Information for Authors

Cell was launched in 1974 as the journal of exciting biology. Now a part of Cell Press, a family of twelve journals, Cell maintains editorial independence from its sister journals. Cell's Ph.D.-trained scientific editors work with authors, reviewers, and editorial board members with the goal of publishing 26 issues of the most interesting discoveries in biology every year, including an annual Review Issue. Every paper published in Cell is freely available starting 12 months after publication.

Table of Contents

Aims and Scope

Cell publishes findings of unusual significance in any area of experimental biology, including but not limited to cell biology, molecular biology, neuroscience, immunology, virology and microbiology, cancer, human genetics, systems biology, signaling, and disease. The basic criterion for considering papers is whether the results provide significant conceptual advances into, or raise provocative questions and hypotheses regarding, an interesting biological question. In addition to primary research articles in four formats, Cell features review and opinion articles on recent research advances and issues of interest to its broad readership in the Leading Edge section.

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Editorial Evaluation Timeline

All submissions are initially evaluated in depth by the scientific editors. Papers that are not deemed by the editors to be strong candidates for publication will be returned to the authors without detailed review, typically within 3–5 days. Otherwise, manuscripts will be sent to reviewers who have agreed in advance to assess the paper rapidly. The editors will make every effort to reach decisions on these papers within 3 weeks of the submission date. If revisions are a condition of publication, we generally allow two months for revisions and consider only one revised version of the paper. Evaluations of conceptual advance and significance are made based on the literature available on the day of the final decision, not the day of submission. Accepted papers will be published within 3 months of acceptance. Any major changes after acceptance are subject to review and may delay publication.

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Relationship between Cell Press Journals

Transfer of Papers between Cell Press Journals

Each Cell Press journal is editorially independent. Cell Press has developed a manuscript transfer policy designed to provide maximal flexibility, efficiency, and control for the authors. If a paper is reviewed and rejected at one Cell Press journal, the Editor of that journal can, upon the author's request, make the reviews and reviewer identities available to the Editor of another Cell Press journal. Authors interested in pursuing this option should email the Editor of the second Cell Press journal directly. In many cases the second Editor will be able to reach a decision based on the advice of these reviewers. In some cases he/she may need to seek comments from additional reviewers. The authors are also free to submit the paper to another Cell Press title without mentioning the first review process, in which case the manuscript will be evaluated by the Editor and, as appropriate, reviewed independently without reference to the original reviews.


In the limited number of instances where a paper is potentially appropriate in scope for the readership of two different Cell Press titles, the Cell Press journals also offer authors a unique opportunity not provided by any other journal group to submit a manuscript for joint consideration at two journals at the same time. Authors interested in pursuing this option should please contact the Editors of both journals for further information.

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Editorial Policies

Manuscripts are considered with the understanding that no part of the work has been published previously in print or electronic format and the paper is not under consideration by another publication or electronic medium. Prior publication could include, but is not limited to, deposition of all or part of the data in a publicly-accessible preprint or poster repository. Questions related to this policy should be directed to the editors. All in-press or submitted works that are pertinent to the manuscript under consideration by the journal (including those cited in the manuscript under consideration) must accompany the submission. Related manuscripts that have been submitted elsewhere during the period of revision must accompany revised manuscripts. Failure to provide copies of related manuscripts under consideration elsewhere may delay the review process and may be grounds for rejection. Under no circumstances will any paper be considered that contains any data that have been submitted for publication elsewhere.


The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that all appropriate contributors are listed as authors and that all authors have agreed to the manuscript's content and its submission to Cell. In a case where we become aware of an authorship dispute, authorship must be approved in writing by all of the parties.

Conflict of Interest

Cell requires all authors to disclose any financial conflict of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. Authors must declare any such conflict in the cover letter accompanying the manuscript and in the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript itself. The corresponding author will be asked to sign a form on behalf of all the authors regarding potential conflicts of interest at the time of acceptance. As a guideline, any affiliation associated with a payment or financial benefit exceeding $10,000 p.a. or 5% ownership of a company or research funding by a company with related interests would constitute a conflict that must be declared. This policy applies to all submitted research manuscripts and review material.  Examples of statement language include: AUTHOR is an employee and shareholder of COMPANY; AUTHOR is a founder of COMPANY and a member of its scientific advisory board; This work was supported in part by a grant from COMPANY.

Studies Involving Humans and Animals

For manuscripts reporting studies involving human subjects, statements identifying the committee approving the studies and confirming that informed consent was obtained from all subjects must appear in the Experimental Procedures section. All experiments on live vertebrates or higher invertebrates must be performed in accordance with relevant institutional and national guidelines and regulations. In the manuscript, a statement identifying the committee approving the experiments and confirming that all experiments conform to the relevant regulatory standards must be included in the Experimental Procedures section. The editors reserve the right to seek comments from reviewers or additional information from authors on any cases in which concerns arise.

Cell Press Data Processing Policy

Authors should make every attempt to reduce the amount of post-acquisition processing of data. Some degree of processing may be unavoidable in certain instances and is permitted provided that the final data accurately reflect that of the original. In the case of image processing, alterations must be applied to the entire image (e.g., brightness, contrast, color balance). In rare instances where this is not possible (e.g., alterations to a single color channel on a microscopy image), any alterations must be clearly stated in the figure legend and in the methods section. Groupings and consolidation of data (e.g., cropping of images or removal of lanes from gels and blots) must be made apparent and should be explicitly indicated in the appropriate figure legends. Data comparisons should only be made from comparative experiments, and individual data should not be utilized across multiple figures. In cases where data are used multiple times (e.g., multiple experiments were performed simultaneously with a single control experiment), this must be clearly stated within each figure legend. In the event that it is deemed necessary for proper evaluation of the manuscript, authors will be required to make the original unprocessed data available to the editors of the journal.

Distribution of Materials and Data

One of the terms and conditions of publishing in Cell is that authors be willing to distribute any materials and protocols used in the published experiments to qualified researchers for their own use. Materials include but are not limited to cells, DNA, antibodies, reagents, organisms, and mouse strains, or if necessary the relevant ES cells. These must be made available with minimal restrictions and in a timely manner, but it is acceptable to request reasonable payment to cover the cost of maintenance and transport of materials. If there are restrictions to the availability of any materials, data, or information, these must be disclosed in the cover letter and the Experimental Procedures section of the manuscript at the time of submission.

For papers describing structures of biological macromolecules, the atomic coordinates and related experimental data (structure factor amplitudes/intensities and/or NMR restraints) must be deposited at a member site of the WorldwideProtein Data Bank. Electron microscopy-derived density maps must be deposited into the EMDB through one of the partner sites ( or Atomic coordinates fitted to EM maps must also be deposited to a wwPDB member site. The corresponding database IDs must be included in the manuscript. Authors must agree to release atomic coordinates and experimental data when the associated article is published. Additionally, Cell now recommends that the authors include PDB validation report as a part of the Supplemental Information for all new submissions describing results of X-ray and NMR structure determination.

Nucleic acid and protein sequences and microarray data must be deposited in the appropriate public database and must be accessible without restriction from the date of publication. An entry name or accession number must be included as the last paragraph of the Experimental Procedures section in the final version of the manuscript. Microarray data should be MIAME compliant (for guidelines, see

In addition to the information that must be deposited in public databases as detailed above, authors are encouraged to contribute additional information to the appropriate databases. Authors are also encouraged to deposit materials used in their studies to the appropriate repositories for distribution to researchers.

Open Archive

Cell Press papers are freely available starting 12 months after publication.


Upon acceptance of an article, authors will be asked to transfer copyright. This transfer will ensure the widest possible dissemination of information. A form facilitating transfer of copyright will be provided upon acceptance of the manuscript. After transfer of copyright, authors retain rights as discussed below.

Authors' Rights

As an author you (or your employer or institution) may do the following:

  • Make copies (print or electronic) of the article for your own personal use, including for your own classroom teaching use;
  • Make copies and distribute such copies (including through e-mail) of the article to known research colleagues, for the personal use by such colleagues (but not for commercial purposes as described below);
  • Post a revised personal version of the final text (including illustrations and tables) of the article (to reflect changes made in the peer review and editing process) on your personal or your institutional website or server, with a link (through the relevant DOI) to the article as published, provided that such postings are not for commercial purposes as described below. Please Note: Depositing in or posting to Special Repositories (such as PubMed Central or Institutional Repositories) is permitted only under specific agreements between Elsevier and the repository and only consistent with Elsevier’s policies concerning such repositories;
  • Present the article at a meeting or conference and to distribute copies of the article to the delegates attending such meeting;
  • For your employer, if the article is a "work for hire," made within the scope of your employment, your employer may use all or part of the information in the article for other intra-company use (e.g., training);
  • Retain patent and trademark rights and rights to any process or procedure described in the article;
  • Include the article in full or in part in a thesis or dissertation (provided that this is not to be published commercially);
  • Use the article or any part thereof in a printed compilation of your works, such as collected writings or lecture notes (subsequent to publication of the article in the journal); and
  • Prepare other derivative works, to extend the article into book-length form, or to otherwise re-use portions or excerpts in other works, with full acknowledgement of its original publication in the journal.

All copies, print or electronic, or other use of the paper or article must include the appropriate bibliographic citation for the article's publication in the journal. However you should not indicate in the citation that the version that you are reproducing or posting is the final published version as published in the journal. As an example, it may be appropriate to indicate "This paper has been submitted to [Journal] for consideration."

Commercial purposes include: the posting by companies or their employees for use by customers (e.g., pharmaceutical companies and physician-prescribers); commercial exploitation such as associating advertising with such posting (including the linking to advertising by search engines); the charging of fees for document delivery or access; or the systematic distribution to others via e-mail lists or list servers (to parties other than known colleagues), whether for a fee or for free.

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Funding Bodies

In compliance with the public access policies of NIH, HHMI, Wellcome Trust, and several other funding bodies, Cell Press deposits accepted, peer-reviewed manuscripts on authors’ behalf to PubMed Central (PMC). Please see our Funding Bodies Policies page for complete information.

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If excerpts from other copyrighted works are included in your manuscript, you must obtain written permission from the copyright owners and credit the sources in the article. To obtain permission to use material from Cell Press and Elsevier journals and books, e-mail If you have adapted a figure from a published figure, please check with the copyright owners to see if permission is required and include a complete citation/reference for the original article. Obtaining permissions can take up to several weeks. As lack of appropriate permissions can delay publication, we recommend that you request permission at the time of submission.

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Prepublication Publicity

Work intended for submission to Cell, currently under consideration at Cell, or in press at Cell may not be discussed with the media before publication. Providing preprints, granting interviews, discussing data with members of the media, or participating in press conferences in advance of publication without prior approval from the Cell editorial office may be grounds for rejection. With regards to the scientific literature, papers in press in Cell should not be discussed in reviews elsewhere prior to the date of publication. Authors are welcome to present and discuss material intended for publication in Cell at scientific meetings; however, we do require that they refrain from discussing the findings with members of the press beyond those included in the formal presentation. In addition, we encourage meeting organizers to contact our editorial office in advance of a meeting if they have any questions regarding this policy. Any questions or issues regarding prepublication publicity should be directed to Elisabeth Lyons (

Interaction with Members of the Press for Papers in Press

Authors are free to talk with the press starting on the Friday of the week before publication and to release information provided that its use is embargoed until noon Eastern Time on the day of online publication. We also allow authors to discuss their work in press with other scientific journals for purposes of coverage in review material. Please refer any inquiries from other journals to us. If your press office wishes to issue a press release, they should contact us in advance for final embargo information. Any questions or issues regarding interaction with the press should be directed to Elisabeth Lyons (

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Presubmission and Status Inquiries

Presubmission Inquiries

If you would like editorial input on whether your paper might be a strong candidate for consideration at Cell, you can send a presubmission inquiry. This should include an abstract plus a brief description of the results and an explanation of the interest and significance to the broad readership of Cell and be emailed to We try to respond to these within 2–5 days.

Status Inquiries

Elsevier Editorial System identifies the status as "with editor" until a decision is made. If you would like more information about the status of your submitted manuscript, please email or call 617-397-2825.

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Research Article Formats

Research, Resource, Theory, and Matters Arising articles are all handled through our online submission system, Elsevier Editorial System. A brief description of each article type is provided below. Please refer to Article Preparation and Online Submission of Research, Resource, Theory, and Matters Arising Articles for detailed information about the organization of research articles and their submission.

Research Articles

Research Articles present conceptual advances of unusual significance regarding a biological question of wide interest. Research papers should be as concise as possible and written in a style that is accessible to the broad Cell readership. The total character count of an article must be under 55,000 (including spaces, references, and figure legends), and there should be no more than seven figures and/or tables. Additional items may be published online as Supplemental Information at the discretion of the editor (please see the Supplemental Information guidelines for more information).


The Resource format is designed to highlight significant technical advances and/or major informational databases that are of value and interest to the broad Cell readership. Manuscripts reporting the development of an important technological advance should include a proof-of-principle demonstration that the new methodology will open the door for addressing important questions in a variety of biomedical research areas. Manuscripts reporting a major informational database should propose provocative new biological insights that can be derived from an analysis of the dataset.

Theory Articles

The Theory format is intended for papers that employ computational, theoretical, or analytical approaches to derive novel conceptual models with clearly experimentally testable predictions. Like Research and Resource articles, Theory papers must be of broad interest and written in a manner accessible to the general reader. They follow the same format and length guidelines as Research articles.

Matters Arising Articles

The Matters Arising format provides a venue for research papers that directly and definitively challenge the main take-home message of a previously published Cell paper. We reserve this format for cases where we feel there is an urgent need to alert our readership that the published conclusions require re-examination. It is not the appropriate venue for debates that are part of standard scientific discourse or for advances that reflect a normal evolution of scientific understanding. Revisions will not be permitted, so Matters Arising articles will either be accepted or rejected based on editorial evaluation and/or reviewers' comments, but not returned for further experimental work. Authors of the original Cell paper will be given an opportunity to provide a response to the Matters Arising that will be evaluated editorially and may or may not be reviewed and published together with the Matters Arising. Matters Arising articles follow the same format and length as Research articles.

Article Preparation and Online Submission of Research, Resource, Theory, and Matters Arising Articles

Cell encourages authors to submit manuscripts via our online submission system, Elsevier Editorial System. An author tutorial regarding online submission is available at the Elsevier Editorial System website. Authors may contact the editorial office ( or 617-397-2825) for assistance.

Elsevier Editorial System will prompt you to upload the individual components of your manuscript (cover letter, text, figures, supplemental data, etc.) as separate files. Upon completion of this step, the website will build a composite PDF file of your entire manuscript that will contain links for the editors and reviewers to download the individual high-resolution files of each component. Please note that the version of the PDF file that is accessible to reviewers does not contain the cover letter; any information therein will remain confidential.

Please be aware that Elsevier Editorial System will send all communications about the paper (including the request for final approval and the confirmation of submission) to the person who is checked off as corresponding author during the submission process, or if no name is designated, to the person whose account is used to submit the manuscript. If you wish to specify a different author for editorial correspondence after submission please contact the editorial assistant at

Cover Letter

Each submission should be accompanied by a cover letter, which should contain a brief explanation of what was previously known, the conceptual advance provided by the findings, and the significance of the findings to a broad readership. A cover letter may contain suggestions for appropriate reviewers and up to three requests for reviewer exclusions. The cover letter is confidential to the editor and will not be seen by reviewers.

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General Article Organization and Text Specifications

Cell Research articles generally contain the following sections in this order: Title, Authors, Affiliations, Contact Information, Additional title page Footnotes, Summary, Highlights (see below), Introduction, Results, Discussion, Experimental Procedures, Acknowledgements, References, Figure and Table Legends, Figures and Tables, Graphical Abstract (optional, see below), Supplemental Information. The text (title through legends) should be provided as one document, which may also contain the Tables. Figures should be provided separately. Supplemental Information should be provided separately.

The total character count of the main text, including all sections and including spaces but excluding supplemental data, should not exceed 55,000. An article may contain up to seven figures and/or tables. Gene symbols should be italicized; protein products of the loci are not italicized. Nonstandard abbreviations should be defined when first used in the text. Use of abbreviations should be kept at a minimum. Manuscript file types that we can accept for submission include Word, RTF, and TXT. Required items differ for each article type and are specified during the submission process.

Please note that the text should be double spaced and pages should be numbered. Although summaries need to be entered as text files separate from the body of the manuscript during the online submission process, they should also be included within the manuscript file as usual.

Manuscripts that do not conform to the format guidelines may be returned to the authors for reformatting.

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Preparation of Specific Sections


Titles can occupy no more than three lines of type. Each line should contain no more than 38 characters, including spaces. The title should convey the conceptual significance of the paper to a broad readership.


Author names should be spelled out rather than set in initials. Authors should be footnoted to corresponding affiliations. Affiliations should contain the following core information: department(s)/subunit(s); institution; city, state/region, postal code; country. Note: please check author names and affiliations carefully as we cannot amend or correct these sections after publication.


The contact line should include the email address of the corresponding author. The published corresponding author is responsible for ensuring adherence to all editorial and submission policies and for any communications that may result after publication. One corresponding author is preferred, but two are allowed.

Additional Footnotes

Footnotes are only allowed on page 1 of the text (and in tables). They may include a present address or statement of equal contribution to the manuscript.


The Summary consists of a single paragraph of fewer than 150 words. It should clearly convey the conceptual advance and significance of the work to a broad readership. In particular, the abstract should contain a brief background of the question, a description of the results without extensive experimental detail, and a summary of the significance of the findings. References should not be cited in the Summary.

Graphical Abstract

A graphical abstract should allow readers to quickly gain an understanding of the main take-home message of the paper and is intended to encourage browsing, promote interdisciplinary scholarship, and help readers identify more quickly which papers are most relevant to their research interests. Examples of this feature can be seen in the online version of articles published in Cell from January 2010 onwards. Graphical abstracts may be submitted at any stage but are only required once a paper has been accepted for publication (it is not necessary to provide a graphical abstract for a new submission). Graphical abstracts can be uploaded in EES by selecting "Graphical Abstract" when uploading files.

Preparation guidelines: A graphical abstract should be one image and should not contain multiple panels; visualize one process or make one point clear; have a clear start and end, preferably 'reading' from top to bottom or left to right, for ease of browsing; try to reduce distracting and cluttering elements as much as possible; and provide a visual indication of the biological context of the results depicted (subcellular location, tissue or cell type, species, etc.). Simple labels are often useful. Please also try to avoid including features that are more speculative (unless the speculative nature can be made apparent visually), and highlight the new findings from the current paper without including excess details from previous literature. Specifications: the maximum size of the image should be 400 x 400 pixels, using Arial font with a size of 12–16 points. Preferred file types are .ai, .psd, and .eps; .jpg and .tif are also acceptable.


Required for papers published from January 2010 onward. Highlights are a short collection of bullet points that convey the core findings of the article. This list of points will be displayed online with the summary of the article but will not appear in print. Examples of this new feature can be seen in the prototypes at Specifications: up to 4 bullet points can be included; the length of an individual bullet point should not exceed 85 characters (including spaces); only the core results of the paper should be covered.


The Introduction should be succinct, with no subheadings, and should present the background information necessary to provide a biological context for the results.


This section should be divided with subheadings. Footnotes should not be used and will be transferred to the text.


The Discussion should explain the significance of the results and place them into a broader context. It should not be redundant with the Results section. This section may contain subheadings and can in some cases be combined with the Results section.

Experimental Procedures

The Experimental Procedures should, at minimum, include enough detail to allow the reader to understand the general experimental design and to be able to assess the data presented in the figures. More detailed protocols and procedures needed for readers to reproduce experiments should be included in the Extended Experimental Procedures. Any supplemental tables that list materials used in the study (oligonucleotides, strains, etc.) should be included within the relevant section of the Extended Experimental Procedures; these tables should have a title but should not be numbered. If your paper contains Extended Experimental Procedures, please make sure that they are referred to within the main Experimental Procedures so that it is clear to the reader that additional details are available online.

This section should also include a description of any statistical methods employed in the study. A more detailed version of the procedures and details such as oligo sequences, strains, and specifics of how constructs were made can be included in Supplemental Information, but it is not appropriate to move the majority of the Experimental Procedures to Supplemental Information in order to shorten the text.

Please see our complete Supplemental Information guidelines for more information.


This section may acknowledge contributions from non-authors, list funding sources, and should include a statement of any conflict of interests. Please check this section carefully, as we cannot allow amendments or corrections after publication. This section may be used to list the contributions of individual authors.


References should include only articles that are published or in press. For references to in press articles, please confirm with the cited journal that the article is in fact accepted and in press and include a DOI number and as much other information as possible at the time of final submission. Unpublished data, submitted manuscripts, abstracts, and personal communications should be cited within the text only. Personal communication should be documented by a letter of permission. Submitted articles should be cited as unpublished data, data not shown, or personal communication. Note: "et al." should only be used after ten authors. Please use the following style for references:

  • Article in a periodical: Sondheimer, N., and Lindquist, S. (2000). Rnq1: an epigenetic modifier of protein function in yeast. Mol. Cell 5, 163–172.
  • Article in a book: King, S.M. (2003). Dynein motors: Structure, mechanochemistry and regulation. In Molecular Motors, M. Schliwa, ed. (Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH), pp. 45–78.
  • An entire book: Cowan, W.M., Jessell, T.M., and Zipursky, S.L. (1997). Molecular and Cellular Approaches to Neural Development (New York: Oxford University Press).

Figure Legends

Legends should be included in the submitted manuscript as a separate section. Each figure legend should have a brief title that describes the entire figure without citing specific panels, followed by a description of each panel. For any figures presenting pooled data, the measures should be defined in the figure legends (for example, data are represented as mean +/− SEM). Each legend should refer to any supporting items in the Supplemental Information (i.e., "see also Figure S1").


When creating a table, please use the Microsoft Word table function and do not place an Excel table in a Word document. Word tables should not be tab or space delineated and should not use color. Tables should include a title, and footnotes and/or legend should be concise. Include tables in the submitted manuscript as a separate section. Tables not created with the Microsoft Word table function will need to be revised by the author.

Supplemental Information

In general, Supplemental Information is limited to data and other materials that directly support the main conclusions of a paper but cannot be included in the main paper for reasons such as space or file format restrictions. SI should not be used to present data that are preliminary or that conceptually go beyond the main point of the paper.

All supplemental files should be submitted with your other materials through EES. Please include an inventory that details all items that are part of your Supplemental Information.

Please provide a single Word file that contains all supplemental figure and movie legends, tables, experimental procedures, and references (in this order). If a supplemental table cannot fit onto two 8.5" x 11" pages, please instead supply the table as an Excel file.

Figure files should be submitted individually in accordance with our digital figure guidelines.

Before submitting your supplemental materials, please refer to our complete instructions in the Supplemental Information guidelines. This page also contains information on submitting movie and other multimedia files.

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Figure Organization, Formats, and Style

Digital figure files submitted through EES must conform to our digital figure guidelines or authors will be asked to revise them.

If you have any questions about digital files, please contact Meredith Adinolfi, Senior Managing Editor of Cell, at

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Submission of Revised Manuscripts

In addition to the sections described above, revised manuscripts must also contain a detailed point by point response to the comments of the reviewers and/or editors. The cover letter should briefly summarize how the revised manuscript addresses these comments. In general, revised manuscripts will be reconsidered only if resubmitted within two months of the date of the original decision.

Checklist for Final Submission

In order for a paper to be accepted and scheduled for publication, the author will be asked to send the following items. Please refer to the letter from your editor for further details and to the additional guidelines below for final figures.

1. Please make sure your final manuscript:

  • Meets our length restrictions of 55,000 characters, including spaces, and seven figures and/or tables
  • Includes database accession numbers for new gene sequences, protein sequences, structures, or microarray data
  • Includes explanation of statistical methods in the Experimental Procedures
  • For any figures presenting pooled data, defines the measures in the figure legends
  • Includes experimental procedures of sufficient detail

2. Please submit your final materials through our online system.

3. Please include all of the following when you are resubmitting your final materials:

  • A modifiable electronic version of the final text (Microsoft Word .doc file is preferred)
  • High-resolution digital files of the figures in an accepted format (see digital figure guidelines)
  • Inventory of all items contained within the Supplemental Information
  • Supplemental Information set as a single Word document with embedded figures, legends, Exp Procs, and tables
  • Supplemental figures as separate, high-resolution files that meet our digital figure guidelines
  • Additional supplemental data files such as movies and spreadsheets
  • Signed conflict of interest form (please refer to your EES letter for a link to this form)
  • A short paragraph of 100 words describing the context and significance of the findings, to be adapted for email alerts and In this Issue pages
  • The offprint order & billing form, faxed to our office, as instructed on the form
  • Cover letter

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Production and Proofs

After final acceptance, the manuscript will be passed to the production team to be copyedited and prepared for printing. Authors will be charged $1000 for the first color figure and $275 for each additional color figure. Figures may be resized during the production process.

PDF proofs will arrive via email about 2 weeks prior to publication and need to be returned with vital corrections no more than 24 hours after receipt. If you will be unreachable at all during this period or anticipate any problems meeting this timeline, please contact Meredith Adinolfi, Senior Managing Editor (

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Leading Edge

Cell's Leading Edge presents scholarly, thought-provoking opinion and review style articles that provide a balanced overview and fresh outlook on exciting research advances and scientific policy issues of interest to Cell's broad readership. Leading Edge contains both traditional formats—Previews, Minireviews, and Reviews—and several new formats including Commentaries, Essays, and Correspondence. Leading Edge articles should be written in an engaging, accessible style bearing in mind the broad readership of Cell. The majority of Leading Edge articles are commissioned, but we do accept presubmission inquiries about proposed timely contributions.

Leading Edge Formats


Commentary articles are opinion pieces that discuss issues—such as science policy, research funding, bioethics—that affect research in the biological sciences. Commentaries are 2000 to 3000 words in length (with a two-sentence abstract), ten or fewer references, and one or two figures where appropriate.


Essays are concise opinion pieces that provide fresh insights into published scientific data. They may contain thought-provoking speculation to drive research in a field forward. Essays may also take a historical perspective, discussing a landmark paper from long ago and highlighting what we can learn from the scientific accomplishments of the past. Essays are 2000 to 3000 words in length (with a 2-sentence abstract), 15 or fewer references, and one or two figures.


The Correspondence format provides our readers with the opportunity to respond to an article in Cell—either a research article or Leading Edge article—that has been published within the last 2 months. Correspondence should be no more than 900 words in length with up to five references and should be of interest to the broad readership, providing new information or a fresh perspective on the published article. If selected for publication, the Correspondence will be sent to the authors of the published article for a response.


Previews highlight one or several research papers published in the same issue of Cell or in a recent issue of another journal, placing the results in context for Cell's broad readership. Previews are usually 1200 to 1500 words in length (with a two-sentence abstract), no more than ten references, and one figure. Most Previews are commissioned, but timely unsolicited contributions will be considered.


Minireviews discuss a sharply focused scientific topic of interest, usually highlighting emerging themes from papers in the recent literature. Minireviews must fit within four pages of the journal and therefore can be no more than 3500 words in length (including figure legends, a 40-word abstract, and no more than 20 references) and may include one or two figures.


Leading Edge publishes comprehensive full-length reviews on topics of interest to Cell's broad readership. Reviews are usually 5000 to 8000 words in length (including an abstract that is no more than 100 words), up to 75 references, and three to five figures.

Submission of Leading Edge Articles

Leading Edge articles should be submitted as word files by email to the Leading Edge editor who commissioned the article.


We welcome the use of figures to illustrate and enhance the text of Leading Edge articles. Figures should be submitted by email to the commissioning editor as graphics files. They should be either Photoshop or Illustrator files (in .tif, .psd, .eps, .ai, .pdf, or .jpg format) at 300 dpi resolution (for a figure 3 to 5 inches in width). Our professional in-house illustrators will work with authors to ensure the highest quality and clarity of published figures.

Presubmission Inquiries

Presubmission inquiries should contain an outline of the proposed article and an explanation of the interest and significance to the broad readership of Cell. Presubmission inquiries should be submitted to or to Robert Kruger (

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Contacts at Cell

  • Presubmission inquiries:
  • Assistance with online submission: 617-397-2825 or
  • Leading Edge questions: or
  • Status inquiries about submitted papers and Leading Edge articles:
  • Proofs: Meredith Adinolfi, Senior Managing Editor,
  • Prepublication publicity and press issues: Elisabeth Lyons, Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator,
  • Permissions:

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