Standards of reporting

ISCI advocates complete and transparent reporting of biomedical and biological research. We also strongly recommend that authors refer to the minimum reporting guidelines for health research hosted by the EQUATOR Network when preparing their manuscript, and for reporting checklists for biological and biomedical research, where applicable. Authors should adhere to these guidelines when drafting their manuscript, and peer reviewers will be asked to refer to these checklists when evaluating such studies.

Checklists are available for a number of study designs, including:

*Authors of systematic reviews should also provide a link to an additional file from the ‘methods’ section, which reproduces all details of the search strategy. For an example of how a search strategy should be presented, see the Cochrane Reviewers’ Handbook.

Statistical methods

Authors should include full information on the statistical methods and measures used in their research, including justification of the appropriateness of the statistical test used (see the SAMPL guidelines for more information). Reviewers will be asked to check the statistical methods, and the manuscript may be sent for specialist statistical review if considered necessary.

Resource identification

To enable effective tracking of the key resources used to produce the scientific findings reported in the biomedical literature, authors are expected to include a full description of all resources with enough information to allow them to be uniquely identified. In support of the Resource Identification Initiative (RII), we encourage authors to use unique Resource Identifiers (RRIDs) within their manuscript to identify their model organisms, antibodies, or tools.

Cell line authentication

If human cell lines are used, authors are strongly encouraged to include the following information in their manuscript:

  • The source of the cell line, including when and from where it was obtained
  • Whether the cell line has recently been authenticated and by what method
  • Whether the cell line has recently been tested for mycoplasma contamination

Further information is available from the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC). We recommend that authors check the NCBI database for misidentification and contamination of human cell lines.

Gene nomenclature

Standardized gene nomenclature should be used throughout. Human gene symbols and names can be found in the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) database; requests for new gene symbols should be submitted here and any enquiries about gene nomenclature can be directed here. Alternative gene aliases that are commonly used may also be reported, but should not be used alone in place of the HGNC symbol. Nomenclature committees for other species are listed here.

Reporting of sequence variants

We endorse the recommendations of the Human Variome Project Consortium for describing sequence variants (Human Genome Variation Society) and phenotypes (Human Phenotype Ontology).

We recommend that authors should submit all variants described in a manuscript to the relevant public gene/disease specific database (LSDB): a list is available here. The database URL and the unique identifier should be reported in the manuscript.


To drive the maximum re-use and utility of published research, we expect authors to comply with available field-specific standards for the preparation and recording of data. Please see the BioSharing website for information on field-specific data standards. Authors must comply with best practice in their field for sharing of data, with particular attention to maintaining patient confidentiality.

Authors using unpublished genomic data are expected to abide by the guidelines of the Fort Lauderdale and Toronto agreements. Based on broadly accepted scientific community standards, the key requirement of third parties using genomic data is to contact the owners of unpublished data (i.e. the principal investigator and sequencing center) prior to undertaking their research, to advise them about their planned analyses.