- Instructions for Authors
- Manuscript Submission
- Article Types
- Students & Early Career Researchers
- Title Page
- Supplementary Information (SI)
- After Acceptance
- Open Choice
- Research Data Policy and Data Availability Statements
- Ethical Responsibilities of Authors
- Compliance with Ethical Standards
- Competing Interests
- Research involving human participants, their data or biological material
- Utilization of plants, algae, fungi
- Editing Services
- Open access publishing
Instructions for Authors
Submission of a manuscript implies: that the work described has not been published before; that it is not under consideration for publication anywhere else; that its publication has been approved by all co-authors, if any, as well as by the responsible authorities – tacitly or explicitly – at the institute where the work has been carried out. The publisher will not be held legally responsible should there be any claims for compensation.
Authors wishing to include figures, tables, or text passages that have already been published elsewhere are required to obtain permission from the copyright owner(s) for both the print and online format and to include evidence that such permission has been granted when submitting their papers. Any material received without such evidence will be assumed to originate from the authors.
Please follow the hyperlink “Submit manuscript” and upload all of your manuscript files following the instructions given on the screen.
Please ensure you provide all relevant editable source files at every submission and revision. Failing to submit a complete set of editable source files will result in your article not being considered for review. For your manuscript text please always submit in common word processing formats such as .docx or LaTeX.
Original Research (9,000):
Manuscripts which are based on newly generated data which has not previously been published or new analyses of existing data sets. Topics which are likely to be of interest to a wide range of biodiversity scientists and conservationists are given priority, although local studies or ones restricted to one or a few species may be considered if they serve as case studies or include some novel approach. Articles dealing with several groups of organisms and wide geographical areas are generally welcome. Ecological or genetic papers will be considered only where they contribute to the core themes of the journal. Also, this is not a taxonomic journal, and papers which describe new species or propose new systematic arrangements will not normally be considered. In addition, author citations of scientific names are not to be included. The title page should be organized as in the section "Title page". This should be followed by an Abstract (150-250 words) and Key words (ones not in the title). The Introduction should place the work in a broader context and make the objectives clear. Methods and Results sections normally follow, and articles close with a Discussion of the results. Subheadings and alternative headings may be used where appropriate. References must follow the style given in "References", and be followed by Figure captions, Figures, and Tables (in that order).
Reviews should strive to concisely and critically synthesize a subject as opposed to being exhaustive. They should be no longer than ±10 printed pages which corresponds roughly to 12,000 words in the body of the text, 6-8 tables and/or figures, and only the necessary and relevant citations included. Please use a structured abstract not longer than 300 words with 3-5 subheadings. Since unsolicited reviews are occasionally considered, please send your proposal to Reviews Editor Gábor L. Lövei (firstname.lastname@example.org) before submitting. Your proposal (no longer than 3 pages) must include the following:
- why the topic is suitable for a review now
- credentials of the suggested author team
- how the review will be structured
This journal considers both narrative or systematic reviews. The synthesis of evidence can be a meta-analysis for alternative methods of knowledge synthesis. Following the methodology of a systematic review is strongly recommended although the pre-publication of the systematic review protocol is not necessary.
For manuscript preparation, please follow the guidelines for Original Research papers.
Book Review (2,000):
Authors can propose a book review directly by contacting the Book Review Editor Marco Ferrante (email@example.com). Publication is at the discretion of the Book Review Editor and checks will be made to avoid biased reviews.
Book Reviews should communicate and discuss new titles in community ecology. The journal publishes two types: Full Book Reviews and short book reviews known as “Noted with Interest”. The author’s name and affiliation are included in both types.
Full Book Reviews are typically comparative reviews of more than one volume. These are up to 2000 words with a title and citations that briefly introduce a field, discuss the place and function of the books in this context, and if possible provide opinions about future directions for the field.
“Noted with Interest” Reviews are always about a single book with a max. 350 words in a single paragraph, have no title or references. Their purpose is to present the content of a book and identify its strengths and weaknesses as well as who the intended readers are (e.g., undergraduate students, researchers, non-academics).
Book information content and format:
At the top of the review, provide the following information: title of book(s), author or editor, year of publication, publisher name and location, number of pages, cost, format, and ISBN number, e.g.,:
Conservation Futures. Steller, A., and J. Yeager, editors. 2015. Salvo Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A. 462 pp. US$33.00 (hardcover). ISBN 0-262-12207-3.
Do not use hanging titles (those with a colon, dash, or in some cases a comma), titles that are complete sentences (e.g., declaratives), interrogative titles, and titles that refer to colloquialisms or popular culture.
Avoid jargon and colloquialisms.
Avoid successive listing of chapters and their topics. Space is at a premium, and such lists tend to read like a table of contents and thus may not hold the reader’s attention. For example, avoid such phrasing as “part 2, on birds, contains 4 chapters on behavior (reproduction, feeding strategies, defensive, and dispersal). Chapter 3, on mammals.... Chapter 4...” A general summary is preferred, for example, “Bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian life histories are discussed in detail in 4 chapters.”
Approaches that add interest and readability include providing context in areas of conservation and current events, personalizing your review story (sometimes reviewers know the author or have worked in the same places), and saying what you liked (e.g., poetic descriptions of the landscape) and did not like (e.g., poor-quality photos).
When a species is first mentioned, please use its common name followed by the scientific name (genus and species) in parentheses: cane toad (Bufo marinus), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) (capitalize common names of birds but not of other organisms). With a few exceptions, after the scientific name has been provided, use the common name.
Please follow the journal’s citations and the reference list style.
A Commentary provides remarks on particular topical issues or criticisms of published work in this or other journals that are often controversial and bring attention to matters of concern. Commentaries should not include original or unpublished data. No abstract, headings or subheadings are necessary.
The word count should include title, abstract, keywords, body of the text, figures, and tables but excluding authors affiliations, references and on-line supplementary material.
A Forum article is an opinion or criticism piece that draws attention to issues of concern. Forum articles that provide perspectives on future research lines are also welcome. They can be controversial but need to cite supporting evidence for views expressed. No abstract, headings or subheadings are necessary.
The word count includes the title, abstract, keywords, body of the text, figures, and tables but excludes authors affiliations, references, and on-line supplementary material.
Short Communication (3,000):
These manuscripts provide highly relevant, novel results on hot, trending topics. The review process is considerably faster to support the rapid publication of information. The abstract should be short (100-200 words) while the manuscript should contain a maximum of 2 illustrations (tables and figures combined). The structure of the manuscript is flexible, however, the Introduction and the Discussion are required.
Students & Early Career Researchers
We particularly encourage, and offer incentives for, submission of all article types by students and early career researchers (ECR) (defined as being within one year of award of a PhD degree). If you are a student or early career researcher and submitting one of these article types as the first author, please mention the “SERC incentive” in your cover letter to qualify for an eBook voucher if your manuscript is accepted.
Please make sure your title page contains the following information.
The title should be concise and informative.
- The name(s) of the author(s)
- The affiliation(s) of the author(s), i.e. institution, (department), city, (state), country
- A clear indication and an active e-mail address of the corresponding author
- If available, the 16-digit ORCID of the author(s)
If address information is provided with the affiliation(s) it will also be published.
For authors that are (temporarily) unaffiliated we will only capture their city and country of residence, not their e-mail address unless specifically requested.
Please provide an abstract of 150 to 250 words. The abstract should not contain any undefined abbreviations or unspecified references.
For life science journals only (when applicable)
- Trial registration number and date of registration for prospectively registered trials
- Trial registration number and date of registration, followed by “retrospectively registered”, for retrospectively registered trials
Please provide 4 to 6 keywords which can be used for indexing purposes.
Statements and Declarations
The following statements should be included under the heading "Statements and Declarations" for inclusion in the published paper. Please note that submissions that do not include relevant declarations will be returned as incomplete.
- Competing Interests: Authors are required to disclose financial or non-financial interests that are directly or indirectly related to the work submitted for publication. Please refer to “Competing Interests and Funding” below for more information on how to complete this section.
Please see the relevant sections in the submission guidelines for further information as well as various examples of wording. Please revise/customize the sample statements according to your own needs.
Manuscripts should be submitted in Word.
- Use a normal, plain font (e.g., 10-point Times Roman) for text.
- Use italics for emphasis.
- Use the automatic page numbering function to number the pages.
- Do not use field functions.
- Use tab stops or other commands for indents, not the space bar.
- Use the table function, not spreadsheets, to make tables.
- Use the equation editor or MathType for equations.
- Save your file in docx format (Word 2007 or higher) or doc format (older Word versions).
Manuscripts with mathematical content can also be submitted in LaTeX. We recommend using Springer Nature’s LaTeX template.
Please use no more than three levels of displayed headings.
Abbreviations should be defined at first mention and used consistently thereafter.
Footnotes can be used to give additional information, which may include the citation of a reference included in the reference list. They should not consist solely of a reference citation, and they should never include the bibliographic details of a reference. They should also not contain any figures or tables.
Footnotes to the text are numbered consecutively; those to tables should be indicated by superscript lower-case letters (or asterisks for significance values and other statistical data). Footnotes to the title or the authors of the article are not given reference symbols.
Always use footnotes instead of endnotes.
Acknowledgments of people, grants, funds, etc. should be placed in a separate section on the title page. The names of funding organizations should be written in full.
Cite references in the text by name and year in parentheses. Some examples:
- Negotiation research spans many disciplines (Thompson 1990).
- This result was later contradicted by Becker and Seligman (1996).
- This effect has been widely studied (Abbott 1991; Barakat et al. 1995a, b; Kelso and Smith 1998; Medvec et al. 1999, 2000).
The list of references should only include works that are cited in the text and that have been published or accepted for publication. Personal communications and unpublished works should only be mentioned in the text.
Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last names of the first author of each work. Please alphabetize according to the following rules: 1) For one author, by name of author, then chronologically; 2) For two authors, by name of author, then name of coauthor, then chronologically; 3) For more than two authors, by name of first author, then chronologically.
If available, please always include DOIs as full DOI links in your reference list (e.g. “https://doi.org/abc”).
- Journal article
Gamelin FX, Baquet G, Berthoin S, Thevenet D, Nourry C, Nottin S, Bosquet L (2009) Effect of high intensity intermittent training on heart rate variability in prepubescent children. Eur J Appl Physiol 105:731-738. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-008-0955-8
Ideally, the names of all authors should be provided, but the usage of “et al” in long author lists will also be accepted:
Smith J, Jones M Jr, Houghton L et al (1999) Future of health insurance. N Engl J Med 965:325–329
- Article by DOI
Slifka MK, Whitton JL (2000) Clinical implications of dysregulated cytokine production. J Mol Med. https://doi.org/10.1007/s001090000086
South J, Blass B (2001) The future of modern genomics. Blackwell, London
- Book chapter
Brown B, Aaron M (2001) The politics of nature. In: Smith J (ed) The rise of modern genomics, 3rd edn. Wiley, New York, pp 230-257
- Online document
Cartwright J (2007) Big stars have weather too. IOP Publishing PhysicsWeb. http://physicsweb.org/articles/news/11/6/16/1. Accessed 26 June 2007
Trent JW (1975) Experimental acute renal failure. Dissertation, University of California
Always use the standard abbreviation of a journal’s name according to the ISSN List of Title Word Abbreviations, see
If you are unsure, please use the full journal title.
- All tables are to be numbered using Arabic numerals.
- Tables should always be cited in text in consecutive numerical order.
- For each table, please supply a table caption (title) explaining the components of the table.
- Identify any previously published material by giving the original source in the form of a reference at the end of the table caption.
- Footnotes to tables should be indicated by superscript lower-case letters (or asterisks for significance values and other statistical data) and included beneath the table body.
For the best quality final product, it is highly recommended that you submit all of your artwork – photographs, line drawings, etc. – in an electronic format. Your art will then be produced to the highest standards with the greatest accuracy to detail. The published work will directly reflect the quality of the artwork provided.
Electronic Figure Submission
- Supply all figures electronically.
- Indicate what graphics program was used to create the artwork.
- For vector graphics, the preferred format is EPS; for halftones, please use TIFF format. MS Office files are also acceptable.
- Vector graphics containing fonts must have the fonts embedded in the files.
- Name your figure files with "Fig" and the figure number, e.g., Fig1.eps.
- Definition: Black and white graphic with no shading.
- Do not use faint lines and/or lettering and check that all lines and lettering within the figures are legible at final size.
- All lines should be at least 0.1 mm (0.3 pt) wide.
- Scanned line drawings and line drawings in bitmap format should have a minimum resolution of 1200 dpi.
- Vector graphics containing fonts must have the fonts embedded in the files.
- Definition: Photographs, drawings, or paintings with fine shading, etc.
- If any magnification is used in the photographs, indicate this by using scale bars within the figures themselves.
- Halftones should have a minimum resolution of 300 dpi.
- Definition: a combination of halftone and line art, e.g., halftones containing line drawing, extensive lettering, color diagrams, etc.
- Combination artwork should have a minimum resolution of 600 dpi.
- Color art is free of charge for print and online publication.
- Color illustrations should be submitted as RGB.
- To add lettering, it is best to use Helvetica or Arial (sans serif fonts).
- Keep lettering consistently sized throughout your final-sized artwork, usually about 2–3 mm (8–12 pt).
- Variance of type size within an illustration should be minimal, e.g., do not use 8-pt type on an axis and 20-pt type for the axis label.
- Avoid effects such as shading, outline letters, etc.
- Do not include titles or captions within your illustrations.
- All figures are to be numbered using Arabic numerals.
- Figures should always be cited in text in consecutive numerical order.
- Figure parts should be denoted by lowercase letters (a, b, c, etc.).
- If an appendix appears in your article and it contains one or more figures, continue the consecutive numbering of the main text. Do not number the appendix figures, "A1, A2, A3, etc." Figures in online appendices [Supplementary Information (SI)] should, however, be numbered separately.
- Each figure should have a concise caption describing accurately what the figure depicts. Include the captions in the text file of the manuscript, not in the figure file.
- Figure captions begin with the term Fig. in bold type, followed by the figure number, also in bold type.
- No punctuation is to be included after the number, nor is any punctuation to be placed at the end of the caption.
- Identify all elements found in the figure in the figure caption; and use boxes, circles, etc., as coordinate points in graphs.
- Identify previously published material by giving the original source in the form of a reference citation at the end of the figure caption.
Figure Placement and Size
- When preparing your figures, size figures to fit in the column width.
- For large-sized journals the figures should be 84 mm (for double-column text areas), or 174 mm (for single-column text areas) wide and not higher than 234 mm.
- For small-sized journals, the figures should be 119 mm wide and not higher than 195 mm.
If you include figures that have already been published elsewhere, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner(s) for both the print and online format. Please be aware that some publishers do not grant electronic rights for free and that Springer will not be able to refund any costs that may have occurred to receive these permissions. In such cases, material from other sources should be used.
In order to give people of all abilities and disabilities access to the content of your figures, please make sure that
- All figures have descriptive captions (blind users could then use a text-to-speech software or a text-to-Braille hardware)
- Patterns are used instead of or in addition to colors for conveying information (color-blind users would then be able to distinguish the visual elements)
- Any figure lettering has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1
Supplementary Information (SI)
Springer accepts electronic multimedia files (animations, movies, audio, etc.) and other supplementary files to be published online along with an article or a book chapter. This feature can add dimension to the author's article, as certain information cannot be printed or is more convenient in electronic form.
Before submitting research datasets as Supplementary Information, authors should read the journal’s Research data policy. We encourage research data to be archived in data repositories wherever possible.
- Supply all supplementary material in standard file formats.
- Please include in each file the following information: article title, journal name, author names; affiliation and e-mail address of the corresponding author.
- To accommodate user downloads, please keep in mind that larger-sized files may require very long download times and that some users may experience other problems during downloading.
- High resolution (streamable quality) videos can be submitted up to a maximum of 25GB; low resolution videos should not be larger than 5GB.
Audio, Video, and Animations
- Aspect ratio: 16:9 or 4:3
- Maximum file size: 25 GB for high resolution files; 5 GB for low resolution files
- Minimum video duration: 1 sec
- Supported file formats: avi, wmv, mp4, mov, m2p, mp2, mpg, mpeg, flv, mxf, mts, m4v, 3gp
Text and Presentations
- Submit your material in PDF format; .doc or .ppt files are not suitable for long-term viability.
- A collection of figures may also be combined in a PDF file.
- Spreadsheets should be submitted as .csv or .xlsx files (MS Excel).
- Specialized format such as .pdb (chemical), .wrl (VRML), .nb (Mathematica notebook), and .tex can also be supplied.
Collecting Multiple Files
- It is possible to collect multiple files in a .zip or .gz file.
- If supplying any supplementary material, the text must make specific mention of the material as a citation, similar to that of figures and tables.
- Refer to the supplementary files as “Online Resource”, e.g., "... as shown in the animation (Online Resource 3)", “... additional data are given in Online Resource 4”.
- Name the files consecutively, e.g. “ESM_3.mpg”, “ESM_4.pdf”.
- For each supplementary material, please supply a concise caption describing the content of the file.
Processing of supplementary files
- Supplementary Information (SI) will be published as received from the author without any conversion, editing, or reformatting.
In order to give people of all abilities and disabilities access to the content of your supplementary files, please make sure that
- The manuscript contains a descriptive caption for each supplementary material
- Video files do not contain anything that flashes more than three times per second (so that users prone to seizures caused by such effects are not put at risk)
Upon acceptance, your article will be exported to Production to undergo typesetting. Once typesetting is complete, you will receive a link asking you to confirm your affiliation, choose the publishing model for your article as well as arrange rights and payment of any associated publication cost.
Once you have completed this, your article will be processed and you will receive the proofs.
Article publishing agreement
Depending on the ownership of the journal and its policies, you will either grant the Publisher an exclusive licence to publish the article or will be asked to transfer copyright of the article to the Publisher.
Offprints can be ordered by the corresponding author.
Publication of color illustrations is free of charge.
The purpose of the proof is to check for typesetting or conversion errors and the completeness and accuracy of the text, tables and figures. Substantial changes in content, e.g., new results, corrected values, title and authorship, are not allowed without the approval of the Editor.
After online publication, further changes can only be made in the form of an Erratum, which will be hyperlinked to the article.
The article will be published online after receipt of the corrected proofs. This is the official first publication citable with the DOI. After release of the printed version, the paper can also be cited by issue and page numbers.
Open Choice allows you to publish open access in more than 1850 Springer Nature journals, making your research more visible and accessible immediately on publication.
Article processing charges (APCs) vary by journal – view the full list
- Increased researcher engagement: Open Choice enables access by anyone with an internet connection, immediately on publication.
- Higher visibility and impact: In Springer hybrid journals, OA articles are accessed 4 times more often on average, and cited 1.7 more times on average*.
- Easy compliance with funder and institutional mandates: Many funders require open access publishing, and some take compliance into account when assessing future grant applications.
It is easy to find funding to support open access – please see our funding and support pages for more information.
*) Within the first three years of publication. Springer Nature hybrid journal OA impact analysis, 2018.
Copyright and license term – CC BY
Open Choice articles do not require transfer of copyright as the copyright remains with the author. In opting for open access, the author(s) agree to publish the article under the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Research Data Policy and Data Availability Statements
This journal operates a type 2 research data policy (life sciences). A submission to the journal implies that materials described in the manuscript, including all relevant raw data, will be freely available to any researcher wishing to use them for non-commercial purposes, without breaching participant confidentiality.
The journal strongly encourages that all datasets on which the conclusions of the paper rely should be available to readers. We encourage authors to ensure that their datasets are either deposited in publicly available repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main manuscript or additional supporting files whenever possible. Please see Springer Nature’s information on recommended repositories.
General repositories - for all types of research data - such as figshare and Dryad may be used where appropriate.
Datasets that are assigned digital object identifiers (DOIs) by a data repository may be cited in the reference list. Data citations should include the minimum information recommended by DataCite: authors, title, publisher (repository name), identifier.
Where a widely established research community expectation for data archiving in public repositories exists, submission to a community-endorsed, public repository is mandatory. Persistent identifiers (such as DOIs and accession numbers) for relevant datasets must be provided in the paper.
If the journal that you’re submitting to uses double-blind peer review and you are providing reviewers with access to your data (for example via a repository link, supplementary information or data on request), it is strongly suggested that the authorship in the data is also blinded. There are data repositories that can assist with this and/or will create a link to mask the authorship of your data.
For the following types of data set, submission to a community-endorsed, public repository is mandatory:
|Mandatory deposition||Suitable repositories|
|DNA and RNA sequences||Genbank|
DNA DataBank of Japan (DDBJ)
EMBL Nucleotide Sequence Database (ENA)
|DNA and RNA sequencing data||NCBI Trace Archive|
NCBI Sequence Read Archive (SRA)
European Variation Archive (EVA)
|Linked genotype and phenotype data||dbGAP|
The European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA)
|Macromolecular structure||Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB)|
Biological Magnetic Resonance Data Bank (BMRB)
Electron Microscopy Data Bank (EMDB)
|Microarray data (must be MIAME compliant)||Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO)|
|Crystallographic data for small molecules||Cambridge Structural Database|
For more information:
The journal encourages authors to provide a statement of Data availability in their article. Data availability statements should include information on where data supporting the results reported in the article can be found, including, where applicable, hyperlinks to publicly archived datasets analysed or generated during the study. Data availability statements can also indicate whether data are available on request from the authors and where no data are available, if appropriate.
Data Availability statements can take one of the following forms (or a combination of more than one if required for multiple datasets):
- 1. The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available in the [NAME] repository, [PERSISTENT WEB LINK TO DATASETS]
- 2. The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due [REASON WHY DATA ARE NOT PUBLIC] but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
- 3. The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
- 4. Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.
- 5. All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article [and its supplementary information files].
More examples of template data availability statements, which include examples of openly available and restricted access datasets, are available:
Authors who need help understanding our data sharing policies, help finding a suitable data repository, or help organising and sharing research data can access our Author Support portal for additional guidance.
Ethical Responsibilities of Authors
This journal is committed to upholding the integrity of the scientific record. As a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) the journal will follow the COPE guidelines on how to deal with potential acts of misconduct.
Authors should refrain from misrepresenting research results which could damage the trust in the journal, the professionalism of scientific authorship, and ultimately the entire scientific endeavour. Maintaining integrity of the research and its presentation is helped by following the rules of good scientific practice, which include*:
- The manuscript should not be submitted to more than one journal for simultaneous consideration.
- The submitted work should be original and should not have been published elsewhere in any form or language (partially or in full), unless the new work concerns an expansion of previous work. (Please provide transparency on the re-use of material to avoid the concerns about text-recycling (‘self-plagiarism’).
- A single study should not be split up into several parts to increase the quantity of submissions and submitted to various journals or to one journal over time (i.e. ‘salami-slicing/publishing’).
- Concurrent or secondary publication is sometimes justifiable, provided certain conditions are met. Examples include: translations or a manuscript that is intended for a different group of readers.
- Results should be presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification or inappropriate data manipulation (including image based manipulation). Authors should adhere to discipline-specific rules for acquiring, selecting and processing data.
- No data, text, or theories by others are presented as if they were the author’s own (‘plagiarism’). Proper acknowledgements to other works must be given (this includes material that is closely copied (near verbatim), summarized and/or paraphrased), quotation marks (to indicate words taken from another source) are used for verbatim copying of material, and permissions secured for material that is copyrighted.
Important note: the journal may use software to screen for plagiarism.
- Authors should make sure they have permissions for the use of software, questionnaires/(web) surveys and scales in their studies (if appropriate).
- Research articles and non-research articles (e.g. Opinion, Review, and Commentary articles) must cite appropriate and relevant literature in support of the claims made. Excessive and inappropriate self-citation or coordinated efforts among several authors to collectively self-cite is strongly discouraged.
- Authors should avoid untrue statements about an entity (who can be an individual person or a company) or descriptions of their behavior or actions that could potentially be seen as personal attacks or allegations about that person.
- Research that may be misapplied to pose a threat to public health or national security should be clearly identified in the manuscript (e.g. dual use of research). Examples include creation of harmful consequences of biological agents or toxins, disruption of immunity of vaccines, unusual hazards in the use of chemicals, weaponization of research/technology (amongst others).
- Authors are strongly advised to ensure the author group, the Corresponding Author, and the order of authors are all correct at submission. Adding and/or deleting authors during the revision stages is generally not permitted, but in some cases may be warranted. Reasons for changes in authorship should be explained in detail. Please note that changes to authorship cannot be made after acceptance of a manuscript.
*All of the above are guidelines and authors need to make sure to respect third parties rights such as copyright and/or moral rights.
Upon request authors should be prepared to send relevant documentation or data in order to verify the validity of the results presented. This could be in the form of raw data, samples, records, etc. Sensitive information in the form of confidential or proprietary data is excluded.
If there is suspicion of misbehavior or alleged fraud the Journal and/or Publisher will carry out an investigation following COPE guidelines. If, after investigation, there are valid concerns, the author(s) concerned will be contacted under their given e-mail address and given an opportunity to address the issue. Depending on the situation, this may result in the Journal’s and/or Publisher’s implementation of the following measures, including, but not limited to:
- If the manuscript is still under consideration, it may be rejected and returned to the author.
- If the article has already been published online, depending on the nature and severity of the infraction:
- an erratum/correction may be placed with the article
- an expression of concern may be placed with the article
- or in severe cases retraction of the article may occur.
The reason will be given in the published erratum/correction, expression of concern or retraction note. Please note that retraction means that the article is maintained on the platform, watermarked “retracted” and the explanation for the retraction is provided in a note linked to the watermarked article.
- The author’s institution may be informed
- A notice of suspected transgression of ethical standards in the peer review system may be included as part of the author’s and article’s bibliographic record.
Authors have an obligation to correct mistakes once they discover a significant error or inaccuracy in their published article. The author(s) is/are requested to contact the journal and explain in what sense the error is impacting the article. A decision on how to correct the literature will depend on the nature of the error. This may be a correction or retraction. The retraction note should provide transparency which parts of the article are impacted by the error.
Suggesting / excluding reviewers
Authors are welcome to suggest suitable reviewers and/or request the exclusion of certain individuals when they submit their manuscripts. When suggesting reviewers, authors should make sure they are totally independent and not connected to the work in any way. It is strongly recommended to suggest a mix of reviewers from different countries and different institutions. When suggesting reviewers, the Corresponding Author must provide an institutional email address for each suggested reviewer, or, if this is not possible to include other means of verifying the identity such as a link to a personal homepage, a link to the publication record or a researcher or author ID in the submission letter. Please note that the Journal may not use the suggestions, but suggestions are appreciated and may help facilitate the peer review process.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
To ensure objectivity and transparency in research and to ensure that accepted principles of ethical and professional conduct have been followed, authors should include information regarding sources of funding, potential conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial), informed consent if the research involved human participants, and a statement on welfare of animals if the research involved animals.
Authors should include the following statements (if applicable) in a separate section entitled “Compliance with Ethical Standards” when submitting a paper:
- Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest
- Research involving Human Participants and/or Animals
- Informed consent
Please note that standards could vary slightly per journal dependent on their peer review policies (i.e. single or double blind peer review) as well as per journal subject discipline. Before submitting your article check the instructions following this section carefully.
The corresponding author should be prepared to collect documentation of compliance with ethical standards and send if requested during peer review or after publication.
The Editors reserve the right to reject manuscripts that do not comply with the above-mentioned guidelines. The author will be held responsible for false statements or failure to fulfill the above-mentioned guidelines.
Authors are requested to disclose interests that are directly or indirectly related to the work submitted for publication. Interests within the last 3 years of beginning the work (conducting the research and preparing the work for submission) should be reported. Interests outside the 3-year time frame must be disclosed if they could reasonably be perceived as influencing the submitted work. Disclosure of interests provides a complete and transparent process and helps readers form their own judgments of potential bias. This is not meant to imply that a financial relationship with an organization that sponsored the research or compensation received for consultancy work is inappropriate.
Editorial Board Members and Editors are required to declare any competing interests and may be excluded from the peer review process if a competing interest exists. In addition, they should exclude themselves from handling manuscripts in cases where there is a competing interest. This may include – but is not limited to – having previously published with one or more of the authors, and sharing the same institution as one or more of the authors. Where an Editor or Editorial Board Member is on the author list they must declare this in the competing interests section on the submitted manuscript. If they are an author or have any other competing interest regarding a specific manuscript, another Editor or member of the Editorial Board will be assigned to assume responsibility for overseeing peer review. These submissions are subject to the exact same review process as any other manuscript. Editorial Board Members are welcome to submit papers to the journal. These submissions are not given any priority over other manuscripts, and Editorial Board Member status has no bearing on editorial consideration.
Interests that should be considered and disclosed but are not limited to the following:
Funding: Research grants from funding agencies (please give the research funder and the grant number) and/or research support (including salaries, equipment, supplies, reimbursement for attending symposia, and other expenses) by organizations that may gain or lose financially through publication of this manuscript.
Employment: Recent (while engaged in the research project), present or anticipated employment by any organization that may gain or lose financially through publication of this manuscript. This includes multiple affiliations (if applicable).
Financial interests: Stocks or shares in companies (including holdings of spouse and/or children) that may gain or lose financially through publication of this manuscript; consultation fees or other forms of remuneration from organizations that may gain or lose financially; patents or patent applications whose value may be affected by publication of this manuscript.
It is difficult to specify a threshold at which a financial interest becomes significant, any such figure is necessarily arbitrary, so one possible practical guideline is the following: "Any undeclared financial interest that could embarrass the author were it to become publicly known after the work was published."
Non-financial interests: In addition, authors are requested to disclose interests that go beyond financial interests that could impart bias on the work submitted for publication such as professional interests, personal relationships or personal beliefs (amongst others). Examples include, but are not limited to: position on editorial board, advisory board or board of directors or other type of management relationships; writing and/or consulting for educational purposes; expert witness; mentoring relations; and so forth.
Primary research articles require a disclosure statement. Review articles present an expert synthesis of evidence and may be treated as an authoritative work on a subject. Review articles therefore require a disclosure statement.Other article types such as editorials, book reviews, comments (amongst others) may, dependent on their content, require a disclosure statement. If you are unclear whether your article type requires a disclosure statement, please contact the Editor-in-Chief.
Please note that, in addition to the above requirements, funding information (given that funding is a potential competing interest (as mentioned above)) needs to be disclosed upon submission of the manuscript in the peer review system. This information will automatically be added to the Record of CrossMark, however it is not added to the manuscript itself. Under ‘summary of requirements’ (see below) funding information should be included in the ‘Declarations’ section.
Summary of requirements
The above should be summarized in a statement and placed in a ‘Declarations’ section before the reference list under a heading of ‘Funding’ and/or ‘Competing interests’. Other declarations include Ethics approval, Consent, Data, Material and/or Code availability and Authors’ contribution statements.
Please see the various examples of wording below and revise/customize the sample statements according to your own needs.
When all authors have the same (or no) conflicts and/or funding it is sufficient to use one blanket statement.
Examples of statements to be used when funding has been received:
- Partial financial support was received from [...]
- The research leading to these results received funding from […] under Grant Agreement No[…].
- This study was funded by […]
- This work was supported by […] (Grant numbers […] and […]
Examples of statements to be used when there is no funding:
- The authors did not receive support from any organization for the submitted work.
- No funding was received to assist with the preparation of this manuscript.
- No funding was received for conducting this study.
- No funds, grants, or other support was received.
Examples of statements to be used when there are interests to declare:
- Financial interests: Author A has received research support from Company A. Author B has received a speaker honorarium from Company Wand owns stock in Company X. Author C is consultant to company Y.
Non-financial interests: Author C is an unpaid member of committee Z.
- Financial interests: The authors declare they have no financial interests.
Non-financial interests: Author A is on the board of directors of Y and receives no compensation as member of the board of directors.
- Financial interests: Author A received a speaking fee from Y for Z. Author B receives a salary from association X. X where s/he is the Executive Director.
Non-financial interests: none.
- Financial interests: Author A and B declare they have no financial interests. Author C has received speaker and consultant honoraria from Company M and Company N. Dr. C has received speaker honorarium and research funding from Company M and Company O. Author D has received travel support from Company O.
Non-financial interests: Author D has served on advisory boards for Company M, Company N and Company O.
Examples of statements to be used when authors have nothing to declare:
- The authors have no relevant financial or non-financial interests to disclose.
- The authors have no competing interests to declare that are relevant to the content of this article.
- All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest or non-financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.
- The authors have no financial or proprietary interests in any material discussed in this article.
Authors are responsible for correctness of the statements provided in the manuscript. See also Authorship Principles. The Editor-in-Chief reserves the right to reject submissions that do not meet the guidelines described in this section.
Research involving human participants, their data or biological material
When reporting a study that involved human participants, their data or biological material, authors should include a statement that confirms that the study was approved (or granted exemption) by the appropriate institutional and/or national research ethics committee (including the name of the ethics committee) and certify that the study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration or comparable standards, the authors must explain the reasons for their approach, and demonstrate that an independent ethics committee or institutional review board explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. If a study was granted exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the reasons for the exemption).
Retrospective ethics approval
If a study has not been granted ethics committee approval prior to commencing, retrospective ethics approval usually cannot be obtained and it may not be possible to consider the manuscript for peer review. The decision on whether to proceed to peer review in such cases is at the Editor's discretion.
Ethics approval for retrospective studies
Although retrospective studies are conducted on already available data or biological material (for which formal consent may not be needed or is difficult to obtain) ethics approval may be required dependent on the law and the national ethical guidelines of a country. Authors should check with their institution to make sure they are complying with the specific requirements of their country.
Ethics approval for case studies
Case reports require ethics approval. Most institutions will have specific policies on this subject. Authors should check with their institution to make sure they are complying with the specific requirements of their institution and seek ethics approval where needed. Authors should be aware to secure informed consent from the individual (or parent or guardian if the participant is a minor or incapable) See also section on Informed Consent.
If human cells are used, authors must declare in the manuscript: what cell lines were used by describing the source of the cell line, including when and from where it was obtained, whether the cell line has recently been authenticated and by what method. If cells were bought from a life science company the following need to be given in the manuscript: name of company (that provided the cells), cell type, number of cell line, and batch of cells.
It is recommended that authors check the NCBI database for misidentification and contamination of human cell lines. This step will alert authors to possible problems with the cell line and may save considerable time and effort.
Further information is available from the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC).
Authors should include a statement that confirms that an institutional or independent ethics committee (including the name of the ethics committee) approved the study and that informed consent was obtained from the donor or next of kin.
Research Resource Identifiers (RRID)
Research Resource Identifiers (RRID) are persistent unique identifiers (effectively similar to a DOI) for research resources. This journal encourages authors to adopt RRIDs when reporting key biological resources (antibodies, cell lines, model organisms and tools) in their manuscripts.
Organism: Filip1tm1a(KOMP)Wtsi RRID:MMRRC_055641-UCD
Cell Line: RST307 cell line RRID:CVCL_C321
Antibody: Luciferase antibody DSHB Cat# LUC-3, RRID:AB_2722109
Plasmid: mRuby3 plasmid RRID:Addgene_104005
Software: ImageJ Version 1.2.4 RRID:SCR_003070
RRIDs are provided by the Resource Identification Portal. Many commonly used research resources already have designated RRIDs. The portal also provides authors links so that they can quickly register a new resource and obtain an RRID.
Clinical Trial Registration
The World Health Organization (WHO) definition of a clinical trial is "any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes". The WHO defines health interventions as “A health intervention is an act performed for, with or on behalf of a person or population whose purpose is to assess, improve, maintain, promote or modify health, functioning or health conditions” and a health-related outcome is generally defined as a change in the health of a person or population as a result of an intervention.
To ensure the integrity of the reporting of patient-centered trials, authors must register prospective clinical trials (phase II to IV trials) in suitable publicly available repositories. For example www.clinicaltrials.gov or any of the primary registries that participate in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform.
The trial registration number (TRN) and date of registration should be included as the last line of the manuscript abstract.
For clinical trials that have not been registered prospectively, authors are encouraged to register retrospectively to ensure the complete publication of all results. The trial registration number (TRN), date of registration and the words 'retrospectively registered’ should be included as the last line of the manuscript abstract.
Standards of reporting
Springer Nature advocates complete and transparent reporting of biomedical and biological research and research with biological applications. Authors are recommended to adhere to the minimum reporting guidelines hosted by the EQUATOR Network when preparing their manuscript.
Exact requirements may vary depending on the journal; please refer to the journal’s Instructions for Authors.
Checklists are available for a number of study designs, including:
Observational studies (STROBE)
Case reports (CARE)
Animal pre-clinical studies (ARRIVE)
Quality improvement studies (SQUIRE)
Economic evaluations (CHEERS)
Summary of requirements
The above should be summarized in a statement and placed in a ‘Declarations’ section before the reference list under a heading of ‘Ethics approval’.
Please see the various examples of wording below and revise/customize the sample statements according to your own needs.
Examples of statements to be used when ethics approval has been obtained:
• All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the Bioethics Committee of the Medical University of A (No. ...).
• This study was performed in line with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. Approval was granted by the Ethics Committee of University B (Date.../No. ...).
• Approval was obtained from the ethics committee of University C. The procedures used in this study adhere to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.
• The questionnaire and methodology for this study was approved by the Human Research Ethics committee of the University of D (Ethics approval number: ...).
Examples of statements to be used for a retrospective study:
• Ethical approval was waived by the local Ethics Committee of University A in view of the retrospective nature of the study and all the procedures being performed were part of the routine care.
• This research study was conducted retrospectively from data obtained for clinical purposes. We consulted extensively with the IRB of XYZ who determined that our study did not need ethical approval. An IRB official waiver of ethical approval was granted from the IRB of XYZ.
• This retrospective chart review study involving human participants was in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The Human Investigation Committee (IRB) of University B approved this study.
Examples of statements to be used when no ethical approval is required/exemption granted:
• This is an observational study. The XYZ Research Ethics Committee has confirmed that no ethical approval is required.
• The data reproduced from Article X utilized human tissue that was procured via our Biobank AB, which provides de-identified samples. This study was reviewed and deemed exempt by our XYZ Institutional Review Board. The BioBank protocols are in accordance with the ethical standards of our institution and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Authors are responsible for correctness of the statements provided in the manuscript. See also Authorship Principles. The Editor-in-Chief reserves the right to reject submissions that do not meet the guidelines described in this section.
Utilization of plants, algae, fungi
This journal values stewardship, transparency, and adhering to governance with regards to collecting and utilizing specimens and conducting experiments and/or field studies. Therefore the journal sets out the following guidelines:
Field studies involving genetically engineered plants must be conducted in accordance with national or local legislation and, if applicable, the manuscript needs to include a statement specifying the appropriate permissions and/or licences.
Authors utilizing genetic plant resources received via local suppliers/collectors, such as species collected from protected areas or endangered species with medical importance, must conduct their experiments following the Nagoya Protocol (as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity).
Authors whose research is focusing on quarantine organisms (i.e. harmful or pest organisms, including plant pathogens) should adhere to national legislation and notify the relevant National Plant Protection Organization of new findings before publication. More information can be found via the International Plant Protection Convention.
In principle, it is recommended that authors comply with:
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Policy Statement on Research Involving Species at Risk of Extinction and consult the IUCN red list index of threatened species
- Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Voucher specimens ensure that the identity of organisms studied in the field or in laboratory experiments can be verified, and ensure that new species concepts can be applied to past research. Voucher specimens documenting all investigated accessions (for population samples at least one specimen per population) are to be deposited in a public herbarium, for example: Index Herbariorum, or other public collection providing access to deposited material. Information on the voucher specimen and who identified it must be included in the manuscript such as Genus name, species name, author, and year of publication.
Names of plants, algae and fungi
Manuscripts containing new taxon names or other nomenclatural acts must follow the guidelines set by the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants.
Authors describing new fungal taxa should register the names with a recognized repository, such as Mycobank, and request a unique digital identifier which should be included in the published article.
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