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Instructions to Authors

Thank you for agreeing to write a mini-review for Emerging Topics in Life Sciences (ETLS).

Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of life science research, Emerging Topics in Life Sciences offers reviews from experts in the field highlighting recent key or emerging topics from across the life sciences.

While your article will be part of a themed issue, it should stand alone as an independent article and not be considered a ‘chapter’ of a book.

The information provided below is given as guidance on preparing your article ready for submission and consideration by the Journal.

Please contact the Editorial Office if you have any questions that are not answered in the information below or if you would like a list of the other topics being covered in your issue.

1. Length of article

Mini-reviews in ETLS are approx. 2500­–3500 words in length (excluding figure legends and references).

Please do note that one of the key benefits to our users/readers is the short format mini-review style.

Perspectives in ETLS are approx. 1000 words in length (excluding figure legends and references).

2. Editorial Style

UK/US spelling

Articles can be written using either American or British spelling conventions; however, these should be used consistently throughout the article. Authors should be aware that, if accepted, inconsistent usage will be corrected during the copyediting stage.

3. What to include in your article

a) Abstract

All mini-reviews submitted must contain an abstract, up to 250 words in length. Please ensure that this is included within the paper and is provided on the online submission system during the submission process.

This will be published in the final Version of Record (VoR) and will also be the abstract that is used by indexing services.

b) Introduction

Your article should standalone and should not be written assuming that the article might be part of a series, therefore the introduction of the article should be written to set the scene for the rest of the article.

c) Main body of the article

Section headings and sub-headings are useful in breaking up the main body of the article to aid understanding.

Terms that are used in an abbreviated form should be included in a list of abbreviations. For the benefit of readers who may not be familiar with the subject matter of your article, you are encouraged to define abbreviated terms either at first mention or in a list of abbreviations.

If possible, ‘jargon’ should be avoided; however, you should consider alternative ways to help the readership, for example, the use of a glossary or text boxes could be used to explain a concept.

If you are preparing a perspective article, the inclusion of opinion is strongly encouraged throughout.

d) Summary Points

Each article should contain 3–5 summary points, a bullet-pointed list summarizing the key points that the review article covers.  Please note perspective articles are not required to include summary points.

Authors may consider including statements around

  • The importance of the field
  • A summary of the current thinking
  • Comments on future directions

e) Figures and tables

Please include at least one figure in your article, you are encouraged to include between two and six appropriate figures.

The use of colour in figures is encouraged, and there is no charge to authors to publish in colour.

Each figure should be accompanied by an appropriate figure title and legend (where needed).

Figures should be provided in the following file formats and at the indicated resolution.

  • Black and white (e.g. line diagrams, histograms) – as .tiff (or .eps) files at 600 dpi
  • Greyscale (e.g. gel images) – as .tiff (or .eps) files at 300 dpi
  • Colour – as .tiff (or .eps) files at 300 dpi

Please note that if you are using a figure from a work that is already published, you are responsible for obtaining the necessary permissions to reuse the article, and an appropriate credit line should be included in the figure legend.

The use of tables is permitted, and these should be accompanied by an appropriate table title and legend (where needed). Tables longer than two A4 pages are difficult to read, and so do consider whether longer tables can be split into multiple shorter tables.

f) References

The number of references included in articles can vary depending on the subject area, but on average, 50–100 references should be included. Most references cited should be from the past 2–5 years.

Please use a Vancouver style referencing system.

References should be included in your article, cited throughout the text by sequential numbers, and listed at the end of your article in a reference list, listed in number order. For example:

Recent research [1] indicates that…

Several studies [6-9, 13, 15] have examined…

In the reference list, six author names should be given before et al.

g) Conflicts of interest, acknowledgements, funding information and author contribution

Author contributions

A statement indicating the contribution of each author to the article should be included.

Portland Press endorses the Vancouver Guidelines on authorship as set out by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

Full details on authorship can be found in the Portland Press Editorial Policy. Contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgements section.

Declaration of Interests

Any potential conflicts of interest (for any authors listed on your article) should be declared. Examples of potential conflicts of interest that should be declared include but are not limited to:

(i)               employment (where you will receive financial gain)

(ii)              consultancy (where you will receive financial gain)

(iii)            personal relationships, and (iv) academic competition

If you are preparing a perspective article, you must include a declaration of interests statement in your manuscript. If you have none, please state “The author(s) have no competing interests to declare.”


Any acknowledgements should be included in a statement at the end of your article.


Any funding information that you would like to acknowledge should be included at the end of the article.


Please use the Vancouver style for all references. Please format your reference list to include the relevant DOI (digital object identifier) wherever possible. All references must be numbered consecutively within the text and listed in numerical order in the reference list. Where a reference includes more than six authors, please list the first six names followed by ‘et al’. 


  1. Walker, N., Manwaring, Z., Rowe, O., Rodriguez, J., Glaister, K., Raanan, D, et al. (2023) Emergent reference pathways and citation explorations. Port Pubs. 67, 1-3 10.1042/PPL_12345678


Preprints should be cited using their DOI. The format should be: Author(s). (Year) Title. bioRxiv (or other preprint server name). DOI, posted date. For more information, please see our full policy on preprints. There is no limit on the number of references included. 


Useful links

Publishing Life Cycle

Portland Press Editorial Policy

Portland Press Open Access Policy

Portland Press Rights and Permissions

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