Online Submissions

To submit a manuscript to BIO-Complexity you must first be registered as an author. Once registered, you may begin the five-step SUBMISSION process. To register for the first time, send an email from an institutional or corporate account (to establish your identity) to our support address.


Author Guidelines


Before preparing a manuscript for submission to BIO-Complexity, please familiarize yourself with the journal's Purpose and Scope along with its Section Policies. Questions about suitability, when they arise, are best resolved prior to manuscript preparation by sending a brief description by email.

Because BIO-Complexity is of broad scope, it is important that contributions be intelligible to readers working in a variety of fields. Authors should assume that readers are familiar with the basic concepts of molecular and cellular biology, and with very basic aspects of information and probability. More specialized concepts and terminology should be introduced clearly and succinctly.

To facilitate review, manuscripts should be prepared as MS Word documents (in Times or Times New Roman 12 pt with 1.5 line spacing) with numbered pages, complete with all elements (figures, tables, equations, etc.) that should be present in the final published PDF file. Since the submission document will be transferred electronically many times during review and editing, it is important that the file size be kept as small as possible. To achieve this, figures should be in JPEG format with adequate but not excessive resolution and quality. Publication-quality images will be handled as separate files as described below.

Complete manuscripts (MS Word) should have a title page with the following:

  • A title that clearly conveys the subject of the work without overstating the conclusions, in at most 150 characters (including spaces).
  • Author information, including physical and electronic mail addresses and phone and fax numbers for the corresponding author.
  • A short version of the title to be used as a running title (not more than 60 characters, including spaces; not required for Critiques or Responses).
  • The total number of pages and words, as counted by MS Word, along with the number of figures, tables, and supplementary files.

The content of subsequent pages depends on the intended journal section, as detailed below. The order of presentation is: title page, abstract page, main text, references, tables, figures (with legends).

Figures must be submitted as separate files at 300 dpi resolution in TIFF or PNG format, in addition to the low-resolution versions included in the Word document. If all necessary details can be seen in single-column width, the figure should be sized accordingly (84 mm wide). If larger presentation is needed, the figure should be sized for full page width (175 mm wide). Multi-panel figures should be prepared in final layout, complete with lettering (Helvetica font). All figures must be referred to within the text. Figures should be presented one per page (including all panels) with the legend included on the same page. Figure legends begin with a concise descriptive title.

Tables should be prepared within MS Word and presented one per page after the references and before the figures. Include a concise descriptive title as a heading for each table. Footnotes may be used for clarification, where necessary. Include these below the table, using symbols for reference (symbol order: *, †, ‡, §, ‖, #, **, ††).

Citations should appear as numerals in square brackets (e.g., [14]) within the text in the order that a reader encounters them (i.e., citations within figure legends are numbered according to the first reference to the figure in the text). These designations in the text refer to a numbered list of References which should appear as a separate section under that heading. Entries in this list should conform to the following style conventions:

Citing journal articles:

Smith H, Wesson DB (1856) A small revolver designed to fire the Rimfire cartridge. J Gen Ballistics 291(2): 24-31. doi:00.0000/ballistics.291.2.24

Include up to five authors, using et al. to indicate an incomplete list. Issue number should be omitted if page numbering runs through whole volumes. Journal names should be given as a standard abbreviation (without periods) or written in full form if no abbreviation is listed. In press should be used in place of volume and page numbers for articles that have been accepted for publication but not yet assigned pages. Authors should use the simple doi search tool provided by CrossRef to retrieve doi numbers for references.

Citing books:

Darwin C (1859) On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. John Murray (London).

Citing chapters in edited volumes:

Schutzenberger MP, Waddington CH, Lewontin R (1967) Algorithms and the Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, Discussion. In: Moorhead PS, Kaplan MM, eds. Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution. Wistar Institute Press (Philadelphia) pp 75–80.

Citing web pages:

Note that URLs should only be placed in the References section if they are referred to more than once. Otherwise they should appear in a footnote or parenthetically within the text.

For Research Articles

Before preparing a manuscript for submission as a Research Article, please read the basic criteria described in Section Policies, along with the general criteria described in Purpose and Scope. Manuscripts with content meeting these criteria should be prepared according to the following guidelines.

Research Articles have an abstract followed by sections with headings. Abstracts should be limited to 300 words, should not include citations, and should appear alone on the second manuscript page. Abstracts should end with a clear statement of the significance of the work, while avoiding overstatement or extrapolation. In particular, authors should draw conclusions at the level of the study undertaken rather than at the paradigm level.

The main text always begins with an Introduction, which should state the aim of the work and place it in the context of the broader field of study. Subsequent sections should have succinct headings like: Results, Discussion, Methods, etc. These main sections may be divided with subheadings to indicate substantial shifts in topic. Manuscripts describing experimental work should have a Methods section, which is placed at the end of the main text. Likewise, computational or theoretical work should be presented with the readable argument coming before technical details. In all cases technical details within the manuscript should be limited to those needed for a reader to understand the work. More extensive details that may be necessary for replicating or building on the work should be placed in one or more separate documents for publication as Supplementary files.

Conclusions should be written with appropriate caution (see above guidelines for abstracts).

Some studies require more space for clear presentation than others. In recognition of this, we do not impose explicit word limits but instead ask authors to strive for clear, succinct presentation. Editors may require overly wordy manuscripts to be condensed, and manuscripts may be returned without review if they lack clarity.

For Critical Reviews

Before preparing a manuscript for submission as a Critical Review, please read the journal's Section Policies and Purpose and Scope. Manuscripts considered for publication as Critical Reviews are normally solicited by the journal, though inquiries are welcome.

Critical Reviews have an abstract followed by sections with headings. Abstracts should have at most 250 words (no citations) and should appear alone on the second manuscript page. The main text always begins with an Introduction. Subsequent headings should be succinct, at most 35 characters (including spaces).

Drawing on relevant literature in a chosen area, authors are expected to present and defend an interpretation of the evidence that has clear relevance to the journal's aims. The objective here is to have interesting and informed perspectives clearly and fairly presented, such that the major opposing views are given due consideration. With that in mind, literature should be referred to selectively, not exhaustively.

For Critical Focus articles

Before preparing a manuscript for submission as a Critical Focus, please read the journal's Section Policies and Purpose and Scope. Manuscripts with content meeting these criteria should be prepared according to the following guidelines.

Critical Focus articles have an abstract followed by sections with headings. Abstracts should have at most 250 words (no citations) and should appear alone on the second manuscript page. The main text always begins with an Introduction. Subsequent headings should be succinct, at most 35 characters (including spaces).

Authors are expected to present and defend a new interpretation of one or a few closely related papers published elsewhere. This interpretation should be based upon the authors' own careful analysis of the original work(s). The objective here is for the new interpretation to be clearly and fairly presented, with the original interpretation given due consideration.

For Tools/Techniques

Before preparing a manuscript for submission as a Tools/Techniques paper, please read the journal's Section Policies and Purpose and Scope. Manuscripts with content meeting these criteria should be prepared according to the following guidelines.

Tools/Techniques papers have Abstracts of not more than 100 words, followed by an Introduction that describes the significance of the tool or technique for BIO-Complexity users. Other section headings are at the discretion of the author(s). Figures are permitted, but because final papers are restricted to four papges, only necessary figures should be included. Likewise, the main text should be kept brief.

For Critiques and Responses

Please review the journal's Section Policies before submission. BIO-Complexity receives brief manuscripts by open submission for consideration as Critiques, but not as Responses (each of which is a specific response to a Critique).

Critiques and Responses need to be brief enough to fit on a single typeset page. They have no abstract or section divisions. Figures and tables are permitted, with the understanding that these significantly reduce the space available for text.

Because of the space limitations, authors should strive to make one or two key points well instead of merely touching on many points.


Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. The substance of the work has not been published elsewhere (including a publicly accessible web site), nor is it before another journal for consideration (any exceptions being explained in Comments to the Editor).
  2. The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.
  3. Figures have been prepared according to Author Guidelines, both as separate high-resolution files (TIFF or PNG formats) and as lower resolution JPG inserts embedded the manuscript document (see also point 3 below, under Copyright Notice).
  4. Names and email addresses of four people qualified to review the manuscript are ready to be entered.

Copyright Notice

Authors who publish in BIO-Complexity agree to the following terms:

  1. Authors retain copyright and grant BIO-Complexity the right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License, which allows others to share the work, provided they acknowledgement the work's authorship and initial publication in BIO-Complexity.

  2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of BIO-Complexity's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in BIO-Complexity.

  3. Because you the author (including any co-authors) will claim copyrights for the final version of your work published in BIO-Complexity, you are responsible for ensuring that you are entitled to make this claim. In particular, you here certify that no one other than you or your co-author(s) holds the copyright to any figure or figure component included in this submission.


Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses entered on this site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of BIO-Complexity and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.


ISSN: 2151-7444