Manuscript Preparation

Manuscript Preparation

Manuscripts should be written in concise and correct English, at a level that is accessible to the broad readership of JMCB. JMCB publishes various types of manuscripts. Please prepare the electronic files including the main text, figures, supplementary material, graphical abstract, etc. according to the formatting guidelines for each type listed as below.


Articles are original research papers that represent a substantial advance in understanding of an important research question and have immediate, far-reaching implications.

Main text

For an original article, the total words for the main text (including references, figure legends, and tables) are expected to be no more than 8000. Please use a common word-processing package (such as Microsoft Word) for the main text. The main text should be organized in the following order:

  • 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, and telephone/fax numbers (if applicable).
  • Abstract 
    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 study, 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 full text. Abbreviations and reference citation should generally be avoided.
  • Introduction 
    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 submitted manuscript 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.
  • Results 
    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. 
  • Discussion 
    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 in Supplementary material if necessary. If there is any novel material, the authors are required to make it available for non-commercial research purposes. 
  • Acknowledgements 
    These may be used to list the contributions of non-authors and/or supporting parties. Personal acknowledgements should precede their institutions or agencies. 
  • Funding 
    Details of all funding sources and financial supports for the work in question should be given in a separate section entitled 'Funding'. 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).' 
  • Conflict of interest 
    In order to encourage transparency without impeding publication, authors are required to include a statement that lists all potential conflicts of interest or, if appropriate, clearly state ‘none declared’. 
  • Author contributions 
    Contributions of all the authors to the work may be clarified. 
  • References
    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 the first three authors. Please use the following Author-Date style for references:
    Article in a periodical:
    Chu, Y., Yao, P.Y., Wang, W., et al. (2011). Aurora B kinase activation requires survivin priming phosphorylation by PLK1. J. Mol. Cell Biol. 3, 260–267.
    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.
  • Tables 
    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 be in 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 already described in the text, especially the experimental details, should not be repeated here. Bars, sample sizes, and scales must be indicated clearly. Figure numbers should be given in Arabic numerals and figure parts in upper case letters (e.g. 1A, 1B…). 

Up to 8 figures and/or tables may be contained in an original article. All the figures (line drawings, histograms, and photographs) should be referred to in the main text (as Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 1A, Figure 2B...) but should not be embedded within the text. Figures could be submitted in one of the following formats: JPEG (.jpg), TIFF (.tif), Photoshop Document (.psd), Portable Document File (.pdf), Powerpoint (.ppt), Adobe Illustrator (.ai) or Encapsulated Postscript (.eps). The minimum resolution for the figures is 300 dpi (dots per inch) for tone or color and 1200 dpi for line art, at approximately the correct size for publication. Standard figure widths are 90 mm (single column) and 180 mm (double column). The full depth of the page is 240 mm. Please use Arial fonts for the creation of figures. Any lettering should be approximately in proportion to the overall dimensions of the figure. We can only accept one file per figure, and thus please do not submit separate panels on several pages. Micrographs should be provided with a scale bar.

Supplementary material

Data that are integral to the manuscript but impractical to include in the printed journal may be presented as Supplementary material. All supplementary items, including figures, tables, videos, extended text (Materials and methods, References, etc.) should have titles and legends that briefly describe the data shown. Please cite each supplementary item in the main text at least once. They will be linked to the online article published on JMCB website. Supplementary figures and tables could be embedded within the text in one file in order to reduce the size and make it easy to download. Large datasets and videos should be submitted separately. Authors are responsible for ensuring that all provided materials are correct and complete, as these files will not undergo further editing and proof before published online.

Featured image

In addition to the above electronic files, authors are also encouraged to prepare a featured image that summarizes the focus and main findings of the article and enables the viewer to understand what the work is about. It could be the key ‘results’ image from the article itself or a specially designed figure that captures the key takeaway message. The featured image is displayed online only (see example). JMCB also uses the featured image to promote articles via email content, social media, newsletters, and online search results. For articles submitted without a featured image, the editors may contact the authors for this content after acceptance. Featured image follow the similar formatting guidelines as Figures.


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 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 readers with an idea of how the field may develop or future problems to overcome, but should not summarize articles. Usually a Review does not include sections like ‘Results’, ‘Materials and methods’, ‘Discussion’, etc. 
Reviews should include an abstract of less than 200 words and cite no more than 150 references. The total words for the main text (including references, figure legends, and tables) are expected to be no more than 10000, and figures/tables more than 5 can be set as the Supplementary material. 

 Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor are short experimental papers that may present as little as a single experiment or observation and should constitute 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 subsections on introduction, results, or discussion. Nevertheless, the beginning paragraphs should present concise but 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 routine materials and methods is not included in the main text or even needed. When such information is unique and important to the study, it could be included in supplementary material. The total words for the main text (including references, figure legend, and table) are expected to be no more than 1500, with less than 10 references, and figures/tables more than 1 can be set as the Supplementary material. 

 Application Note

Application Notes are short experimental papers focusing on novel techniques, approaches, disease models, or analytical methods with application potential. Application Notes follow the similar formatting guidelines as Letters to the Editor, without 'Dear Editor' at the beginning of the main text. 


Perspectives provide views from scientists with high reputation in the field on the developments and implications of key findings in the proper context of the field. Each Perspective is expected to be contributed by no more than 3 authors. The Perspective has an abstract of fewer than 200 words to outline the main message. Subheadings can be included where necessary to break up the main text. But there is no strict hierarchical organization as required in a Review. Similarly, there are no subsections on introduction, results, or discussion. 
Generally, the total words for the main text (including references, figure legends, and tables) are expected to be no more than 3000, with less than 30 references and 3 figures/tables. Additional detailed description on the topic, references, figures, and tables should be submitted as the Supplementary material.


Highlights comment on recent advances, which were reported by JMCB (and other breaking papers) in a certain field. A Highlight piece is intended for general readership, and thus it should be readily accessible to the non-expert audience without a need to look into additional literatures. ‘
Each Highlight should be contributed by no more than 3 authors. There is no abstract or subsection. Generally, the total words for the main text (including references and figure legend) are expected to be no more than 1000, with less than 10 references and 1 figure.

 Research Advance

Research Advances are to discuss more about the authors' own findings in one or several papers recently published by top-impact journals in the field. Intended for expert audience who would like to explore the whole story, a Research Advance is expected to raise several possibilities to lead future research directions, e.g. some unproven hypothesis and the future work prospect. Research Advances follow the similar formatting guidelines as Highlights. 


Retrospect essays are authored by respected and recognized researchers in a certain field to share with general audience the personal experiences, major events of the field, and stories behind those achievements. 
Retrospect follow the similar formatting guidelines as Highlights, but may include up to 3 figures.

 Meeting Report

Meeting reports are short descriptions of key scientific progress presented and discussed at a conference that author(s) have attended. A meeting report is written by one or several attendees who aim to record the major talks during the conference. It is a summary of the latest advances in the field, but does not contain any detailed original data. 
Meeting Reports follow the similar formatting guidelines as Highlights.