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About Journal of Cell Science

About us

Journal of Cell Science is an international peer-reviewed journal in the field of cell biology that is published by The Company of Biologists, a not-for-profit charitable organisation run by biologists for the benefit of the biological community. Journal of Cell Science is committed to publishing the full range of topics in cell biology, and the single most important criterion for acceptance is scientific excellence. Articles must therefore pose and test a significant hypothesis that will provide novel perspectives and approaches to understanding cell biology, and will stimulate the interest of the broad readership of the journal (see aims and scope).

All research articles published in Journal of Cell Science are subject to rigorous single-blind peer review, and editorial decisions are made by a team of research-active academics in the field, supported by an international Editorial Advisory Board. In addition to primary research articles, Journal of Cell Science publishes a range of commissioned review-based articles aimed at synthesising the latest advances in the field, putting forward new hypotheses to provoke debate and inspire new research directions, and educating newcomers to the field. For more information on publishing in Journal of Cell Science, please visit our submission, manuscript preparation, article types and journal policies pages.

Journal of Cell Science offers advance posting of accepted author manuscripts on its Accepted manuscripts page, which is updated daily. Publication of the final version of record is by a continuous publication model - as soon as an article is ready to be published, it is immediately released online rather than waiting for other articles in the issue to be completed, resulting in faster access to the final version of the article.

Journal of Cell Science [ISSN 1477-9137 (online); ISSN 0021-9533 (print)] is a continuation of The Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science (ISSN 0370-2952).

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What Journal of Cell Science offers

  • Submissions handled by expert academic Editors
  • Competitive decision speeds
  • Format-free submission
  • Strong commitment at first decision – over 95% of invited revisions accepted
  • Rapid publication, including advance posting of accepted articles
  • Scoop protection policy
  • Publishing peer review reports
  • Free to publish – no page or colour charges, no hidden fees
  • Open Access option available – compliant with funder mandates
  • All articles free to access after 6 months – complete archive online
  • Review-type articles from leaders in the field highlighting key research topics
  • Wide international readership
  • Active promotion of published papers
  • Altmetrics and usage statistics for all articles
  • Annual outstanding paper prize
  • Copyediting by experienced scientific editors
  • Strong ethical approach to publishing best-practice
  • Simple solutions for data sharing and access
  • Fast-track option on previously reviewed manuscripts received with reviewer reports
  • Manuscripts deposited on preprint servers welcome
  • Two-way integration with bioRxiv
  • Integration with the reviewer recognition service hosted by Web of Science (previously Publons)
  • Easy one-click transfer option to Biology Open
  • A tree planted for each published Research and Review article – ancient woodland protected for each completed peer review
  • Not-for-profit publisher
  • Read & Publish agreements for institutions and library consortia

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Journal metrics

Journal of Cell Science is a signatory of the DORA declaration, which makes a number of recommendations for improving the way in which the quality of research output is evaluated. In accordance with the recommendations, Journal of Cell Science uses a number of metrics that together can provide a rich view of the journal's performance. In addition, Altmetric data and usage statistics are available for individual articles.


  • 2022 Impact Factor: 4.0
  • Five-year Impact Factor: 4.6
  • Two-year citation median: 3
  • Eigenfactor score: 0.02796
  • Article Influence Score: 1.699
  • Immediacy Index: 1.5
JCS - citation distribution graph 2022 
  • h-index: 298
  • Scopus CiteScore: 7.8
  • SJR indicator: 1.842
  • SNIP: 0.990


Journal of Cell Science is abstracted and/or indexed by (amongst others): BIOBASE, CAB abstracts, Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, Current Contents, EMBASE, Clarivate Analytics Web of Science, Medline and Scopus.

As a Transformative Journal, Journal of Cell Science will provide more transparency around pricing and publishing metrics in line with the Plan S Price and Transparency Framework developed by Information Power. More details can be found on our transparent metrics page.

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Supporting the community

Journal of Cell Science is a community-focused journal that strives to support the members and the research of the cell biology community. For example, Journal of Cell Science supports junior researchers through our Travelling Fellowship programme for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers wishing to make collaborative visits to other laboratories. Journal of Cell Science also offers support for numerous meetings and workshops, including Keystone Symposia, Gordon Conferences and EMBO workshops. In addition, The Company of Biologists, the publisher of Journal of Cell Science, is also a generous financial supporter of the British Society for Cell Biology and sponsors numerous conferences and workshops in the field through its meeting grants.

Journal of Cell Science strongly believes that the research we publish should be accessible to the lay public as well as practising scientists. As well as highlighting upcoming and current journal content on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, it actively encourages interaction with the scientific and lay media by making research content available to journalists in advance of publication when requested.

Publishing in Journal of Cell Science (under our green open access model) is free of any charges, and authors are provided with free electronic reprints of their papers. All Journal of Cell Science content is also freely available to community members in lower income countries through the HINARI initiative.

The Company of Biologists is committed to improving equity, diversity and inclusion in all our activities. We believe that diversity – in areas including but not limited to geography, ethnicity, gender and career stage – is essential for a community to thrive. As such, we aim to engage a broad and diverse group of authors, reviewers, editors, staff, readers, grant awardees and meeting participants. Find our more about our EDI activities to date, and our plans moving forward, on our EDI page.

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Journal of Cell Science online

All Journal of Cell Science content - including the entire archive dating back to 1853 - is available online, and is fully browsable and searchable. All Journal of Cell Science papers are freely available online six months after publication, and authors may choose to make their articles open access by paying a subsidised fee. In addition, Journal of Cell Science deposits manuscripts in PubMed Central for those authors whose funding providers mandate deposition.

Journal of Cell Science is a participant in the LOCKSS/CLOCKSS projects, an international community initiative through which libraries and publishers work together to preserve their digital content for the long-term.

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Journal of Cell Science was established in 1853 as 'The Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science'. The founding editors were Edwin Lankester and George Busk. The first publisher was Samuel Highley of Fleet Street, London, with John Churchill and Sons (later J. & A. Churchill) taking over from 1856. The journal's original aims, as described in a preface to the first issue, were not limited to biology, but encompassed all branches of science related to the microscope.

Contributors to the first issue included Thomas Henry Huxley, Joseph Lister, William Crawford Williamson and George Shadbolt. Early issues were diverse, and included original research articles, translations of papers published in other languages, transactions of meetings of the Microscopical Society of London (later the Royal Microscopical Society) and book reviews. The journal also published short notes and memoranda, aimed "to gather up fragments of information, which singly might appear to be useless but together are of great importance to science". The editors encouraged non-specialist submissions to this section, considering that "there are few possessors of a microscope who have not met with some stray fact or facts which, published in this way, may not lead to important results." The editors also intended "to relieve the graver and more strictly scientific matter of the journal by lighter contributions, such as will be found useful to the beginner, not uninteresting to the advanced observer, and of interest perhaps to the general reader."

Lankester and Busk co-edited the journal until the end of 1868. Lankester continued to edit the journal with his son, Ray, until the end of 1871. After Edwin's retirement, Ray remained an editor, with co-editors including E. Klein, William Archer, Joseph Frank Payne and W. T. Thiselton Dyer. Ray Lankester served as editor for over fifty years, from 1878 until 1920. The journal flourished under his guidance, becoming one of the leading British science journals. His successor, Edwin Stephen Goodrich, served as editor for twenty-five years, from 1920 until his death in 1946. Oxford University Press took over as publishers in 1920.

In 1946 or 1947, George Parker Bidder, then the owner, gave the journal to The Company of Biologists, a company he had founded in 1925 in a successful bid to rescue the failing British Journal of Experimental Biology. Initially, Oxford University Press remained the publishers, but production later transferred to Cambridge University Press. In 1952, The Company of Biologists became a registered charity, and full editorial control passed from the Company to the Journal's Editor-in-Chief.

From 1946, the journal was edited jointly by Carl Pantin, an experimental zoologist and physiologist, and John Baker, a cytologist. Under Baker's influence, the journal accepted a growing number of papers in the relatively new discipline of cytology, now termed cell biology. After Pantin's retirement in 1960, the scope of the journal was refocused on cytology, which the editors defined as "Everything that relates directly to the structure, chemical composition, physical nature, and functions of animal and plant cells, or to the techniques that are used in cytological investigations".

In 1966, the journal was redesigned and relaunched under the new title 'Journal of Cell Science', reflecting its altered scope. It continued to be published quarterly until 1969, when the frequency increased to 6-9 issues per year. In the 1980s, to reduce publication times, The Company of Biologists left Cambridge University Press and set up its own in-house typesetting and printing for its journals. Publication frequency also increased, to ten issues in 1987, then monthly between 1988 and 1995, finally becoming fortnightly in December 1996.

Adapted from Wikipedia entry for Journal of Cell Science

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Focus on biodiversity: The Forest of Biologists

The Forest of Biologists logo

The Forest of Biologists is a living and growing forest that has been created as part of a biodiversity initiative that celebrates author and reviewer contributions to the journals of The Company of Biologists. For every Research Article and Review-type article published in Journal of Cell Science (starting in January 2023), a real tree is planted in new forest and a representation of that tree appears in a virtual forest. In addition to planting new trees, we are also funding the restoration and preservation of ancient woodland and dedicating these trees to our peer reviewers, who help us preserve the integrity of the scientific record. The Forest of Biologists is a symbol of the work of the biologists whose research and expertise fills our journal.

The Company of Biologists has chosen to work with the Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity, focusing on the role that trees and woods play in tackling the threats of climate change and nature loss.

Read the Editorial to find out more about The Forest of Biologists.

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