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.
Biology Letters operates a strict word limit of 2500 words for Research articles and Opinion pieces, and 5000 words for Reviews. The word limit includes the title page, abstract, references, acknowledgements, author contributions section, figure/table legends, and data accessibility, funding, competing interests and ethical statements. 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 - please do not upload a PDF file. 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.
The journal does not have page charges or colour charges.
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. The word limit for Research articles is 2500 words.
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.
Reviews | Biology Letters now welcomes unsolicited reviews. If you are interested in writing a review please contact the editorial office with your proposal addressed to the Reviews Editor, Robert Elwood.
A review should go beyond a summary of known information. It should provide a novel synthesis, novel conclusions and should outline future direction of research. We encourage a discussion of ideas before a full manuscript is produced. The word limit for reviews is 5000 words.
All our reviews are free to access.
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. However, if factual errors are identified that affect the accuracy of the published record, a correction may be published instead. Comments will be published at the discretion of the Editor.
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.
The comment is peer-reviewed by the corresponding author of the original article, a referee from the original article, and another impartial referee. 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.
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.
Open Access in Biology LettersAuthors 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. For full details including information on our Article Processing Charge please visit our Open Access page
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 Biology Letters submission system is fully integrated with the Dryad data repository. We also cover the cost of submitting data to Dryad up to 20GB.
In accordance with our preprint policy, we encourage authors to deposit early versions of articles in appropriate subject repositories or preprint servers.
Submit your article
Submit your manuscript online via ScholarOne Manuscripts.