Author information


Please see here for our full guidelines for submitting to a Royal Society Publishing journal. Below are some journal specific guidelines relevant for submissions to Biology Letters.

  1. Format requirements

  2. Article type

  3. Article structure

  4. Open Access in Biology Letters

  5. Open Data in Biology Letters

  6. Submit

Format requirements

Biology Letters operates a strict word limit of 2500 words for Research articles and Opinion pieces. The word limit includes the title page, abstract, references, acknowledgements and figure/table legends. Please note that text inside the tables is not included in the word count. The word count is strictly enforced.

We allow a maximum of 4 displays, only 2 of which can be figures.

Authors should submit a text file (eg .doc, .docx) with line numbers. Each figure should be uploaded separately with legends included in the main text file. Any tables should be included in the main word document.

Please note that when submitting Word documents authors are advised to embed fonts. When your file is converted to PDF through ScholarOne Manuscripts, the converter may not have the same font sets installed as you do. Therefore, fonts that look fine on your computer may not appear correctly on another computer. When you embed fonts, the font itself is contained within the file. The converter then uses that included information to generate a PDF proof with the correct fonts.

Biology Letters welcomes the submission of articles containing colour figures. During final file submission authors must choose one of the following three options for figure reproduction:

1. Black and white figures online and in print - no charge

2. Colour figures online and black and white in print - no charge

3. Colour figures online and in print - charges apply (see below for more information)

Authors choosing option 2 (colour online and black and white in print) should submit one colour version of each image only. The figures will be converted to black and white for print, so authors must ensure that the colour figure is also intelligible in black and white. The figure legend should state "(Online version in colour.)" and, where possible, should not refer directly to the colours used in the figure. Colour costs for the print version are as follows: £300 (plus VAT where applicable) for 1-2 figures.


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Article types

Biology Letters accepts the following article types.

Research Articles

A research article is the presentation of the authors own most recent work, including methods and results.

Opinion Pieces

If you are interested in writing an opinion piece please contact the editorial office with your proposal. An opinion piece should be written as a perspective, not a formal review. It should be of interest to a broad readership and at the cutting-edge of science. A brief review and critique of past and current work should be given, but the author's own outlook on the subject should be included, in addition to their view on new directions in the field and how it should progress. The author does not have to agree with conventional thought, but should present both sides of any debate.

Comments and invited replies

Comments bring attention to an oversight in a Biology Letters article or propose an opposing view. They are often a critique, providing corrections or offering new analyses. No more than one comment on a single article will be published. However, if factual errors are identified that affect the accuracy of the published record, a correction may be published instead.

Comments are self-proposed by any reader shortly after the initial article is published (ideally within 6 months of online publication). Comments must not exceed 1000 words.

If the comment is accepted, the authors of the original article will be invited to submit a reply. Please contact the editorial office prior to submission with any queries.

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Article structure

The Royal Society Publishing guide for formatting your article can be found here, and should be adhered to by all authors submitting to Biology Letters.

In addition, we ask authors to use double line-spacing and include line numbers in your main document as this is the preferred format of our referees.

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Open Access in Biology Letters

Authors may have their article made freely available to all, immediately upon publication, by payment of an article processing charge. Such articles are covered by a Creative Commons license allowing redistribution and re-use, and we deposit them in PubMedCentral on the author's behalf. Colour figure charges do not apply to Open Access articles. For full details including information on our Article Processing Charge please visit our Open Access page

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Open data in Biology Letters

We require supporting data to be made available prior to publication so that all results are reproducible. For more information please refer to our data sharing policies. In order to make this policy as easy possible to comply with the Proceedings B submission system is fully integrated with the Dryad data repository. We also cover the cost of submitting data to Dryad up to 10GB.

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Submit your article

Submit your manuscript online via ScholarOne Manuscripts.


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