Preparation of Specific Sections
Titles can occupy no more than three lines of type. Each line can contain no more than 50 characters, including spaces. The title should convey the conceptual significance of the paper to a broad readership.
Author names should be spelled out rather than set in initials. Authors should be footnoted to corresponding affiliations. Affiliations should contain the following core information: department(s)/subunit(s); institution; city, state/region, postal code; country. Note: Please check author names and affiliations carefully, as we cannot amend or correct these sections after publication.
The "Correspondence" line should include the e-mail address(es) of the corresponding author(s). One corresponding author is preferred for reasons stated in the Authorship section of Editorial Policies above. But there is no mandatory limit on the number of corresponding authors that may be listed. Corresponding authors may also provide a Twitter handle as a secondary means of contact. Please see the corresponding author responsibilities noted above in the Editorial Policies.
Every author list must identify one corresponding author as a Lead Contact, noted by a footnote in the manuscript. If there is only one corresponding author, that author will be listed as the Lead Contact. Please see the Lead Contact responsibilities noted above in the Authorship section of the Editorial Policies.
Footnotes are only allowed on page 1 of the text (and in tables). They may include a Lead Contact (mandatory) or a present address (optional), or they may indicate co-first authorship (optional). For more on designations of author contributions, please see the "Authorship" section above, under Editorial Policies.
Summary (for Articles)
The Summary should not exceed 250 words, should contain no references, and should be written as a single paragraph that summarizes the background to the study, the key results, and the conclusions. It should clearly convey the conceptual advance and significance of the work to a broad readership.
Summary (for Reports)
The Summary should be written as a single paragraph that summarizes, in no more than 250 words, the background to the work, the new results being reported in the study, and the significance of these findings; references should also be cited in this paragraph. Please note that, for Reports, all essential background information should be included in the summary, and the Results (or Results and Discussion) section should begin immediately with a presentation of the new findings.
Authors are encouraged to include up to ten keywords that will be associated with the article on Cell Press platforms and on PubMed. These keywords should be listed in the manuscript after the Summary, separated by commas.
Highlights and eTOC Blurb
Highlights are a short collection of bullet points that convey the core findings of the article. Specifications: up to four bullet points may be included; the length of an individual bullet point should not exceed 85 characters (including spaces); only the core results of the paper should be covered.
The eTOC blurb is a short summary of the main take-home message of the paper and should describe the context and significance of the findings for the broader readership. Please see the "In Brief" links in the Table of Contents for examples. Specifications: This blurb should be 350 characters or fewer; this blurb should be written in the third person and refer to “First Author et al.”
Both are required for all research papers and will be displayed online with the article; however, they will not appear in print. On the EM page where you are asked to upload your files, please choose "Highlights and eTOC Blurb" and upload a single Word document containing both your Highlights and the eTOC Blurb.
Introduction (for Articles)
The Introduction must be written from the standpoint of biologists without special knowledge, must clearly state the background to the research and its aims, and should end with a brief statement of what has been achieved.
Results (for Articles)
This section should be divided into subsections with short informative subheadings. Footnotes should not be used.
Discussion (for Articles)
The Discussion must clearly explain the main conclusions of the research and give clear explanations of their importance and relevance, placing them into a broader context. It should not be redundant with the Results section. This section may contain subheadings and can in some cases be combined with the Results section. A separate short Conclusions section may also be included if useful.
Results and Discussion (for Reports)
The Results and Discussion for Reports may be combined or kept separate and may be broken into subsections with short informative subheadings. The final paragraph should summarize the main findings of the research and their implications. Footnotes should not be used.
Experimental Procedures (for Articles)
The Experimental Procedures should, at minimum, include enough detail to allow the reader to understand the general experimental design and to be able to assess the data presented in the figures. This section should also include a description of any statistical methods employed in the study. More detailed protocols and procedures needed for readers to reproduce experiments should be included in the Supplemental Experimental Procedures, but it is not appropriate to move the majority of the Experimental Procedures to Supplemental Information in order to shorten the text. Any supplemental tables that list materials used in the study (oligonucleotides, strains, etc.) should be included within the relevant section of the Supplemental Experimental Procedures; these tables should have a title but should not be numbered. If your paper contains Supplemental Experimental Procedures, please make sure that they are referred to within the main Experimental Procedures so that it is clear to the reader that additional details are available online. Please see our complete Supplemental Information guidelines
for more information.
Experimental Procedures (for Reports)
Experimental Procedures should be divided into subsections. A separate section may not be necessary in a Report if methods can be described concisely and adequately in the text and figure/table legends, but more detailed protocols and procedures needed for readers to reproduce experiments should be included in the Supplemental Experimental Procedures.
For primary research papers, we ask you to include a dedicated Author Contributions section preceding the Acknowledgments to give information about individual author contributions to the work. Please keep this section as concise as possible and use initials to indicate author identity. All of the authors listed on the paper should be mentioned in this section at least once. We are happy for you to use a traditional format such as “A.B. and C.D. conducted the experiments, E.F. designed the experiments and wrote the paper…” but would also encourage you to use the CRediT taxonomy
This section may acknowledge contributions from non-authors and/or list funding sources, and it should include a statement of any conflicts of interest. Please check this section carefully, as we cannot allow amendments or corrections after publication.
References must be cited by number consecutively in square brackets in the text. Any references that occur only in the tables or figure legends should be numbered according to where that table or figure is first cited in the main text, in relation to the sequence of citation numbering. (For example, if the last reference cited before the first citation of Figure 1 was reference , and the Figure 1 legend contains a reference that is first cited in the Figure 1 legend, that reference should be numbered as , and the next reference cited in the main text would be .) References should include only articles that are published or in press. For references to in press articles, please confirm with the cited journal that the article is in fact accepted and in press and include a DOI number and online publication date. Unpublished data, submitted manuscripts, abstracts, and personal communications should be cited within the text only. Personal communication should be documented by a letter of permission. Submitted articles should be cited as unpublished data, data not shown, or personal communication. Journal abbreviations should follow Index Medicus/Medline. Up to ten authors, followed by et al. if there are more than ten authors, should be listed. References should be in Current Biology numbered style, examples of which are included below:
Article in a periodical:
1. Holmes, S., and Watson, J. (1993). Identification of the function of the moriarty gene product. Curr. Biol. 3, 121–129.
Article in a book:
2. Holmes, S., and Watson, J. (1991). Identification of the function of the moriarty gene product. In Biological Mysteries Solved, A.C. Doyle, ed. (London: Science Press), pp. 56–62.
An entire book:
3. Doyle, A.C. (1991). Biological Mysteries Solved, Second Edition (London: Science Press).
Legends should be included in the submitted manuscript as a separate section. Each figure legend should have a brief title that describes the entire figure without citing specific panels, followed by a description of each panel. For any figures presenting pooled data, the measures should be defined in the figure legends (for example, "Data are represented as mean ± SEM."). Each legend should refer to any supporting items in the Supplemental Information (e.g., "See also Figure S1.").
When creating a table, please use the Microsoft Word Table function. Tables should include a title, and footnotes and/or legend should be concise. Include tables in the submitted manuscript as a separate section. Tables not created with the Microsoft Word table function will need to be revised by the author.
When creating tables, please adhere to the following guidelines:
Do not submit tables in Excel or PDF format. Do not place an Excel table in a Word document.
Format tables with Word's Table function; do not use tabs or spaces to create a table.
Do not use line breaks or spaces to separate data within a cell. Use separate cells for all discrete data elements within a table.
Number tables as Table 1, Table 2, Table 3, etc., rather than as Table 1a, Table 1b, Table 1c, etc.
If bold or italic font is used within a table to indicate some feature of the data, please give an explanation of its usage in the legend.
All abbreviations within a table must be defined in the table legend or footnotes.
- Footnotes should be listed with superscript lowercase letters, beginning with “a.” Footnotes may not be listed with numbers or symbols.
In general, Supplemental Information is limited to data and other materials that directly support the main conclusions of a paper but cannot be included in the main paper for reasons such as space or file format restrictions. Supplemental Information should not be used to present data that are preliminary or that conceptually go beyond the main point of the paper.
Before submitting your supplemental materials, please refer to our complete instructions in the Supplemental Information guidelines
. This page also contains information on submitting movie and other multimedia files.