Content types

The following article types can be submitted to Communications Biology:

Article
Review
Mini Review
Perspective
Comment
Matters Arising

Article

Communications Biology publishes original research in one format, Articles, which may range in length from short communications through to more in-depth studies. As a guide, we recommend that Articles be limited to ~5,000 words. Regardless of the length, an Article is a novel and significant research study of high quality and of interest to that specific research community. 

For a detailed breakdown of our formatting requirements for Articles, and for clarity on recommended structure and content, please see our style and formatting guide. A style and formatting checklist is also available should you find it to be a useful resource. Manuscripts submitted to Communications Biology do not need to adhere to our formatting requirements at the point of initial submission; formatting requirements only apply at the time of acceptance.

Articles are peer-reviewed and include received/accepted dates. Authors must provide a competing interests and author contributions statement before publication.

Review

A Review article summarizes recent advances within a given discipline. Although Reviews should be recognized as scholarly by specialists in the field, they should be written with a view to informing non-specialist readers. Thus, Reviews should be presented using simple prose, avoiding excessive jargon and technical detail.

Review is a flexible article format, but typically occupies no more than 10 pages. A review should begin with a title of up to 15 words and a preface of less than 100 words written for a general audience. As a guide, we recommend that the main text be limited to ~6,000 words. Reviews can include up to 8 display items (figures, tables and/or boxes). Footnotes are not used. Review articles should typically have no more than three authors. For a detailed breakdown of our formatting requirements for Review articles, please see our style and formatting checklist

The scope of a Review should be broad enough that it is not dominated by the work of a single laboratory, and particularly not by the authors' own work. Unpublished primary research data are not permitted in Reviews.

Authors must provide a competing interests and author contributions statement before publication. Reviews include received/accepted dates. Reviews are always peer reviewed to ensure factual accuracy, appropriate citations and scholarly balance, and they are edited in consultation with the editorial team.

Mini Review

A Mini Review summarizes recent advances within a given discipline, but the focus here lies on where the field is headed, rather than providing a detailed state-of-the-art summary of past work. A short intro sets the stage for the topic and the main discussion provides a fresh view – based on the most recent published work – on future directions and challenges of the field and identifies crossroads and (technical) limitations to be overcome, which is also reflected in the concluding outlook/perspectives section. The Mini Review will serve as a short review that provides room for debate and inspires the sub-field, without being a personal opinion piece. Although Mini Reviews should be recognized as scholarly by specialists in the field, they should be written with a view to informing non-specialist readers. Thus, as Reviews, Mini Reviews should be presented using simple prose, avoiding excessive jargon and technical detail.

Mini Review remains a flexible format, but typically occupies no more than 7 pages. The piece should begin with a title of up to 15 words and a preface of less than 100 words written for a general audience. As a guide, we recommend that the main text be limited to ~3,000 words, including a 500-word intro and a 500-word outlook/perspectives section. Mini Reviews can include up to 3 display items (figures, tables), where – a specific feature of the Mini Review – a dedicated box will highlight important developments, outstanding questions or technical challenges for the sub-field going forward. Footnotes are not used. Mini Review articles should typically have no more than three authors and adhere to our formatting requirements for Review articles (please see the style and formatting checklist). 

The scope of a Mini Review should be broad enough that it is not dominated by the work of a single laboratory, and particularly not by the authors' own work. Unpublished primary research data are not permitted. Authors must provide a competing interests and author contributions statement before publication. Mini Reviews include received/accepted dates and are always peer reviewed to ensure factual accuracy, appropriate citations and scholarly balance, and they are edited in consultation with the editorial team.

Perspective

A Perspective is intended to provide a forum for authors to discuss models and ideas from a personal viewpoint. They are more forward looking and/or speculative than Review articles and may take a narrower field of view. They may be opinionated but should remain balanced and are intended to stimulate discussion and new experimental approaches.

Perspectives follow the same formatting guidelines and policies as Reviews. For a detailed breakdown of our formatting requirements for Review articles, please see our style and formatting checklist. Perspectives are peer-reviewed and include received/accepted dates. Authors must provide a competing interests and author contributions statement before publication.

Comment

Comment is a very flexible format. Comments may be on policy, science and society or purely scientific issues. The main criteria are that they should be of immediate interest to the readership of the journal and should be written in an accessible, non-technical style. Their length is typically 1-4 pages, up to 1,500 words, although some may be longer. Comments do not normally contain primary research data, although they may present 'sociological' data (funding trends, demographics, bibliographic data, etc). For a detailed breakdown of our formatting requirements for Comment articles, please see our style and formatting checklist

Comment authors must provide a competing interests statement before publication. Comments may be peer reviewed at the editors' discretion.

Matters Arising

Important scientific comments and clarifications on peer-reviewed articles published in Communications Biology may be submitted as Matters Arising. The guidelines for Matters Arising are outlined here.