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Since 2005 all articles published in NAR are made freely available online immediately upon publication, under an Open Access model partially funded by author charges. Please visit for more information.

From 2009 the NAR Database Issue is published online only.

Nucleic Acids Research devotes its first issue each year to publishing information on online database resources of high value to the biological community. It contains:

  • brief descriptions of databases, focusing on factual content and the methods by which information can be accessed and retrieved; and
  • the Molecular Biology Database Collection, which provides a broader list of useful database resources, along with short, 1-2 paragraph summaries and information on recent developments. The Collection was instituted as a vehicle through which a broader set of databases could be presented to the readership of NAR. The intent of this compilation is to bring fellow scientists' attention to high-quality, value-added databases that are available throughout the world. It is not intended to be just a lengthy listing of all available databases.

Submission of papers for publication in the NAR Database Issue is by invitation only. To check the suitability of the proposed submission, the authors should contact Dr. Michael Y. Galperin, Executive Editor of the NAR Database Issue, at by July 1st at the latest. Databases must be freely available to all via the web, not require any login or registration and not be password-protected. The Database Issue is not a proper venue for publishing new experimental results. All nucleotide and protein sequences and structures, gene expression and proteomics data must already be available in the respective public databases. The invitation to submit a paper to the Database Issue does not guarantee acceptance; all submissions will be subject to peer review. By submitting a manuscript to the NAR Database Issue the authors certify that they have every right to bring the underlying data into public domain and accept all legal and ethical responsibility for doing so.

New submitters. Pre-submission inquiries for the description of NEW databases should include the URL of a fully functional database and a brief description of the database. If NAR Molecular Biology Database Collection includes any similar databases, the authors should explain how the new database is different from (and substantially better than) the existing ones. The proposal messages should use plain text or HTML format and avoid any attachments. Authors of the databases dedicated to relatively narrow topics (e.g., organism-specific genome databases, plant databases or databases of specific protein families) should be able to explain how their database would benefit the wide readership of NAR.

Prospective authors are encouraged to check the editorials by Bateman and by Galperin and Cochrane to familiarise themselves with the scope and acceptance criteria of the NAR Database Issue. The database web site must contain sufficient help materials to ensure an easy use by a first-time visitor. After receiving an invitation from Dr. Galperin to submit a paper to the NAR Database Issue, the authors should follow the guidelines set forth below for submission. The deadline for new articles describing databases not previously described in NAR is August 15th. Manuscripts should not be submitted before June 1.

Returning submitters. Pre-submission inquiries for the updated descriptions of databases that had been previously featured in the NAR Database Issue should include the database URL and a brief description of the improvements made to the database since its last publication. Update papers must report significant improvements and advances over previous papers. Update papers will be considered only after 18 months since the previous publication and should typically be no more than 4-6 journal pages in length. Please contact Dr. Galperin if you plan a longer paper or would like to submit an update paper sooner than after 18 months. The deadline for updates on database articles that have appeared previously in NAR is September 15th. Manuscripts should not be submitted before June 1st.

Updates from other journals. Pre-submission inquiries for the update papers on the databases that had been previously described in other journals should follow the above instructions for new submitters. Such update papers will not be considered until after 18 months since the previous publication. The authors must discuss with Dr. Galperin any previous publications, even those in obscure or a non-English-language journals.


  • Authors should submit their manuscript electronically through Manuscript Central ( The manuscript MUST be uploaded as a .doc, .rtf, or LATEX file. It must NOT be uploaded as a .pdf file.
  • Authors should produce a brief description of their database. Again, this description should concentrate on the factual content of the database and provide sufficient information so that the reader can easily access and obtain information from the database. New submissions to NAR are typically 4-5 printed journal pages in length, but authors are urged to be succinct in their writing.
  • The authors should disclose to the Editor and the reviewers any potentially relevant publications that have been recently published or are under consideration elsewhere. Attempts to submit duplicate publications to the NAR Database Issue and elsewhere violate the Journal policy and will lead to an automatic rejection of the paper and other sanctions.
  • The online version of the Database Issue affords the authors the opportunity to provide readers with supplementary data. Authors are encouraged to provide online-only supplementary data to amplify on various aspects of the use of the database or the content of the database. A good way to organize this supplementary data would be to include, within the main text of the printed article, a short table of contents (one line per item) describing the supplementary data. Each topic could then be expanded as appropriate within the supplement. Authors are encouraged to be innovative in their use of such supplementary data, taking advantage of the fact that electronic material, unlike the printed text, does not need to be static. All supplementary data must be available at the time of submission, for editorial review.
  • Authors should try to use the database name as the first word in the title and should include in the Abstract and within the article a valid URL through which the database can be accessed. The database must be completely functioning and available for review at the time of submission. The home page should not be used as a figure in the main text article to be printed, but a representative screen dump showing the output of a particular query would be allowed.
  • Citations to other databases should be to the most recent published description. References to URLs (if no published description is available) should be included in the body of the text.
  • References must be in the correct journal format and should be cited in the text by sequential number only, in order of appearance, and listed numerically in the References section. Manuscripts 'submitted' or 'in preparation', unpublished results, and personal communications should not be cited.
  • Authors must supply the names, institutes and email addresses of six suggested referees. They should be scientists working independently (i.e. not recent collaborator) in areas similar to your own who have relevant expertise, such as those included in your reference list. Suggested referees should not be from the same institution or city as any of the authors. Failure to provide names of appropriate referees may significantly delay consideration of the submitted manuscript.
  • For more specific information, please consult the general Instructions to Authors.
  • If your paper is accepted for publication, you will receive additional information on submitting an entry to the Molecular Biology Database Collection.
  • Not all databases can be included in the Database Issue as individual articles. If your manuscript is not accepted for publication, but the database is deemed appropriate for inclusion in the Molecular Biology Database Collection, you will receive additional information on how to submit your entry to that collection.
  • Databases must be freely available to all via the web without the need to register or login. If any part of the database (e.g. the one that deals with the user-submitted data) needs to be password-protected, only the freely available part will be considered by the reviewers. Authors are encouraged, but not required, to make the contents of their databases freely available as flat or relational files upon request.
  • All databases published in the NAR Database Issue are expected to be maintained under the same URL for at least 5 years after the publication data. Graduation or retirement of the database developers is not a valid reason for termination of the database.
  • Authors should address availability of the underlying data, including the formats and terms for data download.

For further information, please contact Dr Michael Galperin at