Author Guidelines

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NIH Public Access Mandate
For those interested in the Wiley-Blackwell policy on the NIH Public Access Mandate, please visit our policy statement

Instructions for Authors

Aims and Scope

IUBMB Life is the flagship journal of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and is devoted to the rapid publication of the most novel and significant short articles, reviews, and papers in the broadly defined fields of biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, and molecular medicine. IUBMB Life Original Research Articles present new findings of unusually high importance, which provide major new functional insights in biology. Critical Reviews are short, concise, and sharply focused reviews of current hot topics in the biological sciences. Critical Reviews and Hypotheses Papers make new specialized areas highly accessible to all scientists and develop novel insights and approaches for future research. Articles that integrate several biological disciplines, or successfully relate basic biology to human pathology or medicine, are especially encouraged. All articles are reviewed rapidly by acknowledged experts and, if accepted, are published within about three months.

All articles will be published simultaneously in the online version of IUBMB Life at

IUBMB Life is committed to the rapid publication of high-impact research findings for the scientific communities of the 65 nations represented within the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Consistent with the ideals of the IUBMB, all papers are published on the basis of exceptional scientific merit, originality, and wide biological significance. Manuscripts whose findings are likely to have a lasting impact on experimental biology warrant urgent publication in IUBMB Life.

Advice to Potential Authors

Potential authors, whether of a Critical Review, Research Communication or Hypothesis, may, before submissions, contact either of the Editors-in-Chief for advice.

This might include seeking advice on the proposed topic and its sustainability for inclusion in IUBMB Life, what are considered the importance, merit, and originality, and the experience the author brings to the subject. Any positive response from the Editor must, of course, be viewed in light of the fact that all our submissions are subject to peer review. The response might include the opinion that while meritorious, the topic might be better submitted to another journal, with suggestions of such journals.

Wiley now offers Wiley English Editing Services to authors who are non-native English language speakers for a fee. This new service includes English Language Editing, Translation Service, Manuscript Formatting, and Figure Preparation, and can be beneficial in helping IUBMB Life retain articles with quality, impactful science that may have been rejected and published by a competitor due to poor English language.

Submission of Manuscripts

The journal to which you are submitting your manuscript employs a plagiarism detection system. By submitting your manuscript to this journal you accept that your manuscript may be screened for plagiarism against previously published works.

All submissions should be made online at IUBMB Life’s ScholarOne Manuscripts (formerly known as Manuscript Central) site. New users should first create an account. Once a user is logged onto the site, submissions should be made via the Author Center. For assistance with any aspect of the site, please refer to the User Guide, which is accessed via the ’Get Help Now’ button at the top right of every screen.

All manuscripts must be written in English. The names, addresses, telephone, fax numbers and e-mail addresses of at least four knowledgeable, well-qualified, and independent reviewers must be provided. The figures should be in TIFF or EPS format.

Manuscripts may be submitted online to either of the two Editors-in-Chief, Angelo Azzi or William J. Whelan.

Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce copyrighted material (including published data and extensive quotations) from other sources. Authors are also required to sign an agreement to transfer the copyright for their manuscript to the IUBMB. The Publisher will supply this form upon manuscript acceptance. All accepted manuscripts, artwork, and photographs become the property of the publisher.

Manuscript Categories

Research Communications

These research papers are extremely novel, short but complete, and of broad interest to experimental biologists in biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, and molecular medicine. Original research articles must provide new biological insights that warrant rapid publication. Articles may range from short to full length and we place no restrictions on their make-up. IUBMB Life original research articles must present unusually significant findings that provide new functional insights in biology. Articles that integrate several biological disciplines or successfully relate basic biology to human pathology or medicine are especially encouraged.

Critical Reviews

These papers are short, concise, and sharply focused reviews of current ‘‘hot topics’’ in the biological sciences. Critical reviews must always provide a balanced summary, especially when the primary research literature is characterized by disagreements or disputes. Critical reviews should make new areas highly accessible to scientists in other fields, but must also stand up to careful scrutiny by experts.

The best critical reviews will develop new insights and suggest novel approaches for future research. Critical reviews should be between 4,000 and 7,000 words in length, which is intended to include all illustrative material and the bibliography. Not more than 70 references should be used and authors are encouraged to give priority to historical accuracy for publication precedence, scientific impact, important scientific disputes, and the most recently published findings. Most critical reviews are invited, but the voluntary submission of a review whose scope is in line with that of IUBMB Life is encouraged.

Hypothesis Papers

These tentative scientific interpretations or explanations may eventually lead to broader biological theories in any area of relevance to biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, and molecular medicine. Unlike a review paper, a Hypothesis paper need not present a detailed review of all aspects of the literature, nor must it always present a completely balanced viewpoint. Instead, hypothesis papers must provide the intellectual framework for new postulates that will advance the research endeavor. Hypothesis papers must be limited to a maximum of 4 printed journal pages or approximately 2,500 words (including all text and references) plus 2–3 schemes or overviews. Literature citations should be selective rather than encyclopedic, and no more than 40 references should be included. Authors may base their hypotheses on previously published data, on new experiments published in the article, or on a combination of both old and new work. An acceptable hypothesis must be capable of experimental verification.

Review Process

These manuscripts are examined by the editors and are also sent to outside referees for critical review. Authors are required to suggest at least four potential reviewers, at least one of whom will often be recruited as a referee. Failure to provide this critical information may delay the review of your manuscript. Every effort will be made to provide the corresponding author with an editorial decision within 3 weeks of manuscript receipt. Accepted manuscripts will usually be published within 3 months of acceptance. To preserve the original date of submission, any revised manuscript must be submitted within 3 months of the original decision. Otherwise it will be treated as a new submission. Only one revision of a manuscript, whether within the 3 month limit or not, will be considered. Due to space limitations, and consistent with the aims and scope of the journal, many scientifically sound papers must be rejected solely on the basis of their perceived lack of novelty or degree of current scientific interest.

Organization and Sub-Headings

Original research articles should generally be organized as follows: Summary, Introduction, Experimental Procedures, Results, and Discussion. In some cases, the Results and Discussion sections may be more appropriately combined. Critical Reviews and Hypothesis Papers should begin with a Summary followed by an Introduction. All critical reviews, research communications and hypotheses should be supplied with 5–10 suggested keywords. Further headings and subheadings in review and hypothesis papers are at the authors’ discretion.


All references must be cited in the text by a number in parentheses. References should be numbered in the order of appearance in the manuscript, and compiled in numerical order in a list at the end of the paper. Only published works should be included in the reference list. Unpublished observations, manuscripts in preparation, and personal communications should instead be included in the text. Please note that all personal communications or endorsements must be confirmed in writing by the person(s) involved. References of articles with six or more authors should be formatted to include the first five authors followed by et al. Use the following format to reference journals, books, and book chapters:


1. Lomako, J., Lomako, W. M., Whelan, W. J., Dombro, R. S., Neary, J.T. et al. (1993) Glycogen synthesis in the astrocyte: fromglycogenin to proglycogen to glycogen. FASEB J. 7, 1386–1393.
2. Alberts, B., Bray, D., Lewis, J., Raff, M., Roberts, K., et al. (1995) Molecular Biology of the Cell. Garland, Philadelphia.
3. Gehring, W. (1994) A history of the homeobox. In Guidebook to the Homeobox Genes (Duboule, D., ed.). pp. 1–10, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Journal names should be abbreviated according to Chemical Abstracts. All abbreviations used in the text must be defined in a single footnote inserted in the text immediately after the first abbreviation is cited. The abbreviations of some important biochemical compounds, e.g. ATP, NADH, DNA, and amino acids in proteins, need not be defined.


Illustrations submitted (line drawings, halftones, photos, photomicrographs, etc.) should be digital files, and should follow these guidelines:

300 dpi or higher

Sized to fit on journal page

EPS or TIFF format only

Submitted as separate files and NOT embedded in the text

As IUBMB Life is an electronic-only publication, any figure submitted as a color original will appear in color free of charge and can be downloaded.

Tables and Figures

Tables and figures should not be embedded in the text, but should be included as separate files. A short descriptive title should appear above each table with a clear legend and any footnotes suitably identified below. All units must be included. Figures should be completely labeled, taking into account necessary size reduction. Captions should be entered in the spaces provided.

Spelling and Grammar

All manuscripts must be submitted in English and should be as concise as possible. Either standard American spelling and grammar or standard British spelling and grammar are acceptable, but each manuscript must conform to only one of the two styles. MerriamWebster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th ed.) should be followed for matters of standard American (English) spelling, compound words, and word division. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (Clarendon Press, Oxford) should be followed for questions of British (English) spelling and grammar.


One set of proofs will be sent to the corresponding author in form of a PDF file. Changes made at this time should reflect corrections of typographical or factual errors. Due to the rapid publication of this journal, proofs must be carefully checked and returned within 48 hours of receipt. Articles will be added to an issue in the order that the publisher receives the proofs. Failure to return proofs within 48 hours may result in the article being delayed for publication until a later issue.


Reprints may be purchased at

Further Instructions

For further instructions, including more specific guidelines for the appropriate structure of an original research paper, please refer to the Author Instructions presented in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (1997) 272, 28165–28170. For a complete guide to acceptable scientific abbreviations and nomenclature, please refer to the following IUBMB publications: Biochemical Nomenclature and Related Documents: A Compendium (1992) Published (ISBN 1-85578-005-4) by Portland Press Ltd., London, U.K., and Enzyme Nomenclature (1992) Published (hardback, ISBN 0-12- 227164-5; paperback, ISBN 0-12-227165-3) by Academic Press, San Diego, U.S.A.

Availability of Materials

As a condition of publication in IUBMB Life, authors must agree to make every reasonable effort to provide colleagues in academic research with any of the cell lines, antibodies, nucleic acids, and other related materials used in the research reported that are not freely available from commercial sources. Nucleic acid sequences, protein sequences, and X-ray crystallographic coordinates must be deposited in the appropriate databases prior to the publication of an article.

Ethics of Experimentation

Contributors are expected to conform to generally accepted international standards of animal and human experimentation, and to provide evidence of institutional review and approval of animal and human experimental protocols. In cases of dispute, the currently accepted IUBMB guidelines will be followed.


If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to login into Author Services; where via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS) they will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper.

For authors signing the non-standard CTA

If the OnlineOpen option is not selected the corresponding author will be presented with the IUBMB Life non-standard CTA to sign. The terms and conditions of the non-standard CTA can be previewed below:

Terms and Conditions. Please do not complete this PDF until you are prompted to login into Author Services as described above.

Note to Contributors on Deposit of Accepted Version

Funder arrangements

Certain funders, including the NIH, members of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Wellcome Trust require deposit of the Accepted Version in a repository after an embargo period. Details of funding arrangements are set out at the following website: Please contact the Journal production editor if you have additional funding requirements.


Wiley has arrangements with certain academic institutions to permit the deposit of the Accepted Version in the institutional repository after an embargo period. Details of such arrangements are set out at the following website:

For authors choosing OnlineOpen

If the OnlineOpen option is selected the corresponding author will have a choice of the following Creative Commons License Open Access Agreements (OAA):

Creative Commons Attribution License OAA

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License OAA

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial -NoDerivs License OAA

To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services and visit

If you select the OnlineOpen option and your research is funded by The Wellcome Trust and members of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) you will be given the opportunity to publish your article under a CC-BY license supporting you in complying with Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK requirements. For more information on this policy and the Journal’s compliant self-archiving policy please visit:

Note to NIH Grantees

Pursuant to NIH mandate, Wiley-Blackwell will post the accepted version of contributions authored by NIH grant-holders to PubMed Central upon acceptance. This accepted version will be made publicly available 12 months after publication. For further information, see

About the Editors

Weizmann Institute of Science

IUBMB Life Young Investigator Award

Joanna Bober

On behalf of the IUBMB, IUBMB Life and Wiley, it is with great pleasure and honor that we announce Joanna Bober as the recipient of the 2016 IUBMB Life - Wiley Young Investigator Award for her article, Identification of new FGF1 binding partners—Implications for its intracellular function.

More on Joanna Bober and the Award here.