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Instructions to Authors

New for 2010 - Please note that the journal now encourages authors to complete their copyright licence to publish form online


Journal of Molecular Cell Biology (JMCB) is a new international journal publishing authoritative reviews and high quality original articles in all areas of molecular and cell biology. We are especially interested in manuscripts reporting on inter-disciplinary studies at the cross-sections between molecular/cell biology and other disciplines of life sciences such as development, stem cell research, signaling, genetics/epigenetics/genomics, immunology, cancer biology, molecular pathogenesis, neuroscience, and systems biology. We believe that this broad scope of JMCB reflects well the ever-increasing merging between molecular/cell biology and other life science disciplines.

The journal will mainly publish primary research papers with findings of unusual significance and broad scientific interest. The main criteria for weighing the appropriateness of a manuscript are its originality and novelty, potential significance and interest to the field, and robustness of data. Our goal is to develop JMCB into an elite society journal and provide a high profile venue for dissemination of highly significant scientific findings, alternative to the existing ones such as Molecular Cell, Developmental Cell, and Genes & Development. Review articles, letters and commentaries on timely topics are also welcome, and proposals for submitting such pieces will be considered in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief. Online peer review is used to increase the efficiency of paper handling.


Please read these instructions carefully and follow them closely to ensure that the review and publication of your paper is as efficient and quick as possible. The Editors reserve the right to return manuscripts that are not in accordance with these instructions.

All material to be considered for publication in the Journal of Molecular Cell Biology should be submitted in electronic form via the journal's online submission system at online submission website. Once you have prepared your manuscript according to the instructions below, instructions on how to submit your manuscript online can be found by clicking here.

Manuscripts that meet the following criteria can be submitted through 'Fast & Green Track'.

Fast Track allows urgent and competitive research to start the peer-review immediately after submission. Peer-review of manuscripts submitted using the Fast Track can be completed within 1-2 weeks. If you want to submit your manuscript using the Fast Track, please first contact the editorial office.

Journal of Molecular Cell Biology recognizes that excellent manuscripts may have been erroneously rejected by other journals. We will reconsider papers that have been rejected by Nature, Science, Nature Medicine, Nature Cell Biology, Cell, and some other journals in the original format of those journals, thus saving the authors effort and time. Authors are encouraged to enclose the reviewers' and/or editorial comments from the journals mentioned above. This will expedite the evaluation of the article. In some instances, the article may be accepted based on the previous review using the Green Track. If you want to submit your manuscript using the Green Track, please contact the editorial office with the manuscript and the previous review. Upon acceptance, authors should provide the manuscript in JMCB’s format.


There are four main types of manuscripts in JMCB:
• Articles
• Reviews
• Letters to the Editor
• Research Highlights

Some other types of manuscripts, e.g. Perspectives, Meeting Reports, and Book Reviews can be considered for publication as well.


Articles are original papers whose conclusions represent a substantial advance in understanding of an important problem and have immediate, far-reaching implications. Articles have an abstract, separate from the main text, of fewer than 200 words, which does not have references, and does not contain numbers, abbreviations, acronyms or measurements unless essential. It is aimed at readers outside the discipline. Articles should begin with an introduction expanding on the background to the work (some overlap with the abstract is acceptable), before proceeding to a concise, focused account of the findings, ending with some paragraphs of discussion. Materials and methods should be after the discussion and before the acknowledgements. For an original article, the total words for the main text (including references and figure legends) are expected to be no more than 8000, and figures more than 8 can be set as the supplementary data.


Reviews should be recognized as scholarly by specialists in the field being covered, but should also be written with a view to informing readers who are not specialized in that particular field, and should therefore be presented using simple prose. Please avoid excessive jargon and technical detail. Reviews should capture the broad developments and implications of recent work. The opening paragraph should make clear the general thrust of the review and provide a clear sense of why the review is now particularly appropriate. The concluding paragraph should provide the reader with an idea of how the field may develop or future problems to overcome, but should not summarize the article. Reviews should include an abstract of fewer than 200 words and should cite no more than 150 references. The total words for the main text (including references and figure legends) are expected to be no more than 10000, and figures more than 3 can be set as the supplementary data.

Letters to the Editor

These are short experimental papers that may present as little as a single experiment or observation and should constitute unusually interesting data combined with a discussion of what the data might mean, or an explanation of why the data contradicts current paradigms. There is no abstract and no subsection on introduction, results or discussion. Nevertheless, the beginning paragraphs should present concise but yet sufficient background information that would allow the readers to appreciate the rationale of the work, and put the study in a proper perspective. Generally, the information on materials and methods is not needed, but in the case when such information is unique and important to the study, it could be submitted as a supplementary data. The total words for the main text (including references and figure legends) are expected to be no more than 1500, less than 10 references, and figures more than 1 can be set as the supplementary data.

Research Highlights

Research Highlights have a similar scope to the “News & views” pieces in Nature journals, and “Previews” in Cell. Such a piece should discuss the main advances made by the newly published excellent paper as well as put the findings of the study into the proper context of the field. Please be reminded that a Research Highlight piece is intended for our general readers, and it should be readily accessible to the non-expert audience without a need to look into additional literatures. The Research Highlight has an abstract of 1-2 sentences that outline the main message. Generally, the total words for the main text (including references and figure legends) are expected to be no more than 1000, less than 10 references, and figures more than 1 can be set as the supplementary data.



Manuscripts should be written in concise and correct English, and at a level that will be accessible to the broad readership of the journal.
The manuscript should be organized in the following order:

  • Cover Letter
  • Title Page
  • Authorship
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Materials and Methods
  • Acknowledgements
  • Funding
  • References
  • Tables
  • Figure Legends
  • Supplementary Data

Cover letter

Each submission must be accompanied with a cover letter emphasizing any novel and special points to draw the editors' attention. A brief illumination of what had been done previously, the scientific advance contained in the findings and the significance of the work to the readership of the journal should be provided. The corresponding author is asked to sign on the letter. Email address, telephone and fax numbers must be present.

Title page

The title should occupy no more than 100 characters. Serial titles are not allowed. The title should be short and informative, and should not contain unconventional abbreviations. A running title of less than 50 characters is necessary to convey the significance of the paper. The key words (less than 7) should also be listed. Authors' full names and affiliations must be provided in an informative format. It is important to indicate a corresponding author, together with the email address, telephone and fax numbers.


Each author must have contributed substantively to justify inclusion as an author; any other contributors should instead be acknowledged appropriately in the Acknowledgments section. The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that all authors have made bona fide, substantive contributions to the research and have seen and approved the manuscript in final form prior to submission.


This part consists of a single paragraph not exceeding 200 words. In particular, the Abstract should summarize the background of the research, novel finding of the paper and the importance of the results as briefly as possible. It should convey clearly and completely the significance and advance of the work to the readership before they have read the paper. Abbreviations and reference citation should generally be avoided.


The introduction should provide the necessary background information with succinct words to give a proper perspective for the study. Only the necessary background information should be provided, instead of a detailed review of the field. Previous publications that provided the groundwork for the paper submitted must be mentioned. All symbols and abbreviations used must be defined, unless they are common abbreviations, symbols of chemical elements or standard units of measurements. Subheadings are not used in this section.


This section could be subdivided with subheadings to give the manuscript more clarity. Concise and precise description should be used to present to a wide readership. Footnotes and sidenotes are not allowed in this section. Up to 8 figures and/or tables may be contained in an article.


The Discussion may be subdivided or combined as appropriate. The Discussion should not repeat the Results, instead, more implications of the results and relevant information should be explored to bring the results into a broader context.

Materials and Methods

This section must be described with sufficient details so that others could repeat the procedures, in conjunction with cited references. Procedures such as appropriate experimental design and statistical methods should be described. Methods for quantification of levels or differences in levels of molecules in biological samples must be described fully and shown to be quantitative and reproducible, using appropriate replicates and statistical analyses. Additional information could be included as Supplementary Data if necessary. If there is any novel material, the authors are required to make it available for non-commercial research purposes.


These may be used to list the contributions of non-authors, funding sources and financial supports. Personal acknowledgements should precede their institutions or agencies. The Acknowledgements section should be listed at the end of the text, before the References.


Details of all funding sources for the work in question should be given in a separate section entitled 'Funding'. This should appear after the 'Acknowledgements' section.

The following rules should be followed:

  • The sentence should begin: 'This work was supported by ...'
  • The full official funding agency name should be given, i.e. 'the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health' or simply 'National Institutes of Health' not 'NCI' (one of the 27 subinstitutions) or 'NCI at NIH' (full RIN-approved list of UK funding agencies)
  • Grant numbers should be complete and accurate and provided in brackets as follows: '(grant number ABX CDXXXXXX)'
  • '(grant numbers ABX CDXXXXXX, EFX GHXXXXXX)'
  • Agencies should be separated by a semi-colon (plus 'and' before the last funding agency)
  • Where individuals need to be specified for certain sources of funding the following text should be added after the relevant agency or grant number 'to (author initials)'.

An example is given here: 'This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (P50 CA098252 and CA118790 to R.B.S.R.) and the Alcohol & Education Research Council (HFY GR667789).'


References should include only articles that are published or in press. 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. Note: "et al." should only be used after 3 authors. Please use the following style for references:

Article in a Periodical:
Lieberman, H.B., Bernstock, J.D., Broustas, C.G., et al. (2011). The role of RAD9 in tumorigenesis. J. Mol. Cell Biol. 3, 39-43.

Article in a Book:
Pyle, A.M., and Lambowitz, A.M. (2006). Group II introns: ribozymes that splice RNA and invade DNA. In: Gesteland, R.F., Cech, T.R., and Atkins, J.F. (eds). The RNA World, 3rd edn. New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 469-506.

An Entire Book:
Gesteland, R.F., Cech, T.R., and Atkins, J.F. (2006). The RNA World, 3rd edn. New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


When creating a table, please use the Microsoft Word table function in a Word document. Word tables should not be tab or space delineated and should not use color. Tables should include a title, footnotes and/or concise legend. Tables in the submitted manuscript should be a separate section. Tables not created using the Microsoft Word table function will need to be revised by the author.

Figure Legends

This is an independent section in the submitted manuscript. A brief title describing the entire figure must be included in each figure legend. Each panel should be described exactly in this section. The information in the text, especially the experimental details, should not be repeated in Figure Legends. Bars, sample sizes and scales must be indicated clearly in Figure Legends. Figure numbers should be given in Arabic numerals and figure parts in upper case letters (1A, 1B...).

Supplementary Data

Data that are integral to the manuscript but impractical to include in the printed journal may be presented as Supplementary Data. We encourage authors to include all necessary data in the manuscript body. If large data sets or videos are necessary and cannot be accommodated in the text body, supplementary data can be submitted. However, each supplementary file must be less than 5MB.
Supplementary data should be submitted with the original manuscripts. They will be linked to the online article published on the journal's website. All text and figures must be provided in suitable electronic formats in this section. All the figures and tables should have titles and legends just as what should be done in the original article.


All the Figures (line drawings, histograms and photographs) must be labeled in consecutive Arabic numerals, and must be referred to in the text (as Figure 1, Figure 2...). For figures with multiple panels, the labels should be set in upper case letters such as Figure 1A, Figure 1B.
For initial online submission, images could be submitted in one of the following formats: JPEG (.jpg), TIEF (.tif), Portable Document File (.pdf) or Encapsulated Postscript (.eps). These images should be placed after the References section.
Figures should be submitted in their desired final size to fit the width of the text. Please keep file size as small as possible. The minimum resolution for the figures is 300 dpi (dots per inch) for tone or color, 1200 dpi for line art at approximately the correct size for publication. Large file sizes (30 MB or greater) may occasionally be needed, but should be avoided if possible. Any lettering should be approximately in proportion to the overall dimensions of the figure. We can only accept one file per figure, so please do not submit separate panels on several pages. Micrographs should be provided with a scale bar.
All color images must be submitted in CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black) color mode. The authors are responsible for ensuring that all figures correctly appear in black and white or in color.


Peer review will be handled by our in-house team of professional editors in close consultation with an Associate Editor, an Editorial Board member, or the Editor-in-Chief. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the ultimate decision.
Manuscripts that are in principle inappropriate for the journal due to lack of sufficient novelty or general interest will be returned to the authors as rapidly as possible. If a manuscript is sent out for in-depth peer review, the journal aims to return reviewers' comments to authors within a month or so. We will strive for a constructive and fair peer-review process. To provide the best possible service to our authors, when the situation is appropriate we may choose to grant the authors an opportunity to make a tentative response to the reviews before a formal editorial decision is made (e.g., in the case of conflicting comments by the referees).
Revised manuscripts should generally be submitted within two months after the initial editorial decision is received. Request for a further extension will be considered on a case-by-case basis by contacting the editorial office (



Accepted manuscripts will be copyedited for grammar and style before proofs are generated. The authors should check the manuscript and proof carefully to make sure that all the sections are correct. After the corrections are made, the article will be posted online as part of the continuous online publication of JMCB.


The publishers will supply authors with free online access to their article with the option of purchasing printed offprints.


There are no page charges for publishing in JMCB, but colour figures will be charged at a rate of £350. This charge may be waived at the Editor's discretion.


The journal will deliver electronic page proofs to the corresponding author with the offprint order forms. Corrections should be returned within 48 hours. "Note added in proof" should only be inserted when there are essential changes. Notes added will be reviewed for appropriate content and style, and are subjected to approval by the editors. Excessive changes on the proof should be avoided unless they are for correction of errors introduced during production.


Upon receipt of accepted manuscripts at Oxford Journals authors will be invited to complete an online copyright licence to publish form on the Author Services site. This system also allows you to pay any charges relating to your paper, and to order offprints and copies of the issue in which your paper appears.

Please note that by submitting an article for publication you confirm that you are the corresponding/submitting author and that Oxford University Press ("OUP") may retain your email address for the purpose of communicating with you about the article. You agree to notify OUP immediately if your details change. If your article is accepted for publication OUP will contact you using the email address you have used in the registration process. Please note that OUP does not retain copies of rejected articles.

All the authors are required to ensure that they are all appropriate contributors for the paper and have agreed to the author list. The article's content and its submission to JMCB must be approved by all the contributors. Manuscripts submitted under multiple authorship are reviewed on the assumption that all listed authors concur in the submission and that the final version has been seen and approved by all authors. All the listed authors are therefore responsible for concerns including but not limited to questions regarding plagiarism, duplicate publication, access to data, and integrity of data or undeclared conflicts of interest.

JMCB policy encourages that each author reveals any financial conflict of interest, direct or indirect, that might influence the results or opinions stated in their manuscript. In a very rare instances, editors receive notification or allegations of misconduct related to studies submitted to JMCB, and the process for responding to such notification will be initiated and certain actions will be taken accordingly. Any such conflict must be disclosed in cover letter and in the Acknowledgements section. The corresponding author will sign a potential conflict of interest form on behalf of all the authors at the time of acceptance.
Authors are encouraged to provide materials and protocols used in the article to promote scientific research in the field. All the clones, plasmid vectors and genetically modified animals are implied to be deposited in a public repository. If there are restrictions to the availability of any material, data, or reagents, they must be noticed in the cover letter at submission.


When submitting a manuscript, it is considered with the understanding that the work has not been published previously and the paper is not under consideration by another journal or book. It is a condition of publication for JMCB that the authors grant an exclusive licence to our editorial office.

Open Access
Journal of Molecular Cell Biology authors have the option to publish their paper under the Oxford Open initiative; whereby, for a charge, their paper will be made freely available online immediately upon publication. After your manuscript is accepted the corresponding author will be required to accept a mandatory licence to publish agreement. As part of the licensing process you will be asked to indicate whether or not you wish to pay for open access. If you do not select the open access option, your paper will be published with standard subscription-based access and you will not be charged.

Oxford Open articles are published under Creative Commons licences. Authors publishing in Journal of Molecular Cell Biology can use the following Creative Commons licences for their articles:
• Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY)
• Creative Commons Non-Commercial licence (CC-BY-NC)
• Creative Commons non-Commercial No Derivatives licence (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Please click here for more information about the Creative Commons licences.

Charges Information
You can pay Open Access charges using our Author Services site. This will enable you to pay online with a credit/debit card, or request an invoice by email or post. The open access charges applicable are:

Regular charge - £1750/ $2800 / €2275
List B Developing country charge* - £875 / $1400 / €1135
List A Developing country charge* - £0 /$0 / €0

*Visit our Developing Countries page for a list of qualifying countries


Manuscripts reporting on biomedical studies involving human subjects must include explicit assurance that written informed consent was obtained from each subject or from his or her guardian. Such manuscripts must include a statement that the human investigations were performed after approval by a local institutional review board and in accord with an assurance filed with and approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or any other equivalent regulatory agency, where appropriate.

When a pedigree or family tree is depicted, assurance must be given that written informed consent was obtained from each living individual represented. In addition, authors must state in writing that they have not modified the pedigree or family tree to avoid potential identification of the family or its members. In rare instances, the editorial board may permit modification of a pedigree to preserve patient anonymity if the authors present compelling reasons for making such modifications and the changes made do not affect interpretation of the data. In such cases, authors must provide the original, unmodified data for examination by peer reviewers and the editorial board and must include a statement in the manuscript explaining that the pedigree has been modified.


Any study involving experiments with animals must state that their care was in accord with institution guidelines. Where applicable, the dose and schedule of anesthetics and analgesics should be reported.


JMCB Editorial Office
Room 401, Building 31B, 319 Yueyang Road, Shanghai 200031, China
Tel: +86-21-5492-0951 or +86-21-5492-2831
Fax: +86-21-5492-0952

For pre-submission inquiries, e-mail:
For assistance with online submission, e-mail:
For status inquiries about submitted papers, e-mail:
For production queries, including proofs, e-mail:
For queries regarding permissions, e-mail:


OUP offers pre-submission language editing through Oxford Language Editing, a service for researchers all over the world. Language editing, particularly if English is not your first language, can be used to ensure that the academic content of your paper is fully understood by the journal editors and reviewers. Visit to find out more about the freelance editors available and the different services offered. Please note that edited manuscripts will still need to undergo peer-review by the journal.