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Journal policies



Responsibility for (1) the accuracy of statements of fact, (2) the authenticity of scientific findings or observations, (3) expressions of scientific or other opinion and (4) any other material published in the journal rests solely with the author(s) of the article in which such statements, etc., appear. The Journal, its owners, publishers, editors, reviewers and staff take no responsibility for these matters.

Research articles published in our journals undergo peer review, assessment by academic editors, and ethics checks; by submitting to our journals, authors agree to our sharing their content with third parties for ethics checks. These are stages in the communication of scientific findings and are just part of the process of validating, reproducing and extending these data. Of course, no process is perfect, and we also rely on the astuteness of our readers and appreciate it when they inform us of potential issues with any of our published articles. We will always follow up when alerted and remain committed to our duty to ensure we uphold the integrity of the scientific record.

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Publisher policies

The Company of Biologists' journals adhere to the principles outlined below, which have been devised to ensure the accurate, timely, fair and ethical publication of scientific papers. As a member of COPE (The Committee on Publication Ethics) The Company of Biologists regularly reviews its editorial policies. It has adopted clear and rigorous guidelines for best working practices in scientific publishing, working in conjunction with our academic partners. Such policies will benefit our authors, editors and readers as we strive for a trustworthy, transparent and efficient publishing process. Responsibility for the journal and its policies lies with the Editor-in-Chief in conjunction with the Publisher; any concerns either regarding specific papers or general policies should be directed to the Executive Editor.

Journal of Cell Science investigates all potential cases reported to it or of which it becomes aware. In many cases, this will require the involvement of authors’ institutes and sometimes the appointment of independent experts. The majority of cases are resolved pre-publication, but some do relate to published articles. Should our investigations find that no action is required, it is our usual practice not to make any public statement about the investigation. If, however, our investigations find that action is required relating to a published article, this will be made clear through the published record, for example in the form of a Correction, Retraction and/or Publisher’s Note/Expression of Concern.

For JCS, during 2023, pre-publication issues arose on 26% of accepted articles and 20 issues were raised post-publication (including historical articles). We published 7 Publisher’s Notes/Expressions of Concern, 7 Corrections and 0 Retractions relating to ethics issues during 2023.

Across the Company’s journals, during 2023, pre-publication issues arose on 154 (16%) accepted articles and 44 issues were raised on published papers. We published 9 Publisher’s Notes/Expressions of Concern, 18 Corrections and 0 Retractions relating to publishing ethics cases during 2023.


COPE logo

Version control

All versions of scholarly articles will remain available once published. When multiple versions of the same article are available, The Company of Biologists will ensure that these articles are clearly labelled with the date of publication and version number or type.

The online issue version of Journal of Cell Science is considered to be the version of record.

Permanence of the publication record

Preservation of electronic versions of articles in a permanent archive is an essential component of today's publishing. The Company of Biologists has a third-party agreement with Silverchair, who administer our archive, and are members of the LOCKSS/CLOCKSS programs.

The Company has adopted the DOI (digital object identifier) system to enable accurate citation and stable online availability of our published articles (see

Advertising policy

Journal of Cell Science follows the advertising policies of The Company of Biologists.

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Appeals and complaints

Complaint about editorial decisions (e.g. appeal against a decision)

Authors may appeal decisions by contacting the Editorial Office if there are strong grounds to believe there have been errors or misunderstandings on the part of the Editor or reviewers. All appeals are carefully considered by the Editor and, if necessary, Editor-in-Chief. Where appropriate, additional advice may be sought from other members of the Editorial team or Editorial Advisory Board. Decisions on appeals are final.

Complaint about processes

Complaints or concerns about processes (e.g. delays or technical issues) should be raised in the first instance with the Managing Editor of each journal via the Editorial Office. They will work with the in-house Editorial and Production teams (where appropriate) to resolve any outstanding issues and thoroughly investigate the matter.

Complaint about publication ethics

Ethical issues are handled in consultation with the guidelines published by COPE. Queries or concerns should be raised in the first instance with the Managing Editor of each journal via the Editorial Office. They will work with the Ethics Coordinator for The Company of Biologists, Editor-in-Chief and Handling Editor (where appropriate) to resolve the issue and thoroughly investigate the matter. Advice from third-party experts may be taken if necessary.

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Diversity and Inclusion

At The Company of Biologists and Journal of Cell Science, we are committed to improving diversity and inclusion in our activities. We believe that diversity – in areas including but not limited to geography, ethnicity, gender and career stage - is essential for a community to thrive, and aim to engage a broad and diverse group of authors, reviewers, Editors, editorial staff, Editorial Board members and readers. As a founding signatory of a cross-publisher joint commitment for action on inclusion and diversity in publishing (copied in full below), we recognise that disparities and biases exist in publishing, and are actively working towards ensuring we reflect the diversity of the community in our publishing activities. By working with other like-minded publishers to share knowledge and expertise, we aim to develop more inclusive practices and policies to better serve and improve outcomes for under-represented members of our community.

Joint commitment for action on inclusion and diversity in publishing
(see the original statement and list of signatories)

The Royal Society of Chemistry has brought together 19 publishing organisations to set a new standard to ensure a more inclusive and diverse culture within scholarly publishing.

As a group, we acknowledge that biases exist in scholarly publishing and we commit to scrutinising our own processes to minimise these. We will pool our resources, expertise and insight to accelerate research culture change.

Collectively we will:

1. Understand our research community

We will collaborate to enable diversity data to be self-reported by members of our community, and we will work towards a collective and compliant system so that researchers only need to self-report data once. We will share and analyse anonymised diversity data to understand where action is needed.


2. Reflect the diversity of our community

We will use anonymised data to uncover subject-specific diversity baselines, and set minimum targets to achieve appropriate and inclusive representation of our authors, reviewers and editorial decision-makers.


3. Share success to achieve impact

We will share and develop new and innovative resources to improve representation and inclusivity of diverse groups. We will transparently share policies, measurements, language and standards, to move inclusion and diversity in publishing forward together.


4. Set minimum standards on which to build

We will scrutinise our own publishing processes and take action to achieve a minimum standard for inclusion in publishing, based initially on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Framework for Action in Scientific Publishing. We will engage all relevant stakeholders to improve outcomes on inclusion and diversity, at all stages of the publishing process.


By working together, we will become more effective in driving positive change within scholarly publishing – and we invite and encourage other publishers to join us.

Diversity and inclusion statement
Authors may provide a Diversity and inclusion statement in their paper. This can document diversity and inclusion practices relevant to both the scientific content of the paper, and authorship and attribution.

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Editors and reviewers are expected to treat articles they handle confidentially. Editors and reviewers must not disclose information about manuscripts (including their receipt, content, status in the publishing process, reviewer feedback and final decision) to anyone, except where expressly permitted by the journal Editorial Office. They should not use knowledge of the work before its publication to further their own interests. Reviewers also have the right to confidentiality; they will remain anonymous to authors (unless they choose to waive their anonymity) and readers and their comments will not be published. To avoid breaches of confidentiality, peer reviewers must not upload manuscripts to AI tools.

In situations where a reviewer wishes to co-review an article with a junior member of their laboratory, they must abide by the same rules of confidentiality and publishing ethics, and be named as a co-reviewer on submission of the review to the journal. Sharing manuscript details with lab members as a whole or with colleagues outside of the lab is not permitted.

Please note that article/peer review information may be shared across the Company’s journals.

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Objectivity and fair play

An Editor will evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, age, career stage, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors.

Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.

Any concerns regarding objectivity and fair play should be directed to the Executive Editor.

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Financial and competing interests

A competing or conflict of interest is anything that might inappropriately influence (bias), or which might be perceived to interfere with, the full and objective presentation, review or publication of research findings or review-type material. Competing interests can be financial, professional or personal, and can be held by authors, their employers, funders, reviewers, Editors and editorial staff. Having a competing interest does not imply wrongdoing.

Journal of Cell Science is committed to publishing the most objective and unbiased scientific information possible. As such, we ask that all participants in the publication process disclose all relationships that could be viewed as potential competing interests. Questions regarding financial or competing interests should be addressed to the Executive Editor.


Journal of Cell Science requires complete disclosure of financial, personal or professional associations that could be perceived as interfering with the objectivity of their scientific judgment, and requests that authors err on the side of disclosure in the event of uncertainty. Such associations include (but are not limited to) patents, consultancy, paid employment/affiliation, stock ownership, board membership, gifts received, research grants, relationships with Editors, membership in a lobbying organization, role as an expert witness, membership of a government advisory board, and relationships with organizations or funding groups. If any author included on a manuscript has potential competing interests, these must be clearly stated in a disclosure statement with the original submission of their work. Detailed information about current associations extending beyond those listed on the title (address) page of their manuscript, as well as any anticipated in the foreseeable future, should be provided. Competing interests held by an author's employer (e.g. academic institution, company, etc.) or the financial sponsor of the work presented should also be declared.

Authors must include information regarding the provider of financial and material support of their research in the Funding section at the end of the manuscript. This statement should include authors' grant support, funding sources, and the provision of equipment and supplies.

Competing interests might, in some circumstances, be a factor in editorial decisions, but we do not reject papers simply because a conflict has been disclosed. However, failure to provide financial or competing interests disclosures in the original submission may delay its evaluation and review.

A ‘Competing Interests’ disclosure statement will be published at the end of the main text. All authors are required to make complete disclosure of all possible financial and non-financial relationships and activities, to enable readers to judge for themselves any possible relevance to the work presented. Authors without financial or competing interests should explicitly assert this and the statement ‘No competing interests declared’ will be published.


Unbiased independent critical assessment has a key place in scholarly publication. Reviewers should declare any association with authors of a paper. They should also disclose any financial or professional associations that could be perceived as interfering with the objectivity of their scientific assessment of a paper. If a reviewer is unsure whether they should review a paper for reasons of competing interests, they should inform the Editor of the paper or the Editorial Office so that the Editor can decide whether a potential conflict should exclude them.

Authors can request to exclude reviewers with perceived competing interests from refereeing their paper, but are asked to provide additional information to support such a request. The Editors will respect these requests provided that they do not interfere with the objective and thorough assessment of an article.

Editors and editorial staff

Editors who make final editorial decisions on articles must have no financial, personal or professional involvement with the manuscript under consideration. If a potential bias exists, they should withdraw from handling the paper. Editors will base decisions on the importance of the work and not on its potential effect on the Journal’s commercial success. Editors who submit their own work to the Journal are never involved in any aspect of the handling of their article and do not have access to the record; another Editor is always given responsibility for the peer review and decision-making process.

Editors are required to disclose any potential competing interests to The Company of Biologists, and editorial staff members are not permitted to use information obtained through working with manuscripts for private gain.

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Author contributions

An author is someone who has made significant and substantial contributions to a study. This should include conceptualization, design (methodology), investigation (performing experiments or data/evidence collection) and formal analysis of the findings being published, and drafting and revising the article. Papers must be submitted with the agreement of all authors, and all authors should give final approval of the version to be published. If the author list is modified after the first submission, this must be done with the agreement of all authors. Those who have made other contributions to the work, such as by providing reagents or assisting with the writing, should be listed in the Acknowledgements, and their role or involvement outlined.

The corresponding author has an important role, taking primary responsibility for communication with the journal (through submission, peer review, revisions, proofs, etc.). They must ensure that all co-authors agree to the contents of the manuscript (and any revisions) and that all matters comply with the policies of the journal, as well as signing the Publication Agreement and arranging payment of an Article Processing Charge, where required. The corresponding author should also be available for any post-publication queries (correspondence from other members of the community, requests for materials and data, ethics queries, etc.). In addition, the role of corresponding author is often seen to confer a level of seniority and experience. The choice of corresponding author on a manuscript should be based on the above commitments rather than any financial considerations.

See ICMJE's guidelines on what constitutes authorship.

Journal of Cell Science uses the CRediT taxonomy to define author contributions to primary research papers and requires that the independent contributions of each author be provided during online submission. The corresponding author should ensure that all co-authors have agreed authorship and contributorship (using the CRediT taxonomy) prior to manuscript submission. The CRediT taxonomy alone does not determine who qualifies as an author. Each author on a paper may have one or more CRediT contribution roles, but having a role described by the taxonomy does not automatically qualify someone as an author. All authors are responsible for asserting that each author has contributed sufficiently to justify authorship. Author contributions will be included in the final published article.

In cases of authorship disputes that can not be resolved between the authors, the editors reserve the right to refer the dispute to the institutes involved for resolution. 

This COPE report provides useful guidelines for researchers on how to avoid authorship disputes.


Artificial Intelligence tools

In accordance with COPE guidance, AI tools should not be listed as an author of a paper. Large Language Models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT, do not meet the requirements for authorship as they cannot take responsibility for the submitted work. Where LLMs have been used in the preparation of the manuscript, this should be clearly disclosed in the Materials and Methods section.

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Redundant or concurrent publication

Research manuscripts that describe work already published elsewhere will not be considered. The submission of the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently is also considered to be unethical practice. This does not prevent journals from considering articles that have been rejected by other journals or that were not previously published in full (e.g. abstracts or posters presented at scientific meetings).

By submitting a research article to Journal of Cell Science, the authors undertake that it has not been published previously and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

At submission, authors should declare any previous submissions or publications that might be regarded as overlapping with the submitted manuscript. This includes prior publication of ANY of the data. Copies of any such related articles should be included with the submitted manuscript to assist editorial decision making. Any figures, photos, tables or other works that have been previously published/copyrighted must be accompanied by written permission from the copyright holder for reuse of that content.

If redundant publication is attempted or occurs, editorial action will be taken, including probable rejection or retraction of the manuscript.

For our policies on preprint deposition, please see below.

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Scoop protection

Journal of Cell Science recognises that publishing is a highly competitive endeavour, and that authors can suffer when their work is scooped by their competitors. To help alleviate this problem, Journal of Cell Science has a policy of ‘scoop protection’: if a competing paper is published after submission of a manuscript to Journal of Cell Science, this will not constitute grounds for potential rejection of the submission. This protection also applies from the day a manuscript is posted on a recognised preprint server if it is submitted to Journal of Cell Science in the same format within four months of posting. Note also that we do not consider deposition of a paper on a preprint server as prior publication – we would not reject a paper because a competing preprint has been posted. Further details on our preprint policies can be found below.

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Preprint policies

The Company of Biologists recognises the growing use of preprint servers in the biological sciences, and appreciates the value in rapid dissemination of research results. To this end, Journal of Cell Science supports authors who wish to post primary research manuscripts on community preprint servers such as bioRxiv. Such deposition will not be considered prior publication and will not compromise potential publication in Journal of Cell Science. Review-type articles may not be posted on preprint servers.

Authors wishing to make their manuscript available on bioRxiv at the time of submission may take advantage of our two-way integration with bioRxiv. When submitting a manuscript to Journal of Cell Science, authors can deposit their article in bioRxiv through a simple one-click process in the journal’s submission system (the ‘J2B’ option). Alternatively, authors depositing a manuscript in bioRxiv can transfer their paper directly to Journal of Cell Science through the bioRxiv transfer portal (the ‘B2J’ option). We encourage authors to make use of the J2B option as this requires less duplication of effort on their part. Please note that the J2B process is irreversible, and manuscripts can not be removed from bioRxiv once deposited – they are assigned a DOI, are indexed by services such as Google Scholar, and are citable.

We ask that authors provide details of the preprint deposition in the cover letter accompanying manuscript submission. Review-type articles may not be posted on preprint servers. If public peer reviews are available for your preprint and you would like us to take them into consideration in assessing your paper, please also alert us to this in the cover letter.

Authors of papers under consideration at Journal of Cell Science who have posted their paper to a preprint server are welcome to engage in community discussion about their paper (through commenting on the preprint server or, for example, the Company’s preprint highlighting service preLights). Preprinted articles accepted for publication in Journal of Cell Science can still be highlighted through press releases, but can not be subject to press embargo.

We allow authors to select any licence for their preprint; where authors choose a CC-BY license we encourage a consistent approach through selection of our Gold Open Access option when publishing their paper in Journal of Cell Science.

Upon publication, we ask authors to ensure that their preprint is updated with a link to the final published article.

We encourage citation of preprints in submitted manuscripts where relevant. For details on how to cite preprints, please see section 3.3.3 of our manuscript preparation guidelines. In cases where the referenced preprint has been published by the time the manuscript is accepted, please update the citation to the published version.

Because preprints are not peer reviewed, Editors and reviewers should not reference preprints as examples of lack of novelty when evaluating manuscripts. Authors may be encouraged to discuss relevant preprints, but they should not be taken into consideration when making a recommendation or decision on a paper.

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Transfers to and from Journal of Cell Science

Journal of Cell Science recognises that many papers are considered at multiple journals before being accepted for publication - this can be frustrating for authors, and amplifies the workload for reviewers. To combat this, Journal of Cell Science is happy to consider papers with reviewer reports from other journals, and to facilitate transfer of reports from Journal of Cell Science to other journals.

Transfers to Journal of Cell Science

For papers submitted to Journal of Cell Science with reports from another journal, authors should supply the full reports from all reviewers and the name of the journal. Reformatting of your manuscript is not required at this stage. Please note that we may contact the journal from which the reviews originated to confirm details and request reviewer identities. We do not require that you have revised the manuscript, but do ask that you provide a full point-by-point response to the reviews. Where possible, we will make a decision on the likely suitability of the paper for Journal of Cell Science based on these previous reviews, but may need to seek additional expert advice. We also encourage you to alert us to any public peer reviews available on a preprinted version of your manuscript.

Journal of Cell Science is an affiliate journal for Review Commons – as with transfers from other journals, we will aim to make decisions based on the reports provided by Review Commons, but may require further input.

We are happy to consider papers with associated preprint reviews (e.g. from articles reviewed by eLife or the Peer Community In… and PREreview platforms). Where authors provide them, we will also aim to use these reviews to aid decision-making.

Transfers from Journal of Cell Science

Where Journal of Cell Science is not able to consider a paper for publication (either before or after peer review), we offer a straightforward system for you to transfer the paper to our sister journal, Biology Open. For more information on this, see here. We are also happy to facilitate transfer to other Company of Biologists journals (Development, Journal of Experimental Biology or Disease Models & Mechanisms): please contact the Editorial Office if you are interested in this option.

Transfer network with JCB and MBoC

Journal of Cell Science, Journal of Cell Biology (JCB) and Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC) have also aunched a manuscript transfer option that empowers authors whose manuscripts have been declined to seamlessly transfer their manuscripts and associated peer review reports between the journals. Please see here for more information.

Citation policy

Journal of Cell Science recognises the importance of citations within a scientific article; we strongly encourage the citation of the primary literature over review articles wherever possible, and for this reason do not have a limit on the number of references that can be included. Not only do citations serve to give credit where credit is due but they are also key in helping to understand the developments within a scientific field and encourage the reproducibility and evaluation of research. As such, Journal of Cell Science supports The Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) and deposits reference lists with Crossref to ensure that all citation data are freely accessible (even if a reader cannot access the scientific article itself).

Relevant and timely citations should support the points that they reference. Excessive or unnecessary citation of research from a specific author, group or journal (self-citation or the works of others) undermines research integrity and is considered unethical. Any authors who feel coerced into including unnecessary citations should contact the Editorial Office.

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Data deposition

Publication in Journal of Cell Science requires that primary data for high-throughput experiments such as microarrays, RNA-seq, ChIP-chip or ChIP-seq be deposited in the appropriate public database. The Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO), ArrayExpress, European Nucleotide Archive (ENA) or Short Read Archive (SRA) are the appropriate repositories for most functional genomics data. The ProteomeXchange Consortium provides a collective submission point for proteomics data.

Sequences must be submitted to the EMBL Database Library or GenBank. Protein sequences that have been determined by direct sequencing of the protein must be submitted to SWISS-PROT at the EBI. All accession numbers should be included in the manuscript. Authors are welcome to use other established data type-specific repositories, provided an accession number is available. We encourage authors to submit data at the time of manuscript submission and to provide confidential access for the editors and referees. Datasets must be released at the time of publication

In addition to the data types detailed above, Journal of Cell Science encourages authors to make all data underlying their research available to the community. For data where there is no appropriate specific database, we encourage submission of large datasets in Dryad or Figshare.

To facilitate data sharing, Journal of Cell Science has integrated its submission system with Dryad data deposition. Authors submitting their research to Journal of Cell Science will have the opportunity to deposit their data directly into the Dryad archive and will receive a permanent, citable link to their dataset. Deposition in Dryad ensures the data are freely accessible once the article becomes available online, and provides bidirectional links between the article and the data, increasing visibility for both. We encourage authors to submit data at the time of manuscript submission and to provide confidential access for the editors and referees. Datasets deposited in Dryad during submission will be released once the article has been accepted for publication.

We strongly encourage authors to make software and source code publicly available, for example on GitHub. As a minimum, authors must be willing to make software or source code available to readers with minimal restrictions.

All manuscripts that report data deposited elsewhere should include a Data availability section that includes accession numbers and states where the supporting data can be accessed (see our manuscript preparation guidelines for more details). If all data are included only within the manuscript itself and/or its Supplementary information, please include a default statement as follows:

Data availability: All relevant data can be found within the article and its supplementary information.

Journal of Cell Science endorses the Force 11 Data Citation Principles and recommends that all publicly available datasets be fully referenced in the reference list with an accession number or unique identifier such as a DOI.

Please contact the Editorial Office if you require advice on deposition of such data.

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Resource sharing

By publishing in Journal of Cell Science, authors agree that they will make available to qualified researchers, in a timely manner and with minimal restrictions, the reagents and materials, including mutant and transgenic lines, antibodies and DNA constructs, described in their article for the purpose of academic, non-commercial research. We strongly encourage authors to deposit reagents in relevant public repositories, such as Addgene for plasmids, or the appropriate stock centers for mutant lines. Authors must make datasets available in public repositories; see data deposition policies for further details.

Research or Tools and Resources articles that describe new chemical compounds (e.g. arising from pharmaceutical studies) should include the chemical structure and method of synthesis. Should an author have concerns regards intellectual property rights (e.g. arising from competing commercial interests), they should contact the Editorial Office. Final decision about potential consideration of the article rests with the Editor-in-Chief.

Concerns regarding Resource sharing should be sent to the Executive Editor.

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Experimental subjects

Journal of Cell Science encourages researchers to consult the ARRIVE guidelines for reporting animal research. These guidelines provide a checklist for those preparing a manuscript intended for publication. Journal of Cell Science does not allow the publication of papers describing experimental procedures that may reasonably be presumed to have inflicted unnecessary pain, discomfort or disturbance of normal health on living animals. Manuscripts will only be accepted if: (1) it is clear that the scientific advances made justified the procedures; (2) appropriate anaesthetic and surgical procedures were followed; (3) adequate steps were taken to ensure that animals did not suffer unnecessarily at any stage of the experiment.

Care and use of experimental animals must comply with all relevant local animal welfare laws, guidelines and policies. The corresponding author will be asked to confirm this at submission, and a statement confirming that experiments conform to the relevant regulatory standards is required in the Materials and Methods section of the paper.

For research involving live vertebrates and higher invertebrates, experiments must comply with all relevant institutional and national animal welfare laws, guidelines and policies, as should the care and use of experimental animals. The corresponding author will be asked to confirm this at submission, and a statement confirming that experiments conform to the relevant regulatory standards is required in the Materials and Methods section of the paper.

For research involving human subjects or human tissue, authors must name the committee(s) that approved the experiments in the Materials and Methods section of the paper and include with their submission a statement to confirm that informed consent was obtained from all subjects or tissue donors. We also encourage authors to submit a sample of a patient consent form, and may require submission on particular occasions. For work involving human eggs or embryos, any financial recompense to donors must be declared. All clinical investigation must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki.

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Image manipulation

Please note that any alterations made to figures using computer software must be consistent with our image manipulation policy. The images presented in the manuscript must remain representative of the original data, and the corresponding author will be asked to confirm this at submission. Please read our requirements for preparing your figures to avoid a potential delay in the publication process or rejection on the basis of non-compliance with these guidelines.

For best practice and transparency, and to allow better assessment of the quality of the data and whether the data support the conclusions, we strongly recommend that you: 

  1. Use graphs that allow the reader to see the true data spread (i.e. box-and-whisker plots, super plots, etc. See PMID: 32346721 for more information.). If using box-and-whisker plots, please state what the whiskers represent. See here for helpful information. 
  2. Use appropriate statistics with the sample size representing biological replicates rather than technical replicates
  3. Provide, if using western blots, one additional supplementary figure (as a single PDF or TIFF file), named ‘Blot transparency’, that contains the full, uncropped blots or a substantial portion of the blots that highlights where the bands provided in the figures have been taken from. Size/molecular weight markers should be present. This additional file should refer back to the relevant figures. It will not contribute towards your supplementary figure limit.

Image manipulation policy

Digital images in manuscripts accepted for publication will be scrutinized by our production department for any indication of manipulation. If evidence of inappropriate image manipulation is detected, the Journal's Editors may ask for the original data to be supplied.

  • Do not add to, alter, enhance, obscure, move or remove a specific feature of an image – the focus should be on the data rather than its presentation (e.g. do not ‘clean up’ backgrounds or remove/obscure imperfections and non-specific bands)
  • Adjustments should be applied to the whole image so no specific feature of the original data, including background, is obscured, eliminated or misrepresented as a consequence. Any non-linear adjustments must be disclosed in the appropriate figure legends and in the Materials and Methods section.
  • The splicing of multiple images to suggest they represent a single micrograph or gel is not allowed
  • Any grouping or consolidation of data (e.g. removal of lanes from gels and blots or cropping of images) must be made apparent (i.e. with dividing lines or white spaces) and should be explicitly indicated in the figure legends
  • A positive and a negative control and a set of molecular weight markers must be indicated on all images of gels and blots
  • High-contrast gels and blots are unacceptable (i.e. no white backgrounds) – grey backgrounds are expected
  • The same data in whole or part should not be presented in multiple figures (e.g. loading controls; different exposures of the same gel), unless explicitly stated and justified
  • Previously published data in whole or in part (e.g. loading controls) should not be presented
  • All figures containing micrographs must contain a scale bar.
  • Image acquisition methods must be described in the Materials and Methods or figure legends.
  • Individual data should not be used across multiple figures, unless this is because of experimental design (for example, when multiple experiments are performed simultaneously using a single control experiment), in which case this must be clearly stated in each figure legend.

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Data retention

We expect that all authors will comply with their funder/institute requirements for data storage, and we recommend that, as a minimum, authors keep their original data for 7 years.

Original data must be available for review by the journal if deemed necessary for proper evaluation of the manuscript before publication. If the original data cannot be produced, we may decide to reject the article, or revoke its acceptance.

Original data must also be available for review by the journal after publication if concerns are raised. If the original data cannot be produced, we may decide to retract the article.

Cases of suspected misconduct will be reported to the author’s home institution and/or funding agency.

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Originality and plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined by the World Association of Medical Editors as "the use of others' published and unpublished ideas or words (or other intellectual property) without attribution or permission, and presenting them as new and original rather than derived from an existing source". It is considered a dishonest and unacceptable practice. The words of others can be taken directly from another source in the form of a quotation, using appropriate punctuation and attribution. However, cutting-and-pasting sentences or long passages of text in a manner that suggests they are your own is not permitted, even if the original source is cited. By submitting an article, authors are thereby asserting that their work is entirely original and that others' work or text has been appropriately cited or attributed. The re-use of one’s own published work without appropriate citation (self-plagiarism) is also unethical. For information on reproducing and attributing figures and other content from other publications in Journal of Cell Science, please see our rights and permissions page. Upon article acceptance, all manuscripts undergo screening for plagiarism (using the iThenticate software provided by CrossRef).

Publication of thesis data

For publicly available theses, the text ideally should be rewritten to ensure that the submitted paper is original. Potential issues regarding copyright if owned by a third party. Any data previously presented in a thesis in whole or in part should be detailed in the Acknowledgements section with complete citation details.

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Corrections and retractions

The Company of Biologists will take all necessary steps to maintain the accuracy and quality of the papers published in Journal of Cell Science. It investigates all potential issues reported to it or of which it becomes aware, including anonymous allegations made by whistle blowers (either directly or on community platforms such as PubPeer). Should an author discern a significant error or inaccuracy in their article, they are responsible for notifying the journal, and should work together with the journal (and, where appropriate, the institute) to correct the error. In cases of serious error or scientific misconduct, it might be necessary to ask the authors to retract their paper or to impose a retraction on them.

Where an investigation into an issue with a published paper is likely to take a considerable time – or a case is particularly serious – we may add a Publisher’s Note explaining the issues to the reader while the matter is being resolved.

Journal of Cell Science also publishes Correspondence and Response articles in cases where a paper warrants further discussion. For further details, please see the Correspondence section on our article types page.

The Company of Biologists is a member of COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics, and has adopted its best practices concerning the following procedures.


Should an error appear in a published article that affects scientific meaning or author credibility but does not affect the overall results and conclusions of the paper, our policy is to publish a Correction. If an error is introduced by the publishing staff during the editing and/or proofing stages, the journal takes responsibility and a Correction is published, with appropriate apologies to authors and readers. If an error is introduced by the authors, a Correction is published and the author is required to pay all costs associated with the Correction (currently £200). This charge contributes towards (but does not fully cover) the costs associated with updating the article metadata, resupplying metadata to indexing and discovery services, correcting the full-text and PDF versions of the article online, and publishing a linked correction notice. The correction notice will be free to read.

Please contact the Editorial Office to submit or request a Correction to the journal.

All Corrections will be published prominently in the journal on numbered pages, listed on the table of contents and have their own doi. They will be clearly labelled and contain a full reference to the original article to ensure that they are picked up by indexing systems for reciprocal online linking. The text will explain the changes being made and/or the reasons for action being taken. For articles that are posted online ahead of publication, the Correction will be made and a new version of the article is posted. There is usually no accompanying Correction article.


Should a published paper contain one or more significant errors or inaccuracies that change the overall results and conclusions of the paper, the entire paper should be retracted. The word 'Retraction' will be used in the title of the Retraction to ensure that it is detected by indexing systems. The journal will request an explanation from the author(s) as to how the errors or inaccuracies occurred, and if they are not satisfied with the response they will ask the employers of the authors or some other appropriate body to investigate, and particularly to consider the possibility of fraudulent behaviour. The journal will make all reasonable attempts to ensure that such an investigation is carried out with due diligence.

Notices of retraction will mention the reasons and basis for the retraction. They will be published online and in print, be clearly labelled and contain a full reference to the original article. The Retraction notice is linked to the original article online. The PDF of the retracted article will be stamped with the words ‘Retracted’, and other views of the article will be clearly marked as retracted. Should an Accepted manuscript be retracted, the Retraction notice will replace the withdrawn article, and will subsequently be published in an issue.

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Author name changes

Authors who have changed their name for any reason (including but not limited to marriage, divorce, change in gender identity or change in religion) may request to have their name changed retrospectively on any publications from The Company of Biologists.

Any changes in name will not require a formal correction of the article in question. The author concerned will be given the option to have name changes made with or without a public notification in the journal; the wording of any notification will be agreed in consultation with the author. To protect author privacy, we will not require evidence documenting a legal name change, and only the corresponding author of the paper will need to be informed that a change has been made to the paper; again, this will be done in consultation with the author concerned. Changes to the paper will encompass all references to the author’s identity – including, for example, pronouns, email addresses and images – and updated article metadata will be supplied to relevant indexing services. We will retain an original copy of the article to ensure that changes have been made correctly, but this will not be publicly available.

To request a name change, please contact [email protected]; all requests will be handled in confidence and details shared only as necessary to enact the change.

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