Guide to Authors


Manuscript submission

Use the navigation bar on the left to view information about our common editorial policies, how to submit, content types, the manuscript decision process, and biographical information about the editors.

pdfPlease see our brief guide to manuscript submission in PDF format for an overview of key information on submitting primary research for publication in Nature Cell Biology.


Aims and scope of the journal

Nature Cell Biology publishes papers of the highest quality from all areas of cell biology, encouraging those that shed light on the molecular mechanisms responsible for fundamental cell biological processes. The journal's scope is broad and includes the following areas (not listed in order of preference):

Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Autophagy
  • Cancer cell biology
  • Cell adhesion and migration
  • Cell cycle and cell growth
  • Cell death
  • Cellular and molecular mechanisms of human disease
  • Cytoskeletal dynamics
  • Developmental biology
  • DNA replication and repair
  • Mechanobiology
  • Membrane traffic and dynamics
  • Metabolism
  • Nuclear organization and dynamics
  • Organelle biology
  • Proteolysis and quality control
  • Signal transduction
  • Stem cell biology


Our aim is to publish high-impact research relevant to a broad range of cell biologists. Manuscripts selected for publication in this journal will have to contain data of exceptional quality that provides a striking conceptual advance and an in-depth understanding of the processes under study. We place a high priority on maintaining an open, active dialogue with the community, and encourage you to contact the editors.


Editorial Process

The overview of the journal's manuscript decision process includes submission, editorial decision on whether the paper should be reviewed, peer review, decisions after review, revision, acceptance in principle, final submission and acceptance, proofs, advance online publication, and print publication. Before submitting a paper, authors should consult our editorial policies as well as technical tips for using our online submission system.

Please also consult our general guide for manuscript preparation and submission, which includes information on article formats, journal style, and figure preparation tips. Note that procedures for presubmission inquiries, initial submission, revision, and final submission are slightly different, so please consult the directions before proceeding to the online submission system.

Presubmission inquiries are not a prerequisite for the regular submission process, but are intended as a mechanism for authors to receive rapid feedback on whether a manuscript in preparation is likely to be of interest to the journal. We encourage authors who have already prepared their manuscripts to bypass the presubmission inquiry process and upload their papers as a regular submission to the journal.

Journals in the Nature family no longer take copyright on the primary research articles we publish. Instead we ask authors to sign a licence for us to publish their work. US government employees sign a different licence.


Editors and contact information

Like the other Nature titles, Nature Cell Biology has no external editorial board. Instead, all editorial decisions are made by a team of full-time professional editors. For information on their research backgrounds and scientific interests, see About the Editors.


Relationship to other Nature journals

Nature Cell Biology is editorially independent; its editors make their own decisions, independent of the other Nature journals. If a paper is rejected from one Nature journal, the authors can use an automated manuscript transfer service to submit the paper to another Nature journal via a link sent to them by the editor handling the manuscript. Authors should note that referees' comments (including any confidential comments to the editor) and identities are transferred to the editor of the second journal along with the manuscript. In that case, the journal editors will take the previous reviews into account when making their decision, although in some cases the editors may choose to take advice from additional or alternative referees. Alternatively, authors may choose to request a fresh review, in which case they should not use the automated transfer link, and the editors will evaluate the paper without reference to the previous review process. More details are available on the manuscript transfer service and on the relationships between Nature titles.


Editorial and publishing policies

Please see authors and referees for detailed information about author and referee services and publication policies at the Nature family of journals. These journals, including Nature Cell Biology, share a number of common policies including the following:


Journal Metrics

Article metrics such as number of downloads, citations and online attention are available from each article page, and provide an overview of the attention received by a paper.

The 2016 peer review performance metrics (as median time in calendar days) for Nature Cell Biology are as follows:

  • Submission to first editorial decision: 8
  • Submission to first post-review decision: 49
  • Submission to Accept: 245

The 2016 journal metrics for Nature Cell Biology are as follows:

  • 2-year Impact Factor: 20.060
  • 5-year Impact Factor: 20.594
  • Immediacy index: 3.829
  • Eigenfactor ® score: 0.10315
  • Article Influence Score: 10.531
  • 2-year Median: 14

For a further description of these metrics and a summary of the metrics for all Nature journals, please visit our journal metrics page. More information underlying our approach to journal metrics may be found here.



The correct abbreviation for abstracting and indexing purposes is Nat. Cell. Biol..



The international standard serial numbers (ISSN) for Nature Cell Biology is 1097-6256, and the electronic international standard serial number (EISSN) is 1476-4679.


Further editorial information

Please see the following editorials for more information on various aspects of journal policy.

May 1999 'An interdisciplinary forum: integrating new horizons'
June 2003 'Whither RNAi?'
April 2004 'Gel slicing and dicing: a recipe for disaster'
January 2005 'Journal transfer made easy'
February 2006 'Beautification and fraud'
March 2006 'Appreciating data: warts, wrinkles and all'
April 2007 'Imagine...'
January 2009 'Credit where credit is due'
June 2009 'Attribution and accountability'
December 2009 'A decade of Nature Cell Biology'
May 2010 'Demystifying peer review'
November 2010 'Guide to Authors: calling all authors!'
Feb 2011 'Reviewing refereeing'
March 2012 'Getting to grips with Supplementary Information'
May 2013 'Raising reporting standards'
January 2014 'Ending the tyranny of the impact factor'