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Commentaries are short, narrowly focused articles of contemporary interest and usually take one of the following forms:

  • Discussion of an article or study that was recently published or that is soon to be published (including in Evolution: Education and Outreach), and that is interesting enough to warrant further comment or explanation. This type of commentary discusses specific issues within a subject area rather than the whole field, explains the implications of the article and puts it in context. Opinions are welcome as long as they are factually based.
  • Commentary that is more editorial in nature and covers an aspect of an issue that is relevant to the journal's scope, for example discussion of the impact of new technology on research and treatment.
  • Brief Reports: These are not simply descriptions of something but also explore the potential impacts for evolution education and outreach, such as: Museum exhibits, Online resources, Software, Reports of major conferences/society activity/working groups, Case reports from educational projects that are not ready for a full article.

Commentaries should not exceed 1200 words.

Preparing your manuscript

The information below details the section headings that you should include in your manuscript and what information should be within each section.

Please note that your manuscript must include a 'Declarations' section including all of the subheadings (please see below for more information).

Title page

The title page should:

  • present a title that includes, if appropriate, the study design e.g.:
    • "A versus B in the treatment of C: a randomized controlled trial", "X is a risk factor for Y: a case control study", "What is the impact of factor X on subject Y: A systematic review"
    • or for non-clinical or non-research studies: a description of what the article reports
  • list the full names, institutional addresses and email addresses for all authors
    • if a collaboration group should be listed as an author, please list the Group name as an author. If you would like the names of the individual members of the Group to be searchable through their individual PubMed records, please include this information in the “Acknowledgements” section in accordance with the instructions below
  • indicate the corresponding author


The Abstract should not exceed 350 words and should be structured with a background, main body of the abstract and short conclusion. Please minimize the use of abbreviations and do not cite references in the abstract.


Three to ten keywords representing the main content of the article.


The Background section should explain the background to the article, its aims, a summary of a search of the existing literature and the issue under discussion.

Main text

This should contain the body of the article, and may also be broken into subsections with short, informative headings.


This should state clearly the main conclusions and include an explanation of their relevance or importance to the field.

List of abbreviations

If abbreviations are used in the text they should be defined in the text at first use, and a list of abbreviations should be provided.


​​​​​​​All manuscripts must contain the following sections under the heading 'Declarations':

  • Availability of data and material
  • Competing interests
  • Funding
  • Authors' contributions
  • Acknowledgements
  • Authors' information (optional)

Please see below for details on the information to be included in these sections.

If any of the sections are not relevant to your manuscript, please include the heading and write 'Not applicable' for that section.

List of abbreviations

If abbreviations are used in the text they should be defined in the text at first use, and a list of abbreviations should be provided.

Availability of data and materials

For all journals, BioMed Central strongly encourages all datasets on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely to be either deposited in publicly available repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main paper or additional supporting files, in machine-readable format (such as spreadsheets rather than PDFs) whenever possible. Please see the list of recommended repositories in our editorial policies.

For some journals, deposition of the data on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely is an absolute requirement. Please check the Criteria section for this article type (located at the top of this page) for journal specific policies.

For all journals, authors must include an “Availability of data and materials” section in their article detailing where the data supporting their findings can be found. If you do not wish to share your data, please state that data will not be shared, and state the reason.

For instructions on how to cite your data and format this section see preparation/style and formatting.

Competing interests

All financial and non-financial competing interests must be declared in this section. See our editorial policies for a full explanation of competing interests. If you are unsure whether you or any of your co-authors have a competing interest please contact the editorial office.


All sources of funding for the research reported should be declared. The role of the funding body in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript should be declared.

Authors' contributions

The individual contributions of authors to the manuscript should be specified in this section.


Please acknowledge anyone who contributed towards the article who does not meet the criteria for authorship including anyone who provided professional writing services or materials.

Authors should obtain permission to acknowledge from all those mentioned in the Acknowledgements section.

See our editorial policies for a full explanation of acknowledgements and authorship criteria.

Group authorship: if you would like the names of the individual members of a collaboration Group to be searchable through their individual PubMed records (where applicable), please ensure that the title of the collaboration Group is included on the title page and in the submission system and also include collaborating author names as the last paragraph of the “Acknowledgements” section. Please add authors in the format First Name, Middle initial(s) (optional), Last Name. You can add institution or country information for each author if you wish, but this should be consistent across all authors.

Authors' information

You may choose to use this section to include any relevant information about the author(s) that may aid the reader's interpretation of the article, and understand the standpoint of the author(s). This may include details about the authors' qualifications, current positions they hold at institutions or societies, or any other relevant background information. Please refer to authors using their initials. Note this section should not be used to describe any competing interests.


Endnotes should be designated within the text using a superscript lowercase letter and all notes (along with their corresponding letter) should be included in the Endnotes section. Please format this section in a paragraph rather than a list.


Examples of the Vancouver reference style are shown below.

See our editorial policies for author guidance on good citation practice

Web links and URLs: All web links and URLs, including links to the authors' own websites, should be given a reference number and included in the reference list rather than within the text of the manuscript. They should be provided in full, including both the title of the site and the URL, as well as the date the site was accessed, in the following format: The Mouse Tumor Biology Database. Accessed 20 May 2013. If an author or group of authors can clearly be associated with a web link, such as for weblogs, then they should be included in the reference.

Example reference style:

Article within a journal

Smith JJ. The world of science. Am J Sci. 1999;36:234-5.

Article within a journal (no page numbers)

Rohrmann S, Overvad K, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Jakobsen MU, Egeberg R, Tjønneland A, et al. Meat consumption and mortality - results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. BMC Medicine. 2013;11:63.

Article within a journal by DOI

Slifka MK, Whitton JL. Clinical implications of dysregulated cytokine production. Dig J Mol Med. 2000; doi:10.1007/s801090000086.

Article within a journal supplement

Frumin AM, Nussbaum J, Esposito M. Functional asplenia: demonstration of splenic activity by bone marrow scan. Blood 1979;59 Suppl 1:26-32.

Book chapter, or an article within a book

Wyllie AH, Kerr JFR, Currie AR. Cell death: the significance of apoptosis. In: Bourne GH, Danielli JF, Jeon KW, editors. International review of cytology. London: Academic; 1980. p. 251-306.

OnlineFirst chapter in a series (without a volume designation but with a DOI)

Saito Y, Hyuga H. Rate equation approaches to amplification of enantiomeric excess and chiral symmetry breaking. Top Curr Chem. 2007. doi:10.1007/128_2006_108.

Complete book, authored

Blenkinsopp A, Paxton P. Symptoms in the pharmacy: a guide to the management of common illness. 3rd ed. Oxford: Blackwell Science; 1998.

Online document

Doe J. Title of subordinate document. In: The dictionary of substances and their effects. Royal Society of Chemistry. 1999. of subordinate document. Accessed 15 Jan 1999.

Online database

Healthwise Knowledgebase. US Pharmacopeia, Rockville. 1998. Accessed 21 Sept 1998.

Supplementary material/private homepage

Doe J. Title of supplementary material. 2000. Accessed 22 Feb 2000.

University site

Doe, J: Title of preprint. (1999). Accessed 25 Dec 1999.

FTP site

Doe, J: Trivial HTTP, RFC2169. (1999). Accessed 12 Nov 1999.

Organization site

ISSN International Centre: The ISSN register. (2006). Accessed 20 Feb 2007.

Dataset with persistent identifier

Zheng L-Y, Guo X-S, He B, Sun L-J, Peng Y, Dong S-S, et al. Genome data from sweet and grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). GigaScience Database. 2011.

Figures, tables and additional files

See General formatting guidelines for information on how to format figures, tables and additional files.

Submit your manuscript in Editorial Manager

2017 Journal Metrics

  • Speed
    92 days from submission to first decision
    222 days from submission to acceptance
    17 days from acceptance to publication

    526 mentions in the media

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Authors without funds to cover the Article Processing Charge (APC) are eligible for a discretionary waiver of the APC, and should request a waiver during submission. 

Evolution: Education & Outreach also has waivers available at the Editor's discretion. Authors can contact the Editor in Chief for more information.