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How to Write a Research Paper

Writing a research paper is a bit more difficult that a standard high school essay. You need to site sources, use academic data and show scientific examples. Before beginning, you’ll need guidelines for how to write a research paper.

Start the Research Process

Before you begin writing the research paper, you must do your research. It is important that you understand the subject matter, formulate the ideas of your paper, create your thesis statement and learn how to speak about your given topic in an authoritative manner. You’ll be looking through online databases, encyclopedias, almanacs, periodicals, books, newspapers, government publications, reports, guides and scholarly resources. Take notes as you discover new information about your given topic. Also keep track of the references you use so you can build your bibliography later and cite your resources.

Develop Your Thesis Statement

When organizing your research paper, the thesis statement is where you explain to your readers what they can expect, present your claims, answer any questions that you were asked or explain your interpretation of the subject matter you’re researching. Therefore, the thesis statement must be strong and easy to understand. Your thesis statement must also be precise. It should answer the question you were assigned, and there should be an opportunity for your position to be opposed or disputed. The body of your manuscript should support your thesis, and it should be more than a generic fact.

Create an Outline

Many professors require outlines during the research paper writing process. You’ll find that they want outlines set up with a title page, abstract, introduction, research paper body and reference section. The title page is typically made up of the student’s name, the name of the college, the name of the class and the date of the paper. The abstract is a summary of the paper. An introduction typically consists of one or two pages and comments on the subject matter of the research paper. In the body of the research paper, you’ll be breaking it down into materials and methods, results and discussions. Your references are in your bibliography. Use a research paper example to help you with your outline if necessary.

Organize Your Notes

When writing your first draft, you’re going to have to work on organizing your notes first. During this process, you’ll be deciding which references you’ll be putting in your bibliography and which will work best as in-text citations. You’ll be working on this more as you develop your working drafts and look at more white paper examples to help guide you through the process.

Write Your Final Draft

After you’ve written a first and second draft and received corrections from your professor, it’s time to write your final copy. By now, you should have seen an example of a research paper layout and know how to put your paper together. You’ll have your title page, abstract, introduction, thesis statement, in-text citations, footnotes and bibliography complete. Be sure to check with your professor to ensure if you’re writing in APA style, or if you’re using another style guide.


research paper after published

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Corrections, retractions and updates after publication

Taylor & francis journal article correction and retraction policy.

Every article published by a Taylor & Francis journal, or a journal published by us on behalf of a scholarly society, either in the print issue or online, constitutes the Version of Record (VoR) : the final, definitive, and citable version in the scholarly record.

The VoR includes:

The paper, revised and accepted following peer review , in its final form, including the abstract, text, references, bibliography, and all accompanying tables, illustrations, data.

Any supplemental material.

Recognizing a published article as a finalized Version of Record establishes the expectation that it can be relied upon as accurate, complete, and citable. Wherever possible it is our policy to maintain the integrity of the Version of Record in accordance with STM Association guidelines:

STM Guidelines on Preservation of the Objective Record of Science

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Sometimes after an article has been published it may be necessary to make a change to the Version of Record . This will be done after careful consideration by the Editor who is also supported by Taylor & Francis staff to ensure any necessary changes are made in accordance with guidance from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) .

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Any necessary changes will be accompanied with a post-publication notice which will be permanently linked to the original article so that readers will be fully informed of any necessary changes. This can be in the form of a correction notice, an expression of concern, a retraction and in rare circumstances a removal. The purpose of this mechanism of making changes which are permanent and transparent is to ensure the integrity of the scholarly record.

All correction, expressions of concern and retraction notices are free to access at the point of publication.

What should I do if my article contains an error?

Authors should notify us as soon as possible if they find errors in their published article, especially errors that could affect the interpretation of data or reliability of information presented. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to ensure consensus has been reached between all listed co-authors prior to putting forward any requests for corrections or retractions to an article.

If, after reading the guidance, you believe a correction or retraction is necessary for your article, contact the journal’s Production Editor, or contact us by filling out the form.

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Post-publication notices to ensure the integrity of the scholarly record

Correction notice.

A correction notice will be issued when it is necessary to correct an error or omission which can impact the interpretation of the article, but where the scholarly integrity of the article remains intact. Examples include mislabeling of a figure, missing key information on funding or competing interests of the authors.

Taylor & Francis distinguishes between major and minor errors. For correction notices, major errors or omissions are considered to be any changes which impacts the interpretation of the article, but where the scholarly integrity of the article remains intact.

All major errors are accompanied by a separate correction notice. The correction notice should provide clear details of the error and the changes that have been made to the Version of Record. Under these circumstances Taylor & Francis will:

research paper after published

Correct the online article.

Issue a separate correction notice electronically linked back to the corrected version.

Add a footnote to the article displaying the electronic link to the correction notice.

Paginate and make available the correction notice in the online issue of the journal.

Make the correction notice free to view.

Any minor errors will not be accompanied by a separate correction notice. Instead a footnote will be added to the article detailing to the reader that the article has been corrected. Minor errors do not impact the reliability of, or the reader’s understanding of, the scholarly content.

Read our reference guide to the types of changes Taylor & Francis will correct, using a correction notice.


A retraction notice will be issued where a major error (e.g. in the analysis or methods) invalidates the conclusions in the article, or where research misconduct or publication misconduct has taken place (e.g. research without required ethical approvals, fabricated data, manipulated images, plagiarism, duplicate publication etc.). The decision to issue a retraction for an article will be made in accordance with COPE guidelines , and will involve an investigation by Taylor & Francis editorial staff in collaboration with the editor. Authors and institutions may request a retraction of their articles if their reasons meet the criteria for retraction.

The COPE retraction guidelines can be found on the COPE website .

Retraction will be considered:

If there is clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (e.g. data fabrication or image manipulation) or honest error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error).

If the findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper cross referencing, permission or justification (e.g. cases of redundant publication or duplicate publication).

If the research constitutes plagiarism .

Where there is evidence of fraudulent authorship .

Where there is evidence of compromised peer review.

If there is evidence of unethical research.

Where the decision has been taken to retract an article Taylor & Francis will:

Add a “retracted” watermark to the published Version of Record of the article.

Issue a separate retraction statement, titled ‘Retraction: [article title]’, that will be linked to the retracted article on Taylor & Francis Online.

Paginate and make available the retraction statement in the online issue of the journal.

Expressions of concern

In some cases, an Expression of Concern notice may be considered where concerns of a major nature have been raised (e.g. serious research or publication misconduct), but where the outcome of the investigation is inconclusive or where due to various complexities the investigation will not be complete for a considerable time.

When the investigation has been completed a Retraction or Correction notice may follow the Expression of Concern, and alongside the original article, all will remain part of the permanent published record.

Publication of an expression of concern notice will be considered if:

There is inconclusive evidence of research or publication misconduct by the authors, but the nature of the concerns warrant notifying the readers.

There are well-founded concerns that the findings are unreliable or that misconduct may have occurred, but there is limited cooperation from the authors’ institution(s) in investigating the concerns raised.

There is an investigation into alleged misconduct related to the publication that has not been, or would not be, fair and impartial or conclusive.

An investigation is underway, but a judgement will not be available for a considerable time and the nature of the concerns warrant notifying the readers.

The expression of concern will be linked back to the published article it relates to.

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Article removal

An article removal will be issued in rare circumstances where the problems are very serious in nature and cannot be addressed by a Retraction or Correction notice. Taylor & Francis will consider removal of a published article from Taylor & Francis journals in very limited circumstances such as:

If the article contains content that could pose a serious risk if followed or acted upon.

If the article contains content which violates the rights to privacy of a study participant.

 If the article is defamatory or infringes other legal rights.

If an article is subject to a court order.

In case of an article being removed from Taylor & Francis Online, a removal notice will be issued in its place.

Updates and scholarly discussion on published articles

An addendum is a notification of an addition of information to an article. Addenda do not contradict the original publication and are not used to fix errors (for which a Correction notice will be published), but if the author needs to update or add some key information then, this can be published as an addendum. Addenda may be peer reviewed, according to journal policy, and are normally subject to oversight by the editors of the journal.

All addenda are electronically linked to the published article to which they relate.

Comment (including response and rejoinder correspondence)

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Comments are short articles which outline an observation on a published article. In cases where a comment on a published article is submitted to the journal editor, it may be subject to peer review. The comment will be shared with the authors of the published article, who are invited to submit a response.

This author response again may be subject to peer review, and will be shared with the commentator, who may be invited to submit a rejoinder. The rejoinder may be subject to peer review and shared with the authors of the published article. No further correspondence will be considered for publication. The editor may decide to reject correspondence at any point before the comment, response and rejoinder are finalized.

All published comments, responses, and rejoinders are linked to the published article to which they relate.

Updating and retracting articles on F1000Research

On F1000Research, authors can revise, change, and update their articles by publishing new versions, which are added to the original article’s history on the platform. The versioning system is user-friendly and intuitive, with new versions (and their peer reviews) clearly linked and easily navigable from earlier versions. Authors can summarize changes in the ‘Amendments’ section at the start of a new version.

As stated in the F1000Research Article Policies , articles may be retracted from F1000Research for several reasons, including research misconduct and duplicate publication, but the retracted article will usually remain on the site. Retracted articles are not ‘unpublished’ or ‘withdrawn’ so that they can be published elsewhere; usually the reasons for the retraction are so serious that the whole study, or large parts of it, are not appropriate for inclusion in the scientific literature anywhere.

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How to Write and Publish a Research Paper in 7 Steps

What comes next after you're done with your research? Publishing the results in a journal of course! We tell you how to present your work in the best way possible.

This post is part of a series, which serves to provide hands-on information and resources for authors and editors.

Things have gotten busy in scholarly publishing: These days, a new article gets published in the 50,000 most important peer-reviewed journals every few seconds, while each one takes on average 40 minutes to read. Hundreds of thousands of papers reach the desks of editors and reviewers worldwide each year and 50% of all submissions end up rejected at some stage.

In a nutshell: there is a lot of competition, and the people who decide upon the fate of your manuscript are short on time and overworked. But there are ways to make their lives a little easier and improve your own chances of getting your work published!

Well, it may seem obvious, but before submitting an academic paper, always make sure that it is an excellent reflection of the research you have done and that you present it in the most professional way possible. Incomplete or poorly presented manuscripts can create a great deal of frustration and annoyance for editors who probably won’t even bother wasting the time of the reviewers!

This post will discuss 7 steps to the successful publication of your research paper:

1. Check Whether Your Research Is Publication-Ready

Should you publish your research at all?

If your work holds academic value – of course – a well-written scholarly article could open doors to your research community. However, if you are not yet sure, whether your research is ready for publication, here are some key questions to ask yourself depending on your field of expertise:

If the answers to all relevant questions are “yes”, you need to prepare a good, strong manuscript. Remember, a research paper is only useful if it is clearly understood, reproducible and if it is read and used .

2. Choose An Article Type

The first step is to determine which type of paper is most appropriate for your work and what you want to achieve. The following list contains the most important, usually peer-reviewed article types in the natural sciences:

Full original research papers disseminate completed research findings. On average this type of paper is 8-10 pages long, contains five figures, and 25-30 references. Full original research papers are an important part of the process when developing your career.

Review papers present a critical synthesis of a specific research topic. These papers are usually much longer than original papers and will contain numerous references. More often than not, they will be commissioned by journal editors. Reviews present an excellent way to solidify your research career.

Letters, Rapid or Short Communications are often published for the quick and early communication of significant and original advances. They are much shorter than full articles and usually limited in length by the journal. Journals specifically dedicated to short communications or letters are also published in some fields. In these the authors can present short preliminary findings before developing a full-length paper.

3. Choose a Journal

Are you looking for the right place to publish your paper? Find out here whether a De Gruyter journal might be the right fit.

Submit to journals that you already read, that you have a good feel for. If you do so, you will have a better appreciation of both its culture and the requirements of the editors and reviewers.

Other factors to consider are:

4. Construct Your Paper

Each element of a paper has its purpose, so you should make these sections easy to index and search.

Don’t forget that requirements can differ highly per publication, so always make sure to apply a journal’s specific instructions – or guide – for authors to your manuscript, even to the first draft (text layout, paper citation, nomenclature, figures and table, etc.) It will save you time, and the editor’s.

Also, even in these days of Internet-based publishing, space is still at a premium, so be as concise as possible. As a good journalist would say: “Never use three words when one will do!”

Let’s look at the typical structure of a full research paper, but bear in mind certain subject disciplines may have their own specific requirements so check the instructions for authors on the journal’s home page.

4.1 The Title

It’s important to use the title to tell the reader what your paper is all about! You want to attract their attention, a bit like a newspaper headline does. Be specific and to the point. Keep it informative and concise, and avoid jargon and abbreviations (unless they are universally recognized like DNA, for example).

4.2 The Abstract

This could be termed as the “advertisement” for your article. Make it interesting and easily understood without the reader having to read the whole article. Be accurate and specific, and keep it as brief and concise as possible. Some journals (particularly in the medical fields) will ask you to structure the abstract in distinct, labeled sections, which makes it even more accessible.

A clear abstract will influence whether or not your work is considered and whether an editor should invest more time on it or send it for review.

4.3 Keywords

Keywords are used by abstracting and indexing services, such as PubMed and Web of Science. They are the labels of your manuscript, which make it ‘searchable’ online by other researchers.

Include words or phrases (usually 4-8) that are closely related to your topic but not “too niche” for anyone to find them. Make sure to only use established abbreviations. Think about what scientific terms and its variations your potential readers are likely to use and search for. You can also do a test run of your selected keywords in one of the common academic search engines. Do similar articles to your own appear? Yes? Then that’s a good sign.

4.4 Introduction

This first part of the main text should introduce the problem, as well as any existing solutions you are aware of and the main limitations. Also, state what you hope to achieve with your research.

Do not confuse the introduction with the results, discussion or conclusion.

4.5 Methods

Every research article should include a detailed Methods section (also referred to as “Materials and Methods”) to provide the reader with enough information to be able to judge whether the study is valid and reproducible.

Include detailed information so that a knowledgeable reader can reproduce the experiment. However, use references and supplementary materials to indicate previously published procedures.

4.6 Results

In this section, you will present the essential or primary results of your study. To display them in a comprehensible way, you should use subheadings as well as illustrations such as figures, graphs, tables and photos, as appropriate.

4.7 Discussion

Here you should tell your readers what the results mean .

Do state how the results relate to the study’s aims and hypotheses and how the findings relate to those of other studies. Explain all possible interpretations of your findings and the study’s limitations.

Do not make “grand statements” that are not supported by the data. Also, do not introduce any new results or terms. Moreover, do not ignore work that conflicts or disagrees with your findings. Instead …

Be brave! Address conflicting study results and convince the reader you are the one who is correct.

4.8 Conclusion

Your conclusion isn’t just a summary of what you’ve already written. It should take your paper one step further and answer any unresolved questions.

Sum up what you have shown in your study and indicate possible applications and extensions. The main question your conclusion should answer is: What do my results mean for the research field and my community?

4.9 Acknowledgments and Ethical Statements

It is extremely important to acknowledge anyone who has helped you with your paper, including researchers who supplied materials or reagents (e.g. vectors or antibodies); and anyone who helped with the writing or English, or offered critical comments about the content.

Learn more about academic integrity in our blog post “Scholarly Publication Ethics: 4 Common Mistakes You Want To Avoid” .

Remember to state why people have been acknowledged and ask their permission . Ensure that you acknowledge sources of funding, including any grant or reference numbers.

Furthermore, if you have worked with animals or humans, you need to include information about the ethical approval of your study and, if applicable, whether informed consent was given. Also, state whether you have any competing interests regarding the study (e.g. because of financial or personal relationships.)

4.10 References

The end is in sight, but don’t relax just yet!

De facto, there are often more mistakes in the references than in any other part of the manuscript. It is also one of the most annoying and time-consuming problems for editors.

Remember to cite the main scientific publications on which your work is based. But do not inflate the manuscript with too many references. Avoid excessive – and especially unnecessary – self-citations. Also, avoid excessive citations of publications from the same institute or region.

5. Decide the Order of Authors

In the sciences, the most common way to order the names of the authors is by relative contribution.

Generally, the first author conducts and/or supervises the data analysis and the proper presentation and interpretation of the results. They put the paper together and usually submit the paper to the journal.

Co-authors make intellectual contributions to the data analysis and contribute to data interpretation. They review each paper draft. All of them must be able to present the paper and its results, as well as to defend the implications and discuss study limitations.

Do not leave out authors who should be included or add “gift authors”, i.e. authors who did not contribute significantly.

6. Check and Double-Check

As a final step before submission, ask colleagues to read your work and be constructively critical .

Make sure that the paper is appropriate for the journal – take a last look at their aims and scope. Check if all of the requirements in the instructions for authors are met.

Ensure that the cited literature is balanced. Are the aims, purpose and significance of the results clear?

Conduct a final check for language, either by a native English speaker or an editing service.

7. Submit Your Paper

When you and your co-authors have double-, triple-, quadruple-checked the manuscript: submit it via e-mail or online submission system. Along with your manuscript, submit a cover letter, which highlights the reasons why your paper would appeal to the journal and which ensures that you have received approval of all authors for submission.

It is up to the editors and the peer-reviewers now to provide you with their (ideally constructive and helpful) comments and feedback. Time to take a breather!

If the paper gets rejected, do not despair – it happens to literally everybody. If the journal suggests major or minor revisions, take the chance to provide a thorough response and make improvements as you see fit. If the paper gets accepted, congrats!

It’s now time to get writing and share your hard work – good luck!

If you are interested, check out this related blog post

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[Title Image by Nick Morrison via Unsplash]

David Sleeman

David Sleeman works as Senior Journals Manager in the field of Physical Sciences at De Gruyter.

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Your Career

Life after acceptance: what to do when your paper is published

Looking at how you can ensure that your article doesn’t fade into the background after publication

Life after acceptance image

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.

– Maria Skłodowska-Curie

Congratulations! You’re published. The many months (or was it even years?) of hard work have finally given you the result you were hoping for: a shiny new article in a high-standing academic journal. Time to reach for the champagne, kick off your shoes and reflect on a job well done, no?

Alas the job is far from over. It’s fantastic that you have got published (and well done!), but unfortunately your article is just one of over 2.5 million that have taken their place on the shelves of academic literature this year. It’s all too easy to get lost in such a vast crowd and lose any chance of meaningful impact. If you really want to reap the benefits from your publication, there are still things that require your attention.

When it comes to life after acceptance, you can approach the various aspects of what you need to do by means of the following moniker: own it; share it; track it !

When it comes to the area you’ve been researching, you want your name to be synonymous with that topic. You also want there to be no ambiguity about who you are (which is especially important if you happen to share a common name with several other researchers). ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) assigns a unique identifier to your individual research output and thus means that your work can’t be confused with someone else’s . If you haven’t already therefore, make sure that you get an ORCID ID!

You want as broad a range of people as possible to identify and engage with your work . Unfortunately, unless you’re working on an issue that’s particularly in the public eye – and doing so in way that makes your research highly visible and accessible – you should consider writing a research statement and / or a lay summary . These devices are intended to broaden the understanding of what it is you’re doing and what you’ve achieved. Breaking down technical/language barriers is also a powerful and effective way of creating more public engagement with your work.

There is no better way of making sure your research gets the impact it deserves than by sharing broadly and widely . Different publishers and journals vary in their approach to the topic of sharing, but luckily there is a fantastic tool for those of you who are struggling to work out what’s possible: .

Here at Elsevier we make sharing easy by giving you and your co-authors a ShareLink. ShareLinks are personal, customized short links that provide 50 days’ free access to your newly-published article on ScienceDirect to anyone clicking on the link. Make sure you get the most out of ShareLinks and the many other sharing options on social media, in press releases and wherever else you can.

After you’ve spent all this time and effort in publishing and promoting your paper, it only makes sense to keep a good eye on it and analyze the reactions to it. With article-level metrics , you can, for example, see who is talking about your paper online and what they’re saying about it.

As a published author, Mendeley Stats provides you with a unique, connected view of how your published articles are performing in terms of citations, online usage in an Elsevier publication and Mendeley sharing activity. Mendeley Stats is an Elsevier service for authors , but is not limited to Elsevier publications. Based on Scopus, it also provides you with citation information for articles published with other publishers. You’ll get a monthly update which shows new activity on your publications and the Stats dashboard gives you terrific insight into how your papers are performing and how they compare to other publications in the field.

Using a tool like Mendeley Stats also gives you a good indication of potential new contact opportunities. Is there someone who’s regularly adding your new papers to their Mendeley library? Or sharing them with their own community? Or publishing in a similar area? Maybe that’s someone with whom you should consider networking and engaging for your next project …

There are many options here (and more besides – see our resources on getting noticed and ensuring visibility to read more) for ensuring that your article doesn’t simply fade into the vast backdrop of all those millions of other articles. It may be that not all are appropriate for your own particular context. That doesn’t necessarily matter – what’s important is that you at least consider these options and leverage them wherever appropriate. When you’ve done so, you can indeed rest, relax and reward yourself for your efforts… Until the next article, that is!

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How to Publish a Research Paper

Last Updated: September 30, 2022 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Matthew Snipp, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Christopher M. Osborne, PhD . C. Matthew Snipp is the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University. He is also the Director for the Institute for Research in the Social Science’s Secure Data Center. He has been a Research Fellow at the U.S. Bureau of the Census and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has published 3 books and over 70 articles and book chapters on demography, economic development, poverty and unemployment. He is also currently serving on the National Institute of Child Health and Development’s Population Science Subcommittee. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 30 testimonials and 92% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 660,646 times.

Publishing a research paper in a peer-reviewed journal is an important activity within the academic community. It allows you to network with other scholars, get your name and work into circulation, and further refine your ideas and research. Getting published isn’t easy, but you can improve your odds by submitting a technically sound and creative yet straightforward piece of research. It’s also vital to find a suitable academic journal for your topic and writing style, so you can tailor your research paper to it and increase your chances of publication and wider recognition.

Submitting (and Resubmitting) Your Paper

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Matthew Snipp, PhD

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Choosing the Right Journal for Submission

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Strengthening Your Submission

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Research Paper Help

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About This Article

Matthew Snipp, PhD

To publish a research paper, ask a colleague or professor to review your paper and give you feedback. Once you've revised your work, familiarize yourself with different academic journals so that you can choose the publication that best suits your paper. Make sure to look at the "Author's Guide" so you can format your paper according to the guidelines for that publication. Then, submit your paper and don't get discouraged if it is not accepted right away. You may need to revise your paper and try again. To learn about the different responses you might get from journals, see our reviewer's explanation below. Did this summary help you? Yes No

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All manuscripts submitted to a Collection are assessed according to the standard Scientific Reports editorial criteria and are subject to all standard journal policies . If accepted for publication, an article processing charge applies (with standard waiver policy ).

All Collections are open for submissions from all authors – and not by invitation only – on the condition that the manuscripts fall within the scope of the Collection and of Scientific Reports more generally.

Manuscripts submitted to an open Guest Edited Collection may be considered unsuitable for inclusion, particularly if they fall outside the scope of the Collection. In such cases, the authors will be notified by the editorial office and their manuscript can be considered as a regular Scientific Reports submission.

Collection Guest Editors are members of the Scientific Reports Editorial Board . Collections provide Guest Editors with the opportunity to be more actively involved in the journal’s development and to help Scientific Reports to better serve their communities. Collection Guest Editors are involved in soliciting papers, and in writing an introductory Editorial. In addition, they may manage some or all of the submissions to the Collection through the peer review process, as long as Scientific Reports’ standard competing interests conditions are met.

Scientific Reports’ in-house editors reserve the right to assume responsibility for the management of a Collection at any stage.

Scientific Reports follows the Nature Portfolio authorship policies. Read these policies in full here .

Being an author

Authorship provides credit for a researcher’s contributions to a study and carries accountability. Authors are expected to fulfil the criteria below (adapted from McNutt et al ., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Feb 2018, 201715374; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1715374115; licensed under CC BY 4.0 ):

Each author is expected to have made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data; or the creation of new software used in the work; or have drafted the work or substantively revised it

AND to have approved the submitted version (and any substantially modified version that involves the author's contribution to the study);

AND to have agreed both to be personally accountable for the author's own contributions and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work, even ones in which the author was not personally involved, are appropriately investigated, resolved, and the resolution documented in the literature.

Scientific Reports encourages collaboration with colleagues in the locations where the research is conducted, and expect their inclusion as co-authors when they fulfill all authorship criteria described above. Contributors who do not meet all criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgements section. We urge researchers to carefully consider researcher contributions and authorship criteria when involved in multi-region collaborations involving local researchers so as to promote greater equity in research collaborations.   

We encourage researchers to follow the recommendations set out in the Global Code of Conduct for Research in Resource-Poor Settings when designing, executing and reporting their research and to provide a disclosure statement in their manuscript that covers the aspects listed below (drawn from the Global Code of Conduct). Editors may at their discretion ask authors to provide a disclosure statement taking these questions into account; the disclosure can be requested during peer review, shared with reviewers and published in the final paper as an “Ethics & Inclusion statement” in the Methods section. For more information about this policy, read here .

Scientific Reports does not require all authors of a research paper to sign the cover letter upon submission, nor do they impose an order on the list of authors. Submission to Scientific Reports is taken by the publication to mean that all the listed authors have agreed to all of the contents. The corresponding (submitting) author is responsible for having ensured that this agreement has been reached, and for managing all communication between the publication and all co-authors, before and after publication.

Responsibilities of senior team members on multi-group collaborations

Scientific Reports assumes that at least one member of each collaboration, usually the most senior member of each submitting group or team, has accepted responsibility for the contributions to the manuscript from that team. This responsibility includes, but is not limited to: (1) ensuring that original data upon which the submission is based is preserved and retrievable for reanalysis; (2) approving data presentation as representative of the original data; and (3) foreseeing and minimizing obstacles to the sharing of data, materials, s or reagents described in the work.

A collective of authors can be listed as a consortium. If necessary, individual authors can be listed in both the main author list and as a member of a consortium. All authors within a consortium must be listed in the article. The consortium name ONLY – not the names of each consortium member – should be included in the main author list in the manuscript (when submitting a manuscript, the consortium name should also be entered as an author in the online submission system, together with the contact details of a nominated consortia representative). In a separate section at the end of the manuscript (after the ‘References’ section) under the heading ‘Consortium’, the names of each consortium member should be listed. Any affiliation present in both the main author list and the consortium should retain the affiliation numbering from the main author list; additional affiliations (i.e., those only appearing within the consortium) should be listed sequentially with the numbering following on from the end of the main list. If it is necessary to include a list of consortium members that did not directly contribute to the paper, this list can be placed in the Supplementary Information and can be referred to in the Acknowledgements, but should not be in the main author list.

Author contributions statements

Authors are required to include a statement of responsibility in the manuscript that specifies the contribution of every author. The level of detail varies; some disciplines produce manuscripts that comprise discrete efforts readily articulated in detail, whereas other fields operate as group efforts at all stages. Scientific Reports allows authors to designate one group of equally contributing authors and one group of joint supervisors. Other equal contributions are best described in author contributions statements. Corresponding authors have specific responsibilities (described below).

For example, "AB and CD wrote the main manuscript text and EF prepared figures 1–3. All authors reviewed the manuscript."

Author name change

An author who has changed their name for reasons such as gender transition or religious conversion may request for their name, pronouns and other relevant biographical information to be corrected on papers published prior to the change. The author can choose for this correction to happen silently, in which case there will be no note flagging the change on either the pdf or the html of the paper, or alternatively they may do so by a formal public Author Correction.

Corresponding author – prepublication responsibilities

The corresponding (submitting) author is solely responsible for communicating with Scientific Reports and for managing communication between co-authors. Before submission, the corresponding author ensures that all authors are included in the author list, its order has been agreed by all authors, and that all authors are aware that the paper was submitted.

After acceptance, the proof is sent to the corresponding author, who deals with Scientific Reports on the behalf of all co-authors; Scientific Reports will not necessarily correct errors after publication if they result from errors that were present on a proof that was not shown to co-authors before publication. The corresponding author is responsible for the accuracy of all content in the proof, in particular that names of co-authors are present and correctly spelt, and that addresses and affiliations are current.

Corresponding author – responsibilities after publication

Scientific Reports regards the corresponding author as the point of contact for queries about the published paper. It is this author's responsibility to inform all co-authors of matters arising and to ensure such matters are dealt with promptly. This author does not have to be the senior author of the paper or the author who actually supplies materials; this author's role is to ensure enquiries are answered promptly on behalf of all the co-authors. The name and email address of this author (on large collaborations there may be two) is published in the paper.

Correcting the record

Authors of published material have a responsibility to inform Scientific Reports promptly if they become aware of any part that requires correcting.

A confidential process

Scientific Reports treats the submitted manuscript and all communication with authors and referees as confidential. Authors must also treat communication with Scientific Reports as confidential: correspondence with Scientific Reports , referee reports and other confidential material must not be posted on any website or otherwise publicized without prior permission from the Scientific Reports publishing team, regardless of whether or not the submission is eventually published. Our policies about posting preprints and postprints, and about previous communication of the work at conferences or as part of a personal blog or of an academic thesis, are described in the Confidentiality section .

Referee suggestions

Authors may suggest potential reviewers but please keep in mind that we are not obliged to follow these recommendations. You may also name a limited number of scientists who should not review your paper (up to 3 named individuals or laboratories); these exclusions will be honoured. The decision of the Editorial Board Member on the choice of referees is final.

Nature Portfolio journals support study pre-registration and appreciate the value of replicating previous findings. Learn more about Nature Portfolio’s policies on these topics .

License agreement and author copyright

Scientific Reports does not require authors to assign copyright of their published original research papers to the journal. Articles are published under a CC BY license (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License). The CC BY license allows for maximum dissemination and re-use of open access materials and is preferred by many research funding bodies. Under this license, users are free to share (copy, distribute and transmit) and remix (adapt) the contribution including for commercial purposes, providing they attribute the contribution in the manner specified by the author or licensor ( read full legal code ).

Visit our open research site for more information about Creative Commons licensing .

Embargo policy and press releases

Communication with the media.

Material submitted to Scientific Reports should not be discussed with the media, except in the case of accepted contributions, which can be discussed with the media once an embargo date has been set.

Papers that are deemed especially newsworthy may be press released, to a registered list, by our press office. Journalists are encouraged to read the full version of any papers they wish to cover and are given the names and contact information of corresponding authors. Authors may, therefore, receive calls or emails from the media during this time; we encourage them to cooperate with journalists so that media coverage of their work is accurate and balanced. Authors whose papers are scheduled for publication may also arrange their own publicity (for instance through their institutional press offices), but they must adhere to our media embargo and are advised to coordinate their own publicity with our press office .

The media embargo serves scientists, authors, journalists and the public. Our policy is to release information about our content in a way that provides fair and equal access to the media, allowing it to provide informed comment based on the complete and final version of the paper that is to be published. Authors and their institutions' press offices are able then to interact with the media ahead of publication and benefit from the subsequent coverage.

Communication between scientists

Scientific Reports does not wish to hinder communication between scientists. For that reason, different embargo guidelines apply to work that has been discussed at a conference or displayed on a preprint server and picked up by the media as a result. (Neither conference presentations nor posting on recognized preprint servers constitute prior publication.)

Our guidelines for authors and potential authors in such circumstances are clear-cut in principle: communicate with other researchers as much as you wish, whether on a recognised community preprint server, by discussion at scientific meetings (publication of abstracts in conference proceedings is allowed), in an academic thesis, or by online collaborative sites such as wikis; but do not encourage premature publication by discussion with the press (beyond a formal presentation, if at a conference).

This advice may jar with those (including most researchers and all journalists) who see the freedom of information as a good thing, but it embodies a longer-term view: that publication in a peer-reviewed journal is the appropriate culmination of any piece of original research, and an essential prerequisite for public discussion.

If further clarification is required, please contact the press office by email .

Research articles must cite appropriate and relevant literature in support of the claims made. Excessive self-citation, coordinated efforts among several authors to collectively self-cite, gratuitous and unnecessay citation of articles published in the journal to which the paper has been submitted, and any other form of ciation manipulation are inappropriate.

Citation manipulation will result in the article being rejected, and may be reported to authors' institutions. Similarly, any attempts by peer-reviewers or editors to encourage such practices should be reported to the publisher.

Authors should consider the following guidelines when preparing their manuscript:

Use of experimental animals, and human participants

For articles in Scientific Reports reporting experiments on live vertebrates and/or higher invertebrates, the methods section must include a statement: (i) identifying the institutional and/or licensing committee approving the experiments, including any relevant details; (ii) confirming that all experiments were performed in accordance with relevant guidelines and regulations.

We also ask for studies involving live animals to be reported as described by the ARRIVE guidelines (PLoS Bio 8(6), e1000412,2010​). Articles that include ​studies involving animals should include a specific statement that the reporting in the manuscript follows the recommendations in the ARRIVE guidelines.

Manuscripts presenting studies that have employed anesthesia or euthanasia methods inconsistent with the commonly accepted norms of veterinary best practice (e.g. chloral hydrate, ether, and chloroform) will not be considered. We recommend consulting the ​American Veterinary Medical Association​ (AVMA) Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals (2020)​, as a comprehensive resource for guidance on veterinary best practice for the anaesthesia and euthanasia of animals.

For research involving human participants, authors must identify the committee that approved the research, confirm that all research was performed in accordance with relevant guidelines/regulations, and include in their manuscript a statement confirming that informed consent was obtained from all participants and/or their legal guardians. Research involving human research participants must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki . For articles describing human transplantation studies, extra information must be provided (see below).

Identifying information

Human participants' names and other  HIPAA identifiers  must be removed from all sections of the manuscript, including supplementary information. Written informed consent must be obtained for the publication of any other information that could lead to the identification of a participant (e.g. clinical images and videos). A statement confirming that informed consent to publish identifying information/images was obtained must be included in the methods section. Identifying images/video/details which authors do not have specific permission to use must be removed from the manuscript. Please note that the use of coloured bars/shapes to obscure the eyes/facial region of study participants is NOT an acceptable means of anonymisation.

Human transplantation studies

Scientific Reports  will not process manuscripts describing research that involves organs/tissues procured from prisoners. In addition to the requirements described above, authors of manuscripts describing human transplantation research must include a statement in their manuscript attesting that no organs/tissues were procured from prisoners. Authors must also provide details of the institution(s)/clinic(s)/department(s) via which all organs/tissues were procured while taking care to not violate the privacy of donors (see 'Identifying information' above). 

Scientific Reports may request documentation related to informed consent, ethics approval and donor organ/tissue source, including approved translations when original documents are in a language other than English. Failure to provide verifiable documentation may result in withdrawal of a manuscript.

Studies involving vulnerable groups

For manuscripts reporting studies involving vulnerable groups where there is the potential for coercion or where consent may not have been fully informed, extra care will be taken by the editor. The manuscript may be referred to an internal editorial oversight group for further scrutiny. Consent must be obtained for all forms of personally identifiable data including biomedical, clinical, and biometric data. Documentary evidence of consent must be supplied if requested.

Sex and Gender in Research

We encourage our authors to follow the ‘ Sex and Gender Equity in Research – SAGER – guidelines ’ and to include sex and gender considerations where relevant. Authors should use the terms sex (biological attribute) and gender (shaped by social and cultural circumstances) carefully in order to avoid confusing both terms. These guidelines apply to studies involving humans, vertebrate animal and cell lines.

Scientific Reports will consider manuscripts reporting results from well-conducted clinical trials.

We require all clinical trials to be registered in a suitable publicly available registry, such as those listed on the ICMJE website or any of the primary registries that participate in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, including the ISRCTN registry, which is administered and published by BMC. We use the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of a clinical trial.

Clinical trial registration numbers and date of registration should be included, as the final line of the abstract, in all relevant manuscripts. These details will be published with the manuscript.

Manuscripts reporting results of a clinical trial must conform to CONSORT 2010 guidelines. Authors of randomized controlled trials should submit a completed CONSORT checklist, available at .

Manuscripts reporting clinical trials should be submitted with their protocols as a separate document.

Articles reporting meta-analyses must be accompanied by a completed PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) checklist and flow diagram, available at .

Scientific Reports is committed to evidence-based research. We believe that Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) research should be held to the same standards and evidence threshold as those of medical research.

We welcome manuscripts for submission which meet the following clinical research standards.

Clinical research manuscripts that comply with international and national standards for such work (such as the Declaration of Helsinki or relevant Governmental regulation e.g. the UK’s The Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations).

Studies which are adequately controlled (be that compared to a placebo or conventional medicine), blinded (where appropriate), randomised and of sufficient statistical power to confidentially and accurately interpret the effect reported.  Studies reporting a CAM treatment/technique compared only to another CAM treatment/technique are not sufficient to test the efficacy of the CAM treatment in question. Studies in which conventional treatment is supplemented with a CAM technique are only valid if compared to the same conventional treatment supplemented with a placebo.

CAM treatments/techniques tested on animal models and/or human patients: It is unethical for such work, on humans or animals, to have taken place without adequate prior evidence that the treatment/technique shows some potential of being therapeutic.  Manuscripts must include evidence that takes the form of objective, measurable data from previously published peer-reviewed literature which adheres to scientific principles (for instance in vitro or cellular work). Other forms of evidence are not valid. Manuscripts describing work lacking this evidence will not be considered on ethical grounds.

Experimental research and field studies on plants (either cultivated or wild), including the collection of plant material, must comply with relevant institutional, national, and international guidelines and legislation.

Manuscripts should include a statement specifying the appropriate permissions and/or licences for collection of plant or seed specimens. We recommend that authors comply with the IUCN Policy Statement on Research Involving Species at Risk of Extinction and the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora .

To support reproducibility, voucher specimens for all wild plants described in a manuscript must be deposited in a public herbarium or other public collection that provides access to deposited material. Information on the voucher specimen and who identified it must be included in the manuscript.

Competing interests policy

In the interests of transparency and to help readers to form their own judgements of potential bias, authors must declare any competing financial and/or non-financial interests in relation to the work described.

Definition of a competing interest

For the purposes of this policy, competing interests are defined as financial and non-financial interests that could directly undermine, or be perceived to undermine, the objectivity, integrity and value of a publication, through a potential influence on the judgements and actions of authors with regard to objective data presentation, analysis and interpretation.

Financial competing interests include any of the following:

Funding: Research support (including salaries, equipment, supplies, and other expenses) by organizations that may gain or lose financially through this publication. A specific role for the funder in the conceptualization, design, data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript, should be disclosed.

Employment: Recent (while engaged in the research project), present or anticipated employment by any organization that may gain or lose financially through this publication.

Personal financial interests: Stocks or shares in companies that may gain or lose financially through publication; consultation fees or other forms of remuneration (including reimbursements for attending symposia) from organizations that may gain or lose financially; patents or patent applications (awarded or pending) filed by the authors or their institutions whose value may be affected by publication. For patents and patent applications, disclosure of the following information is requested: patent applicant (whether author or institution), name of inventor(s), application number, status of application, specific aspect of manuscript covered in patent application.

It is difficult to specify a threshold at which a financial interest becomes significant, but note that many US universities require faculty members to disclose interests exceeding $10,000 or 5% equity in a company (see, for example, B. Lo et al. New Engl. J. Med. 343, 1616-1620; 2000). Any such figure is necessarily arbitrary, so we offer as one possible practical alternative guideline: "Any undeclared competing financial interests that could embarrass you were they to become publicly known after your work was published."

We do not consider diversified mutual funds or investment trusts to constitute a competing financial interest.

Non-financial competing interests:

Non-financial competing interests can take different forms, including personal or professional relations with organizations and individuals. We would encourage authors and referees to declare any unpaid roles or relationships that might have a bearing on the publication process. Examples of non-financial competing interests include (but are not limited to):

Competing interests statement format guidelines

The statement included in the article file must be explicit and unambiguous, describing any potential competing interest (or lack thereof) for EACH contributing author.

Examples of declarations are:

Competing interests The author(s) declare no competing interests.

Competing interests Dr X's work has been funded by A. He has received compensation as a member of the scientific advisory board of B and owns stock in the company. He also has consulted for C and received compensation. Dr Y and Dr Z declare no potential conflict of interest.

Application to authors

The corresponding author is responsible for submitting a competing interests statement on behalf of all authors of the paper. This statement must be included in the submitted article file, following the 'Author Contributions' section in 'Additional Information', under the heading 'Competing interests'. The corresponding author will also be required to indicate the existence of a competing interest within the submission system.

We recognize that some authors may be bound by confidentiality agreements. In such cases, the publishing team will investigate further and may at their discretion invite the authors to state in the online version, in place of itemized disclosure: "The authors declare that they are bound by confidentiality agreements that prevent them from disclosing their financial interests in this work."

We do not require authors to state the monetary value of their financial interests.

Application to peer-reviewers

Scientific Reports invites peer-reviewers to exclude themselves in cases where there is a significant conflict of interest, financial or otherwise. However, just as financial interests need not invalidate the conclusions of an article, nor do they automatically disqualify an individual from evaluating it. We ask peer-reviewers to inform the editors of any related interests, including financial interests as defined above, that might be perceived as relevant. Editors will consider these statements when weighing peer-reviewers' recommendations.

Application to Editorial Board Members

Scientific Reports’ Editorial Board Members are required to declare any competing interests and may be excluded from the peer review process if a competing interest exists.

In addition, they should exclude themselves from handling manuscripts in cases where there is a competing interest. This may include – but is not limited to – having previously published with one or more of the authors, and sharing the same institution as one or more of the authors.

Where an Editorial Board Member is on the author list they must declare this in the competing interests section on the submitted manuscript. If they are an author or have any other competing interest regarding a specific manuscript, another editor will be assigned to assume responsibility for overseeing peer review. These submissions are subject to the exact same review process as any other manuscript.

Editorial Board Members are welcome to submit papers to the journal. These submissions are not given any priority over other manuscripts, and Editorial Board Member status has no bearing on editorial consideration.

Application to editors

All Nature Portfolio journal editorial staff are required to declare to their employer any interests — financial or otherwise — that might influence, or be perceived to influence, their editorial practices. Failure to do so is a disciplinary offence. Springer Nature has a strict policy of editorial independence in individual acceptance decisions and editorial standards of quality and significance should never be compromised. While some editors are financially incentivised to achieve journal growth, we are clear in our internal policies and individuals’ contracts or formal objectives that this should be achieved by ensuring submissions of sufficient quality and never by compromising editorial standards.

Scientific Reports follows the Nature Portfolio policies for the sharing of research materials. Read these policies in full here .

Supporting data must be made available to Editorial Board Members and referees at the time of submission for the purposes of evaluating the manuscript. Referees may be asked to comment on the terms of access to materials, methods and/or data sets; Scientific Reports reserves the right to refuse publication in cases where authors do not provide adequate assurances that they can comply with the publication's requirements for sharing materials.

Scientific Reports follows a Research Data Policy Type 3 . A submission to the journal implies that materials described in the manuscript, including all relevant raw data, will be freely available to any researcher wishing to use them for non-commercial purposes, without breaching participant confidentiality. The journal strongly encourages that all datasets on which the conclusions of the paper rely should be available to readers. We encourage authors to ensure that their datasets are either deposited in publicly available repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main manuscript or additional supporting files whenever possible.

All original articles must include a Data availability statement. Data availability statements should include information on where data supporting the results reported in the article can be found including, where applicable, hyperlinks to publicly archived datasets analysed or generated during the study. By data we mean the minimal dataset that would be necessary to interpret, replicate and build upon the findings reported in the article. We recognise it is not always possible to share research data publicly, for instance when individual privacy could be compromised, and in such instances data availability should still be stated in the manuscript along with any conditions for access.

After publication, readers who encounter refusal by the authors to comply with these policies should contact the Scientific Reports publishing team . In cases where we are unable to resolve a complaint, the matter may be referred to the authors' funding institution and/or a formal statement of correction may be published, attached online to the publication, stating that readers have been unable to obtain necessary materials to replicate the findings.

Details about how to share some specific materials, data and methods can be found in the sections below. The preferred way to share large datasets is via public repositories. Some of these repositories offer authors the option to host data associated with a manuscript confidentially and provide anonymous access to referees before public release. These repositories coordinate the public release of the data with the journal's publication date. This option should be used when possible, but it is the authors' responsibility to communicate with the repository to ensure that public release is made promptly on the publication date. Any supporting datasets for which there is no public repository must be made available as Supplementary Information files that will be freely accessible on upon publication. In cases where it is technically impossible for such files to be provided to the journal, the authors must make the data available to Editorial Board Members and referees at submission, and directly upon request to any reader on and after the publication date, the authors providing a URL or other unique identifier in the manuscript.

Support for research data sharing

The statement must be provided as a separate section (titled 'Data Availability') at the end of the main text, before the 'References' section. Data availability statements must include, where applicable, accession codes, other unique identifiers and associated web links for publicly available datasets, and any conditions for access of non-publicly available datasets. Where figure source data are provided, statements confirming this should be included in data availability statements. Depending on the data described in the manuscript, data availability statements commonly take one of the following forms, or can be a composite of the statements below:

• The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available in the [NAME] repository, [PERSISTENT WEB LINK TO DATASETS].

• The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

• All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article (and its Supplementary Information files).

• The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due to [REASON(S) WHY DATA ARE NOT PUBLIC] but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

• No datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.

• The data that support the findings of this study are available from [THIRD PARTY NAME] but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study, and so are not publicly available. Data are however available from the authors upon reasonable request and with permission of [THIRD PARTY NAME].

Sharing datasets

A condition of publication in Scientific Reports is that authors make materials, data and associated protocols promptly available to others without preconditions.

Datasets must be made freely available to readers from the date of publication and must be provided to Editorial Board Members and referees at submission, for the purposes of evaluating the manuscript.

In the data availability statement, information about access to primary datasets (generated during the study) and referenced datasets (datasets analyzed in the study) must be provided. Where data are publicly available, accession codes or other unique identifiers if relevant must be provided.

For the following types of dataset, data availability statements should include information where relevant on the following aspects.

Clinical trial data

Data availability statements for manuscripts reporting clinical trial data should follow the standards set out in the ICMJE recommendations on  clinical trial data sharing  and provide the following information:

Data availability subject to controlled access

The data availability statement should include the following information: reasons for controlled access (e.g., privacy, ethical/legal issues), conditions of access must be described precisely including contact details for access requests, timeframe for response to requests, restrictions imposed on data use via data use agreements. A copy or link to the data use agreement should be provided if requested by editors. Restrictions on controlled access datasets including restrictions on downstream data reuse or authorship requirements must be clearly described in manuscript and to editors at the time of submission. Editors may decline further consideration of the manuscript after evaluation if restrictions are found to be unduly prohibitive.

Third party data

When data obtained from third parties cannot be made available, the restrictions should be clearly stated in the data availability statement. Authors must make data available for purposes of peer review, if requested by reviewers, within the terms of a data use agreement and if compliant with ethical and legal requirements.

Proprietary data: Authors are responsible for ensuring and obtaining agreement with the third party data provider that dataset(s) used in the study will be available under conditions specified in the data availability statement (including whether the dataset will be available for a fee) so as to ensure post-publication availability for replication and verification purposes. Availability for this purpose must be clearly stated in the data availability statement.

Administrative data (including data held by governments, local authorities and international organizations): Social science and other studies using administrative data must ensure that the data are used in compliance with local regulatory and legal frameworks that govern data use.

Identity of third party provider: the identity of the third party data provider must be made known to the editors at time of submission and peer review. We expect that the data availability statement will state the identity of the third party data source; exceptions may be made for studies where the identity of the data provider is not relevant to the study and/or public release pose a reputational or commercial risk to the data provider. See published examples here and here .

Researchers should provide information in the manuscript on their data collection methods sufficient to support peer review. If data processing steps were performed by the third-party, out of the control of the authors, this should be clearly stated in the methods.  Editors reserve the right to decline consideration if a manuscript fails to provide sufficient information regarding data collection approach. 

Mandates for specific datasets

For the following types of dataset, submission to a community-endorsed, public repository is mandatory . Accession numbers must be provided in the paper. Examples of appropriate public repositories are listed below and here .

DNA, RNA and protein sequences

Protein sequences: UniProt

DNA and RNA sequences: Genbank / European Nucleotide Archive (ENA)/ DNA DataBank of Japan  (DDBJ), Protein DataBank , UniProt .

DNA and RNA sequencing data (traces for capillary electrophoresis and short reads for next-generation sequencing): NCBI trace and short-read archive , ENA's Sequence Read Archive .

Genetic polymorphisms: dbSNP , dbVar , European Variation Archive (EVA).

Linked genotype and phenotype data: dbGAP , European Genome-Phenome Archive (EGA). 

Data for human subjects should be submitted to a public repository with appropriate access control (see above). Any restrictions on data access for sensitive data (e.g. electronic medical records, forensic data, and personal data from vulnerable populations) require an explanation of the nature of and reasons for the restrictions, and details of the conditions under which the data can be accessed or reused.

Deep sequencing data: deposit in Gene Expression Omnibus  (GEO) or ArrayExpress upon submission to the journal. Accession numbers must be provided in the published manuscript.

This policy includes even short stretches of novel sequence information such as epitopes, functional domains, genetic markers, or haplotypes. Short novel sequences must include surrounding sequence information to provide context.

The sequences of all RNAi, antisense and morpholino probes must be included in the paper or deposited in a public database, with the accession number quoted. When an unpublished library is included in the paper, at minimum the sequences of the probes central to the conclusions of the paper must be presented.

Macromolecular structures

Authors of papers describing structures of biological macromolecules must provide an official validation report from the Worldwide Protein Data Bank ( wwPDB ). Atomic coordinates and related experimental data (structure factor amplitudes/intensities for crystal structures, or restraints for NMR structures) must be provided when requested by Editorial Board Members for the purposes of evaluating the manuscript, if they are not already freely accessible in a publicly available and recognized database (e.g. Protein DataBank , UniProt , Nucleic Acid Database or Biological Magnetic Resonance Data Bank ). Electron microscopy-derived density maps and coordinate data must be deposited in the Electron Microscopy Data Bank ( EMDB ). Accessibility in repositories must be designated 'for immediate release on publication'.

Microarray data

MIAME-compliant microarray data: deposit in GEO or ArrayExpress upon submission to Scientific Reports .

Data must be MIAME-compliant, as described at the FGED website specifying microarray standards.

Crystallographic data for small molecules

Manuscripts reporting new three-dimensional structures of small molecules from crystallographic analysis should include a .cif file and a structural figure with probability ellipsoids for publication as Supplementary Information. These files must have been checked using the IUCR's CheckCIF routine , and a PDF copy of the output must be included at submission, together with a justification for any alerts reported. Crystallographic data for small molecules should be submitted to the Cambridge Structural Database and the deposition number referenced appropriately in the manuscript. Full access must be provided on publication.

Proteomics data

For proteomics data: PRIDE , PeptideAtlas , Tranche

Authors reporting results generated using the technique of mass spectrometry-based proteomics should deposit the raw MS/MS data supporting the conclusions in their paper in a public repository.

Recommendations for other datasets

In addition to these mandates, the preferred way to share any data sets is via public repositories. A list of approved and recommended data repositories, organized by discipline, is maintained here . Please consult this list to identify an appropriate repository for your data sets.

When repositories do not exist for a particular data type, authors can deposit and share data via  figshare  or  Dryad , two general-purpose scientific data repositories.

Sharing biological materials

A condition of publication in  Scientific Reports  is that authors are required to make materials, data and associated protocols promptly available to others without preconditions.

For materials such as mutant strains and cell lines,  Scientific Reports  require authors to use established public repositories when one exists (for example,  Jackson Laboratory , the  European Mouse Mutant Archive  (EMMA), the  European Conditional Mouse Mutagenesis Program  (EUCOMM), the  Knockout Mouse Project  (KOMP),  Addgene ,  RIKEN Bioresource Centre , the  Mutant Mouse Regional Resource Centers ,  American Type Culture Collection  (Americas),  American Type Culture Collection  (Asia/Europe),  UK Stem Cell Bank ), and provide accession numbers in the manuscript.

The distribution of human cell lines used in research should not be hindered by restrictions from donors. Researchers developing cell lines must investigate and disclose any restrictions associated with the human or other tissue they are using, particularly if someone else collected the samples, if the samples come from multiple clinical sources or if they come from several legal jurisdictions. If a scientist needs to create cell lines that might be used for as-yet-unforeseen purposes, only tissue with no restrictions should be used. Authors of papers that involve consent forms must, at the time of submitting the manuscript, make  Scientific Reports  aware of any limits that result from those forms.

Flow cytometry

Every manuscript that contains flow cytometry experiments should identify in the methods section all antibody reagents by clone identifier, vendor and fluorochrome. Authors should identify the instrument and software used to collect and analyse experimental data. Axes labels for plots or graphs depicting flow cytometry data should state the marker (for example, CD4) and the axes scales (log or linear) should be clearly visible. Authors should provide numerical analysis for the number of cells analysed and the absolute numbers or percentages (with statistics stated in either the text, legend or in a supplementary table) of the relevant cell population(s) within post-sort fractions. Hints for good general practice in the description of flow cytometry experiments can be found in the  MIFlowCyt Standards section of SourceForge .

For papers describing a new cell population or for which a given sorted cell population is critical to the main message imparted by the new work, authors should describe in a supplementary figure or two the full gating strategy used for the experiments described in the manuscript. A figure depicting the 'gates' used to identify sorted subsets is useful and should be provided to the referees on request. These data would include preliminary forward and side scatter gates of the starting cell population, indicating where boundaries between 'positive' and 'negative' staining cell populations are defined. For preliminary sorts that use 'cocktails' of antibodies to exclude certain cell populations, for example, lineage-minus (Lin-), the antibodies and fluorochromes that are contained in the 'cocktail' need to be specified for the 'dump' channel.

Authors should cite any datasets stored in external repositories that are mentioned within their manuscript. For previously published datasets, we ask authors to cite both the related research articles and the datasets themselves. For more information on how to cite datasets in submitted manuscripts, please see our submission guidelines .

All Springer Nature journals, including Scientific Reports , are participants in the Initiative for Open Citations . As such, data citations are included in full in the formal reference list, exported to Crossref and are openly available.

Scientific Reports follows the Nature Portfolio policies for the sharing of computer code and algorithm ( read these policies in full ).

For all studies using custom code or mathematical algorithm that is central to the conclusions, authors must provide any previously unreported custom computer code or algorithm used to generate results upon editor or reviewer request. We reserve the right to decline the manuscript if important code is unavailable. The Methods section must include a statement with the heading ‘Code availability’ that describes how readers can access the code or algorithm, including any restrictions to access. To ensure that the version of custom code, software or algorithm described in the publication is maintained, we will publish it as a Supplementary document or, when applicable, request that authors maintain it in an established software version control repository.

High-resolution images are not required at initial submission. When a paper is accepted, the publishing team will request high-resolution files suitable for publication.

All digitized images submitted with the final revision of the manuscript should be 300 DPI if possible.

A certain degree of image processing is acceptable for publication (and for some experiments, fields and techniques is unavoidable), but the final image must correctly represent the original data and conform to community standards. The guidelines below will aid in accurate data presentation at the image processing level; authors must also take care to exercise prudence during data acquisition, where misrepresentation must equally be avoided. Manuscripts should include an 'equipment and settings' section with their methods that describes for each figure the pertinent instrument settings, acquisition conditions and processing changes, as described in this guide.

When submitting revised final figures upon conditional acceptance, authors may be asked to submit original, unprocessed images.

Electrophoretic gels and blots

Positive and negative controls, as well as molecular size markers, should be included on each gel and blot – either in the main figure or an expanded data supplementary figure. For previously characterized antibodies, a citation must be provided. For antibodies less well characterized in the system under study, a detailed characterization that demonstrates not only the specificity of the antibody but also the range of reactivity of the reagent in the assay should be published as Supplementary Information.

The display of cropped gels and blots in the main paper is encouraged if it improves the clarity and conciseness of the presentation. In such cases, the cropping must be mentioned in the figure legend and the supplementary information must include original gels and blots, with gel/membrane edges visible. These uncropped images should be labelled as in the main text and placed in a single supplementary figure. The manuscript's figure legends should state that 'original blots/gels are presented in Supplementary Figure X.'

Authors should be prepared to supply Scientific Reports with original data on request, at the resolution collected, from which their images were generated. Cells from multiple fields should not be juxtaposed in a single field; instead, multiple supporting fields of cells should be shown as Supplementary Information.

Adjustments should be applied to the entire image. Threshold manipulation, expansion or contraction of signal ranges and the altering of high signals should be avoided. If 'pseudo-colouring' and nonlinear adjustment (e.g. 'gamma changes') are used, this must be disclosed. Adjustments of individual colour channels are sometimes necessary on 'merged' images, but this should be noted in the figure legend.

We encourage the inclusion of the following with the final revised version of the manuscript for publication:

Some manuscripts provide information that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat to public health, safety or security, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, or the environment. For such information to be published, the benefit to the research community, society, or to public health, must outweigh any risks. We reserve the right to take expert advice in cases where we believe that concerns may arise, and we may require a manuscript to undergo peer review specifically to assess the dual use risk. Where the risk of misuse outweighs any potential benefit, publication is declined; published content may be corrected, retracted or removed. 

Researchers are expected to comply with their institutional and funder’s requirements, as well as any national regulations. They should be aware of dual use concerns related to their work and take steps to minimize misuse of their research. Such concerns include, but are not limited to, biosecurity, nuclear and chemical threats. Where relevant regulations exist, authors should disclose whether their study is subject to consideration as dual use research of concern; if it is, the manuscript should report the authority granting approval and reference number for the regulatory approval. When the study reports material that can be harmful outside the laboratory context, the manuscript should describe appropriate containment (e.g. biosafety) procedures. 

We recognize the widespread view that openness in science helps to alert society to potential threats and to defend against them, and we anticipate that only very rarely will the risks be perceived as outweighing the benefits of publishing a paper that has otherwise been deemed appropriate for publication in Scientific Reports .

Correction and retraction policy

Scientific Reports operates the following policy for making corrections to its peer-reviewed content.

Publishable amendments must be represented by a formal online notice because they affect the publication record and/or the scientific accuracy of published information. Where these amendments concern peer-reviewed material, they fall into one of four categories: Publisher Correction (formerly Erratum), Author Correction (formerly Corrigendum), Retraction or Addendum.

Publisher Correction (formerly Erratum). Notification of an important error made by the journal that affects the publication record or the scientific integrity of the paper, or the reputation of the authors or the journal.

Author Correction (formerly Corrigendum). Notification of an important error made by the author(s) that affects the publication record or the scientific integrity of the paper, or the reputation of the authors or the journal.

For authors who’ve changed their name and wish to correct it on their published works, please see our author name change policy .

Retraction . Notification of invalid results. All co-authors must sign a Retraction specifying the error and stating briefly how the conclusions are affected, and submit it for publication. In cases where co-authors disagree, the in-house editors may seek advice from independent referees and impose the type of amendment that seems most appropriate, noting the dissenting author(s) in the text of the published version.

Addendum . Notification of additional information. Addenda are published when the in-house editors decide that the addendum is crucial to the reader's understanding of a significant part of the published contribution.

Editorial decision-making

Decisions about types of correction are made by the journal's in-house editors, sometimes with the advice of referees, Editorial Advisory Panel or Editorial Board Members. This process involves consultation with the authors of the paper, but the in-house editors make the final decision about whether an amendment is required and the category in which the amendment is published.

When an amendment is published, it is linked bi-directionally to and from the article being corrected.

Authors sometimes request a correction to their published contribution that does not affect the contribution in a significant way or impair the reader's understanding of the contribution (e.g. a spelling mistake or grammatical error). Scientific Reports does not publish such corrections. The online article is part of the published record and hence its original published version is preserved. Scientific Reports does, however, correct the online version of a contribution if the wording in the HTML version does not make sense when compared with the PDF version (e.g. 'see left' for a figure that is an appropriate phrase for the PDF but not for the HTML version). In these cases, the fact that a correction has been made is stated in a footnote so that readers are aware that the originally published text has been amended.

Detailed description of correction types

Publisher Corrections (formerly Errata) concern the amendment of mistakes introduced by the journal in production, including errors of omission such as failure to make factual proof corrections requested by authors within the deadline provided by the journal and within journal policy. Publisher Corrections are generally not published for simple, obvious typographical errors, but are published when an apparently simple error is significant (e.g. a greek mu for an ‘m' in a unit, or a typographical error in the corresponding author's name).

If there is an error in the lettering on a figure, the usual procedure is to publish a sentence of rectification. A significant error in the figure itself is corrected by publication of a new corrected figure as a Publisher Correction. The figure is republished only if the Editorial Board Member considers it necessary for a reader to understand it.

Author Corrections (formerly Corrigenda) are judged on their relevance to readers and their importance for the published record. Author Corrections are published after discussion among the Editorial Board Members, in-house editors and the publishing team, as required.

Author Corrections submitted by the original authors are published if the scientific accuracy or reproducibility of the original paper is compromised; occasionally, upon investigation, these may be published as Retractions. In cases where some co-authors decline to sign an Author Correction or Retraction, we reserve the right to publish it with the dissenting author(s) identified.

Readers wishing to draw the journal's attention to a significant published error should contact the publishing team .

Retractions are judged according to whether the main conclusion of the paper no longer holds or is seriously undermined as a result of subsequent information coming to light of which the authors were not aware at the time of publication. In the case of experimental papers, this can include further experiments by the authors or by others that do not confirm the main experimental conclusion of the original publication. Readers wishing to draw the Editorial Board Members' attention to published work requiring retraction should first contact the authors of the original paper and then write to the publishing team, including copies of the correspondence with the authors (whether or not the correspondence has been answered). The publishing team and Editorial Board Member will seek advice from referees if they judge that the information is likely to draw into question the main conclusions of the published paper.

Addendum . Notification of additional information about a paper, usually in response to readers' request for clarification. Addenda, including Editorial Expressions of Concern, are published when the in-house editors decide that the addendum is crucial to the reader's understanding of a significant part of the published contribution.

Supplementary information

Author Corrections to Supplementary Information (SI) are made only in exceptional circumstances (e.g. major errors that compromise the conclusion of the study). Published corrections to SI are usually linked to the Author Correction statement. Authors cannot update SI because new data have become available or interpretations have changed, as the SI is a peer-reviewed and integral part of the paper, and hence part of the published record.

SI cannot be amended between acceptance and publication unless a change made for technical reasons by the journal in order to publish the material on the website has introduced a significant error.

Material submitted to Scientific Reports must be original and not published or submitted for publication elsewhere. This rule applies to material submitted elsewhere while the Scientific Reports contribution is under consideration.

Authors submitting a contribution to Scientific Reports who have related material under consideration or in press elsewhere should upload a clearly marked copy at the time of submission, and draw the Editorial Board Members' attention to it in their cover letter. Authors must disclose any such information while their contributions are under consideration by Scientific Reports – for example, if they submit a related manuscript elsewhere that was not written at the time of the original Scientific Reports submission.

If part of a contribution that an author wishes to submit to Scientific Reports has appeared or will appear elsewhere, the author must specify the details in the covering letter accompanying the submission. Consideration by Scientific Reports is possible if the main result, conclusion, or implications are not apparent from the other work.

Scientific Reports is happy to consider submissions containing material that has previously formed part of a PhD or other academic thesis which has been published according to the requirements of the institution awarding the qualification.

Scientific Reports allows and encourages prior publication on recognized community preprint servers for review by other scientists in the field before formal submission to a journal. The details of the preprint server concerned and any accession numbers should be included in the cover letter accompanying submission of the manuscript to Scientific Reports . This policy does not extend to preprints available to the media or that are otherwise publicized outside the scientific community before or during the submission and consideration process at Scientific Reports .

Scientific Reports allows publication of meeting abstracts before the full contribution is submitted. Such abstracts should be included with the submission and referred to in the cover letter accompanying the manuscript. This policy does not extend to meeting abstracts and reports available to the media or which are otherwise publicized outside the scientific community during the submission and consideration process.

Publishing work in conference proceedings is common in some research communities. We are happy to consider submissions containing material that has been published in a conference proceedings paper. However, the submission should provide a substantial extension of results, analysis, conclusions and/or implications over the conference proceedings paper.  Authors must provide details of the conference proceedings paper with their submission including a relevant citation in the submitted manuscript. Authors must obtain all necessary permissions to re-use previously published material and attribute appropriately.

Scientific Reports is happy to consider submissions containing material that has previously formed, and continues to form, part of an online scientific collaboration such as a wiki or blog, provided that the information has not been publicized outside the scientific community, and is not publicized until the publication date of the work in Scientific Reports . In case of any doubt, authors should seek advice from the Editorial Board Member handling their contribution.

If an author of a submission is re-using a figure or figures published elsewhere, or that is copyrighted, the author must provide documentation that the previous publisher or copyright holder has given permission for the figure to be re-published. Scientific Reports Editorial Board Members consider all material in good faith that the publication has full permission to publish every part of the submitted material, including illustrations.


Scientific Reports keeps all details about a submitted manuscript confidential and does not comment to any outside organization about manuscripts that are either under consideration or that have been rejected.

After a manuscript is submitted, correspondence with Scientific Reports , referees' reports and other confidential material, regardless of whether or not the submission is eventually published, must not be posted on any website or otherwise publicized without prior permission. The Editorial Board Members themselves are not allowed to discuss manuscripts with third parties or to reveal information about correspondence and other interactions with authors and referees.

Referees of manuscripts submitted to Scientific Reports undertake in advance to maintain the confidentiality of manuscripts and any associated supplementary data.


Our policy on the posting of particular versions of the manuscript is as follows: 1.            You are welcome to post pre-submission versions or the original submitted version of the manuscript on a personal blog, a collaborative wiki or a recognised preprint server at any time. The website and URL must be identified in the cover letter accompanying submission of the paper to Scientific Reports . 2.            Material in a paper submitted to Scientific Reports may also have been published as part of a PhD or other academic thesis. 3.            Scientific Reports articles are open access and can replace the original submitted version immediately, on publication, as long as a publication reference and URL to the published version on the Scientific Reports website are provided.

Scientific Reports supports open communication between researchers, whether on a recognised preprint server, through discussions at research meetings, or via online collaborative sites such as wikis.  Neither conference presentations nor posting on recognised preprint servers constitute prior publication. 

Researchers are welcome to respond to requests from the media in response to a preprint or conference presentation, by providing explanation or clarification of the work, or information about its context. In these circumstances, media coverage will not hinder editorial handling of the submission.

Researchers should be aware that such coverage may reduce or pre-empt coverage by other media at the time of publication. We also advise that researchers approached by reporters in response to a preprint make it clear that the paper has not yet undergone peer review, and that the content is provisional. Details of peer review should be kept confidential.

We believe it important that the final published version of a paper be publicly available when the work is discussed in the media. For that reason, we strongly discourage the direct solicitation of media coverage to appear ahead of the publication of the final version of a paper. 

Authors of papers that contain taxonomy (i.e. the formal nomenclature and description of a newly discovered species) should be aware that it is possible for third parties to exploit the prior publication of nomenclature at any time between the online posting of a preprint and the publication date in a journal, by publishing the name in print and asserting priority according to the rules of the Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Scientific Reports takes no responsibility for such assertions of priority in the case of manuscripts it publishes if the content of those manuscripts has previously appeared in the public domain as online preprints or other form of online posting.

Plagiarism is unacknowledged copying or an attempt to misattribute original authorship, whether of ideas or text. As defined by the ORI (Office of Research Integrity), plagiarism can include, “theft or misappropriation of intellectual property and the substantial unattributed textual copying of another's work”. Plagiarism can be said to have clearly occurred when large chunks of text have been cut-and-pasted without appropriate and unambiguous attribution. Such manuscripts would not be considered for publication in Scientific Reports . Aside from wholesale verbatim re-use of text, due care must be taken to ensure appropriate attribution and citation when paraphrasing and summarising the work of others. 'Text recycling' or re-use of parts of text from an author’s previous research publication is a form of self-plagiarism. Here, too, due caution must be exercised. When re-using text, whether from the author's own publication or that of others, appropriate attribution and citation is necessary to avoid creating a misleading perception of unique contribution for the reader.    

Duplicate publication occurs when an author re-uses substantial parts of his or her own published work without providing the appropriate references. This can range from getting an identical paper published in multiple journals, to 'salami-slicing', where authors add small amounts of new data to a previous paper.  

Scientific Reports ' Editors and Editorial Board members assess all such cases on their individual merits. When plagiarism becomes evident post-publication, we may correct or retract the original publication depending on the degree of plagiarism, context within the published article and its impact on the overall integrity of the published study.

Scientific Reports is part of Similarity Check , a service that uses software tools to screen submitted manuscripts for text overlap.  

Due credit for others' work

Discussion of unpublished work: Manuscripts are sent out for review on the condition that any unpublished data cited within are properly credited and the appropriate permission has been sought. Where licensed data are cited, authors must include at submission a written assurance that they are complying with originators' data-licensing agreements.

Referees are encouraged to be alert to the use of appropriated unpublished data from databases or from any other source and to inform Scientific Reports of any concern they may have.

Discussion of published work: When discussing the published work of others, authors must properly describe the contribution of the earlier work. Both intellectual contributions and technical developments must be acknowledged as such and appropriately cited.

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Published a research paper? What next??

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at College of Medicine and Health Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, Sohar, Sultanate of Oman

In our earlier editorials, we have already discussed the importance of conducting good-quality medical research, composing an original research paper, and getting the paper published successfully.[ 1 , 2 , 3 ] We have also given a roadmap for reviewing an original research paper.[ 4 ] The current editorial deals with some important post-publication issues that every author should be acquainted with.

Replying to Letters to Editor Received on the Published Manuscript

After the publication of the research paper, the editors may receive one or more “letters to editors,” supporting or criticizing or commenting on the published research paper. If the contents of such letters arouse genuine concerns/issues, the editor will ask for a rebuttal/reply to the same, from the authors of the original paper and publish both of these in a subsequent issue of the journal. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author of the original paper to contact the co-authors and provide a reply that has been drafted and approved by all the authors.[ 5 ] Such correspondence indicates that the paper has aroused sufficient interest in the readers. Replying to such letters gives the authors an opportunity to explain their research findings anew and also address issues that may not have been addressed in their research paper (published earlier).

Editorial Commentaries

The editor may invite an editorial commentary on the accepted research paper, which is usually published in the same issue as the original paper. The commentary is usually written by an expert in the concerned field (who would probably also have reviewed the article and recommended its publication). The purpose of the commentary is to provide a balanced view for interpreting the results of the study and give insights into the clinical applicability/relevance of the study findings. Such commentaries also reflect the experience and the opinion of the expert who is writing the commentary.

MEDLINE and Other indexation

The prestige of a publication rests in its representation in an “indexed journal” of a highly rated database such as MEDLINE, PubMed, Scopus, Embase, and Web of Science. Such indexation not only increases the prestige of a journal but also provides wider access to its content. MEDLINE, of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), is one of the most widely used biomedical journal citation databases, containing more than 26 million articles (from 1946 to the present) published in more than 5,200 journals. It is available through PubMed free of charge and by subscription via database vendors (Ovid and EBSCO).[ 6 , 7 ] Publishers submit journals to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-chartered advisory committee, the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC), which reviews and recommends journals for indexation in MEDLINE based on the scientific policy and scientific quality.[ 6 ] PubMed ( ), developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the US NLM, is a free search engine for retrieval of the literature, having more than 30 million citations and abstracts on biomedical and life sciences across several NLM literature resources.[ 6 , 7 ] It provides access to all of MEDLINE, journals/manuscripts deposited in PubMed Central (PMC), and NCBI Bookshelf. The update occurs daily with reference data supplied directly by publishers, often before a journal issue is released. To be indexed in PubMed, a journal should be selected as a MEDLINE journal or be deposited to the PMC.[ 6 ]

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms—a controlled and hierarchically organized vocabulary thesaurus—are used by the NLM to index and search biomedical literature. They provide an overview of an article's content through a set of terms pertaining to main headings (descriptors) and subheadings (qualifiers), with yearly updates. Indexers (generally librarians trained to read MEDLINE published articles) assign relevant MeSH indexing terms based on the content/concept of an article, using words from an official MeSH list.[ 8 ] The manual assignment of MeSH terms is laborious, subjective, time-consuming, and expensive, which has led to the development of the Medical Text Indexer (MTI), a MeSH prediction tool that assists NLM indexers by providing recommendations for MeSH terms.[ 9 ]

Scopus ( ) is another subscription-based citation database produced by Elsevier Co. and maintained by independent subject matter experts. It indexes about 4,600 health science titles including 100% of MEDLINE and Embase coverage.[ 10 ]

Embase (Excerpta Medica Database) ( ) is a biomedical as well as a pharmacological bibliographic database. This subscription-based Elsevier database (32 million records of over 8,500 currently published journals since 1947) assists information managers and pharmacovigilance in licensed drugs. Emtree is the Embase thesaurus, and all journals listed in MEDLINE are also registered in Embase, with additional 2,900 journals unique to it.[ 11 ]

The Web of Science (Thomson Reuters) is an interdisciplinary subscription-based database with records (from 1900 onward) of multiple bibliographic databases. It includes Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), a medical database, and helps in article recovery and citation search.[ 7 ]

Publons ( ), a free commercial website, combines publications, citation metrics, peer-reviews, and journal editorial work, all in one place. It serves as a platform for publishers to seek and connect to peer-reviewers, reports global peer-review activity, and provides peer-review training for early-career researchers.[ 12 ]

Google Scholar ( ), a mainstream free academic crawler-based search engine, has content across academic disciplines, countries, and languages, and over 380 million records. Indexing in Google Scholar enhances accessibility, sharing, and online citation worldwide, particularly for open-access (OA) journals. Google Scholar offers free alerts (via email) of citations to the authors of their publications indexed with it, once the authors register for such alerts. A Google Scholar search also focuses on individual articles and not journals, improves article retrieval (including unpublished conference material), shows more frequently cited works higher in search, and lists the papers citing original papers (via “Cited by”).[ 13 ]

Posting of the Pdf of the Final Published Article on Websites/Servers

Posting of the complete paper or the portable document format (“pdf”) of the final published paper on websites/servers (self-archiving) may be done only if the paper has been published in an OA journal and if the journal policy allows such a posting (this precaution is to be taken to prevent copyright infringement). Some journals allow the revised accepted (pre-print) version of the manuscript to be shared but not the final printed pdf version. These details of the necessary permissions required are usually given on the website of the journal/publisher. It is the responsibility of the author who is posting such a pre-print version to check whether the journal policy allows him/her to do so. Usually, the journal editors/publishers send the final, published pdf copy to the corresponding author. The corresponding author may then share it with the co-authors of the paper. However, it should be remembered that the copyright of the paper is with the publisher (usually) and the publisher provides the pdf to the corresponding author with a rider that mentions that “the pdf is for personal and educational purposes only and should not be distributed or printed commercially or distributed systematically.” This is especially true for the non-OA journals.

Getting the Research Noticed by the Medical Fraternity

It is necessary that a research paper gets read by the medical fraternity all over the world. For this, there are various avenues such as sharing the title and abstract or their links with professional colleagues on social media (such as Telegram, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) or via emails on groups/listserv, displaying the title and abstract on the website of the journal (in the table of contents of the journal) or the website of the institution where the work was carried out, posting the title and abstract on websites such as the Researchgate ( ) or Mendeley ( ), discussion of the paper at journal clubs, and inclusion of the results in subsequent presentations at conferences/seminars by the authors. There may be some limitations on sharing the full text of the paper or the pdf version of the published paper as discussed earlier in this editorial. The journal editor/publisher may also send details to the corresponding author on how to increase the visibility of their paper. The increased visibility is most likely to translate into better citations and research impact for the paper. The visibility of the paper can be enhanced by (after checking the journal's OA policy)

The Journal of Postgraduate Medicine approves self-archiving of articles (final accepted version) on OAI (Open Archives Initiative)—compliant institutional/subject-based repository.[ 14 ] Self-archiving enables maximum visibility, impact, access, and usage and can be done by the author himself or via digital archivers in the author's institution/library.[ 15 ] Self-archiving can be expedited by the installation of OAI-compliant Eprint Archives in university/research institutions, and self-archiving pre-peer-review preprints (without the embargo period) and post-peer-review post-prints (or corrigenda file) (after the embargo period) on the author's personal website, company/institutional repository or archive, not-for-profit subject-based preprint servers or repositories.[ 15 , 16 ] “Embargo period” refers to the time post-publication (commonly ranging from 12 to 24 months), after which a subscribed article is made freely available/openly accessible to users.

Open Access

Traditionally, publishing an article would incur no charges toward author submission, peer-review, and publication. However, users are often charged a subscription fee for full-article access, which limits free access to the literature. The novel concept of OA has emerged in the last two decades through pioneers such as BioMed Central and Public Library of Science (PLoS) with online-only journals.[ 17 ] Fully-OA journals make all their articles freely and immediately accessible online (without embargo period) under a Creative Commons (CC) or equivalent open copyright license permitting anyone to “read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full-texts of articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose” through two established routes—“gold” and “green”.[ 18 , 19 ] In the “gold” route, the authors pay a fee—an article processing charge (APC)–to facilitate free and immediate access to their published articles. These charges are journal-specific and may range from 500 to 5000 US dollars, which are often prohibitive and unaffordable by Indian authors. If financial support for OA research is provided by the author's institution or organizations, such as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and INCLEN Trust (International Clinical Epidemiology Network- INCLEN), then Indian authors may be able to afford these publication charges. In the “green” route, the author publishes the research article in any journal and then archives it in an institutional repository (University, a central repository [e.g. PubMed Central] or an OA website) based on the journal self-archiving policies.[ 17 , 19 ] This balances the researcher's freedom to publish and share work, and the publisher's control on quality. Publishing in a reputable OA journal provides versatility and visibility, and in return the academic researcher receives a higher research impact through citation counts.[ 20 ]

Many OA journals use CC licenses, an easy alternative to standard copyrights, permitting authors to determine the use of their work broadly, minus the need to look into individual permission requests. A CC license allows copying and redistribution of material in any medium/format (sharing) and remixing, transforming, and building upon the material (adapting). Restrictive elements such as “Attribution” require users to cite the creator of the work, “Non-Commercial” prohibits users from making commercial use of the work, “No Derivates” prohibit users from making modifications to the work, and “Share Alike” require users to apply the same licenses to a new work they create with the original work. These clauses limit the re-use, but provide useful protection to scholars, research subjects, and the OA nature of the publication. The elements can be combined, as is the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license, or CC-BY-NC-SA, or the Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives or CC-BY-NC-ND.[ 21 ]

The increase in the number of OA journals has often led to questions about their quality. This and the increasing pressure on researchers to “publish” or “perish” has fostered an increasing growth in medical journals, hoping to attract eager young academic researchers to publish their work in their journals.[ 5 ] The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a community-curated database that provides comprehensive access and quality control over the content of OA scientific and scholarly journals. DOAJ aims to increase the visibility and ease of use of OA journals, thereby increasing their usage and impact.[ 22 ]

The Journal Impact Factor and Personal Research Impact Factors

Several journal-/author-/article-level metric tools are available via indexing databases (e.g., Scopus and Web of Science) that enable users to track the scholarly impact of a journal, author, or article. One of the most popular ways of assessing a journal's importance is via its journal impact factor (JIF). The 2-year JIF (in any given year) is the ratio between the number of citations received in that year for publications in that journal in the two preceding years and the total number of “citable items” published in that journal during the two previous years. An impact factor could also consider shorter or longer periods of citations and sources.[ 23 ]

Author impact factor (AIF) similarly evaluates the impact of an individual author; however, because the number is generally not large, other citation metrics are used.[ 24 ] One such prominent influence measure is “h-index” (or Hirsch index), which effectively combines papers (indicating quantity/productivity) with citations (indicating quality/impact), thus evaluating an individual author's publication career. It is a count of the largest number of papers (h) from an author that has at least (h) number of citations. It enables a comparison of researchers from the same field with equally long careers, predicts future scientific achievements, and helps in decisions pertaining to tenure positions/grants.[ 25 ] The “i10-index” (introduced by Google), in contrast, is a simple tally of a researcher's publications with at least 10 citations. The “i10-index” is straightforward, easy to calculate (using “My Citations” on Google Scholar), and helps to identify important/influential papers out of an author's publications (those that are cited at least 10 times). However, it is restricted to Google Scholar and does not account for the total number of publications and total citations of an author, thus not giving a clear impression of an author's research productivity.[ 26 ]

Citation analysis involves measuring the number of citations that a particular work has received, indicating the overall quality of that work, whereas citation count is the total number of an individual's citations. Citation counts measure the impact and performance of individual researchers as well as departments, research institutions, universities, books, journals, and nations.[ 27 ]

Citation-based metrics may take years to accumulate and are not always the best indicator of practical impact in fields, such as clinical medicine. Article-level metrics (ALMs) measure the impact/uptake of an individual journal article on the scientific community post-publication and include usage, citations, social bookmarking and dissemination activity, media and blog coverage, discussion activity and ratings.[ 28 ] They thus measure the dissemination and reach of published research articles in practical fields. PLOS uses the category labels of Viewed, Cited, Saved, Discussed, and Recommended.[ 28 ] ALMs are valuable to researchers (track and share the impact of published work), research institutions, funders, and publishers. The PLOS Application Programming Interface (API) for ALMs is freely and publicly available from and allows users with programming skills to extract data for various research purposes.[ 29 ]

The ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) [ ]

ORCID, via its unique 16-digit author identifier, provides a digital name—or an iD—that uniquely and persistently identifies researchers and other contributors to their research effort. By connecting iDs to different research activities (grant proposal submissions, manuscripts to journal publishers, and datasets to data repositories) and affiliations across multiple research information platforms, ORCID enables recognition and reduces the reporting burden for researchers. As a researcher and author, it is important to be recognized and receive full credit for their contributions and research in work. The ORCID provides a unique identifier for the research that is linked to names rather than institutions, thus researchers can maintain the same iD throughout their career, even when their institutional affiliation changes.[ 30 ] It allows researchers to receive full credit for their contributions and eliminates mistaken identity, especially when there are multiple authors with the same name. It also makes the submission process easier by allowing users to sign in to multiple journal submission sites with one username and password. ORCID can be applied to research outputs to identify, validate, and confirm authorship as well as track research output. Some journals now print the ORCID number of an author in the publication. A single click on the displayed ORCID numbers gives the reader the entire list of publications by the author. It also easily integrates with other databases such as Crossref, ResearchID, and SCOPUS.[ 30 , 31 ]

Researcher ID (developed by Thomas Reuters and used in Web of Science) and Scopus Author ID (developed by Elsevier and used in Scopus) are similar identifiers provided by subscription-based proprietary systems. Researcher ID (obtained by creating a Researcher ID account) allows researchers to manage their publication lists, track citations and h-index, and identify potential collaborators. A Scopus Author ID is automatically assigned to an author with a Scopus-indexed publication and enables tracking publications indexed in the Scopus citation database and building metric reports.[ 32 ]

Concluding Remarks

In the current scenario, increasing importance is being given to research and publications—as a measure of individual/institutional progress as well as a benchmark to determine recruitment, promotions, and funding. Thus, it has become mandatory for an individual to keep working on quality research, followed by writing and publishing it successfully.[ 33 ] However, publication is not the end of an author's work but the beginning of another important process. The value of a publication lies in its wide accessibility and impact. Bibliographic databases, such as MEDLINE, Embase, and Scopus, compile data from a selection of journals (such documented journals are “indexed” in that database), thus improving the visibility and access on a literature search. The use of database-specific thesaurus/controlled vocabulary such as MeSH (for MEDLINE) and Emtree (for EMBASE) enables precise search outcomes.[ 7 ] An increase in the number of OA journals and processes such as “self-archiving” has opened avenues for the wide dissemination of published information.[ 15 ] Many articles are freely available online immediately after publication (gold OA), whereas many permit the authors to archive in an institutional repository, subject to journal policies.[ 17 ] The use of the CC license and its restrictive elements allows the authors to choose how their work can be used.[ 21 ] Bibliometrics help to measure academic/scholarly activity and scientific impact, but should not be obsessed over.[ 23 ] Their shortcomings in the true measurement of the impact of journals, articles, and authors have necessitated a suitable replacement, one with a more effective and meaningful evaluation of the true influence of research. The availability of free resources such as ORCID has linked an individual's research over various platforms and provided consolidated data of one's research activities. It is important that authors are aware of these post-publication resources and utilize them proactively to disseminate one's research and ensure a meaningful research impact.

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Conflicts of interest.

There are no conflicts of interest.


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