Submissions are assessed by the Editorial Board
and are subject to external peer review using the single blind method whereby the authors are blinded to the identity of the reviewers and editors.
Papers are seen by editors prior to being sent to full peer review, and those that are not in the remit of the journal or that do not meet the standards of science required may be rejected without full review.
The journal aims to return a decision on a peer-reviewed paper in less than a month.
- Approval – Ensure all authors have seen and approved the final version of the article prior to submission and are aware it is being submitted to Reproduction and Fertility.
- Open access – The appropriate open-access option must be selected on submission. Authors are responsible for ensuring any funder mandates are followed. For further details, please see the open-access policy.
- Charges – Reproduction and Fertility is an open-access journal, and an article publication charge is payable upon acceptance. Full details are available on the publication charges page.
- Ethical compliance – All articles are required to meet the requirements outlined in our ethical policy. Ensure you have included all relevant ethical approval statements.
- Reported data – Data accuracy is crucial. Authors are strongly encouraged to double-check all reported data for accuracy and to confirm that all units of measurement are correct and consistent.
- Author list – All authors must be listed on the title page and entered on the ScholarOne Manuscripts submission in the correct order. Ensure all author email addresses provided are valid. Author information entered into ScholarOne Manuscripts will be used to generate PubMed listings for published papers.
- Cover letter – This letter should introduce your paper and outline why your work is important and suitable for publication at this time.
- English language – Non-native English speakers are encouraged to have their manuscript professionally edited before submission. See Bioscientifica’s recommended English language editing services. Manuscripts may be written in either UK or US English.
Reproduction and Fertility offers a flexible submission process for first time submissions wherein authors can submit in any recognisable manuscript format, but should be complete such that editors and peer reviewers may easily assess the scientific merit of the study.
Revisions, where invited, should follow the standard Reproduction and Fertility formatting outlined below, using the highlighter function to indicate changes, and should be accompanied by a full response letter to editor and reviewer comments.
Accepted file types:
- Please be aware that the combined size of your files should not exceed 40 MB.
- For article text: txt, doc, docx, rtf. We are unable to accept PDF files for article text for revised manuscripts, but can do so for first submissions.
- For figures: eps, tiff, jpg.
1. Title page
Include a separate title page with:
- Title (maximum 85 characters, including spaces)
- All authors' names and full addresses
- Corresponding author’s postal and email address
- A short title (maximum 46 characters, including spaces)
- A minimum of four keywords describing the manuscript
- Word count of the full article, excluding references and figure legends
The abstract should be a single paragraph of not more than 250 words, clearly stating the objective of the study, the methods used (where applicable), and summarizing results and conclusions. Avoid abbreviations and references in this section.
In alignment with the greater visibility proffered by publishing articles open access, authors will be asked to provide a short 'Lay Summary’ of their article.
The lay summary, with a maximum of 150 words, is intended for the general public or for those working outside of the immediate field, offering authors the opportunity to share their perspective on the wider impact of their work. As such, it needs to be accessible to all, explaining the general point(s) of the paper, and written without use of jargon; use of abbreviations is also strongly discouraged. The content of the summary must reflect the scientific content of the manuscript, explaining in lay words background and findings, including data, and possibly discussing the importance/consequences of the findings.
Lay summaries are required for research papers, research letters, reviews and commentaries. We request that authors add their word count to the file before upload.
Here are some additional suggestions on how to write a useful lay summary:
- Justify your research.
- Give some context to the research and details about your findings and/or strategy used.
- Follow a logical order (this may not always coincide with a temporal order).
- Explain the impact of the work (especially in relation to wider society).
- Use short sentences and write in plain English (imagine that you are trying to explain your article to a family member who works e.g. in a bank).
- We encourage all authors to read a selection of lay summaries already published by R&F to appreciate the ways certain complex biological aspects can be make more accessible.
4. Graphical abstract
Authors are encouraged to submit a graphical abstract with their manuscript. Graphical abstracts are peer-reviewed images which summarise the contents of the article in a concise, visual format. Graphical abstracts are not required, but are encouraged as they aid understanding and can be a useful device for sharing and promoting your research.
A graphical abstract should be submitted as a single file. The image should be original and created by the authors. Use of software such as BioRender is recommended. No element or part of the graphical abstract should be modified or adapted from copyrighted work. Do not include additional text within the image file. Do not use unnecessary white space or a heading ‘Graphical Abstract’ within the image file.
Image size: The image should be a minimum of 500 x 1300 pixels (height x width) or a square of 1200 pixels at a resolution of 300 dpi.
Font: Please use Arial, Helvetica, or courier in a font size of 8 pt.
Colour: Use of colour is encouraged. Colour figures should be in RGB format.
File Type: TIFF, JPG, EPS or PDF
The introduction should set the study in context by briefly reviewing relevant knowledge of the subject; follow this with a concise statement of the hypothesis and objectives of the study. The introduction should rarely exceed 3 pages of double-spaced text.
6. Materials and methods
Provide sufficient information for other workers to repeat the study. If well-established methods are used give a reference to the technique and provide full details of any modifications.
- Include the source of chemicals, reagents and hormones and give the manufacturer’s name in parentheses.
- Give the generic name, dose and route of administration for drugs.
- Specify the composition of buffers, solutions and culture media.
- Use SI symbols, give concentrations in mol/L and define the term % as w/v or v/v for all solutions. For international units use IU (U should be used for enzyme activity).
- Specify the type of equipment (microscopes/objective lenses, cameras, detectors) used to obtain images.
- RT-PCR methods should broadly follow the MIQE guidelines, see http://miqe.gene-quantification.info/ and Bustin et al 2009 Clin Chem 55:611-622.
- Methods for extracellular vesicle purification and characterisation should follow the guidelines set out in the MISEV guidelines, Théry et al 2018, doi.org/10.1080/20013078.2018.1535750.
- The EQUATOR network provides a database of reporting guidelines, aiming to improve the reliability of published health research literature by promoting transparent and accurate reporting. Authors may find this a useful resource.
- Specify any image acquisition software used, and give a description of specialized techniques requiring large amounts of processing, such as confocal, deconvolution, 3D reconstructions, or surface and volume rendering.
The results should read as a narrative leading the reader through the experiments and investigations performed. Referencing and mention of others studies is permitted in the Results section where necessary or helpful.
Should not simply re-state results, but should put them in the broader context and highlight the importance and novelty of the work.
9. Declaration of interest, Funding, Contributions and Acknowledgements
Declaration of interest
Actual or perceived conflicts of interest for all authors must be declared in full.
Please either (a) declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported; or (b) fully declare any financial or other potential conflict of interest.
Conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Employment and consultancies
- Grants, fees and honoraria
- Ownership of stock or shares
- Patents (pending and actual)
- Board membership
Please detail all of the sources of funding relevant to the research reported in the following format:
This work was supported by the Medical Research Council (grant numbers xxxx, yyyy); the Wellcome Trust (grant number xxxx); and Tommy’s Baby charity (grant number xxxx).
Where research has not been funded please state the following:
This research did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.
Author contribution statement (compulsory)
Please include a statement concisely specifying the contribution of each co-author. Use author initials to indicate contributions, for example:
CP conceived the study and wrote the paper. GF performed experiments and analysed data.
Please be as brief as possible.
All references cited in the text must be included in the reference list and vice versa. However, if a reference consists of only a web address do not include it in the reference list but cite it in the text, giving the date the page was accessed.
Any unpublished work (personal communications, manuscripts in preparation and manuscripts submitted but not yet accepted for publication) must be referred to in the text and not listed in the references.
Give the full list of authors, including their initials. For example:
(A Stone, J Brown & MR Smith, unpublished observations)
(J Brown, personal communication)
Articles accepted for publication but not yet published may be listed as ‘in press’ in the reference list, using the current year as the publication year. If an ‘in press’ article is included in the Accepted Preprint service or a similar scheme, then the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) should be included; otherwise, provide a copy of the article as a supplementary file for reviewing purposes.
In the text
Cite references in the text using the authors’ names and publication year. Use et al. for articles with more than two authors. Where there are several citations, list them in chronological order.
In the reference list
List references in alphabetical order. Give articles by the same author in the order:
- Single author
- Two authors alphabetically according to the name of the second author
- Three or more authors chronologically, with a, b and c etc for articles published in the same year, in the order in which they are cited in the text
List a maximum of ten authors. Where there are more than ten authors, list the first ten and then use et al.
Reference in the following format:
See RH, Calvo D, Shi Y, Kawa H, Luke MP & Yuan Z 2001 Stimulation of p300-mediated transcription by the kinase MEKK1. Journal of Biological Chemistry 276 16310–16317.
Harvey SS 1975 Hypnotics and sedatives. The barbiturates. In The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, edn 5, pp 102–123. Eds LS Goodman & A Gilman. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co.
Please use Harvard style.
Tables should be concise. Tables too large for print publication should be submitted as supplementary data.
- Number tables in the order they are cited in the text
- Include a title – a single sentence at the head of the table that includes the name of the organism studied
- Use footnotes to provide any additional explanatory material, cross-referenced to the column entries
- Give a short heading for each column
- Do not use internal horizontal or vertical lines, colour or shading
- Explain all abbreviations used in the table in the footnotes
Please note that the option to print large tables in a final article is subject to editorial approval. If the tables are deemed too large for the final article, you will be asked to publish your tables as supplementary data.
The journal has produced digital image guidelines in order to clarify the standards expected by the journal. All submitted digital images must adhere to these guidelines.
- Number figures in the order they are cited in the text
- Include legends to all figures, giving the figure number, keys to any symbols used, the name of the organism studied, the names of any statistical tests used and the probability levels used for comparisons
- Label figure sections as A, B etc in the top left-hand corner
- Use Arial or a similar sans-serif font for text labels
- Do not enclose figures in boxes
- Indicate magnification by a scale bar in the bottom right-hand corner of the image and give the measurement in the legend
- Use the preferred symbols of closed and open circles, squares and triangles. Ensure that symbols are large enough to be read clearly when the figure is reduced for publication
- Use Courier or a similar non-proportional font for amino acid, DNA, RNA and PCR primer sequences and highlight sections of homology between sequences with grey shading
There are no charges for colour figures.
File types and resolution
Reproduction and Fertility is committed to publishing high quality figures.
EPS or TIFF files are preferred. Files should be exported in Illustrator compatible format, avoiding PowerPoint or Word files:
- Line images/graphs: EPS, TIFF, high-resolution PDF, AI (Adobe Illustrator). Resolution at final published size: 1200 dpi.
- Half-tone (greyscale) images: TIFF, high-resolution PDF, JPEG. Resolution at final published size: 600 dpi.
- Colour images: TIFF, high-resolution PDF, JPEG. EPS or AI files can be used for graphical data and illustrations that don’t include photographs. Resolution at final published size: 300 dpi. Colour format: CMYK (not RGB).
The format of review articles is more fluid but should include the following:
1. Title page
4. Conclusions or future perspectives
5. Declaration of interest, Funding, Author contributions statements (where appropriate)
7. Figure legends
Review submissions should be limited to 6000 words. We recommend a maximum of 60 references for review articles, with 2–6 figures and tables. Original summary diagrams and illustrations of proposed models (in colour where appropriate) are encouraged. Line drawings may be redrawn. Boxes can be used to separate detailed explanations and background information from the main part of the text.
Systematic reviews and meta analyses must be registered with Prospero
and should adhere to their inclusion criteria. The Prospero record should be cited in your submission, further information on how to do this can be found here
If you would like to submit a review please email the editorial office
with a brief outline (0.5–1 page) of your topic.
Commentaries are typically invited by the Editor-in-Chief, although unsolicited commentaries will be considered. Commentaries are opinion articles that will examine novel concepts and findings introduced into the scientific record. They are typically no more than 2500 words in length, should have no more than eight references, and have no figures or tables.
Research Letters are concise, focused reports of original research, in any of basic, translational, pre-clinical or clinical research. They can be sub-analyses or updates of previously published research, small studies and pilot studies. They should briefly summarise the results of original data. Reviews, case reports and opinion pieces are not considered for publication under this category.
Research Letters should not exceed 500 words (not counting the author information, references or legend). Given the small maximum word count, they are not expected to contain detailed descriptions of methodological approaches used, nor extensive results or in-depth discussion, with results obtained using only one or two well-established methodologies.
Research Letters should have a maximum of 5 references, up to 1 table or figure/graph, and up to 5 authors. An abstract is not required; nor are specific sections (Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion) needed. Authors are asked to include a Lay Summary, which will not count towards the 500 word limit (for full requirements see Research papers, Lay summary). Supplementary online content is allowed for brief additional and absolutely necessary methods, but not for any further results or discussion. Authors must meet all requirements regarding responsible conduct of research (e.g., appropriate IRB approval, data integrity, data retention). They should not be under consideration, submitted or published elsewhere in any form, in part or as whole.
Research letters are subject to peer review by an Associate Editor and at least one additional independent peer reviewer: the Editor(s)-in-Chief will make the final decision on publication.
Letters to the Editor have a flexible format and may be published on occasion, in order to comment on a paper published in Reproduction and Fertility.
Letters to the Editor can be no longer than 250 words, have no abstract, have no more than 3 references and have no more than 1 figure or table. Supplementary data is not allowed.
Letters will be reviewed by an Editor-in-Chief and the Associate Editor who originally dealt with the paper in question.
Supplementary data exceeding the bounds of the manuscript may be submitted for online publication, and should be submitted online via ScholarOne Manuscripts as ‘Supplemental File for Review’ and referred to as supplementary data in the text:
(Supplementary Table 1)
(Supplementary Figures 1 and 2)
Supplementary information will be reviewed as part of the manuscript, evaluated for its importance and relevance and, if accepted, will be referenced in the text of the article, directing readers to the website.
Authors must include a statement that consent has been obtained from each patient after full explanation of the purpose and nature of all procedures used. For research requiring ethics committee approval, please include a statement to this effect in the manuscript. Also indicate whether patient consent was obtained in line with the below policy. We will be unable to accept research papers without this statement.
Where possible, identifying information, including names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, or pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Any identifiable patient must be shown the manuscript to be published before being asked to give consent. Authors should disclose to these patients whether any potential identifiable material might be available online or in print after publication. Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. We no longer publish pictures with black bands across the eyes without a signed consent form, because bands fail to mask someone’s identity effectively.
The patient (or parent or guardian) must give written informed consent for publication by signing our consent form
. Signed consent forms should then be retained in the patient's clinical notes for future reference, and a copy should be made available for review by the Editor on request.
The manuscript reporting this patient's details should state that 'Written informed consent for publication of their clinical details and/or clinical images was obtained from the patient/parent/guardian/ relative of the patient'. If the patient is deceased the authors should seek permission from a relative and include a statement to this fact. If neither the patient or a relative can be traced, we can only publish if we are satisfied the information has been sufficiently anonymised, making it impossible to identify the patient with any certainty.
Permission is not required to publish the 'recordings' listed below, provided that, the recordings are effectively anonymised by the removal of any identifying marks, and patient details (i.e. patient name, date of birth, name of hospital) from images before submission:
- Images taken from pathology slides
- Laparoscopic images
- Images of internal organs
- Ultrasound images
When such an image is accompanied by text that could reveal the patient's identity through clinical or personal detail, however, a signed consent form and declaration as listed above, will be required before publication.
Papers reporting clinical trials will only be considered if the trials have been pre-registered according to the guidelines set out in The Lancet 364 (9438) 911-912
Authors should also refer to the CONSORT 2010 Statement
, and in particular the checklist within it, when preparing manuscripts detailing clinical trials.
Authors must state the clinical trial registration number within their article.
Experiments with animals must be performed in accordance with international, national and institutional requirements. Include a statement that investigations have been approved by the local ethical committee, along with the following:
- Give the full binomial Latin names for all experimental animals other than common laboratory animals
- State the breed or strain and source of animals, and give details of age, weight, sex and housing
- Detail the procedures and anaesthetics used, including doses given
Articles will only be considered if the procedures used are clearly described and conformed with the international and national legal and ethical requirements, as well as the requirements outlined by the institution in which the work took place. A statement identifying the committee approving the study must also be included in the Methods section.
Authors are encouraged to refer to the ARRIVE guidelines
, and in particular the checklist within them, when preparing manuscripts detailing animal experiments.
Editors reserve the right to request further information on the exact procedures and ethical approval obtained as part of the review process. Papers may be rejected on ethical grounds should the editors feel the study does not adequately meet current international guidelines for humane research.
Experiments with genetically engineered mice
In inbred mice, genetic strain effects can have significant effects on phenotype. Because of this the following controls for experiments with genetically-manipulated mice should be used: parental inbred strain, or wild-type littermates.
In general, studies that are based on observations performed in a single cell line will not be considered for publication if other lines of the same general lineage and characteristics are available. If at all possible, observations should be replicated in multiple cell lines.
Authentication of cell lines
We require that all cell lines are authenticated for correct origin. Specifically, the author should include the following information supporting the authentication of lines:
- Source of cell lines. Gifts of cell lines from individuals will not be acceptable
- Please state what the method of authentication is. For example, ATCC uses STRS analysis
- State the passage number(s) of cell lines used for the experiments described in the submission. Unless the research is specifically about senescence, lines >35 passages would not be acceptable.
Wherever possible, manuscripts must be prepared in accordance with approved gene nomenclature.
- In gene and protein symbols, substitute Greek letters with the corresponding roman letter, eg TGFBR2 not TGFβR2
- Avoid hyphens unless they are part of the approved symbol, eg IGF1 not IGF-1
- Please use arabic rather than roman numerals, eg BMPR2 not BMPRII
Follow species-specific formatting standards as follows:
Mice and rats
- Gene symbols should be in italics with only the first letter capitalised, eg Sox2
- Protein designations should be the same as the gene symbols except that all letters should be capitalised and in roman (ie not italicised), eg SOX2
- Please use symbols approved by the International Committee on Standardized Genetic Nomenclature for Mice and the Rat Genome and Nomenclature Committee, which can be queried at the MGI website.
Humans, non-human primates and domestic species
- Gene symbols should be in italics with all letters capitalised, eg SOX2
- Protein designations should be the same as the gene symbols but not italicised, eg SOX2
- Please use symbols approved by the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC).
- Gene symbols should be in italics with all letters in lower case, eg sox2
- Protein designations should be the same as the gene symbols but not italicised and with the first letter capitalised, eg Sox2
- Please use symbols approved by the Zebrafish Nomenclature Committee (ZNC), which can be queried at the ZFIN website.
Digital image integrity
Recognizing that the inappropriate use of computer software for digital image analysis and processing can raise concerns, the journal has produced the following requirements for the representation of research data:
- No specific feature within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed or introduced. The groupings of images from different parts of the same gel, or from different gels, fields or exposures must be made explicit by the arrangement of the figure (eg using dividing lines) and in the text of the figure legend.
- Adjustments of brightness, contrast or colour balance are acceptable if and as long as they do not obscure or eliminate any information present in the original. Nonlinear adjustments (eg changes to gamma settings) must be disclosed in the figure legend. 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.
It is the author’s responsibility to document that the results are reproducible and that the differences found are not due to random variation. No absolute rules can be applied but, in general, quantitative data should be from no fewer than three replicate experiments. Appropriate statistical methods should be used to test the significance of differences in results. The term ‘significant’ should not be used unless statistical analysis was performed, and the probability value used to identify significance (eg P < 0.05) should be specified.
When several t-tests are employed, authors should be aware that nominal probability levels no longer apply. Accordingly, the multiple t-test, multiple range test or similar techniques to permit simultaneous comparisons should be employed. Also, in lieu of using several t-tests, it is often more appropriate to utilize an analysis of variance (ANOVA) to permit pooling of data, increase the number of degrees of freedom, and improve reliability of results. Authors should use appropriate nonparametric tests when the data depart substantially from a normal distribution.
In presenting results of linear regression analyses, it is desirable to show 95% confidence limits.
Bar charts are discouraged; scatter plots more faithfully describe the data being presented. When data points are fitted with lines, specify the method used for fitting (graphical, least squares, computer program). If differences in slopes and/or axis intercepts are claimed for plotted lines, these should be supported by statistical analysis.
Give sufficient details of the experimental design and analysis so that the reader can assess their adequacy and validity for testing the hypotheses of interest.
- Describe the numbers of experimental units used and the way in which they have been allocated to treatments
- Justify the omission of any observations from the analysis
- Describe methods of analysis precisely and state any necessary assumptions, as these may affect the conclusions that can be drawn from the experiment
Your article may be sent to the Statistical Advisor for comments.
A preprint is a version of the article prior to submission to the journal for peer review, and has not been copyedited or typeset.
Bioscientifica allows deposition of preprints to recognized repositories, such as bioRxiv, provided that Bioscientifica is informed of this at the time of submission and it does not infringe any subsequent copyright or licence agreement.
Upon final publication, authors are required to add a link from the preprint to the published article (version of record).
Depositing data in public databases
Authors are strongly encouraged to deposit data sets in appropriate public databases, such as GenBank
or Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO)
. Authors should include the relevant database identifiers and accession numbers for deposited sequences within the manuscript using the following format: Database: xxxx, eg: GEO: GSE6364. Authors are also required to provide the URL for the sequence(s).
Please contact the editorial office
if you have a query about relevant databases.
Licence and Copyright
Authors retain copyright of their articles and may choose to publish under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY); Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC); or Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND) licences. Please see Gold Open Access licenses
for further information. Authors are permitted to copy and redistribute their work within the terms of their selected license. In the latter two cases authors also grant Bioscientifica Ltd commercial rights
Authors who feel they have grounds to appeal a rejection decision should send a rebuttal letter to the editorial office
, detailing the reasons for the appeal. Rebuttals will be considered by the handling Co-Editor-in-Chief, often in consultation with the Associate Editor who handled the paper. Decisions on appeals are final.