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Instructions for authors

Commentaries

See 'About this journal' for descriptions of different article types and information about policies and the refereeing process.

Criteria

These short, narrowly focused articles of contemporary interest are usually commissioned by the journal. They are not minireviews. A Commentary generally takes one of two forms:

  • The first form is a discussion of an article or trial that was recently published or that is soon to be published, and that is interesting enough to warrant further comment or explanation. This type of Commentary discusses specific issues within a subject area rather than the whole field, explains the implications of the article and puts it in context. Opinions are welcome as long as they are factually based.
  • The second form is more editorial in nature and covers an aspect of an issue that is relevant to the journal's scope. Examples of this type of Commentary could be a discussion of the impact of new technology on research and treatment, or a discussion of changes in peer review or grant application procedures and their effect on research. By their nature, the second form of Commentary is less frequent.

Submission process

Manuscripts must be submitted by one of the authors of the manuscript, and should not be submitted by anyone on their behalf. The submitting author takes responsibility for the article during submission.

To facilitate rapid publication and to minimize administrative costs, Genome Biology accepts only online submission.

Files can be submitted as a batch, or one by one. The submission process can be interrupted at any time; when users return to the site, they can carry on where they left off.

See below for examples of word processor and graphics file formats that can be accepted for the main manuscript document by the online submission system.

During submission you will be asked to provide a cover letter. Use this to explain why your manuscript should be published in the journal, to elaborate on any issues relating to our editorial policies in the 'About Genome Biology' page, and to declare any potential competing interests.

Assistance with the process of manuscript preparation and submission is available from BioMed Central customer support team.

We also provide a collection of links to useful tools and resources for scientific authors on our Useful Tools page.

File formats

The following word processor file formats are acceptable for the main manuscript document:

TeX/LaTeX users: Please use BioMed Central's TeX template and BibTeX stylefile if you use TeX format. During the TeX submission process, please submit your TeX file as the main manuscript file and your bib/bbl file as a dependent file. Please also convert your TeX file into a PDF and submit this PDF as an additional file with the name 'Reference PDF'. This PDF will be used by internal staff as a reference point to check the layout of the article as the author intended. Please also note that all figures must be coded at the end of the TeX file and not inline.

If you have used another template for your manuscript, or if you do not wish to use BibTeX, then please submit your manuscript as a DVI file. We do not recommend converting to RTF.

For all TeX submissions, all relevant editable source must be submitted during the submission process. Failing to submit these source files will cause unnecessary delays in the publication procedures.

Preparing main manuscript text

General guidelines of the journal's style and language are given below.

Length of article

Commentaries should be between 800 and 1,200 words.

Manuscript sections for Commentaries

Manuscripts for Commentaries submitted to Genome Biology should be divided into the following sections (in this order):

Title page

The title page should:

  • provide the title of the article
  • list the full names, institutional addresses and email addresses for all authors
  • indicate the corresponding author

Please note:

  • the title should be unpunctuated, informative and should not exceed 80 characters (including spaces)
  • a running head of not more than 40 characters (including spaces) should be provided
  • abbreviations within the title should be avoided

Abstract

This should not exceed 100 words. Please do not use abbreviations or cite references in the abstract.

Keywords

Three to ten keywords representing the main content of the article.

Background

This should clearly state the background to the article and its aims, and should end with a brief statement of the issues at stake.

Main text

This should contain the body of the article, and may also be broken into subsections with short, informative headings.

Conclusions

This should state clearly the main conclusions of the Commentary and give a clear explanation of their importance and relevance.

List of abbreviations

If abbreviations are used in the text they should be defined in the text at first use, and a list of abbreviations can be provided, which should precede the competing interests and authors' contributions.

Competing interests

A competing interest exists when your interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by your personal or financial relationship with other people or organizations. Authors must disclose any financial competing interests; they should also reveal any non-financial competing interests that may cause them embarrassment were they to become public after the publication of the manuscript.

Authors are required to complete a declaration of competing interests. All competing interests that are declared will be listed at the end of published articles. Where an author gives no competing interests, the listing will read 'The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests'.

When completing your declaration, please consider the following questions:

Financial competing interests

  • In the past three years have you received reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of this manuscript, either now or in the future? Is such an organization financing this manuscript (including the article-processing charge)? If so, please specify.
  • Do you hold any stocks or shares in an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of this manuscript, either now or in the future? If so, please specify.
  • Do you hold or are you currently applying for any patents relating to the content of the manuscript? Have you received reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that holds or has applied for patents relating to the content of the manuscript? If so, please specify.
  • Do you have any other financial competing interests? If so, please specify.

Non-financial competing interests

Are there any non-financial competing interests (political, personal, religious, ideological, academic, intellectual, commercial or any other) to declare in relation to this manuscript? If so, please specify.

If you are unsure as to whether you, or one your co-authors, has a competing interest please discuss it with the editorial office.

Acknowledgements

Please acknowledge anyone who contributed towards the article by making substantial contributions to conception, design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data, or who was involved in drafting the manuscript or revising it critically for important intellectual content, but who does not meet the criteria for authorship. Please also include the source(s) of funding for each author, and for the manuscript preparation. Authors must describe the role of the funding body, if any, in design, in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; and in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. Please also acknowledge anyone who contributed materials essential for the study. If a language editor has made significant revision of the manuscript, we recommend that you acknowledge the editor by name, where possible.

Authors should obtain permission to acknowledge from all those mentioned in the Acknowledgements section.

Endnotes

Endnotes should be designated within the text using a superscript lowercase letter and all notes (along with their corresponding letter) should be included in the Endnotes section. Please format this section in a paragraph rather than a list.

References

All references, including URLs, must be numbered consecutively, in square brackets, in the order in which they are cited in the text, followed by any in tables or legends. Each reference must have an individual reference number. Please avoid excessive referencing. If automatic numbering systems are used, the reference numbers must be finalized and the bibliography must be fully formatted before submission.

Only articles, datasets and abstracts that have been published or are in press, or are available through public e-print/preprint servers, may be cited; unpublished abstracts, unpublished data and personal communications should not be included in the reference list, but may be included in the text and referred to as "unpublished observations" or "personal communications" giving the names of the involved researchers. Obtaining permission to quote personal communications and unpublished data from the cited colleagues is the responsibility of the author. Footnotes are not allowed, but endnotes are permitted. Journal abbreviations follow Index Medicus/MEDLINE. Citations in the reference list should include all named authors, up to the first 30 before adding 'et al.'..

Any in press articles cited within the references and necessary for the reviewers' assessment of the manuscript should be made available if requested by the editorial office.

Style files are available for use with popular bibliographic management software:

Examples of the Genome Biology reference style are shown below. Please ensure that the reference style is followed precisely; if the references are not in the correct style they may have to be retyped and carefully proofread.

All web links and URLs, including links to the authors' own websites, should be given a reference number and included in the reference list rather than within the text of the manuscript. They should be provided in full, including both the title of the site and the URL, in the following format: The Mouse Tumor Biology Database [http://tumor.informatics.jax.org/mtbwi/index.do]. If an author or group of authors can clearly be associated with a web link, such as for weblogs, then they should be included in the reference.

Examples of the Genome Biology reference style


Article within a journal
Koonin EV, Altschul SF, Bork P: BRCA1 protein products: functional motifs. Nat Genet 1996, 13:266-267.

Article within a journal supplement
Orengo CA, Bray JE, Hubbard T, LoConte L, Sillitoe I: Analysis and assessment of ab initio three-dimensional prediction, secondary structure, and contacts prediction. Proteins 1999, 43(Suppl 3):149-170.

In press article
Kharitonov SA, Barnes PJ: Clinical aspects of exhaled nitric oxide. Eur Respir J, in press.

Published abstract
Zvaifler NJ, Burger JA, Marinova-Mutafchieva L, Taylor P, Maini RN: Mesenchymal cells, stromal derived factor-1 and rheumatoid arthritis [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 1999, 42:s250.

Article within conference proceedings
Jones X: Zeolites and synthetic mechanisms. In Proceedings of the First National Conference on Porous Sieves: 27-30 June 1996; Baltimore. Edited by Smith Y. Stoneham: Butterworth-Heinemann; 1996:16-27.

Book chapter, or article within a book
Schnepf E: From prey via endosymbiont to plastids: comparative studies in dinoflagellates. In Origins of Plastids. Volume 2. 2nd edition. Edited by Lewin RA. New York: Chapman and Hall; 1993:53-76.

Whole issue of journal
Ponder B, Johnston S, Chodosh L (Eds): Innovative oncology. In Breast Cancer Res 1998, 10:1-72.

Whole conference proceedings
Smith Y (Ed): Proceedings of the First National Conference on Porous Sieves: 27-30 June 1996; Baltimore. Stoneham: Butterworth-Heinemann; 1996.

Complete book
Margulis L: Origin of Eukaryotic Cells. New Haven: Yale University Press; 1970.

Monograph or book in a series
Hunninghake GW, Gadek JE: The alveolar macrophage. In Cultured Human Cells and Tissues. Edited by Harris TJR. New York: Academic Press; 1995:54-56. [Stoner G (Series Editor): Methods and Perspectives in Cell Biology, vol 1.]

Book with institutional author
Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification: Annual Report. London; 1999.

PhD thesis
Kohavi R: Wrappers for performance enhancement and oblivious decision graphs. PhD thesis. Stanford University, Computer Science Department; 1995.

Link / URL
The Mouse Tumor Biology Database [http://tumor.informatics.jax.org/mtbwi/index.do]

Link / URL with author(s)
Neylon C: Open Research Computation: an ordinary journal with extraordinary aims. [http://blogs.openaccesscentral.com/blogs/bmcblog/entry/open_research_computation_an_ordinary]

Dataset with persistent identifier
Zheng, L-Y; Guo, X-S; He, B; Sun, L-J; Peng, Y; Dong, S-S; Liu, T-F; Jiang, S; Ramachandran, S; Liu, C-M; Jing, H-C (2011): Genome data from sweet and grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). GigaScience Database. http://dx.doi.org/10.5524/100012.

Preparing illustrations and figures

Illustrations should be provided as separate files, not embedded in the text file. Each figure should include a single illustration and should fit on a single page in portrait format. If a figure consists of separate parts, it is important that a single composite illustration file be submitted which contains all parts of the figure. There is no charge for the use of color figures.

Please read our figure preparation guidelines for detailed instructions on maximising the quality of your figures.

Formats

The following file formats can be accepted:

  • PDF (preferred format for diagrams)
  • DOCX/DOC (single page only)
  • PPTX/PPT (single slide only)
  • EPS
  • PNG (preferred format for photos or images)
  • TIFF
  • JPEG
  • BMP

Genome Biology will edit all figures supplied by the author. For this reason it is especially important that authors should supply figures in vector form, to facilitate such editing.

Figure legends

The legends should be included in the main manuscript text file at the end of the document, rather than being a part of the figure file. For each figure, the following information should be provided: Figure number (in sequence, using Arabic numerals - i.e. Figure 1, 2, 3 etc); short title of figure (maximum 15 words); detailed legend, up to 300 words.

Please note that it is the responsibility of the author(s) to obtain permission from the copyright holder to reproduce figures or tables that have previously been published elsewhere.

Preparing a personal cover page

If you wish to do so, you may submit an image which, in the event of publication, will be used to create a cover page for the PDF version of your article. The cover page will also display the journal logo, article title and citation details. The image may either be a figure from your manuscript or another relevant image. You must have permission from the copyright to reproduce the image. Images that do not meet our requirements will not be used.

Images must be 300dpi and 155mm square (1831 x 1831 pixels for a raster image).

Allowable formats - EPS, PDF (for line drawings), PNG, TIFF (for photographs and screen dumps), JPEG, BMP, DOC, PPT, CDX, TGF (ISIS/Draw).

Preparing tables

Each table should be numbered and cited in sequence using Arabic numerals (i.e. Table 1, 2, 3 etc.). Tables should also have a title (above the table) that summarizes the whole table; it should be no longer than 15 words. Detailed legends may then follow, but they should be concise. Tables should always be cited in text in consecutive numerical order.

Smaller tables considered to be integral to the manuscript can be pasted into the end of the document text file, in A4 portrait or landscape format. These will be typeset and displayed in the final published form of the article. Such tables should be formatted using the 'Table object' in a word processing program to ensure that columns of data are kept aligned when the file is sent electronically for review; this will not always be the case if columns are generated by simply using tabs to separate text. Columns and rows of data should be made visibly distinct by ensuring that the borders of each cell display as black lines. Commas should not be used to indicate numerical values. Color and shading may not be used; parts of the table can be highlighted using symbols or bold text, the meaning of which should be explained in a table legend. Tables should not be embedded as figures or spreadsheet files.

Larger datasets or tables too wide for a landscape page can be uploaded separately as additional files. Additional files will not be displayed in the final, laid-out PDF of the article, but a link will be provided to the files as supplied by the author.

Tabular data provided as additional files can be uploaded as an Excel spreadsheet (.xls ) or comma separated values (.csv). As with all files, please use the standard file extensions.