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Instructions to Authors of Understanding Biochemistry articles

This series is being published as part of Essays in Biochemistry and aims to provide post-16 students, teachers and undergraduates with informative and accessible articles on biochemical topics. The articles are made available to the community free of charge as part of the Biochemical Society’s educational activities.

Essays in Biochemistry is published on behalf of the Biochemical Society by Portland Press Limited, its wholly owned publishing subsidiary. The Society’s programme of international meetings, together with its other not-for-profit activities, is supported by the net income generated by its publications.

1. Audience and pitch

The Understanding Biochemistry articles are aimed at post-16 students looking to expand their knowledge of key biochemical principles, first year undergraduates looking to remind themselves of the basics for core modules, and for anyone working in the molecular biosciences unfamiliar with the area or looking to refresh their learning.

2. Length of article

Understanding Biochemistry articles are usually between 10,000–15,000 words in length (excluding figure legends and references)

3. 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.

4. What to include

a) Abstract

Please include 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) 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.

You can include equations (if needed): these should be created in a text-editor program, such as MathType.

c) 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 should be cited in the text and numbered in the order in which they appear.

Tables longer than two A4 pages are difficult to read, and so do consider whether longer tables can be split into multiple shorter tables.

5. Other information to include

a) Authors’ 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.

b) 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

c) Acknowledgements

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

d) Funding

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

6. Recommended reading

References are not required for these articles. Instead, a list of recommended reading and key publications should be included at the end of the article.

The format of the articles in the reading list should be:

Bonifacino, J.S., Glick, B.S. (2004) The mechanisms of vesicle budding and fusion. Cell 116: 153–166

7. Submission

When you are ready, please submit the article files using the personalized link sent to you from the Editorial office. If you cannot find this link you can submit your article by logging in here >

Upon submission, the article will be peer reviewed by two experts in the field, and any revisions to the article will be suggested to the author along with an appropriate time frame to make revisions. A revised version can be submitted to the same URL as above and will be assessed (whenever possible) by the reviewers that saw the original version.

If accepted, your article will be published under an open access license at no cost to you – the APC for this option will be covered courtesy of the Biochemical Society Education Committee in support of their aims and objectives.
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