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Instructions to Authors

Thank you for agreeing to write a mini-review for Essays in Biochemistry.

Essays in Biochemistry offers reviews from experts in the field highlighting recent key topics in biochemistry, written to be accessible for those not yet immersed in the subject.

While your article will be part of a themed issue, it should stand alone as an independent article and not be considered a ‘chapter’ of a book.

The information provided below is given as guidance on preparing your article ready for submission and consideration by the Journal.

If you are preparing an article for our Understanding Biochemistry series, we have separate Instructions to Authors which you can access here.

Please contact the Editorial Office if you have any questions that are not answered in the information below or if you would like a list of the other topics being covered in your issue.


As of 1 July 2022, Essays in Biochemistry mandates that the Corresponding Author must have an institutional email address. If the author is unable to provide an institutional email address, the corresponding author’s institution must provide a letter (on letterheaded paper) that includes the following:

  • The full title of the paper
  • The full author list
  • The date of submission
  • Confirmation of where the work was performed
  • Confirmation of when the work was completed
  • Confirmation of the corresponding author’s employment at their affiliated institution 
  • Contact details of the corresponding author
  • Contact details, signature and job title of the person who wrote the letter (This letter must be completed and signed by a research officer or department head, not an author of the paper)

If the Corresponding Author is unable to provide an institutional email address or letter, please state the reason in the cover letter accompanying your submission.


1. Length of article

Mini-reviews in Essays in Biochemistry are approx. 2500­–3500 words in length (excluding figure legends and references).

Please do note that one of the key benefits to our users/readers is the short format mini-review style.

2. Editorial Style

UK/US spelling

Articles can be written using either American or British spelling conventions; however, these should be used consistently throughout the article. Authors should be aware that, if accepted, inconsistent usage will be corrected during the copyediting stage.

3. What to include in your article

a) Abstract

All mini-reviews submitted must contain an abstract, up to 250 words in length. Please ensure that this is included within the paper and is provided on the online submission system during the submission process.

This will be published in the final Version of Record (VoR) and will also be the abstract that is used by indexing services.

b) Introduction

Your article should standalone and should not be written assuming that the article might be part of a series, therefore the introduction of the article should be written to set the scene for the rest of the article.

c) Main body of the article

Section headings and sub-headings are useful in breaking up the main body of the article to aid understanding.

Terms that are used in an abbreviated form should be included in a list of abbreviations. For the benefit of readers who may not be familiar with the subject matter of your article, you are encouraged to define abbreviated terms either at first mention or in a list of abbreviations.

If possible, ‘jargon’ should be avoided; however, you should consider alternative ways to help the readership, for example, the use of a glossary or text boxes could be used to explain a concept.

d) Summary Points

Each article should contain 3–5 summary points, a bullet-pointed list summarizing the key points that the review article covers.

Authors may consider including statements around

  • The importance of the field
  • A summary of the current thinking
  • Comments on future directions

e) Figures and tables

Please include at least one figure in your article, you are encouraged to include between two and six appropriate figures.

The use of colour in figures is encouraged, and there is no charge to authors to publish in colour.

Each figure should be accompanied by an appropriate figure title and legend (where needed).

Figures should be provided in the following file formats and at the indicated resolution.

  • Black and white (e.g. line diagrams, histograms) – as .tiff (or .eps) files at 600 dpi
  • Greyscale (e.g. gel images) – as .tiff (or .eps) files at 300 dpi
  • Colour – as .tiff (or .eps) files at 300 dpi

Please note that if you are using a figure from a work that is already published, you are responsible for obtaining the necessary permissions to reuse the article, and an appropriate credit line should be included in the figure legend.

The use of tables is permitted, and these should be accompanied by an appropriate table title and legend (where needed). Tables longer than two A4 pages are difficult to read, and so do consider whether longer tables can be split into multiple shorter tables.

f) References

The number of references included in articles can vary depending on the subject area, but on average, 50–100 references should be included. Most references cited should be from the past 2–5 years.

Please use a Vancouver style for your references, ensuring that they include the articles' DOI.

References should be included in your article, cited throughout the text by sequential numbers, and listed at the end of your article in a reference list, listed in number order. For example:

Recent research [1] indicates that…

Several studies [6-9, 13, 15] have examined…

In the reference list, six author names should be given before et al.

If you are using EndNote as your citation manager, the EndNote style guide labelled “Biochemical J doi PP.ens” will format your references correctly in the style required by the journal. 

g) Conflicts of interest, acknowledgements, funding information and author contribution

Author contributions

A statement indicating the contribution of each author to the article should be included.

Portland Press endorses the Vancouver Guidelines on authorship as set out by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

Full details on authorship can be found in the Portland Press Editorial Policy. Contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgements section.

Declaration of Interests

Any potential conflicts of interest (for any authors listed on your article) should be declared. Examples of potential conflicts of interest that should be declared include but are not limited to:

(i)               employment (where you will receive financial gain)

(ii)              consultancy (where you will receive financial gain)

(iii)            personal relationships, and (iv) academic competition


Any acknowledgements should be included in a statement at the end of your article.


Any funding information that you would like to acknowledge should be included at the end of the article.


Please use the Vancouver style for all references. Please format your reference list to include the relevant DOI (digital object identifier) wherever possible. All references must be numbered consecutively within the text and listed in numerical order in the reference list. Where a reference includes more than six authors, please list the first six names followed by ‘et al’. 


  1. Walker, N., Manwaring, Z., Rowe, O., Rodriguez, J., Glaister, K., Raanan, D, et al. (2023) Emergent reference pathways and citation explorations. Port Pubs. 67, 1-3 10.1042/PPL_12345678


Preprints should be cited using their DOI. The format should be: Author(s). (Year) Title. bioRxiv (or other preprint server name). DOI, posted date. For more information, please see our full policy on preprints. There is no limit on the number of references included. 


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