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Journal policies

  1. Scope of the journal
  2. Editorial policy
  3. Publication ethics
  4. Availability of Materials
  5. Clinical trials
  6. Peer review process
  7. Press embargos
  8. Self-archiving policy
  9. Drug disclaimer
  10. Material disclaimer

Scope of the journal

FEMS Microbiology Letters gives priority to concise papers that merit rapid publication by virtue of their originality, general interest and contribution to new developments in microbiology. All aspects of microbiology, including virology, are covered.

The journal is divided into Sections, which cover:

  • Physiology and Biochemistry (including genetics, molecular biology and ‘omic’ studies).
  • Food Microbiology (from food production and biotechnology to spoilage and food borne pathogens).
  • Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology.
  • Pathogens and Pathogenicity (including medical, veterinary, plant and insect pathogens – particularly those relating to food security – with the exception of viruses).
  • Environmental Microbiology (including ecophysiology, ecogenomics and meta-omic studies).
  • Virology (viruses infecting any organism, including Bacteria and Archaea).
  • Taxonomy and Systematics (for publication of novel taxa, taxonomic reclassifications and reviews of a taxonomic nature).
  • Professional Development (including education, training, CPD, research assessment frameworks, research and publication metrics, best-practice, careers and history of microbiology).

If you are unsure which Section is most appropriate for your manuscript, for example in the case of transdisciplinary studies, we recommend that you contact the Editor-In-Chief by email prior to submission.

Our scope includes any type of microorganism - all members of the Bacteria and the Archaea and microbial members of the Eukarya (yeasts, filamentous fungi, microbial algae, protozoa, oomycetes, myxomycetes, etc.) as well as all viruses.

In addition, the journal publishes short Commentaries on topical issues in microbiology. Letters to the Editor are brief communications focusing on an article that has been published in the journal within the previous six months. The journal no longer accepts Genome Announcements, as of 1 January 2015. We publish MiniReviews on current, emerging and 'hot' topics in microbiology and welcome proposals for MiniReviews from experts in their fields. These should be sent to the appropriate Section Editor in the first instance. It is worth noting that MiniReviews that have been discussed with us in advance have a higher rate of acceptance than those that are submitted without prior discussion.

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Editorial policy

All submitted research papers should be complete in themselves and adequately supported by experimental detail; they should not be preliminary versions of communications to be published elsewhere. Papers are expected to have findings that are novel, innovative, of significance and/or present new hypotheses; descriptions of new methods are acceptable. Papers that provide confirmatory evidence or merely extend observations firmly established in one species or field site to another will not be accepted unless there are strong reasons for doing so. Members of the Editorial Board and other appropriate experts will referee the papers. Editors handling papers will independently make decisions on acceptance, revision, resubmission or rejection based on the referees’ reports. The Editor in Chief or Editors will reject papers, with an immediate decision, that are outside the scope of the journal, lack significance or which they believe do not meet the required standards for other reasons. Authors who feel that there are substantial grounds for disagreement with an Editor’s decision should contact the Editor in Chief, whose decision will be final. Authors who wish to withdraw their manuscript (at any stage of the process) should contact their Editor.

Publication ethics

Authors should observe high standards with respect to publication ethics as set out by the Commission on Publication Ethics (COPE). Any cases of ethical misconduct are treated very seriously and will be dealt with in accordance with the COPE guidelines. Further information about OUP’s ethical policies is available here.

Authorship

All authors listed on the manuscript should have contributed significantly to the experimental design, its implementation, or analysis and interpretation of the data. All authors should have been involved in the writing of the manuscript at draft and any revision stages, and have read and approved the final version. Anyone who made major contributions to the writing of the manuscript should be listed as an author (e.g. 'ghost writing' is prohibited by the Journal) provided that the number of authors remains within the limit set by the journal (please see manuscript preparation instructions for details). Any other individuals who made less substantive contributions to the experiment or the writing of the manuscript should be listed in the Acknowledgement section. Any change in authorship (including author order) after the initial manuscript submission must be approved in writing by all authors.

Authorship and 'Umbrella' groups

Many large collaborative studies are organized under a group name which represents all the participants. All articles must have at least one named individual as author. Authors who wish to acknowledge the umbrella group from which the data originate should first list the author(s) of the article and follow this with 'on behalf of the GROUP NAME'. If necessary the names of the participants may be listed in the Acknowledgements section.

Originality

By submitting your manuscript to the journal it is understood that this it is an original manuscript and is unpublished work and is not under consideration elsewhere. Re-use of text, data, figures, or images without appropriate acknowledgment or permission is considered plagiarism, as is the paraphrasing of text, concepts, and ideas. All allegations of plagiarism are investigated thoroughly and in accordance with COPE guidelines detailed here. The FEMS journals systematically run submitted papers through plagiarism-detection software to identify possible cases.

Conflicts of interest

At the point of submission, each author should reveal any financial interests or connections, direct or indirect, or other situations that might raise the question of bias in the work reported or the conclusions, implications, or opinions stated – including pertinent commercial or other sources of funding for the individual author(s) or for the associated department(s) or organization(s), personal relationships, or direct academic competition. When considering whether you should declare a conflicting interest or connection please consider the conflict of interest test: Is there any arrangement that would embarrass you or any of your co-authors if it was to emerge after publication and you had not declared it?

As part of the online submission process, corresponding authors are required to confirm whether they or their co-authors have any conflicts of interest to declare, and in the case of an existing conflict of interest that this is fully declared.

Authors should also include a Conflict of Interest statement in their submitted manuscript.

If the manuscript is published, Conflict of Interest information, including if none was declared, will be communicated in a statement in the published paper.

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Availability of Materials

Nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences, data from large-scale gene expression experiments, metagenome anlayses etc. must be deposited and made freely available in one of the public databases (e.g. GenBank/ENA/DDBJ) and accession numbers included in the manuscript (no later than at the modification stage of the review process). Authors should provide the annotated sequence data as "Supplemental material not for publication" if conclusions are based on the analysis of sequences and a GenBank/ENA/DDBJ accession number is not provided at the time of the review. It is expected that the data will be released to the public no later than the publication (online posting) date of the accepted manuscript.

Animal experiments

When reporting animal experiments authors should indicate whether the institution’s, national research council’s, or any other law on the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.

Human subjects

When reporting on human subjects, authors should indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Helsinki Declaration (1964, amended most recently in 2008) of the World Medical Association. Manuscripts should include a statement that the patient’s written consent was obtained and any information, including illustrations, should be as anonymized as far as possible. Authors should indicate that the design of the work has been approved by local ethical committees or that it conforms to standards currently applied in the country of origin. The name of the authorizing body should be stated in the paper.

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Clinical trials

Registering clinical trials

In accordance with the Clinical Trial Registration Statement from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) all clinical trials published in the journal must be registered in a public trials registry at or before the onset of participant enrolment. For any clinical trials commencing prior to 2008, retrospective registration will be accepted.

The registry must be accessible to the public at no charge, searchable, open to all prospective registrants, managed by a not-for-profit organization, and include all the necessary information as specified by the ICMJE. A list of recommended registries can be found on the ICMJE website. Results posted in the same clinical trials registry in which the primary registration resides will not be considered prior publication if they are presented in the form of a brief abstract (<500 words or less) or a table.

Authors are requested to provide the exact URL and unique identification number for the trial registration at the time of submission. This information will be published in the article and we ask that you include the URL and identification number on the title page of your manuscript.

Reporting clinical trials

Clinical trials should comply with the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials Statement (CONSORT), which is available here. Authors reporting on randomized clinical trials (RCT) should consult the CONSORT checklist when preparing their manuscripts. All RCT data will be evaluated in accordance with the rules and checklist of the CONSORT statement.

Other types of studies should follow guidelines where available. These include STARD (Standards for the Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy studies), STROBE (Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology), PRISMA (Transparent Reporting of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) and MOOSE (Meta-analyses of observational studies). For further information on good reporting of health research studies please go to the EQUATOR network.

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Peer review process

All submissions to the journal are initially reviewed by the Editor and his Associates. At this stage manuscripts may be rejected without peer review if it is felt that they are not of high enough priority or not relevant to the journal. This fast rejection process means that authors are given a quick decision and do not need to wait for the review process. Manuscripts that are not instantly rejected are sent out for peer review, usually to two independent reviewers. Based on the feedback from these reviewers and the Editors’ judgment a decision is given on the manuscript.

Manuscripts may also be sent out for statistical review.

The average time from submission to first decision is 35 days.

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Press embargos

Occasionally the journal will issue press releases for some of its articles. Authors submitting to the journal are expected to respect any press embargos set for their manuscript.

Self-archiving policy

For information about this journal's policy, please visit our Author Self-Archiving policy page.

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Drug disclaimer

The mention of trade names, commercial products or organizations, and the inclusion of advertisements in FEMS Microbiology Letters does not imply endorsement by the Federation, the Editors, the Editorial board, Oxford University Press or the organization to which the authors are affiliated. The Editors and publishers have taken all reasonable precautions to verify drug names and doses, the results of experimental work and clinical findings published in FEMS Microbiology Letters. The ultimate responsibility for the use and dosage of drugs mentioned in FEMS Microbiology Letters and in the interpretation of published material lies with the medical practitioner, and the Editors and publishers cannot accept liability for damages arising from any errors or omissions in FEMS Microbiology Letters. Please inform the Editors of any errors.

Material disclaimer

The opinions expressed in FEMS Microbiology Letters are those of the authors and contributors, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation, the Editors, the Editorial board, Oxford University Press or the organization to which the authors are affiliated.

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