- Instructions for Authors
- Manuscript Submission
- Title Page
- Artwork and Illustrations Guidelines
- Supplementary Information (SI)
- After Acceptance
- Open Choice
- Ethical Responsibilities of Authors
- Compliance with Ethical Standards
- Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest
- Research involving human participants, their data or biological material
- Informed consent
- Editorial policy
- Open access publishing
- Mistakes to avoid during manuscript preparation
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.
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 a structured abstract of 150 to 250 words which should be divided into the following sections:
- Purpose (stating the main purposes and research question)
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.
Reference citations in the text should be identified by numbers in square brackets. Some examples:
1. Negotiation research spans many disciplines .
2. This result was later contradicted by Becker and Seligman .
3. This effect has been widely studied [1-3, 7].
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.
The entries in the list should be numbered consecutively.
If available, please always include DOIs as full DOI links in your reference list (e.g. “https://doi.org/abc”).
- Journal article
Smith JJ. The world of science. Am J Sci. 1999;36:234–5.
- Article by DOI
Slifka MK, Whitton JL. Clinical implications of dysregulated cytokine production. J Mol Med. 2000; https://doi.org/10.1007/s001090000086
Blenkinsopp A, Paxton P. Symptoms in the pharmacy: a guide to the management of common illness. 3rd ed. Oxford: Blackwell Science; 1998.
- Book chapter
Wyllie AH, Kerr JFR, Currie AR. Cell death: the significance of apoptosis. In: Bourne GH, Danielli JF, Jeon KW, editors. International review of cytology. London: Academic; 1980. pp. 251–306.
- Online document
Doe J. Title of subordinate document. In: The dictionary of substances and their effects. Royal Society of Chemistry. 1999. http://www.rsc.org/dose/title of subordinate document. Accessed 15 Jan 1999.
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.
Artwork and Illustrations Guidelines
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. MSOffice 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 illustrations should be submitted as RGB (8 bits per channel).
- 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
- Figures should be submitted within the body of the text. Only if the file size of the manuscript causes problems in uploading it, the large figures should be submitted separately from the text.
- 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). 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 (colorblind 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.
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.
Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest
Authors must disclose all relationships or interests that could have direct or potential influence or impart bias on the work. Although an author may not feel there is any conflict, disclosure of relationships and interests provides a more complete and transparent process, leading to an accurate and objective assessment of the work. Awareness of a real or perceived conflicts of interest is a perspective to which the readers are entitled. 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. Examples of potential conflicts of interests that are directly or indirectly related to the research may include but are not limited to the following:
- Research grants from funding agencies (please give the research funder and the grant number)
- Honoraria for speaking at symposia
- Financial support for attending symposia
- Financial support for educational programs
- Employment or consultation
- Support from a project sponsor
- Position on advisory board or board of directors or other type of management relationships
- Multiple affiliations
- Financial relationships, for example equity ownership or investment interest
- Intellectual property rights (e.g. patents, copyrights and royalties from such rights)
- Holdings of spouse and/or children that may have financial interest in the work
In addition, interests that go beyond financial interests and compensation (non-financial interests) that may be important to readers should be disclosed. These may include but are not limited to personal relationships or competing interests directly or indirectly tied to this research, or professional interests or personal beliefs that may influence your research.
The corresponding author collects the conflict of interest disclosure forms from all authors. In author collaborations where formal agreements for representation allow it, it is sufficient for the corresponding author to sign the disclosure form on behalf of all authors. Examples of forms can be found
The corresponding author will include a summary statement in the text of the manuscript in a separate section before the reference list, that reflects what is recorded in the potential conflict of interest disclosure form(s).
Please make sure to submit all Conflict of Interest disclosure forms together with the manuscript.
See below examples of disclosures:
Funding: This study was funded by X (grant number X).
Conflict of Interest: Author A has received research grants from Company A. Author B has received a speaker honorarium from Company X and owns stock in Company Y. Author C is a member of committee Z.
If no conflict exists, the authors should state:
Conflict of Interest: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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’.
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.
All individuals have individual rights that are not to be infringed. Individual participants in studies have, for example, the right to decide what happens to the (identifiable) personal data gathered, to what they have said during a study or an interview, as well as to any photograph that was taken. This is especially true concerning images of vulnerable people (e.g. minors, patients, refugees, etc) or the use of images in sensitive contexts. In many instances authors will need to secure written consent before including images.
Identifying details (names, dates of birth, identity numbers, biometrical characteristics (such as facial features, fingerprint, writing style, voice pattern, DNA or other distinguishing characteristic) and other information) of the participants that were studied should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and genetic profiles unless the information is essential for scholarly purposes and the participant (or parent/guardian if the participant is a minor or incapable or legal representative) gave written informed consent for publication. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve in some cases. Detailed descriptions of individual participants, whether of their whole bodies or of body sections, may lead to disclosure of their identity. Under certain circumstances consent is not required as long as information is anonymized and the submission does not include images that may identify the person.
Informed consent for publication should be obtained if there is any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of participants is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic profiles, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort meaning.
Exceptions where it is not necessary to obtain consent:
• Images such as x rays, laparoscopic images, ultrasound images, brain scans, pathology slides unless there is a concern about identifying information in which case, authors should ensure that consent is obtained.
• Reuse of images: If images are being reused from prior publications, the Publisher will assume that the prior publication obtained the relevant information regarding consent. Authors should provide the appropriate attribution for republished images.
Consent and already available data and/or biologic material
Regardless of whether material is collected from living or dead patients, they (family or guardian if the deceased has not made a pre-mortem decision) must have given prior written consent. The aspect of confidentiality as well as any wishes from the deceased should be respected.
Data protection, confidentiality and privacy
When biological material is donated for or data is generated as part of a research project authors should ensure, as part of the informed consent procedure, that the participants are made aware what kind of (personal) data will be processed, how it will be used and for what purpose. In case of data acquired via a biobank/biorepository, it is possible they apply a broad consent which allows research participants to consent to a broad range of uses of their data and samples which is regarded by research ethics committees as specific enough to be considered “informed”. However, authors should always check the specific biobank/biorepository policies or any other type of data provider policies (in case of non-bio research) to be sure that this is the case.
Consent to Participate
For all research involving human subjects, freely-given, informed consent to participate in the study must be obtained from participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 16) and a statement to this effect should appear in the manuscript. In the case of articles describing human transplantation studies, authors must include a statement declaring that no organs/tissues were obtained from prisoners and must also name the institution(s)/clinic(s)/department(s) via which organs/tissues were obtained. For manuscripts reporting studies involving vulnerable groups where there is the potential for coercion or where consent may not have been fully informed, extra care will be taken by the editor and may be referred to the Springer Nature Research Integrity Group.
Consent to Publish
Individuals may consent to participate in a study, but object to having their data published in a journal article. Authors should make sure to also seek consent from individuals to publish their data prior to submitting their paper to a journal. This is in particular applicable to case studies. A consent to publish form can be found
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 ‘Consent to participate’ and/or ‘Consent to publish’. Other declarations include Funding, Competing interests, Ethics approval, Consent, Data 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.
Sample statements for "Consent to participate":
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Informed consent was obtained from legal guardians.
Written informed consent was obtained from the parents.
Verbal informed consent was obtained prior to the interview.
Sample statements for “Consent to publish”:
The authors affirm that human research participants provided informed consent for publication of the images in Figure(s) 1a, 1b and 1c.
The participant has consented to the submission of the case report to the journal.
Patients signed informed consent regarding publishing their data and photographs.
Sample statements if identifying information about participants is available in the article:
Additional informed consent was obtained from all individual participants for whom identifying information is included 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.
Images will be removed from publication if authors have not obtained informed consent or the paper may be removed and replaced with a notice explaining the reason for removal.
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