on the role of Editorial Training Manager, overseeing both internal and external editor training and resourcing.

Laura Taylor – TraininLaura Taylor - Copy (2)g Manager

Laura joined BioMed Central in 2016 as Editorial Training and Development Manager.  In this role, Laura oversees the training programme for in-house professional editors and the provision of editorial resources for external academic editors, working to ensure that all editors have the required knowledge and support they need to enable them to fulfil their roles.  Previously, she worked for PLOS for five years, most recently in the role of Editorial Programme Manager, supporting the academic volunteer communities of the seven PLOS journals.