Molecular Vision - A Peer-Reviewed Journal (60.6K)

Molecular Vision Style Guide


This guide offers insight into how your manuscript will be edited if it is accepted for publication. To understand what the Editors need, it is helpful to understand how we view our role in the publication processes. In the review process, the Editors, with the help of reviewers, determine if the work described in the manuscript is suitable for the attention of the readership. In the galley process, the Editors are trying to assure that a manuscript will be presented accurately and in a way that is most accessible to the readership. The advice presented here can help you prepare your manuscript in a way that will preempt many of the Editors questions and minimize any revision necessary for publication. Perhaps of equal importance, this advice can help authors better present their manuscript to the reviewers. Heeding the advice here can greatly speed the handling of your manuscript.

The Editors try to follow established standards whenever possible. Our style is largely based on the Council of Biology Editors (CBE) style guide and our reference format is based on the Vancouver style as described by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Because these styles do not adequately address some issues inherent to electronic publishing, Molecular Vision deviates from them in some ways.

Be thorough, be organized, be concise


Do not use unnecessary text styles. Molecular Vision only uses italics for genus and species names, gene symbols (as appropriate), and the first three letters of restriction enzymes. Common Latin phrases (e.g., in vitro, in vivo) are not italicized. Bold text is only used for headings; authors do not need to use bold text in headings as it will be added during editing. Bold text is not used in the body of a paragraph. Underlining is not used.

Grammar and spelling are important. Misuse of either can obscure the meaning of a sentence or a paragraph. Read your manuscript carefully for spelling errors. While spelling checkers are powerful tools, they do not understand homonyms. If you are not fluent in English, find someone to help compose your manuscript.

Write for the widest possible audience. The Molecular Vision readership is diverse. People who are not in your field will want to know if there are techniques or ideas that are applicable to their own work. Write your manuscript so that it is accessible to an interested Molecular Vision reader.


The Methods section must contain enough detail for someone in a similar field to replicate the work. The source of materials must be properly identified. For commercial vendors, the company name and location should be given. It is acceptable to cite methods used in prior work if the prior work provides sufficient detail, but if techniques have been modified, those changes must be documented.

Figures & Tables

Treat figures and tables as though they were separate from the manuscript. Each should have a title in a headline style (a few words that impart the subject or primary message of the figure or table). Each should have a caption that describes the figure or table in detail. For figures, every panel should be mentioned in the caption. All abbreviations must be identified.

All figures and tables must be cited in the text. Figures and tables should be numbered in the order they are cited.


Molecular Vision uses uppercase letters to enumerate the panels of a figure. When labeling or referring to panels, please use uppercase letters. When labeling an image, place a panel's letter near the top, left corner of the image whenever possible. Use a sans serif font (e.g., Helvetica, Arial) and label from left to right and then top to bottom, as in the following example:


When preparing charts and graphs, do not use three dimensional special effects. While often attractive, adding depth and/or perspective can make it harder to accurately assess the data presented. Annotate regions of charts with solid colors; do not use patterns for shading.


Tables are generally a very efficient way to present large quantities of structured information. It should be remembered that readers will not have the same familiarity with the repetitive structure as the authors, no matter how obvious that structure appears. Table captions should explain the source of the information and organization of a table.

Tables should be organized to simplify finding relevant information. Tables should be sorted in some meaningful way. The information used in sorting the table should be in the first column. Alternatively, the first column may be used to name the row and the sorted item may appear in the second column. If there is no meaningful way to sort the table, it should be sorted on the first column.

Final thought

As with everything, there are exceptions to these guidelines, but they are less common than you might think. Give careful consideration to why you want to violate any of these suggestions. Expect to explain your answer to the Editors.

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ISSN 1090-0535