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Instructions to authors

What we Publish
Manuscript Requirements


The Journal of Law and the Biosciences (JLB) is a peer-reviewed, open access and online interdisciplinary academic journal focusing on cutting-edge and persistent issues at the intersection of law and the biosciences. Articles may be theoretical, empirical, comparative, or international in nature.

JLB invites submission on a broad range of interdisciplinary issues in law and the biosciences including, but not limited to:

  • Reproductive technologies and family law
  • Genetic and genomic testing, diagnosis, and the return of research results
  • Intellectual property in the biosciences
  • Protection of research subjects in research
  • Bioscience funding and policy
  • Food and drug law
  • Human enhancement
  • Regulation of stem cell research and practice
  • Dual use concerns arising from the biosciences
  • Behavioral genetics and neuroscience in criminal law
  • And more


JLB encourages the submission of original manuscripts, responses, and essays devoted to the examination of issues related to the intersection of law and biosciences. We welcome submission of varying length, with a theoretical, empirical, practical, or policy oriented focus.

Original Articles

Original articles should explore their topic in depth in a manuscript ordinarily not to exceed 20,000 words (all word limits include footnotes) in length, although we will consider articles up to 30,000 words.


Original critical and academic essays up to 10,000 words on topics of interest be they contemporary or historical.

Peer Commentaries

Commentaries (of up to 3,000 words, including citations) on articles previously published in JLB that provide experts in the field an opportunity to opine on a specific subject area. The editors-in-chief select and announce which JLB articles are available for peer commentary. The process for proposing and submitting peer commentaries is detailed below.

Book Reviews

Reviews of recently published books. Reviews should be no longer than 5,000 words.

Notes & Developments

Brief summaries of and commentary on recent legislation, regulation, and case law relevant to the biosciences that are written by students at each of the sponsoring schools and are no longer than 5,000 words.


Manuscript Submissions

Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you carefully read and adhere to all the guidelines and instructions to authors provided below. Manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned.

All material to be considered for publication in JLB should be submitted in electronic form via the journal's online submission system. Once you have prepared your manuscript according to the instructions below, instructions on how to submit your manuscript online can be found by clicking here.


Shorter submissions are welcomed and preferred. Please note that JLB enforces its word limits. Over-length submissions may be rejected without review.


Articles must be written in English.

File Format

Pages should be double spaced with one-inch margins. Files should be submitted in a .doc or .docx file format.

Abstract and Keywords

All articles should include up to 6 keywords and an abstract of up to 200 words, which is a factual condensation of the article that contains a statement of purpose, a description of the facts, and a concise summary of conclusions. Other manuscript categories do not require abstracts and keywords.

Title Page

All submissions should include a title page with the following information: title; type of submission; name of author(s); institution(s) at which research was done; name, address, phone number, and email address of the corresponding author; brief author biography (max. 150 words); list of 6 key words in alphabetical order; and total number of words in the main text of the article.


All submissions should be typed in Times New Roman 12 point font. Keep formatting simple, and avoid unnecessary advanced word processing features, justification, linked objects, or creating your own symbols.

Tables and Figures

Text and tables should be submitted in a single file. Figures should be sent as separate files. Click here for further instructions.


Any non-original information must be referenced. This journal follows Harvard Bluebook style. Please consult the journal's mini style checklist for guidance on reference style. Articles should generally follow law review style in using footnotes, not endnotes, for references, although JLB discourages the footnoting excesses of that style.


It is the author's responsibility to include acknowledgements as stipulated by the particular institutions. In addition, all funding sources for the work should be acknowledged at the end of the submission.

Supplementary Data

Supporting material that is not essential for inclusion in the full text of the manuscript, but would nevertheless benefit the reader, can be made available by the publisher and linked to the online manuscript. The material should not be essential to understanding the conclusions of the paper but should contain data that is additional or complementary and directly relevant to the article content. Such information might include more detailed methods, extended data sets/data analysis, or additional figures.

It is standard practice for appendices to be included as supplementary data. All text and figures must be provided in suitable electronic formats. All material to be considered as supplementary data must be submitted at the same time as the main manuscript for peer review. It cannot be altered or replaced after the paper has been accepted for publication, and it will not be edited. Please indicate clearly all material intended as supplementary data upon submission and name the files e.g. 'Supplementary Figure 1', 'Supplementary Data', etc. Also ensure that the supplementary data is referred to in the main manuscript where necessary, for example as '(see Supplementary data)' or '(see Supplementary Figure 1)'.


Advance Access

Advance Access articles are published online soon after they have been accepted for publication, in advance of their appearance in the journal issue. Appearance in Advance Access constitutes official publication, and the Advance Access version can be cited by a unique DOI (Digital Object Identifier). When an article appears in an issue, it is removed from the Advance Access page. Articles posted for Advance Access have been copyedited and typeset but not paginated for inclusion in a specific issue of the journal. Once an article appears in an issue, both versions continue to be accessible and citable.


Each author listed on an article must participate sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content. All authors should contribute substantially to the conception, execution, and analysis; be involved in drafting the article or revising it; and read and approve the final version of the manuscript. Other than in exceptional circumstances, the JLB does not add or remove authors’ names after submission. In such exceptional cases, JLB requires a letter of consent from any person whose name is being added or removed.

Conflicts of Interest

A conflict of interest is any personal, financial, or academic bias or interest in a subject matter that might reasonably be expected to affect the author’s research findings or the manuscript's content. Conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to, personal relationships or rivalries, material financial interests or financial relationships, academic competition, agreements with study sponsors, and intellectual beliefs.

JLB is interested in conflicts of interest both as they might affect its assessment of a submitted manuscript and, if the paper is published, so our readers can consider any conflicts as they read the piece. When an article is submitted, JLB requires that each author reveal any relevant, material biases or conflicts of interest to JLB. The submitting author must discuss any potential conflicts of interest of any co-authors with them before submitting the article. In addition, any published item must include a conflict of interest statement for publication.

Contact Information

The author submitting an article for publication will be considered the submitting author, and JLB may retain your email address for the purpose of communicating with you about the article. Authors agree to notify JLB immediately if your details change.

Copyright and License

Authors publishing in JLB can use the following Creative Commons licences for their articles:

• Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY), for which a charge of £500/$800/€650 applies. This licence lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licences offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.
• Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives licence (CC BY-NC-ND), for which no charge applies. This licence allows users to download and share the article for non-commercial purposes, so long as the article is reproduced in the whole without changes, and the original authorship is acknowledged.

Details of how to sign the licence using our online system will be sent after acceptance. Work submitted for publication must be original, previously unpublished, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere. If previously published figures, tables, or parts of text are to be included, the copyright-holder’s permission must have been obtained prior to submission. For more information on how to obtain permissions, please consult Rights and Permissions.

Permission to Reproduce Figures and Extracts

The author must clear—and if necessary pay for—permission to reproduce copyrighted material in perpetuity, including applications and payments to DACS, ARS and similar licensing agencies where appropriate. The author should provide to the editors any evidence in writing that such permissions have been secured from the rights-holder. Please note that obtaining copyright permission could take some time. Oxford Journals can offer information and documentation to assist authors in securing permissions; please see the Guidelines for Authors section at http://www.oxfordjournals.org/access_purchase/rights_permissions.html.

Third-Party Content in Open Access papers

If you will be publishing your paper under an Open Access licence but it contains material for which you do not have Open Access re-use permissions, please state this clearly by supplying the following credit line alongside the material:
Title of content
Author, Original publication, year of original publication, by permission of [rights holder]
This image/content is not covered by the terms of the Creative Commons licence of this publication. For permission to reuse, please contact the rights holder.


Authors are sent page proofs by email. Authors should check the proofs promptly and return to the publishers any corrections and answers to queries as an annotated PDF within 3 working days (further details are supplied with the proof). It is the author's responsibility to check proofs thoroughly.

Review Process

All articles published in JLB will be peer-reviewed. Unsolicited submissions will be initially reviewed by the managing editor, who will determine whether the submission meets the basic guidelines (e.g., addresses a topic relevant to law and the biosciences, is written in English, and is sufficiently understandable). If so, the managing editor will consult with the editors-in-chief to determine if the submission should go on to peer review. Unsolicited submissions passing this first level of review, as well as solicited submissions, will be assigned to two peer reviewers with the appropriate expertise. The reviewers assess submissions based on scholarly quality, relevance, timeliness, novelty, importance, engagement with the relevant literature, and similar factors. Upon receipt of the peer review responses, the editors-in-chief and managing editor will decide whether the piece will be rejected, or accepted with or without required revisions.

Peer commentaries are reviewed by the Editors-in-Chief, who first review proposals for peer commentaries, and then select authors to invite to submit a full commentary. Upon full submissions, the editors-in-chief review and decide whether the piece will be rejected or accepted with or without required revisions.

Students seeking to submit a “new development” piece may work on the selection of an appropriate topic with the editor-in-chief at the corresponding school (click here to contact the editors about this). Each student will follow the protocol outlined in this document, including the process of submission. Once the new development piece is submitted, it will be subject to editorial approval by the EIC’s and the managing editor. Unsolicited student submissions will be initially reviewed by the managing editor, who will determine whether the submission meets the basic guidelines (e.g., addresses a topic relevant to law and the biosciences, is written in English, and is sufficiently understandable). The editors-in-chief and managing editor will then review the submission and decide whether the piece will be rejected, or accepted with or without required revisions.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

Human subjects research conducted in the U.S. that is submitted to JLB should comply with the principles of the “Common Rule,” the US Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, and other U.S. Federal Law. In cases where the human subject research submitted is conducted in countries other than the United States, the research should comply with the relevant research ethics requirements of those countries. The manuscript should contain a statement that the work has been approved by the appropriate ethical committee(s) related to the institution(s) in which it was performed, that subjects (or their parents) gave informed consent to the research, and that all other research ethics requirements have been met. Studies involving experiments with animals must state that their care was in accordance with institution guidelines. Patients' and volunteers' names, initials, and hospital numbers should not be used.

Crossref Funding Data Registry

In order to meet your funding requirements authors are required to name their funding sources, or state if there are none, during the submission process. For further information on this process or to find out more about the CHORUS initiative please click here.

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