Guide to Authors

Peer Review Terminology
Cancer Gene Therapy and Springer Nature are participating in a pilot of NISO/STM's Working Group on Peer Review Terminology.

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and STM, the International Association of Scientific, Technology and Medical Publishers have recognized a need to identify and standardize definitions and terminology in peer review practices in order to help align nomenclature as more publishers use open peer review models.

A peer review terminology that is used across publishers will help make the peer review process for articles and journals more transparent, and will enable the community to better assess and compare peer review practices between different journals.

The following summary describes the peer review process for this journal:

  • Identity transparency: Single anonymized
  • Reviewer interacts with: Editor
  • Review information published: None

The full terminology is detailed here.

We would welcome feedback on the Peer Review Terminology Pilot. Please can you take the time to complete this short survey.

Article Type Specifications

Article: These reports of original research should follow the structure laid out below, and should include a clear statement of purpose, a description of the procedures, methods, and subjects or materials used, and a full report of the findings, including discussion, and references to relevant findings of other researchers.
Specifications: Unstructured abstract max. 200 words; Main body of text (excluding tables/figures and references) not to exceed 12,000 words; Max 7 tables or figures; Max 60 references

Review Article: Review Articles in Cancer Gene Therapy aim to provide accessible, authoritative overviews of a field or topic. Reviews should communication a sense of enthusiasm, weaving background information with the latest advances, and placing both of these elements in the context of the rest of the field. The abstract describes what the article is about in a succinct, easily digestible way. It should not contain specialist details, abbreviations, references or figure citations. References should concentrate on significant original research papers.   
Specifications: Unstructured abstract max. 200 words; Main body of text (excluding abstract, tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 4,000 words; Max 7 tables or figures; Max 120 references

Brief Communication: A Brief Communication reports a concise study of high quality and broad interest. Shorter descriptions of important, innovative developments will be considered for preliminary publication. 
Specifications: Unstructured abstract max. 200 words; Main body of text (excluding abstract, tables/figures, and references) no more than 2 pages; Max one table or figure; Max 10 references

Perspective: Perspectives are a hybrid between a correspondence and a review, providing an opinion-driven perspective on a particular research topic or field of interest to the Cancer Gene Therapy readership. Authors should present a (provocative) view that can be supported by data and literature with the goal of sparking debate and stimulating future research avenues.
Specifications: No abstract required; Main body of text (excluding tables/figures, and references) not to exceed 2,000 words; Max of 4 tables and/or figures; Max 25 references

Correspondence: Denotes short, arresting, and timely comments on material published in the journal (including right-of-reply) as well as anything of likely interest to the readers, such as policy debates and community announcements.
Specifications: No abstract required

Preparation of Articles

House Style: Authors should adhere to the following formatting guidelines

  • Text should be double spaced with a wide margin.
  • All pages and lines are to be numbered.
  • Do not make rules thinner than 1pt (0.36mm).
  • Use a coarse hatching pattern rather than shading for tints in graphs.
  • Colour should be distinct when being used as an identifying tool.
  • Spaces, not commas should be used to separate thousands.
  • At first mention of a manufacturer, the town (and state if USA) and country should be provided.
  • Statistical methods: For normally distributed data, mean (SD) is the preferred summary statistic. Relative risks should be expressed as odds ratios with 95% confidence interval. To compare two methods for measuring a variable the method of Bland & Altman (1986, Lancet 1, 307–310) should be used; for this, calculation of P only is not appropriate.
  • Units: Use metric units (SI units) as fully as possible. Preferably give measurements of energy in kiloJoules or MegaJoules with kilocalories in parentheses (1 kcal = 4.186kJ). Use % throughout.
  • Abbreviations: On first using an abbreviation place it in parentheses after the full item. Very common abbreviations such as FFA, RNA, need not be defined. Note these abbreviations: gram g; litre l; milligram mg; kilogram kg; kilojoule kJ; megajoule MJ; weight wt; seconds s; minutes min; hours h. Do not add ‘s’ for plural units. Terms used less than four times should not be abbreviated.

Please note that articles must contain the following components. Please see below for further details:

  • Title page (excluding acknowledgements)
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Materials (or Subjects) and Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion (including conclusion)
  • Data Availability Statement
  • References
  • Acknowledgments
  • Author Contributions
  • Ethical Approval
  • Competing Interests
  • Figure legends
  • Tables
  • Figures

Reports of clinical trials must adhere to the registration and reporting requirements listed in the Editorial Policies.

Cover Letter: Authors should provide a cover letter that includes the affiliation and contact information for the corresponding author. Authors should briefly discuss the importance of the work and explain why it is considered appropriate for the diverse readership of the journal. The cover letter should confirm the material is original research, has not been previously published and has not been submitted for publication elsewhere while under consideration. If the manuscript has been previously considered for publication in another journal, please include the previous reviewer comments, to help expedite the decision by the Editorial team.

The cover letter must be on headed notepaper and include the corresponding author's signature.

Please also include a statement confirming that more than one author has directly accessed and verified the data reported in the manuscript.

Title Page: The title page should contain:

  • Title of the paper - brief, informative, of 150 characters or less and should not make a statement or conclusion
  • Full names of all the authors and their affiliations, as well as the e-mail address* of the corresponding author. If authors regard it as essential to indicate that two or more co-authors are equal in status, they may be identified by an asterisk symbol with the caption ‘These authors contributed equally to this work’ immediately under the address list.

*All authors must provide an institutional email address. This is especially important for the corresponding author and the paper will not proceed through peer review if an institutional email address isn’t provided on the paper and within the submission system itself, unless there is a legitimate reason why the corresponding author cannot provide one.

  • Consortia: For papers containing one or more consortia, all members of the consortium who meet the criteria for authorship must be listed individually as authors on the title page. The name of the consortia needs to also be on the title page and listed as an author (e.g. The BP Consortia). However, phrases such as “on behalf of” should not be used. If necessary, individual authors can be listed in both the main author list and as a member of a consortium. When submitting your manuscript via the online submission system, the consortium name should be entered as an author, together with the contact details of a nominated consortium representative. The Consortium should be mentioned in the Acknowledgements section, not as an Author, when it is made up of a group of people who do not meet authorship criteria. See here for further consortia formatting guidelines, which should be adhered to prior to acceptance.

Abstract: Must be unstructured and summarise the essential features of the paper in a logical and concise sequence.

Graphical Abstract (optional): A graphical abstract, which summarizes the manuscript in a visual way, is designed to attract the attention of readers in the table of contents of the journal. The graphic should be submitted as a single file using a standard file format (.tiff, .eps, .jpg, .bmp, .doc, or .pdf.), it should be 9 cm wide x 5 cm high when printed at full scale and a minimum of 300 dpi. All graphical abstracts should be submitted with a white background and imagery should fill the available width, whenever possible. Colour graphical abstracts are encouraged and will be published at no additional charge. Textual statements should be kept to a minimum.

Introduction: The Introduction should assume that the reader is knowledgeable in the field and should therefore be as brief as possible but can include a short historical review where desirable.

Materials/Subjects and Methods: This section should contain sufficient detail, so that all experimental procedures can be reproduced, and include references. Methods, however, that have been published in detail elsewhere should not be described in detail. Authors should provide the name of the manufacturer and their location for any specifically named medical equipment and instruments, and all drugs should be identified by their pharmaceutical names, and by their trade name if relevant.

Results: The Results section should briefly present the experimental data in text, tables or figures. Tables and figures should not be described extensively in the text.

Discussion: The Discussion should focus on the interpretation and the significance of the findings with concise objective comments that describe their relation to other work in the area. It should not repeat information in the results. The final paragraph should highlight the main conclusion(s), and provide some indication of the direction future research should take.

Data Availability Statement: Please include a statement at the end of your paper that tells readers where the data generated or analysed during this study can be found e.g. within the published article and its supplementary files, within a recognised repository, with a link to the data in said repository, or if additional data are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
Please see the Data Availability and Policy page for more information.

References: Only papers directly related to the article should be cited. Exhaustive lists should be avoided. References should follow the Vancouver format. In the text they should appear as numbers starting at one and at the end of the paper they should be listed (double-spaced) in numerical order corresponding to the order of citation in the text. Where a reference is to appear next to a number in the text, for example following an equation, chemical formula or biological acronym, citations should be written as (ref X). Example “detectable levels of endogenous Bcl-2 (ref 3), as confirmed by western blot”.
All authors should be listed for papers with up to six authors; for papers with more than six authors, the first six only should be listed, followed by et al. Abbreviations for titles of medical periodicals should conform to those used in the latest edition of Index Medicus. The first and last page numbers for each reference should be provided. Abstracts and letters must be identified as such. Papers in press may be included in the list of references.
Personal communications can be allocated a number and included in the list of references in the usual way or simply referred to in the text; the authors may choose which method to use. In either case authors must obtain permission from the individual concerned to quote his/her unpublished work.

Examples:
Journal article:
Neidlein, S, Wirth, R, Pourhassan, M. Iron deficiency, fatigue and muscle strength and function in older hospitalized patients. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2020; 75:456–463.

Journal article by DOI:
Kurotani K, Shinsugi C, Takimoto H. Diet quality and household income level among students: 2014 National Health and Nutrition Survey Japan. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2020; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-020-00794-1

Journal article, in press:
Gallardo RL, Juneja HS, Gardner FH. Normal human marrow stromal cells induce clonal growth of human malignant T-lymphoblasts. Int. J Cell Cloning (in press).

Complete book:
Atkinson K, Champlin R, Ritz J, Fibbe W, Ljungman P, Brenner MK (eds). Clinical Bone Marrow and Blood Stem Cell Transplantation. 3rd ed. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004.

Chapter in book:
Coccia PF. Hematopoietic cell transplantation for osteopetrosis. In: Blume KG, Forman SJ, Appelbaum FR (eds). Thomas' Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. 3rd ed. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Malden, 2004. pp 1443–1454.

Abstract:
Abstracts from the 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting of the British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS). J Hum Hypertens 34; 2020; 1–20

Website:
Kassambara A. rstatix: pipe-friendly framework for basic statistical tests. 2020. https://rpkgs.datanovia.com/rstatix/.

Online Document:
Doe J. Title of subordinate document. In: The dictionary of substances and their effects. Royal Society of Chemistry. 1999. www.rsc.org/dose/title of subordinate document. Accessed 15 Jan 1999.  

Acknowledgements: These should be brief, and should include sources of technical assistance, critical advice or other assistance, which contributed to the final manuscript.

Author Contributions: This section is mandatory. The individual contributions of authors to the manuscript should be specified in this section (for example JS designed experiments and helped write the manuscript; NAL contributed to data extraction and provided feedback on the report. Guidance and criteria for authorship can be found in the section on Authorship on the Editorial Policies page.

Funding: The funding section is mandatory. Authors must declare sources of study funding including sponsorship (e.g. university, charity, commercial organization) and sources of material (e.g. novel drugs) not available commercially. If no financial assistance was received in support of the study, please include a statement to this fact here.

Ethical Approval
Authors must provide a statement regarding ethical approval (see information on Human Experiments in the Editorial Policy section for further details). If ethical approval was not required, authors must provide an explanation of why it was not needed.

Competing Interests: Authors must declare whether or not there are any competing financial interests in relation to the work described. This information must be included at this stage and will be published as part of the paper, but should also be noted in the cover letter. Please see the Competing Interests definition in the Editorial Policies section for detailed information.

Figure Legends: These should be brief, specific and appear on a separate manuscript page after the References section.

Tables: Tables should only be used to present essential data; they should not duplicate what is written in the text. All tables must be editable, ideally presented in Excel. Each must be uploaded as a separate workbook with a title or caption and be clearly labelled, sequentially. Please make sure each table is cited within the text and in the correct order, e.g. (Table 3).  Please save the files with extensions .xls / .xlsx / .ods / or .doc or .docx. Please ensure that you provide a 'flat' file, with single values in each cell with no macros or links to other workbooks or worksheets and no calculations or functions.

Figures:  Figures and images should be labelled sequentially and cited in the text. Figures should not be embedded within the text but rather uploaded as separate files. The use of three-dimensional histograms is strongly discouraged unless the addition of the third dimension is important for conveying the results. Composite figures containing more than three individual figures will count as two figures. All parts of a figure should be grouped together. Where possible large figures and tables should be included as supplementary material.
Detailed guidelines for submitting artwork can be found by downloading our Artwork Guidelines. Using the guidelines, please submit production quality artwork with your initial online submission. If you have followed the guidelines, we will not require the artwork to be resubmitted following the peer-review process, if your paper is accepted for publication.

Page Charges
After final layout for publication, each page of an article will incur a fixed charge of £145 / $238 per page. This charge is fully inclusive of colour reproduction of all colour images (where deemed appropriate by the Editor) in print, HTML and PDF formats. It covers also a proportion of the costs of processing the peer-review process, if your paper is accepted for publication.

Page charges will NOT apply to authors who choose to pay an article processing charge to make their paper open access.

Graphs, Histograms and Statistics

  • Plotting individual data points is preferred to just showing means, especially where N<10
  • If error bars are shown, they must be described in the figure legend
  • Axes on graphs should extend to zero, except for log axes
  • Statistical analyses (including error bars and p values) should only be shown for independently repeated experiments, and must not be shown for replicates of a single experiment
  • The number of times an experiment was repeated (N) must be stated in the legend

Supplementary Information: Supplementary information is peer-reviewed material directly relevant to the conclusion of an article that cannot be included in the printed version owing to space or format constraints. The article must be complete and self-explanatory without the Supplementary Information, which is posted on the journal's website and linked to the article. Supplementary Information may consist of data files, graphics, movies or extensive tables. Please see our Artwork Guidelines for information on accepted file types.
Authors should submit supplementary information files in the FINAL format as they are not edited, typeset or changed, and will appear online exactly as submitted. When submitting Supplementary Information, authors are required to: 

  • Include a text summary (no more than 50 words) to describe the contents of each file.
  • Identify the types of files (file formats) submitted.

Please submit supplementary figures, small tables and text as a single combined PDF document. Tables longer than one page should be provided as an Excel or similar file type. For optimal quality video files please use H.264 encoding, the standard aspect ratio of 16:9 (4:3 is second best) and do not compress the video. Supplementary information is not copyedited, so please ensure that it is clearly and succinctly presented, and that the style and terminology conform to the rest of the manuscript, with any tracked-changes or Review mark-ups removed.

Please note: We do not allow the resupplying of Supplementary Information files for style reasons after a paper has been exported in production, unless there is a serious error that affects the science and, if by not replacing, it would lead to a formal correction once the paper has been published. In these cases we would make an exception and replace the file; however there are very few instances where a Supplementary Information file would be corrected post publication.

Subject Ontology: Choosing the most relevant and specific subject terms from our subject ontology will ensure that your article will be more discoverable and will appear on appropriate subject specific pages on nature.com, in addition to the journal’s own pages. Your article should be indexed with at least one, and up to four unique subject terms that describe the key subjects and concepts in your manuscript. Click here for help with this.