About the journal: Microbiology


  1. Overview
  2. Benefits of publishing in Microbiology
  3. Scope
  4. Article types
  5. Suitable content
  6. Contact Editorial Office

1. Overview

Microbiology publishes topical, high-quality reviews and research articles on all aspects of the field. The journal combines editorial expertise from around the world with exceptional breadth of coverage, providing access to research in a single accessible source.

Editor-in-Chief: Dr Tanya Parish, Infectious Disease Research Institute, USA

Abstracted and indexed in: Biological Abstracts, BIOSIS Previews, CAB Abstracts, Current Contents – Life Sciences, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences, Current Opinion series, EMBASE, Google Scholar, MEDLINE, Russian Academy of Science, Science Citation Index, SciSearch, SCOPUS

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2. Benefits of publishing in Microbiology

  • Fast and rigorous peer review: average time to first decision = four weeks.
  • Continuous publishing model from January 2017.
  • Free to publish – no submission, page or colour charges.
  • Immediate gold open access available with our OpenMicrobiology option.
  • Fully compliant with funding body mandates.
  • International Editorial Board with expertise across the whole of microbiology.
  • Expert Reviewers Board, skilled in peer review and subject experts in the field of microbiology.
  • Global audience.
  • Editor’s Choice articles.
  • User-friendly online submission system.
  • Published on a new and interactive journal platform.
  • Included in the leading abstracting and indexing services, including BIOSIS Previews, EMBASE, MEDLINE and Science Citation Index.
  • We encourage data archiving.
  • The Microbiology Society is a well-established, not-for-profit organisation.

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3. Scope

Microbiology publishes high-quality research articles and reviews on a broad range of microbiology from fundamental studies of the biology of prokaryotic and eukaryotic micro-organisms, to applied microbiology and microbial biotechnology.

Articles published must make an original and significant contribution to the field and should be of interest to a general readership. Theoretical and predictive articles may be considered for publication if significant and novel conclusions are drawn or hypotheses formulated. Articles describing new methods should provide significant insight into the micro-organism or process being studied.

Articles that are preliminary, derivative or descriptive, or those that are technically competent but do not describe a significant advance in the understanding or application of microbes, are not appropriate for Microbiology and may be rejected without review.

Articles that are largely clinical or epidemiological may be more appropriate for a clinical journal such as Journal of Medical Microbiology. Authors wishing to submit a case report should refer to JMM Case Reports. Articles on viruses or bacteria and eukaryotic microbes will be considered, but not those on viruses of higher organisms. Authors submitting articles on viruses should explain in a covering letter why their paper is more appropriate for Microbiology than for a virology journal such as Journal of General Virology.

3.1 Subject categories

Research articles are published under the subject headings shown below. Examples of topics covered by these headings are indicated.

  • Cell biology (insights from all forms of high resolution microscopy, differentiation and development, secretion, macromolecular assembly)
  • Environmental biology (ecology, community structures and interactions, population genetics, evolutionary microbiology, biodegradation and bioremediation, biodiversity)
  • Regulation (environmental adaptations and responses, signalling and communication, mechanisms of regulation, transcriptional and translational responses)
  • Physiology and metabolism (synthesis of macromolecules, metabolic pathways and their regulation, bioenergetics and transport, biochemistry, stress responses, antibiotic-resistance and tolerance mechanisms, mode of action of antibiotics)
  • Genomics and systems biology (bioinformatics, novel insights from genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, metagenomics, synthetic microbiology, antibiotic resistance, horizontal gene transfer)
  • Host-microbe interaction (human, animal and plant pathogens, non-pathogenic microbe-host interactions, emerging pathogens, mechanisms of pathogenesis, immune response to infection)
  • Biotechnology (Metabolic engineering, metabolomics, genetic engineering, synthetic biology, directed evolution, bioremediation, bioengineering, protein engineering, microbes as cell factories, bioenergy)

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4. Article types

4.1 Reviews

Microbiology publishes invited Reviews and also welcomes enquiries from authors considering submitting Review manuscripts. For advice about the suitability of a potential Review for Microbiology, authors should contact the Editorial Office. Microbiology attracts a wide range of readers who will not necessarily be specialists in the field of the Review article. Authors should therefore provide a brief background to place their Review in the broader context of microbiology as a whole. The text should not give undue emphasis to the work of the author(s) and should present controversial areas of the topic in a clear and objective way. However, authors need not refrain from being critical or from concentrating on areas in which their personal research interests lie. References to unpublished work should be avoided as far as possible and should never be used to underpin key points of the Review. All Reviews are made freely accessible upon publication.

4.2 Research Articles

Please see subject categories above.

4.3 Microbiology Comments

Microbiology Comment provides a forum for discussion of scientific issues arising directly from articles published in Microbiology. The authors of articles under discussion will be offered an opportunity to respond. Contributions to Microbiology Comment should be brief and to the point.

4.4 Meeting Reports

Please contact the Editor-in-Chief via the Editorial Office before submitting a Meeting Report to determine suitability. Meeting Reports should be submitted no later than one month after the meeting, should give a brief account of highlights from the meeting, and include some comment on their significance. Before submitting the Meeting Report, the author(s) of the report must obtain permission from both the meeting organiser and any participants whose work is mentioned (and if appropriate the meeting sponsor) to report results presented at the meeting. Confirmation of this will be required before publication.

4.5 Short Communications

Short Communications must report completed work, not preliminary findings: they are an alternative format for describing smaller pieces of work.

4.5 Article types table

Article types Description Structure Freely available? Solicited by editors?
Review - Shorter-reviews (up to 3500 words) should focus on a clearly defined topic of current interest and describe recent developments in the field.
- Longer reviews (up to 8000 words) are appropriate for authors wishing to provide a more in-depth view of a broadly defined topic.
- Reviews longer than 8000 words may be acceptable, at the discretion of the Reviews Editor.
Authors are encouraged to cite the relevant literature comprehensively , but to use their discretion to avoid an excessively long bibliography.
See above
Title page
250 word Abstract
3500-8000 words (excl. references but incl. legends)
Max 8 figures/tables
Author statements – funding information, acknowledgements, conflicts of interest, ethical statements
References (no limit)
Yes, without charge Reviews are often solicited but we also welcome unsolicited reviews. For pre-submission enquiries, please contact [email protected]
Research Article Topic must be relevant to one of the journal's subject catagories Title page
Abstract (max 300 words)
Max 6000 (excluding abstract, author statements, or references)
Max 8 figures/tables
Author statements – funding information, acknowledgements, conflicts of interest, ethical statements
Please view our Information for authors for more detail on formatting
Immediate gold open access available with OpenMicrobiology No
Microbiology Comment See above subject catagories Short title (max 50 characters)
700 max words
Max 1 figure/table
Max 20 references
Author statements – funding information, acknowledgements, conflicts of interest, ethical statements
Yes, without charge No
Meeting Report See above subject catagories Max 2500 words Yes, without charge Yes
Microbiology Society Prize Lecture Short title (max 30 characters)
250 word summary (abstract)
5000 words
Author statements – funding information, acknowledgements, conflicts of interest, ethical statements
Yes, without charge Yes
Short Communications See above Title page
150 word abstract
Max 2500 words
Max 3 figures/tables
Author statements – funding information, acknowledgements, conflicts of interest, ethical statements
The main text is not divided into sections.
Methods should be described briefly within the text, not within figure legends
Immediate gold open access available with OpenMicrobiology No
Editorial See above Title
2000 words (including references)
Max 1 image
Author statements – funding information, acknowledgements, conflicts of interest, ethical statements
Yes, without charge Yes
Obituary   Max 1500 words
Max 1 image
Yes, without charge Yes

It is not a conflict of interest to be an Editor as well as an author, as long as the Editor is not involved in any component of the peer review process.

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5. Suitable content

5.1 Articles describing mathematical models

Authors of articles that include mathematical models will normally be expected to provide appropriate details of the model with their submission so these are available to the reviewers. If appropriate, authors may also supply details of the model to an appropriate database for validation by the reviewers. Authors should submit their article in the normal way and wait until they have received an acknowledgement and article number from the Editorial Office before submitting a description of the model. Only the authors and reviewers will be granted access to the online model during the review stage. If the article is accepted for publication, the model can, with the authors' permission, be made available to all, so readers of the article will be able to adjust model parameters and run the model.

5.2 Articles describing solely the purification and/or characterisation of enzymes

It is editorial policy not to publish articles on the above subject(s) unless they describe some particular aspect that is of significant novelty and of clear relevance to microbiology, e.g. the purification of a previously uncharacterised enzyme; a description of unique properties of an established class of enzyme; the development of a new and broadly applicable purification technique; or a report of properties of direct relevance to the functions or application of the producing micro-organism. Descriptions of well-known enzymes that are already known to be produced by a number of micro-organisms are not appropriate for Microbiology.

5.3 Articles on host-microbe interactions

Articles submitted to Microbiology that concern host-microbe interactions, including infectious, symbiotic or probiotic interactions, must increase our understanding of the micro-organism concerned. Articles detailing the host response with minimal reference to the micro-organism or its products do not fall within the scope of Microbiology.

5.4 Descriptions of novel taxa

Microbiology does not normally publish articles whose primary purpose is to describe one or more novel species of micro-organism. Authors must state in a covering letter why such articles are not more appropriate for a specialised systematics journal such as the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. Such articles may be suitable for consideration by Microbiology when they form part of a wider study addressing some aspect of ecology, evolution or physiology. For all articles reporting novel taxa, please refer to our Nomenclature Guidelines.

5.5 Sequence data

5.5.1 Use of data from ongoing sequencing projects

Authors making use of data from ongoing sequencing projects must follow the guidelines set by the project and give appropriate acknowledgement of the data source. Authors should show evidence that they have discussed their findings with the scientists responsible for the sequencing programme whose data are being used and that the organisation has approved what is being submitted.

5.5.2 Articles reporting microarray and other genome-wide studies

Microbiology encourages the publication of articles that use genome-wide approaches to answer important questions in microbiology. However, articles that report the results of such studies without using them to increase our understanding of a system, process or organism are unlikely to be acceptable to the Editors. Articles reporting genome-wide studies must contain sufficient details for readers to understand how the data were acquired, to be able to repeat the analysis, and to place the results in the context of the field. There must be enough replicates to make the data biologically meaningful. For further information, please refer to our editorial policy on reagent sharing.

Data from microarray gene expression studies must comply with the MIAME guidelines, and relevant criteria from the MIAME checklist should be applied to other genome-wide studies.

Authors who submit articles whose conclusions explicitly or implicitly depend on genome-wide profiling should preferably deposit the relevant complete data sets in a public online database such as GEO before submission, with password protection if appropriate (see NCBI for guidance), and provide the accession number/password with their submitted article. The supplementary data files should also include details of organisms, growth conditions, etc. ('metadata'), if these are not given in the article.

If the data sets are not already in a public database at the time of submission, they must be submitted to Microbiology as one or more supplementary files for peer review along with the article. If the article is acceptable for publication, it will be a condition of acceptance that the genomics data be posted to a public database if this has not already been done, and that an accession number be provided on the title page of the article.

5.5.3 Articles reporting original nucleotide or amino acid sequence data

Microbiology will not normally publish DNA sequences from double-stranded genomes unless both strands have been sequenced independently. Descriptions of new examples of genes already characterised from various micro-organisms are inappropriate for Microbiology unless the new gene has unusual features or the description is part of a wider study. Such articles should be accompanied by substantial additional experimentation to characterise the gene(s) and products(s) concerned, and/or substantial computer analysis leading to important, novel conclusions.

Articles reporting new sequence data must include an accession number from one of the public databases (GenBank, EMBL, DDBJ or PIR) and the relevant deposition criteria for the database must be adhered to.

5.5.4 Articles reporting MLST analyses

For articles that report MLST analyses, the MLST gene sequence data for all samples presented in the article must be available to the reader. If there is an established database for the studied organism (e.g. on mlst.net or pubmlst.org) then data should be submitted there and details should be provided on submission. Otherwise, data must be submitted for review along with the main paper as a single supplementary file.

5.5.5 Articles reporting insertion sequences

For articles describing new insertion sequences (whether alone or as part of larger sequencing projects), authors should deposit the relevant information in the ISfinder database, using the online forms provided, and obtain and attribution number. The attribution number should be given on the title page of the article.

For further information and submission criteria, please refer to our Information for authors and Editorial policies.

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6. Contact Editorial Office

Queries or comments about online submission should be sent via email from the submission site.

General enquiries should be sent to the Editorial Office:

Microbiology, Editorial Office, Microbiology Society, Charles Darwin House, 12 Roger Street, London, WC1N 2JU

Tel: +44 (0)20 7685 2687

Email: [email protected]

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