On this page: Final format requirements | Manuscript text | Word | TeX/LaTeX | Methods | References | Acknowledgements | Author contributions | Competing financial interests | Figure captions | Tables | Gene nomenclature | Chemical and biological nomenclature and abbreviations | Equations | Supplementary Information | Preparing the figures | Line art, graphs, charts and schematics | Photographic and bitmapped images
Final format requirements
Nature Biomedical Engineering is read by scientists from diverse backgrounds. Authors should therefore give careful thought to how their findings may be communicated clearly. Technical jargon should be avoided as far as possible and clearly explained where its use is unavoidable. Abbreviations, particularly those that are not standard, should also be kept to a minimum, and should be defined at their first occurrence. The background, rationale and main conclusions of the work should be clearly explained. Titles and abstracts should be written in language that will be readily intelligible to any scientist. We strongly recommend that authors ask a colleague with different expertise to review the manuscript before submission, in order to identify concepts and terminology that may present difficulties to non-specialist readers. Please use British spelling throughout.
No paper will be rejected for poor language. However, if you would like assistance with writing your manuscript, you can consider asking a colleague whose native language is English for their input and/or use a professional editing service such as those provided by our affiliates Nature Research Editing Service or American Journal Experts. The use of a language editing service has no bearing on editorial decisions and is not a requirement for publication.
All textual content should be provided in a single file, prepared using either Word or TeX/LaTeX; figures should be provided in individual files (see below).
The manuscript text file should include the following parts, in order: a first page with title, author affiliations, contact information (the corresponding author(s) should be identified with an asterisk) and the abstract; main text with the sections required for each content type; then References, Acknowledgements (optional), Author contributions, a statement about Competing financial interests, Figure captions and Tables (with their captions).
Nature Biomedical Engineering does not use a manuscript template for Word documents. The manuscript file should be formatted as single-column text without justification. Standard fonts are recommended, and the Symbol font should be used for representing Greek characters.
Authors submitting LaTeX files may use any of the standard class files such as article.cls, revtex.cls or amsart.cls. Non-standard fonts should be avoided; please use the default Computer Modern fonts. For the inclusion of graphics, we recommend graphicx.sty. Please use numerical references only for citations. There is no need to spend time visually formatting the manuscript: the style of Nature Biomedical Engineering will be imposed automatically when the paper is prepared for publication. References should be included within the manuscript file itself as our system cannot accept BibTeX bibliography files. Authors who wish to use BibTeX to prepare their references should therefore copy the reference list from the .bbl file that BibTeX generates and paste it into the main manuscript .tex file (and delete the associated \bibliography and \bibliographystyle commands). As a final precaution, authors should ensure that before submission the complete .tex file compiles successfully on their own system, with no errors or warnings.
The Methods section should be written as concisely as possible but should contain all elements necessary to allow interpretation and replication of the results. It should ideally not exceed 3,000 words but may be longer if necessary, and can include references, with numbering following that of the main reference list. Authors can deposit any step-by-step protocols related to the work to Protocol Exchange, an open resource maintained by Springer Nature. Protocols deposited by the authors will be linked to the Methods section on publication.
References should be numbered sequentially first throughout the text, then in tables, figure captions and boxes, in this order; that is, references that appear only in tables, figure captions or boxes should be last in the reference list. Each reference number should list only one item. Only articles that have been published or accepted by a named publication or recognized preprint server should be in the numbered list. Published conference abstracts, numbered patents and research datasets that have been assigned a digital object identifier may also be included in the reference list. Grant details and acknowledgments are not permitted as numbered references. Footnotes are not used.
LaTeX submission must contain all references within the manuscript .tex file itself (see above TeX/LaTeX section for more details). BibTeX bibliography files cannot be accepted.
Nature Biomedical Engineering uses the referencing style of Nature. All authors should be included in reference lists unless there are more than five, in which case only the first author should be given, followed by 'et al.'. Authors should be listed last name first, followed by a comma and initials (followed by full stops) of given names. Article titles should be in Roman text; the first word of the title should be capitalized and the title written exactly as it appears in the work cited, ending with a full stop. Book titles should be given in italics and all words in the title should have initial capitals. Journal names are italicized and abbreviated (with full stops) according to common usage. Volume numbers appear in bold.
Titles of cited articles are required for Articles, Review Articles and Perspectives. Example: Antaris, A. L. et al. A small-molecule dye for NIR-II imaging. Nature Mater. 15, 235–242 (2016).
In Correspondences, Commentaries and News & Views, titles of cited articles are not included. Example: Murphy, S. V. & Atala, A. Nat. Biotech. 32, 773–785 (2014).
For book citations, details of the publisher are required. Example: Saltzman, W. M. Biomedical Engineering: Bridging Medicine and Technology (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2015).
Research datasets may be cited in the reference list if they have been assigned digital object identifiers (DOIs). The reference should include authors, title, publisher (repository name), and the DOI expressed as a URL. Example: Wertner, A., Pammer, V. & Czech, P. Dataset for mobile phone sensing based fall detection. figshare http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1444405.v1 (2016).
Acknowledgements should be brief, and should not mention anonymous referees or editors, or include effusive comments. Grant or contribution numbers may be included.
Nature Biomedical Engineering requires an Author Contribution statement as described in the Authorship section of the joint Editorial policies of Nature journals. Author ORCID codes will be displayed on published papers, as long as the author has their ORCID code linked to their account in the manuscript tracking system before the manuscript is formally accepted (see instructions to create an ORCID code and link it to the manuscript account).
Competing financial interests
Submission of a signed statement of Competing Financial Interests is required for all content in the journal. This statement will be published at the end of Articles, Review Articles and Perspectives, whether or not a competing financial interest is reported. For all other content types, a statement will be published only if a competing financial interest is reported.
Figure caption begin with a brief title for the whole figure and continue with a short description of each panel and of any symbols, marks and colours used; they should not contain any details of methods. Figure captions should be provided in numerical order after the reference list.
Please include any tables and their captions at the end of the manuscript text. Tables that include statistical analysis of data should describe their standards of error in the caption.
Figures should be numbered separately with Arabic numerals in the order of occurrence in the main text. Figures and panels within figures should be laid out for optimal visibility when printed on A4 paper, either in the one-column (half-page width) or two-column (full-page width) formats. When appropriate, graphs should include error bars. A description of the statistical treatment of error analysis should be included in the figure caption.
Figure lettering should be in a clear, sans-serif typeface (for example, Helvetica); if possible, the same typeface in approximately the same font size should be used for all figures in a paper. Use Symbol font for Greek letters. All display items should be on a white background, and should avoid excessive boxing, unnecessary colour, hatch patterns for shading, spurious decorative effects (such as three-dimensional 'skyscraper' histograms) and highly pixelated computer drawings. Labelling must be of sufficient size and contrast to be readable, even after appropriate reduction. The thinnest lines in the final figure should be no smaller than one point wide. Reasonable requests to enlarge figures will be considered, but the editors will make the final decision on figure size.
Figures divided into parts should be labelled with a lower-case bold letter (a, b, c, and so on), in the same type size as used elsewhere in the figure. Lettering in figures should be in lower-case type, with only the first letter of each label capitalized. Units should have a single space between the number and the unit, and follow SI nomenclature (for example, ms rather than msec) or the nomenclature common to a particular field. Thousands should be separated by commas (1,000). Unusual units or abbreviations should be spelled out in full or defined in the caption. Scale bars should be used rather than magnification factors, with the length of the bar defined in the figure caption rather than on the bar itself. In legends, please use visual cues rather than verbal explanations (such as 'open red triangles').
Unnecessary figures should be avoided: data presented in small tables or histograms, for instance, can generally be stated briefly in the text instead. Figures should not contain more than one panel unless the parts are logically connected; each panel of a multipart figure should be sized so that the whole figure can be reduced and reproduced at the smallest size at which essential details are visible.
Authors are encouraged to consider the needs of colour-blind readers (a substantial minority of the population) when choosing colours for figures. Many colour-blind readers cannot interpret visuals that rely on discrimination of green and red, for example. The use of colour-safe combinations, such as green and magenta, turquoise and red, yellow and blue or other accessible colour palettes is strongly encouraged.
When we request submission of the final version of a manuscript prior to formal acceptance, we will ask for high-resolution figure files. This information will be included in the decision letter. See below for details of digital image production and submission.
Authors should use approved nomenclature for gene symbols, and use symbols rather than italicized full names (Ttn, not titin). Please consult the appropriate nomenclature databases for correct gene names and symbols. A useful resource is Gene. For proposed gene names that are not already approved, please submit the gene symbols to the appropriate nomenclature committees as soon as possible, as these must be deposited and approved before publication.
Avoid listing multiple names of genes (or proteins) separated by a slash, as in 'Oct4/Pou5f1', as this is ambiguous (it could mean a ratio, a complex, alternative names or different subunits). Use one name throughout and include the other at first mention: 'Oct4 (also known as Pou5f1)'.
Chemical and biological nomenclature and abbreviations
When possible, authors should refer to chemical compounds and biomolecules using systematic nomenclature, preferably using IUPAC and IUBMB rules. Standard chemical and biological abbreviations should be used. Unconventional or specialist abbreviations should be defined at their first occurrence in the text.
Equations and mathematical expressions should be provided in the main text of the paper. Equations that are referred to in the text are identified by parenthetical numbers (such as (1)), and are referred to in the manuscript as 'equation (1)'.
Supplementary information is not copyedited by Nature Biomedical Engineering, so authors should ensure that it is clearly and succinctly presented, and that the style and terminology are consistent with the rest of the paper. The following guidelines detail the creation, citation and submission of supplementary information. Please note that modification of supplementary information after the paper is published requires a formal correction, so authors are encouraged to check their supplementary information carefully before submitting the final version.
Where there is supplementary information to be included exclusively in the online version of a paper published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, please follow these guidelines:
Refer to each piece of supplementary information at least once within the manuscript's main text, as follows:
Designate each item as Supplementary Figure, Table, Methods, Video, Audio, Note, Discussion, Data or Equation. Number Supplementary Figures, Tables, Videos, Audios and Equations; for example, 'Supplementary Figure 1'. This numbering should be separate from that used in figures and tables appearing in the main text. Supplementary Methods, Notes, Discussion and Data should not be numbered. For each figure, table, video, audio and dataset, include a brief title and a caption.
Refer to each piece of supplementary material at the appropriate point(s) in the main article. Be sure to include the word 'Supplementary' each time one is mentioned. Please do not refer to individual panels of supplementary figures.
Figures should be submitted as individual files through the Nature Biomedical Engineering online manuscript tracking system.
With the exception of video, audio and data files, please submit Supplementary Information as a single combined PDF file, with a maximum size of 30 MB.
Queries about submission and preparation of Supplementary Information should be directed to nBME@nature.com.
Preparing the figures
Before a manuscript is accepted, the editors will request high-resolution files suitable for publication. For optimal results, please follow the guidelines below.
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to publish any figures or illustrations that are protected by copyright, including figures published elsewhere and pictures taken by professional photographers. The journal cannot publish images downloaded from the internet without appropriate permission.
Line art, graphs, charts and schematics
All line art, graphs, charts and schematics should be supplied in layered vector format, such as Encapsulated PostScript (.eps), Adobe Illustrator (.ai) or Portable Document Format (.pdf), and should be saved or exported as such directly from the application in which they were made. This allows us to restyle them.
We prefer to work with Adobe Illustrator but can accept Word and PowerPoint files if they are fully editable and without styling effects.
Figures should not be flattened, compressed, converted or saved as bitmaps, jpegs or other non-vector file types. If line-art figures cannot be supplied as vector files, they should be supplied at 1,200 dpi and as close as possible to A4 size (half-page or full-page width).
Photographic and bitmapped images
Please read the digital-images integrity and standards policy before preparing your figures. When possible, we prefer to use original digital figures. When creating and submitting images, please follow these guidelines:
All photographic and bitmapped images should be supplied in .psd, .tif, .jpeg or .png format at a minimum of 300 dpi and as close as possible to A4 size. We prefer layered .psd or .tiff files for editable labelled images. If this is not possible, please supply two sets of figures: one without labelling for publication and one with labelling for our reference. We accept .psd, .tif, .jpeg or .png for unlabelled bitmap images. Please use our column widths (88 mm and 170 mm for single and double columns, respectively), as a guide for image size. As for figure resolution, please prepare your images as follows.
Colour: 300 dpi minimum; please supply all colour files in RGB mode.
Greyscale: 600 dpi minimum for black-and-white photographs.
Line art: 1,200 dpi minimum for graphs and illustrations.
In practice, this means that the absolute width of full-colour, single-column figures should be no less than 1,040 pixels, and double-column figures should be no less than 2,080 pixels wide (excluding peripheral white space). For greyscale images, these values should be doubled, and for line art doubled again (unless supplied in an appropriate vector format, as described above).
We can accept PowerPoint files if they are fully editable and without styling effects.
Display items that contain chemical structures should be produced using ChemDraw or a similar program. The Chemical Style Guide of Nature Chemical Biology describes our preferred formatting. Authors using ChemDraw should use Nature Chemical Biology's ChemDraw template and submit the final files at 100% as .cdx files. All chemical compounds must be assigned a bold, Arabic numeral in the order in which the compounds are presented in the manuscript text.