Commissioned content


A Review is an authoritative, balanced and scholarly survey of recent developments in a research field. 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.

The editor will invite the author to submit a synopsis initially. The synopsis should outline the basic structure of the article; list the material to be covered with an indication of the proposed depth of coverage; indicate how the material will be logically arranged; and list some of the key references that will be included. The synopsis should be accompanied by a 300-500 word outline of the background to the topic which summarises the progress made to date and gives the rationale and timing for considering the Review.

Reviews begin with a title of up to 15 words and an abstract of less than 100 words written for a general audience. The main text should be less than 6,000 words. Reviews can include up to 8 display items (figures, tables and/or boxes). Figure legends are limited to 350 words and boxes to 750 words. As a guide, references should not exceed 100 in number, so citations should be selective. Footnotes are not used. Review articles should typically have no more than three authors.

We prefer to avoid reproducing material (for example, figures, tables, boxes and videos) directly from other publications unless it is exceptionally informative. However, we recognize that to illustrate some concepts the use of published data is required and the reuse of previously published display items might be necessary.

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 Unpublished primary research data are not permitted in Reviews.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 competing interests and author contributions statements 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.


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, and also require a synopsis. Perspectives are peer-reviewed and include received/accepted dates. Authors must provide competing interests and author contributions statements before publication.


Comment articles can focus on policy, science and society or purely scientific issues. Articles by single authors or small groups of authors are preferred as this is an 'opinion' section of the journal. Comments are usually commissioned by the editors. They should be of immediate interest to a broad readership and should be written in an accessible, non-technical style.

Comments begin with a title of up to 15 words and an abstract of less than 40 words written for a general audience. Comments are typically no longer than 1,500 words and, as a guide, include up to 15 references. Figures and diagrams are encouraged, but are not a requirement. If including display items, please limit the number of items to 2. Figure legends are limited to 350 words.

Authors must provide competing interests and author contributions statements before publication. Comments are not typically peer reviewed.