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About Plant Methods

This page includes information about the aims and scope of Plant Methods, editorial policies, open access and article-processing charges, the peer review process and other information. For details of how to prepare and submit a manuscript through the online submission system, please see the instructions for authors.

Aims & scope

Plant Methods is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal for the plant research community that encompasses all aspects of technological innovation in the plant sciences.

There is no doubt that we have entered an exciting new era in plant biology. The completion of the Arabidopsis genome sequence, and the rapid progress being made in other plant genomics projects are providing unparalleled opportunities for progress in all areas of plant science. Nevertheless, enormous challenges lie ahead if we are to understand the function of every gene in the genome, and how the individual parts work together to make the whole organism. Achieving these goals will require an unprecedented collaborative effort, combining high-throughput, system-wide technologies with more focused approaches that integrate traditional disciplines such as cell biology, biochemistry and molecular genetics.

Technological innovation is probably the most important catalyst for progress in any scientific discipline. Plant Methods’ goal is to stimulate the development and adoption of new and improved techniques and research tools and, where appropriate, to promote consistency of methodologies for better integration of data from different laboratories.

Open access

All articles published by Plant Methods are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication, without subscription charges or registration barriers. Further information about open access can be found here.

Authors of articles published in Plant Methods are the copyright holders of their articles and have granted to any third party, in advance and in perpetuity, the right to use, reproduce or disseminate the article, according to the BioMed Central copyright and license agreement.

For authors who are US government employees or are prevented from being copyright holders for similar reasons, BioMed Central can accommodate non-standard copyright lines. Please contact us if further information is needed.

Article-processing charges

Open access publishing is not without costs. Plant Methods therefore levies an article-processing charge of £1300/$2035/€1655 for each article accepted for publication. If the corresponding author's institution is a Member, the cost of the article-processing charge is covered by the membership, and no further charge is payable. In the case of authors whose institutions are Supporter Members, however, a discounted article-processing charge is payable by the author. We routinely waive charges for authors from low-income countries. For other countries, article-processing charge waivers or discounts are granted on a case-by-case basis to authors with insufficient funds. Authors can request a waiver or discount during the submission process. For further details, see our article-processing charge page.

Indexing services

All articles published in Plant Methods are included in PubMed, the most widely used biomedical bibliographic database service, which is run by the US National Library of Medicine. Other bibliographic databases that index articles published in Plant Methods include:

  • Agricola
  • Biological Abstracts
  • CABI
  • CAS
  • Citebase
  • Current contents
  • DOAJ
  • EmBiology
  • Global Health
  • Google Scholar
  • OAIster
  • PubMed
  • PubMed Central
  • Science Citation Index Expanded
  • SCImago
  • Scopus
  • Zetoc

The full text of all research articles is deposited in PubMed Central, the US National Library of Medicine's full-text repository of life science literature, and other digital archives including e-Depot (The Netherlands).

The full text of all research articles published by BioMed Central is also available on SpringerLink.

Plant Methods is tracked by Thomson Reuters (ISI) and has an Impact Factor of 3.10.

Publication and peer review process

Criteria for publication

Plant Methods considers the following types of articles:

  • Methodology articles: present a new experimental method, test or procedure (for further information on criteria see below).
  • Database articles (for further information on criteria see below).
  • Software articles: describe the source code for software applications, tools or algorithm implementations. Typically, an archive of the source code of the current version of the software should be included with the submitted manuscript as a supplementary file (for further information on criteria see below).
  • Research: reports of data from original research that is principally based on the application of a new experimental method or protocol. The criteria are the same as for a Methodology paper except that there is the additional requirement that the paper sheds significant new light on a biological phenomenon. The method must be described in detail and must be either completely new or must offer a significant advance on what is currently available.
  • Reviews: comprehensive, authoritative, descriptions of any subject within the scope of the journal. These articles are usually written by opinion leaders that have been invited by the Editorial Board.
  • Commentaries: short, focused and opinionated articles on any subject within the scope of the journal. These articles are usually related to a contemporary issue, such as recent research findings, and are often written by opinion leaders.
  • Book reviews: short summaries of the strengths and weaknesses of a book. They should evaluate its overall usefulness to the intended audience.

The main criteria for a Methodology/Database/Software article are that it should (1) describe a significant advance on what has been previously available, (2) be of potential interest to a broad spectrum of plant research scientists and (3) that the methodology/database/software should be properly validated.

We publish a limited number of Protocol articles, where the technique being described is already established but where, in the Editors’ view, there is value in providing detailed step-by-step guidance on how to perform the technique. We would expect Protocol papers to be prepared by labs where the technique is in routine use and that have a strong track record in successful application of the technique. If you are considering writing a Protocol paper it is therefore essential that you contact the Editors ( to discuss the idea at an early stage.

For guidance, it follows that the following types of paper will not be considered: papers that simply describe the optimization of an existing technique (e.g. for use with another tissue or plant species); papers that describe a technique that is intended for, or has only been validated with, a single (non-model) species or genus; papers that are primarily of applied or commercial interest. Papers that fall into any of these categories will be returned without peer review. If in doubt, it is therefore recommended to send a pre-submission enquiry to, providing a title, abstract and brief covering letter.

Peer-review policies

Manuscripts will initially be assessed by the Editor-in-Chief or the Deputy Editor to determine if they fall within the scope of the journal before they are assigned to a Monitoring Editor. The Monitoring Editor will appoint at least two referees. On receipt of their reports the Monitoring Editor will make a recommendation to accept, to accept with minor revisions, to request major revisions and resubmission, or to reject. No manuscript will be rejected without being assessed by a member of the Editorial Board and one other expert.

Authors will be able to check the progress of their manuscript through the submission system at any time by logging into My Plant Methods, a personalized section of the site.


High-quality, bound reprints can be purchased for all articles published. Please see our reprints website for further information about ordering reprints.


Plant Methods will consider supplements based on proceedings (full articles or meeting abstracts), reviews or research. All articles submitted for publication in supplements are subject to peer review. Published supplements are fully searchable and freely accessible online and can also be produced in print. All full length articles (proceedings, reviews or research articles) are indexed by PubMed. PubMed displays the title of the supplement only in the case of meeting abstract collections. For further information, please contact us.

Editorial policies

All manuscripts submitted to Plant Methods should adhere to BioMed Central's editorial policies.

Citing articles in Plant Methods

Articles in Plant Methods should be cited in the same way as articles in a traditional journal. Because articles are not printed, they do not have page numbers; instead, they are given a unique article number.

Article citations follow this format:

Authors: Title. Plant Methods [year], [volume number]:[article number].

e.g. Roberts LD, Hassall DG, Winegar DA, Haselden JN, Nicholls AW, Griffin JL: Increased hepatic oxidative metabolism distinguishes the action of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor delta from Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor gamma in the Ob/Ob mouse. Plant Methods 2009, 1:115.

refers to article 115 from Volume 1 of the journal.

Why publish your article in Plant Methods?

High visibility

Plant Methods's open access policy allows maximum visibility of articles published in the journal as they are available to a wide, global audience. Articles that have been especially highly accessed are highlighted with a 'Highly accessed' graphic, which appears on the journal's contents pages and search results.

Speed of publication

Plant Methods offers a fast publication schedule whilst maintaining rigorous peer review; all articles must be submitted online, and peer review is managed fully electronically (articles are distributed in PDF form, which is automatically generated from the submitted files). Articles will be published with their final citation after acceptance, in both fully browsable web form, and as a formatted PDF; the article will then be available through Plant Methods, BioMed Central and PubMed Central and will also be included in PubMed.


Online publication in Plant Methods gives authors the opportunity to publish large datasets, large numbers of color illustrations and moving pictures, to display data in a form that can be read directly by other software packages so as to allow readers to manipulate the data for themselves, and to create all relevant links (for example, to PubMed, to sequence and other databases, and to other articles).

Promotion and press coverage

Articles published in Plant Methods are included in article alerts and regular email updates. Some may be included in abstract books mailed to academics and are highlighted on Plant Methods's pages and on the BioMed Central homepage.

In addition, articles published in Plant Methods may be promoted by press releases to the general or scientific press. These activities increase the exposure and number of accesses for articles published in Plant Methods. A list of articles recently press-released by journals published by BioMed Central is available here.

Authors of articles published in Plant Methods retain the copyright of their articles and are free to reproduce and disseminate their work (for further details, see the BioMed Central copyright policy and license agreement).

For further information about the advantages of publishing in a journal from BioMed Central, please click here.