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Instructions for contributors


Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics (QRB) covers the whole field of biophysics, from ion channels to DNA topology and from X-ray diffraction to NMR. The journal has gained a worldwide reputation, demonstrated by its high ranking in the ISI Science Citation Index, as a forum for general and specialised communication between biophysicists working in different areas. The journal features authoritative Reviews, the majority of which are invited from authors who have made significant contributions to the field, and who give critical, readable and sometimes controversial accounts of recent progress and problems in their speciality. The newly founded Discovery section publishes key Open Access original research and what may be described as true discoveries, or novel methods to reach mechanistic understanding of biological systems. While biophysics can be reasonably widely interpreted, to include areas like structural biology, our papers should be firmly anchored with a molecular view of the science.

QRB publishes papers in:

  • Biophysics and biophysical chemistry
  • Structural Biology
  • Chemical Biology
  • Genomics
  • Systems Biology
  • Bioimaging
  • Tools for structure and dynamics investigations
  • Single molecule analysis and manipulation
  • Computational biochemistry

Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Nucleic acids and nucleic acid enzymes
  • Genome integrity, repair and replication
  • Transcription and translation
  • Membrane structure, dynamics and interactions
  • Cell surface proteins and cell-cell interactions
  • Biological signaling including metabolic networks
  • Molecular basis of disease
  • Chromatin structure and remodelling
  • Protein folding, processing and degradation
  • Functions of noncoding RNAs
  • RNA folding, ligand binding, catalysis and ribo-regulation
  • Imaging tools, including 4-D and cryo electron microscopy
  • Synthetic chemical tools for biological & biotechnical applications


Invited Reviews will be published at no charge to the author under a standard copyright transfer agreement, unless the author elects to publish their paper under an open access license (see Cambridge Open section below for more details).

Original research will be published in the Discovery section under the author's choice of CC-BY Open Access licenses. For information on what each license allows, please visit

The Discovery section accepts two forms of publication – Reports (papers reporting on specific original research) and Perspectives (shorter, essay-like papers). The format of these is detailed below.

Open access publishing of the Discovery section in the journal is funded through levying an article processing charge (APC) of £1,695/$2,700 on each individual author's institution or funding body.

The decision whether to accept a paper for publication will rest solely with the Editors, and without reference to the funding situation of the authors.

Please note: APC collection is managed by RightsLink, who will contact authors following acceptance of their paper.


Reviews should be submitted via email or disc to the corresponding Editor.

Original research for the Discovery section must be submitted online at

Submission of a paper will be taken to imply that it is unpublished and it is not being considered for publication elsewhere.



The length of the article will depend on the scope of the subject area and its topicality. If it is likely that the printed article will exceed 80 Journal pages, authors must consult with the Editorial Board before submitting. As a very rough guide, length may be approximately estimated by using the following:

  • Title and Abstract: 1 page
  • Contents: 1 page
  • Text: 500 words per page
  • References: 20 per page
  • Figures: 2 per page
  • Tables: estimated individually, depending on length

Research (Discovery section)


This category is intended for focused research papers of between 2,000 and 6,000 words (excluding references), and including up to a maximum of six figures.


Perspectives are intended for shorter communications than Reports, and should not contain primary research. They should comprise 1,500 to 4,000 words (excluding references), with two to four figures.



The preferred word processing packages are Word or WordPerfect in either PC or Macintosh format. Please note that currently we are unable to use LaTeX files.

Text must be provided in English, double-spaced throughout with a wide margin all round. Page numbering and line numbering are required. Tables and captions for illustrations should be typed separately at the end of the manuscript and their required positions indicated in the text. DO NOT integrate tables, captions or figures into the text. If it is necessary to refer to various passages in the text, please ensure that the relevant manuscript page number is given.


Title page

The title page should include:

  1. The title of the article, which should be short but informative and accurately reflect the content;
  2. Authors' names;
  3. Name and address of department(s) and institution(s) to which the work should be attributed for each author;
  4. Name, mailing address, email address, telephone and fax numbers of the author responsible for correspondence about the manuscript;
  5. Short running title for page headings (less than 40 characters);
  6. Word count, including all text but excluding tables, figures and references.


Each paper should include a self-contained abstract indicating the main points of the article in fewer than 300 words.

Review Articles

Following the abstract, Review articles should include a table of contents, which should not include reference to the abstract. Chapter and section headings and the table of contents should conform to the style in any issue from volume 32 onwards (see for examples).


Main body

The main body of the text should use appropriate headings and subheadings to break up the text and guide the reader.


Perspectives should end with a short outlook section, of no more than a paragraph or two.



This should be as short as possible, normally not more than 2-3 paragraphs, and should simply serve to introduce the reader to the purpose and significance of the work described.

Materials and methods

Sufficient information for the reader to be able to repeat the work must be given, but techniques described in detail in other publications need not be repeated, provided that an adequate reference is cited. Major modifications to methods should be clearly described. The numbers of experiments, replicates, etc. and any statistical tests used should be stated.


These should be confined to a factual account of the actual results obtained. Where necessary results should be analysed using an appropriate statistical test. Discussion and reference to other work should be left to the Discussion.


The results (including further reference to figures and tables) should neither be repeated in detail nor should new information be introduced. Speculation is encouraged but should not go beyond reasonable and testable hypotheses. The Discussion should not attempt to be a mini-review.

Box: Speculation

NEW Authors of reports are encouraged to include a box titled "Speculation", which should include no more than four sentences describing the implications of the research presented in the manuscript. Conjecture is encouraged but should not go beyond reasonable and testable hypotheses. This box is not intended to include conclusions from the data presented in the manuscript; a reader should be able to understand the contribution of the work if the box was removed.


You may acknowledge individuals or organisations that provided advice, support (non-financial). Formal financial support and funding should be listed in the following section.

Financial support

Please provide details of the sources of financial support for all authors, including grant numbers. For example, "This work was supported by the Medical research Council (grant number XXXXXXX)". Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma and space, and where research was funded by more than one agency the different agencies should be separated by a semi-colon, with 'and' before the final funder. Grants held by different authors should be identified as belonging to individual authors by the authors' initials. For example, "This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (A.B., grant numbers XXXX, YYYY), (C.D., grant number ZZZZ); the Natural Environment Research Council (E.F., grant number FFFF); and the National Institutes of Health (A.B., grant number GGGG), (E.F., grant number HHHH)". Where no specific funding has been provided for research, please provide the following statement: "This research received no specific grant from any funding agency, commercial or not-for-profit sectors."

Conflict of interest

Please provide details of all known financial, professional and personal relationships with the potential to bias the work. Where no known conflicts of interest exist, please include the following statement: "None."

Ethical standards

Where research involves human and/or animal experimentation, the following statements should be included (as applicable): "The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional committees on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008." and "The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional guides on the care and use of laboratory animals."

Supplementary Material

Additional material (e.g. data sets, large tables) relevant to the paper can be submitted for publication online only, where they are made available via a link from the paper. The paper should stand alone without these data. Supplementary Material must be cited in a relevant place in the text of the paper.

Although Supplementary Material is peer reviewed, it is not checked, copyedited or typeset after acceptance and it is loaded onto the journal's website exactly as supplied. You should check your Supplementary Material carefully to ensure that it adheres to journal styles. Corrections cannot be made to the Supplementary Material after acceptance of the manuscript. Please bear this in mind when deciding what content to include as Supplementary Material.


The references should be to author and year. When a paper cited has three or more authors the style 'Smith et al. 2013' should be used on all occasions.

At the end of the paper, references should first be listed alphabetically, with a full title of each paper, and the first and last pages. Journal titles should be given in full. Users of EndNote may use the distributed style file for "Biological Reviews".

Accuracy of references is the responsibility of the author(s). References must be checked against the text to ensure (a) that the spelling of authors' names and the dates given are consistent and (b) that all authors quoted in the text (in date order if more than one) are given in the reference list and vice versa.

Authors should follow the examples below for layout and punctuation:

In-text citation:

(Royo et al., 1988; Sherry, 1969; Gardiner, 1985)

Journal article:

ROYO, M., CONTRERAS, M. A., GIRALT, E., ALBERICO, F & PONS, M. (1988). An easy entry into a new high symmetry, large molecular framework for molecular recognition studies and de novo protein design. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 120, 6639-6650.

Section in edited book:

SHERRY, H. S. (1969). The ion-exchange properties of zeolites. In Ion Exchange, (ed. J. Marinsky), pp. 89-133. New York: Marcel Dekker.


GARDINER, C. W. (1985). Handbook of Stochastic Methods. Berlin: Springer.


These may be line drawings or photographs and all should be referred to consecutively in the text as Fig. 1, etc. In the manuscript, each figure must be on a separate page and clearly identified with the author's name, short title of the manuscript and figure number. The position of each should be indicated in the text. Component parts of figures should be labelled (a), (b), (c) etc. Where there are multiple part figures, it is requested that authors supply a preferred page layout.

Captions for figures, which should be self-explanatory, must be typed, double spaced, on a separate page at the end of the manuscript.

We recommend that only TIFF, EPS or PDF formats are used for electronic artwork. Other non-preferred but usable formats are JPG, PPT and GIF files and images created in Microsoft Word. For further information about how to prepare your figures, including sizing and resolution requirements, please see our artwork guide.

Line drawings

Line drawings should not be larger than twice the final size. The axes of graphs should be carefully chosen so as to occupy the space available to the best advantage. Lines should be bold enough to stand reduction to about 0.25-0.35 mm. Line drawings should be as simple as possible and many computer-generated figures, for example 3-dimensional graphs, with fine lines, gradations of stippling and unusual symbols, cannot be reproduced satisfactorily when reduced. Unsatisfactory line drawings will have to be redrawn at the author's expense. Preferred symbols are open and filled circles, boxes and triangles, and these should be self-explanatory and unambiguous and of sufficiently high quality and size to be clearly visible after reduction to final size. Lettering of all figures within the manuscript should be of uniform style in a sans serif typeface (Helvetica) using lower case lettering.


Photographs should be labelled and numbered as for line drawings. For microscopical preparations, scale bars with appropriate units (e.g. 50 micrometers) must be provided.


If you need to include textual or illustrative material not in your copyright, permission must be obtained from the relevant publisher for the nonexclusive right to reproduce the material in all forms and media, including electronic publication. For accepted articles, correspondence showing permission has been granted should be forwarded to the editorial office with the transfer of copyright form.


Each table should be clearly headed and submitted double-spaced on a separate page at the end of the manuscript. Tables should be numbered consecutively as Table 1, Table 2 etc. with any subsections labelled as (a), (b), etc. These must be presented to fit the page size (280 x 210 mm) without undue reduction. Oversize tables will not be accepted.

Journal Style

Contributors should note the following:

  • Active voice should be used wherever feasible, and manuscripts should be written in the first person (except in the Abstract, where the third person should be used).
  • Either American or British conventions of spelling and grammar are acceptable as long as used consistently throughout, except in non-British quotations and references.
  • Terms that may be regarded as pejorative or contentious should be avoided.
  • Footnotes should be avoided except to add information below the body of a table.
  • The metric system must be used and SI units where appropriate. For further details see British Standards Institute 5775, Quantities, Units and Abbreviations.


Authors of Review papers have the choice to publish for free under the conditions detailed in the journal's standard copyright form, which states that when an article is accepted, its authors are free to post their version of the accepted manuscript on a website or repository. As such, the journal is compliant with the open access mandates of the vast majority of academic institutions and funding sources.

Authors also have the option to publish their paper under a fully 'Open Access' agreement, upon the payment of a one-off 'Article Processing Charge' of £1,695/$2,700. In this case, the final published 'Version of Record' shall be made freely available to all, in perpetuity, and will be published under a creative commons licence, enabling its free re-use and redistribution for non-commercial means.

The corresponding author will be able to choose between standard publication and publication under the 'Open Access' agreement once their paper has been accepted.


We suggest that authors whose first language is not English have their manuscripts checked by a native English speaker before submission. This is optional, but will help to ensure that any submissions that reach peer review can be judged exclusively on academic merit. We offer a Cambridge service which you can find out more about here, and suggest that authors contact as appropriate. Please note that use of language editing services is voluntary, and at the author’s own expense. Use of these services does not guarantee that the manuscript will be accepted for publication, nor does it restrict the author to submitting to a Cambridge-published journal.


Two sets of page proofs and the original manuscript will be sent to the nominated corresponding author only for checking.

Textual changes in the proof cannot normally be countenanced and the publisher reserves the right to charge authors for excessive correction of non-typographical errors.

Corrections should be made on the marked proofs which should be returned with the original manuscript to the copyeditor (see sheet of instructions accompanying proofs). Revised proofs are only sent to authors under exceptional circumstances.


For further enquiries, please contact your corresponding editor or the Editorial Office:

Anna Molander
Chalmers University of Technology